In My Hands Today…

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us – Seth Godin

A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It’s our nature.

Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger. But more importantly, they’re enabling countless new tribes to be born—groups of ten or ten thousand or ten million who care about their iPhones, or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming. And so the key question: Who is going to lead us?

The Web can do amazing things, but it can’t provide leadership. That still has to come from individuals—people just like you who have passion about something. The explosion in tribes means that anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips.

If you think leadership is for other people, think again—leaders come in surprising packages. Consider Joel Spolsky and his international tribe of scary-smart software engineers. Or Gary Vaynerhuck, a wine expert with a devoted following of enthusiasts. Chris Sharma leads a tribe of rock climbers up impossible cliff faces, while Mich Mathews, a VP at Microsoft, runs her internal tribe of marketers from her cube in Seattle. All they have in common is the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead.

If you ignore this opportunity, you risk turning into a “sheepwalker”—someone who fights to protect the status quo at all costs, never asking if obedience is doing you (or your organization) any good. Sheepwalkers don’t do very well these days.

Tribes will make you think (really think) about the opportunities in leading your fellow employees, customers, investors, believers, hobbyists, or readers. . . . It’s not easy, but it’s easier than you think.

In My Hands Today…

The Truth about Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-Of-The-Matter Facts You Need to Know – James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

In these turbulent times, when the very foundations of organizations and societies are shaken, leaders need to move beyond pessimistic predictions, trendy fads, and simplistic solutions. They need to turn to what’s real and what’s proven. In their engaging, personal, and bold new book, Kouzes and Posner reveal ten time-tested truths that show what every leader must know, the questions they must be prepared to answer, and the real-world issues they will likely face.

Based on thirty years of research, more than one million responses to Kouzes and Posner’s leadership assessment, and the questions people most want leaders to answer Explores the fundamental, enduring truths of leadership that hold constant regardless of context or circumstance-leaders make a difference, credibility, values, trust, leading by example, heart, and more Shows emerging leaders what they need to know to be effective; fans of The Leadership Challenge will find a dynamic new look at the real challenges leaders face today Drawing from cases spanning three generations of leaders from around the world, this is a book leaders can use to do their real and necessary work-bringing about the essential changes that will renew organizations and communities.

In My Hands Today…

The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company – Robert Iger and Joel Lovell

A grand vision defined: The CEO of The Walt Disney Company shares the ideas and values he has used to reinvent one of the most beloved companies in the world, and inspire the people who bring the magic to life.

In 2005, Robert Iger became CEO of The Walt Disney Company during a difficult time. Morale had deteriorated, competition was more intense, and technology was changing faster than at any time in the company’s history. “I knew there was nothing to be gained from arguing over the past,” Iger writes. “The only thing that mattered was the future, and I believed I had a clear idea of the direction Disney needed to go.” It came down to three clear ideas: 1) Create the highest quality content Disney could produce. 2) Embrace and adopt technology instead of fighting it. And 3) Think bigger–think global–and turn Disney into a stronger brand in international markets.

Twelve years later, Disney is the largest, most respected media company in the world counting Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox among its properties. Its value is nearly five times what it was when Iger took over, and Iger is recognized as one of the most innovative and successful CEOs of our time.

Now, he’s sharing the lessons he’s learned while running Disney and leading its 200,000 employees–taking big risks in the face of historic disruption; learning to inspire the people who work for you; leading with fairness and communicating principles clearly. This book is about the relentless curiosity that has driven Iger for forty-five years, since the day he started as a studio supervisor at ABC. It’s also about thoughtfulness and respect, and a decency-over-dollars approach that has become the bedrock of every project and partnership Iger pursues, from a deep friendship with Steve Jobs in his final years to an abiding love of the evolving Star Wars myth.

“Over the past fourteen years, I think I’ve learned so much about what real leadership is,” Iger writes. “But I couldn’t have articulated all of this until I lived it. You can’t fake it–and that’s one of the key lessons in this book.”

In My Hands Today…

The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business – Erin Meyer

Whether you work in a home office or abroad, business success in our ever more globalized and virtual world requires the skills to navigate through cultural differences and decode cultures foreign to your own. Renowned expert Erin Meyer is your guide through this subtle, sometimes treacherous terrain where people from starkly different backgrounds are expected to work harmoniously together.

When you have Americans who precede anything negative with three nice comments; French, Dutch, Israelis, and Germans who get straight to the point (“your presentation was simply awful”); Latin Americans and Asians who are steeped in hierarchy; Scandinavians who think the best boss is just one of the crowd—the result can be, well, sometimes interesting, even funny, but often disastrous.

Even with English as a global language, it’s easy to fall into cultural traps that endanger careers and sink deals when, say, a Brazilian manager tries to fathom how his Chinese suppliers really get things done, or an American team leader tries to get a handle on the intra-team dynamics between his Russian and Indian team members.

In The Culture Map, Erin Meyer provides a field-tested model for decoding how cultural differences impact international business. She combines a smart analytical framework with practical, actionable advice for succeeding in a global world.

In My Hands Today…

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant – W. Chan Kim, Renée Mauborgne

Since the dawn of the industrial age, companies have engaged in head-to-head competition in search of sustained, profitable growth. They have fought for competitive advantage, battled over market share, and struggled for differentiation. Yet, as this influential and immensely popular book shows, these hallmarks of competitive strategy are not the way to create profitable growth in the future.

In the international bestseller Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne argue that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves (spanning more than 100 years across 30 industries), the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors, but from creating “blue oceans”—untapped new market spaces ripe for growth. Such strategic moves, which the authors call “value innovation,” create powerful leaps in value that often render rivals obsolete for more than a decade.

Blue Ocean Strategy presents a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant and outlines principles and tools any company can use to create and capture their own blue oceans. A landmark work that upends traditional thinking about strategy, this bestselling business book charts a bold new path to winning the future.