‘Athletic CEOs: Leadership in Turbulent Times’ is about leaders who do not lead by the book: people who score low on emotional intelligence, do not praise their subordinates, and rarely provide constructive feedback or celebrate small wins. Yet it is also a book about high-performing transformational leaders – Alexander Dyukov (Gazprom Neft), German Gref (Sberbank), Eugene Kaspersky (Kaspersky Lab) and Vitaly Saveliev (Aeroflot). Each of them has created a formidable enterprise that is delivering sustainable growth in profits and shareholder value; setting new standards for the industry; leaving a positive impact on its employees and on the country and the regions it operates in; and – most remarkably – continuing to reinvent itself.
Stanislav Shekshnia, Alexey Ulanovsky and Veronika Zagieva have studied the work of these leaders for a decade and developed a model of leadership that delivers superior results in a specific context, that is, one of fast obsolescence, high turbulence, intense government interference, mediocre levels of human capital development and traditionally high levels of managerial control. The model is called Athletic Leadership because of the strong parallels between the protagonists’ attitudes and behaviors and those of top sportspeople. Athletic Leaders share a formative experience of practising competitive sports in their youth, facing early adversity as leaders of important projects, and changing companies and industries along the way. They possess two traits that define their leadership personality: mental toughness and adaptability. Athletic CEOs also use specific iterative behavioral and mental strategies at work – ‘meta-practices’ of Athletic Leadership. They deliver superior operational and financial results (leadership outputs) and transform their followers, companies, industries and communities (leadership outcomes).
Written for people who are interested in the subject of leadership in business, ‘Athletic CEOs: Leadership in Turbulent Times’ offers interesting ideas and practical insights for people from other walks of life such as politics, government and education.