Harder Than I Thought: Adventures of a Twenty-First Century Leader

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Overview


Being a great leader today is much harder than you think

Meet Jim Barton. He’s a newly minted CEO, rising leader of a firm in transition, and manager of massive complexity—thanks to our incredibly networked and increasingly unpredictable world of business. What if you were in his shoes?

If you’re a top executive today, you probably are.

Harder Than I Thought is a fictional narrative that puts the increasingly...

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Harder Than I Thought: Adventures of a Twenty-First Century Leader

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Overview


Being a great leader today is much harder than you think

Meet Jim Barton. He’s a newly minted CEO, rising leader of a firm in transition, and manager of massive complexity—thanks to our incredibly networked and increasingly unpredictable world of business. What if you were in his shoes?

If you’re a top executive today, you probably are.

Harder Than I Thought is a fictional narrative that puts the increasingly complex job of Chief Executive in a very real context. It serves as a practical guide by allowing you to walk alongside Jim as he takes on his new role and all its attendant challenges. Jim’s story—developed in collaboration with seasoned, real-life CEOs—includes crucial lessons for anyone hoping to master the new-world skills required of successful business leaders today.

As the narrative unfolds, Jim grapples with an array of business crises, some he inherited and some of his own making. As events push this new leader to the edge of his abilities, he seeks counsel from a panel of advisers—resulting in a wealth of teaching moments bound to keep you captivated.

Experts agree that many twentieth-century leadership practices won’t work in the turbulent twenty-first century. This engaging book gives you the insights you’ll need to navigate in a fast-changing business landscape.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“the authors offer a very readable story of the challenges and tribulations of the Chief Executive role.” — Graziadio Business Review, Pepperdine University

ADVANCE PRAISE for Harder Than I Thought:

Michael Beer, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School; Chairman, TruePoint—
“If you want to prepare yourself for the incredibly difficult and complex job of CEO, read this book. Using their extensive knowledge of top-level management, the authors weave an excellent and engrossing fictional account of the challenges faced by Jim Barton as he takes charge of an aerospace company facing significant business problems.”

Frank McKenna, Deputy Chairman, TD Bank Group—
Harder Than I Thought is both entertaining and edifying—a rare combination for a business book. A delightful and instructive blend of fact and fiction, this book is essential reading for any aspiring executive.”

Hisashi Imai, Dean, Nomura School of Advanced Management, Tokyo—
“Finally! The long-awaited new episodes of Jim Barton, IT leader turned CEO. Although the reader’s industry or country context may be different from Barton’s, the fundamental leadership challenges are the same. I highly recommend this book for any aspiring leader anywhere in the world, especially newly appointed CEOs and CEO candidates.”

Karen Fine Coburn, President and CEO, Cutter Consortium—
“A delightful cliff-hanger of a book that delivers essential wisdom for twenty-first-century CEOs. Walk in the shoes of a new CEO and learn what effective leadership truly demands.”

Wang Shi, Chairman, China Vanke Co., Ltd.—
“Jim Barton’s undying quest for bold ideas and his persistence to push for change against all odds are inspiring. He is a motivating role model for all leaders and entrepreneurs who aspire and fight hard every day to do better.”

Tom Lee, Hughes M. Blake Professor of Management and Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs, Foster School of Business, University of Washington—
Harder Than I Thought is a fascinating, highly informative, and fun book to read. It captures and conveys the personal demands of being a CEO so very well.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781422162590
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 11/27/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 950,392
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author


Robert D. Austin is dean of the faculty of Business Administration at the University of New Brunswick and Professor (on leave) of Management of Innovation and Creativity at Copenhagen Business School. Richard L. Nolan is the William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School and professor emeritus of Management and Organization at the Foster School of Business, University of Washington. Shannon O’Donnell is a PhD fellow in the Department of Management, Politics, and Philosophy at Copenhagen Business School. Together they authored The Adventures of an IT Leader (Harvard Business Press, 2009), which introduced us to Jim Barton as he entered his previous role as CIO.
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Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 First Day 1

2 Getting to Know SMA 13

First Interlude: The Lords of Leadercraft 35

3 Financials and Trust 41

4 Transparency 57

Second Interlude: A Leader of Men 71

5 Reunion 73

6 The Board of Directors 85

7 Getting Great Performance from People 101

Third Interlude: Your Lineup Is a Mess! 119

8 Rallying the Team 123

9 Restructuring the Board 137

10 Consulting with a Peer 151

11 Implementation 163

12 Test Drive 177

13 The Agony of Defeat 189

14 Wildcard 201

15 Bluebirds Fly In 217

Fourth Interlude: Execute, Execute, Execute 229

16 Globalization 233

17 Execution 245

18 Public Life, Private Life 255

19 Communicate, Communicate 265

20 Partnering Risks Realized 273

Fifth Interlude: The Leadership Main Course 283

21 There Is a Time… 287

Finale: Still Figuring It Out 297

Ways of Using This Book 299

Cast of Main Characters 301

Glossary of Acronyms and Terms 305

Acknowledgments 307

About the Authors 309

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    My Rating~

    I'm not sure how SwordSpear does as a leader, but he is always there for SunClan when K.K attacks. All of SunClan appreciats that he risks his life to protect a clan that isn't even his! He is awesome in battle, though I can't say the same for leadership (because I don't know!)

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