Category Archives: Reading

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe. Pick a Cover. Let Me Know.

“What is written beneath this heavy handsome book cover will count, so sayeth this cover.” – Anne Rice

There’s a pretty old idiom that says, “you can’t judge a book by its cover”. In the ordinary sense, it means you can’t really know everything about people simply by looking at them. However, in the literary sense, we do indeed judge a book by its cover at least enough to decide whether we want to take it off a shelf and explore its contents. I suspect the cover has a little something to do with the decision to actually buy a book too.

Currently I’m at a point in my book-writing journey when Boni and John at Ingenium Books are asking me to choose a book cover. It’s a big deal and a decision not to be taken lightly. So I’m asking you to help me decide. Are you up for it?

First, it seems only fair that I should give you some context because the cover of the book is meant to give you a hint about what’s inside. So here goes.

The book is entitled, IN THE THICK OF IT: Mastering the Art of Leading From the Middle.

It is primarily written for mid-career professionals in middle management. This is the place where there is an abundance of people who, to get things done, must foster relationships with not only those who follow them but also with their peers and upper management too. They are not novices at this leadership thing but they may be at a place where they’re wondering if what they’ve achieved so far is all there’s going to be. It’s a kind of angst that could be described as midlife crisis but, in my experience, mid-career-ness, although not technically a word, is more accurate. After all, changes we contemplate and those we make aren’t all going to create the intensity that a crisis suggests. We hope not anyway.

In general, these people work for medium to large traditional organizations where the pressure to achieve greater flexibility and keep up with customer demand for instant results, is relentless. Being in the middle of it all is a stressful undertaking to say the least. However, one of the main themes in my book is the proposition that leading from the middle can be a place of opportunity and strength as well.

It will attempt to shift existing perspectives away from the notion of being “stuck” in the middle toward the idea that the middle can be a starting place for new ideas and conversations leading to positive change.

Of course, while ideas are good things to float, to be of use they must be grounded in something real. With this in mind, my book will also offer some practical strategies for becoming a better, more effective boss and colleague as well as a respected influencer to those positioned higher in the organization.

So, that’s the general idea of the book.   With this context in mind, I would like to ask you to look at three possible book covers. Then, in the comments below, tell me which one appeals to you most. Please also tell me why you chose this one over that one.  What is it about the one you chose that would make you take the book from the shelf for further examination?

Here they are, presented in any particular order.

Candidate #1











Candidate #2












And finally, Candidate #3











Thank you for your help.  It means a lot.


Filed under Book writing, Ingenium Books, Leadership, Reading

Summer Reading: 10 Leadership Blog Posts I Like

This week’s blog post was not working out for me.  After several false starts, I realized my problem.  I was trying to be deep and clever…again.  I’m quite capable of both of those things, (from time to time), but when I try to force it, it comes out, well, not like me at all.  So I stopped and instead, began to think about other people, who write about, and practice, leadership every day. With that in mind, I’m going to highlight some of these really talented, experienced people and share with you their perspectives about leadership by offering a variety of blog posts that will both inform and challenge you to stretch your thinking.  At least that’s what it did for me.

Joe Gerstandt (@joegerstandt) works to help us truly understand the meaning and import of diversity, inclusion and culture.  Joe ‘s post entitled, Dancing in the Intersection asks us to think about the tension that results when our differing viewpoints come together and to consider the notion that this place of tension is where our greatest opportunities lie, if we choose to embrace, rather than avoid it.

Anne Perschel, (@bizshrink) is one of my favourite people. And, she is a staunch advocate for women in leadership.  She has compelling and global reasons for placing her considerable energies here. In her post, Bigger is Not Better any more ~ Paradigm Shift and the Paradox of Power, Anne explains the problems created by the Bigger mentality and describes a world where women play a larger role in leadership, not by replacing men but by partnering with them to, as she puts it, Make the World a more sustainable, socially conscious, emotionally connected, livable place”.

Wally Bock  (@wallybock), author of the Three Star Leadership Blog has a wonderful way of cutting to the chase when it comes to writing about being a good boss. Here he shares his Thoughts on Exceptional Leaders.It is short and to the point and makes great sense.

Many organizations spend inordinate amounts of money on Leadership Development. Dan McCarthy (@greatleadership) author of the blog, Great Leadership and a highly skilled leadership development practitioner generously shares a leadership development program that, if faithfully followed, provides great opportunity for learning and growth in his post entitled: Free Leadership Development Program: Becoming a Great Leader 

Taking a little time to reflect on our own performance is always a good thing and Jane Perdue(@thehrgoddess), Founder and President of the Braithwaite Innovation Group provides a useful template to follow in her post: The 7 C’s ~ a Mid Year Leadership Check up/

It is often tempting, when we first consider an issue to look at what’s wrong or what’s not there, first.  In her post: Is There a Shortage of Good Leaders?  Mary Jo Asmus (@mjasmus) suggests that perhaps we are looking through the wrong lens and in the wrong places when it comes to finding good leaders.

Some of us like to believe that we don’t play politics at work.  In fact, I expect that we all see the destructive side of organizational politics.  But, I also believe that politics in organizational life will always be present.  In his post: 4 Ideas for navigating organizational politics, Art Petty, (@artpetty) shares some wisdom about politics in the work place that makes a great deal of sense and can serve as a tool for anyone navigating his or her way through the political labyrinth.

If you’re a boss, there is no question but that you will be busy.  Sometimes you might think that you are too busy to take a holiday… that your time would be better spent if you remained at the office and worked.  But, Tanveer Naseer, (@tanveernaseer) in his post: Why Summer Vacations are Important to Being Effective  explains why you might want to re-think that strategy.

Delegation is a big deal in leadership.  Often it is such a big deal that it can be quite daunting. In her post: How to Delegate with Confidence, Jesse Lyn Stoner (@jesselynstoner)provides seven guidelines for achieving effectiveness in this area.

And finally, while we are on the topic of delegation, I’m going to throw in something I wrote some time back called: Taking Charge~ When Not to Delegate.

That’s it for now.  What do you think? What would you add to the reading list?


Filed under building awareness, communication, diversity, Leadership, Leadership Development, Reading