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Losing It! Behaviors and Mindsets that Ruin Careers: Lessons on Protecting Yourself from Avoidable Mistakes [Kindle Edition]

Bill Lane
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Why do otherwise brilliant and successful leaders fail – and often do so dramatically? How can you prevent your own career “train wreck” by learning from their experiences? This book distills the core causes of executive failure, demonstrates how to identify them in your own behavior – and helps you to eliminate or avoid them. Bill Lane, Jack Welch’s long-time colleague draws on his own experience as a GE insider as well as from extensive interviews with former GE executives now running their own companies, including Dave Calhoun (CEO, Nielsen); Jim McNerney (CEO, Boeing); Lloyd Trotter (retired Vice-Chairman of GE), Frank Doyle (ex-Executive VP at GE), Kip Condron (ex-CEO, Americas, AXA Equitable); Andrew McMahon (President, AXA Equitable), and many others. Together with these elite executives, Lane demonstrates how to avoid arrogance, recognize when you must micromanage, learn how to communicate far more effectively, maintain a relentless focus on what matters most, and avoid the temptations to sacrifice your #1 leadership asset: your integrity. Along the way, he offers hard-hitting insights on everything from choosing your battles to cultivating the “right” forms of paranoia. Losing It will be an indispensable resource for everyone aspiring to become a more effective leader, including managers at all levels, and all MBA candidates and executive education students.


Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“In Losing It, Bill Lane has created a fast-moving, colorful, and intelligent book with insights and lessons for current and aspiring leaders, honed through decades of true insider experience in government and industry.”
--W. James McNerney, Jr., Chairman, President, and CEO, The Boeing Company
“I might have described some of these historical events a bit differently, but Bill’s interpretations always make for a fun read.”
--Jack Welch, Founder, Jack Welch Management Institute
“Valuable lessons for anyone rapidly rising through the ranks, especially regarding the critical importance of always maintaining your personal integrity.”
--Jeffrey H. Dworken, Global Vice Chairman, Treasurer, Ernst & Young Global Limited
“Lane casts a very wide net in this book and harvests a rich collection of lessons about not only business but also life. A must-read.”
--Philip Ameen, Vice President and Comptroller, General Electric (Retired)

Why Even Great Executives Fail Spectacularly--and How to Keep It from Happening to You
  • By renowned executive consultant Bill Lane, who worked side-by-side with Jack Welch at GE for decades
  • Reflects new interviews with top leaders at companies ranging from Boeing and AXA Equitable to Nielsen
  • Packed with surprising insights--including the right ways to micromanage and the effective forms of paranoia

Why do otherwise brilliant and successful leaders flame out...often spectacularly? How can you prevent your own career train wreck by learning from their experiences? In Losing It, long-time GE insider Bill Lane draws on his immense experience working with senior leaders to distill today’s core causes of executive failure. Lane reveals exactly how to recognize your own emerging leadership flaws--and then systematically fix, eliminate, or overcome them. This ruthlessly candid book pulls no punches. It won’t always be comfortable to read. But it just might save your career.

From arrogance to B.S., distraction to wishful thinking, even the savviest executives can fall victim to the same endemic diseases of flawed leadership. Having been Jack Welch’s speechwriter for nearly two decades, Lane draws on his close observations of leaders at GE--and other top companies--to shine the cold, cruel light of reality on the types of behaviors that are career killers.

Lane reveals how to tell when you’re being lied to--by anyone, especially yourself. You’ll discover how to recognize subtle, silent temptations to compromise your performance, agility, or integrity, so you can maintain (and build on) the standards of excellence that got you this far.

Packed with compelling true stories from the pinnacles of global business, Losing It reveals the career disasters top leaders never saw coming...so you can keep them from ever happening to you!

Cheats, freaks, sneaks, sleazes--and good guys slipping into gray zones
Escape the integrity trap; leverage the integrity opportunity
Lead; don’t preside: how to stay on the edge, where you belong
Actionable lessons from the deck of the RMS Titanic
The imperative of selective micromanagement
Know when and how to drill down--and how far down to go
Focus on your core business, not distractions
Awards, speeches, and philanthropy are not your core business
Confront the disagreeable, smelly pig called reality
Ferret out wishful thinking: theirs and yours

About the Author

Bill Lane is a native of Brooklyn, New York, and has degrees from Niagara University and Northern Arizona University. He served as a Green Beret officer in Vietnam in 1968-69 and later worked as a congressional liaison officer and speechwriter at the Pentagon for seven years. He was appointed Manager of Executive Communications at General Electric and spent nearly 20 years as Jack Welch’s speechwriter; he retired in 2002.

Bill’s first book, Jacked Up: How Jack Welch Talked GE into Becoming the World’s Greatest Company, was named one of the “Best Business Books of the Year” by Strategy+Business.

He writes and lives in Easton, Connecticut.

Product Details

  • File Size: 283 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (May 16, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083JBZMC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,455 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Author ("Jaked Up") Bill Lane served as a speechwriter, a confidant, and an advisor to one of the most powerful CEOs in history, Jack Welch. In "Losing It," Lane shares stories and observations of how good successful people self-destruct due to values or personality flaws they denied or ignored and failed correct. Recent headlines - "Stryker CEO Stephen MacMillan resigns for `family reasons (illicit relationship)'"; "Yahoo CEO resigns over resume discrepancy" - are warning shots for all who feel immune and signal the need for Lane's perspective for continued self-evaluation and self-correction.

