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The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations, 2nd Edition [Hardcover]

James M. Kouzes , Barry Z. Posner
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 1 1995 0787901105 978-0787901103 2
Based on the training program by the Tom Peters Group, a leadership handbook offers guidelines for business, government, education, and communities that are based upon the changing needs of today. 75,000 first printing. Tour.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

An inspirational and practical handbook, this expanded revision of a bestselling manual originally published in 1987 offers sound advice to corporate leaders and entrepreneurs, to managers and employees and to aspiring leaders in retail, manufacturing, government, community, church and school settings. Drawing on interviews and a questionnaire survey of more than 3000 leaders, the authors identify five fundamental practices of exemplary leadership: challenge the status quo; inspire a shared vision; enable others to act; model the way forward by setting an example; tap individuals' inner drives by linking rewards and performance. Kouzes, chairman and CEO of TPG/Learning Systems, and Posner, managing partner of Santa Clara University's Executive Development Center in California, write insightful, down-to-earth, jargon-free prose. This new edition has been substantially updated to reflect the challenges of shrinking work forces, rising cynicism and expanded telecommunications. An appendix includes the author's Leadership Practices Inventory, a tool for assessing leadership behavior. 75,000 first printing; Executive Program Book Club main selection; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"At a time when words like 'inspiration' or 'spirit' are sometimes used with embarrassment, the authors restore those lofty concepts to their rightful place at the core of successful business.'' (Norman Lear, chairman and CEO, Act III Communications)

"A vital resource for all leaders and managers preparing themselves for the demands of 21st century leadership." (Kathryn E. Johnson, president and CEO, The Healthcare Forum)

"I not only enjoyed it... found myself constantly nodding and saying to myself, 'That's right! That's how it's done! That's what it feels like!' You certainly captured the essence of what I've found is at the heart of transforming leadership.'' (Robert Haas, chairman and CEO, Levi Strauss & Co.)

"The Leadership Challenge changed the direction of Motorola Semiconductor's World Marketing Organization." (Charles E. Thompson, senior vice president, director world marketing, Semiconductor Products Sector, Motorola Inc.)

"Kouzes and Posner demonstrate that when ordinary business people aspire to extraordinary achievements they can expand the realm of what's possible.'' (Kathy Meyer, executive director, The Business Enterprise Trust)

"The Leadership Challenge is a book that should be read and worked through by every member of every organization. It makes real and accessible the practices of leadership. If it is not in the workplace of all your people you are missing the plot." (David Clancy, manager, Culture Development, Westpac Banking Corporation)

