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The Best Leadership Books of 2019

Best Leadership Books of 2019

LEADERSHIP development is a lifelong process. It is made possible with a quality that we spend a lifetime acquiring: self-awareness. People don’t experience our intentions; they experience our behavior. It is a theme that runs through most of these titles.

Books like Helping People Change and The Power of Bad, have the power to change forever how we work with others and address the things that hold us back.

Grace is a tough concept to sell in today’s environment. Grace looks at the bigger picture. It is not primarily concerned for the self. It does not rejoice in the downfall of others. It does not seek its own way. It is outwardly focused. We marginalize others when we insist on our rightness. The need for an outward focus is the underlying conclusion of these titles.

The biographies on this list are more than mere memoirs. They all provide insights into leading and how others have tried to make sense of the world. They all share their methods, their successes and failures, and the lessons they learned. Biographies provide, like no other genre, roadmaps and guardrails in a context that makes them relevant for our own lives. It’s like having a mentor guide your journey.

When we get our thinking right, the success comes almost automatically.


9781989025208 The Good Fight: Use Productive Conflict to Get Your Team and Organization Back on Track
by Liane Davey

(Page Two, 2019)

Liane Davey shows you how to create the productive conflict your organization needs to get along and get stuff done. Drawing on her twenty-year career as an advisor to the C-Suite, Davey shares real-world examples and practical tools you and your team can use to handle even the most contentious conflicts as allies―instead of adversaries. Filled with strategies you will use again and again, The Good Fight is an essential field guide for leaders at all levels. (Blog Post)

9781948080880 Grace: A Leader's Guide to a Better Us
by John Baldoni

(Indigo River Publishing, 2019)

Grace: A Leader's Guide to a Better Us focuses on the role that grace plays as a catalyst in enabling us to create "the greater good" at work, at home and in our communities. Grace tells the stories of women and men who are making a positive difference in our world by devoting themselves to serving as agents of positive change. Grace is a clarion call for the goodness in the world around us as well as a practical guide for implementing grace in your own life. (Blog Post)

9781635652161 Great Leaders Have No Rules: Contrarian Leadership Principles to Transform Your Team and Business
by Kevin Kruse

(Rodale Books, 2019)

Kevin Kruse debunks popular wisdom with ten contrarian principles for better, faster, easier leadership. Grounded in solid research and three decades of entrepreneurial experience, this book has one purpose: to teach you how to be both the boss everyone wants to work for and the high achiever every CEO wants to hire—all without drama, stress, or endless hours in the office. (Blog Post)

9780718093150 The Intention Imperative: 3 Essential Changes That Will Make You a Successful Leader Today
by Mark Sanborn

(HarperCollins Leadership, 2019)

The Intention Imperative explains how five very different businesses use clarity of purpose and consistent action to achieve extraordinary success in their given fields. Using their practices as examples, Sanborn shows how they’ve harnessed the three imperatives and how it’s possible to improve your own business by adopting their practices. The larger points of intentional leadership, intentional leaders, and their place in the current world are explained, giving readers the opportunity to spot the parallels in real-world examples. (Blog Post)

9781594205521 The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It
by John Tierney and Roy F. Baumeister

(Penguin Press, 2019)

Why are we devastated by a word of criticism even when it’s mixed with lavish praise? Because our brains are wired to focus on the bad. This negativity effect explains things great and small: why countries blunder into disastrous wars, why couples divorce, why people flub job interviews, how schools fail students, why football coaches stupidly punt on fourth down. All day long, the power of bad governs people’s moods, drives marketing campaigns, and dominates news and politics. But once we recognize our negativity bias, the rational brain can overcome the power of bad when it’s harmful and employ that power when it’s beneficial. In fact, bad breaks and bad feelings create the most powerful incentives to become smarter and stronger. Properly understood, bad can be put to perfectly good use.

9780735213500 The Infinite Game
by Simon Sinek

(Portfolo, 2019)

Do you know how to play the game you’re in? In finite games, like football or chess, the players are known, the rules are fixed, and the endpoint is clear. The winners and losers are easily identified. In infinite games, like business or politics or life itself, the players come and go, the rules are changeable, and there is no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers in an infinite game; there is only ahead and behind.

