The Mission Exchange and CrossGlobal Link have merged, forming Missio Nexus. You can visit their website here. Access for individuals starts at under $30. The services include:

  • 52 book reviews (electronically delivered – 1 per week)
  • 36 book summaries (electronically delivered – 3 per month)
  • 24 live webinars (average 2 per month)
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  • discounted access to the most extensive library of mission-focused webinars in the English language
  • discounted access to three annual live conferences

Accessing their services just for the book summaries is well worth the cost. Below is a sample from the September edition of Leader’s Edge Book Summary of Joel Manby’s recent book Love Works. Each book summary includes the content of the book by category of:

  • Best chapter
  • Best quotes
  • Best illustration
  • Best idea
  • Best take away
  • Recommendation

Love Works

Author: Joel Manby

Publisher: Zondervan, May 2012, Hardcover 208 pages, also available in Kindle format

ISBN: 0310335671

Summary

Joel Manby came to the attention of America by his appearance on the hit CBS reality show, Undercover Boss. His example of servant leadership struck a chord with many of the show’s 18 million viewers, who wrote to express their appreciation and created an appetite for this book. In Love Works, Manby makes the case that agape love works in business at home, and in any setting. The book unpacks seven timeless principles that will help leaders develop a culture of highly engaged people who create sustainable business value.

 Best chapter

Chapter: 4 – Kind, Show Encouragement and Enthusiasm

Kindness is not incompatible with accountability. Leaders have to make hard choices. Sometimes those choices impact others negatively. But “expressing kindness is one important way a leader can help employees overcome life’s challenges.” (p. 51) Kindness means encouraging and leading are two sides of the same coin and words of affirmation and support can be infectiously effective. (p. 51)

In this chapter Manby shares a personal story about a very bad day, in a very bad month of a very bad year (2009), when he received a hand written note of encouragement from Jack Herschend, the founder of Herschend Family Entertainment, where he serves as CEO. Six months later, Joel Manby’s wife Marki shared a note Jack Herschend wrote to her and their three children, expressing deep appreciation for sharing Joel with the company. Manby explains how these experiences expanded his understanding of CEO to include, Chief Encouragement Officer. It is often the little things anyone of us could do that make all the difference.

Best quotes

“Profits are a product of doing the right thing – over and over again.” (p. 22)

“Sacrificing profits for values is a flawed choice.” (p. 22)

“Leadership is about the bottom line and…loving the people you work with, making your community a better place, feeling a sense of satisfaction at the end of every day, and leading employees who can’t imagine working anywhere else.” (p. 23)

Treating someone with love regardless of how you feel about that person is a very powerful principle. This type of love is the basis for all healthy relationships, bring out the best in ourselves and others. It can make us great spouses, great parents, and great friends. Great leaders too.” (p. 30, emphasis his)

“When leading with love, the principle of patience means behaving with self-control in difficult situations.” (p. 36)

“A model for how every leader should approach criticism: Admonish in private whenever possible. Be stern but avoid malice. Be specific. Get people ‘back on the horse’ with pointed praise. Move on without a grudge.” (p. 49)

“Don’t be patient with poor performance. Be patient with how you respond to poor performance.” (p. 49, emphasis his)

“One of the best ways a leader can demonstrate trust and respect is to listen to and involve team members in the decisions that affect them.” (p. 76)

“Being in power is like being a lady. If you have to remind people that you are, you aren’t.” (p. 87, quoting Margaret Thatcher)

“Great questions test the wisdom and logic of an idea better than any ‘expert’ opinion can and also develops the person who has to answer the question.” (p. 104)

“A strong leader assures that the truth is communicated to every individual about his or her performance and how it can be improved.” (p. 112)

“Leading with love is never an excuse for being ‘soft’ as a leader. A healthy organization does the most good for the greatest number of people.” (p. 118)

“The unfortunate news is that the more senior you are in your organization, the more difficult it is to get the truth about how you’re performing.” (p. 118)

“Many organizations talk about values, but few truly integrate those values into how leaders are evaluated and chosen and how organizational results are measured.” (p. 156)

“One of the primary roles of a leader is to give hope. This can be done in a variety of ways but it is consistently achieved when clarity of vision, mission, and values is coupled with strong financial success.” (p. 148)

Best illustration

From the 1993 movie, Gettysburg:

Following the first day’s battle, a meeting takes place between General Robert E. Lee (played memorably by Martin Sheen) who commanded the armies of the South and Major General J.E.B. Stuart (played by Joseph Fuqua) who was in charge of the rebel cavalry. Union forces had gotten the better of Lee’s men in a bloody way, and a big part of the reason was that General Stuart provided his boss with inadequate intelligence about the enemy’s positions and movements.

