Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Leading at the Edge

By Dennis N.T. Perkins
New York, American Management Assoc., 2012
Second Edition
256 pages     Non-Fiction
The Shortlist

Dennis Perkins is a consultant and an expert in effective leadership, coaching, and team development. He and fellow consultants Margaret P. Holtman and Jillian B. Murphy have written a fascinating study of leadership through the lens of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition--Leading at the Edge.

I read the account of Shackleton’s adventures with great interest. Perkins outlines the goals for the journey, and the ensuing trauma that unfolded as they attempted to reach Antarctica in 1914. The adventure began with an advertisement in the London papers. Would you answer this ad?

"Men wanted for Hazardous Journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success."

Shackleton believed in the power of the team and he used his natural ability for team building and leadership to guide his men on their journey. The hazards expressed in the hiring came true in ways far worse than could be expected, but two years later, Shackleton and his men were rescued—all of them alive.

Perkins and his consultants extracted ten leadership traits from this remarkable adventure. What makes Leading at the Edge a valuable tool for people in leadership positions is that while the reader is engrossed in the adventure, she is also learning skills that can be transferred to business, industry, education or wherever leadership is practiced. Perkins backs up each leadership trait with examples from the Shackleton adventure as well as with examples from modern day business. A set of questions at the end of each chapter encourage the reader to find ways to modify each leadership trait for their own benefit. 

Very skillfully written; very motivating; very interesting.

An interesting video review of the book:
Information about the book from Perkin’s business, The Syncretics Group:

1 comment:

barry labov blog said...

I am just entering the so-called "real world." While I am still entry level, one day I hope to be in a leadership position. This book sounds not only helpful but very interesting. I will have to stop at the bookstore later on to pick it up. Do you have any other suggestions on good books I could purchase on leadership?