Leading at a Higher Level
Ken Blanchard is best known as the one of the co-authors of the best-selling management book The One Minute Manager. He has also authored co-authored numerous other books, such as Gung Ho! and Who Moved My Cheese, all of which are excellent, so when Leading at a Higher Level was released I was keen to read it.
Blanchard describes the book as being something of a “labour of love”, in that it was co-authored by the founding Associates and Partners of the Ken Blanchard Companies and aims to pull together their collective wisdom from 25 years of working together. In this regard the book is unusual as it is not simply based on the views of an individual, but on those of a whole team of highly experienced people. For this reason alone it is probably worth reading.
Blanchard uses the term “leading at a higher level” to try to capture essence of what he is describing in the book. He argues that the term “leadership” has for too long been associated with the accomplishment of results, whereas “leading at a higher level” is focused on the achievement of worthwhile results while acting with respect, care and fairness for the well-being of all involved.
Blanchard believes that in his time working with numerous organisations where leading at a higher level is the rule rather than the exception, he has identified four things that they do well:
The book is divided into four sections reflecting each of these attributes. In each section, the book provides a thorough explanation of each attribute along with various tools and models that the reader can use to assess themselves, other people and their organisation against best practice.
I like that fact that the book also contains diagrams and charts to help explain the various concepts and theories as, for a largely visual person such as myself, this is extremely helpful.
Reading the book feels a bit like attending a course, in that it follows a logical process and makes a good stab at explaining the interrelationships between the various topics covered. The Ken Blanchard Companies reinforce this by providing a web site (www.LeadingAtAHigherLevel.com) to act as a companion for the book where there is additional material. At the end of each section of the book there is even a password that will provide the reader with access to a virtual conference on that section. There is even a free monthly webinar that you can join!
In conclusion, this is one of a small number of books that I would recommend to anyone wanting to gain a good overview of what leadership in a modern organisation means. Despite the obvious credentials and expertise of the authors, I feel that it falls short of being a brilliant book, but it is never-the-less a very good one.
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