Co-Leaders: The Power of Great Partnerships

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Wiley, Feb 22, 1999 - Business & Economics - 312 pages
4 Reviews
"Co-leadership… is a tough-minded strategy that will unleash the hidden talent in any enterprise. Above all, co-leadership is inclusive, not exclusive. It celebrates those who do the real work, not just a few charismatic, often isolated leaders who are regally compensated for articulating the organization’s vision." —David A. Heenan and Warren Bennis Today’s heads of big companies are as recognizable to us as the most popular entertainers or sports stars, but the heart and soul of every organization are those leaders below the CEO. Today’s celebrity CEO has become either a figurehead or an egomaniac, and often too public a personality to get the real work done. That work is done instead by teams of leaders—exceptional deaputies who forge great partnerships to maximize both organizational and personal success. Heenan and Bennis believe we must look beyond the Bill Gateses of the world to understand what makes an organization excel. Written for CEOs, managers, and anyone else interested in modern organizations, this is the first comprehensive study of co-leaders and their often quiet power. Exhaustively researched and illustrated with memorable anecdotes and lively stories, CoLeaders examines a dozen great partners such as Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, Bob Lutz of Chrysler, Bill Guthridge, coach of the University of North Carolina basketball team, and Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen Keller’s teacher. The changing nature of corporate leadership has seen the emergence of a new Silicon Valley model of success, where boss and subordinate seem more like peers, with the spotlight on great partnerships. Talent, not title, is the source of power at a growing number of hot high-tech companies. In these collegial, nonhierarchical organizations, today’s deputy can become tomorrow’s CEO simply by taking his or her breakthrough idea and walking out the door. Good ideas belong, initially at least, to the people who have them, not to the company and not to the boss, which is why this new egalitarianism isn’t just a matter of style—it’s a question of survival. Co-leaders understand both the executive and subordinate experience, making them better adapted to the needs of the new millennium, where men and women who can command and follow will prove to be the greatest assets of any organization. Co-Leaders is intended for everyone who aspires to make his or her organization great. By showing the enterprise through the eyes of inspired deputies, this book reveals how both organizations and individuals can benefit from a more inclusive, less celebrity-oriented definition of leadership. This groundbreaking book argues for a new paradigm: gifted leaders and their talented co-leaders working together to make their organizations stronger, more nimble, more equitable… and ultimately more successful.

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User Review  - Goodreads

A should-read book on leadership for knowledge workers, managers, directors, C-levels, and entrepreneurs. Read full review

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User Review  - Janet - Goodreads

This book validated my intuition that it takes more than one person to lead an organization. Read full review

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About the author (1999)

DAVID A. HEENAN (right) is a trustee of the Estate of James Campbell, one of the nation's largest landowners, with assets valued at over $2 billion. A former senior executive with Citicorp and Jardine Matheson, Heenan has served on the faculties of the Wharton School and the Columbia Graduate School of Business. He is the author of The New Corporate Frontier and The Reunited States of America.

WARREN BENNIS (left) is Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at the University of Southern California and a consultant to multinational companies and governments throughout the world. Author of over a dozen books, including the bestsellers Leaders and On Becoming a Leader, Bennis's insights have fundamentally shaped the way we think about leaders today.

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