Leadership revelations – an Australian perspective
By Avril Henry CCH Australia Limited, 2005
It is an eclectic mix that business strategist and HR consultant Avril Henry pulls together for her first book, “Leadership Revelations – An Australian Perspective”.
Over 187 pages, Henry shares the insights of 112 Australians – from sport, the corporate sector, the public sector, not-for profit organisations and the arts.
The format is refreshingly simple, placing the onus on each industry leader that is profiled to contribute 50 to 500 words on what they think is good leadership. Henry then pulls together the results – common beliefs and attitudes and lessons that can be shared.
What’s particularly fascinating about Leadership Revelations are the differences in tone and opinion between the small and big business contributors.
The small business owners repeatedly emphasise inclusiveness and mentoring for the purposes of creating new leaders, with a focus on sharing success. The contributions from the big business end of town, with some exceptions, appear more concerned with the nuts and bolts of leadership and high principles, such as ethics and integrity.
Perhaps this suggests that entrepreneurs are more likely to propel their companies by sharing their passion, while larger corporations can rely on other incentives to motive and, therefore, look to more systematic approaches to lead.
Either way, Leadership Revelations offers a compelling read. It is not the sort of book that can be easily digested
in one sitting, but the style does make this ‘who’s who’ of Australian leadership a gratifying source of instant inspiration.
Take a random quick-fl ip through its pages on any given morning and you will be guaranteed food for thought, including this observation from Rhonda Jansz (p. 32), “Leadership is a treat. Such an honour is bestowed upon leaders when people trust in them to look beyond their faces and find that true spirit within that helps them to shine, brighter than they themselves would have ever imagined!”
Kjell Nordströmand Jonas Ridderstråle (financial times)
Karaoke Capitalism does to literature on innovation what ABBA did to the Eurovision Song Contest, bringing novelty and colour to an often boring and much rehashed subject matter. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that this treatise to fresh thinking was written by two Swedish academics.
Karaoke Capitalism is the sequel to Funky Business, an international best seller that, in 1999, bestowed on its authors near rock star status in their home country of Sweden. Kjell Nordström and Jonas Ridderstråle, from the Stockholm School of Economics, no longer hold lectures – but ‘gigs’ – and they only dress in black. If such as thing as Academic Idol was to sweep the Nordic States, they would win hands-down, proving that there is hope for the scholastic pursuits yet.
Like Funky Business, Karaoke Capitalism is bold in style and its criticism of the status quo, sourcing quotes from a range of eclectic sources, from British techno band The Prodigy to the Pope. The book’s main argument is based on the premise that ideas are what will make companies successful in an oversupplied world.
It is not a new concept. In fact, it is suffering from over-use. However, what Karaoke Capitalism manages to provide is a high powered, fast-paced, and thoroughly entertaining approach to a subject that is in danger of losing its resonance – thanks to the sleep inducing, personality free, academically driven manuals of the ‘innovation’ or ‘creative’ economy that have been written so far.
Why the name? Industry has become a karaoke club, where capitalists sing the same old tunes as the companies that have gone before. They justify this with the belief that the decision to take the mike is an entrepreneurial decision in its own right, because it requires bravado and separates the ‘singer’ from the crowd. But ultimately, the crooner remains a wannabe.
Karaoke Capitalism was written the way business books ought to be – fast paced, packed with action and intrigue from the very first pages. Like John Grisham meets Paul Clitheroe, with a dash of Scandinavian panache.