Who Is This Person?

October 12, 2011 by Bill Bradley


Title: Ask Yourself These Questions

Competencies: leadership, managing self, self-development

Who benefits: leaders, managers, supervisors, and leader wannabes

Consultant Usage: must read for executive coaches and leadership trainers

What’s it about? When I first started posting these Wednesday missives had a certain randomness.  I was trying to cover a wide variety of competencies.  Still do to some extent. But I find myself more and more drawn to material aimed a personal and professional development.  This is probably due in part to my career in human resource development.  But increasingly I find myself convinced (or am I just convincing myself?) that all competency development begins with a greater understanding of Self…

Which is why I am absolutely delighted to review the newly released book What To Ask The Person In The Mirror, by Robert Kaplan, professor of management practice at Harvard Business School.

Most reviews don’t begin with reference to the book dedication.  But this one will.  He dedicates the book to his parents “who taught me to never stop asking questions” and to all those who protect our right to ask questions.  Amen to that, brother!

I have read this book.  It is clear and concise, focused and maintains interest throughout.  More importantly, it covers the material thoroughly. 

From at least the time of Drucker there have been legitimate assertions to “Best Leadership Book Ever.”  Each was in its time.  In my opinion, in this era it is this book that can lay claim to the title.  I give it my highest possible recommendation.

I have never seen an author do a better book summary than Professor Kaplan did in his table of contents.  There is nothing more I could write that would better convince you to read this wonderful book than to just present his Contents:

Introduction: Great Leadership is Not About Having All the Answers
Visions and Priorities: If You Know Where You’re Going, It’s a Lot Easier to Get There
Managing Your Time: How You Spend Your Time Should Flow Directly from Your Vision and Key Priorities
Giving and Getting Feedback: Effective Leaders Coach Their People and Actively Seek Coaching Themselves
Succession Planning and Delegation: Owning the Challenge of Developing Successors in Your Organization
Evaluation and Alignment: The Courage to Assess Your Enterprise with a Clean Sheet of Paper
The Leader as Role Model: Communicating What You Truly Believe and Value
Reaching Your Potential: Being True to Yourself
Bringing It All Together: The Practice of Gaining Perspective
Appendix: Critical Questions for Becoming a More Effective Leader and Reaching Your Potential

More on Professor Kaplan: He has co-authored a dynamite, no holds barred, blunt article How to Solve the Cost Crisis in Health Care in the August issue of Harvard Business Review.  If you are interested in the topic, it is a Don’t Miss article. 

Catch you later.
[tags] leadership, managing self, self-development, robert kaplan, envisia, envisia learning, bill bradley, william bradley, bradley[/tags]

Bill Bradley (mostly) retired after 35 years in organizational consulting, training and management development. During those years he worked internally with seven organizations and trained and consulted externally with more than 90 large and small businesses, government agencies, hospitals and schools.

Posted in Leadership Development

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  1. You have convinced me!! a great recommendation for what looks like am exceptional book. thanks…hope things are going well in Mexico. Lee

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