9780718098506 Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace
by John C. Maxwell

(HarperCollins Leadership, 2019)

In Leadershift, John C. Maxwell helps leaders gain the ability and willingness to make leadership changes that will positively enhance their organizational and personal growth. He does this by sharing the eleven shifts he made over the course of his long and successful leadership career. Each shift changed his trajectory and set him up for new and exciting achievements, ultimately strengthening and sustaining his leadership abilities. (Blog Post)

9781633696563 Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth
by Richard Boyatzis, Melvin L. Smith and Ellen Van Oosten

(Harvard Business Review Press, 2019)

Helping others is a good thing. Often, as a leader, manager, doctor, teacher, or coach, it's central to your job. But even the most well-intentioned efforts to help others can be undermined by a simple truth: We almost always focus on trying to "fix" people, correcting problems or filling the gaps between where they are and where we think they should be. Unfortunately, this doesn't work well, if at all, to inspire sustained learning or positive change. There's a better way.

9781610398770 Creative Construction: The DNA of Sustained Innovation
by Gary P. Pisano

(PublicAffairs, 2019)

The conventional wisdom is that only disruptive, nimble startups can innovate; once a business gets bigger and more complex corporate arteriosclerosis sets in. Big organizations require a different set of management practices and approaches—a discipline focused on the strategies, systems and culture for taking their companies to the next level. (Blog Post)

9780735219472 The Optimist's Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age
by Bina Venkataraman

(Riverhead Books, 2019)

Instant gratification is the norm today—in our lives, our culture, our economy, and our politics. Many of us have forgotten (if we ever learned) how to make smart decisions for the long run. Whether it comes to our finances, our health, our communities, or our planet, it’s easy to avoid thinking ahead. The consequences of this immediacy are stark: Superbugs spawned by the overuse of antibiotics endanger our health. Companies that fail to invest stagnate and fall behind. Hurricanes and wildfires turn deadly for communities that could have taken more precaution. Today more than ever, all of us need to know how we can make better long-term decisions in our lives, businesses, and society. Bina Venkataraman sees the way forward. (Blog Post)

9780692129890 Fearless Success: Beyond High Performance
by John Foley

(CenterPoint Publishing, 2019)

The quest for perfection is not only possible--it's actually our natural state, says author and former Blue Angel pilot, John Foley. Imagine what the same preparation and mindset that allowed him to fly in formation mere inches apart from another jet can do for you, your teams, and any organization. In Fearless Success, John Foley gives us the secrets that elite performers know and practice on a daily basis. (Blog Post)

9781260454017 Cascades: How to Create a Movement that Drives Transformational Change
by Greg Satell

(Currency, 2019)

In this groundbreaking book, one of today's top innovation experts delivers a guide for driving transformational change. To truly change the world or even just your little corner of it, you don’t need a charismatic leader or a catchy slogan. What you need is a cascade: small groups that are loosely connected but united by a common purpose. (Blog Post)

9780143133094 Flex: The Art and Science of Leadership in a Changing World
by Jeffrey Hull

(TarcherPerigee, 2019)

Jeffrey Hull shares the secrets, strategies, and science underlying his, and his clients', successes. Interweaving real-life stories with practical tips and the latest evidence-based research, he equips readers with the insights they need to thrive in today's world. Based on his popular classes with Harvard Medical School physicians and NYU business students, Hull has identified the six key elements that leaders in this new workplace need to succeed: Flexibility, Intentionality, Emotional Intelligence, Realness, Collaboration, and Engagement.


The Leader You Want to Be: Five Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self—Every Day
by Amy Jen Su

(Harvard Business Review Press, 2019)

How can you be the leader you want to be, every day? The answer is more than a time-management system or a silver-bullet solution for changing your routines. Leadership expert and coach Amy Jen Su's powerful new book helps readers discover that the answer lies within. By focusing in specific ways on five key leadership elementss—Purpose, Process, People, Presence, and Peace—you can increase your time, capacity, energy, and ultimately your impact, with less stress and more equanimity.



9780801094248 Beginner's Pluck: Build Your Life of Purpose and Impact Now
by Liz Forkin Bohannon

(Baker Books, 2019)

Liz Forkin Bohannon wants you to rethink everything you've been told about finding your passion and following your dreams. Why? Hate to break it to you, but you're likely never going to "find your passion." Because your passion and purpose are something you build—actively—day by day. In her signature tell-it-like-it-is fashion, Liz shares 14 actionable principles that will teach you how to do just that. With total transparency, Liz shares hilarious and heartbreaking stories of her journey of screwups and successes that illustrate the mindsets and principles that will give you a jolt of energy, inspiration, and direction toward your True North. By embracing your Inner Beginner, dreaming small, choosing curiosity over criticism, and so much more, Liz's story and the principles of Beginner's Pluck will have you on your way to building a life of purpose, passion, and lasting impact. (Blog Post)

9780399592096 The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
by Robert Iger with Joel Lovell

(Random House, 2019)

