Jacqui McGill AONon Executive Director
Great Leadership Reads
Well after many years of talking about it I am finally writing my first blog. And I wanted to share with you some of my absolute favourite reads on Leadership, Culture, Motivation and how individuals can really make a difference regardless of their role in the Organisation. Many of these I read when I worked in small teams, and I still reflect on these books many years down the track. Probably the one book that really got me thinking about myself and my role in an organisation was Garry Hamel’s Leading the Revolution published in 2000 by Press. Wow that was a long time ago, and yet its approach to innovation and how an individual can change the world is just as relevant today. It really is worth a read as are many of Gary’s other books, but more on them in another blog.
I remember reading this book when I was feeling stifled, I was pretty far down the food chain in a very large business and I was seeing so much opportunity to do things better, faster, cheaper. But everyone at work was telling me that “only Managers/Vice Presidents can make that decision” and as I only reported to a Manager at the time I obviously didn’t have a chance.
Feeling down I did what most book lovers do, it took myself off to a bookshop. And stumbled across Leading the Revolution, and it had me from the very start. Why? Well firstly Gary talks about where great ideas come from, now most people would say the CEO but Gary put forward the theory that truly great ideas come from deep within the organisation. Ideas that Senior leadership generate, can be good but after all no one really argues with the boss. But truly great ideas come from deep within the organisation because ideas generated deep within an organisation get stress tested, challenged, risk reviewed, stalled/blocked etc – and if an idea gets through all this then it is likely to be brilliant. It was a real call to arms for me, it even has a how to guide to get great ideas implemented. The book covers a range of clear tangible steps for building a coalition of supporters within the organisation. It talks about the power of influence and how to build your personal influence by being a story teller and to be someone who enrols other because you can make them feel the potential of the new idea/opportunity.
This is one book I can safely say I bring to mind in routinely in my working life, it is what drives me to have regular sessions with diverse range of team members from all levels of an organisation, an email address set up specifically for team members to email me with their ideas. After all revolutionaries are everywhere, you just have to listen!