I am happy to announce the publication of my second e-book: Value Driven Leadership: A Story of Personal and Organizational Transformation at Amazon.com
You may not be interested in leadership and organizations or in a more than 20-year-old story but stick with me for a moment.
Some times in life we have an unexpected experience that dramatically alters the trajectory of our life forever.
This book is about one of those experiences in my life.
I didn’t set out to be a change agent at the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis, MN. I needed a job. On my first day, the union steward told me what the rules were: dress down, cheat on expenses and overtime, and don’t make other union guys look bad.
I wasn’t going to conform to mediocrity or let someone else decide the course of my life. I set out to change the place. About 15 years later, a vice president told me that I was making others mad by leading change in the culture of the company. I continued to do what I was doing.
In between those sickening moments, I led change in the work, culture, and performance of the company through nine promotions and steps on the organizational chart.
Sometimes people come together and create something special and when that happens, it is mystical.
Challenged by a Teamster’s Union organizing effort and revenue shortfalls in the newspaper industry, we had to cut millions of dollars from the budget and defeat the union. We decided to do something different. We defined Value Driven Leadership for ourselves and choose to live true to our values. We created a vision for our work lives. We got everyone involved. We made sure everyone felt valued, involved, and informed.
Fifteen months later, we were a national success story. We melded employee engagement with values and respect for people and brought forth phenomenal business results. Business guru, Tom Peters, wrote about us. We spoke at conferences around the country. People came to visit and see our work. The CEO said out work would change the company forever. Of course there was a dark side to all of this, and I write about that too.
While we did this ground-breaking work, the newspaper industry sat on the edge of a precipice that threatened its very life: The Internet and its impending impact on newspaper readership and advertising revenue.
Soon the industry was in a free-fall decline. The Star Tribune went bankrupt. What happened to our industry-leading work that might help renew an industry?
You may not be interested in leadership, organizations, or newspapers. This story is about much more than those things: the newspaper setting is only the container for a larger story about how life works and can work in all aspects of our lives if we pay attention and learn about the deeper dynamics of life and how to utilize those underlying forces to create a high-energy life filled with aliveness.
My first e-book, Learning to Live: Essays on Life & Leadership tells the story of how my life changed based on the experiences in my new book.
I’d be grateful if you would help me spread the word. Thanks!