This was a question asked by the Chartered Management Institute last month, of future leaders. The CMI launched an essay competition for those under 30, focussing specifically on this question. For any future young leaders amongst our readers, the competition can be found HERE. The deadline for submissions is 15th March 2014.
Management and leadership competence and development has been a long-time interest of mine. Keeping up to date with current thinking is hugely important to Aresko generally is I am to be able to add value to any client situation.
So, given its World Book Day today, I thought it would be timely to share what we are currently reading to enhance our thinking AND declare what our favourite management text is, and why.
I am currently reading: “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook (previously Google and the US Treasury Department). It’s about her story of women, work and the will to lead. It starts with her experiences as a senior executive at Google in her first pregnancy and outlines (now) obvious workplace modifications to enable organisations to keep the skills and experience of pregnant female employees – of whatever level. It continues in this vein, outlining why some and not others “lean in” and tackle issues in the workplace which make things better for bigger numbers of people, i.e. leadership examples. It’s a marvellous account of the value of women vis a vie the context of the workplace being male oriented. I like the book a lot and it never ceases to amaze me why many women shy away from leadership roles in the way that men never would. I’ve always been a bit of a “I-feel-so-strongly-about-that,-I’m-going-to-do-anything-I-can-to-make-it-better” kind of woman. Many moons ago, my dear Dad called me “goal orientated” and it was the first time that phrase had ever touched my young years. Little did I know it would form the majority of my professional life experiences in the future!
Again, many moons ago (2001 to be precise as I rediscovered the book today and when opening it found I had written my name and the date on the inside cover. This is a habit I have with books, it plants them firmly in a specific time of my life), I read a tiny little book called: “Who Moved My Cheese” by Dr Spencer Johnson. I read it just because I was told to read it. It was on my reading list for my MBA which I was undertaking at the time. I opened it with trepidation and discovered a fabulous little story of how to cope and deal with change. Cheese being a metaphore for whatever the big thing is in your life that you desperately want and need to happen at the time.
It is 73 pages of big writing which had a profound inspiration on my future career pathway. You can read it easily in an hour or two and I will promise you, you will read it many times thereafter. Personally, I’ve probably read this about a dozen times now. I’ve moved house 3 times since I first read it and its always been in the “must not lose” box when packing.
It’s the story of some mice in a maze trying to find the cheese. It explains why some are more successful than others at the task and the wider application of the messages it contains is never-ending! I would love you to read it too and let me know what you think.
What are you currently reading and influenced by? What would be your pivotal framework for that essay we talked about at the beginning of this post, if you were (or indeed you are) entering that competition?