By Dean Whittaker

“Leader – one who possess the ability to create and communicate a clear vision that inspires others to follow.  Leadership – communicate people’s worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.”

In the past five months I have been engaged in a Leadership Development class. In this class we have been asked to read and discuss several books. Two of the most noteworthy have been From Good to Great by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras, and First Break all the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.  The first book discusses the need to “get the right people on the bus,” and then describes a process of hiring for talent first and then teaching needed skills and knowledge. A manager should work with “what was left in” rather than trying to put in “what was left out.”  Both are a good read and worthy of reflection (and available as downloadable MP3 files from

Another recent book that I listened to and then bought the hardcover version of is The Power of Full Engagement.  In their book, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz discuss how to manage our energy rather than our time. They discuss the cyclical nature of life and the need for bursts of energy followed by periods of recovery. The authors began their careers consulting with top performing athletes and later began applying their knowledge to other fields.

This past week I attended a satellite broadcast seminar titled “The Power of Executing Greatness” with presentations by Rudy Giuliani, Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard, Marcus Buckingham, and John Maxwell.  Mayor Giuliani was outstanding as he described the prior planning process that benefited the City of New York on 9/11.  Stephen R. Covey discussed the use of the “talking stick” to heal relationships, in which the stick is passed from person to person so that they feel fully heard and acknowledged. He said that honest communications are essential.  Dr. Covey further said that leadership is a choice that requires compassion and empathy for others, as part of a love for human kind.