If you are fan of previous books in this type of "go against the grain" leadership genre - books like "First, Break All the Rules," "Made to Stick," "Predictably Irrational," "Slack," "The Starfish and the Spider," "Leaders," or "Stewardship," or even "Working with Emotional Intelligence" - you will not find much new here. Or at least I didn't.
If you are a big fan of benchmarking and going out to find "best practices" and then figuring out your strategy, basing your plans on what everyone else is doing versus what of that you can afford, this is THE book for you. Unfortunately, I'm not so sure you're going to be reading this review as another "best practices" book probably came out while I was writing this review and like moths to the flame, you've headed away to that glittering, glowing jewel....
For there rest of us, here is the ground that Susan Scott covers:
1. Moving away from 360-degree anonymous feedback to "365" days a year of face-to-face feedback
2. Hiring for smarts and emotional intelligence rather than just smarts
3. Modeling accountability and responsibility, not just putting them in a corporate ethics "agreement" required of all employees to sign
4. Moving away from employee "team-building" to actually being involved and supportive with your colleagues and your teams
5. Focusing on collaborating with your customers to create new products, better service, and better profits
6. Being transparent - not just in your decision-making and policies, but in getting feedback and input from your employees and your customers to acknowledge mistakes, change strategic directions, and so on
As you can see, if you're familiar with the list of books I noted at the beginning of this review, then "Fierce Leadership" is really just a regurgitation of those themes with Ms. Scott's personal take on them, her experiences, and her suggestions on steps to take in order adopt these themes.
And it is the latter that I believe is the real strength of this book - and where Ms. Scott shines - her step-by-step exercises and activities. There is little doubt that, for instance, by following her advice in Chapter 2 on hiring for smarts and emotional intelligence, you should get better employees and be a better leader.
I caution you to remember that 9 times out of 10, putting all of this into play is not just up to you. There's a whole host of other folks who are involved in implementing any one of these themes. And that's where we should all be cognizant that Ms. Scott is also a consultant, and can conveniently be brought in to help you get everyone in your organization on board.
Don't let this latter point detract from the book - just recognize that adopting these themes will require you to go against the grain, something that takes more than 306 pages of common sense.
To summarize, if you are unfamiliar with the list of resources I cited at the beginning of this review, then get "Fierce Leadership" - it will get you thinking in a new direction. If you've read many or all of the above, you'll not find much new here but may see Ms. Scott's book as a well-needed reinforcement on your journey to better business practices, better leadership, and better profit.