This book is written as a series of ‘thinking pieces’. Although there is an overall plan for the book, each chapter is designed to bring an issue into high relief and to help the reader get their mind around both the challenge and the way forward. I expect that you will find some of the chapters somewhat obscure at first but I urge you to persevere. No complex issue is mastered by a simple reading of a chapter or two. It takes thinking – reflection – living with new ideas – before some yield and real growth is possible. The intent of this series is to give you the beginnings of insights – set you on the path that will result in your growth and mastery – open up the potential that has always resided within you. Be true to that project and our partnership will yield benefits far beyond your expectations.
During my business career, I have built six companies, started two non-profit funds and worked with dozens of senior executives – helping them to build their companies. As I look back over those years, I am struck by the diversity of my experiences and the knowledge that I have accumulated. As one of my early mentors was fond of observing, “there is no substitute for having done a thing. Writing about what you haven’t demonstrated mastery of is like thinking about being alive. It just isn’t the same thing.”
As with any such undertaking, an author owes his readers a description of his background and experience. You have a right to know who it is who writes and the basis for his presumption.
My experience includes designing and organizing companies, business/technology management, team building, strategic alliances, negotiating complex arrangements, governance & compliance, resourcing & financing, mergers & acquisitions, management/team/board assessment, coaching and strategic and tactical planning and implementation.
I received a Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Texas and a Masters of Management Science from the Alfred P. Sloan School at MIT. In 1996 I was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy by the Department of Government and International Studies, Strathclyde University, Glasgow Scotland with a focus in political and social theory and comparative cultural analysis. Subsequently I taught advanced political and social theory as an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Government, University of Birmingham in England.
As I look back over my experiences, the ones that I value above all are the times when I was able to help others. My fondest memories are of those times when a CEO faced a challenge that was truly daunting and was, with my help, able to overcome that challenge and grow in capability and understanding far beyond what they thought they were capable of. In a real sense, these books are written for those leaders who find themselves in similar situations – facing challenges that they are not sure they can overcome. The message that I very much want to communicate is ‘Yes, you can overcome. Yes you can grow in mastery, understanding and knowledge. You can become so much more than you are.”
We have all had the experience. Sometimes it takes weeks, months or even years to digest important lessons. Recently I finally came to understand something that a mentor had tried to teach me more than a decade ago.
For what it is worth, I suggest that you resist the temptation to ‘blow through the book’. At the core of each chapter is a suggestion that will lead you to reconsider how you have been approaching a particular challenge and how you might change your behavior, approach and understanding so as to master it. Impatience carries a terrible cost when it comes to such changes in behaviors. The time you spend thinking about each chapter will prove much more valuable than the brief time you spend reading it.
The intent of this series is to give you the beginnings of insights – set you on the path that will result in your growth and mastery – open up the potential that has always resided within you. Be true to that project and our partnership will yield benefits far beyond your expectations.
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