This book is about the relentless curiosity that has driven Iger for forty-five years, since the day he started as the lowliest studio grunt at ABC. It's also about thoughtfulness and respect, and a decency-over-dollars approach that has become the bedrock of every project and partnership Iger pursues, from a deep friendship with Steve Jobs in his final years to an abiding love of the Star Wars mythology. (Blog Post)

9780812996838 Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead
by Jim Mattis and Bing West

(Random House, 2019)

Call Sign Chaos is the account of Jim Mattis's storied career, from wide-ranging leadership roles in three wars to ultimately commanding a quarter of a million troops across the Middle East. Along the way, Mattis recounts his foundational experiences as a leader, extracting the lessons he has learned about the nature of warfighting and peacemaking, the importance of allies, and the strategic dilemmas—and short-sighted thinking—now facing our nation. (Blog Post)

9781626346222 Learning to Lead: The Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization
by Ron Williams with Karl Weber

(Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2019)

This master class on leadership, written by one of America's most prominent and successful executives, will help you develop the professional leadership qualities that deliver personal, interpersonal, and organizational success. Ron Williams provides you with practical, tested leadership advice, whether you're searching for a new career, looking for proven management solutions, or seeking to transform your organization. (Blog Post)

9781501158148 What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence
by Stephen A. Schwarzman

(Simon & Schuster, 2019)

Schwarzman's story is an empowering, entertaining, and informative guide for anyone striving for greater personal impact. From deal making to investing, leadership to entrepreneurship, philanthropy to diplomacy, Schwarzman has lessons for how to think about ambition and scale, risk and opportunities, and how to achieve success through the relentless pursuit of excellence. Schwarzman not only offers readers a thoughtful reflection on all his own experiences, but in doing so provides a practical blueprint for success. (Blog Post)

9780316530200 That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea
by Marc Randolph

(Little, Brown and Company, 2019)

Full of counter-intuitive concepts and written in binge-worthy prose, it answers some of our most fundamental questions about taking that leap of faith in business or in life: How do you begin? How do you weather disappointment and failure? How do you deal with success? What even is success? From idea generation to team building to knowing when it's time to let go, That Will Never Work is not only the ultimate follow-your-dreams parable, but also one of the most dramatic and insightful entrepreneurial stories of our time. (Blog Post)


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Whats New in Leadership Books Best Books of 2018

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3 Ways to Boost the Effectiveness of Your Leadership

Boost Effectiveness

THE RESPONSIBILITIES that fall under a leadership title vary significantly at each company. Still, one thing is true for all—organizational leadership must be effective for teams to succeed. Without effective leadership in place, organizations can’t achieve their goals, and employees may start looking for jobs elsewhere.

Leaders are often tasked with many projects that overload their schedules, which can prevent them from effectively leading and managing their team the way they should. There is also a noticeable gap in skills and training for leaders today. Closing the gap on leadership skills is the number one priority of 58% of companies, while only 18% feel their leaders are “very effective” at achieving business goals.

By finding a practical approach to invest your time into the right priorities, the efficiency at which you perform your role, and respect your team has for you, can improve significantly. Let's take a look at three leadership strategies you can implement today to boost the effectiveness of your leadership.

1. Become more self-aware

It's easy to fall into a rut in your position, but it’s harmful to the organization and your team when your leadership is on autopilot. Blind leaders often get tunnel vision, causing them to forget what's going on around them. While it’s easy to blame an individual team member for being negligent and causing a mistake, it’s important not to assume you are right. Having an open and consistent dialogue is crucial. Many leaders don't account for blind leadership. Neglecting an employee by providing minimal feedback and support is an issue that lies within the management position, not the employee.

A strong leader is often characterized as someone able to identify their unique strengths while also having the courage to acknowledge their weaknesses. Self-awareness is a skill that can be learned over time through reflection. Many of the world's most successful leaders take time for self-reflection each day. If you’re not aware of your own actions, you can’t expect to fully understand what is happening with your team.

2. Foster an environment for employee growth

Your position as a leader goes far beyond team management. Everyone wants to move up in their career. Your team will likely turn to you for guidance in getting to the next step on their path. You must foster an environment where employee growth is encouraged.

One of the best ways to understand what your staff are looking for is to host ongoing career conversations. Inquire about your employees’ goals and where they see themselves growing in the company. Knowing this can help you develop a path for their career growth together.

