Becoming the Best
April 13, 2015
Harry Kraemer's second book is a guide to applying values-based leadership principles in your daily life and Becoming the Best at whatever you do.
He is continuing both of those missions with his new book, Becoming the Best: Build a World-Class Organization Through Values-Based Leadership, and we are here to help spread the good word this week by giving away a few copies.
The book will teach you how to "become the best" on a range of spectrums, from personal and as a leader to organizationally and as a citizen—both corporate and private. As I wrote in my review of that book when it was released last month:
Becoming the Best has five major components, with a section devoted to each: becoming your Best Self (focused on the individual and becoming your best, authentic self), becoming the Best Team (every team member able to link what they do to the overall goals and objectives of the organization), becoming a Best Partner (moving beyond individual financial transactions and focusing on the customer experience), becoming the Best Investment (returns being measured in more than monetary terms), and becoming the Best Citizen (making a difference in the community and the world).
If you'd like to learn more before signing up, you can check out that Jack Covert Selects review or read an excerpt from the book about The Importance of Self-Reflection. Speaking about that from a foundational level, Harry writes:
At every level, leadership starts with you. While living and working in the real world puts you in contact with others, you cannot move too quickly into the communal and organizational before you've done sufficient work on the personal. At a fundamental level, your best self—the core of the concentric circles of bests that radiate from you through the organization and into society—determines what you stand for, what matters most, how you will act, and how you will treat others. People need to take the time to define what best self means to them. Once they have a clear picture, they can self-reflect each day to determine if they lived and demonstrated it.
Our founder and former president Jack Covert recently sent me a very interesting article by Duff McDonald (himself the author of a great book on the McKinsey consulting company called The Firm) which pondered a very important question in business education, and really in life in general: Can You Learn to Lead? I don't know the answer to the question of whether leadership is truly teachable or not, but I don't know if that is the most important question. Harry Kramer teaches courses and writes books about leadership, but that's because he knows something about leading an organization, and his experience in life led him to a mission of passing some of that knowledge on. But he's the first to tell you that, even if you are leading nothing other than your own life, it is crucial to reflect deeply on what that means for you and those around you. To not do so can lead you on a path to dissatisfaction or destruction. If that happens in an organization, that dissatisfaction's ripples can be deadly.
The reason Harry's course about Values-Based Leadership at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Business is so popular is because what he is truly teaching in those courses, and in his books, is how to be our best selves. This is something we all aspire to, and it too ripples out as we gain more experience and leadership over other people and processes. So organizations and their leaders can especially benefit when they take time out to consider what becoming the best truly means. Harry Kramer helps us do that as well as anyone, and in a book aptly titled Becoming the Best, he does it better than most.