The Leader's Climb
A Business Tale of Rising to the New Leadership Challenge
By: Bob Parsanko, Paul Heagen
Published: September 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 188 pages
"Today in companies big and small, local and global, public and private, leaders at all levels say the same thing: business has become faster, more complicated, more uncertain, more disruptive, and more competitive", write personal coach and president and founder of Executive Insights, Bob Parsanko; and executive coach and president and founder of Defining Moments Consulting, Paul Heagen, in their engaging and insightful business fable The Leader's Climb: A Business Tale of Rising to the New Leadership Challenge. The authors share the story of of Adam, a CEO who faces a challenging responsibility for his company, and a sense of overconfidence in his ability to control events. Suffering a rock climbing accident, Adam is forced to face his mistakes through chance meetings with an unusual set of characters who share their wisdom with the recovering CEO.
Bob Parsanko (photo left) and Paul Heagen provide insights into leadership, and into the challenges faced by organizational leaders, through the medium of a narrative story. For the authors, climbing to achieve a leadership position is only part of the leader's journey. The critical test of a leader is meeting the often overwhelming array of problems and obstacles presented to leaders, so as to remain at the top. The story poses the metaphor of rock climbing as the career of the leader.
The overburdened and overconfident Adam climbs the rock face, only to discover he is not invincible when he suffers an accident. As with his stuck career as a CEO< Adam finds himself stuck from the accident as well. Through the advice and teachings of an unexpected array of people, Adam uncovers the wisdom to become unstuck, and to move forward and grow as a leader.
Paul Heagen (photo left) and Bob Parsanko present their principles for remaining in a leadership role, and for avoiding the pitfalls that await the unwary and hurried leaders. The authors, through the medium of the business parable, demonstrate how CEO Adam finds himself trying to go too fast, fighting too much, and forcing too many decisions. The inevitable result, as shown by the story of the rock climb, Adam finds himself stuck and unable to find a way to break free. To help guide Adam on his climb, characters in the story teach Adam the principles of awareness and slowing down, acceptance and embracing reality, and abundance by considering multiple options.
The authors show how listening carefully and openly to others helps a leader to understand the principles. Instead of fighting against adversity, Adam learns to lean into it for greater success. Adam finds that the standard practice of limiting the number of options results in bad decision making, and instead finds that multiplying his choices and possibilities leads to better outcomes. Through the sage advice of the story guides, Adam learns how to become unstuck from the rock and from the difficulties he faced as a CEO.
For me, the power of the book is how Bob Parsanko and Paul Heagen present their principles of leadership through a story format that illustrates their concepts in action. The pillars of leadership, and being stuck and overwhelmed, are given clarity in the narrative of Adam, the rock climbing CEO. Through the metaphor of being stuck in a rock climbing accident, the authors point out how the same concepts that get a climber unstuck work for a stuck leader.
The story provides the key elements of successful leadership, that overcome the challenge of remaining in leadership positions, and how these behaviors are so lacking in companies today. The authors present the basic ideas of meeting the myriad of leadership obstacles in a pleasurable and engaging way that underlines the importance of developing and utilizing those principles and skills.
I highly recommend the idea filled and realistic leadership skills development business parable The Leader's Climb: A Business Tale of Rising to the New Leadership Challenge by Paul Heagen and Bob Parsanko, to anyone seeking a very readable and enjoyable narrative that offers rich insights into leadership and overcoming the challenges faced by the today's leaders. This book offers timeless wisdom and a healthy does of common sense to develop skills for any leader.