"Champions get up when they can't." Jack Dempsey,
This review is from: Thrive on Pressure: Lead and Succeed When Times Get Tough (Paperback)
The Dempsey observation is as true of the business world as it is of athletic competition. It is also affirms one of the essential attributes of a leader, what I characterize as courageous resiliency. As Graham Jones acknowledges, there is no shortage of books on business leadership. (As I compose this review, Amazon offers 19,554 of them.) Jones's purpose is to help his reader develop mental toughness.
He organizes the material within five "Master Classes": Real Leadership, Pressure, and Mental Toughness (Chapters 1-4 provide a remarkably thorough overview); Staying in Control Under the Inevitable Stress That Comes with Being a Real Leader (Chapters 5-8 provide a comparably thorough briefing on how to leverage "positive" pressure and manage "negative" pressure); and Strengthening Your Self-Belief in Your Ability as a Real Leader (Chapters 9-11 focuses on strengthening self-confidence and enhancing self-esteem).
Master Class Four: Channeling Your Motivation to Work for You in Your Role as a Real Leader (some of the most valuable material in the book is provided in Chapters 12 and 13 as Jones intensifies his efforts to stiffen his reader's spine prior to the inevitable crises that await.
Then in Master Class Five, Directing Your Focus to the Things (a useless word, in my opinion) That Really Matter in Your Role as a Real Leader (in the concluding chapters, 14 -16), Jones focuses on the importance of determining what is most important and why, then examines the importance of mental toughness to distraction-free focus before, in the final chapter, consolidating the most important information, insights, and counsel in what he characterizes as a "Real Leader Toolkit."
Note: Throughout the book, the word "Real" in the phrase "Real Leader" is italicized.
Here are five of this book's many values:
1. It evidence-driven, based on real-world situations. Jones is a world-class empiricist.
2. Jones's immediately establishes and then sustains a direct and personal rapport with his reader.
3. A reader can take almost immediate action on any of Jones's recommendations, although (obviously it would be a fool's errand to attempt to act upon all of them at once. Jones is also a world-class pragmatist.
4. Those who are "real" leaders are not necessary residents of the C-Suite. Especially when times get tough, organizations need real leaders at all levels and in all areas, collaborating effectively to overcome what perils, threats, and challenges may develop.
5. Jones makes brilliant use of several reader-friendly devices such as recurring chapter components ("OBJECTIVES," "KEY TOPICS," "TIME OUTs," and `KEY TAKEAWAYS.") These facilitate, indeed expedite frequent reviews of the most important information, insights, and counsel that Jones provides in abundance.
Note: Jones uses each TIME-OUT to digress from the flow of his narrative to ask key questions that are relevant to the given context within each chapter. My own opinion is that these questions (all of which help to illuminate and correlate the dimensions of mental toughness with threats to it) are more important than key points because they questions challenge the reader to take ownership of issues within the context of her or his own circumstances. The most difficult journey in human existence is one of self-discovery. Therefore, mental toughness must be developed before it can be revealed.
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Jeffrey Pfeffer's most recent book, Power, as well as Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson's Rework, Verne Harnish's Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm, Guy Kawasaki's Reality Check, and Hacking Work co-authored by Bill Jensen and Josh Klein.