Delegating tasks to employees that are outside of their standard job description is another way to foster employee growth. This will help them develop new skills that can be applied to higher positions at the company when they are ready. By relinquishing control of some of your tasks through delegation, you will have more time to engage with your team. Delegation and management are often the most challenging aspects of a leadership position, but using an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution can help you manage your business processes and assign the associated tasks to the right people. ERP systems help increase efficiencies to drive better decision-making over time, allowing you to spend more time focusing on being an effective leader.

Furthermore, you should be providing and obtaining constant feedback from your team. Most employees may feel that they do not receive enough feedback, and when they do receive any, it's too vague. Companies that provide consistent feedback have been shown to have less employee turnover. When employees feel respected, they become more engaged in the success of the company and their role in that success. Because of this, it's important to motivate and inspire your employees through ongoing, regular feedback.

3. Communicate effectively and often

Leaders who do not communicate effectively regularly fail in their positions. Many may argue that communication is the most critical aspect of the job.

You can start by being an active member of the conversations that you have with each of your employees. It's easy to get distracted when you're busy balancing many tasks at once, but your employees deserve your undivided attention during meetings. Make sure you're mindful of the fact that your team members have different communication styles. Actively listening to your employees and directly asking them to specify their preferred methods of communication can be helpful ways to understand your employees better. Being able to adapt your communication style to fit your team is a tremendous step toward becoming an effective leader. Not all leaders can manage relationships with their staff effectively. Don’t fall into this category!

Prioritize your goals so you can allow time in your schedule for open office hours where employees can stop by unannounced for assistance or to talk through an issue. This transparency and willingness to be present can be invaluable to your employee's trust. There will be times when you deliver an important message to your team, and they may have questions for you. Be ready to answer these questions as openly and honestly as you can and always treat everyone with respect.

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100X Leader Xceptional Execution

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Asking Smart Questions Changes Everything

Asking Smart Questions

WE LIVE IN A TIME when accountability is often sidelined. When it is, there can be disastrous consequences in government, in politics, in the media, and in business. The antidote, I’ve found during my two decades as an accountability speaker and business consultant, is a thoughtful and persistent effort to infuse accountability into every objective, every task, and in every colleague-to-colleague and company-to-customer interaction. For the world-class companies that do this well, accountability isn’t an esoteric mandate handed down from senior leadership. Instead, it is a systemic root-to-tip effort that makes accountability an organic state of being that is cultivated on a daily basis by everyone within the organization. And believe it or not, it doesn’t take a Herculean effort. Accountability is easily nurtured by curiosity.

Simple Questions are the Seeds of Accountability

As a writer and accountability speaker, I stress the importance of my Seven Pillars of Accountability™: character, unity, learning, tracking, urgency, reputation, evolving. Every member of an organization can build and strengthen accountability by asking fundamental questions related to these pillars. Ask your peers and colleagues. Ask your immediate supervisor and members of the senior leadership team. Their answers, along with your own, will create a blueprint for better performance.

Here are some starter questions to help you begin cultivating the mindset that builds accountability. You don’t have to be a management expert, accountability speaker or business guru to be a catalyst for excellence. The important thing is to begin the discovery process that fosters it.

What does “living our core values” look like to you?
Does my behavior reflect the beliefs we stand for?
What is one thing I should start doing differently right now?

What are your key expectations for my position?
Am I delivering on what is expected of me?
What will happen if our organization fails to reach our objectives?

How can I be more effective within my role?
How does the organization intend to encourage my professional development and career growth?
What advice can you offer on ways I can move forward in my career?

What key performance indicators should I be measuring in my position?
Is our organization tracking metrics to drive performance or to empower people?
What intangibles should I be considering that can impact tracking?

Where is there room for greater excellence in my execution?
Am I overlooking an opportunity for incremental growth?
Are we simply “settling” in any areas of our organization?

How can I better collaborate with colleagues?
What can I do to make the company more successful?
If I was fired today, what changes would my replacement make?

Asking Isn’t Easy
As an accountability speaker and consultant, I work closely with organizations to help them determine actionable steps to strengthen identified weaknesses and place them on an upward trajectory. I can tell you there isn’t a magic formula. It begins by figuring out the relevant questions, asking them, and acting on the answers. However, for many leaders, sometimes the hardest part is in the asking of these questions.

While good leaders may solve problems, great leaders ask questions. In fact, great leaders create an environment where questions, especially tough questions, are welcomed, asked, and answered before decisions are made and after results are assessed. Are you ready to start asking smart questions in your organization?

