April 17, 2006

Jack Covert Selects: A Question from the Questions of Character Podcast

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 6:38 PM – Filed under: Leadership & Strategy

I just posted my interview with Joe Badaracco. I really like his new book Questions of Character: Illuminating the Heart of Leadership Through Literature. The audio interview lasts almost 38 minutes and during it I asked him how he came up with the Questions for his book. Here is what Joe said:
These are questions...that occur in each one [of the stories] and also have strong parallels for businesspeople.

If you take the question that I write about with Death of A Salesman -- "Do I Have A Good Dream?", that's a way of asking what the basic hopes and aspirations of a person or literature of a character really are. And that is a question you can ask of almost any book and almost any person. I had a very clear sense of the question of what somebody really cares about and is hoping to build for themselves and their families in the longer run has to be a fundamental question to address in a book like this and it is a very central part of character.

So is a question of what is a moral code and what's a good moral code. This is another sort of universal question that you could take to The Odyssey or you could take it to a John Grisham story. It gets to sort of a fundamental feature of human personality and something we really care about in our leaders, what their moral codes are.

So, that was sort of the ultimate test--whether the question seemed to resonate through a number of books and more importantly whether it seemed to resonate with the kinds of things we want to know about leaders.

You listen to the whole Badaracco interview and/or read the Jack Covert Selects.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.