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The Trusted Executive: Nine Leadership Habits that Inspire Results, Relationships and Reputation Paperback – April 28, 2016
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A mixture of academic research, interviews with CEOs and practical coaching is presented to the reader in a bid to help them build trust through boosting their ability, integrity and benevolence, both on a personal and corporate level. It was an interesting read that was quite pragmatic; it accepts that the world can’t be changed overnight and it does not give false hope that change will necessarily come in the blink of the eye. Every change, however, is one change for the better… A manager or company leader has the potential to not only improve their own lot, but to work on changing their own company at the same time and that can lead to other individuals changing their own behaviour. An infective process!
For this reviewer, the book was an interesting read but maybe it would not be fair to describe it as revolutionary but evolutionary. A good compendium of common sense that deserves wider distribution and implementation. We need more trust, genuine trust rather than meaningless corporate slogans and lip service. A book like this may yield some benefit to you. It might be transformational for the company that you work for – even though the pathway to total trust might be a rocky road.
The book leads with a section on why executives want to be trusted. I recall a speech I heard recently by the CEO of Ace Hardware, John Vanhuizen (and getting to know him a bit, I would call him a trusted executive). He said (paraphrased) "CEOs and business people are not trusted and not as important as we like to think". He was speaking to a room of CEOs and business people. We see this by the occupy Wall Street movement. Given the environment, it makes sense to study more how to be trusted.
The habits are broken down into 3 pliiars - Habits of Ability, Habits of Integrity and Habits of Benevolence. I will not share all of the 9 habits but will mention a few:
One habit is the habit to be open. Consistent open communications build trust. This includes having a healthy mutual respect. The book says "choose to be open" so it is a choice.
I love the habit but as a time management person struggle with how to do this well. In person is always best. Repeated, as long as it is not boring helps. Multi-channel helps - face to face, email, webex, call etc.
Most of the habits seem fairly easy and come naturally - humility, kindness, honesty. Some like braveness take more. I suspect each leader will have their own easy and difficult ones.
I know self knowledge is a key to good leadership and suspect that helps a lot with being trusted.
John offers a comprehensive insight into building trustworthiness with his three pillars each containing three habits; Pillar 1 Habits of Ability (delivery, coaching and consistency), Pillar 2 Habits of Integrity (honesty, openness and humility) and Pillar 3 Habits of Benevolence (kindness, bravery and evangelism) and together these 9 habits inspire positive business results, relationships and reputation.
This book offers four added values in comparison to many others I have read. Its personal prose style is full of vivid anecdotes and coaching conversations from John's personal and business experience which covey complete trust in what he is saying. He also offers invaluable advice for when things go wrong as well as tackling the issue of trustworthiness in multinational corporations. In addition, this book is not only an excellent self-development tool but is an invaluable resource for executive coaches focusing on leadership development.
'The Trusted Executive' serves as an ideal complement to behaviourally focussed Goldsmith's and Reiter's 'Triggers: Sparking positive change and making it last'. Blakey will change your leadership behaviour and in the words from my favourite Spanish proverb 'Del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho', your transformation will begin with this must read.
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