"SPARK is a myth-destroying book that will make you rethink both the theory and practice of leadership. In a straightforward and direct way, the authors show that leading is a choice, that values and actions must be in sync, and that being of service is the ultimate touchstone of genuine leadership. Whatever your job title or circle of influence, this book can help you light your own spark.” —Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of DRIVE and TO SELL IS HUMAN “If you truly want to become a Spark in your organization and in your life, I urge you to read this book now.” —Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski – Head Coach, Duke University Men’s Basketball “It’s remarkable how these three can-do individuals have pooled their hard-earned management insights into a winning book that can quickly elevate anyone in business to greater heights.”—Alison Levine, international leadership expert and bestselling author of ON THE EDGE “Winning performance is dependent on sparks, those rare individuals within your organization who get things done and then some. This book will teach you how to become a spark…and how to lead them too.” —David Burkus, author of UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT and Host of Radio Free Leader podcast “In SPARK, the authors give a clear roadmap for how anyone, at any organizational level, can develop their leadership skills. The authors are not only great leadership thinkers, but they have all led people in challenging circumstances—a huge advantage in guiding the rest of us. Trust them to take you to a new level.” —Thomas A. Kolditz, Brigadier General, US Army (ret) and Director of the Ann and John Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University “The skills I learned as a Marine 50 years ago have been the foundation of my leadership approach throughout my career. SPARK has captured those critical concepts, and presents them in an organized, effective way that makes it easy to bring them to life in today’s challenging business environment. Having worked first hand with Angie, Courtney, and Sean in the past, it is no surprised that they have captured the essence of effective leadership in SPARK.” —Dave Gagnon, CEO, Cafe Rio Mexican Grill “In these times of change, leadership in organizations, large and small, seek direction and insight into how to best embrace organizational transformation and growth. With uncommon clarity, Spark lays out a formula for the kind of leadership that can positively transform and empower any organization – founded on ethical values of character and credibility; and by making the point that leadership is not about authority or title, but about influencing outcomes and inspiring others.” —Michael Steinberg, MD, Executive Vice President,UCLA Health “This powerful book highlights a critical and frequently overlooked truth: Everyone has the potential to be a leader, and organizations reach their full potential only when they develop all of their women and men with that goal in mind. The authors offer plentiful, practical advice, and leaders at every level will learn from their wisdom.” —Vice Admiral John R. Ryan, USN (Ret.) President and CEO, Center for Creative Leadership “Need help developing your vision for what you want next, and what comes after that? SPARK is your mind-opening guide to figuring out what you’ve truly always wanted to do and making it happen, and, even better, then teaching others how to do the same, no matter where you are on the org chart!” —Marshall Goldsmith, bestselling author of TRIGGERS. “Authors Morgan, Lynch and Lynch offer a compelling step-by-step analysis of the fundamental skills that are needed to become a spark. The authors’ recommendations for behavioral change, drawn from their early years in the military and then a decade training corporate America, are well researched and documented, and also just have a common sense appeal--comfort with discomfort, for example. Bottom line? We are better employees, better leaders, and more satisfied human beings when we truly understand how to spark others --and ourselves.”—Claire Shipman, bestselling author of THE CONFIDENCE CODE and WOMENOMICS “In Spark Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, and Sean Lynch hit all the right notes at exactly the right time. Their central themes of character, credibility, accountability, intent, service, confidence and consistency are exactly what every leader needs to be reading and practicing now. The truth is that credibility is the foundation of leadership, and without it people just won’t willingly follow someone who aspires to lead. Spark guides you through the essential steps that will enable you to earn and sustain that credibility. The authors’ extensive leadership experiences under very challenging conditions infuse Spark with a strong sense of reality. This is a very honest and candid book—one you can believe in, because when you apply the lessons in it, you know that it can be done with authenticity and a sense of service to others. All leaders will benefit from reading and applying Spark. I highly recommend it.”—Jim Kouzes, co-author of the bestselling THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE and the Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University
Coauthors Morgan and Courtney Lynch, who previously collaborated on Leading from the Front, run the corporate leadership consulting firm Lead Star with fellow coauthor here, Sean Lynch. The three draw on their personal military experiences in this short book on leadership. While the market seems oversaturated with experiential military leadership tomes (Turn the Ship Around!; It's Your Ship; Extreme Ownership, etc.), this brief book is easy to read. The eight chapters focus on the authors' short list of a leader's essential character traits, using their own stories as examples for the bulk of the content. The succinct summaries at the end of chapters solidify the concepts discussed and provide simple steps to move the principles from abstract thought to concrete action. Further resources and exercises that correspond to each chapter are made available in a printable format via the authors' Lead Star website. VERDICT Recommended as a solid introduction for individuals who are interested in pursuing a position of leadership and for libraries that service such a population.—Mark Hanson, Maranatha Baptist Univ. Lib., Watertown, WI
Three former U.S. military officers advocate for transferring military leadership methods into the civilian business sector and beyond.Along with Sean Lynch, Morgan and Courtney Lynch (co-authors: Leading From the Front: No-Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women, 2006) run Lead Star, a corporate consulting firm that counts among their well-known clients Facebook, Accenture, Best Buy, and the United Way. The authors take issue with some widespread views about leadership and misinformation about the military and its culture. As Morgan writes, "most people think of leadership as a title, not as a set of behaviors, so they don't see themselves as leaders." While uniformed leaders are widely viewed as top-down rather than laterally distributed, the authors contend that the same qualities of high-level military leaders can be found at all levels of any institutional enterprise. Unfortunately, society values such leadership but does not teach it. Using what they have learned, the authors explore how to lead through the exercise of influence. They focus on the choices individuals make when they accept certain responsibilities, and they offer examples of how they came to grasp the significant principles involved in their own training and careers. Morgan relates how an officer she was terrified of went out of his way to help her deal with loss in her family, and Sean recounts how he found the courage to speak up for what he believed in. The capacity to influence grows from the values and principles many people hold dear, including self-control, a dedication to service, accountability, intentionality, and trustworthiness. Ultimately, though, true leaders must first learn to lead themselves before taking responsibility for others. Many of the qualities the authors espouse are those that many readers aspire to, no matter what their backgrounds. A straightforward presentation that promotes values of conduct most of us would be proud to share.