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The Executive and the Elephant: A Leader's Guide for Achieving Inner Excellence
Richard L. Daft

Retail Price: $27.95
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Format: Hardcover, 336pp.
ISBN: 9780470372265
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Pub. Date: August 2, 2010

Average Customer Review:
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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

"Kings, heads of government, and corporate executives have control over thousands of people and endless resources, but often do not have mastery over themselves. From a distance, larger-than-life leaders may look firmly in control of their businesses and their personal behavior. What about up close? Personal mastery is a difficult thing."—from Chapter One

Leaders know what they should be doing, so why aren't they doing it? When a leader knows the preferable behavior, why stick to an old pattern and fail to perform as desired? The answer is that each of us has two selves: one self is thoughtful, circumspect, and rational (the inner executive), and the other self is habit bound, impulsive, and emotion driven (the inner elephant). In this groundbreaking book, leadership expert Richard Daft reveals how leaders can recognize the two parts of themselves and learn to calm down, train, and guide their inner elephant toward the desired successful behavior.

Inner excellence means removing the personal flaw that is holding you back as a leader—such as procrastination, avoiding confrontation, a short attention span, perfectionism, tactless remarks, weak resolve, overreacting, criticizing, chasing the wrong gratifications, or not following though. This important book is filled with lessons for leaders on resolving the inner struggle between impulse and self-discipline, between blind reaction and big picture wisdom. Dozens of proven exercises will empower you to direct yourself and others more productively. With a little practice, your inner executive will learn to choose correctactions rather than let your unwantedbehaviors have their way.

Through compelling real-life coaching examples of dramatic personal changes, along with recent findings in psychology, management, neuroscience, and Eastern spirituality, Richard Daft provides guidance to all of us who want to follow our best intentions when leading ourselves and others.


"Wow, what a book! I started to breeze through it, and I ended up reading and thinking about every chapter. . . . The Executive and the Elephant touches both my brain and my heart, and the effect is at once humbling and energizing. I'm going to send copies to everyone I care about who is under pressure, working hard, and in a leadership position."
—William Ouchi, Sanford and Betty Sigoloff Distinguished Professor in Corporate Renewal, UCLA; author of Theory Z

"Outstanding! Dick Daft has shed a whole new light on what it takes to set you apart as an effective leader. If I had read this book earlier in my career, I would have arrived sooner to the chairmanship of Bridgestone Americas."
—Mark A. Emkes, retired chairman, CEO, and president, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.

"Filled with practical suggestions and novel insights, The Executive and the Elephant will transform anyone into a more effective leader."
—Jeffrey Pfeffer, Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford Graduate School of Business; author of Power: Why Some People Have It—And Others Don't

"For thousands of years we have been programmed to think that leading change means doing things 'to' other people. In this wonderful book, Dick Daft helps us successfully transform ourselves into the leader—and person—we want to become."
—Robert E. Quinn, M.E. Tracy Collegiate Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; author of Deep Change and Change the World

"This magnificent book contains a tapestry of wisdom from around the world that shows leaders how to begin serious self-transformation by someone who has been there, done that."
—Peter Vaill, senior scholar and emeritus professor of management, Antioch University

"This book is a 'bible' for [leadership] self-development."
—Ronald E. Riggio, Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology, Claremont McKenna College

readers index
Reader's Index 
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About the Author

Richard L. Daft holds the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Chair in the Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University, where he specializes in the study and teaching of leadership. Professor Daft is the author or co-author of thirteen books, including his best selling texts, and dozens of scholarly articles. He has consulted and lectured widely and practices this book's concepts in his work and personal life.

Table of Contents

Part One The Two Selves
1The Problem of Managing Yourself
The Conflict Between Knowing and Doing
The Universal Failure of Willpower
The Divided Self: Executive and Elephant
Learning to Lead from Your Inner Executive
Purpose of This Book
2Recognize Your Two Selves
Levels of Consciousness
Two Voices Within
Why Your Mind Is Filled with Automatic Thoughts
Unfocused Elephant Mind Versus Focused Executive Presence
Small Box Versus Large Mind
Part Two Ways You May Mislead or Delude Yourself
3Three Tendencies That Distort Your Reality
Your Internal Judge
Your Internal Magician
Your Internal Attorney
4Every Leader's Six Mental Mistakes
Reacting Too Quickly
Inflexible Thinking
Wanting Control
Emotional Avoidance and Attraction
Exaggerating the Future
Chasing the Wrong Gratifications
Part Three How to Start Leading Yourself
5Engage Your Intention
Visualize Your Intention
Verbalize Your Intention
6Follow Through on Your Intentions
Write Down Your Intentions
Set Deadlines
Design Tangible Mechanisms
7Calm Down to Speed Up
Get Connected
Let It Happen
Sit by Your Problem
Relax Your Body
Calm Your Elephant by Acting the Part or Making a Gentle Request
8Slow Down to Stop Your Reactions
Stop and Think
Stop Interrupting
Detach from your Emotions and Impulses
Just Say No
Employ Punishment
Part Four Become Aware of Your Inner Resources
9Get to Know Your Inner Elephant
Know Yourself
Solicit Feedback
Take Advantage of a Setback
10Expand Your Awareness
Review the Day
Contemplate Creatively
Part Five Reach for the Heights
11Sharpen Your Concentration
Focus Your Attention
Focus on Means, Not Ends
Slow Down, Look, and Listen
Focus on People
12Develop Your Witness
Turn Inward to Develop Your Witness
Use Radical Self-Inquiry
Who Am I?
13Reprogram Yourself
Repeat a Mantra
Prayer May Help, but Not the Way You Think
14Mend Your Mind with Meditation
Why Meditate?
An Easy Way to Start
Two Essentials
Mindfulness Meditation
Try Visual Rather Than Verbal
Contemplative Meditation
Part Six Can You Lead from a People Frame of Reference?
15Change Your Frame to See People
What Is Your Frame?
From Leading Objects to Leading Humans
How to Change Your Frame
16Change Your Frame to Ask Questions
From Answering Questions to Asking Questions
In All Things, Consult
17Living and Leading from Your Inner Executive
Higher Consciousness Revisited
When Her Mind Went Quiet
Answers to Individual Questions
Final Thoughts
The Author

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