The National Learning Institute

Leadership Category

Rapid Teamwork

Rapid Teamwork

June 19, 2016 No Comments
Rapid Teamwork

Rapid Teamwork

This is a GREAT book on teamwork and leadership.  In fact as a reviewer of over 100 books on this topic, this is one of the best I’ve read in a long time.

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Lead with a story

Lead With A Story

February 9, 2016 No Comments

As I read this book, it put me in mind of so many stories I’ve heard and experienced in my own management career. In short, I was hooked with the stories penned by Paul Smith, which led me to think about my own stories. It also started me thinking about how I could use more stories in my own work. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

In “Lead With a Story”, Smith sets out with the aim of having the reader “start crafting, collecting, and telling stories today”. All the stories are about particular aspects of leadership and how stories can assist the manager navigate successfully through various leadership challenges.

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Likeable Business

Likeable Business: Why Today’s Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver, by Dave Kerpen

December 26, 2012 No Comments

Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computers, sat in a meeting with his people for 45 minutes without speaking – in fact he just listened.  Dave Kerpen, author of Likeable Business did the same with his team – an hour long meeting without him talking at all!  These are just two stories that illustrate one of the principles espoused by Kerpen to develop a likeable business – listen.

Likeable Business is in fact a series of stories – stories of how businesses and business leaders have developed their businesses to be the best in their field.  Unlike so many books of a similar ilk, the vast majority of author Dave Kerpen’s stories are about positive events – how people have succeeded, not where they failed.  So, it’s a very invigorating and uplifting book to read.

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50 Do’s for Everyday Leadership, by David Wheatley, John Barrett, Lynn Townsend

August 20, 2012 No Comments

I had two initial concerns about the title of this book – “50 DOs for Everyday Leadership”. Firstly having just reviewed another supposed leadership book with “100” in the title (and found it wanting), I thought “Oh, no. How did they get the exact number 50? Are the authors really serious about leadership, or is it just another list of nice to dos?”. My second concern, had to do with the term “leadership” as it is often (to my mind) misused mistakenly for “management”. 

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Judgment Calls: 12 stories of big decisions and the teams that got them right

May 31, 2012 No Comments

This book is about decision making and particularly about how organisational knowledge can be harnessed and used in a collaborative approach to the big decisions organisations need to make to remain successful.

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The Well-Balanced Leader, by Ron Roberts

March 18, 2012 No Comments

Interactive Learning Techniques to Help You Master the 9 Simple Behaviors of Outstanding Leadership

It’s obvious from the start of the Introduction that the author Ron Roberts is an experienced leadership trainer and coach. The Introduction unlike so many other books, tells you exactly what to expect and what to do to get the most from The Well-Balanced Leader. It also includes a short self-assessment so that your results quickly direct you to the sections of the book relevant to your needs (there’s also a longer online version the reader can take although one has to pay for this). All of this in just four and a half pages.

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Digital Leader

March 15, 2012 No Comments

The Digital Leader by Erik Qualman is an interesting book. On first glance, it appears to be about how to lead in the rapidly changing digital world. However, it’s more than that. It’s as much about leading as it is about digital leading. This paradox is both the book’s strength and weakness.

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What to ask the person in the mirror

March 12, 2012 No Comments

“What To Ask The Person In The Mirror” – what a great title! And this book promises a lot, the sub-title reading “Critical questions for becoming a more effective leader and reaching your full potential”. Author Robert Steven Kaplan proposes a “menu of personal enquiry, creating a process whereby key questions can be framed and debated”.

In Chapter 1, “Vision and Priorities”, key questions are framed. They’re not new, but they do serve the visioning process very well and make a good “entre” to Kaplan’s “menu of personal enquiry”. Unfortunately, it’s not then till page 111 that the mirror or critical questions get mentioned again.

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The Men Who Killed Qantas

June 29, 2011 No Comments

For anyone interested in flying or for that matter, anyone who flies regularly, this book makes riveting reading. Tracing the origins of Qantas from its beginning in 1920 (it’s the second oldest airline in the world) to today, Benns gives an insiders look at the way a major airline, in this case Qantas, works.

The book provides insights into safety in the air (quite confronting if you are a regular flyer), aviation history, management and leadership.

The early historical chapters make interesting reading as they virtually trace the history of commercial aviation – where it started; who were the leading players and plane makers. It also shows the courage and determination of the men who started flying the planes and then became the airline managers.

At its core, the book is about how an organisation’s guiding principles and core philosophy that saw it through many turbulent times, only to be challenged by today’s shareholder-driven society.

It’s also about leadership. Detailed analyses of the various CEOs and Chairmen (in one case a woman) show how each has impacted the history of Qantas to bring it where today it sits at the crossroads – will it continue on to celebrate its centenary in 2020 or will it disappear into oblivion?

Students of leadership, reading Benns’ appraisal of the company will be fascinated by the decisions of the various CEOs – are they in fact leaders? Will their legacy be a long-lived company?

This is one of those books that is good reading – it has something for everyone – history, romance, drama, economics and leadership.


Hardwired Humans

June 27, 2011 No Comments

This book is about life and leadership in organisations. It’s about how our human instincts play such a pivotal role in the way we behave. In “Hardwired Humans”, author Andrew O’Keeffe draws on his vast experience as an Industrial Relations and Human Resources Manager, and his perceptions as a student of behaviour – animal and human – to provide a fabulous guide book for leaders and aspiring leaders.

The underpinnings of this book are our instincts – how do we come by them, how do they affect everything we do, and how can we best use them? O’Keeffe shows how our human instincts have developed over the millennia, going way back to our early ancestors who roamed the Savannah plains. In doing so, he also relates these developments to the behaviour of the chimpanzees of today, another social animal.

The author recounts stories of animal instincts from such notable social anthropologists as Dr. Jane Goodall, draws on some of the most relevant social psychological research, and uses his own observations of both people and chimps, to define nine human instincts.

Each chapter explains one of the nine instincts – how and why it is important – and lists the implications for leaders. The book is well written with plenty of examples to illustrate key points. Some of the points that took my interest included:

Groups – “… the natural order of human groups is to indeed have a leader. The leader has a licence to lead. Without leadership, human groups become dysfunctional.”
Managers – the most important thing a manager can do is to “enable your people to move forward in their work … Any manager is capable of being an enabling manager.”
The Gossip Test – What will others say after (the appraisal, interview, meeting etc.)? And for example, the need to actively manage this by selecting five words that you would like people to use to describe you, and then set about applying these behaviours.
There are many more little gems of wisdom waiting for the reader in Hardwired Humans. My recommendation for managers and aspiring leaders would be to grab a copy and start working with your natural instincts straight away.