"This book has heart. . . . I highly recommended The Leadership Challenge in 1987. I do so even more in 1995.'' (from the foreword by Tom Peters)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Employees at Synergistic Systems, Inc. (SSI), located in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley, have always known Jean Campbell, founder and CEO, to be positive, organized, enthusiastics, personable, caring, and unflappable. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I recently re-read this brilliant book before proceeding to Kouzes and Posner's more recently published Encouraging the Heart. I highly recommend both and suggest that they be read in the order in which they were written. Those of us who presume to review books such as this one can merely indicate their breadth and depth of substance as well as their stimulation of thought about the material presented. For example, Kouzes and Posner identify what they call "five leadership practices common to successful leaders" and then suggest ten "behavioral commitments" among those leaders studied. Here they are:
Practice: Challenge the process
Commitments: (1) Search for opportunities and (2) Experiment and take risks
Practice: Inspire a shared vision
Commitments: (3) Envision the future and (4) Enlist others
Practice: Enable others to act
Commitments: (5) Foster collaboration and (6) Strengthen others
Practice: Model the way to the desired objectives
Commitments: (7) Set the example and (8) Plan small wins
Practice: Encourage the heart of everyone involved
Commitments: (9) Recognize individual contribution and (10) Celebrate accomplishments
Those who conduct "360 Feedback" programs could do much worse than to base evaluations on criteria suggested by these practices and commitments. They provide the thematic infrastructure of the material which Kouzes and Posner present within seven Parts. The first introduces key concepts and terms: "Knowing What Leadership Is Really All About." Each of Parts Two-Six is devoted to one of the five Practices.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Students of Leadership Jan. 12 2002
Let's see if I am able to keep it short.
All too frequently books on the subject of leadership tend to be in the first person and read more like self-help books. Kouzes and Posner, base a number of their observations upon hard analysis or the analysis/study conducted by others. The endnotes and references could offer students of "Leadership" a roadmap to further study and discovery.
The case studies taken from interviews and seminars offered by the authors provide a "true-to-life" feel to the text, which helps distinguish it from the many, many, others that write on the subject. The authors have some experience as leaders, though rather than summarize personal experience, the reader is taken on a journey of discovery with the story of leadership being told by others. The authors are really more like guides than writers.
Thankfully we are provided a framework by which to measure leaders. "The ten traits...., or the "five characteristics....., help the student of the subject record in a systematic way the behaviors associated with leadership. That perennial question faced by all students is once again explored, albeit through the authors' eyes, "Are leaders made through dint of strife and the crucible of fire or are they born full blown as natural creatures rare and beautiful?"
Many books on this subject would be better listed under "Biography" rather than Leadership. All too frequently we encounter a recital of individual accomplishment over adversity or even success upon success. That is not the case here. This text could serve as the foundation to a course of study as it provides the "carcass" or "foundation" for a course of study. The instructor need only add antidotes, personal experience, current events and a case study or two and the "adventure" would be complete.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ten Commitments of Leadership Dec 24 2001
"Think of the Leadership Challenge as a field guide to take along on your leadership journey." James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner write, "We've designed it to describe what leaders do, explain the fundamental principles that support these leadership practices, provide actual case examples of real people who demonstrate each practice, and offer specific recommendations on what you can do to make these practices your own and to continue your development as a leader...As we looked deeper into the dynamic process of leadership, through case analyses and survey questionnaires, we uncovered five fundamental practices that enable leaders to get extraordinary things done. The individual stories of how ordinary people got extraordinary things done brought the leadership model to life for us, giving it character and color. When they were at their personal best, the leaders we studied were able to challenge the process, inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, model the way, ana encourage the heart. These practices aren't the private property of the people we studied or of a few select shining stars. They've stood the test of time, and they're available to anyone, in any organization or situation, who accepts the leadership challenge."
In this context, Kouzes and Posner say that embedded in the five fundamental practices of exemplary leadership are beheviors that can serve as the basis of learning to lead. And they call these behaviors as the Ten Commitments of Leadership. According to them these ten commitments serve as the guide for their discussion of how leaders get extraordinary things done in organizations and as the structure for what's to follow. Each of these commitments are fully explored in Chapters 3 through 12.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beauty of Leadership In Action
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner clearly articulate the "Leadership Challenge" around ten commitments. Read more
Published on Sept. 9 2002 by Serge J. Van Steenkiste
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beauty of Leadership In Action
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner clearly articulate the "Leadership Challenge" around ten commitments. Read more
Published on Sept. 4 2002 by Serge J. Van Steenkiste
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Two Books That Should Be Required Reading
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Published on Feb. 4 2002 by N.C.
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One of the well written "how to" books on leadership. Great practical insights for pro and novice alike. Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2001 by John B.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Course In Leadership
One of the well written "how to" books on leadership. Great practical insights for pro and novice alike. Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2001 by John B.
5.0 out of 5 stars In the pursuit of excellence in leadership!
This is an incredible book from an incredible team. I have heard Kouzes in person. He is dynamic. The book is even more powerful because it goes in depth about the 5 key... Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2001 by Anne Marie Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed With Knowledge!
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner's remarkable guide debunks the myth of the leader as a maverick rather than a team player. Read more
Published on Nov. 7 2001 by Rolf Dobelli
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Sunday, 1st of October 2000 was a cloudy day and it was drizzling outside. The weather was pleasant. I was alone. My entire family was out of station. Read more
Published on Sept. 4 2001 by swaminathan U
5.0 out of 5 stars The Leadership Challenge: the hardest form of management
For the past five years The Leadership Challenge has been required reading for many students getting an MBA degree, and for good reason. First, the book is highly readable. Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2001 by Russell Fanelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-read for new inspiration ...
From Tom Peter's, "In Search of Excellence" through this title and others, this group knows management and leadership. Read more
Published on April 2 2001 by Bernadette A. Moyer
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