The Smart Work

Preparation

Call to Action
Press Kit
The Pit

Monsters

Metamorphosis

Return


From the Preface:

As I began to write about leadership and stories, I realized there was a deeper issue to be addressed. Many organizations were suffering not only because their old stories had died, but because the quality of their leadership had deteriorated in parallel to the quality of the stories people in those organizations held about the nature of leadership. At least since the 1960s, most of our popular stories about leadership have been variations on the theme of Peter Pan — the charismatic boy leader who always plays and never has to grow up and experience the consequences of his choices. Michael Milliken of junk bonds fame, Steve Case of AOL, Michael Armstrong of AT&T, Larry Ellison of Oracle all come to mind as examples, as do most of the dot-com-era CEOs. Such a story about leadership does not hold either the power or the profound moral center needed for the world in which we are now living.

So I began my own journey. At first, I wondered if I should focus on specific categories of leadership. There are so many — business, political, sports, scientific, cultural, religious, intellectual, people who lead from the front of the room, people who lead from the back of the room. I realized that I wanted to focus on the essence of leadership, on what could be said about all forms of great leadership, in all places, at all times. I also realized that I did not equate leadership with power — nor with management — though a relationship obviously exists. Many people with power are not leaders and there are leaders like the Dalai Lama who have no visible source of power.

My experience is that I was called to study leadership at all levels and in all categories and called to write this book. What are you called to do? Ask yourself:

Is there something you feel you can’t “not” do?
How do you know a call should be listened to?
What do you think the source of the call is for most people?