A veteran corporate executive offers motivational advice to fellow leaders.
In this debut business book, Coombs shares stories from a decadeslong career in technology and call center management—as well as anecdotes from his childhood and the lives of his kids—that illustrate the principles of effective leadership. The author encourages readers to be superb leaders by setting a good example, taking responsibility, and empowering subordinates, among other techniques. He delivers detailed examples from his own career and those of other noted leaders, including Ray Kroc, Walt Disney, and Abraham Lincoln. Coombs describes many scenarios in which he has improved business performance through strengthening relationships, owning his mistakes, and demonstrating a strong work ethic. While the topics presented in the volume are common ones in business literature, something Coombs acknowledges in the introduction, the narrative voice has an enthusiasm and energy that keep the pages turning despite the familiar territory covered. The author has an engaging approach to criticizing the limitations of the bureaucratic mindset (“What if we decided to exercise just once or twice a year and call it good? How healthy would we be? It seems silly to even imagine such a thing—so why do some firms take this approach to core principles, vision, and values?”). His anecdotes, even when rambling, do an excellent job of illuminating leadership concepts and providing readers with a deeper understanding. Moments of implausibility (his 6-year-old daughter says, “Daddy, I do not want to hear it. Excuses do not change results”) can be forgiven in the service of fine storytelling, which Coombs does throughout the book, to good effect. Although the volume examines issues explored at length in other works, the author’s raconteur skills and palpable enthusiasm for helping others to reach their leadership potentials make this both a quick and satisfying read as well as a worthwhile addition to the world of business books.
A heartfelt and highly readable guide to developing leadership abilities and making a positive impact in the workplace.