Today is Martin Luther King Day. Martin Luther King had courage as a leader to stand up for what is right. He was willing, and did finally, pay the full price as a leader.
Update: I recorded a Facebook Live video session about this post and Bill Treasurer’s new book:
Bill Treasurer’s latest book, “A Leadership Kick in the Ass” launches today, January 16. Bill is a good friend and a trusted source of expert guidance when I have questions about leadership, life and living well. The pic to the right is from Bill’s last visit to Barcelona in 2015.
I first met Bill in 1996 at Accenture’s Global Leadership Training facility in St Charles, near Chicago USA. We were put on a team of 4 consultants for a week-long training course. I loved the experience, and I gained a leadership mentor that week. Bill has gone on to publish 5 books on Leadership and speak on the stage with Marshall Goldsmith, Ken Blanchard. I’m proud to say that Bill is turning into a Leadership guru.
About this post... I did a short interview with Bill about his life and his motivations for writing this latest book. First, here is Bill himself explaining what the new book is all about...
I didn’t know where the book came from until after I wrote it! Though I’ve worked with lots of famous companies over the years, the bulk of my work has been with three unionized construction companies based in Chicago. They have a very low tolerance of leadership fru fru. If you don’t give them practical and useful stuff that works, they will chew you up and spit you out.
This book is low on theory and high on practicality. Even the title was influenced by my construction company clients. Believe me, “ass” is the tamest word I hear when I’m working with them!
What single achievement are you proudest about?
Honestly, when other parents compliment my wife and I on our kids. I love being my kids dad.
Outside of my home-life, the achievement I’m most proud of is having developed long-term relationships with my clients. In this business, if you’re not adding value, your business will fail. I love my clients, and I love the trust that we’ve built together. I consider the fact that they’ve entrusted me with the development of their leaders to be a sacred honor.
If you could speak to every person on the planet for 1 minute what would you say (what would you ask of them?)?
I would have the world start each day with 5 minutes of reflective silence. With all the technological bombardment in the world, we often move too far off-center, away from our inner wisdom.
With even 5 brief minutes of silence each day, people could become reconnected with the wisdom inside them, and collectively, humanity would be a lot better off with more wisdom and less distraction.
Who are 5 people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself?
My three children, Bina, Alex, and Ian. My wife, Shannon. And all my clients.
What is one failure you had, and how did you overcome it?
I sucked at leading. I know that because one of my employees had the courage to tell me. At first I got defensive. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. I didn’t know who I was as a leader, so I had adopted the leadership style of my main leadership role model: my dad. Turns out, my dad was a controlling temperamental hothead, and I was mimicking him.
So I picked up my first book on leadership: The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. It lit a fire in me. I started reading more leadership books, and then entered graduate school and studied leadership. My thesis focused on the effectiveness of various leadership styles. Before long, I got better as a leader myself. Now I work with leaders as part of my professional practice. I owe that courageous employee a debt of gratitude for telling me I sucked as a leader.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I’m a gregarious loner. People sometimes mistake me for an extraverted socialite.
In actuality, I’m a very solitary person and relish my time alone. I sometimes think of myself like a full moon that you can see during the morning. I’m at my best when I am able to be a bit of an outsider, observing the world with a certain objectivity, and then sharing what I’ve observed in my books.
I can be social, but it’s just as important to me to be unsocial so that I observe the world without becoming subsumed by it.
What is one internet resource that you regularly use?
Wikipedia. Someday, when computers get integrated with human biology, I’m going to upload Wikipedia into my brain!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One of my all-time favorite leadership books is Obedience to Authority, by Stanley Milgram. When you learn how easily people capitulate to authority figures, with little or no coercion, it becomes less perplexing to see how a Hitler or other malevolent leaders emerge. Every leader needs to read this eye-opening book.
About Bill Treasurer
Bill Treasurer is the Chief Encouragement Officer (CEO) of Giant Leap Consulting, Inc. His new book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, focuses on the crucial importance of leadership humility. He is also the author of international best-seller Courage Goes To Work, which introduced the new management practice of courage building and Leaders Open Doors, which became the #1 leadership training book on Amazon. Bill’s clients include NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, UBS Bank, Walsh Construction, Spanx, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs, and many others. Learn more at: www.CourageBuilding.com/Kickass.
