“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak: Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” ~ Winston Churchill
Earl Cobb, author of the new book Focused Leadership: What You Can Do Today To Become An Effective Leader, mentions that Churchill quote as his personal favorite. It’s fitting as he raises his courage in sharing his executive and managerial experiences that he feels all leaders should possess.
This is my second review of a publication from Richer Press, a small trade publisher that features various motivational and self-development books. This is also a nod to my mentioning the unique perspective Cobb and his wife, Dr. Charlotte Grant-Cobb, bring to their professional experiences (see the review for Living A Richer Life).
Cobb relates a number of senior management experiences that can aid a business owner’s expectation to lead others. He has led an engineering team involved with a NASA program, has held executive positions at Fortune 100, been an adjunct professor and is a 1995 Black Engineer of the Year award recipient.
While Living A Richer Life provided some guidance into developing a balanced life. Focused Leadership selects a different route. Covering highs and lows, Cobb establishes 10 steps, which happen to map to each letter in the word leadership. Each step ends with a brief chart noting three columns:
- What to Do Today
- What You Will Gain
- What You Will Avoid
Some points may seem similar to those expressed in other leadership books, but Cobb enhances and distinguishes from those sentiments with his experiences associated to those ten points. The explanations contain honest talk about managing others, evaluating challenges and setting objectives, all buoyed by Cobbs’ belief in leadership:
“I have come to believe that leading with intention versus depending on your authority gets far better results.”
This book helps small business owners through developing the value of the intention Cobb references while experiencing a career’s inevitable ups and downs. Experiences with success are meshed with challenges. Focus Leadership notes Cobb’s success leading a Motorola development team supporting the Space Shuttle Discovery, while a brief tenure as COO of MedContrax, a healthcare startup struggling to secure second round investment right after the September 11 attacks, is also shared.
Explained anecdotally, Cobb gives you an executive’s viewpoint that can enhance your understanding of what leadership means. For example, Cobb shares a lesson that reflects maintaining as critical to get past a growing crisis:
“When facing a situation involving highly unusual and uncharted circumstances, the true challenge associated with leading change is getting beyond the present and envisioning a future beyond the circumstance.”
You may connect with the information, but if not, consider the concepts complimentary, with perspectives from broader text such as Sleeping With The Smartphone (see the review here). The segments Articulating Your Vision, Repeatedly and Set a Course Lined With Short Term success (Steps 3 and 7) would be a personal guide if you are implementing Smartphones’ example of PTO, for example.
This book is meant to be a simple guide that allows personal introspection when developing your leadership, and may enhance your enjoyment of concepts from other business books as well.
Focused Leadership is a brief guide, similar in size as How To Be A Fierce Competitor (see the review here). But its impact is much more grand.
To be the best leader in your field, consider this book as one of your best pocket reminders of what activity ultimately makes a difference in an organization.