Saturday, October 03, 2009

Total Leadership

I went to a YPO seminar yesterday morning by Stewart Friedman. He is the Wharton professor who wrote Total Leadership - Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life.

The book proposes looking for 4 way wins. Things you can do in your life that can improve your satisfaction (how much you enjoy it) and performance (how successful other people perceive you to be) in the areas of Work, Home/relationship, Community and Self.

The thesis is that some things can improve all areas so those are what should be focused on. It is about handling multiple priorities in different areas of life.

An Amazon review by M. Henderson describes it well.

What makes this book especially effective are the exercises the author puts the reader through. The reader is asked to define the issue, starting with the multiple responsibilities and challenges s/he faces, then it moves on to defining your domains, where is it that you spend your time? Most of the readers (including myself) would find four areas: self, family, work and community. Then, with domains defined, you can identify stakeholders in each domain and begin the process of finding ways "to live your life in accord with what really matters to you." The reader is asked to discuss his/her vision for a future life (post-change) with trusted individuals s/he has previously identified. A particularly effective step is then speaking with others about living your life differently, such as: your boss, significant other and friends, and getting their opinion and feedback on your plan, and as difficult and challenging as this may be it ends up providing the most powerful incentive to change through accountability and stakeholder buy-in. In many cases, I found that as much as I was building bridges between domains in my life, I was also creating boundaries (for example, no longer do I check my blackberry or the Internet between the hours of 6pm - 9pm.) But some of the biggest changes are personal ones that are for me and my family, other readers will likely find similar decisions they make without necessarily sharing them.

The one area that many people can gain 4 way wins would be through being healthy - exercising and eating right. It improves all areas. (over 4 years ago, I talked about workout inspiration)

The only part of the theory I did not like was the assumption that work is bad and we all want to work less. I see this a a huge groundswell in society. I tend to look at work as inspirational so do not share the current world view.

I do not really believe in balance. Or perhaps I believe only in enough balance to support primary goals. When I am truly inspired, it is a 4 way win for me but during those times I tend to then have very high focus on jut one area.


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