The Leadership Challenge - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review


The Leadership Challenge: The Most Trusted Source on Becoming a Better Leader by James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner

How's this for a long-range success formula? In 1987, two of the country's premier leadership experts, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, joined forces to produce what would become perhaps the most comprehensive field guide ever written for leaders. Later, in the 90s, the authors came together once again to update their original masterpiece by addressing issues they uncovered in research on ordinary people achieving "individual leadership standards of excellence." Now, in the spirit of continuous improvement, they offer the third edition of their inspirational and practical handbook.

In this third edition of The Leadership Challenge, more than 50% of the content is new material added to a resoundingly inspiring message. This new edition has been substantially updated to reflect the challenges of shrinking work forces, rising cynicism and expanded telecommunications. It's being heralded as a "personal coach in a book." Drawing on interviews and a questionnaire survey of more than 3000 leaders, in addition to an expanded research base of 60,000 leaders, the authors capture the continuing interest in leadership as a critical aspect of human organizations.

In the third time around, Kouzes and Posner emphasize that the fundamentals of leadership have changed very little, if any, since the 1980s. In fact, the basics haven't changed for centuries. The old axiom about "nothing's new" is indeed very true. Leadership is not a fad. While the content of leadership has not changed, the context has-and in some cases, changed dramatically. Obviously, current leaders must adapt if they hope to succeed.

The authors identify five fundamental practices of exemplary leadership necessary for success in our rapidly changing business environment:

  • challenge the status quo;
  • inspire a shared vision;
  • enable others to act;
  • model the way forward by setting an example;
  • tap individuals' inner drives by linking rewards and performance.

"What we have discovered, and rediscovered, is that leadership is not the private reserve of a few charismatic men and women," write Kouzes, chairman emeritus of the Tom Peters Company, and Posner, dean of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. "People make extraordinary things happen by liberating the leader within everyone." After explaining their concept and methodology, the authors detail the five essentials noted above in a pair of chapters apiece that bring clarity to their theories with case studies and recommended actions.

Think of The Leadership Challenge as a field guide to take along on your leadership journey. James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner write, "We've designed it to describe what leaders do, explain the fundamental principles that support these leadership practices, provide actual case examples of real people who demonstrate each practice, and offer specific recommendations on what you can do to make these practices your own and to continue your development as a leader." An appendix includes the authors' Leadership Practices Inventory, a tool for assessing leadership behavior.

The Leadership Challenge is ultimately a quest of self-discovery that helps its readers better know themselves and improve their leadership skills in action.

More than 100 business book reviews written by Harry K. Jones are available at www.AchieveMax.com/books/index.htm">http://www.AchieveMax.com/books/.

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www.AchieveMax.com/motivational-speaker-harry.htm">Harry K. Jones is a professional speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a firm specializing in custom-designed keynote presentations, seminars, and consulting services. Harry has made presentations ranging from leadership to employee retention and time management to stress management for a number of industries, including education, financial, government, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing. He can be reached at 800-886-2MAX or by visiting www.AchieveMax.com">http://www.AchieveMax.com.


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Veteran journalist Cokie Roberts, who joined an upstart NPR in 1978 and left an indelible imprint on the growing network with her coverage of Washington politics before later going to ABC News, has died. She was 75.

Roberts died Tuesday because of complications from breast cancer, according to a family statement. A bestselling author and Emmy Award winner, Roberts was one of NPR's most recognizable voices and is considered one of a handful of pioneering female journalists — along with Nina Totenberg, Linda Wertheimer and Susan Stamberg — who helped shape the public broadcaster's sound and culture at a time when few women held prominent roles in journalism.

Indie press Galley Beggar has warned of the impact a no-deal Brexit could have on publishing after learning of "crazy" government requirements on distribution and warned it could put smaller publishers out of business.

The Norwich-based independent, which recently scored a Booker Prize nomination with Lucy Ellmann's Ducks, Newburyport, fears smaller publishers could be put out of business over legal uncertainty around Brexit.

Galley Beggar founder Sam Jordison outlined concerns around UK government and Publishers' Association guidance, and in particular government guidance suggesting that publishers will need to state country of origin or International Organization of Standardization (ISO) codes for their inventory. The government published its Yellowhammer contingency plan which details "worst case" scenarios for a no-deal Brexit last week. The document warned of channel crossing delays and disrupted trade across the Irish border...

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Bestselling author Jojo Moyes has called on the government and the publishing industry to do more about the UK's "shameful" adult literacy record. In 2018, Moyes, writer of global hits including Me Before You and The Girl You Left Behind, donated three years of funding to charity the Reading Agency for its Quick Reads scheme, saving it from closure when its previous sponsorship ran out.

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In a series of tweets, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan., succinctly outlined the problem:

"It should come as no surprise that a certain huge online retailer is selling this book very close to our cost; if we sold it at their price we'd make $1.73 per copy. We've discussed before how this is unfair, and how we deal with it.

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Hundreds of readers in the US have received early copies of Margaret Atwood's heavily embargoed follow-up to The Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments, after copies were shipped out early by Amazon.

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And The Guardian have just published an (officially approved) excerpt--see link below:

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