Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst "Best" Practices of Business Today

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9780385529044: Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst

From the author of the acclaimed book Fierce Conversations comes the antidote to some of the most wrongheaded practices of business today.

· “Provide anonymous feedback.”
· “Hire smart people.”
· “Hold people accountable.”
These are all sound, business practices, right? Not so fast, says leadership visionary and bestselling author Susan Scott. In fact, these mantras — despite being long-accepted and adopted by business leaders everywhere — are completely wrongheaded. Worse, they are costing companies billions of dollars, driving away valuable employees and profitable customers, limiting performance, and stalling careers. Yet they are so deeply ingrained in organizational cultures that no one has questioned them. Until now.

In Fierce Leadership, Scott teaches us how to spot the worst “best” practices in our organizations using a technique she calls “squid eye”–the ability to see the “tells” or signs that we have fallen prey to disastrous behaviors by knowing what to look for. Only then, she says, can we apply the antidote..

Informed by over a decade of conversations with Fortune 500 executives, this book is that antidote. With fierce new approaches to everything from employee feedback to corporate diversity to customer relations, Scott offers fresh and surprising alternatives to six of the so-called “best” practices permeating today’s businesses. This refreshingly candid book is a must-read for any manager or leader at any level who is ready to take a long hard look at what trouble might be lurking in their organization - and do something about it.

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Review:

A Q&A with Susan Scott

Question: The title of your book is Fierce Leadership. Can you tell us what you mean by "fierce"?

Susan Scott: In the dictionary there are several definitions for almost every word and when I ask people to put a positive spin on the word "fierce," people suggest: passionate, bold, robust, unbridled, strong, intense, powerful. That’s why I use the word "fierce"--it wakes me up, it’s exciting, it sounds bold, it sounds passionate. It doesn’t sound boring or careful or dull or controlled.

That’s what I mean by the word "fierce"--and "fierce leadership," of course, is all of those things. In martial arts, senseis have a saying, "You are always practicing something; the question is, What are you practicing?" Fierce leadership is a practice, a way of life, a way of thinking and behaving that a leader can bring into his or her life everyday. In Fierce Leadership we are pointing out some so-called "best practices" of leaders today and showing that they are actually far more problematic than they are positive and providing an alternative.

Question: So if some of today’s most widely accepted business practices are wrong-headed and ineffective, why do we insist on clinging to them?

Susan Scott: Well, we are very used to the over-parsed, acronym riddled corporate way and somewhere along the line someone suggested these as best practices. "Best Practices" is a widely used term to describe the best techniques or the best methods that are in use in a company, a field, or an industry. Unfortunately, companies often confuse the latest or the trendiest with the best and lock onto these practices. The best practices of one era are often superceded by the even more ludicrous fads of the next.

There is a direct link between leadership practices and results. We need to develop the ability to spot the "tells" that let us know that our practices aren’t working and, in fact, are getting us the opposite results from what we want. A fierce leader is someone who had acquired Squid Eye.

Question: What is Squid Eye exactly?

Susan Scott: It’s the ability to see the Squid while he is blending into his natural environment. The ability to see him just being himself, even when he doesn’t want you to see him, even when he is hiding. Having Squid Eye means you see many things others cannot and do not see. It’s like having sight in the presence of the blind, you are a selective and efficient information gatherer. This is what Squid Eye really means. So for a fierce leader, with Squid Eye, they begin to spot the tells that let us know that these "best practices" aren’t working.

Question: Another thing you stress is the value of relationships and conversations in business. Why are relationships so important for our careers and our bottom line?

Susan Scott: There is a bold and, I feel, compelling line between leadership and fierce leadership. You cross that line once you begin to understand and act on the central premise of everything fierce, which is If you want to become a great leader you must gain the capacity to connect with your colleagues and customers at a deep level, or lower your aim. So, whether your goal is to improve workplace relations or gain market share, your most valuable currency is not IQ, it’s not the ability to build a really cool power point deck, or analyze a case study or write a white paper. Your most valuable currency is emotional capital. And this is far from a naive, feel good notion; it is really good business sense. In fact, I am proposing that human connectivity, as opposed to strategy and tactics, is the next frontier for exponential growth and the only sustainable competitive edge.

About the Author:

SUSAN SCOTT is the founder of Fierce, Inc., a global training company whose clients include Yahoo, Starbucks, Cisco, BP, General Dynamics, New York Life, Nestle, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Lego, C.A.R.E., Best Buy, Coca-Cola, Ernst & Young. Scott is the author of Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life — One Conversation at a Time. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the author of the acclaimed book Fierce Conversations comes the antidote to some of the most wrongheaded practices of business today. - -Provide anonymous feedback.- - -Hire smart people.- - -Hold people accountable.- These are all sound, business practices, right? Not so fast, says leadership visionary and bestselling author Susan Scott. In fact, these mantras -- despite being long-accepted and adopted by business leaders everywhere -- are completely wrongheaded. Worse, they are costing companies billions of dollars, driving away valuable employees and profitable customers, limiting performance, and stalling careers. Yet they are so deeply ingrained in organizational cultures that no one has questioned them. Until now. In Fierce Leadership, Scott teaches us how to spot the worst -best- practices in our organizations using a technique she calls -squid eye--the ability to see the -tells- or signs that we have fallen prey to disastrous behaviors by knowing what to look for. Only then, she says, can we apply the antidote. Informed by over a decade of conversations with Fortune 500 executives, this book is that antidote. With fierce new approaches to everything from employee feedback to corporate diversity to customer relations, Scott offers fresh and surprising alternatives to six of the so-called -best- practices permeating today s businesses. This refreshingly candid book is a must-read for any manager or leader at any level who is ready to take a long hard look at what trouble might be lurking in their organization - and do something about it. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780385529044

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the author of the acclaimed book Fierce Conversations comes the antidote to some of the most wrongheaded practices of business today. - -Provide anonymous feedback.- - -Hire smart people.- - -Hold people accountable.- These are all sound, business practices, right? Not so fast, says leadership visionary and bestselling author Susan Scott. In fact, these mantras -- despite being long-accepted and adopted by business leaders everywhere -- are completely wrongheaded. Worse, they are costing companies billions of dollars, driving away valuable employees and profitable customers, limiting performance, and stalling careers. Yet they are so deeply ingrained in organizational cultures that no one has questioned them. Until now. In Fierce Leadership, Scott teaches us how to spot the worst -best- practices in our organizations using a technique she calls -squid eye--the ability to see the -tells- or signs that we have fallen prey to disastrous behaviors by knowing what to look for. Only then, she says, can we apply the antidote. Informed by over a decade of conversations with Fortune 500 executives, this book is that antidote. With fierce new approaches to everything from employee feedback to corporate diversity to customer relations, Scott offers fresh and surprising alternatives to six of the so-called -best- practices permeating today s businesses. This refreshingly candid book is a must-read for any manager or leader at any level who is ready to take a long hard look at what trouble might be lurking in their organization - and do something about it. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780385529044

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