I’d estimate that over three professional decades, I’ve read more than 1,500 business and leadership books. Likely way too many, as a reader can’t possibly aggregate, retain, and act on all that information.
Fortunately several rise to the top of my list of favorites, and I could give a keynote speech on each of them as if I were the actual author:
- Multipliers – Liz Wiseman
- Zoom – Istvan Banyai
- Your Next Five Moves – Patrick Bet-David
- Radical Candor – Kim Scott
- Range – David Epstein
- A Short Guide to a Happy Life – Anna Quindlen
- The Power Principle: Influence With Honor – Blaine Lee
- What the CEO Wants You to Know – Ram Charan
- This Is Marketing – Seth Godin
- Impact Players – Liz Wiseman
Some are inspirational, some are visionary, and others are very relatable.
What they all have in common is their applicability, at least to me in my professional and personal life at the time of reading them.
With music, I typically don’t like artists or albums; I tend to like songs. If you asked me to name my top ten songs, I’m not sure any of them would be by the same artist. I likely can’t name two Coldplay, Pink, or John Mayer songs, but they all have singles on my favorites list. Same with books. But you will notice there are two books by the same author, Liz Wiseman. What speaks to me, speaks to me—and Liz Wiseman has “spoken” to me now twice. First with Multipliers and now with Impact Players.
I’ve not been shy in the past about my appreciation for Multipliers, as I think it’s the best leadership book ever written. I define “best” as its impact on me when I read it. Multipliers is aimed directly at formal leaders of people in organizations, and the premise is that in order to become a multiplier of talent, leaders must first recognize that we’re all constantly diminishing others in our actions, mostly unintentionally.
Liz’s research identified what she calls the 9 Accidental Diminisher Tendencies: Idea Fountain, Always On, Rescuer, Pacesetter, Rapid Responder, Optimist, Protector, Strategist, and Perfectionist. Through increased self-awareness, we better understand when, why, and how we’re diminishing others and can move to creating more Multiplier moments that unleash the natural genius in others.
My colleagues at FranklinCovey also found the book so profound and practical that we partnered with Liz and her team at The Wiseman Group to develop a work session for our clients based on Multipliers, now in our All Access Pass. (By the way, although Multipliers is aimed at people leaders, it’s a superb parenting book for those of us who lead in the home like we lead in the office…)
Well, Liz did it again with her new release, Impact Players.
For fear you’re beginning to think I’m a creepy author stalker, Liz knows of my hopefully healthy obsession with her books, and our families are friends (but oddly she won’t give me her home address…hmm).
If Multipliers is aimed at leaders, then Impact Players is the ideal complement aimed at individual contributors.
Confession: when I first read Multipliers, I thought, “This is horrifying. I am most decidedly not a natural Multiplier” and began the process of stepping aside from the leadership role I was in at the time. At that point, I had been leading people for over two decades and candidly was burnt out. I needed a reprieve to recharge and renew from the responsibilities of leading large groups of people, an often thankless and unrewarding role—at least for me.
Conversely, when I read an early manuscript of Impact Players, I metaphorically exclaimed to myself, “This is my book—this book is exactly what I’ve done my entire career to achieve my level of success…or impact.” It’s as if Liz had written a memoir about my three-decade career. I was elated to be validated by her research and insights into what makes and sustains an Impact Player. They figure out what really needs to be accomplished, they take initiative, and they use their resourcefulness and initiative to tackle vital projects. They de-escalate drama (okay, I need a pass here) and seem to make work easier, not harder and more complicated. They take ownership of their careers and figure out, perhaps unnaturally so, the politics and culture of their organizations and how to navigate through it.
They understand the difference between what Liz calls Credibility Killers and Credibility Builders and— perhaps what I found most profound—the Step Up, Then Step Back. This was a concept sadly foreign to me prior to reading Impact Players and now serves as a constant Jiminy Cricket. Step Up and Then Step Back. Until Impact Players, I would step up, then keep stepping up until I was at the top of the ladder looking down at everyone.
If after reading any of my hundreds of blogs, posts, articles, and columns, I have a shred of credibility with you, then take my recommendation, buy a copy of Impact Players for every member of your team, and read and study it together.
It will transform everyone’s sense of ownership of their career, perhaps including yours as well.
Strong performers tend to get ahead because of their energy, ideas, and high standards. But the very traits that propelled them into leadership roles can actually make them less effective as leaders.
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