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Literature of Leadership - SMART Leadership

LEADERSHIP: Four Simple Choices to Scale Your Impact. Mark Miller. (2022, Kindle Edition)

Who doesn’t want to make a bigger impact as a leader or in life in general? Based on extensive research and decades of real-world leadership experience with Chick-fil-A, Mark Miller convincingly argues that “your choices determine your impact”. In these challenging and chaotic times, Miller observes that “[M]any leaders seem to be swimming in quicksand…the harder they work, the deeper they sink.” He maintains that the way to escape the quagmire of daily challenges that drag us down (and burn us out) is to make smart choices that matter most, have the greatest strategic value, and enable other choices. By making smart choices, leaders gain “agency, accountability, opportunity, and true power.”

According to Miller, the four Smart Choices to scale one’s impact include: #1: Confront Reality, #2: Grow Capacity, #3: Fuel Curiosity, and #4: Create Change. More specifically, as a leader confronts reality, they create a starting point to lead from a position of strength. Once there is a starting point, the leader can begin to assess and grow their leadership capacity to meet the demands of the moment and challenges of the future. To maintain relevance and vitality into the future, an inquisitive spirit should be adopted to spark creativity, and fuel learning and growth. As ideas are formed and strategy is developed, leaders can define a vision for a better tomorrow and create the conditions for positive change.

Smart Leadership begins with an introduction into the many sandpits often encountered in the workplace (e.g., non-productive meetings, excessive digital communications, constant distractions and rising complexity), as well as personal impediments that often limit one’s impact (e.g., complacency, fatigue, fear). Then, it launches the reader into the essence of the four Smart Choices and how to mitigate them and move forward. A chapter is dedicated to each choice, and is followed by two supporting chapters that offer strategies and tactics based on best practices from the field, along with “Be Smart!” tips for immediate action. Throughout the book chapters, thought-provoking questions grounded in effective leadership practice are presented to stimulate self-reflection.

Miller’s promise to the reader is that by making these four choices as the default response to daily pressures, exponential growth in impact can result in a very short period of time. If improving leadership effectiveness is your goal, then Smart Leadership offers valuable insights and is well worth the read!

Image source: Amazon


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