Seven Secrets of Inspired Leaders,
By Phil Dourado and Dr Phil Blackburn
Pages: 238 Price: £14.99
Reviewed by: John Charlton
It would be fair to assume that Sir Alan Sugar would not figure in the book Seven Secrets of Inspired Leadership. And he doesn’t.
With his cry of: “You’re fired”, the Essex entrepreneur, recently featured in TV series The Apprentice, does not make this book’s list of inspiring leaders, which includes Bill Gates, and Body Shop founder Anita Roddick.
Seven Secrets is not light entertainment. It’s a serious, demanding read even though it’s presented in bright, chunky and trendy typography.
Authors Phil Dourado and Dr Phil Blackburn take the premise “what is an inspired leader”, and flesh it out considerably with explanation, analysis and example.
Much of this comes via contributions from members of the Inspired Leaders Network – of which Blackburn is a co-founder – and its friends.
The wealth of examples they provide is the book’s core strength. When such successful people speak, their words really resonate.
One distinct thread that runs throughout the book is that people are increasingly becoming an organisation’s only asset, especially as manufacturing and service support can be sourced worldwide. And the people who matter most – apart from the inspiring leaders – are the people who make a difference. For Dourado and Blackburn, they are the mavericks – “a pain to lead, but they are the grit that delivers the pearl”.
Managers who want innovation must accommodate these strange souls and put up with their chall-enges. Otherwise, say the authors, innovation will grind to a halt.
Enter the inspiring leader: a person who empowers staff and helps others get things done. Someone workers appreciate and trust; a risk taker, a lateral thinker, and a right clever clogs to boot.
Training managers tasked with spreading this gospel will find lots of ammunition in the book, but may find some of the examples too ‘touchy-feely’. On reflection, however, I can’t help but think that in a world where touchy-feely empowerment is becoming an ersatz religion, Sir Alan is the real maverick.