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Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership [Kindle Edition]

John Hamm
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Master the fundamentals of leadership-at every stage in your career

Often, when leaders experience trouble, they look to blame an outside source or expect a small tweak to right their ship. But many times they've actually lost their grip on the very basic foundation of leadership. The business environment may change, but no management trend can displace the core laws, proven over centuries, of excellent leadership. Unusually Excellent is an essential resource for leaders that brings these fundamentals together in a new and comprehensive way. This book will help leaders at any level keep their focus on the bedrock principles that will make them extraordinary..

  • Thoroughly practical, day-to-day primer for achieving and maintaining their highest level of leadership, for today and for a lifetime
  • The author's Harvard Business Review articles are among the most highly read in the magazine's history
  • Written for all leaders who need to develop and renew their leadership skills

Using a sports analogy, the author breaks the work of leaders into three parts: pregame: a matter of character; game day: a matter of competence; and postgame: a matter of consequence.

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"To lead well, as this book makes deeply and powerfully clear, is first and foremost to know yourself, and second to put yourself in service to whatever you value most deeply. If you adopt that posture, whatever follows can be incorporated into making yourself into a better leader. And it is the purpose of this book to help you do so."
From the Foreword by Geoffrey Moore, managing director, TCG Advisors; author, Crossing the Chasm

Often, when leaders experience trouble, they look to blame an outside source or expect a small tweak to right their ship. But many times they have actually lost their grip on the basic foundation of their own leadership.

Unusually Excellent offers both seasoned and aspiring leaders a framework for understanding and a guide for applying the fundamentals of leadership at every stage in their careers. The business environment may change, but no management trend can displace the core laws, proven over centuries, of excellent leadership.

Leadership expert Hamm explains why leadership can't be mastered as a single concept or tool that can be pulled out of a hat when needed. Excellent leadership is composed of actions, ideas, emotions, cultural forces, history, and expectations that work together in an interconnected system. This system forms the core of the winning combination of superb Character, skill-based Competence, and professional Reputation. Hamm demonstrates that any leader can excel by consistently putting into action the Necessary Nine skills: being authentic, trustworthy, and compelling; leading people, strategy, and execution; communicating, making decisions, and making an impact.

Filled with vivid true stories, Unusually Excellent offers powerful, unforgettable leadership lessons, reinforced empirical evidence, and logical analysis. It will be your personal coach that will prepare you for the lifelong and ongoing journey towards exceptional leadership.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Unusually Excellent

"Unusually Excellent is a must read. John brings his powerful and fresh view of leadership to life in this thoughtful framework. He has combined three of his many strengths – intellectual rigor and honesty, deep domain experience, and passion for leading – in a highly readable, unforgettable book."
Mark King, president and CEO, TaylorMade-adidas Golf

"This is a wonderful book, and may well become a classic! Compelling. Comprehensive. Very readable. What a great place to start for any new leader in search of the essence of leadership, or for an experienced leader with the courage to re-learn those essentials again and again."
Patrick Lencioni, president, The Table Group; author, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

"Wow! This is an extremely compelling book for all business leaders. I am thrilled to see that John has put into words the same wisdom and value that I've realized through working with him as a coach and mentor. An absolute must read for all aspiring leaders."
David DeWalt, president and CEO, McAfee

"Unusually Excellent is unusually better than most books on leadership in its wisdom and practical advice. John's experience has the ring of enduring truth and he offers a personal and practical look across the spectrum of leadership, from character development through execution to leaving a legacy. A wonderful combination of 'hard' and 'soft' leadership, this book belongs on everyone's reading list."
Barry Z. Posner, PhD, professor of leadership; coauthor, The Leadership Challenge and The Truth About Leadership

"John's dedication to the study of leadership and personal experiences running companies and coaching CEOs have resulted in a valuable back-to-basics book that every aspiring business leader should read. He explains the nine essential skills for the practice of great leadership in a highly accessible and practical style that anyone with an interest in growing as a leader will benefit from."
Jeff Weiner, president and CEO, LinkedIn

Product Details

  • File Size: 494 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0470928433
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (January 7, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004IK9XMY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,451 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the power of authencitiy April 4, 2011
My mentor and a fellow CEO sent me a copy of Hamm's book. Hamm's career allowed him to see many of the technology industry's "unusually excellent" leaders up close, and in this book he shares a practical framework for great leadership.

It's a quick read and the framework is useful to understand the core qualities that separate average leaders from unusually excellent leaders. Hamm's model notes that competence is only 1/3 of the battle, with credibility and consequence rounding our the model. Self-awareness, trust, a compass to navigate challenging decisions, the ability to share and empathize...are all EQ level traits. Pure competence, IQ, is not enough. Lehman, Enron, AIG....all companies full of high IQ people who lost their way and operated without a compass.

