As a leadership development consultancy, one of our overarching premises is that the act of leadership is communication and language. Unless you speak something into existence, with declarations, requests and promises, no mindset shifts or behavioural change can happen.
As far as we’re aware, no other animals can communicate ideas and stories in the ways humans can. Leadership doesn’t exist successfully without dialogue - it's the bedrock of all our influence as managers.
Here, we’re introducing three books for anyone interested in the wider ideas which help drive this premise. Each of the books we’ve recommended furthers Breakthrough Thinking in its own unique way, and at their cores they each promote a more purposeful way of being in the world.
The three titles all talk about the language we’re using and who we’re being as a result of it. Each subscribes to the viewpoint that there’s no set way things should be. These are books all about having the freedom to move forwards and create.
Finally, they are all authored by people Achieve Breakthrough have a relationship with or who have helped shape our thinking. These are just some of the books that help articulate the philosophy behind the work we do - and I'll share other recommendations in future blog posts.
The Last Word on Power by Tracy Goss
In The Last Word on Power, Goss makes the case for leaders putting themselves beyond the point of current possibility to break free from the constraints of the past and the identity that has fueled it.
Goss is a superb executive coach and consultant and believes leaders need to be on the lookout for ways they can reinvent themselves. And be able to reinvent their tried and tested strategies and habitual “ways of being” that, whilst historically may have made them successful, could also be limiting them.
Inside, away from the slightly outdated cover art, Goss’ insights are cutting edge. There are pages of great insights and real examples of winning leadership strategies, as well as notes on how they can evolve. Everything Goss introduces is easily actionable, making the text a powerful edition to have to hand in the office.
There’ll be one or two slightly-too-80s examples of team management scattered among the pages, but those aside this is a visionary book, as relevant to this decade as any other.
Conversations for Action by Fernando Flores
The essays in this collection all offer a framework for developing more effective, productive relationships in the workplace by taking a more philosophical look into how language shapes our interior monologues and exterior actions.
Each of Flores’ essays delves a little deeper into the idea that the conversation we embody is also who we’re being to those around us – and the type of leader we are as a result.
The book’s title is also the name of Flores’ most famous essay, written in the early 90s, which also features in the collection. It’s a modern classic, in part thanks to the straightforward distinctions it makes in observing how humans invent what we do together in conversations with each other, through certain basic speech acts.
Off the back of this, Flores looks into how language creates the future for the whole world, linking up with our own journeys into exploring Narrative Identity and creative, ‘we’-based collaboration.
Living in a Real-Time World by Jim Selman
Selman coined the phrase ‘real-time world’, something the rest of us might recognise as one characterised by VUCA attributes (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity).
The ‘real-time world’ is so disruptive it has very real ramifications on market accessibility, but Selman explores six conversational capabilities leaders can employ to counter the chaos, navigate uncertainty, and find out what it is they need to know in order to move forwards.
Anything is possible when we work together via language, Selman argues, and when we place this notion amongst the current-day demands facing organisations, it's a comforting and essential read.
For more breakthrough thinking be sure not to miss our new podcast: Ambition Unleashed.
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