That’s A Great Question

With years of first-hand experience, and in working closely with a variety of organizations, both leading and emerging, I’ve collected a list of over 500 provocative questions that explore 18 compelling topics centered around leadership and business. These questions, and other insights, are compiled in my book, That’s A Great Question: Are You Asking The Right Questions In Business? In Life? If you’re ready to take that next step towards becoming a great leader, this book will guide you in asking smart questions.

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Leading Forum
Greg Bustin advises leaders of some of the world’s most admired companies, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 200 strategic planning sessions, and he’s delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. He is the author of How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices. To inquire about engaging Bustin as an accountability or leadership keynote speaker, creating a custom workshop for your organization, or discussing a strategic planning session, contact him at 214.720.3707 or by email at Greg.Bustin@Bustin.com

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Questions Are Answer Before You Accuse Ask

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3 Things You Need to Control to Succeed as a Leader

3 Things You Need to Control

SUCCESSFUL LEADERS know that we can control only 3 things in our life: our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. If we can take charge over those, we can lead our organizations, and our lives, to our own vision of success.

That vision may differ for successful leaders: some want to grow their business into a huge company, while some want to stay small and keep a family atmosphere in their company. Regardless of how you view success, to achieve it you need to invest into understanding how your mind works. Then, you need to direct your thinking and feeling patterns, and the behaviors that result, to evaluating reality clearly, making the wisest decisions, and accomplishing your goals.

So how do our minds work? Intuitively, our mind feels like a cohesive whole. We perceive ourselves as intentional and rational thinkers. Yet cognitive science research shows that in reality, the intentional part of our mind is like a little rider on top of a huge elephant of emotions and intuitions.

Roughly speaking, we have two thinking systems. Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize for his research on behavioral economics, calls them System 1 and 2. I think autopilot system and intentional system describe these systems more clearly.

The autopilot system corresponds to our emotions and intuitions. Its cognitive processes take place mainly in the amygdala and other parts of the brain that developed early in our evolution. This system guides our daily habits, helps us make snap decisions, and reacts instantly to dangerous life-and-death situations, like saber-toothed tigers, through the freeze, fight, or flight stress response. While helping our survival in the past, the fight-or-flight response is not a great fit for modern life.

We have many small stresses in our work that are not life-threatening, but the autopilot system treats them as saber-toothed tigers. That produces an unnecessarily stressful everyday life experience that undermines our mental and physical well-being. Moreover, while the snap judgments resulting from intuitions and emotions usually feel true because they are fast and powerful, they often lead us wrong in systemic and predictable ways.

For example, we make bad hires if we rely on our autopilot system. The autopilot system leads to us making too-optimistic plans and ignore weaknesses and threats in our businesses and our careers. It leads us into errors in negotiating with others, in mergers and acquisitions, and in assessing company performance. True leaders learn to avoid simply trusting their gut to address autopilot system errors.

By contrast, the intentional system reflects our rational thinking, and centers around the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that evolved more recently. According to recent research, it developed as humans started to live within larger social groups. This thinking system helps us handle more complex mental activities. These include managing individual and group relationships, logical reasoning, probabilistic thinking, and learning new information and patterns of thinking and behavior. Notice how these activities are exactly the kinds of things necessary for leaders to succeed.

While the automatic system requires no conscious effort to function, the intentional system takes deliberate effort to turn on and is mentally tiring. Fortunately, with enough motivation and appropriate training, the intentional system can turn on in situations where the autopilot system is prone to make errors, especially costly ones.

The autopilot system is like an elephant. It’s by far the more powerful and predominant of the two systems. Our emotions can often overwhelm our rational thinking.

Moreover, our intuitions and habits determine the large majority of our life, which we spend in autopilot mode. And that’s not a bad thing at all – it would be mentally exhausting to think intentionally about our every action and decision.

The intentional system is like the elephant rider. It can guide the elephant deliberately to go in a direction that matches our actual goals. It can help you address the systematic and predictable errors that we make due to how our brain is wired, what scholars term cognitive biases. Over 100 cognitive biases exist, and more are found all the time by scholars in behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience. We make these mistakes not only in work, but also in other life areas, for example in our shopping choices, as revealed by a series of studies done by a shopping comparison website.

Fortunately, recent research in these fields shows how you can use pragmatic strategies to notice and address these dangerous judgment errors. The elephant part of the brain – which is most prone to cognitive biases – is huge and unwieldy, slow to turn and change, and stampedes at threats.

But we can train the elephant. Your rider can be an elephant whisperer. Over time, you can use the intentional system to change your automatic thinking, feeling, and behavior patterns, and reach true success!

