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The High-Potential Leader: How to Grow Fast, Take on New Responsibilities, and Make an Impact Hardcover – March 13, 2017
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From the Inside Flap
Companies need a new kind of leader to meet the enormous challenges of today's fast-moving business world. Whether you have potential to step up and lead or are charged with finding those who can, The High-Potential Leader is your authoritative guide.
Known for his coaching work with many of the world's leading CEO's, bestselling author Ram Charan explains how "hipos" can know who they are, create their individual path, and accelerate their growth. The book also helps top management and HR professionals cultivate, in their hipos, the skills, judgment, and mental capacity needed at the highest levels. This hands-on guidebook contains:
- Practical advice and checklists in every chapter for making daily progress toward running a large team, business unit, or company
- A framework for deciding when and how to make job changes that speed development
- Firsthand examples and lessons learned from top leaders around the world in a variety of industries
From the Back Cover
"If you are a high-potential leader, or want to become one, this is the book for you."
Laszlo Bock, Senior Advisor and Former SVP of People Operations, Google
"In this book, Ram provides practical advice on how high-potential leaders can help their businesses thrive in the digital age, and accelerate their own growth."
Dominic Barton, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company
"Ram Charan shows again why he is one of the leading business coaches in the world. This book allows young leaders to benefit from the insider's perspective Ram has accumulated throughout his career working with top CEO's."
Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; Partner, The RBL Group
"Ram Charan has developed invaluable checklists and practical tools for expanding leadership productivity, thinking ahead, and acting decisively. This is the book for High Potentials."
Michael Useem, Professor of Management and Director of the Wharton Leadership Center at the University of Pennsylvania
"Hipo" leaders have careers on a different timetable from everyone elsewhich requires them to test themselves and build skills quickly so they are prepared to deal with the complexities of higher level jobs.
The High-Potential Leader is a step-by-step game plan everyone with great potential needs to maximize their talent at any company. Famed executive coach and thought leader Ram Charan details everything it takes to recognize hipo leadership abilities, in yourself and others, and cut your own path to the top:
- Master the leadership behaviors and people skills you will use throughout your career
- Establish yourself as a bridge between silos in your company to enhance performance and drive innovation
- Acquire the mindset and techniques to confidently delegate and get results so you can stay focused on the big picture
Top customer reviews
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The author, Ram Charan, the consultant to many of the largest companies on earth, was described by Fortune magazine as 'the most influential consultant alive'.
Most books on personal development are focused on people way below those whom Charan calls “high-potentials” –people who will develop or lead a top-100 company in any country. The biggest challenge to senior leaders today is, Charan reports, “how can we stay relevant in this increasingly complex and fast-moving world.” This book is a guide to building the skills and capabilities you will need.
Companies are fast realizing that to reinvent the business, leaders with very different skills and ways of thinking are required. Until recently business growth was essentially a matter of improving on things that already existed, by increasing profits through cost-cutting, modifying products for sale to adjacent markets, or acquiring other companies in the same industry. Radical transformations such as changing the business model, reconstructing the entire supply and distribution process, and so on, are non-existent in most companies.
This is not a book for high-potential people: it targets a small subset, high-potential leaders, in a variety of positions in a company. What makes these high-potential leaders unique is the huge difference they will make to new or existing businesses.
High-potential leaders are pre-supposed to have high integrity and superb communication skills. The real differentiator is the ability to multiply the energy and skills of others towards new and uncharted possibilities. “They integrate specialized expertise, differing viewpoints, and narrow interests to create new solutions and make better, faster decisions than would otherwise happen,” Charan explains.
To hone your high-potential, should you have the ability to be such a leader, requires that you take charge of your personal growth. Your company may well be too slow for you, or not be interested or able, to grow the capabilities you will need.
The first part of this book focuses on the leadership skills you will need to develop. There are five critical skills: increasing the return on your time; multiplying the energy and skills of those around you; mastering big ideas as well as their execution; getting to know your customers, competitors, and the macro-environment; and building your mental capacity.
I will touch on only a few aspects of these critical skills.
Increasing the Return-on-Your-Time
There’s a limit to how much longer and more intensely a person can work before they damage both their health and their personal relationships. The only solution is to raise the return on the time you expend on work.
Once you are comfortable with employing staff who are more talented than you, you can increase the return on your time by hiring superb people and putting them in the right jobs. You will rapidly discover how quickly this exercise will give you more time for higher-value activities. Your highest leverage is not process, organization, or money, but people. Too many leaders settle for the “best person available” rather than pursuing the more demanding task of finding the best. Often, this is a result of not fully understanding the requirements of the job and commonly, how it may change over time, and continue changing. “Focusing precisely on how you can help others do their jobs should be a big part of doing yours,” Charan notes.
With the team in place, you are able to narrow your priorities to the few that will have the greatest impact on your business. And then make plans for who will take these on—and when.
In every area of business, we now suffer from “information fatigue syndrome” which often results in decreased productivity, higher stress, and chronic irritability. To achieve a higher return on time, many have developed ways to easily track performance. First, deciding what is important to know, and then constructing an effective dashboard to quickly and easily summarise that which is most important.
Lead the Dialogue
The essence of group work is in the dialogue, but this can only be developed through practice in real situations. “You know a great dialogue when you see one. People are mentally engaged, and might even lose track of time. They are respectful of one another, but they don’t hold back on what they really think. There’s toughness to it, and informality,” Charan explains. Leaders must develop and hone this skill, and ensure that there is the dialogue - so necessary for personal and business growth.
Build your mental capacity
Leaders can and must build their mental capacity, just as athletes build their physical capacity.
This has many facets from widening your lens, so you that you can identify opportunities and stimulate the imagination, to continuously learning, and to engaging in “curiosity conversations”.
High-potentials need to keep extending the network of people with whom they have relationships. These networks are becoming increasingly important to everyday work, as companies need ever more collaboration between departments, partners, and individuals.
The search for information and insight can be found at learning events, and through setting up news alerts that Google and many sites offer. They can be found by reading reports in magazines such as the Economist (my preferred resource.) A basic requirement, however, is to stay mentally flexible and to constantly make your thinking and judgments more precise.
This book is a one of a kind, a self-help manual for high-potential leaders, with depth and insights that are the product of wisdom, experience and access to the world’s best. I know of very few who are as credible for this task as Charan.
Readability Light ----+ Serious
Insights High -+--- Low
Practical High -+--- Low
*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy, and is the author of the recently released Executive Update.
- goes against traditional hierarchical organizational thinking and shows the way forward for companies that want to survive the next decades in a highly changing environment