'Taking an all-seeing, all-knowing, conquering, dictatorial approach to managing people is going to land you in a world of pain.'
Philip Levinson always dreamed of becoming a CEO, and thought he was ready. But when he got there he realised the truth: nothing can prepare you for this.
In Three Peaks Leadership he shares the lessons he learned, including the fact that leading at the highest level means not just surmounting the initial challenge of securing the role (the first peak), but embedding the changes for the long term (the second peak) and charting a course for the future, including your own exit from the role (the third peak).
He's disarmingly honest about the lessons he's learned in humility along the way, both in leadership and in writing this book....
'What elements of your imperfection are you going to bring to the table?'
That's the powerful question that strategist and storyteller Minter Dial poses about writing, but it could equally well be applied to leadership. Having all the answers is no longer what we need from our leaders: in a disrupted, uncertain world we need leaders who are willing to admit that they don't know everything and to show up as their whole selves.
This is a thoughtful, wide-ranging conversation and it is pure audio gold.
It's one of the great paradoxes of business books that they're written by experts, but the process of writing them is itself what builds expertise.
In this Best Bits episode nine recent guests reflect on how writing their book changed them - often in unexpected ways.
'This experience has taught me, like a lot of the work I do in life, that where you start isn't necessarily where you'll end up... the book we've written is much more practical and purposeful for our readers as a result of us really listening to [their feedback] and not being afraid to change our minds.'
Diana Marsland and Julie Nerney began their work on Own Your Day just before the pandemic hit, and with a hypothesis that they were pretty confident about. Over the course of the next year, everything changed: their rigorous research disproved their original hypothesis and revealed a different path, and their close collaboration had to shift online as lockdown hit. For some authors that could have been the end, but Diana and Julie found a way of working together that transformed those setbacks into a new creative energy.
In this conversation we talk about how management is changing and the issues faced by those with the Herculean task of translating strategy from the top into results on the ground, and also about those processes of research, pivoting and collaboration. The result is a masterclass for anyone wanting to write a book grounded in the real world, and particularly for anyone thinking about writing with a partner.
'One of the first principles to make progress in writing is to have the courage to be rubbish because all writing, literally absolutely all of it, starts rubbish.'
If his first book, Essentialism, was about prioritization, Greg McKeown's second book, Effortless, is about simplification. And this is no theoretical treatise: the truths behind the book were born out of a deeply traumatic personal experience, and Greg and his family's conscious decision to choose the 'lighter path'.
Profound wisdom about life and robust advice for writing that might just change your life (and your business book).