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Leadership Passages : The Personal and Professional Transitions That Make or Break a Leader

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Leaders face numerous critical crossroads in their careers, moments that can provide extraordinary learning and growth opportunities or ensnare them and prevent further development. The good thing about these passages is that they’re predictable, and with proper preparation, leaders not only can survive them to become stronger but can use these experiences to enhance their leadership, compassion, and effectiveness. This book lays out thirteen specific “leadership passages” based on research, interviews, and coaching of senior executives in such well-known companies as Johnson & Johnson, Novarits, Intel, GE, and Bank of America. For each passage, the authors describe what to expect, how the passage constitutes a choice point, and what effective leaders do to navigate and grow from the challenge. Some of the passages include: moving into a leadership role for the first time, dealing with significant failure for which you are responsible, derailing/losing your job, being acquired/merging, losing faith in the system, understanding the importance of children, family and friends, and personal upheavals such as divorce, illness, and death. The authors provide a wealth of practical tools and techniques to improve your leadership, along with real-life examples from recognizable leaders and breakthrough ways in which companies can use the concept of leadership passages to grow talent.

About the Authors

David L. Dotlich is the CEO and managing partner of CDR International, a Mercer Delta Company, and partner of Mercer Delta Consulting—a global consulting firm that helps companies define and implement strategies to enhance leadership effectiveness and manage change. He is a business adviser to CEOs and senior executives of global corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, Intel, Washington Mutual, UBS, Nike, and many others. He is the author of five best-selling leadership books: Action Coaching: Why CEOs Fail; Action Learning: How the World’s Best Companies Develop Their Leaders and Themselves, and the breakthrough book, Unnatural Leadership: Going Against Intuition and Instinct to Develop Ten New Leadership Instincts (all published by Jossey-Bass). Previously, he was executive vice president with Honeywell International and Groupe Bull.

James L. Noel has over twenty years’ experience in developing senior leaders and executive coaching. His perspective on leadership development was shaped by his tenure at Crotonville—General Electric’s leadership development institute—where he was manager of executive education and leadership effectiveness. Previously, he was vice president for executive development, Citibank; earlier, he was assistant dean of the College of General Studies, The George Washington University. He is a principal with CDR International and Mercer Delta Consulting and is the coauthor of two books: The Leadership Pipeline and Action Learning: How the World’s Best Companies Develop Their Leaders and Themselves.

Norman Walker was, until recently, head of human resources for Novartis; he was a member of the executive committee reporting to the chairman and CEO. In this role, he established business-driven human resource processes to the line and was instrumental in the creation of leading-edge talent and executive development programs. Previously, he was head of human resources for Kraft Europe and Jacobs Suchard; before that, he held senior executive European human resource positions with Grand Met and Ford Motor Company. He consults with senior executives and CEOs on people and leadership development issues.

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