EMPLOYEE LEARNING WEEK ~ December 3 through December 7, 2012

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), the world’s largest association dedicated to the training and development field, is celebrating December 3-7, 2012 as Employee Learning Week to recognize the value of learning and the important link between a knowledgeable, highly skilled workforce and organizational success. 

Book Review: 42 Rules for Your New Leadership Role

I was not impressed …

I have seen this format and this topic before.   Another book on how to be a leader in short and easily digested chunks …

The Topic:  How to succeed in a new leadership role … others have covered the subject in some depth and from multiple viewpoints.

The Format:  String together a flurry of short and pithy advice about how to be a better leader … yes, I have read other books which opt for this format over the more traditional narrative or text style.

The Track Record:  I know that Pam Fox Rollin hit the Amazon best seller list first time around.  I also wondered what she could possibly have done to make a second edition that would meet the expectations for a strong reissue.

I am now very impressed …

Pam has not just updated her materials, but made them even more useful than the original version.

One reason is the attention to mindsets paid by 42 Rules   Other “how-to-do-it” volumes focus on the nuts and bolts of being a leadership, which is certainly important.  Pam also talks about the attitudes and perspectives that mark effective leaders.  Follow her guide about how to think and visualize like a leader and you will be ahead of the game before you actually do anything else.

An additional value of 42 Rules is that the book works for you and with you.   If you are a new leader or simply aspire to be in a leadership role in the future, you will find plenty of useful and down-to-earth advice about how to present yourself as a capable leader, regardless of current position or title.

Example:  Number 4 ~ Draft Your Strategic One-Pager (page 14)

Points of view are not something you develop as a leader.  You need to have them from day one, as this section affirms.  Take the time to write down your strategic impressions of what is in front of you.   You have just moved ahead of most people in managerial and leadership roles.

If you are already in a leadership position or moving from one level of leadership to another, you will also find much of value here.   The strategies Pam offers are timeless and apply nicely whether you are a person leading a very small group for the first time or are a seasoned leader in charge of many and much.

Example:  Number 16 ~ Get Over Yourself (page  42) 

This section directly faces one of the most potentially devastating issues for a Leader On The Move.   As we grow and gain confidence, a very real possibility exists that our ego will take control.  Down that path lies very little that will help you be a more effective manager.   42 Rules helps you combat this by a relentless focus on others with whom you interact.

A third compelling use of this book relates to others.   The most gifted and effective leaders recognize the value of helping others achieve and grow.  You just cannot build effective teams or a viable organization without doing so.  42 Rules provides the groundwork for personal coaching, small group development, and large-scale corporate leadership development.  You may want additional information about some specific issue or topic, but you will not find that anything has been overlooked.  42 Rules has it all.

Example:  Number 29 ~ Make The Most of Screw-ups (page 72) 

I had to include this one.   Mistakes are the real crux of leadership effort.   Nothing is quite as dangerous or as potentially rewarding as the dynamics around your response to a major mistake, whether your own or someone else’s.  How we handle this leadership challenge reveals our seminal nature.

Originally published in Spring 2011, Pam Fox Rollin has refreshed and updated her  first book.  The 2nd edition of  42 Rules for Your New Leadership Role: The Manual They Didn’t Hand You When You Made VP, Director, or Manager  is a real gem and easily worth the cost.

Rereading my favorite passages and annotating like crazy in the Heartland ….


Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of 42 Rules For Your New Leaderhsip Role for review.  I was under absolutely no obligation to say anything positive about the book.  I found it easy to do so and can openly recommend this book to new leaders, seasoned leaders, and leaders who are growing other leaders.  If they called today, I would happily buy the book for a lot more than they are asking.

Character-Based Leadership … An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

“They” say you cannot judge a book by its cover.

I agree, with one little exception …

You can tell an incredible amount about a book from its cover when you know who wrote that book.



NEW BOOK ALERT (yes, another one):  The Character-Based Leader from the LeadChange Group

Lots of folks out there who talk about leadership and leadership development.  Some of them have very powerful reputations and sell lots of books, often speak to very large groups for a handsome fee on their special take on leadership, and bask in the glow of public adoration.

Then we have the folks who are living leadership development every single day.  The folks at LeadChange Group are some of the most capable, thoughtful, enthusiastic, and knowledge people I know.   

What’s different about this group of leaders?

I follow many groups and people who work in Leadership Development. If I had to choose just ONE group to stay connected with and continue to follow, it would be LeadChange.   Wanna know why:

“… character is the only lasting foundation for truly effective leadership”

You’ll be hearing more from me about this book.

Disclaimer:  I have not read this book yet.   I just paid money for my copy …  but I know something of the quality of those who have written it.  If it is half as good as they are, I’ll be buying more copies to share with others who believe that character counts … a lot:)

 The LeadChange Group and particularly the 21 outstanding folks who have contributed to this book know this truth and are living it.   That’s all I need to support their efforts.  

Getting ready to hunker down with a hot cup of coffee and some fine reading in the Heartland ….




Why Leaders Won’t Lead – Dan Rockwell post

Solving 15 Reasons Leaders Won’t Lead.

Dan Rockwell provides thoughtful commentary in a straight-forward style about an important aspect of the leadership puzzle.

The reasons vary, but all are solid and experience-based.

Here’s one valuable little nugget to whet your appetite from this excellent post:

“Causes illuminate cures. Determine why your people aren’t performing and work toward enabling them.”

Good stuff from a master leadership developer.

Healing in the Heartland …


Round 3 . . .

Technical Expertise versus Personal Knowledge, Round 3


Thanks, Google!

You recently made my point for me by failing to recognize that good management and leadership requires more than technical expertise.  Google has a history of promoting and developing its leadership based on their technical abilities, ignoring the “soft skills” that help one actually manage other living, breathing human beings.

They have now changed their approach and are tackling employee retention issues by asking employees what they think are critical management skills.  No surprise that technical skill came in dead last, at least to those of us who study leadership and management.  Continue reading