4 By Bill Welter and Jean Egmon, Jossey-Bass, $27.95
The premise of The Prepared Mind of a Leader is simple: authors Bill Welter and Jean Egmon took a hard look at organizations that implemented real innovation and identified the mental skills used—or absent—in the leaders. The abilities fell into eight areas: observing, reasoning, imagining, challenging, deciding, learning, enabling and reflecting, which the authors review a chapter at a time.
They found that effective use of these skills are less dependent on intellect than, largely, simply on being mindful and just paying attention. The twist here is that, unlike other business books that tell you what to think, this one tells yo u how, outlining ways of developing a more deliberate, meaningful approach to decision-making.
I am especially enamored of the book's position on the issue of intellectual self-development and reflective thinking. They advise lifelong learning, reading widely and teaching others. The prepared mind constantly wonders, "What can I be learning from this?" and—surprise—listens to the people that pride sometimes drowns out.
The result? More flexible approaches and more confident, successful decision-making. —J.B.