Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
- Helen Keller

Leadership Book Review - One Piece of Paper

hand flying a paper aeroplane

Regardless of whether you are established in your career or just starting out I would highly recommend this book on leadership. To quote one of the online reviews “It’s a simple yet profound guide for defining who you are and what you want to be as a leader”.

In working with leaders and aspiring leaders I’m often asked what books on leadership I have found useful. I read about 1 book a month, my stand out book of the year is Mike Figliuolo’s “One Piece of Paper”. 

The basic premise of the book is that by answering a series of thought provoking questions you can articulate who you are and what you stand for as a leader on... you guessed it... one piece of paper. In a world that is fast moving, often chaotic and awash with leadership philosophies this simple and impactful output is something that you can instantly share with your team to build trust and get more of the results you want.

The author provides lessons learned from successes and failures in his considerable leadership experience and he also uses a variety of anecdotes from esteemed leaders to illustrate his points. The big win for me is that the style is conversational; the content is firmly grounded in reality and both the framework and the output are a masterpiece of simplicity.

The four areas covered are:

  1. Leading yourself. What motivates you and what are your rules of personal conduct? What do you want the “future you” to look like and stand for?
  2. Leading the thinking. Where are you taking your organisation and how will you innovate to drive change?
  3. Leading your people. How can you lead a team as individuals rather than as faceless cogs in a machine?
  4. Leading a balanced life. How do you define and achieve equilibrium between work and personal obligations?

Those who have worked with me know my penchant for “pictures on a page”, “plan on a page” and “one page summaries” I find beauty in the art of brevity (and we all know that executives have short attention spans!) I was originally attracted by the title and the book delivered so much more, it resonates strongly as an unifying theme of the training I deliver on trust, resilience, change and particularly “qualified by experience”. It’s no surprise therefore that it was an instant favourite. I have no doubt that training delegates and coaching clients will find this book a great reference and workbook, other coaches will find the powerful questions useful and anyone going for promotion would do well to include this as part of their preparation.

Caution - this book will make you think! You can read it and get the output in a day if you commit to it, it'll be a first version that will evolve anyway.

And in case you are wondering, I have absolutely no connection to the author or the book royalties; it’s just a damn good book!

Best wishes


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