Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life Review

Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life
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I took two intercontinental flights recently and took the time to go through the "Total Leadership" program. And, before I begin my review, I want to say that over the past ten years or so I've seen an absolute avalanche of "leadership" books come out - most of them gimmicky and useless. This is not one of them and in fact I believe the title may deter people from purchasing this; do not be one of them.
"Total Leadership" is about finding your way when you have multiple responsibilities tugging you in different directions. Until now, I've often felt family pulling me one way, only to find the more time I spend with them the more I resent the time it takes away from work. Similarly, on business trips for example, I fight with feelings of guilt for being away from my family. And that's not to mention the the toll all of this takes on my health, when I'm too busy to exercise or just watch the game with friends. I'm here to say this book can help, like finding the long lost manual and finally figuring our how to do new things with a product, this book acts as a guide to finding a semblance of control in your life. It's not about sacrifice, and it's definitely not found in the idea of "balance", this book advocates a powerful third way: overlapping your domains and drawing boundaries.
What makes this book especially effective are the exercises the author puts the reader through. The reader is asked to define the issue, starting with the multiple responsibilities and challenges s/he faces, then it moves on to defining your domains, where is it that you spend your time? Most of the readers (including myself) would find four areas: self, family, work and community. Then, with domains defined, you can identify stakeholders in each domain and begin the process of finding ways "to live your life in accord with what really matters to you." The reader is asked to discuss his/her vision for a future life (post-change) with trusted individuals s/he has previously identified. A particularly effective step is then speaking with others about living your life differently, such as: your boss, significant other and friends, and getting their opinion and feedback on your plan, and as difficult and challenging as this may be it ends up providing the most powerful incentive to change through accountability and stakeholder buy-in. In many cases, I found that as much as I was building bridges between domains in my life, I was also creating boundaries (for example, no longer do I check my blackberry or the Internet between the hours of 6pm - 9pm.) But some of the biggest changes are personal ones that are for me and my family, other readers will likely find similar decisions they make without necessarily sharing them.
This book is not about easy decisions, or difficult ones, its about drilling down to what's most important in your life and building from there.
Ultimately, this book is required reading once, in my opinion, you are put in a position of responsibility. It is effective in maintaining a mindset conducive to responsible living, it provides a non-cookie cutter approach and it creates change in your life through practical exercises.
For these reasons, this reviewer highly recommends "Total Leadership."

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