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Here is a book on leadership like no other.
It begins by announcing that: "You can't learn to be a 'leader.' ... All you can do is be prepared if you are 'called' to provide leadership." So begins Lee Thayer's relentless assault on conventional thinking ... which, he tells us, will "always and inevitably lead to conventional results."
From his initial "stretching exercises" for your mind, he offers a detailed guidebook for making sure you're prepared when your leadership opportunity arrives. The underpinning of his method boils down to this statement:
"As you think, so will you be. And as you are, so will you do."
He warns at the outset that much of what he's learned over four-plus decades of working with CEOs to build high-performance organizations may seem counter-intuitive and that the journey is "more difficult than you can imagine." But he also notes, "If your learning journey is not fun and exciting, it will not bear fruit."
So along the way you'll learn how to "slay dragons" (Ch. 5) and "overcome perversity" -- especially your own (Ch. 11). And in the process, you'll acquire the habits of thinking, being, and doing that prepare you perform the leadership roles that come your way.
Visit his Leader's Journey blog.
Dr. Thayer’s career as a pioneer and influential innovator in the design and development of high-performance organizations – and in the kind of leadership required of the top executive to achieve that – has spanned more than four decades. It has often been observed that he has rattled more CEOs’ cages than anyone else.
Having come from a high-level executive position in industry himself, coupled with his experience as a jazz performer and arranger and his university degrees in the humanities, engineering, and psychology, Dr. Thayer has developed a revolutionary and practical framework for understanding what it takes to lead the way to great organizations, expressively in the ‘how’ as much as the ‘why’. He and his CEO partners often have to invent the pushes and pulls required to achieve the kind of excellence that others can’t figure out how to copy.
Early on in his career, he served as consultant to several of the Fortune 500 and other notable companies, such as IBM, AT&T, Westinghouse, Boeing, Curtiss-Wright, Pratt-Whitney, McDonnell Douglas, Phillips, Shell, General Motors, Sealtest Foods, and Hallmark. He has consulted with the U.S. Air Force, the Postal Service, numerous banks and other institutions, universities around the globe, and West Point.
He was the consultant behind the now well-known success story at Johnsonville Foods – which Tom Peters referred to as “the most remarkable example of organizational transformation” he had ever seen.
He has taken his extraordinary problem-solving skills to the Scandinavian countries (esp. Finland and Norway), to Australia, to the UK and most European countries, and to Canada, Mexico, and China. Today, he limits his work to small to medium-sized organizations where, as he says, the impact is more immediate and measurable.
His other “career,” as a distinguished university professor in major universities both here and abroad (e.g., the Harvard Graduate School of Business, The University of Amsterdam, Queensland University of Technology in Australia, Universidad Complutense in Mexico, etc.) was an ongoing research project he “put up with” for thirty-five years, before “retiring” in 1991 to devote full time to his passion which, as he has described it in interviews, is
“… to help committed CEOs and other top executives transform themselves into leaders and their organizations into healthier, more vigorous, and more adaptive high-performance organizations.”
"Lee Thayer has followed his own leadership convictions and insights in writing a book that is itself the art of leadership. It is refreshing, authentic, and has a penetrating integrity. Don’t take it lightly." Max De Pree, Chairman Emeritus, Herman Miller, Inc., Author of Leadership is an Art
"It’s a great book (or ‘guidebook,’ as the author calls it), reflecting years of hard-won experience doing what he reports on here. And he’s done his homework, as well. It’s an original, very creative. If you can’t learn how by applying the leadership lessons here, you probably can’t learn how. It’s superb!" James O'Toole, Author of Leading Change
"If you truly want to reinvent yourself, are perpetually dissatisfied with yourself and your organization, and have a deep passion to change and improve, read Lee Thayer’s book. You won’t find any quick fixes here. I’ve been working at this both on the job and at home for a few years now, and both are immeasurably the better for it. I had to question everything I knew. If you can let Thayer do this to you, you will become a far better leader." Larry Bull, Executive Vice President Bergstrom, Inc.
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