McLaughlin’s debut self-help guide offers an allegorical tale that intertwines the concepts of leadership and driving automobiles.
Brian Alden is a lead programmer at SBC Technology who recently received a promotion to manage the company’s small-business accounting software products. He’s a great coder but has no management experience, so he quickly finds himself adrift. On a whim, he types the phrase “SUCCESSFUL LEADERSHIP” into his car’s GPS device. To his amazement, his grandfather’s voice congratulates him on taking the first step to becoming a great leader. It turns out that his grandfather, who gave Brian the GPS after teaching him to drive, had also recorded a series of lessons to teach him leadership skills. His grandfather compares each stage of leadership to the process of driving a car: The first phase of leadership, Relationship, is like planning for a successful road trip; the second, Understanding, is like teaching someone else to drive; and the third, Knowledge, is like taking care of one’s passengers and driving defensively. Brian absorbs these lessons, applies them to his job and helps his friends with their own career struggles. Other characters represent various archetypes from the business world, such as visionary former manager Lloyd and ultraconservative boss Arthur. Although the book’s use of analogy can be heavy-handed at times, its leadership lessons are on point and lavishly illustrated with stories of great leaders past and present, from Michelangelo to Steve Jobs. McLaughlin’s storytelling format brings each stage of leadership to life as Brian applies them in common, real-world scenarios. Brian’s friends apply the leadership lessons to their own widely varying industries, demonstrating how they can succeed or fail in different situations. Although many business books fail to give readers a clear idea of how to apply their principles, this book provides readers with a solid template.
An engaging, unusual business book full of practical advice.