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Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World Hardcover – October 28, 2013
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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Q&A with Bob Rosen, author of Grounded
Leaders' health may sound like a soft topic to some. How does it affect the bottom line?
Well-being is a current hot topic of interest in many areas. For example, healthy employees simply cost companies less in almost every way. Healthy leaders are also more adept at adapting to the rapid pace of change. They simply get better business results. What's more, it's hard to argue with statistics. Our studies with hundreds of leaders over more than 20 years show a strong relationship between health and performance.
What does healthy leadership look like?
Healthy leaders are disciplined, self-aware and committed to personal growth for themselves and for those around them. They are attuned to four agendas. The financial agenda helps them assure that they have the capital and results required for continuity, success and growth. The operations agenda helps assure efficiency, the right investments, and processes for everything from accounting to innovation. The market agenda keeps them tuned to their customers, competitors, and the changing demands they will face. Most importantly, they focus on the human agenda, which healthy leaders recognize is the underpinning for the other three.
Why is there a gap between the leaders we have and the leaders we need?
Our preoccupation with competencies and results has created a superficial view of leadership. Competencies are important, but insufficient as indicators for the wisdom, judgment, decisiveness and courage that underlie great leadership. Our research clearly indicates that who you are shapes what you do. I think we've had that idea reversed for quite some time.
How can leaders stay grounded when everything around them is unstable?
Staying grounded in today's world takes commitment and discipline. It means being authentic, transparent, and staying true to one's values. We think our model is a very useful tool in helping people stay true to their authentic roots, discovering their strengths, and identifying areas in which they need to develop.
What steps can be taken to achieve healthy leadership?
First, a leader should remember that there's a huge difference between excellence and perfection. It's important not to let perfection get in the way of excellence. One mistake or vulnerability does not define a person. Imperfections make us human. Being aware and letting others in on our abilities and our needs can help us be better human beings and better leaders. Then, leaders must think about the investments of time and effort they can make to continue to improve, particularly in those dimensions that most need shoring up.
What are ways that healthy leaders can create conditions for engagement, both for themselves and for others?
Leaders can take a breath, create time and space for authentic connection and meaningful conversations. Get people to think creatively about what the longer view looks like and what their aspirations are, instead of constantly focusing on immediate needs. Appraisal and reward systems need to recognize the value of making these investments of time and energy.
Based on his previous ground breaking book The Healthy Company, Bob Rosen has tackled how leaders adapt to the changing values & ethos of contemporary and successful companies. In Grounded, he draws up with great delicacy and understanding the very best of Positive Psychology and applies it to the new challenges of 21st century organizations. I have no hesitation in predicting that Rosen's book will be one of the top, most important books on leadership for the 21st century. Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor in Business Administration & University Professor at USC
"Grounded argues that we all have the capacity for personal leadership. Author Bob Rosen provides insights for becoming the more alert, engaged, decisive, resilient and inclusive leader's organizations need."
Kay Koplovitz, Founder of USA Network, Entrepreneur, and Author of Bold Women, Big Ideas
"Great leadership is the most difficult and worthy challenge of our times. Bob Rosen, backed by a wealth of experience working with CEOs, knows that leadership is fundamentally personal - and that the ability to drive change begins inside. I recommend that every leader take his advice and adopt the daily practice of focusing on their 6 dimensions to a greater degree. Not only will this deliver everyday gains at eye level but you will stay rooted, become more adaptive, and achieve more no matter what uncertainties lay ahead."
Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO, The Lego Group
"Grounded reminds us how important it is to balance every piece of our lives - personal, spiritual, family, work, exercise and more - into one life, which becomes our life's work. Living authentically better enables us to serve and lead with a compelling vision, comprehensive strategy and relentless implementation. Thank you, Bob, for helping leaders to be their best!"
"Bob Rosen knows the world of leadership. This book puts all that experience and wisdom at your fingertips. Grounded provides a map that helps you unlock your knowledge, and open your head and your heart as a leader. If you've ever wanted one book that talks to you personally and professionally, this is it."
Beverly Kaye, Founder, Career Systems International, co-author Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want, co-author Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay
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Rosen believes that leaders have enormous influence. He demonstrates his conviction that leaders can become lasting, positive influences on their families, organization and communities. In Grounded, Rosen aims for readers to be inspired and educated holistically, so that they become fully healthy and self-actualizing people fulfilling their vocational calling and purpose in life.
The book is shaped around Rosen's belief that "Who You Are" is of first importance over "What You Do" which he addresses secondarily. Who you are consists of Physical Health, Emotional Health, Intellectual Health, Social Health, Vocational Health and Spiritual Health.
These are followed by sections contributing to "What the Healthy Leader Does:" Taps into a Higher Purpose, Forges a Shared Direction, Fosters Productive Relationships, Unleashes Human Potential, Seizes New Opportunities, Drives High Performance.
All of the above themes blend together, as none of them is exclusive of any of the others. Any of them could be and perhaps should have been the subject of its own book. Grounded address the various aspects of leaders as a single 300-page book on American History addresses the complete history of the country. There are highlights, big events and big characters, and few details that dig deeper into the subject matter to lead to real discoveries and deep insights.
Rosen knows the subject matter of leadership and the various themes addressed. There is little doubt that he could have gone into much more precise and helpful writing on any of the above. However, he provides a general overview of what makes leaders healthy and successful. This allows him to cover much ground in Grounded, but prevents digging deep roots in any way that will be transformative for readers. I was, frankly, overwhelmed with bullet-point lists like "Questions to Ask," "Things for Reflection," "Steps to Take," etc, within each section of the book.
Similarly, by the end of the book I could not care less about hearing anymore exploits of Fortune 100 CEO's. Rosen has included many stories of CEO's garnered from interviews and other sources that reveal some secrets of their successes or leadership advice. Some of these are interesting; while, others seem to offer nothing more than platitudes like, "Follow your heart and nothing is impossible for you."
Grounded reveals that succeeding in leadership requires that every part of your life and work be regularly addressed and continually improved....No standing or sitting still for leaders. Leadership demands earnest discipline in myriad arenas of life. The information is engaging and interesting but perhaps so overwhelming to render it of little help.