Strong leadership in a results driven business–and how to work towards improved priorities and outputs–can be difficult, yet vital to define. Jeff, a career driven department head, feels like his running of a mid-sized business is struggling for efficiency, and is confused as to its needs. So he sets about finding an answer.
Written by Doug Johnston, who has served as a adviser and/or speaker for domestic and international companies–from Fortune 50 to emerging entrepreneurial companies, EXPONENTIAL LEADERSHIP is not a deep, theoretical book about leadership, but more of an intuitive tale. Jeff is a dedicated career man, perhaps a little uncertain in his competence and striving for genuine improvement. He faces many of the usual challenges: limited time, limited staff, limited money, and a lack of communication between people whose cooperation could greatly improve the efficiency of the whole outfit. One day he gets talking to Carolyn, a cleaner in his office he’s been casually acquainted with for years. He learns she runs a large cleaning business and is a former employee of his company who’s left for better things.
Carolyn quickly turns into a kind of idea-bouncing mentor, as Jeff looks to take a formulaic approach to improving the results of his department and its direction. His nightly discussions with Carolyn help foster his concepts. Jeff slowly works on his formula, applying the results with his management team, and trying to find the missing links that will make it all fit together. Meanwhile, he slowly comes to appreciate that his long-suffering wife might be less than happy with his over-extended working hours, which result in part from his own inefficiency.
As Johnston himself admits in the opening pages, EXPONENTIAL LEADERSHIP is dropping into an extremely crowded market. It does have a unique twist of explaining concepts through the combination of parable and the construction of a magic formula. And while the lessons will be little more than reminders to those who’ve previously worked on business development, they are well worth exploring.
For a more advanced reader looking for a leadership deep-dive, EXPONENTIAL LEADERSHIP will probably fall short. As far as a charming read with business applications go, though, it’s a solid, thought-provoking and easy-to-absorb offering.
A thoughtful, meandering tale of one man’s journey through business theory and application, EXPONENTIAL LEADERSHIP is conceptually interesting and told in a simple, story-telling dynamic.
~James Hendicott for IndieReader