The last question we were asked by Kogan Page was: ‘are there any other ways we want to help encourage uncommon leadership in organizations?’
Yes, we believe so! For starters, this companion website contains some great tools designed to support managers and leaders to develop their own skills, and to lead, manage and develop teams.
We are in the process of developing other resources for educators and students, especially those on MBA programmes. And of course this blog, where hope to further explore uncommon leadership, and where we’d love to hear your views and respond to your questions.
Finally, we’d welcome requests for keynote speaking engagements and workshops, like those we have already begun to deliver at several venues. So if you think we can help your organisation, just get in touch!
We hope that if you’ve read this far you’ll go on to read the book and share our passion for uncommon leadership. In it, we pay special thanks to all those managers and leaders who have shared their experiences, helped us hone our ideas, and spurred us on to write the book with their feedback.
We wrote Uncommon Leadership with them – and you – in mind!
Another good question Kogan Page asked us related to the way we brought the book to life with stories. “The book is full of interesting stories, but do these really help managers and leaders in their everyday work?”
There is a wealth of evidence to illustrate the effectiveness of story-telling in leadership and management development. But the importance we place on stories is perhaps justified by the feedback we’ve received from both our clients and from the leading professionals who have helped inform the book.
In fact their comments support our view that the case studies and examples really help reinforce and bring the 5-S Framework alive. One went so far as to say they helped her see how different ways of thinking can have a “massive impact on results” with people, customers and performance
This last point is something else we feel strongly about, and is a key focus of the book. Often it’s only by looking at something differently that we gain the fresh perspectives and renewed energy to make a real impact in our organizations.
Here’s how we do it. At the beginning of each chapter we introduce what we call a signature story, designed to illustrate ready-made practical approaches to adapt and apply.
Another good question from our Kogan Page interview reflected the practical nature of the book. “Finding the sense before it becomes common sense” sounds good, but how can leaders actually do that?
Yes, our thought exactly! This is the question on our lips when we first came across Charles Handy’s quote. And in asking it, we found ourselves looking for examples of what leaders did to achieve it.
These weren’t immediately obvious but as we began to find some, key themes began to emerge. Three particular stories (which you’ll find in chapter one) offered some surprising insights:
- Save the Children workers Jerry and Monique Sternin were short of time, short of money and faced with an intractable problem, yet achieved a remarkable turnaround in helping malnourised children in Vietnam.
- Bill Bratton, whilst head of New York’s Transit Police, turned a poor performing organization around with some unconventional wisdom
- Well known Steve Jobs, on his successful return to an ailing Apple Corporation, was faced with just two months to save an iconic business from bankruptcy.
In the book, we explored the lessons to be learned from these stories, offering some tips on how they might be used by all leaders, to help them find the sense before it becomes common sense.
Isn’t much of what you say in the book just common sense? This was another pointed question from our interview with Kogan Page, and one we were more than happy to answer!
Well, it’s often said that the trouble with common sense is that it’s not that common! Whether or not that’s true, we believe it’s certainly not commonly practiced. And if so, then ‘just’ applying common sense could give you an advantage. As the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once reflected:
‘Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.’
But in actual fact, the book is about much more than common sense. A key message is that leaders find the sense before it becomes common sense.
This means not just the ability to see the uncommon sense, which is hard enough, but to see it before it becomes common sense.