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One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership Hardcover – October 18, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Devoid of the normal leadership philosophy B.S., One Piece of Paper is a simple yet profound guide for defining who you are and what you want to be as a leader. Read this book and write your own leadership maxims-it will make you a better leader and it may change your life!"
—Roland Smith, president and CEO, Wendy's / Arby's Group

"One Piece of Paper elegantly tackles the complex topic of leadership and makes it real, practical, and powerful for leaders in all walks of life. Leadership is about relationships. The approach explained in this book will help you build a strong foundation for the relationships you have with your team."
—Mike Krzyzewski, head coach, Duke University

"In One Piece of Paper, Mike Figliuolo brushes aside the buzzwords and offers a clear path to becoming a truly authentic leader. If you want your team to work both harder and smarter—not just because you're the boss, but because you're a trusted ally—buy this book."
—Keith Ferrazzi, author, Who's Got Your Back and Never Eat Alone

"Because Mike Figliuolo is a leader himself, he truly understands the challenges leaders face in the real business world. His guidance and advice are practical, and in One Piece of Paper he zeroes in on the skills leaders need to compete effectively in today's global environment."
—Gail Leiber, director, Global Learning & Development Consulting Practice, Abbott Laboratories

"With professional ease, Mike joins with his reader through the building of leadership maxims, with a promise of collection into ‘one piece of paper’ at the end. The book feels like a conversation between two old friends, one of them being you."
—John Galvin, General, U.S. Army, Retired and Former Supreme Allied Commander Europe

"With his unique insights from decades of experience as a combat arms officer, management consultant, Fortune 500 executive, and entrepreneur, Mike Figliuolo has hit the mark with a must-read for leaders at all levels who want to radically improve their effectiveness."
—The Honorable David McCormick, Under Secretary of the U.S Treasury (2007-2009)

"Once I began it, I could not put Mike's book down as I learned how to learn about myself. Beginning with establishing an honest, personal introspective foundation, One Piece of Paper provides a hands-on, actionable guide to credible, effective leadership."
—Jack Partridge, president, Columbia Gas of Ohio, Inc.

"Dynamic leaders at all levels will benefit from Mike Figliuolo's experience and powerful approach. If you are ready to take ownership of defining your authentic style of leadership, then One Piece of Paper is the place to begin."
—Kim Gravell, vice president, Strategy Management, Cardinal Health

"One Piece of Paper is exceptionally framed, forward-thinking, and thought provoking. Mike Figliuolo provides key leadership insights and perspectives that are real. This book represents concise, practical, and effective thinking on leadership, and plainly said, this approach works."
—Darcie Zeliesko, group leader, Heinz North America

"Mike Figliuolo's maxims approach to leadership provides a simple yet profound template for developing the kind of synergy, trust, and confidence essential for successful organizations."
—Robert F. Foley, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army, Retired

From the Inside Flap

Leadership seems complicated to many. With competing philosophies and methods, as well as a rapidly changing workplace, is it possible to clearly, succinctly, and simply convey your personal approach to leading others?

One Piece of Paper provides an authentic, accessible model for any leader to do just that. Simple, applicable, and without pretense, it's real leadership for the real world.

Based on leadership expert Mike Figliuolo's popular "Leadership Maxims" training course, One Piece of Paper guides you through a simple approach for creating, articulating, and living your personal leadership philosophy—one that can be shared on a single piece of paper. Figliuolo's model distills leadership to four easy-to-understand aspects:

  • Leading yourself: What motivates you and what are your rules of personal conduct? What do you want the "future you" to look like and stand for?

  • Leading the thinking: Where are you taking your organization and how will you innovate to drive change?

  • Leading your people: How can you lead a team as individuals rather than as faceless cogs in a machine?

  • Leading a balanced life: How do you define and achieve equilibrium between work and personal obligations?

By answering simple, provocative questions that guide anyone to a set of personal leadership maxims, you build a living document that communicates your personal passions, goals, and standards that define your leadership style. The result: one piece of paper that provides an accessible touchstone for both you and your team, enabling you to work together effectively, build your organization, and achieve great results.

With the simplicity of its approach and the powerful, deeply meaningful set of leadership maxims that it inspires, One Piece of Paper will help anyone achieve his or her true potential as a leader.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118049594
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118049594
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book.