Hamm's book celebrates self-awareness and authenticity as key tenets of leadership. It's worth reading.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unusually Excellent Book March 3, 2011
In Unusually Excellent, John Hamm writes compellingly, convincingly, and accessibly about the time-worn bedrock principles of leadership. Peppered with sports analogies and sprinkled with germane and interesting business anecdotes, Hamm shows us time and again that the most successful leaders are committed to a personal set of core principles that generate power--and a following--through authenticity. It's a reminder to all of us, regardless of whether we hope to helm a Girl Scout troop or a Fortune 500 firm, that having a strong moral compass--and committing to the direction that that compass points--is a timeless lesson we'd all do well to heed.

Unusually Excellent certainly is that, but it also happens to be unusually engrossing, enlightening, and entertaining. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So poor that I had to stop reading it November 22, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not one of my favorites. I found that the author took the easy road by turning every example into a sports analogy. I'm a huge sports fan too, but resist the temptation compare everything to sporting events." I believe that the stories that were told in the book were rambling and boorish, only appealing to very few people. I made it through approximately half the book, but eventually found it intolerable.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Excellent February 11, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is fundamentally a practical guide for leaders to realize their full potential. This book packages diagnosis, case studies, and actionable tools for leaders to achieve their best. It's a fabulous read - inspiring & exceptionally useful. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Many leadership books ignore the necessary practice of management, and management books ignore the essentials of leadership. Hamm's model considers both simultaneously.

At times, our strengths and weaknesses as leaders can blind us to the whole tapestry of leadership/management requirements and skills. We focus on what we are particularly good at (or bad at) and forget about the other critical elements, or the context of legacy. The Unusually Excellent model is straightforward and complete, and a great framework within which to consider personal strengths and weaknesses.

Even though I wouldn't know a one wood from a putter, the golf and other sports analogies worked for me, and clearly were authentic for Hamm. The model is grounded with compelling stories that bring out the "color" behind the model.

The observations in the book match my own experience as a leader. Several times, I made notes in the book as I read along, only to find that point was coming in the next paragraph! The real-world business examples - successes and failures - were also very compelling.

Unusually Excellent is an engaging read that will give you new insight into the totality of skills necessary for the integrated discipline of leadership and management.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't be fooled by the 5 star reviews December 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Pretty disappointing - looks more like a boring lecture and when I compare good leadership books, this one fails to impress
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Best Leadership Book June 11, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been reading many books on leadership and this is hands down the best one I've ever read. Leaders I've seen who fail at what it teaches are failing before my eyes. And those I've seen who have the characteristics, whether inherent or by honest dedication, earn their place as leaders because of the respect they earn and the accompanying success. I am seeing positive results for those whom I've recommended it to, and I intend to reread it as I embark on coming ventures.

My gratitude to the author for the lives, people, and world he is inspiring.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusually Excellent indeed! February 26, 2011
Unusually Excellent is a must read for every student and practitioner of leadership. This very well organized book is based on John's incredibly diverse background -- as an operating executive, a start-up CEO, a venture capitalist and a leadership coach among others. These experiences have given John a unique point of view on the practice of leadership which he brings together in a compelling and practical manner in "Unusually Excellent".

I am one of the fortunate few to have benefited from knowing and learning from John. I am delighted that he has decided to write this book and share his insights and experiences with a wider audience. This book has already found a prime spot in my personal collection of classics on management and leadership. Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for upcoming leaders
This is a very well written piece on how to be a great leader. It's a very easy read and can be finished in a couple weeks just by reading it every night. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Andrew Pham
4.0 out of 5 stars You Need A Great Coach to Improve Your Game
The game of leadership is like the game of golf. Improvement of performance is all about the fundamentals. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Michael W. Dugal
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on leadership
I have read many management books and business how-to tomes. Reading it on my kindle, I find myself nodding frequently in agreement with this book's summaries of good management... Read more
Published 8 months ago by John F. Benson
4.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful and Engaging.
Heartfelt. A joy to read.

Parts one and three are better written compared to part two which I found generic and nebulous. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Roberto V. Escano
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on leadership I have read
I've read a lot of material on leadership and unusually excellent is one of my all time favorites. I believe in the principles given by the book and the book has made a better... Read more
Published 15 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly framed!
John Hamm does an excellent job of framing all of the aspects of leadership. The real life examples helps drive his key points home. Thank you John!
Published 15 months ago by JB
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusually Excellent book on Unusually Excellent Leadership!
John Hamm's Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership is an unusually excellent read that highlights strong behaviors and... Read more
Published 16 months ago by NeensC
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusallly Excellent!!
I have read a number of leadership books, this is the best, don't bother with the rest this is really all you need.
Published on March 31, 2012 by denalipeak
5.0 out of 5 stars "Unusually Excellent"- Unusually Enticing and Educating!
"Unusually Excellent" is an unusually excellent read! As a young "leader in training," this book did more than just its original intention: it gave me a look at the basic... Read more
Published on March 6, 2012 by Maggie S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the...
Unusually excellent is not a book one would call unusually excellent, it is just plain excellent, nothing really unusual about it. Read more
Published on January 1, 2012 by Gary Kuyper
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