Perfect time for some public admonishment, right? And certainly no praise after how badly Stuart had screwed up!

Lee confronts Stuart in his tent; the private space is lit only by candles. “It is the opinion of some excellent officers that you have let us all down,” says General Lee.

“General Stuart, your mission was to free this army from the enemy cavalry and to report any movement by the enemy’s main body. That mission was not fulfilled. You left here with no word of your movement or the movement of the enemy for several days. Meanwhile we were engaged here, drawn into battle without adequate knowledge of the enemy’s strength or position, without knowledge of the ground. Sir, it is only by God’s grace that we did not meet disaster here….”

Lee continues, with passion and conviction but without malice. “Perhaps I did not make myself clear. Well sir, this must be made very clear…. You sir, with our cavalry, are the eyes of this army, and without your cavalry, we are made blind. That has already happened once; it must never, ever happen again.”

So far Lee is within his rights as a leader. In fact, we would think him remiss if he didn’t call out Stuart for such a grievous failure of intelligence. But what happens next shows the sort of long-range leadership vision that we must have if we are to lead our organizations successfully through changing seasons and challenges.

Stuart begins to offer to resign his post, but Lee cuts him off. “There is no time for that! There is no time!”

Then Lee walks over and puts his hands on Stuart’s shoulders.

“There is another fight coming tomorrow, and we need you. You must take what I have told you and learn from it, as a man does.”

All has been said about Stuart’s performance that needs to be said. Lee concludes, “There has been a mistake. It will not happen again. I know your quality; you are one of the finest cavalry officers I have ever known. Your service to this army here has been invaluable. Now … let us speak no more of this. The matter is concluded…. Good night, General.”

Lee gives Stuart a crisp salute and turns away. (pp. 47-48)

File under: patience, giving criticism, confrontation

 Best idea

“Deciding that people should be involved in decisions that affect them is the “easy” part – what is harder is making sure the right people are involved in decisions and then clearly communicating the decisions to everyone affected by them. The best method I’ve seen to clarify this sometimes mundane process can be remembered by a catchy acronym: RACI. Here’s how RACI works. Start by identifying who is responsible for the decision. After receiving all available input and doing the required analysis, they’re the ones who actually have to decide. What comes next in the process are those who have to approve whatever decision is made. They need to approve that the decision is wise and appropriate. However, before the decision becomes final, it’s necessary to consult the people who will be directly affected by the decision. They may be in other departments or branches of the organization, but trust dictates that they are consulted. Finally, the organization must find the best way to inform the rest of the team – people who may not be directly affected but should be kept “in the picture.”

 Best take away

In chapter five, Trusting, Place Confidence in Someone, Manby shares two key points he has learned from fellow leaders at Herschend Family Entertainment about trust-filled decision-making: 1. Let others make the decisions for which they are responsible. A leader must choose carefully when he or she is going to step in and get involved in decision-making details. If done too often, it shows a lack of trust – and if the team is talented, they will sense the leader’s distrust and may even leave the company. 2. Avoid overruling decisions that have been made. Clearly, if the downside of the potential error is very expensive or puts the organization at risk, a leader must step in. However, day in and day out, many issues and problems can be solved using less intrusive approaches. Trustful leaders must let people do their jobs, find their own solutions, and even make occasional mistakes in order to learn. (p. 84, emphasis his)

Recommendation

Consider involving your core leaders in doing an audit of your organizations values in light of the seven timeless principles outlined in Love Works. Evaluate where you have the greatest dissonance and work together to outline action steps you will take to put love to work in that context.

Visit Missio Nexus to learn more about their Leader’s Edge Book Summaries and their other resources.

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