Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Prose & passion: Inspiring and sustaining leadership

There are many, many books on leadership: a search on Amazon just yielded a list of 165,621 for example. Nonetheless, I am editing a new one and I am looking for your help. This will be a different kind of leadership book as it will be almost entirely written by everyday people practising everyday leadership. My aim is to have a wide diversity of contributors from large and small organisations, public, commercial & voluntary, and from all levels with a wide variety of backgrounds and professions. It will be an anthology of articles by leaders for leaders.

Quite simply I am looking for what inspires and sustains people in their leadership? What book, or poem, or story, or quote, or film, or person or even passing remark has helped you become the leader that you are? And from this article, what strength of insight, what ethical tiller or what beacon idea sustains you when your leadership is tested?

For example a client who has become an old friend once told me that in his first job (in a medium sized engineering company) he observed that the managing director always came in the back door and walked through the workshops to his office at the front. He once got the chance to ask him why and the MD explained that this was his way of staying in touch with what was going on. This principle of ‘staying in touch’ stuck with my friend and he always made a point of either literally or metaphorically coming in the back door as he rose to become (and then retired from) being chief executive of a large organisation.

My intention is to collect and edit these contributions into a book that will inspire people. My aim is that it will be a book that people will treasure or want to give as a gift to friends, relatives and colleagues. All contributions will be duly acknowledged (unless you really want to remain anonymous) and I will obtain the necessary permissions to publish the passages and poems etc. that you cite. I will also be writing an introductory text, cataloguing the contributions, arranging for publication and commissioning images to go in the book.

To be considered for inclusion in the book, please email me with the answers to two questions:

1) What book, poem, film, speech, painting, quote, story, or person (or whatever) continues to inspire your leadership? (please note that I will need a copy of the text or image you are referring to, together with a reference from where it came)

2) What is it about this piece that inspires you and helps sustain you as a leader? In other words, tell me the story behind your selection. (I am looking for something around 300 to 500 words. And based on some of the contributions I have received so far, here is some further clarification. I am seeking personal statements about just how the piece from Q1 connects with your leadership. In other words, I am not looking for third party descriptions of someone else’s leadership – but a heartfelt declaration of yours. I am also not looking for pieces that read a little like adverts for your organisation or consulting practice! I am looking for, as I said to one person who got in touch: how the piece connects with your life/leadership... I want – and I believe the readers of the book will want – to hear why this article in particular and how the essence of it sits inside you every day...)

The deadline I am working to (now) is the end of January 2012.

My email address is jon@jonharveyassociates.co.uk. I will reply to all emails sent to me and keep you in touch with what is happening next.

Finally, thank you for your interest and commitment to creating a book that will inspire & support leaders around the world


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