23 November, 2009

It Doesn't Go Without Saying: Susan Scott's Fierce Leadership

The last time I mentioned books with the word “Leadership” in the title I said that leadership books should come equipped with an exploding paint bomb to warn everybody who’s trying to learn how to be a leader, but because this is Scott’s sequel to Fierce Conversations, it’s not just another book on leadership, it’s really a book about something there’s far too little of in the workplace: conversations conducted in the right way, about the right things, between the right people. Job interviews. Project post-mortems. Discussions about accountability. Discussions with customers. How to really give employees the right kind of feedback about their performance.

Scott’s first book, Fierce Conversations, was almost a like a pre-consult description of what she was going to find wrong with your company and how she was going to fix it when you hired her. Her latest book, Fierce Leadership, is like the post-consult book she leaves behind for leaders so they won’t let their companies get in such bad shape again. It really is the perfect follow-up or sequel to Fierce Conversations because it shows company leaders how to apply the principles Scott introduced years ago in her first book. The conversation is the relationship. To name a problem is to solve it. Business is a long, extended conversation. It’s not the real conversations that should scare us, it’s the unreal ones.

Those of you who read Fierce Conversations will notice a difference in style. Fierce Leadership is much more conversational and better organized than was Fierce Conversations which, as great as it was, could have benefited from some aggressive editing and organizing.

And here’s a bonus: While most business writers write as if they have no staff and work their magic all alone, Susan Scott “introduces” us to some of her staff and shares the credit. Chris Douglas. Jim Sorensen. Cam Tripp. I’m leaving someone out, I just know it, but I like how Scott shares credit with the people who help her help clients.

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