In Walk the Walk, Alan Deutschman offers a new take on the true nature of great leadership. Though some experts make it seem complicated, it is actually breathtakingly simple. According to Deutschman, most leaders focus too much on what they say and not nearly enough on setting an example.
This book shows what happens in those unusual cases of true leaders--in business, education, the military, and nonprofits--who always walked the walk, especially when times got tough. In a skeptical world, their actions gave them more credibility than even the best possible speeches. Consider how ? Martin Luther King Jr. was so committed to nonviolence that he let a racist detractor beat him up in front of a crowded auditorium rather than raise a hand against him.
* Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett of Southwest Airlines were serious about putting employees first, and proved it by sticking to a no- layoffs policy while other airlines made major cuts.
* Sony founder Masuro Ibuka, who stressed originality over profits, waited for years while his competitors released color televisions--and then released the Trinitron, a breakthrough product that blew the other sets out of the water.
When leaders don't practice what they preach, they often face devastating consequences. Recall how the CEOs of GM and Chrysler hurt their chances of a government bailout by flying their private jets to Washington.
Ultimately, leadership doesn't depend on who you are or even what you say or how you say it, but only on what you do. The eye-opening examples in Walk the Walk will inspire leaders at all levels.
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September 01, 2009
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