ForeWord Reviews

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Rules for Visionary Leaders

Simple Solutions to Lead Organizations Through Complex Times

Foreword Review — May / June 2002

“Run like Hell, Change Directions, and Run Like Hell.” That’s the secret of success for one CEO of a large company, who acknowledges that corporate goals and environmental opportunities change frequently and that savvy business people must adapt as necessary. Visionary leaders embrace change and see it as an opportunity. They create a positive working environment and opportunities for workers to be proactive self-starters. This book is an excellent resource for anyone looking for basic techniques of leadership and teambuilding.

Although the title suggests that the book is geared toward managers, the subject matter is appropriate and useful for any worker wanting good career advice. The author is a seminar leader and executive coach whose clients include Intel, the Gap, and Levi Strauss. Here he offers “rules of action” like “Don’t Burn Your Bridges,” “Get Away to Get Creative,” “Recognize the Broccoli Effect,” and “Become a Life-Long Learner.” These observations, anecdotes, and suggested behaviors are intended to promote leadership, motivation, and creativity.

The book is divided into five sections representing different management concepts, and within each section are short chapters that focus on individual rules or ideas. Each chapter concludes with either a nugget of good advice or a call to action, such as “Encourage Innovation.” Following each chapter is a brief self-assessment survey, which provide readers the chance to evaluate themselves, in an effort to determine where to better focus future growth opportunities.

In the Business Strategies section, Saltzman offers thirty-five ideas for supporting corporate goals in creative ways. “Treat the other units within your company as customers” is an often-overlooked strategy for building better working relationships and a more cohesive company. Managing Yourself contains advice such as “avoid analysis paralysis.” Developing a High Functioning Team focuses on people skills. One gutsy suggestion is to “hire, train, and promote people who are smarter than you are.”

“Communicating With Your Staff” reminds managers to “praise publicly and criticize privately,” and “Raising Morale” advises managers to encourage their teams to solve their own problems as a way of building their confidence. Reminiscent of Roger von Oech’s popular Creative Whacks, where ideas such as “get out of your box” encourage workers to approach tasks with a positive outlook and a fresh innovative approach, Rules for Visionary Leaders is a quick and easy handbook of simple yet effective strategies for increasing worker productivity.