“In cultures of valued leadership, individuals embrace the concept that they are the leader of their professional development.
“You are the leader of the organization called ‘You.’”
— Michael G. Gerken
Increasingly we see organizations struggle to attract, engage and retain people. We see repeated examples of breakdowns in the ability of public and private organizations to deliver valued services. Their associates lose enthusiasm, lessen their level of engagement, and move on. The organizations then struggle to develop the knowledge, skills and institutional insights which are needed to create broader competency and deliver value. They miss opportunities. The consumers of their products and services lose confidence and search for alternatives. Their investors look for a better story.
I believe that organizations where all associates/employees are encouraged to contribute leadership are able to attract, engage, and retain talented people. They create a stronger story that associates enjoy sharing with their peers, vital stakeholders, and new associates. They identify and capture new opportunities. They become pillars of their industries and their communities.
Organizations that create what I identify as cultures of valued leadership versus cultures where just the leaders are valued:
Life is far too short to allow our professional and volunteer time to be spent in organizations where we do not “get to play.”
Enable your organizations to be more interesting, innovative, and effective.
Become a culture where all associates are encouraged to contribute leadership.
As organizations struggle to attract, engage and retain people, their investors look for a better story.
Organizations where everyone is encouraged to contribute leadership are able to attract, engage, and retain talented people. They create a stronger story that they can then share with vital stakeholders.
"The idea that an organization succeeds because of the leader is a fallacy."
This book is about you and the organizations where you contribute your time and talent. It explores a simple, impactful leadership concept along with specific tactics you can use to enable your organizations to be more interesting, innovative, and effective.
Most books, articles and programs on leadership focus on skills, perspectives, and practices of being the leader. This book focuses on helping you influence your organizations, whether they are for-profit or not-for-profit, small or large, to become cultures where all associates are encouraged to contribute leadership.
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If you have a specific answer, pick a specific date to take that next step. If not, open your calendar. Find two one-hour time slots, two or three days apart, during the portion of your day when you do your best thinking. Schedule an appointment for each time slot. Title the appointment, “Next Step.” Now, move one week ahead in your calendar. Find another available hour during your prime productive time. Again, enter your “Next Step” appointment. Now, schedule a “Next Step” appointment each week for the next six weeks. Nice job. You have created a meaningful and doable commitment to your professional development.
'Next Step’ thinking and action is about advocacy. So be an advocate for yourself and others.
Michael Gerken was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1946. He began his career in the financial services industry in 1968 after graduating with a business degree from the University of Missouri. He obtained his MBA in Organizational Behavior from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1971. He obtained a Certified Financial Planner designation in 1979.
He continues to be engaged in leadership activities in civic and not-for-profit organizations.
During my 45-year-career, I held multiple leadership titles and sets of responsibilities. I served in leadership roles with a variety of civic, not-for-profit, and professional organizations. I participated in many leadership-focused seminars, and conducted hundreds of meetings and conferences for people in leadership roles.
For a significant portion of my career, I had the words “professional development” in my title. I had the opportunity to teach people to be leaders of their professional lives. I am proud of that. I love the idea that we are the leaders of our personal and professional development.
I believe each of us creates opportunities to positively advance by first finding ways to listen and learn. Then we continue to positively progress by finding ways to teach and coach.