Producing Epiphanies

A leader’s job is to engineer the types of conversations that produce epiphanies” – Susan Scott

 

Fierce Leadership is a bold move, questioning the oldest and the most widely used “best” leadership practices. With her fearless writing and pragmatic antidotes, Susan Scott questions these very mantras and the largely proposed success achieved by following them. The author talks about spotting the worst "best" practices in our organisations using a technique she calls the "squid" eye. With fierce new approaches to everything from employee feedback to corporate diversity to customer relations, Scott offers fresh and surprising alternatives to six of the so-called best practices permeating today's businesses.

 

This refreshingly candid book is a must-read for any manager or leader at any level who is ready to take a long hard look at the trouble that might be lurking within their organisation, and, do something about it. Some very obvious best practices such as providing anonymous feedback, hiring smart people and holding people accountable have been termed as wrongheaded by Susan Scott, a leadership visionary. In Fierce Leadership, Scott indicates that organisations fail because of uncaring, unlearning (not continuous learners) and paralysed (afraid to take risks) leaders.

 

In Quotes “Your most valuable currency is relationship, emotional capital. Human connectivity, as opposed to strategy and tactics, is the next frontier for exponential growth and the only sustainable competitive edge, more visibly useful than ever before.”

 

The book provides tangible steps to solve these problems, with additional insights into the overall task of overcoming the worst “best practices” that need to be changed. Chapters such as from 360 anonymous feedback to 365 face-to-face feedback, from employee engagement programmes to real engagement, from client centricity to client connectivity, and from legislated optimism to radical transparency give a fair idea about the style and content of the book, as well as the focus of trying to take leaders from their current practice to a future, better practice.

 

This is the kind of book that sets out to challenge and debunk a number of present day management practices. It puts forward a powerful case for having honest, direct and skilful conversations to connect humans together for a common good. Skills on developing a “squid eye” and spotting the “tells” that signal imminent trouble in the organisation or team, are the key takeaways from the book.

 

Leadership deals with a vital issue in leadership, that of difficult important and necessary conversations. It pushes, shows, hollers, and tells the reader why they need to have these conversations, and, how to have them. The book also has numerous forms, templates, questions, steps and exercises that managers can use for hiring, difficult conversations, and examining the life of a leader.

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