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Leading Forum
Gleb Tsipursky is on a mission to protect leaders from dangerous judgment errors known as cognitive biases by developing the most effective decision-making strategies. He is the author of Never Go With Your Gut (2019), The Blindspots Between Us (2020), and The Truth Seeker’s Handbook (2017). He has over 400 articles and 350 interviews in Fast Company, CBS News, Time, Business Insider, Government Executive, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Inc. Magazine, and elsewhere. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training as the CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts. Sing-up for his Wise Decision Maker Newsletter.

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Help Them Grow About Biases

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Our Stewardship Responsibility

Our Stewardship Responsibility

THE CHICK-FIL-A corporate purpose statement goes like this:

To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.

In Covert Cows and Chick-fil-A, former executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, Steve Robinson explains that for Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, the most important phase in the purpose statement was, “by being a faithful Steward.” And the most important word in that phrase was “by.”

His premise was this business does not glorify God unless it is built upon great stewardship of the assets, talents, influence, and relationships entrusted to us. He felt accountability to his Creator—accountability for everything the Creator put into his hands and, thus, our hands—so he wanted a business that focused on doing those things well.

Caught up in our day-to-day work, the idea of stewardship easily moves into the background. For Chick-fil-A, it guides everything they do. Even when drawn into controversy, regardless of personal beliefs, they act as stewards and, therefore, the need to have a positive impact on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A. That’s the power of a clear purpose statement. “We were not a Christian business,” writes Robinson, “but rather a business where the owners and leadership aspired to apply and live out biblical principles.” Truett said that they weren’t a ministry and that he wanted “people to discover what we believe because of how we treat them.”

The stewardship idea guides their marketing. Marketing is about more than transactions. It’s about relationships.

When you’re building a brand based on emotional engagement rather than transactions, an investment at the personal engagement level is many times more efficient and effective than a media-weighted strategy.

We didn’t look at customers as “Oh, we have two thousand customers a day going through a particular store.” No, we’ve got two thousand people choosing to visit that store. They each have their own issues, problems, challenges—they each have their own story. They’re in the midst of a story at the very moment they encounter Chick-fil-A. Now, how did we impact their story? How did we deliver “where good meets gracious”? How did we help make their story today better? Quite frankly, they may not be having a good day, and Chick-fil-A has the potential to help change the script.

They contacted Horst Schulze and Danny Meyer to better understand service and hospitality. Horst told them, “Don’t look to be better than the other fast-food restaurants. Those limited expectations will just weigh you down. Instead, aspire to the next level of service—restaurants with a price point that are at least double Chick-fil-A’s, and build a service model that resembles those.” That mindset led them to create the Core 4: create eye contact, share a smile, speak with an enthusiastic voice, and stay connected to make it personal.

The Cow Campaign

The iconic Cow “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign developed from an idea by David Ring of The Richards Group. It is, as Robinson describes—engaging, endearing, and enduring. Stewardship comes into play here too. A former Chick-fil-A marketing consultant said, “They don’t wavier. They don’t shift. That is refreshing, and from a marketing standpoint, it can be very valuable, as you can see with the Cow campaign. They have resisted the urge to gussie it up, to change it, to get rid of it, or to do the wrong thing with it.”

We also took great care ensuring the Cows never became shills for Chick-fil-A. They were in this thing for their own self-interest, not Chick-fil-A’s. If their work started to look too much like they were advertising for Chick-fil-A, such as promoting specific products and ingredients, they would quickly lose their edginess and even their believability.

The cows are not on the Chick-fil-A payroll.

Six Legacy Principles

These six principles, based on Truett Cathy’s leadership, have guided every decision at Chick-fil-A and help to keep it uniquely different.

1. Being a Good Steward
The concept of Stewardship allows one to be both generous and thrifty. “Every dollar mattered whether invested in the business, people, or charity. Stewardship is an idea you live.

2. Building Long-Term Relationships
Truett wanted all relationships to be for life. “He was giving his full commitment, and he wanted the same in return. In his mind, if you were going to be a part of Chick-fil-A, there was no reason for you to ever go anywhere else in your career.”

3. Providing Hospitality
Truett’s heart of hospitality is captured in the phrase, “My pleasure” that he asked everyone to say. “My pleasure creates an immediate communication that you really do matter. The phrase is transformative in terms of the guest’s experience.”

4. Taking Personal Responsibility
When Truitt “selected people to work at Chick-fil-A or to become restaurant Operators, he sought people he knew could do the job, and then he trusted them to do it. He gave us the keys then stepped out of the way.

We were personally accountable to him, to the brand, and to our customers. We were accountable in the deals we created, in the relationships we built in the business, in our behavior on the road, in how we talked about the business, even in our language on the golf course. When he placed his trust in us, we responded with personal accountability.

