Martin and Mutchler begin by redefining leadership claiming that “your definition of leadership must change if you plan to keep pace with the times.” Their definition, which becomes the basis for the remainder of the book is this:Leadership is no longer about possessing certain personal characteristics, but rather about the ability to set goals and achieve desired results. Their contention is we have defined leadership around certain traits but need to reconfigure our understanding to focus on results instead. In other words, the true leader is not the one who possesses the ability to get things done; he or she is the one who actually sees that the goal is achieved.
The remainder of the book outlines a straightforward strategy to develop leaders who have the ability to get results. Instead of attempting to develop leadership qualities in people then hoping they will produce results, their strategy leads one to define the desired results then grow the people and processes to ensure those results. In the authors’ words, “The reason that this model is so powerful is that it links and aligns the vision and strategy with the people and processes that will ensure that the vision is realized.”
This is a very easy to read book that can be knocked out in just a couple of hours. However, I believe it is one to which many will refer to time and again as they seek to improve leadership within their own organizations. With tongue in cheek, the authors have interjected a bit of humor by titling their chapters: The Old Grey Mare, She Ain’t What She Used to Be, United We Stand/Divided We Fall, and The Little Engine that Could. But don’t be fooled by the lightness of the chapter titles or the shortness of this book. This is a powerful tool that ought to be in every leaders arsenal.
Fail-Safe Leadership: Straight Talk About Correcting the Leadership Challenges in Your Organization by Linda L. Martin and Dr. David G Mutchler was originally published in 2001 with its eighth printing in 2009. The book is published by Delta Books, retails for $15.95 and is available at www.ResourceAssociatesCorp.com.
(Originally Published on this web site October 27, 2011)