Leaders are Readers
Getting ready to go to my daughters second graduation and this thought kept coming into my mind. She has been offered a great new job. At a high level within the company – reporting to the CEO. What an honor and how proud I am. So why the thought! Because this week she called me and told me how lucky she was to have me as a role model. One of the more important things she gives me credit for influencing – is her desire to read books. Not fiction, books with meaning that are business related. She took this lesson to heart and has used it to become a true leader.
She now has other people asking her about books she is reading. Why? Because she is knowledgable about business, marketing, economics and leadership due to the books she reads. Then she applies this knowledge in her environment – gaining a competitive edge on others who are waiting to be told or shown the pathway to success.
Enough bragging about my wonderful daughter. Let me share some my real world experience back when I was doing turnaround work back in the early 80’s. I was asked by two different companies to assist them in getting back on track. Both companies, while independent of each other, were in the same industry, different markets with basically the same problem.
We set up programs and processes to get them headed in the right direction. At first it looked as if both would be successful and get back on track. Then one of the companies began to backslide while the other keep recovering. Continuing to meet with both companies and their executive teams to discuss progress and issues, it become evident that one of the companies had a leadership issue.
One of the keys to recognizing this deficient was how much knowledge the key leaders possessed. The company that was succeeding had an executive that seemed very knowledgeable about business and all the functional areas associated with businesses. I learned that he was a big reader. He read management books, kept current with trade magazines as well as current news and events. He used this knowledge to make important decisions that helped his company recover.
The other leader, who did not seem to have any current knowledge – even basic information – was making poor and uninformed decisions. Usually he dished out plenty of blame on others – refusing to take responsibility for any of the difficulties his company faced. He would brag to me how he would never read a business book, that he had given up reading after leaving school. The effects of his lack of new knowledge showed he was incapable of leading his company or any other business, organization or association. While he was potentially a very smart person – he showed ignorance in his actions. This lack of reading contributed greatly to his company’s down fall.
The key take away is to realize that all the knowledge, wisdom and information is probably in a book somewhere. It is our responsibility as leaders to grasp the moment, stop watching so much TV (My issue) and get back to reading. Knowledge gives you the freedom to make educated choices rather than follow the thundering herd over the cliff. Remember, the more alternatives you have, the better the chances for an excellent choice.
Set a goal to read one book per month. It activates the mind and increases your understanding. If you don’t know which book to pick on a subject – then go to www.BusinessBookReviewsbyVossGraham.com. You will find a brief paragraph or two about different books and what you will learn reading each book listed. It is not a “Cliff’s Notes” site. It’s purpose is to assist you in choosing a book to read. Join the Leaders – Read a Book today.
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