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The Unfinished Leader

With the demands of technology, transparency, and constant connectedness, and calls for higher performance, leaders from the front line to the C-suite face complex dilemmas that cannot be easily denied or postponed. These perplexing, recurring issues are familiar to anyone in a leadership role today, including: How do I balance my functional or business unit goals with the needs of my peers and the whole company? How do I support and promote others while still advancing my own career? How do I emphasize teamwork and still reward the "stars"? Can I really devote enough time and energy to both family and work? These are not "problems" but paradoxes situations in which there will never be a single correct solution and while they make many leaders feel overwhelmed and challenged, this remarkable book provides help. The Unfinished Leader is a modern handbook for recognizing, facing, and inspiring others to expose the real issues that underlie paradoxes in modern organizations. Leaders must first recognize situations they will never be able to "solve" and understand how to confront the barriers in their own heads and their organizations that push them towards seeking ultimate solutions that don't exist. Leading through complexity requires giving up the illusion of control, consistency, and closure, while embracing the reality of being permanently "unfinished." Drawing from interviews with 100 CEOs and top leaders from a wide range of companies such as Avon, Nike, Colgate, DeutschePost DHL, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, and many more The Unfinished Leader provides the mindsets and tools to recognize contradictory requirements, understand competing demands, and still be able to take action. No one can find or even should look for perfect solutions to impossible situations. The Unfinished Leader will help leaders at all levels understand and excel at their true task: guiding themselves and their teams through ongoing paradoxes, reconciling competing outcomes, continually changing and adapting, and thereby building lasting success.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword ix by Stephen H. Rhinesmith Preface xiii Introduction: Stepping Up to Complete Leadership 1 PART 1 THE CHALLENGE OF PARADOXES 9 1 Puzzles and Paradoxes 11 2 Jumping Over the Line 30 3 Obstacles to Leadership 52 PART 2 MINDSETS FOR LEADING THROUGH PARADOX 69 4 The Purpose Mindset 71 5 The Reconciliation Mindset 91 6 The Innovation Mindset 108 PART 3 TOOLS FOR LEADERSHIP 129 7 Scanning for the Right Paradox 131 8 Scenario Thinking 143 9 Stakeholder Mapping 159 10 Dialogue for Alignment 172 11 Quelling Confl ict 185 PART 4 YOUR PERSONAL CHALLENGE 201 12 Developing Yourself 203 Conclusion: Managing Personal and Public Paradoxes 224 Notes 229 About the Authors 239 Index 241

About the Author

David L. Dotlich is chairman and CEO of Pivot Leadership, one of the worlds largest providers of customized executive development for top leaders of Fortune 500 companies, including Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, GSK, Nike, Microsoft, Ericsson, Aetna, Kimberly-Clark, KKR, Deutsche Post DHL, AbbVie, and many others. He is a successful entrepreneur who has started multiple companies and is a former executive vice president of Honeywell International. He is coauthor of eleven books, among them Head, Heart, and Guts and Why CEOs Fail . He lives in Portland, Oregon, and New York City. Peter C. Cairo is a consultant who advises CEOs and boards at companies such as BlackRock, Colgate-Palmolive, GSK, Avon Products, ITW, PepsiCo, Thomson Reuters, Interpublic Group, KPMG, Boehringer Ingelheim, and the Carlyle Group. A noted author and speaker, he is coauthor of six books, among them Head, Heart, and Guts and Why CEOs Fail . He lives in upstate New York. Cade Cowan is the head of Pivot Leaderships global Leadership Practice and has led programs in thirty-one countries on five continents with firms ranging from Walmart to GlaxoSmithKline to Aetna. He was director of all global learning for Coca-Cola University, Bottling Investments Group (BIG), and program director at GEs Crotonville. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, please visit


"The book provides practical advice on how leaders should develop themselves to be able to manage through and ultimately leverage paradoxes to move their organizations on." (Developing Leaders, August 2014)

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