executive with hands on hips

New Book by Linda Henman on Moving Beyond Indecision

Linda Henman is known as The Decision Catalyst™. She’s spent her career helping executives and senior leaders to make the tough calls — be they around strategy, succession planning, business growth or M&As. In her new book, Linda shares compelling stories of people who’ve sought professional improvement and development, with many illustrating how and why the leaders have been successful — and others serving as warnings about what can happen when leaders refuse to decide.

Walt Disney ignited a fire in the entertainment world that continues to burn brightly decades after his death. Perhaps no single figure has so dominated American — and indeed even global — popular culture the way Walt Disney has and still does. Each year, millions view Disney movies, visit theme parks that bear his name, watch Disney-branded television shows, listen to Disney recordings, buy Disney products and read books by and about him. He still holds sway in much that has touched our lives, inspiring millions of people and generating billions of dollars.

We cannot measure Disney’s influence as a film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur and philanthropist only by numbers or encomia. However, we can state that most notably, he changed the shape of American recreation with his Disney parks, re-conceptualizing the amusement park as an all-encompassing imaginative experience — a theme park — rather than a series of diversions, shows or rides. He made TOUGH CALLS to open Disneyland and then made a series of additional TOUGH CALLS to create a chain reaction — a domino effect. We remember Disney as a leader whose influence went beyond his initial area of concentration. He encouraged space exploration, urban planning and an appreciation of history, context and perspective. In short, he demonstrated how one person can assert his will on the world and “wish upon a star” — to become the leader of the Club he made for you and me.

What could this entertainment icon, a food giant, portfolio managers and prisoners of war possibly have in common? Each fostered success, not in dramatic responses to crises, but in the unglamorous, unpopular, day-to-day world of TOUGH CALLS. I have built a thriving business working with leaders in these arenas, observing how successful leaders approach TOUGH CALLS and how the unsuccessful ones dodge the TOUGH CALLS, make the wrong decisions or don’t keep their jobs long enough to make another one.

Typically, executive leaders define organizations in vast, sweeping generalizations — everything a priority, so nothing a priority. Now we’re beginning to understand that only some parts of a given organization demand the TOUGH CALLS. Which parts? And why do we continue to count things that don’t count?

TOUGH CALLS has three parts. Part One debunks many of the sacred myths about decision-making and looks at the beliefs that drive behavior and create organizational environments. Part Two ties these beliefs to behaviors, especially a leader’s most significant actions — making or dodging TOUGH CALLS. Part Three establishes how beliefs and actions influence results and offers practical, actionable, empirically supported approaches, calling to mind the early work of Edgar Schein. Decades ago, he taught that a change-oriented leader cannot produce change without measurement, but a measurement-oriented leader cannot produce change without a strategy that integrates the measurement of the change process

Although I’ve based this book on my work with CEOs and their leadership teams, and they remain my primary audience, the theories apply to everyone who wants to face life’s TOUGH CALLS with more clarity and confidence.

Walt Disney and others of his ilk . . . Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, Lee Iacocca . . . committed the sin of making TOUGH CALLS without worrying about what others thought. They remind us that ineffective leadership seldom results from rusty management skills. Similarly, organizational disasters and triumphs usually don’t occur because of a flawed culture. Both happen when imperfect leaders fail to make the TOUGH CALLS — when they ignore the links among beliefs, actions and results.

Philosopher John Dewey observed, “Saints engage in introspection while burly sinners run the world.” From now through December 1, I’d like to offer you a complimentary E-copy of Tough Calls: How to Move Beyond Indecision and Good Intentions. I make this offer to honor burly sinners — those leaders who make the TOUGH CALLS because they realize failure is instructive and smart people learn as much from disappointments as they do from successes.

Please email me for your copy at [email protected] and put “complimentary copy” in the subject line.

Linda Henman

Dr. Linda Henman is one of those rare experts who can say she’s a coach, consultant, speaker, and author. For more than 30 years, she has worked with Fortune 500 Companies and small businesses that want to think strategically, grow dramatically, promote intelligently, and compete successfully today and tomorrow. Some of her clients include Emerson Electric, Boeing, Avon and Tyson Foods. She was one of eight experts who worked directly with John Tyson after his company’s acquisition of International Beef Products, one of the most successful acquisitions of the twentieth century.

Linda holds a Ph.D. in organizational systems and two Master of Arts degrees in both interpersonal communication and organization development and a Bachelor of Science degree in communication. Whether coaching executives or members of the board, Linda offers clients coaching and consulting solutions that are pragmatic in their approach and sound in their foundation—all designed to create exceptional organizations.

She is the author of Landing in the Executive Chair: How to Excel in the Hot Seat, The Magnetic Boss: How to Become the Leader No One Wants to Leave, and contributing editor and author to Small Group Communication, among other works.

Dr. Henman can be reached at [email protected].

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