At the just concluded Fearless Summit, I shared how some of my best learnings on how to develop next-generation leaders have come through books written by people outside my sector; some indeed from the most unlikely quarters! They’ve had an impact on how Mavuno develops leaders through our Discovery program and our leadership pipeline. Quite a few people have asked me to share some some references so here are a few of them…
Heroic Leadership by Chris Lowney talks about the leadership development methods of the Jesuits, a 450 year old Catholic order founded by Ignatius of Loyola, that has had a huge global impact especially through investing in high quality education and starting educational institutions across the world. What kind of training would cause educated young men to leave all prospects behind and plunge into the harsh unknown, committed to the same cause and leadership? Lowney, a former Jesuit seminarian, shares 4 vital qualities the Jesuits endevored to have in every member: self-awareness (reflection), ingenuity (embracing change), love (positive attitudes toward others) and heroism (energizing ambitions). The key focus is not what leaders do but who leaders are. I found it quite insightful!
Written by Ram Charan (who spoke in Nairobi recently), Stephen Drotter and James Noel, this book details the leadership development methods of one of the world’s most successful companies, General Electric. How can a global company that sells a wide variety of products in a wide variety of markets maintain consistent, high quality leadership and ensure great leadership sucession? The key is in home-grown leaders. The authors detail the different levels of organizational leadership and give the skills, values and learning objectives for each level. The first (summary) chapter is worth the value of the book! I have used this book to figure out learning objectives for each level in Mavuno’s org chart. Probably one of the most influential books so far in my journey to develop next-generation leaders.
In one generation, Communism moved from a radical, fringe movement to an ideology that ruled over half the world. Douglas Hyde, a former influential communist news editor turned Roman Catholic writes this little (probably out of print) book about the leadership training methods used by the communists. How do you turn ordinary people into firebrands who passionately defend an ideology most of their peers oppose? How do you take the most insignificant people and turn them into influential leaders? How do you raise the level of risk so that those you are training are forced to confront their fears and own their part in the movement? These and other questions are answered with great examples making this a leadership classic.
I’m currently reading ‘Be Know Do: Leadership The Army Way’ by Frances Hasselbein and General Erik Shinseki about the leadership development methods of the US Army. So far it’s rather overbearing in style and predictable in content, but I haven’t read enough to say much about it.
Read any great books on leadership development? Please share!