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The Cycle of Leadership: How Great Leaders Teach Their Companies to Win Paperback – August 10, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (August 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0066620570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0066620572
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #757,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Tichy is a professor at the University of Michigan Business School and a worldwide advisor to CEOs on leadership and transformation. His approach (with the help of his coauthor) to business leadership in today's environment calls on upper management to be more open, humble, and self-confident and to create an environment of teach/learn rather than the command/control approach of top-down management that has been prevalent since the machine age. He uses examples from GE, Ford, Dell, Home Depot, and many others to show how these principles work to transform businesses into teaching organizations and, consequently, better-performing companies. He calls this environment the Virtuous Teaching Cycle, and its main feature is that the leaders who teach learn from their students and become the students themselves. He contrasts this to the vicious cycle of command/comply, a knowledge-destruction cycle where competition and mistrust within organizations lead to a dumbing down of its members, bureaucracy, miscommunication, poor overall performance, and loss of market share. Today, Tichy says, leaders must become teachers to survive. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Noel M. Tichy is a professor at the University of Michigan Business School, director of the school's Global Leadership Partnership, and former head of GE's Crotonville Leadership Development Center. He is the author of the best seller Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will (with Stratford Sherman).


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Those who are familiar with my reviews of other business books already know that on several dozen occasions, I have strongly recommended The Leadership Engine (1997) which Tichy wrote with Eli Cohen and Nancy Cardwell. He teams up with her again in this book, expanding and enriching his concept of leadership development at all levels throughout any organization, regardless of its size or nature. Hence the importance of what Tichy calls a "Virtuous Teaching Cycle": Everybody teaches and everybody learns; all practices, processes, and values promotion teaching; all teaching is interactive to generate the effective exchange of knowledge; thereby, maximum use is made of everyone's skills and talents to ensure all-level alignment for smart and rapid response to needs, problems, opportunities, etc. Tichy asserts (and I agree) that hypertransformation (in established organizations) and hypergrowth (in start-ups) are essential to business success. The challenge in established organizations is to overcome what Jim O'Toole characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." For start-ups, the challenge is to achieve appropriate scale while ensuring that new employees are brought on line and up to speed ASAP. In ten chapters, and with prevision as well as eloquence, Tichy explains how various organizations (notably GE) have met those and other challenges.Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
While I will never dispute the premise that great leaders teach, mentor and learn, it doesn't have to be repeated over and over until I get it. The hero of this book, and that is really the only way to describe it, is Jack Welch, former head of GE. There is a lot of ink used to laud Welch and what he did at GE. While I don't dispute that Welch deserves to be acknowledged as a great leader, Tichy comes very close to crossing the line between praising and deifying him.

The basic theme of the book is the dynamics of teaching and learning within a business environment. This includes all levels, from the lowliest greeters to the CEO and board members. It starts with the leader's Teachable Point Of View or TPOV. This is basically the leader's view of the company direction and how well it is communicated to the people underneath. Without question, this is a valuable point in the success of any organization, assuming that the TPOV is reasonable and the leader is capable of accepting feedback. Or, to put it another way, is the leader capable of learning from underlings? While good leaders must teach and do it well, they must also learn even better. For even the best teachers can be rendered ineffectual if the material they are trying to impart is valueless. In the modern business world, if you don't learn and adapt, you die.

Another focus is on the Virtuous Teaching Cycle or VTC, which is about leaders teaching leaders. This is of course sensible; any leader should constantly be training several potential replacements. The problem with this is twofold. The first is that there can be only one leader, so if more than one potential leader is being groomed, it is necessary to have an unambiguous selection mechanism in place.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Philip C. Garrod on December 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was somewhat disappointed in this book despite its endorsement by one of my business school classmates. Professor Tichy discusses already well known principles of leadership within the context of what is promoted as a "new" approach. Only a few individuals and companies are profiled and are used repeatedly throughout the book. The examples cited fit awkwardly into the message that is being presented. The title of the book attributes greatness to the individuals profiled based on only one attribute--a belief in teaching and learning. This seems such a narrow focus on which to base such accolades.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "jtckgc" on October 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
After hearing about all the corporations with failing management, my business team went looking for some guidance. I learned a lot from this book about building and teaching teamwork, leadership skills and trust within a team. I really enjoyed the business case examples from other corporations. Our team is now going through the exercises in the leadership handbook in the back of the book and know it will help us all be better leaders. I highly recommend this book for any business team looking for some leadership training.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Rock on September 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I found this a wonderful book, so much so that I read it in one sitting, all 435 pages. I have also adopted it as the main text for my graduate class in "Leadership of Organizational Change." The most compelling imagery is what I call (a) walking the talk (that is, leading) and (b) openness to change (that is, learning). I am a professor of adult education and to see a book for business readers with a teaching-learning dynamic built into its fabric was very heart-warming. The book's emphasis on a "Virtuous Teaching Cycle" and a "Teachable Point of View" were beautifully presented. The details of the different business examples, while helpful, were not of key importance for me as the philosophy of a leader who must be both a teacher and a learner: walk the talk and be open to change. If business leaders would follow through on Tichy's philosphical thrust that leaders teach and learn, just think how incredibly more creative, life-giving, and profitable organizations could be. A wonderful read.
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