Read, Learn and Act

Time to read.  Read and learn.  Read, learn and act.

Time to find a new leadership book to read.  I have read and still refer to a number of classic leadership books.  Now though I am looking for something on the cutting edge that speaks to our present days and unclear tomorrows.

My search brought me to an article at Fast Company that referred to one of those new, Rise_of_the_DEOmodern and hip books on leadership.  The title is Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design.  The two authors, Maria Giudice and Christopher Ireland make the compelling case for the top leader in an organization to be an active designer.  One focused on building a culture from the inside out with plenty of creativity and collaboration.

All the better … the book’s copyright is 2014.  How much better can I get than a book from the future?!  With solid reviews and great setup, I decided to buy and read this new leadership book.  Ready to learn something new.

And thus I began to read.

Then things changed with an email.  The note came from Author Chris Lowney.  Chris tracked me down based on one of my posts concerning an article he wrote for the Harvard Business Review.   You can read my post and find a link to Chris’s article here.

Interesting man. Chris has lived as a Jesuit seminarian and then as a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan with posts around the world.  Pope Francis Why He LeadsLater in life he became an author and through his email invited me to read the first chapter of his new book, Pope Francis: Why He Leads The Way He Leads.

Once I read the first chapter I knew I needed to read the rest of this book, not later, but now.  I set aside for another day my leadership book from the future to one that detailed leadership influences unchanged for hundreds of years, back to Ignatius of Loyola, a man who lived 500 years ago.

I also remembered something that I repeated several times early in writing this blog.  We have forgotten more than we have learned.   Many of the answers we seek are not in front of us, they lie in our collective past and deep in our being.

The news that the new Pope was not from Europe is huge.  The news that he is a Jesuit is nearly beyond comprehension.  For those aware of the history of the Catholic Church and specifically the Jesuit Order, it is a true shock to have a Jesuit as Pope.

This book is very well written with such a compelling story of one man, following Ignatius himself, who detests personal ambition and a career focused on seeking high office.  Yet, now he is Pope.  His story and growth as a leader is fascinating and, as the author points out, the lessons apply to any of us in leadership positions.

I invite you to read the book yourself and let me know what you think.  As a start, the author spells out six habits or convictions learned from the life of Pope Francis.  Each of these set the structure for the rest of the book on how to be a truly effective leader:

  • Know yourself deeply, but live to serve others
  • Immerse yourself in the world, but withdraw from the world daily
  • Live in the present and revere tradition, but create the future

I set out to read.  To read and learn.  To read, learn and act.   I may have found the right book at the right time.  Time to act.

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