Most books on leadership have two main flaws: first, they're full of pablum (or "BS," as Mike Figliuolo describes it - and get used to that; he calls a spade a spade). Second, they usually represent one person's view of leadership, with the underlying assumption that what worked for them will work for you.

One Piece of Paper is a very good book because of its content. But what gets it from 4 stars to 5 is that it is the only book on leadership I've ever read that avoids both of these flaws. The author is refreshingly down-to-earth. Simple language; real examples; tangible guidance. The book is exceedingly practical.

More importantly, Mike understands that leadership is an intensely personal characteristic. Trying to emulate General Patton, or Jack Welch, or Carly Fiorina is a recipe for disaster for the obvious reason that you are not them. You have different motivations, different strengths, different communication styles, and you probably face different challenges. One Piece of Paper is a guide to understanding and developing your own personal leadership style.

As other reviewers have noted, reading this book requires you to roll up your sleeves and work. You don't become a leader by osmosis. Mike challenges you to think hard about what really matters to you, what you believe in, and what kind of leader you aspire to be. Then he asks you to commit pen to paper and codify those maxims in plain language that can be easily understood and described. No flowerly terms like "synergy" and "mission-driven." And then he asks you to share the results of that process with others, especially those on your team, so they can hold you accountable for it.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the many intelligent things that Socrates said is "An unexamined life is not worth living." In an era when many professionals are running flat out until they crash, taking time for self examination usually ends up falling into the category of important but not urgent. The downside of that, of course, is that the urgent things end up overwhelming the important things that a little bit of self examination might have identified.

Fortunately, Mike Figliuolo has come up with a simple yet powerful approach to self examination in his new book, One Piece of Paper . The big idea is to boil your personal philosophy on four basic aspects of leadership down to one piece of paper. Mike offers a series of questions and exercises to help you do that. One of his core tools is what he calls the maxim. The maxim is a simple idea that you hold in your head to remind yourself of how to act. An example that Mike offers is "What would my grandmother say?"

Mike's process and book really makes you think. It gets you off the dance floor and onto the balcony. That's a pretty good place to do some self-examination. I encourage you to check out One Piece of Paper.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On page 13 of this wonderful and inspiring book by leadership consultant Mike Figliuolo he says, "If you are serious about trying a new approach to leadership and you are committed to writing your own set of (leadership) maxims, you need to think of this as a 'WORKbook' and not (just) a 'reading book'."

Well, I have to admit that the first time I quickly read through this book a few months ago, I failed to take his advice and just thought of it as a "reading book." Doing so, I found his approach interesting and thought-provoking (i.e., his central premise of separating leadership into four aspects: leading yourself, leading the thinking, leading your people, and leading a balanced life), and I enjoyed his authentic, transparent, and highly personalized leadership style, approach, and storytelling ability.

But this weekend I decided to pick it up again, this time taking his advice seriously and using it as a "workbook" -- and I'm so glad I did! Willing to put in "the WORK" and play along at home, the powerful end result is that I now have my own set of personal leadership maxims -- words, phrases, and images that succinctly represent and communicate to myself and to others who I am, and what I believe, as a leader - all written out on One Piece of Paper!

So in addition to the many valuable leadership lessons learned from READING this book, going through the reflective exercises inspired by the book simply reinforced the fact once again that if you truly want to develop your leadership capabilities, you really need to be willing to make the time, and take the time to do the work.

Having experienced its power first-hand, I will now gladly recommend this book to my clients and to my NYU students as an essential addition to their leadership development toolkits.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the newest book in my list of 12 most consequential books for new leaders. I include it because Mike Figliuolo provides a concise way for you to identify your own leadership motivations and values, and to develop maxims that will provide clarity for you and your team. I particularly appreciate his emphasis on simplicity and power. No buzzwords here! If you do the work, you will build your leadership philosophy on one sheet of paper which you will come back to repeatedly over your lifetime.

One Piece of Paper is not to be taken lightly - there is a lot of work to get down to one piece of paper with your deepest leadership values, beliefs, and paradigms in language that resonates for you and is accessible for others. This one is worth the read - but only if you do the work!

Happy Reading,

David Dye, author of The Seven Things Your Team Needs to Hear You Say
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