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The Leadership Pill - A Book Review

Organizations are looking for leaders. Gone are the days when companies trained and groomed managers to improve the bottom line. Today’s organizations realize that they can only manage processes. Try as they might, they can’t manage people. Companies are spending billions of dollars in training programs geared toward developing effective leaders. Sometimes, however, lessons can be learned in a simple, yet entertaining 112 page easy to read book.

The Leadership Pill - The Missing Ingredient in Motivating People Today by Ken Blanchard co-authored by Marc Muchnick is a comedy wrapped around powerful lessons in leadership skills and motivating people. The premise of the story is that a company, Leadership Pill Industries (LPI), has created a super pill that will enhance an individual’s leadership ability by the consumption of a leadership "pill." The challenger, aptly named “The Effective Leader,” challenges LPI that leadership can not be derived from a pill.

Leadership in the form of a pill, what if life were just that easy? To prove the ineffectiveness of the pill - a twelve month Pill Free Challenge is instituted. The ultimate goal of the challenge is compare the effectiveness of the leadership pill on two failing companies. The story takes us through the challenges during the 12 month period as the Effective Leader does his best to change his team and improve performance without the use of the pill. Beginning with the premise of a “secret blend” for effective leadership, the Effective Leader begins the challenge.

The lessons taught throughout the book are excellent. The readers are able to journey with the Effective Leader has he faces the daily challenges in turning his group around without the benefits of taking the pill. As each lesson is learned, he writes that lesson on the whiteboard for all to see.

What many employees do not realize is that leadership, is in fact, a two way street. One of the points stressed by the Effective Leader? “…I can’t be effective unless each of you does your part from a self-leadership perspective. It’s a two way street.” So often employees feel that leading is solely the responsibility of the leader, this is simply not true. It takes a team effort for the leader to be effective. The lesson learned? “Leadership is not something you do to people, it’s something you do with them.”

The Leadership Pill is different from many other leadership books. It does not specifically define each step of the process as an action item for the reader to complete, yet it provides a blue print to follow for anyone who desires to be an effective leader.

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