Each guest on my radio show is asked what are they reading, for fun or work or both. I ask them that because they are readers. One habit consistent across leaders of all ages, industries, skills, markets...is they are avid learners. And that means they are avid readers. They are able to lead because they are able to read and learn from others.
If you want to be a leader, follow in the footsteps of leaders. Read what leaders read.
Brad Szollose is just such a leader and reader. We spoke together on my radio show. You can listen here.
Brad is the author of an excellent book titled: Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia - Multigenerational Management Ideas That are Changing the Way We Run Things.
From his about page:
During the Dot Com Era of the early 90′s, Brad co-founded K2 Design, Inc. which later raised over $7 million through private placement and an IPO... [The company] saw 425% growth for 5 straight years, expanded from 2 business partners to 4 partners and 60+ employees with offices worldwide and valuated at over $26 million.
For that success, he received the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices for Fostering Innovation Among Employees.
During the show I asked him:
Leaders are readers. Jim Rohn said that. I just quote him. You're a leader and you’re an avid reader, too. What are you reading in all your free time? Fiction or non.
And, here's what he answered:
I’ve read everything from the Age of Speed: Learning to Thrive in a More-Faster-Now World by Vince Coscenti to Flip: How to Turn Everything On Its Head---And Succeed Beyond Your Wildest Imaginings by Peter Sheahan. It talks about how to flip the paradigms in your organization. And I also read science fiction.
What are you reading in science fiction?
I started reading over again Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land*. You grok me?
I grok you.
Here the idea of serving as a fair witness is introduced. According to wikipedia, a Fair Witness is:
a fictional profession invented for the novel. A Fair Witness is an individual trained to observe events and report exactly what he or she sees and hears, making no extrapolations or assumptions...
Erika Andersen, in her book Being Strategic, includes the step of serving as our own Fair Witness as a key step in...Being Strategic. As we create our strategic plan we must first observe events and report exactly what [we] see and hear, making no extrapolations or assumptions...
We can't map a strategy to reach our reasonable aspiration or hoped-for future, as she describes it, without first knowing our starting point.
You can't lead very well in that situation, either.
Leaders are readers. Read what they are reading. Learn what they are learning. And then you can lead from that starting point.