Author: Brian Tracy
Publisher: AMACOM, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0814414347, 256 pages
Brian Tracy offers sound advice to help leaders succeed. He doesn’t suggest anything terribly new, but his advice is entirely solid: Set goals, be innovative, be decisive, motivate your people and focus on results. You don’t need a book to teach you, “to fulfill your potential, you must become excellent at what you do,” but you may welcome the pep talk and the reminder. Such popular advice has made Tracy a best-selling author with 45 books to his credit and, apparently, has given him permission to quote himself at will. You may have to find your own balance as you weigh his counsel to exercise and spend more time with your family against his advice to go to work early, stay late and be available on weekends, but that’s a true reflection of the dilemma of modern leadership. Overall, getAbstract finds that Tracy’s concepts, tips and suggestions offer a steady foundation of the basics of leadership amid today’s challenges.
Obstacles and opportunities
These are dynamic times of great challenges and opportunities for businesspeople and their companies. Winners will seize the day and become stronger, while problems will swamp the losers. To lead in this hard, yet exploitable, environment, businesspeople must faithfully and competently attend to seven leadership basics:
1. “Set and achieve business goals” – Business is about sales and profits. Aim high.
2. “Innovate and market” – Selling depends on attracting and retaining customers, so develop great products and market them with power and panache.
3. “Solve problems and make decisions” – This is the essence of leadership.
4. “Set priorities and focus on key tasks” – Wisely allocate your company’s resources, including funds, time and personnel, to address priority issues.
5. “Be a role model to others” – Your staffers will fashion their attitudes and activities based on what you do and say.
6. “Persuade, inspire and motivate others to follow you” – Leaders must draw followers.
7. “Perform and get results” – Your career depends on it.
Organizations rise or fall based on leadership. As a leader, you should consider what leadership entails, particularly because, as psychology teaches, “You become what you think about most of the time.” Leadership is so crucial that researchers have conducted more than 3,000 studies trying to define its core skills. These studies identified 50 leadership traits; the seven most critical are:
“Vision” – This is the “most important” leadership characteristic. Great leaders can see over the horizon and plan their organizations’ destinies accordingly. Your firm’s values can help you picture its ideal future. Use that vision as a foundation for determining your company’s most appropriate mission and setting the goals necessary to make it a reality.
“Courage”– Organizations that fear taking risks will stagnate. Thus, leaders must be bold, so they can make smart gambles and beat their competitors. Leaders stay calm and cool during crises, maneuvering their firms safely over the marketplace’s rocky shoals.
“Integrity” – This is “the most respected and admired quality of superior...leaders.” Dishonest leaders poison their companies. As former General Electric CEO Jack Welch said, “Lack of candor basically blocks smart ideas [and] fast action...It’s a killer.”
“Humility”– Leaders need “the security and self-confidence” to see the merit of other people’s contributions. Leaders with giant egos often cannot view things objectively and are too proud to admit their mistakes. Such leaders often place their companies in harm’s way. Being humble is a sign of strength, not weakness…