I’m a great fan of business books – not all of them, and certainly not just the conventional ones.
James Suroweicki’s Wisdom of Crowds is one example. Seth Godin’s Linchpin is another. In the more conventional vein Good To Great by Jim Collins and In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters are hard to beat.
But when it comes down to it none of these books will get you through.
One is not enough. 100 is not enough. But what each offers is a prompt to challenge you, to keep you guessing, to add critical tactical and strategic thinking to your range of tools.
And still it is not enough.
What matters is your agility. Your ability to know you don’t have the answers, your determination to find a better way, to ditch what doesn’t add to the business and to keep the organisation in fine mental and emotional fettle.
You’ve probably all heard Jack Welch’s quote that ‘when growth on the outside exceeds growth in the inside’ then it’s game over. Well, here I go again, that is too limiting to me.
Growth on the outside will always be ahead of us, and we have to realise this. We must relentlessly pursue our potential – as individuals, as leaders, as organisations.
Too many organisations go saggy after great success.
It always ‘folds my mind’ to contemplate how Einstein could so readily comprehend that at the speed of light time slows down – we age less.
And perhaps so it is with organisations that the quicker they evolve and develop the longer they live. Perhaps seeing the light is more apt than we think. And to carry that analogy further – those who do best at being agile, change ready, adaptive and quick to market have the light shine on them more brightly for longer. That is the true reward, nothing more.
Yet as soon as they back off the light will fade away.
And so it is for leaders to keep the light shining and ensure it falls on everyone in their organisation and all who come in contact.
But just perhaps it is not the leaders who shine but the energy of the organisation that shines upon them.