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Common Purpose: How Great Leaders Get Organizations to Achieve the Extraordinary
Joel Kurtzman


9780470490099
Retail Price: $27.95
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Format: Hardcover, 240pp.
ISBN: 9780470490099
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Pub. Date: March 1, 2010

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

From one of the most respected names in business and leadership, a rare look at the specifics of how great leaders achieve "common purpose" and success within their organizations.

What is common purpose? It is that rare, almost-palpable experience that happens when a leader coalesces a group, team or community into a creative, dynamic, brave and nearly invincible we. It happens the moment the organization's values, tools, objectives and hopes are internalized in a way that enables people to work tirelessly toward a goal. Common purpose is rarely achieved. But Kurtzman has observed that when a leader is able to bring it about, the results are outsized, measurable and inspiring.
  • Based on Kurtzman's all-new interviews with more than 50 leaders, including Ron Sargent, Ilene Lang, Micky Arison, Simon Cooper, Joel Klein, Janet Field, Steve Wynn, Shivan Subramaniam, Michael Dell, Richard Boyatzis, Tom Kelley, Michael Milken, and Warren Bennis
  • Contains research on leadership Kurtzman has conducted during his years at The New York Times, the Harvard Business Review, Booz & Company, as well as with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mercer, and Korn/Ferry
Based on all new interviews with some of the most dynamic, successful, and enduring leaders, Common Purpose sheds new light on the meaning of leadership, the crucial qualities of leaders, and most importantly, how to lead.

In this groundbreaking book, business and management expert Joel Kurtzman tackles the central question of leadership. What is common purpose? It is that rare, almost palpable experience that happens when a leader coalesces a group, team, or community into a creative, dynamic, brave, and nearly invincible we. It happens the moment the organization's values, tools, objectives, and hopes are internalized in a way that enables people to work tirelessly toward a goal. Common purpose is rarely achieved. But Kurtzman has observed that when a leader is able to bring it about, the results are outsized, measurable, and inspiring.

Based on Kurtzman's thirty years of experience working with global thought leaders and institutions, Common Purpose features personal interviews with some of the most dynamic, successful, and enduring leaders, including Joel Klein of New York City Schools, Simon Cooper of Ritz-Carlton, Ilene Lang of Catalyst, Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts, Shivan Subramaniam of FM Global, Mickey Arison of Carnival Cruise Lines, Michael Dell of Dell, Inc., Richard Boyatzis of Case Western Reserve University, Tom Kelley of IDEO, and distinguished professor and author Warren Bennis.

In a world besieged by failures of leadership, leaders who hope to last must understand how to create sustainable, healthy organizations. With new insights on how to approach a leadership mindset, as well as how to implement it, Common Purpose sheds new light on the meaning of leadership, the crucial qualities of leaders, and most importantly, how to lead.

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Reviews

"Kurtzman writes with a glowing lucidity based on matters so important and meaningful, so indispensable and urgent?this book will become the template of success for 21st century institutions. Kurtzman constantly reminds us of what's important: that in this uniquely turbulent and uncertain time, when every organization is more vulnerable to a fragmented incoherence, we must collectively and courageously be open to freshly imagine new and different organizational realities and forms. This book inspired me enormously because I know of no other that illuminates the darkness on the path to the recovery of WE in a world still dominated by an obsolete, I-dated dystopia."
—Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business Administration, University of Southern California and author, On Becoming a Leader


"Kurtzman's insight that there is no 'them' but only 'us' applies to all organizations—a company, sports team, orchestra, research lab, or university. It's a worthwhile message for our political leaders."
—Michael Milken, chairman, The Milken Institute


"Leadership is no longer about rank. It's about getting people to do the right thing on their own and then getting them to do it again. How do you do it? Not by ordering them around. Joel Kurtzman says—and shows—that you do it by building a sense of common purpose. I agree with him. Common Purpose is the blueprint for how tomorrow's leaders will lead."
—Mike Abrashoff, author, It's Your Ship


"Common Purpose is an insightful and useful road map for piloting a company to its full potential through aligning individual and corporate interests, empowering subordinates' talents and ideas, communicating candidly and listening intently, and inspiring pride in the younger generations on whom our future depends. If you're trying to figure out how to lead your company to stay ahead by anticipating change and sustaining growth, read this book."
—Rafael Pastor, chairman of the board and CEO, Vistage International, Inc.


"As organizations become flatter, our ideas about leadership must change. In Common Purpose, Kurtzman shows how values matter more than ever and how everyone at all levels must be encouraged to lead."
—Gary Burnison, president and CEO, Korn/Ferry International


 
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Reader's Index 
Send us your favorite quotes or passages from this book.

• "•We are thinking, feeling and doing creatures, so it is not enough for most of us to get a list of priorities and to then be told to go out and accomplish them. We need to be part of something, and we need to feel some measure of affiliation for the group of which we’re part. In Boyatzis’s view, compassion, caring and authenticity have the power to bind us together so that we can do amazing things." Pg. 130


 

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About the Author

Joel Kurtzman is chairman of the Kurtzman Group, a research and consulting firm focusing on issues relating to knowledge management, strategy, economic development, global risk, and thought leadership. He is a senior fellow at the Milken Institute and publisher of The Milken Institute Review, a member of the editorial board of MIT Sloan Management Review, and a senior fellow at Wharton's SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management. He is also an advisor to the World Economic Forum and to the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. Previously, he was the editor of Harvard Business Review, founder and editor of strategy + business magazine, a columnist at Fortune, and an editor and columnist at The New York Times. For more than 30 years, Kurtzman has interviewed, worked with, and consulted to the CEOs of some of the world's largest companies.



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Table of Contents

 
Foreword by Marshall Goldsmith
 
Introduction: No One Leads Alone
1The Leadership Disconnect
2The New Rules of Employment
3Leaders at All Levels
4Internalizing What the Organization Stands For
5The Best Leaders Are Part of the Group
6Cultivating Curiosity, Not Complacency
7Creating a Culture of Leadership
8We’re All in This Together
9How Leaders Stay Positive and Determined
10Leading Is a Mental Game
11Different Strokes for Different Generations
12You Don’t Have to Be Ruthless to Lead
13Ideas Matter
Epilogue: The Future of Leadership
 
A Leadership Library
About the Author
Index



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