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The Executive and the Elephant: A Leader's Guide for Building Inner Excellence

Book Description

Lessons for leaders on resolving the ongoing struggle between instinct and the creative mind

Kings, heads of government, and corporate executives lead thousands of people and manage endless resources, but may not have mastery over themselves. Often leaders know that right action is important, but have little (if any) understanding of what prevents them from acting in accordance with their intentions. In this important book, leadership expert Richard Daft portrays this dilemma as a struggle between instinct (elephant) and intention (the executive) using the most current research on the intentional vs. the habitual mind to explain how this phenomenon occurs.

  • Based on current research and real-life examples

  • Offers leaders a method for directing themselves more productively

  • Written by an expert in leadership, organizational performance, and change management

Through real-life examples and recent studies in psychology, management and Eastern spirituality Daft provides guidance to all of us who struggle finding our own balance and cultivating the behavior of others.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Preface
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. I. The Two Selves
    1. 1. The Problem of Managing Yourself
      1. 1.1. The Conflict Between Knowing and Doing
      2. 1.2. The Universal Failure of Willpower
      3. 1.3. The Divided Self: Executive and Elephant
      4. 1.4. Learning to Lead from Your Inner Executive
      5. 1.5. Purpose of This Book
    2. 2. Recognize Your Two Selves
      1. 2.1. Levels of Consciousness
        1. 2.1.1. Neurology
        2. 2.1.2. Psychology
        3. 2.1.3. Eastern Philosophy
      2. 2.2. Two Voices Within
      3. 2.3. Why Your Mind Is Filled with Automatic Thoughts
      4. 2.4. Unfocused Elephant Mind Versus Focused Executive Presence
      5. 2.5. Small Box Versus Large Mind
  5. II. Ways You May Mislead or Delude Yourself
    1. 3. Three Tendencies That Distort Your Reality
      1. 3.1. Your Internal Judge
      2. 3.2. Your Internal Magician
      3. 3.3. Your Internal Attorney
    2. 4. Every Leader's Six Mental Mistakes
      1. 4.1. Reacting Too Quickly
      2. 4.2. Inflexible Thinking
      3. 4.3. Wanting Control
      4. 4.4. Emotional Avoidance and Attraction
        1. 4.4.1. Avoidance
        2. 4.4.2. Attraction
      5. 4.5. Exaggerating the Future
      6. 4.6. Chasing the Wrong Gratifications
  6. III. How to Start Leading Yourself
    1. 5. Engage Your Intention
      1. 5.1. Visualize Your Intention
        1. 5.1.1. Sports Visualization
        2. 5.1.2. Visualization Guidelines
        3. 5.1.3. Leadership Show and Tell
      2. 5.2. Verbalize Your Intention
    2. 6. Follow Through on Your Intentions
      1. 6.1. Write Down Your Intentions
      2. 6.2. Set Deadlines
      3. 6.3. Design Tangible Mechanisms
        1. 6.3.1. Social Contract
        2. 6.3.2. Checklist
        3. 6.3.3. Scorecard
        4. 6.3.4. Emptying Your Head into a System
    3. 7. Calm Down to Speed Up
      1. 7.1. Get Connected
      2. 7.2. Let It Happen
      3. 7.3. Sit by Your Problem
      4. 7.4. Relax Your Body
        1. 7.4.1. Simple Techniques
        2. 7.4.2. Sports
        3. 7.4.3. Hatha Yoga
      5. 7.5. Calm Your Elephant by Acting the Part or Making a Gentle Request
    4. 8. Slow Down to Stop Your Reactions
      1. 8.1. Stop and Think
      2. 8.2. Stop Interrupting
      3. 8.3. Detach from Your Emotions and Impulses
      4. 8.4. Just Say No
      5. 8.5. Employ Punishment
  7. IV. Become Aware of Your Inner Resources
    1. 9. Get to Know Your Inner Elephant
      1. 9.1. Know Yourself
      2. 9.2. Solicit Feedback
      3. 9.3. Take Advantage of a Setback
    2. 10. Expand Your Awareness
      1. 10.1. Review the Day
      2. 10.2. Contemplate Creatively
  8. V. Reach for the Heights
    1. 11. Sharpen Your Concentration
      1. 11.1. Focus Your Attention
      2. 11.2. Focus on Means, Not Ends
      3. 11.3. Slow Down, Look, and Listen
      4. 11.4. Focus on People
        1. 11.4.1. Narrow Your Visual Focus
        2. 11.4.2. Paraphrase
        3. 11.4.3. Ask Five Questions
    2. 12. Develop Your Witness
      1. 12.1. Turn Inward to Develop Your Witness
      2. 12.2. Use Radical Self-Inquiry
      3. 12.3. Who Am I?
    3. 13. Reprogram Yourself
      1. 13.1. Repeat a Mantra
      2. 13.2. Prayer May Help, but Not the Way You Think
    4. 14. Mend Your Mind with Meditation
      1. 14.1. Why Meditate?
      2. 14.2. An Easy Way to Start
      3. 14.3. Two Essentials
      4. 14.4. Mindfulness Meditation
      5. 14.5. Try Visual Rather Than Verbal
      6. 14.6. Contemplative Meditation
  9. VI. Can You Lead from a People Frame of Reference?
    1. 15. Change Your Frame to See People
      1. 15.1. What Is Your Frame?
      2. 15.2. From Leading Objects to Leading Humans
      3. 15.3. How to Change Your Frame
    2. 16. Change Your Frame to Ask Questions
      1. 16.1. From Answering Questions to Asking Questions
        1. 16.1.1. Ask Outcome-Focused Questions
        2. 16.1.2. Ask a Broad Range of Questions
      2. 16.2. In All Things, Consult
    3. 17. Living and Leading from Your Inner Executive
      1. 17.1. Higher Consciousness Revisited
      2. 17.2. When Her Mind Went Quiet
      3. 17.3. Answers to Individual Questions
        1. 17.3.1. How do I get started?
        2. 17.3.2. Which practice or exercise is best for me?
        3. 17.3.3. My management job keeps me busy from dawn until dusk. How can I practice any of these exercises?
        4. 17.3.4. How can I go faster to rid myself of bad habits to improve my leadership approach?
        5. 17.3.5. Is repeating a mantra similar to cognitive-behavioral therapy?
        6. 17.3.6. How does the material you teach differ from the ideas in books on positive thinking, such as The Secret, in which motivational speakers say you can get what you want by thinking correctly?
        7. 17.3.7. Is it ever okay to objectify other people?
        8. 17.3.8. How can I know when I am in my inner executive?
        9. 17.3.9. What about intuition? Does it arise from the inner executive or the inner elephant?
        10. 17.3.10. I am not attracted to any of the practices you have offered. I am interested in becoming a better leader and in pursuing personal growth. What should I do?
      4. 17.4. Final Thoughts
  10. Notes
  11. About the Author