This book is basically about leading change in an
organization. The author tries to explain the fundamentals of leading, how to
achieve it and how others can be lead towards it.
The author says that it is the person''s state rather than what he does
that separates a leader from the pack. It is his courage to embrace
change and stick to his uniqueness rather than follow the majority that
separates the leader from the rest.
The author talks of a normal state and a leadership state. In the normal state he says that people try to be in the comfort zone for e.g. where people may be complacent in a
fast-paced, ever-changing environment, the tendency to attack and eliminate
minor problems while ignoring key issues or the failure to put the common good
ahead of one''s own interests. Over a period of time, these influences which are
externally-directed, comfort-centered, externally closed
and self-focused actions will lead to slow death. Energy is expended and yet,
nothing much is gained. In the state of leadership we become other-focused, externally
open (reaching higher levels of discovery), internally directed and
purpose-centered. Instead of asking, “What do I want?”; we ask “What Result do
I want?” Instead of using others’ perceptions to judge ourselves, we gain
confidence as we move towards a purpose and align our values with our behavior
and put the interests of others ahead of our own.
He says that leadership state comes with a state of control. But having control
does not mean being confined to a rigid structure of how-tos, but is about
maintaining a clear result in mind and having the discipline to work towards
that result. We choose integrity over corruption, purpose over pattern.
By accepting the past, no matter how tragic it might have been, we show an
authenticity that is rarely evident when we disclose about our more favorable
He says that by entering the fundamental state of leadership we eliminate
hypocrisy. Even the relationships not directly related to work are revitalized,
since this is a state that we are consistently in.
One of the major steps towards leadership is to expand our awareness. We need
to expand our awareness by first recognizing that we need support from others
in areas of our weakness, making use of our past experiences, being authentic
and deep learning of the changes happening.
A leader has to set an example for others to follow, thus the transformation of
others also comes from self transformation. Apart from it there are ways like
talking logically the arguments for change, forcing them to change through
threats and participating in the effort to solve problems yourself.
Apart from these the author talks of a recognizing and setting off the self
change within him in a methodical manner. He explains in stages of first
sensing the existing of a problem, contemplating over it, making a plan to
resolve it, acting on the plan, and keeping upto the plan in a consistent
All in all a good read for managers who have taken a sabbatical and are in
search for a source of information for that transformational change in them.