Leadership which has been a hot topic throughout my career requires character, critical and constant self-evaluation, and the maturity to make course corrections - "Being able to look at oneself in the cold light of the day, evaluate what you see, and act on that evaluation is a faculty that must be cultivated to keep on track and accelerate."

Lane urges all leaders to be true to themselves and perform their own 360 review. Ask yourself and colleagues:
* If you are ever arrogant?
* Whether they have ever seen you cross or near the boundary of integrity?
* Whether you are behind on what's going on in your field?
* Whether you need to communicate with colleagues better, more frequently, more passionately?
* If you are spending too much time distracted from your main responsibility with social stuff?

Lane delves into each of these questions with real life stories where missteps in each area led to career destruction of otherwise brilliant and successful peoplem. The stories and insights are drawn from Lane's experience and from that of top leaders at companies including Boeing, AXA Equitable, and Nielsen.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars important lessons in career development June 28, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Lane observed much of what finds its way into his book taking a different look at business as speechwriter for the legendary Jack Welch of General Electric. His background for the book is much broader than this however. After serving in Vietnam, he worked at the Pentagon as a civilian congressional liaison. Teaching and consulting are also elements of his long diverse and interesting career at higher levels of American business and government.

Ranging over a broad field of American business in an entertaining and insightful popular style, the book has timeless lessons, but it is also notably timely especially considering the national economic problems and unethical or reckless business practices giving rise to these. Lane's depictions and lessons regarding how ambitious, talented, and promising business people casually or purposely slip into the Gray Zone of questionable, possibly illegal, and usually eventually self-destructive behavior have obvious relevance to current concerns and questions.

Most self-help books relate what to do. Losing It however relates what not to do. Much of the advice and engaging anecdotes concern maintaining integrity. Lane also delves into strategic comprehension of one's field, management decisions and activity, reading subtleties in one's working environment and interactions with others, and other factors in career growth.

With its engaging style, timeliness, and instructive anecdotes and analyses, Losing It is not only a useful guide for business people, but also a inside view of scenarios, pressures, activities, relationships, etc., within varied contemporary organizations.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Learning a lot from failures May 30, 2012
Format:Hardcover
While it is important to learn from success, it's even more important to learn from failures. Bill Lane, the former speechwriter for Jack Welsh, of GE fame, attempts to capture lessons learned from failures in this book.

Bill draws from his own experiences, as well as experiences of top executives from many Fortune 500 companies. He cites examples from AXA-Equitable and Boeing, to name a few other companies.

What I enjoyed about this book:

**The real-life examples. This book is all about concrete tactics and it's very helpful to hear the real-life examples.

**The emphasis on ethics. Bill cites Enron as a counter-example. Enough said.

**The advice to embrace change. This is timeless advice and is key for anyone at any stage of their career, especially in this fast-paced world of today.

**The realistic view of Jack Welsh - the good, the bad and the ugly.

What I didn't care for in this book:

**Most of the examples are about Jack Welsh and GE. I felt that this was a book about Jack Welsh and how successful he was. It's good that Bill writes about what he knows, but he could have expanded his horizons a bit.

**The other examples seem to be more name dropping than stories, Bill mentions Warren Buffet sent him an email about his first book, "Jacked Up: How Jack Welch Talked GE into Becoming the World's Greatest Company." What does that have to do with this book?

**The book didn't flow well. It read as a rambling memoir about Jack Welsh and life at GE in its heyday. One of the lessons learned is to "stay humble." I didn't get the sense that Jack Welch or Bill Lane have a humble bone in their body.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "Losing it" can help you not lose it!
Excellent description of various types of people you will deal with and how you may succeed in dealing with them.
Published 7 months ago by Kevin M. Donohue
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you know yourself as others see you?
One of the most vital aspects of success in the corporate world is to avoid becoming so insulated that you're so deluded you think others perceive you in a far different way than... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Greg Ehrbar
4.0 out of 5 stars Good insight
Good insight on how things change and how we should always stay relevant and up to date with corporate requirements
Published 15 months ago by Ashish
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
This book is gook for those that may be feeling board or left behind in their line of work. This book will gives another perspective to see what things one could change in their... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Rhonda
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheaper than a professional coach, though I didn't realize this was a...
I have not read any of the author's previous books, but evidently Jack Welch is a recurring character as the author as speech writer worked for Neutron Jack for a long time. Read more
Published 17 months ago by D. Brennan
5.0 out of 5 stars Consists of excellent writing that takes an informal, entertaining,...
LOSING IT-BEHAVIORS AND MINDSETS THAT RUIN CAREERS by Bill Lane is a 163-page book printed on off-white paper. There are no tables, charts, or photos. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Tom Brody
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting title
You can never read too much about career issues, there is
always something practical to apply to your life, always.
Published 18 months ago by MJ
1.0 out of 5 stars Fragmented and Rudimentary
I am reading a couple of business books from FT Press (Financial Times) and most of books are worthless, why does a reputed organization publish books like this ? Read more
Published 19 months ago by XNOR
3.0 out of 5 stars For a boilerplate business book, it's a decent enough read
For years now (well, from what seems to be '95 which is when I started grad school which is when I first started reading business books), business books frequently use the In... Read more
Published 20 months ago by William G. Ryan
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great... how to protect yourself from career ending...
In the wake of Enron and other financial scandals, business schools have focused very closely on the role of mindset and ethics in how business people conduct their affairs. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Joel Avrunin
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