This is a great summary video of a book that had a great impact on me back when I was 23 years old. I was working for Accenture (in those days, Andersen Consulting) and the organisation shared this book with all employees. There’s a photo there of me there on the right with my leather bound edition of the book.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the most influential books in self-development.
Bill has been teaching, coaching and mentoring leaders for over 20 years. He has worked with CEOs, Presidents, Teachers, Entrepreneurs… but never yet with his children.
Earlier than expected, his moment came. His 5 year old son, Ian, came home from school and with a big smile proclaimed “Guess what, Daddy—I got to be the class leader today!”
This was to be Bill’s big moment…
Bill felt this was the moment where he would finally get to show his 5 year old the value of his lifetime of studying leadership. Bill, looked at his son and asked:
“Really? Class leader? That’s a big deal, little buddy. What did you get to do as the class leader?”
Instead of opening Ian up to Bill’s 20 years of leadership knowledge, in 7 words Ian knocked back his dad’s question with an answer that caused his dad to drop all his expertise, and realise that his son had just described leadership in a far more deep and profound way than he himself had ever managed in 20 years of teaching, speaking, writing and coaching.
Ian’s answer was simple:
“I got to open doors for people!”
…Bill learnt more from his son
In a matter of ﬁfteen seconds, with seven simple words, Ian clariﬁed what’s most important about leadership.
Bill’s new book takes this simple story and shares the simple steps that allow leaders to step up to their real role in society.
About Bill Treasurer
Bill is Chief Encouragement Officer at Giant Leap Consulting and former U.S. High Diver, wants leaders to be a part of opening doors of opportunities for others to thrive, achieve, and lead. The proceeds of his new book, Leaders Open Doors, are being donated to charities that serve children with special needs. Available on Amazon.
The Simple Maths of Leadership
A leader’s job is to open 3 types of doors for people:
Manel Baucells was the favourite Professor amongst students when I did my MBA at IESE Business School. He taught Decision Analysis. There are certain types of situation under which humans will take poor (rational) decisions. We study this subject so that we can reduce the likelihood that we will take similar poor decisions under similar situations. Examples of situations that cause poor decisions are sunk costs, loss aversion, prediction of low frequency events.
What most surprised you in learning about happiness?
How much happiness depends on our attitudes, rather than on external circumstances.
What led you to write the book?
As professors, our audience are the students that attend our lectures and the colleagues that read our academic papers. There is a moment in our careers that we want to expand our audience, and publish a book for a broad audience. It is critical to choose a time that is not too early in one’s career, and ideas are not yet mature; or too late. Rakesh and I felt that this is a good time in our careers to write a book of this characteristics.
Who will benefit from reading the book?
Any one interested in being happier, or readers of popular science books. I feel that the audience for non-fiction, research based books is expanding. This increase is due, no doubt, to the growing quality and relevance of the research done in the social sciences.
What are the 3 most damaging things people do that reduce happiness?
The fundamental starting point of the book is that happiness equals reality minus expectations. There are three key things one needs to understand:
The first is that expectations shift. The moment one increases his or her living standards, one get adapted quite soon, and going back down is very painful.
The second is that our happiness is greatly influenced by how we compare with our peers, our comparison group.
The third is that happiness can be engineered by using a “less to more” approach. Always start low, and then increase.
What 3 things have you changed in your own life since writing the book?
Managing expectations better, create less to more (crescendo) patterns, and engage in activities that accumulate.
I met Cameron Herold at an Entrepreneurs’ Organisation meeting in Vancouver, Canada two years ago. He gave a keynote session to the group. He was passionate… and he left me with practical tools that I took home and implemented. It is rare to find this combination. Cameron delivers. He clearly has a passion to see other entrepreneurs succeed, and a determination to develop and deliver practical tools that make a difference.
Cameron has written a new book which shares his experiences in building his own businesses, and in being a coach to dozens of companies and hundreds of high growth entrepreneurs all around the world.
He has a free flowing writing style, easy to read and packed full of practical examples. This is a book written from experience. These are tools that have been developed through hard interaction with the real world of business.