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Mother Teresa, CEO: Unexpected Principles for Practical Leadership

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  • Posted November 14, 2011

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    Mother Teresa, CEO

    In the early 1990s, at age 19, author Ruma Bose worked as a volunteer in Calcutta (now Kolkata) with Mother Teresa. Now Bose and co-author Lou Faust have identified eight key leadership principles Mother Teresa practiced diligently as she built the Missionaries of Charity into a global organization with billions of dollars in revenue. The authors include stories from their entrepreneurial and corporate experiences, easy-to-follow discussions, and incidents from Mother Teresa¿s life to show how each principle can benefit you personally and professionally. When reflecting on Mother Teresa¿s unique life and single-minded dedication, you may be tempted to view her gentle spirit, charitable work, and lofty goals as inspired by faith and somehow not relevant to the modern world. That would be misguided thinking. In fact, ¿you don¿t have to be a saint¿ to gain from the fundamental tenets of her leadership, which are useful to managers at all levels. While some may think this short book is a bit simplistic, getAbstract finds that its very simplicity is a large part of what makes it so powerful.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An alternative look at an amazing woman

    Being neither Catholic nor an executive of any level, this might seem an odd book for me to pick up, but I am glad that I had the simple pleasure and gentle learning experience this book afforded me.

    As a young Hindi woman, during a time of aimless confusion in her life, Ruma Bose spent an extended period of time volunteering with Mother Teresa and her Sisters of Charity in India. Ruma has subsequently gone on to become a successful business woman. A dinner party conversation during which she sketched out the leadership style of Mother Teresa was the genesis of this book, on which Ms. Bose asked her mentor, Lou Faust to collaborate.

    The book's structure is very simple. It is divided into eight chapters, each of which correlate with one of eight principles found by Ruma Bose to define the leadership philosophy of Mother Teresa. These principles are:

    Dream it Simple, Say it Strong
    Dealing with the Devil to get to the Angels
    Wait! Then pick your moment
    Embrace the power of doubt
    Discover the joy of discipline
    Communicate in a language people understand
    Pay attention to the janitor
    Use the power of silence

    At the beginning of each chapter Ruma recounts an anecdote from her time with the gentle woman who began and grew one of the world's largest charity organizations. These brief snippets let the reader see various sides of Mother Teresa from a CEO standpoint. Lou Faust and Ruma then draw parallels to real world business situations.

    The book left me with mixed feelings. It is useful in that I do not think you need to be a CEO to apply these principles to your life, and this broadens the scope of those for whom this will be an enjoyable read. However, the book, at a scant 144 pages, does not provide any concrete suggestions for implementation, neither on a personal nor a business level. For me, the book was primarily an informative look at Mother Teresa through an alternative lens. If you are fascinated by this special woman the book is well worth your time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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