This is the working title for my upcoming leadership book. What do you think?
Okay, just kidding I am not writing a book on leadership. Yet, if I did, a title of “Page Intentionally Left Blank” would work well indeed.
Alas, the world does not need another leadership book. Do a search for “leadership” in the Amazon books section and over 100,000 leadership-related books will be there waiting for you.
If I added to this growing list though I would need to be contrarian of sorts. As such, “This Page Intentionally Left Blank” would work as a book title for me. You may have seen this term used before in various books or documents. Writers use these words on a blank page to let the reader know that it is intentionally blank, no errors of omission.
Every page in the thousands of available leadership books are full of ideas, stories, and how-to lists. They may as well include recipes; spelled out on how to proceed. Many indeed read like recipe books with carefully measured ingredients and step-by-step process.
And for all of this – leadership is no better today in our society and business environment. If you want to read a profound book on the state of leadership development go no further than, The End of Leadership, by respected scholar Barbara Kellerman.
So where am I … oh yea, the book I am not writing.
I would add my own ideas, stories and yep, maybe a few how-to lists. Yet, this would fill only half the book. At the midway point in this book I would insert a blank page with these simple words posted in the center of the page, “Page Intentionally Left Blank”.
Every page for the second half of the book would repeat the same words. No more ideas, stories or how-to lists from me.
Silly? I think not.
While we can learn from the experiences and insight of others, each of us must go forward and find our own expression of leadership. Experience, reflection and a willingness to change is how we learn and improve as leaders.
My book is not half blank. Those pages are ready for you to fill in. Your own ideas, stories and yep, maybe a few how-to lists. Grab a pen, reflect, and begin to write. Finish the book by telling us how you have learned, changed, and became a better leader.
Someone needs to write that book.
GREAT article Michael. I so agree, way too many Leadership books are, as you say, like recipe books: do this, then do that. All of these tools are fine but they need intelligence of all sorts to be applied when using them, and it’s a lot harder to write down how to be intelligent.
One the leadership courses I run I don’t use slides, and I don’t give out materials – no recipe books! I do give them a nice little Moleskine note book so they can build their own leadership story within it.
I think you and I are on the same page, if you’ll forgive the pun!