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From fieldwork that has spanned four continents and dozens of countries comes a simple, elegant and powerful model for acting with courage when faced with moments of truth and individual strength and character are put to the test. With thought-provoking case studies, the authors' unique Courage Index questionnaire, and other hands-on tools, The Courage to Act offers a simple yet elegant dynamic approach for assessing, fostering, teaching and learning courage. The authors detail the five factors of courage needed ...
From fieldwork that has spanned four continents and dozens of countries comes a simple, elegant and powerful model for acting with courage when faced with moments of truth and individual strength and character are put to the test. With thought-provoking case studies, the authors' unique Courage Index questionnaire, and other hands-on tools, The Courage to Act offers a simple yet elegant dynamic approach for assessing, fostering, teaching and learning courage. The authors detail the five factors of courage needed to face adversity, deal with ambiguity, seize opportunities before they get away, and work through rather than avoid conflicts: candor, purpose, will, rigor and risk.
As examples of leadership and corporate courage, the authors tell the ancient story of King Sejong, who had the courage to envision a unique language that Korea could embrace and use to overcome rampant illiteracy, a language that is still used today. His courage to challenge the status quo and encourage a new offering is credited with providing power and independence to Korean society, and raising the Korean national consciousness to an unprecedented level of freedom and democratic achievement.
As a more modern example of courage in the face of uncertainty and fear, the authors point out the courage that corporate officers of Johnson & Johnson embodied when they took a major financial risk and pulled the entire supply of Tylenol off store shelves after seven people died from ingesting an Extra-Strength Tylenol capsule that had been tampered with and laced with cyanide. They also cite WorldCom and Enron as proof that courage was not present when officers at these companies refused to admit that their companies were losing money and not posting a healthy profit.
Respect Authority and Dignity
The first element in the authors' courage equation is candor, a rare commodity that represents the courage to speak and hear the truth. One key to displaying candor is to respect other people's authority and dignity by providing feedback in private.
The second element of courage that builds on candor is purpose. The authors write that stepping back and focusing on the big picture can help anyone begin to find the courage to pursue lofty and audacious goals.
Next, according to the authors, leaders and organizations who want to embrace courage must have will. The courage to inspire optimism, spirit and promise comes from building confidence, keeping pessimism at bay and creating pride among teammates.
The next part of courage, the authors write, is rigor. Organizations that embody rigor have the courage to invent disciplines and make them stick. The authors write that rigor is a matter of judgment and discretion, consideration and self-discipline. Rigor is also a matter of recognizing how your actions affect others in the system.
The last part of the courage equation is the ability to risk. Risk, the authors explain, is the courage to empower, trust, and invest in relationships. If your risk quotient is high, there's no doubt you'll do the right thing.
Mastering the Courage to Act
To help organizations and leaders understand what constitutes courage and how the courage to act can be mastered, the authors borrow from the principles of courage that are embraced by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Israeli Air Force. These "Action Learning Principles" include:
Why We Like This Book
The authors of The Courage to Act open up their team-building tool box and offer numerous examples and fascinating case studies of leaders and organizations they have helped to embrace courage in their daily lives. By blazing the path to courage and guiding readers through the difficult terrain that leads to it, the authors have created a manual to help leaders reap the benefits of courageous teams and organizations. Their useful advice and time-tested tips shed revealing light on an organizational concept that is vital to success. Copyright © 2003 Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Posted May 19, 2004
Only a brave pair of authors would try to tackle a topic as all-encompassing as the need for courage in the modern business world, but that is exactly what Drs. Merom Klein and Rod Napier have set out to do. Do they succeed? Not entirely. While their diagnosis of the organizational ills plaguing today¿s companies is spot-on, their prescriptions are generic, involving ¿creating a safe environment,¿ ¿building pride¿ and ¿keeping it fun.¿ Despite the obviousness of some of the sound advice in the later chapters, the book shines in its first 70 pages, in which the doctors present an original, enlightening analysis of how organizational changes have altered the roles and responsibilities of mid-level workers. Based on this fresh perspective, we think that all readers could use a little Courage.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.