5. Choosing Personal Influence over Position Power
Truett and former company president Jimmy Collins believed, “If I ever have to use position power to influence somebody, I’m probably only going to get to do that once. And if I have to do it at all, it probably does not bode well for their future.”

6. Having Fun
Don’t take yourself too seriously. “One of the virtues that evolved in the business was a tangible effort to be unexpectedly fun.”

Chick-fil-A Cow Campaign

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Horst Schulze The Focus of Leadership

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:35 AM
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Contagious You

Contagious You

HOW WE SHOW UP in life matters. Our intentions, energy, and presence matter. The impact we have on others depends on how we show up. We create the culture by who we are. As a leader, this is critical to our mission.

Anese Cavanaugh invites us in Contagious You to be the leader we want to be—the culture we want to lead. We’re contagious for better or for worse.

It all begins with awareness, and she provides a self-assessment for that. “Awareness is about 70 percent of the battle with the other 30 percent being what we choose to do with it.” With that done, contagious you becomes a matter of adopting a mindset of personal responsibility and be clear about what you want to accomplish. To make that practical she offers the Five Steps to Intentional Impact Framework:

Outcome. What is the outcome you want to create? This should be tangible and something you can see or touch. You would not have created this outcome without the meeting, conversation, project, and soon.

Impact. What is the emotional impact you want to have? How do you want people to feel? How do you want to feel? You will create an emotional and energetic experience with your presence and actions either way.

Show up. How will you have to show up to create the outcome(s) and emotional impact you desire? What will your presence be? Your quality of listening? Your body language? Your attire? Anything that impacts how you show up here.

Believe. What will you want and need to believe in order to show up that way? Make this authentic. If you’re having a hard time finding something useful and real to believe, go deeper. What’s the truest thing you can believe to help you show up well and congruent?

Actions. What actions will you need to take to make it all so? What will you actually have to do? Before, during, after?

All steps are important and should be taken in order. You can use this framework for a particular meeting or event, or you can use it to craft a vision for yourself in everything you do. What is the you, you want others to see? It becomes a state of mind that you bring to everything you do. It brings the energy and sets the tone to any interaction or situation we encounter. When things are going well, it’s easy to imagine making this happen—managing our energy. But when things go wrong—when someone insists on sucking the energy out of you—then what do you do? Again, this is where awareness plays a big part.

There is an “inner game” and an “outer game” of leadership playing at all times. The inner game being the intentions, energy, beliefs, mindset, well-being, presence, and who we are. The outer game being what we actually do in our communication, skills, and interactions with others. The inner game drives the outer game. And no one can play your game but you.

As leaders, we need to strengthen what Cavanaugh calls our Intentional Energetic Presence or IEP. “The more we tend to this proactively, the stronger it becomes, and the easier it is to command our energetic presence at will. This ultimately allows us to respond and lead in the most appropriate, helpful, and effective ways possible”—no matter what kind of situation we find ourselves in.

The bulk of the book explains how to strengthen our IEP. Once you begin to strengthen your IEP, you will be better able to reboot your presence in the moment apart from what is going on in your life or in the room you walk into. Another goal is to create a presence strong and energetic enough to allow others you come in contact with to step into it as well. This makes it easier too, to deal with “the people who may be more challenging to work with, you can better serve, navigate, and lead them with clarity, grace, and effect—without burning yourself out, getting sucked into their stuff, or giving yourself away.” In this way, we are able to create intentional impact. The key is knowing what we are, what we want to be, and what we actually do.

Our energy is generated from the inside out, as is the experience we’re creating for ourselves, which can be felt by those around us. Whatever we’re feeling internally is generating an experience externally, and whatever is happening externally influences our experience internally. We proact and react. We project and receive.

The stronger, more present, and more intentional we are, the easier it is to create our experience, to decide what we’ll take on, to know when we’re projecting our energy on others, and to be more intentional about it all. Which means we have great influence on creating a positive and productive experience and on being positively or negatively contagious. When we own this and support it with our well-being, we can more effectively partner with and influence whatever is happening versus be reactive or victim to it.

That said, most of us know this intellectually, but in practice, it’s another thing. We tend to be guided by our emotions and the emotions of those around us. Which, as I’ve mentioned is great when all is positive, but when things turn negative, it is too easy to get caught up in a negative, downward spiral. Knowing this, Cavanaugh provides very practical methods and frameworks to turn this around to become the leader we intend on being. There are no silver bullets here. There’s a lot of self-work, but then that’s what the best leaders do.

