By Bill Corbett, Jr.
Leaders from all sectors, especially small business owners, must rise to the occasion and fight to make it through these challenging times. This is not a time to sit back and wait, this is a time to act. Having worked with many dynamic business owners and executives over more than 30 years I am tapping into what I have learned and studied. I will be sharing my thoughts and strategies in the days and weeks to come.
For leaders, business owners and anyone who wants to play a part in making it through this unprecedented time, the books below are for you. This is the time to plan and prepare for the eventual end of this crisis.
I have studied and continue to learn from leaders from business, government and history. Today I am sharing with you three excellent books that each offer superb advice and motivation. They are ideal for staying focused and developing a strong foundation for success in the days, weeks and months to come.
Each of these books takes a different approach to leadership and they are entertaining.
Turn the Ship Around – L. David Marquet – https://amzn.to/2sueC2T
David Marquet is a former U. S. Navy Officer and a U.S. Naval Academy graduate; he was the commander of the nuclear-powered USS Santa Fe submarine from 1999 to 2001. Before becoming its captain, the USS Santa Fe was considered not only the worst performing submarine in the US submarine fleet, it was among the worst performing vessels in the entire US Navy. With unconventional approaches, trust and empowering leadership style Commander Marquet made this ship and its crew into the best performing ship and crew in the entire Navy.
Why this book is relevant to today’s unprecedented challenges? To succeed leaders today must think unconventionally, listen to their people, study behavior and give individuals from all levels of an organization the power to make decisions and act decisively.
Why I like this book? Going from worst to first is not easy. However, with the right approach anything is possible.
Trust – Leaders must trust their people, who often have greater knowledge and experience. Marquet focused on the leader-leader vs the leader-follower approach. The leader-leader pushes power and responsibility down to the least senior member of an organization. Virtually everyone is a leader who takes leadership responsibility.
Support – Leaders must support those who report to them directly and all the way down the chain of command.
Learning vs Training – Training is often an arduous task that many don’t look forward to or enjoy. Learning is embraced by those who are motivated to succeed and achieve collective goals.
Focus on winning, not just playing not to lose – Set goals and work to achieve them. Sitting back and not making decisions will never lead to success or victory.
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin – http://amzn.to/2xHhxBT
The authors of this book are former U.S. Navy SEALS, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. This is a powerful leadership book that provides insightful ideas and concepts. Willink and Babin weave their stories of combat and training as some of the world’s most elite operators into clear strategies for leadership in life and business.
Why this book is relevant to today’s unprecedented challenges? No matter what is thrown at us and despite uncertainty, business owners themselves and themselves alone must own all of their decisions and actions.
Why I like this book? Ownership of your actions is important no matter where you are within an organization. Every individual must lead up as well as lead down within organizations.
Standing up and taking responsibility (You must own it) – if a mistake is made the individual, no matter where they are within an organization, must take responsibility. They must accept it and understand what happened, learn from it and work to ensure it does not happen again.
No blaming anyone for your mistakes or those of your team – Blaming and focusing attention on others is unproductive. Accept responsibility and do whatever is need to correct errors and move forward.
Discipline and flexibility – Have discipline and create well thought out plans. However, recognize that when you are in a fluid situation you may have to change, and pivot rapidly. When change is needed rely on experience and training.
Lead up and lead down – No matter where you are in the hierarchy of an organization it is your responsibility to lead those who are subordinates and be honest provide the support and all the information your superiors need to make the best decisions.
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek – https://amzn.to/30AiNXt
Many people in business are familiar with Simon Sinek, whose popular Ted Talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action, which has been seen by close to 50 million people or his book Start With Why. This talk and book has helped many to develop their business and personal brands. However, his book Leaders Eat Last outlines the traits and characteristics of effective leaders.
Why this book is relevant to today’s unprecedented challenges? Leadership is not easy, it takes thought, deliberate action, risk, sacrifice and compassion.
Why I like this book? Leaders never ask those who are in their charge to do something that they would not do themselves and lead by example.
Beyond taking charge – Leaders must recognize that it is not about taking charge or being in charge, instead what is most important is taking care of those in your charge.
Create a sense of purpose – Leaders must be open and honest communicators to those they are responsible for. They must clearly convey that together everyone is working for something that is bigger than themselves. Every employee of a company, member of a team or volunteer for a not-for-profit must understand the goal, what their role is and how collectively success will be achieved.
Personal sacrifice – The books title, Leaders Eat Last, is based on the approach taken in by the US Marines. At chow time, Marines eat in rank order, with the lowest ranks going first. Lead by example and always be willing to do any menial job or task. A stand out leader must be willing to do anything that he orders a subordinate to do.
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