Leadership as a practice
Learn how to transform your leadership one facet at a time, one day at a time.
It’s about how you show up every day in matters big and small.
Learn to consistently embody the values and vision of your leadership, because as a leader what you do, how you behave, what you decide, and what you emote is all constantly evaluated by those you lead, and sets the tone for your people’s own actions, decisions and behaviors.
Don’t just read it. Practice it.
Use the suggested practices and exercises to connect the reflections in the book to the reality of your own experiences as a leader. Only then will you gain valuable insights about how to improve your leadership. Speed-reading through this book won’t do anything for your leadership effectiveness.
Accept the daily challenge
For leaders, the daily pressures from difficult colleagues, looming deadlines, high-stakes decisions, and that overflowing inbox will never go away. However, instead of letting it rule you, take control over your actions and reactions to these pressures by embracing a deliberate leadership practice.
No miracle cure, but a workout
This book doesn’t provide a miraculous, effortless way to improve your leadership effectiveness overnight. Instead, it will take effort and commitment to follow through on your insights from these reflections. No actions means no change.
"It is not wise, or even possible, to divorce private behavior from public leadership ... By its very nature, true leadership carries with it the burden of being an example"
Gordon B. Hinkley
Why I wrote The Leadership Workout
Though companies around the world are spending close to $50 billion annually on leadership development programs, I know I am not alone when I say that I strongly believe that most of that spend is a complete waste of money as most of these initiatives fail in their efforts to create effective leaders.
In fact, research by McKinsey suggests that circa 90% of companies doubt the effectiveness of their own leadership development initiatives. However, absent good measurement and a solution, they continue to spend on the very same workshops and programs as they simply cannot risk hurting the future of their company by not investing in the development of their succession pipeline.
There are various reasons that undermine the effectiveness of these leadership development initiatives, but in my opinion the main culprit is that most programs do not have the tools and infrastructure to enable and support their participants in the process of successfully implementing the new and desired behaviors and then developing them into new habits. As a result these programs fail to create lasting personal change, which should be the ultimate goal of any leadership development initiative.
Fostering and maintaining those desired new behaviors to become a better leader amidst the pressures of everyday leadership requires conscious, ongoing practice. Without that practice, most people slip back into their default behaviors even if they possess the skills necessary to effectively do things differently.
And that is why I wrote The Leadership Workout : I wanted to provide a framework for a daily practice which enables and support aspiring and existing leaders to make the necessary, lasting behavioral changes to become more effective leaders. To move from leadership development theory to action.
To illustrate this, I like to compare the purpose and intended impact of this book to that of a personal trainer:
Many people hire a personal trainer to both help maintain their commitment to regular physical exercise as well as to benefit from a more personalized approach to address their specific training needs. Similarly, The Leadership Workout provides you with a practical framework which first of all encourages you to regularly make the time to work on your leadership development. In addition, it seeks to do so in a way that connects the theory with the reality of YOUR leadership to help you understand where you may be undermining your leadership effectiveness and how to implement new desired behaviors to improve it.
Obviously, just as you have to show up and do the exercises to see the benefits of your physical workouts, you will have to actually work through the exercises in the book to reap the benefits of The Leadership Workout. However, if you do then I’m fairly certain that your leadership effectiveness will improve.