Why should I read this book?

Top 10 Reasons

  1. You aspire to a long, successful career in a leadership position.
  2. You are looking for some insight into vexing leadership challenges.
  3. You want to cultivate a dynamic uncertainty-embracing organization.
  4. You desire some perspective on your career.
  5. You enjoy reading about the challenges other leaders faced and mastered.
  6. You aim to make enduring contributions to your community.
  7. You want to help others achieve their potential.
  8. You seek out novel ideas and perspectives on leadership.
  9. You seek to develop your own unique leadership philosophy.
  10. You yearn to move your organization forward and make progress.




Why did the authors write this book?

Progress Makers emerged from a series of long, deep discussions about the underlying challenges faced by organizations and our society. We just didn’t believe leadership boiled down to power, titles, positions, or even personalities. Yet, that was the implicit message sent by many gurus. We were equally amazed, frustrated and disturbed by the orientation of many leadership “experts.” These perspectives appeared to be narrow minded, tradition laden and illusion creating. Upon deeper reflection we realized that our concerns revolved around three fundamental questions:

  1. How should leaders manage uncertainty?
  2. Why the virtual silence about the relationship between progress and leadership?
  3. How could we transform leaders into progress makers?

These questions dominated our research and discussions over a 10-year period. The release of Embracing Uncertainty and related research partially answered the questions. Yet, we yearned to make these insights more accessible to aspiring leaders and those in leadership positions. The result? More research projects. Further mind-bending conversations. And finally the new book, Transforming Leaders into Progress Makers: Leadership for the 21st Century.



Why another book on leadership?

We believe that Progress Makers presents a unique and valuable approach to recently emerging challenges in our organizations, communities and world. Traditional approaches to leadership often try to suppress the inherent uncertainty in the world. Progress-making leaders, on the other hand, embrace the uncertainty and inspire others to do so as well.

Traditional approaches to leadership typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. There are authors who focus on the skills and attributes of leaders. Great leaders are intelligent, visionary, inspiring, persistent, knowledgeable, driven, ethical and confident. They are also emotionally intelligent, effective time managers, skilled communicators, strategic thinkers, exceptional problem solvers and socially skilled, to name a few. Who wouldn’t want their leaders to possess all these characteristics? Yet, short of Superman or Wonder Woman, is it even possible for a single person to possess all these skills and attributes?

  2. There are authors with a more academic orientation who present scholarly theories. They tend to either review the relevant leadership research or propose a particular leadership theory. Many readers find the academic debates exhilarating and enlightening. Yet, the theoretical debates often leave little room for discourse on strategies and the related tactics. What should the aspiring leader do based on these ideas?

  3. There are authors who focus on the leadership “secrets” of successful leaders. An almost dizzying array of titles has emerged. There are the leadership secrets of Jack Welch, Elizabeth I, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Hillary Clinton, Mahatma Gandhi, General Patton, Alexander the Great and even Harry Potter. Apparently, many readers find this “admire and emulate” strategy quite attractive. Yet, how does a leader know when a situation requires a Gandhian or Churchillian approach? After all, they deeply disliked and distrusted one another.

Troubling questions aside, aspiring leaders could clearly benefit from any one of these three approaches. Many leaders have been enriched by thoughts gleaned from one or more of these approaches.

Progress should be at the center of any discussion of leadership. Aren’t leaders supposed to make progress? Yet relatively few leadership experts devote much attention to the issue.




 Are you a Progress Maker?
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