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The Real Work of Leaders
A Report From The Front Lines of Management
by Donald L. Laurie

Today's business leaders are faced with more complex and critical challenges than ever before. It's not enough to play the delicate balancing act of satisfying customers and shareholders simultaneously. Leaders are now expected to achieve double-digit growth, embrace globalization, capitalize on new technologies, launch new ventures, increase productivity, and create organizational cultures that attract and retain the most talented workforce-all while fending off the fiercest competitors. In The Real Work of Leaders, Don Laurie digs beneath the surface to explore the "act of leadership," the essence of what leaders need to do on a daily basis to frame challenges, mobilize people, and adapt to constant change.

The old model of "leader as authority"-delivering directives from on high-is quickly giving way to a new style of leadership based on creativity and collaboration. But many leaders find themselves and their organizations distracted by the crisis of the moment or unable to distinguish strategic opportunities from operational tasks. Drawing on fifteen years of experience on the front lines, as well as extensive interviews with the world's most progressive and influential business leaders, including Lew Platt of Hewlett-Packard, Sir Colin Marshall of British Airways, and Ralph Larsen of Johnson & Johnson, Don Laurie reveals the seven essential roles that leaders at all levels must play.

Packed with solid suggestions for how to nurture these skills and put them into practice, The Real Work of Leaders offers a fresh and energizing perspective on the craft of leadership-setting context, promoting dialogue, managing competing values, creating collective responsibility, and seeing as far into the future as possible.

Praise for The Real Work of Leaders

This book provides a simple and powerful agenda, illustrated with rich examples, to guide the CEO's action, and keep him focused on essential priorities.
Yves Doz, Professor of Business Policy, INSEAD, and coauthor of Alliance Advantage

Every CEO should read this book. The many practical examples in The Real Work of Leaders demonstrate the necessity of mobilizing adaptive work in today's firm. The challenges in today's economy are real; Laurie's suggestions for what a responsible person can do in a company are marvelously illustrated.
Ronald A. Heifetz
Co-director, The Center for Public Leadership, Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University, and author of Leadership Without Easy Answers

Is leadership a natural gift? It is probably so, but, as with top-level athletes, anyone can improve by drawing from the examples of others and by practicing and
working out. The Real Work of Leaders should help anyone progress on the leadership path.
Bernard Fournier, former CEO, Rank Xerox
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