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Leading Mindfully Paperback – 23 Mar. 2015
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About the Author
Pete is a very experienced business and organisational consultant. He left the corporate world in 1994, and since then has spent more than 20 years helping and supporting people who are developing progressive, fair and sustainable businesses.
He believes it is vital to combine the practical work of business - projects, ventures and day-to-day operations - with an attitude of enquiry and on-going learning. This, he believes, is a great strategy to build organisational resilience in the face of complexity and change.
He has been a manager in a large US corporation, a director and chair of an SME, and an MD in several startup teams.
In the '90s he helped the BBC and Which? find new ways to cope with the emerging digital world. In the early noughties he helped create a brand new way to deliver business support to SME MDs - through peer-to-peer learning. And until 2012 he was Exec Chair of a social media business that explored democratic working.
Rob Warwick @smilerob http: //uk.linkedin.com/pub/rob-warwick/2/43/b01/
Rob has a doctorate in healthcare policy, focusing on the interaction between policy and frontline practice. This was gained whilst working as Head of Strategic Change for a large NHS organization where he worked closely with the English Department of Health on a national healthcare initiative.
In addition to 14 years in a variety of NHS management positions, Rob has 8 years' experience in consultancy.
Rob has held academic roles with Cass Business School and London Metropolitan University and is currently with the University of Chichester; subjects include healthcare, strategy, management and leadership. Rob's particular area of interest is the role of narrative in organisations and personal development and how this might be used to explore reflexivity, complexity and power relations in groups.
Connected with this, Rob is also engaged in 'Conscious Business' where people in organisations think beyond profit and towards human development and growth, wider stakeholder needs, both now and for the future.
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There's a lightness to the style that aids readability and the book flows so well, you'll probably get through it in one sitting. Yet it is worth stopping at the end of chapters and sections and pondering a bit. Noticing a bit.
The dialogue tos and fros with one author posing questions to the other or building upon his narrative. It isn't a book that is rooted in disagreement as can be found in Chopra and Mlodinow's War of the World views which was a kind of ideological tennis. Burden and Warwick feel to me as if they are sometimes chatting in armchairs, sharing the same plate of ideas. At other times they are walking bristly beside the sea, coming from different places but sharing the same important questions. The dialogue takes the form of "sections" and isn't a quickfire conversation. It is as if each is respectfully listening to the other and really forming what they say next from an enquiry into what went before.
Often one provides examples and vignettes to support the other's ideas or address questions. Warwick isn't a fan of oversimplification. He likes to talk about behaviours in more detail. Burden is a fan of "Noticing" and is at ease with challenging established metaphors such as business as a "machine".
This is a book about what it is to lead, to inspire followership. It explores so many topics and themes in its pages that you will want to read it more than once. There's plenty of material in here to share with colleagues, to raise questions in meeting, to get ideas and inspiration. Many of the thoughts might well unblock your own thinking about organisational life.
Social movements "defy mechanistic models" and what we have here is a playful and practical exploration of leadership and wider organisational and business life, that is textured, nuanced but full of wisdom, wit and plenty of practical examples and references to real life. In this dialogue, many ideas meet in the realm of stories and common sense.
I should add that I know both Pete Burden and Rob Warwick professionally. Yet as a regular book reviewer I feel I can say some helpful and useful things about this readable and length-perfect book.
Leading Mindfully feels both refreshing and new, yet also rooted in some of what we think we know about leadership. In leadership, as the authors point out, there is no single, correct "story". Tis dialogue shares many of the emerging ideas and stories around how leadership is evolving in our present world. I thoroughly recommend it.
The book is based on their solid experience-based knowledge and I particulalry like the 'Practice' chapters.
The book is good at emphasising an enquiry approach, with an openness and focus on what is happening in group and organisation interactions, and is not just an activity but a state of mind. I can see it can bring benefits.
I look forward to any follow-up book with the author's dialogue on how the approach was applied and how to apply this approach in different situations with some real examples of what went on and what could go on.
I have not repeated all of the complimentary comments in the previous reviews, however, I completely endorse all the reasons given above for reading this very important paradigm shift in business leadership and understanding.
Top international reviews
I love the way it was written, as a conversation between the authors, lot of examples and good reading advices to go deeper in mindfulness and leadership.