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Leadership Code: Five Rules to Lead By Hardcover – January 8, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dave Ulrich is Professor of Business at the University of Michigan and a partner at The RBL Group. He has published fifteen books and has worked with over half of the Fortune 200. Last year, Fast Company named him as one of the ten most innovative and creative business management thinkers. Norm Smallwood is cofounder of The RBL Group and coauthor of five books, including Results-Based Leadership. He is also on the faculty of the Executive Education Center at the University of Michigan Business School. Kate Sweetman is leadership development consultant and a former editor at Harvard Business Review.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (January 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781422119013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422119013
  • ASIN: 1422119017
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Those who have read any of Dave Ulrich's fifteen previously published books already know that he is one of the insightful thinkers and most eloquent writers in the contemporary business world. In his last book The Leadership Brand, Ulrich and Norm Smallwood make this affirmation: "We believe that leaders matter, but leadership matters more. We have all experienced a gifted leader who engaged all of us -- our hearts, minds, and feet. Dynamic leaders enlist us in a cause, and we willingly follow their counsel. But leadership exists when an organization produces more than one to two individual leaders. Leadership matters more because it is tied not to a person but to the process of building leaders." By no means do Ulrich and Smallwood question the importance of individual leaders. On the contrary, they assert (and I agree) that one of the most important obligations of being a leader is to strengthen or at least sustain a process by which to identify, hire, develop, and then retain high-impact leaders at all levels and in all areas throughout her or his organization.

Efforts to write most of the best business books are driven by an important question (e.g. How can a company "leap" from good to great?) and, in fact, this book responds to two basic sets of questions:

"1. What percent of effective leadership is basically the same? Are there common rules that any leader anywhere must master? Is there a recognizable leadership code?

2. If there are common rules that all leaders must master, what are they?"

Stated another way, is there a "DNA" of effective leadership? If so, what is it? Are leaders born with it or can it be developed? In this book, Ulrich, Smallwood, and Sweetman respond to these questions.
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Format: Hardcover
Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman have accomplished an almost impossible task: sifting through the overwhelming amount of information and knowledge on the nebulous subject of leadership, and actually making sense of it. They synthesize their research into five essential rules they call the "Leadership Code." They tell readers how to strategize, execute, involve employees, develop a base of talented people and how to grow as leaders. Filled with business vocabulary, this is clearly a book by businesspeople for businesspeople. Nonetheless, getAbstract recommends it to current and aspiring executives who want to crack the code to find and follow the elusive path to great leadership.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best leadership books I have read in my lifetime. I have used this leadership code for my new concept of leadership - "Soft Leadership". I have used this model in my book titled 'Soft Leadership: Make Others Feel More Important' which is receiving a great response globally. Also, in my research papers published by prestigious journals like 'Leader to Leader' and 'Industrial and Commercial Training' of Emerald. This book is a must read for all. It is worth investing your time. I strongly recommend reading this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Is there a "Da Vinci Code" for leaders? Ulrich, Smallwood and Sweetman purport to have found "The Leadership Code," As they point out, "This leadership code, like any other code, provides both structure and guidance, and helps you know not only what to do to be a better individual leader, but also how to build better leadership capability." Since there are probably "half a million books on leaders and leader¬ship, we turned to recognized experts in the field who had...already spent years sifting through the evidence and developing their own theories." Since I was honored to be included in their acknowledgements, my review may be somewhat biased. (But if they appreciate my work on leadership skills and development, they are clearly brilliant people, right?)

From their literature review and body of interviews conducted, they con¬cluded that 60 to 70 percent of leadership effectiveness would be contained in the leadership code. Their analysis and synthesis result in a framework that they believe is accurate, logical, and useful. While many academics will turn up their noses at the lack of elegance in their research design, the book is likely to pass a more important test: perceived value and relevance to leaders on the firing line!
The Leadership Code essentially breaks down into five deceptively simple rules:
Rule 1: Shape the Future. This rule is embodied in the strategist dimension of the leader. Strategists not only envision a future, they help create it . As practical futurists, they figure out where the organization needs to go to succeed, they test these ideas pragmati¬cally against current resources (money, people, organiza¬tional capabilities), and they work with others to figure out how to get from the present to the desired future.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Values and Vision are the roots of every leader and the crux of outstanding leadership. Knowing your own personal values and aligning them to corporate strategy is the way to ensure long-term success of your career and organization. This book shows you how...
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Format: Hardcover
Several of the previous reviews provide a good overview of the material in the book so I will not repeat it here.

There are a lot of leadership titles out there and most provide one or two insights but I found this to be one of the most substantial leadership books in terms of real actionable advice and insights that I have read in some time.

This book is not a collection of academic fluff or highly conceptual "models."It contains number us useful checklists and self-assessments derived from the author's substantial research which can easily be applied in a real business. The sections on strategy, leading change, goalsetting and preventing burnout are especially useful. It is well-written and concise. This is one I will have my entire leadership team read.
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