March 1, 2006

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects -- The Prepared Mind of a Leader

By: Jack @ 3:00 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The Prepared Mind of a Leader: Eight Skills Leaders Use to Innovate, Make Decisions, and Solve Problems
By Bill Welter, Jean Egmon, Jossey-Bass, 304 Pages, $27.95 Hardcover, October 2005 ISBN 0787976806
When I read books on leadership, they generally fall into one of two types: 1) Followers' Model--getting people to support you; 2) Future Seers' Model--looking beyond today and creating a vision for tomorrow. Both are important in leadership.
The Prepared Mind of a Leader falls into the latter category. Like all good business books, the second page details what the authors, Jean Egmon and Bill Welter, believe:
...we see leadership as the practice of continuously envisioning opportunities for growth within complex, dynamic environments, built on core principles the organization is committed to sustaining and using as the basis for value delivered to all stakeholders. Implied in our definition is that leaders, no matter where they are in the organization, are strategists in terms of making opportunities explicit and knowing why and when and how to move into and navigate the problems and opportunities they face.

I know it's a lot but the message is important. They're saying that you have to see what is going on, then plot a course into the future and (this part is important) everyone can do this. The book will even help you do this by highlighting the necessary skills: observing, reasoning, imagining, challenging, deciding, learning, enabling, and reflecting.
One warning: this is not an airplane read. The authors demand a lot of their readers but it means there is much to gain. I suggest reading it slowly and contemplating the authors' questions. Perhaps, try reading a chapter each month and apply the appropriate lessons as you go. No matter how you read it, the time spent is well worth it.
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