A Contrarian's Guide to Leadership

Every once in awhile, I pick up a book sitting on my leadership bookshelf and re-read it. Because I process anything I read in the context of the here-and-now, re-reading older books through a new lens adds to the freshness of what it takes to make leadership a way of life! My most recent re-read is Steven Sample’s “A Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership”. The contrarian reference is about doing things that may buck conventional wisdom based on that wisdom created under circumstances that created a much different context than what leaders need in the current situation and contingency.

My favorite chapter is actually the last full chapter titled “”Being President versus Doing President” and comes from advice the author received prior to becoming the tenth president of the University of Southern California (USC). In the chapter he describes the challenges of leadership that many times cause leaders to subordinate their own personal interests to those of the organization. He offers his own formula when he was USC President of “Sample’s 30/70 Formula for Leadership” where 30% of his time was spent on substantially substantive issues. The substantive issues are those that advance the organization in a meaningful way. The other 70% is spent on reacting and managing the trivial, mundane and routine matters. How many leaders are doing this more than 70% of the time to the detriment of their organizations?

Enjoy the Book!

“Are you trying to be Perfect…
“Carry a Message to Garcia”


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Thursday, 08 December 2022