Thursday, May 15, 2008

Total Leadership by Stewart Friedman

Two days ago I blogged about being too short on time, and perhaps a bit overwhelmed at all that I have on my calendar. Then by pure serendipity I met author Stewart Friedman who was in Austin to promote his new book, Total Leadership, and speak at a meeting sponsored by Leadership Austin and Bootstrap Austin. The event was hosted by BazaarVoice, one of Austin's hottest growth oriented companies and leader in the area of social commerce.

The message of Friedman's Total Leadership is about being a better leader and having a better life. However, this in not your usual leadership book, but instead is focused on going beyond life / work balance and being more effective with the limited 24 hours that we all get every day. Stew is on a mission to allow others to create change that benefits work, home, community and self.

As the Wharton School professor spoke to the sold out crowd of over 100 business professionals, it was as if he had read my blog post from Tuesday and was speaking directly to my dilemma.

Each of us is challenged in different ways to make it through our lives, but Friedman teaches that leadership is not just about businesses, it is about life. One must begin, be real, be whole, be innovative and then reflect and grow from their unique experiences.

His research shows that those who can gain control over their lives are more productive in all areas of their life. Many look at the work / life movement as being all about the employee, but in reality, when done right, it benefits the individual, the company and the greater community.

The most telling part of his talk was that we put much of the pressure to perform on ourselves. When we explore the situation, we discover that that what we think people expect from us is usually much more than they actually expect. We are the ones who push ourselves to superhero levels when others have mortal expectations of how we go through our day.

I am anxious to dive in and read Total Leadership, as the book has "ah ha" moments waiting to be discovered.

Have A Great Day.



Tom Swartwood said...

I just came across Friedman in the NYTimes yesterday.
I am teaching a new Entrepreneurial Leadership course this fall. Will his ideas work for entrepreneurs? I have found entrepreneurs need to be available 24/7. Are the concepts appropriate and accessible to undergrads?

Thom Singer said...


Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes, I think this book is valuable for entrepreneurs and undergrads. It is really about self exploration and understanding your priorities. It is about self leadership in order to be a more effective leader.

In fact, I think it is more important for entrepreneurs because they can easily get too focused on the company and lose site of all else.

As for undergrads...I wish I had been more focused on my whole self at a younger age.