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Common Purpose: How Great Leaders Get Organizations to Achieve the Extraordinary

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Overview

From one of the most respected names in business and leadership, a rare look at the specifics of how great leaders achieve "common purpose" and success within their organizations.

What is common purpose? It is that rare, almost-palpable experience that happens when a leader coalesces a group, team or community into a creative, dynamic, brave and nearly invincible we. It happens the moment the organization's values, tools, objectives and hopes are internalized in a way that ...

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Overview

From one of the most respected names in business and leadership, a rare look at the specifics of how great leaders achieve "common purpose" and success within their organizations.

What is common purpose? It is that rare, almost-palpable experience that happens when a leader coalesces a group, team or community into a creative, dynamic, brave and nearly invincible we. It happens the moment the organization's values, tools, objectives and hopes are internalized in a way that enables people to work tirelessly toward a goal. Common purpose is rarely achieved. But Kurtzman has observed that when a leader is able to bring it about, the results are outsized, measurable and inspiring.

  • Based on Kurtzman's all-new interviews with more than 50 leaders, including Ron Sargent, Ilene Lang, Micky Arison, Simon Cooper, Joel Klein, Janet Field, Steve Wynn, Shivan Subramaniam, Michael Dell, Richard Boyatzis, Tom Kelley, Michael Milken, and Warren Bennis
  • Contains research on leadership Kurtzman has conducted during his years at The New York Times, the Harvard Business Review, Booz & Company, as well as with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mercer, and Korn/Ferry

Based on all new interviews with some of the most dynamic, successful, and enduring leaders, Common Purpose sheds new light on the meaning of leadership, the crucial qualities of leaders, and most importantly, how to lead.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A thoughtful…and ethics-based discussion on leadership in the modern age by lauded businessman Kurtzman. A solid and readable look at 'New Leadership.'" (Publishers Weekly, January 18, 2010)

"Through well-told anecdotes and strong logic, Kurtzman convincingly demonstrates that the essence of leadership is the ability to forge, from a disparate group of individuals, "a creative, dynamic, brave and nearly invincible we." How does one do that? Not by stepping out in front of the group, describing a vision, and leading the charge forward. Rather, Kurtzman's ideal leader is deep in the mix of the organization, causing its values, objectives, and approaches to be internalized by decision makers at every level." (Harvard Business Review, January-February 2010)

Publishers Weekly
A thoughtful—if somewhat long-winded—and ethics-based discussion of leadership in the modern age by lauded business consultant Kurtzman. The author takes an all-for-one-and-one-for-all view of management, stating that the heart and soul of leadership is the creation of common purpose. He advocates for flat organizations and the end of the traditional corporate hierarchy in the interests of forging a sense of identity and connection between leaders and led. He cites such successes as the long-lived Proctor & Gamble and the ever-lauded Apple, and failures like GM's former chairman taking the ill-advised private jet to ask Congress for a bailout as examples of how CEOs can save their companies by siding with employees—and fail by standing apart from them. A thought-provoking look at the behavior of young Gen X and Y leaders backs up his premise that leadership is evolving—for the better. He posits that in the years ahead, leaders will be kinder, more caring, and more empathic and are likely to create organizations superior to anything that has come before. While the material doesn't necessarily support an entire book's worth of encouragement, this is nonetheless a solid and readable look at “New Leadership.” (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470490099
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 212
  • Sales rank: 820,290
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Joel Kurtzman is chairman of the Kurtzman Group, a research and consulting firm focusing on issues relating to knowledge management, strategy, economic development, global risk, and thought leadership. He is a senior fellow at the Milken Institute and publisher of The Milken Institute Review, a member of the editorial board of MIT Sloan Management Review, and a senior fellow at Wharton's SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management. He is also an advisor to the World Economic Forum and to the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. Previously, he was the editor of Harvard Business Review, founder and editor of strategy + business magazine, a columnist at Fortune, and an editor and columnist at The New York Times. For more than 30 years, Kurtzman has interviewed, worked with, and consulted to the CEOs of some of the world's largest companies.

For more information, please visit www.kurtzmangroup.com.

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Table of Contents

Foreword (Marshall Goldsmith).

Introduction: No One Leads Alone.

1 The Leadership Disconnect.

2 The New Rules of Employment.

3 Leaders at All Levels.

4 Internalizing What the Organization Stands For.

5 The Best Leaders Are Part of the Group.

6 Cultivating Curiosity, Not Complacency.

7 Creating a Culture of Leadership.

8 We’re All in This Together.

9 How Leaders Stay Positive and Determined.

10 Leading Is a Mental Game.

11 Different Strokes for Different Generations.

12 You Don’t Have to Be Ruthless to Lead.

13 Ideas Matter.

Epilogue: The Future of Leadership.

A Leadership Library.

About the Author.

Index.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 23, 2010

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    Knowledgeable guide to common purpose leadership

    Renowned business thinker Joel Kurtzman offers an excellent primer on modern-day leadership. Kurtzman, a senior fellow at the Milken Institute and former editor in chief of Harvard Business Review, dramatically illustrates that the aloof, insular, condescending leader is a dinosaur from an unenlightened past. To foster organizations that thrive, leaders must guide and empower, not command and control, as Kurtzman explains with precepts you can put directly into action. His thoroughly researched book is packed with case studies of prominent leaders - both the good and the bad. These fascinating, sometimes chatty stories entertain and instruct at the same time. getAbstract highly recommends Kurtzman's illuminating, clearly written book.

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