CEO adviser Cox (Straight Talk for Monday Morning, 1999, etc.) offers up a formula of sorts designed to get CEOs, or anyone for that matter, to understand a concept he calls “grounding.” Getting grounded, Cox writes, helps one “become more aware of your unique talent, to harness that talent to your unique Destiny, and to achieve extraordinary results.” Acknowledging the work of psychologist Alfred Adler, the author promotes the notion that everyone must identify their hidden “Style-of-Life”—“an organized set of convictions about life, [of] which the individual, at best, is only dimly aware.” What could easily have turned into conceptual claptrap is instead a very practical working guide that demands a serious amount of self-examination; in fact, the author is unafraid to share the results of delving into his own life, making his book refreshingly approachable. Cox leads the reader through a mature discussion that addresses such knotty topics as goals, changes, boundaries, visions and futures. In each chapter, Cox includes the requisite real-world examples and a good deal of guidance based on his considerable experience advising CEOs of major corporations and nonprofit organizations. Also present for the busy CEO are end-of-chapter summaries and “punch lists” that exhort readers to take proactive steps. Extremely beneficial are the interactive questionnaires and checklists, albeit with cutesy titles such as the “2:00 A.M. I Am Questionnaire,” the “CEO Boundaries Quiz” and the “YC (Your Company) Identity Kit.” Clearly, Cox has figured out that CEOs like to check things off and answer questions instead of just read text. Of particular interest to CEOs who are stubbornly individualistic is the final chapter, “Mentors,” in which Cox writes eloquently about “the power of ‘with’ ”: “Do you want authentic power? Yes? Then share it with others. You want people to follow you? Travel with them….It’s not CEO and team; it’s CEO with team; not leadership or management, but leadership with management.”
Nicely packaged and well-wrought, with the potential to shake up many an executive’s conventional thinking.