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You According to Them 12 Keys Self Awareness

Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:09 AM
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First Look: Leadership Books for December 2019

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in December 2019. Don't miss out on other great new and future releases.

9781260457568Become: The 5 Commitments of Purposeful Leadership by Mark Hannum

Mark Hannum reveals the evidence-based secrets that surfaced from vast data Linkage has collected on leadership effectiveness. He details the five commitments that the best leaders make to themselves and their organizations: Inspire others to join the pursuit of a common vision, Engage every team member to contribute their best abilities, Innovate key products or processes that lead to the goal, Achieve results by organizing people and aligning resources, Become more self-aware and courageous as a leader.

9781912555437The Innovator's Book: Rules for Rebels, Mavericks and Innovators (Concise Advice) by Dr Max Mckeown

Both enlightening and entertaining, Dr Max Mckeown delivers concise advice on how to move from original insights to new ideas, and from new ideas to valuable real-world innovation. You’ll learn how to increase creativity, understand the psychology of thinking differently, encourage collaboration, co-create with customers, overcome indifference, create an idea-hungry culture, rid yourself of creativity zombies and get to innovation paradise.

9781546084716Overcome: Crush Adversity with the Leadership Techniques of America's Toughest Warriors by Jason Redman

Adversity can often catch you by surprise and leave you struggling with what to do next. What if you could confront any adversity, from the biggest challenges-the loss of your job, divorce, health issues, bankruptcy-to normal daily challenges-a late flight, a disappointing phone call, a missed promotion, a bad day-and not just survive it, but thrive afterwards? Redman was horrifically wounded in Iraq in 2007 when he was shot at close range through the face and arm. After 40 surgeries, including extensive facial reconstruction and skin grafts, he came back from this experience stronger than ever-despite carrying scars and injuries he will have for the rest of his life. Redman went on to launch two successful companies and speaks all over the country on how to build better leaders through his Overcome mindset.

9781646870042The Amazon Management System: The Ultimate Digital Business Engine That Creates Extraordinary Value for Both Customers and Shareholders by Ram Charan and Julia Yang

Amazon’s trillion-dollar success is the envy of everyone, but achievable by anyone. What has propelled their record streak of growth? Their management system, and it can do the same for you no matter what business you are in or what level. Learning it is as simple as six building blocks: Customer-Obsessed Business Model, Continuous Bar-Raising Talent Pool, AI-Powered Data & Metrics System, Ground-Breaking Invention Machine, High-Velocity & High-Quality Decision-Making, A forever Day 1 culture. Whether you are an established CEO or a recent college grad, this concise and actionable book will help your business win in a new digital era that demands nonstop innovation.

9780367337360Fearless Leadership: Overcoming Reticence, Procrastination, and the Voices of Doubt Inside Your Head by Alan Weiss

The intent of this book—the author's goal for you—is to understand the baseless underpinnings of almost all our fears. We are far better at dealing with external, tangible fears than our own imagined ones. It’s time to realize there is no monster under the bed, never has been, and never will be without having to check nightly and without needing a weapon on the night table. Picture yourself freed of restraints that you could never properly articulate and were loath to discuss, but which you carried on your shoulders constantly, a dead weight, nonetheless. Essentially, this book is for entrepreneurs, business owners, and those who seek a better position for themselves and their talents, but who procrastinate, delay, and hang back.

9781594205521The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It by John Tierney and Roy F. Baumeister

Why are we devastated by a word of criticism even when it’s mixed with lavish praise? Because our brains are wired to focus on the bad. This negativity effect explains things great and small: why countries blunder into disastrous wars, why couples divorce, why people flub job interviews, how schools fail students, why football coaches stupidly punt on fourth down. All day long, the power of bad governs people’s moods, drives marketing campaigns, and dominates news and politics. But once we recognize our negativity bias, the rational brain can overcome the power of bad when it’s harmful and employ that power when it’s beneficial. In fact, bad breaks and bad feelings create the most powerful incentives to become smarter and stronger. Properly understood, bad can be put to perfectly good use.

For bulk orders call 1-626-441-2024

discounted books

Build your leadership library with these specials on over 39 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.

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“Reading is an honor and a gift from a warrior or historian who—a decade or a thousand decades ago—set aside time to write.”
— Jim Mattis

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Whats New in Leadership Books Sailing True North

Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:52 AM
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LeadershipNow 140: November 2019 Compilation


twitter Here are a selection of tweets from November 2019 that you don't want to miss:

See more on twitter Twitter.

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What is Leadership You Might Be a Bad Leader If

Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:16 AM
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