22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Terrific: a real bible of leadership,
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This review is from: Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership (Paperback)
Books on leadership typically fall into one of these categories:
* Airport business books with a snappy title and a breezy style. They are quick and easy to read, and offer tips, aphorisms and advice.
* "Here is how I did it" by a famous business leader offering the story of their struggle and their tips for success.
* Bandwagon drivel. An academic or writer, usually with no leadership experience or knowledge, publishes some garbage with leadership in the title because they sell. So many books fall into this category, unfortunately.
* Rare and true insight on what leadership is all about. Perhaps about 1% of leadership books fall into this category.
Action Inquiry is in the last category, offering rare and true insight.
People grow through different 'action logics', and these action logics reflect what meaning they make from events/circumstances and how they tend respond to those circumstances. For example, suppose someone strongly disagrees with you?
A 'diplomat' would interpret it as rejection, and tend to hide/flee from conflict.
An 'expert' would be certain the other person was wrong, and try to use arguments/data to persuade the other person, probably doing very little listening.
An 'achiever' would do more listening than an expert and try to find common ground, but still see the other person as a barrier/blocker to overcome.
A 'strategist' would be me much more adept at balancing listening and persuading, understanding the other person's point of view, finding the root cause of the disagrement, and exploring common ground. Strategist would be much more likely to see the disagreement as an opportunity to improve their own understanding rather than as a barrier to overcome.
Many books describe different styles of leadership of types of personality and give them catchy names. This is different and these action logics are much more fundemental. There is a huge amount of research in psychology and personal development to support the framework.
The book offers insight into why different people behave different in different circumstances, why they might perceive a situation very differently, why they hold different views about things. It has exercises (which have helped me a lot) to help people handle these challenges and be more effective in business and in life.
Part 1 of the book has some difficult concepts in it, which require reading, re-reading and thinking about. The sentences are easy enough to read, but the ideas are new, or were at least new to me. This section is not a light read.
Part 2 is much easier to read, and explains the different action logics.
Who should read it?
* If you are studying leadership, or perhaps doing an MBA, then definitely buy and read this book. Put it top of your list.
* If you want a quick and easy read, perhaps for the beach, that will give you a handful of tips to try out, this book is not what you are looking for. To get the best out of this book, you need to read it, think about it, dip into it again and again and try out the exercises.
* This book will really suit you if you are: really serious about your own personal development; prepared to invest time and energy to become a more effective leader; looking for a framework that has real substance, backed by years of research, not just some superficial gimmick.
People considering this book might also consider 'Leadership Agility' by Joiner and Josephs. 'Action Inquiry' has more emphasis on the fundamentals, what it feels like on the inside, and has good exercises. 'Leadership Agility' has more emphasis on the behaviours used by leaders at the different levels. The two books complement each other very well.