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The Wisdom of Failure: How to Learn the Tough Leadership Lessons Without Paying the Price

Book Description

The "how-not-to" leadership book

There is a paradox in leadership: we can only succeed by knowing failure. Every accomplished leader knows there are minefields of failures that need to be navigated in order to succeed. Wouldn't it be great to have the insights to help you prevent from making avoidable mistakes? Unfortunately, in business talking about mistakes can be taboo, and, at a certain level, learning from failure is not an option. Weinzimmer and McConoughey speak frankly about the things that are difficult to talk about – the unvarnished truths necessary to become a successful leader.

  • Based on a groundbreaking 7-year study of what almost 1000 managers across 21 industries really think about lessons from failures

  • Includes exclusive interview material from CEOs at a wide range of organizations, including major firms such as Caterpillar, Priceline.com, and Allstate; startups; and entrepreneurial small businesses

  • Drills down into failure to uncover the strategies that aspiring leaders need in order to avoid the most damning leadership mistakes: unbalanced orchestration, drama management, and reckless vanity

Learning from the mistakes of others is a necessary part of the journey of effective leadership, and this book offers an indispensable guide to learning these powerful lessons—without paying the price of failure.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Praise for The Wisdom of Failure
  3. Title page
  4. Copyright page
  5. ONE: Flawless Leadership
    1. TWO LEADERS, TWO STORIES
    2. GREAT LEADERSHIP: SHAPED BY OPPOSING FORCES
    3. THE FAILURE PARADOX
    4. A PERFECT STORM: EMPIRICAL RESEARCH, UNFORESEEN TIMING, AND UNTOLD STORIES
    5. A TAXONOMY OF LEADERSHIP MISTAKES
    6. NEW DISCOVERIES
    7. THE REST OF THE STORY
  6. PART ONE: Unbalanced Orchestration
    1. TWO: Seduced by Yes
      1. IRRATIONAL GREED: CHASING PENNIES WITH DOLLARS
      2. ESCALATION OF COMMITMENT: KNOWING WHEN TO SAY WHEN
      3. BEING ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE
      4. JUST SAY NO: AVOIDING THE MISTAKE OF YES
    2. THREE: Businesses You Have No Business Being In
      1. BOXES AND STRATEGIC DIRECTION
      2. THE LURE OF THE EXCITING AND THE NEW
      3. LETTING COMPETITORS DEFINE THE BOX
      4. THINKING INSIDE THE BOX
      5. INSIDE-THE-BOX LEADERS
      6. THE POWER OF COMMON SENSE
    3. FOUR: Entrenched in Efficiency
      1. UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVENESS
      2. WHY EFFECTIVENESS TRUMPS EFFICIENCY
      3. HOW LEADERS GET TRAPPED IN AN EFFICIENCY MIND-SET
      4. SHOOTING STARS
      5. AVOIDING THE EFFICIENCIES TRAP
  7. PART TWO: Drama Management
    1. FIVE: The Playground in the Workplace
      1. THE OLD-SCHOOL MANAGER
      2. THE CONSEQUENCES OF OLD-SCHOOL MANAGEMENT
      3. WHY GOOD PEOPLE BECOME OLD-SCHOOL LEADERS
      4. WHY GOOD PEOPLE TOLERATE OLD-SCHOOL MANAGERS
      5. ENDING OLD-SCHOOL MANAGEMENT AND REPAIRING THE DAMAGE
      6. IF THE MILITARY CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU
    2. SIX: When Utopia Becomes Dystopia
      1. WHY WE WANT UTOPIA— AND WHY WE SHOULDN’T
      2. AVOIDING DYSFUNCTIONAL HARMONY WITHOUT BEING A BULLY
    3. SEVEN: The Battle Within
      1. DISTRACTION SOUP: THE FORMS OF DISTRACTED PURPOSE
      2. RESCUING YOUR TEAM FROM DISTRACTED PURPOSE
  8. PART THREE: Personality Issues
    1. EIGHT: Standing in the Way
      1. THE WHAT AND WHY OF HOARDING
      2. CONSEQUENCES OF HOARDING
      3. ARE YOU A HOARDER?
      4. STOP MANAGING AND START LEADING: OVERCOMING THE URGE TO HOARD
    2. NINE: Living Outside the Storm
      1. MISFIT AND BURNOUT LEADERS
      2. CELEBRITY LEADERS
      3. AVOIDING THE MISTAKES OF DISENGAGEMENT
    3. TEN: “Does This Doorframe Make My Head Look Big?”
      1. THE ALCHEMY OF THE SELF-ABSORBED LEADER
      2. THE PERILS OF THE SELF-ABSORBED LEADER
      3. THE SILENT VICTIMS OF SELF-ABSORBED LEADERS
      4. SELF-CONFIDENCE VERSUS SELF-ABSORPTION
      5. KNOW THE SIGNS OF SELF-ABSORBED LEADERSHIP
      6. STEERING CLEAR OF SELF-ABSORBED LEADERSHIP
  9. A FINAL CAVEAT
  10. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  11. INDEX
  12. ABOUT THE AUTHORS
  13. Introducing the Wisdom of Failure Keynote
  14. Take Advantage of Free Wisdom of Failure Assessment Tools on the Web