'This is a great book and a great read. It describes what moves us at our core as human beings and how leaders can create leadership throughout an organization. Perhaps most importantly, it shows how to succeed when we face mortal threats and fast-moving opportunities simultaneously.' --- David Muraki, Director, the California Conservation Corps
'In this original and thought-provoking book, Douglas shows how to run an organization with an emphasis on trust and innovation. His vision of aligning the core values, sharpening the focus, and accelerating the pace of change, all the while stimulating creative flow and spreading systems thinking, is a joy to read for its clarity and its grounding in real-world examples.' --- Anne Stausboll, CEO, CalPERS
'The fast pace and constant change of today's business environment present challenges to any organization, large or small. Douglas provides a roadmap for structuring an organization to flourish in this environment. Leading at Light Speed
is an essential read for any leader intent on building a high-performing organization.' --- Marty McGartland, President and CEO, Natoma Technologies, Inc.
'I heartily recommend this well-written, wise guide book to successful leadership and innovation. It will be invaluable to everyone who aspires to lead a values-driven corporation or not-for-profit organization.' --- Dr. Robert L. Hendren, Professor and Vice Chair of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco
From the Publisher
Leading at Light Speed
Let's start at the beginning, at the underpinning of leadership. When you look at a tall building, what you see are the visible spaces above the ground. The foundation upon which it rests is largely invisible. But the foundation has to be strong, otherwise the entire building will fall. Similarly, the foundation of effective leadership is largely invisible. But it rests on two behaviors. One is building trust. The other is generating what I call 'spark.'
Let's start with the foundation of trust. Creating trust may seem like an obvious part of a leader's job. What's not so obvious, perhaps, is how fundamental it truly is. Scientists have shown that our brains are hard-wired to respond favorably to those we trust. All of our emotions spring from trust - or the lack of it. That's been true for thousands of years. What has changed is how quickly our feelings of trust can shift. Thanks to the Internet and 24-hour news coverage, we are constantly mining new information to determine whom we can trust.
Now let's talk about spark. By spark, I mean inspiring people to innovate and create. As with trust, spark feeds an essential need. We respond positively to people who inspire our creativity, and negatively to those who don't. Spark is crucial if you're going to succeed in a world where change is constantly accelerating. But spark without trust can be damaging, leading to useless innovations and even destructive ones. Leaders must know how to inspire trust while at the same time sparking new products, new processes, and new practices. Southwest Airlines, FedEx, and Google are three examples of highly successful companies that have built high-performing organizations based on trust and spark.
In short, trust and spark tap into who we are as human beings. They are the keys to our fulfillment and happiness. They animate us, giving us the courage to do extraordinary things. All the rules and practices of leading at light speed can be boiled down to building trust and generating spark. Now let's dig deeper.