Steve Swofford - Alabama Credit Union
Evolutionaries is a well-grounded book, filled with interesting self-tests. At the outset, the reader is asked to gather data to answer questions such as, “do you need an evolutionary?,” and “are you an evolutionary?” Evolutionary leaders evolve, and the book defines the dimensions of evolutionary leadership and guides readers in developing their own potential for functioning as an evolutionary leader. (One of the most interesting self-analysis surveys focuses on the reader’s communication orientation: evolutionaries communicate in ways that are direct, situational and bonding, and the quiz provides data for self-analysis, followed by the weak and strong points of each style.)
I don’t want to give away too much of the short (134 pages) book—although no summary of the content could suffice. No, this is a book to be experienced, to read as if you are a participant in a challenging, engaging, groundbreaking workshop.
Evolutionaries is filled with a running dialogue with several people identified by the authors as evolutionary leaders—people in real organizations doing real work in the real world (e.g., CEOs, Executive Directors, and a captain assigned to SEAL TeamONE). There are few “hypotheticals” in this book; rather, the examples offered and the research cited ground the principles and recommendations and make them imminently practical. One of the evolutionaries recommends being aware of the moment when “It’s time to break the engineers’ pencils,” when the time comes to risk leaping forward before the engineers are satisfied that every i is dotted and every t crossed.
How is Evolutionaries a terrific example of what it describes? This book offers an approach that is itself transformative. Consider that the usual approach to assessing good leadership requires little more than an examination of the “bottom line.” Good evolutionary leadership is much more. In a fascinating section on “Meta-Planning,” the authors describe a technique in which an organization’s entire ecosystem—the contexts in which the organization is situated—are brought into the planning process, resulting in plans that have the potential to change not only the organization, but the industry and the community and beyond the community. This is not your usual book on leadership!
Evolutionaries concludes with two chapters unique to books on leadership: “The Code of an Evolutionary,” and “When Evolutionaries Fail.” At the beginning of the former chapter, the authors write: “The cornerstone of the code [of evolutionary leadership] is a commitment to a cause that is larger than the individual. The pursuit of personal excellence is always in some fashion at the service of that larger cause. This larger cause is rooted in making the world a better place—leaving a positive and healthy legacy for generations to come.” In the last chapter, the authors reiterate some of the problems with evolutionary leadership and evolutionaries themselves. The road described by the authors is not a smooth one, and certainly not aneasy one, but it has the potential to lead to the fulfillment of goals that go far beyond the usual.
This is a book about leadership that has as its goal a better world, not simply a larger profit.
Lawrence B. Rosenfeld - Department of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This book is sort of putting Randy and Carmen in a bottle and being able to tap the genie of their wisdom at your leisure. It is not a long read, but you need to plan to dwell on the subject, play with the exercises, and revisit it. Much like making a candle, you need to dip into the wax of wisdom and allow it to dry before re-dipping. You also need to refrain from lighting a match to the partially formed candle lest you burn out quickly from lacking the depth of wisdom to found in this book.
Gary Easterling - United Federal Credit Union
Brit Parker -
Geoff Gilmore, CEO - Climax Portable Machining & Welding Systems
Mike Foley - Bluetooth SIG
Steve Ahlberg -
Cindy Tortorici - The Link for Women
Scott West - Travel Oregon
Todd Davidson - Travel Oregon
Chandra Brown - United Street Car
Carmen was the keynote speaker at the Portland WIFS dinner I recently attended. She talked about how businesses can plan for the future when we are no longer able to make long-term plans for the future. I think I am going to be glad I read this book.
Rose City Reader -