The Art of the Chief Executive is for anyone interested in the art, practice and daily rollercoaster of leading an organisation. Based on the experience of a three-time Chief Executive it is practical, detailed, honest, and reflective. It answers the questions ‘What is the job?’ and ‘Is it for me?’ and charts the chronology of a chief executive appointment, from applying, to delivering, to moving on. In the current business world of unpredictable change and upheaval, many leaders have to deal with restructures and the book describes one chief executive's journey through the harder times.
To be a chief executive is to make the most of every opportunity and the least of every risk. It is to be fully present in the here and now, whilst having an eye - and diary space - for the long term. The author has led small organisations with big causes, dealing hands-on with the people, money and strategic issues which are specially intense in this kind of setting. The book shares her experience of dealing - sometimes imperfectly - with these challenges and how she guaranteed the future of her organisation.
This is an accesible, readable but authoritative account of leadership, relevant to leaders in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Read in the evening with a drink, a leader will feel accompanied and their task a little easier. For those working with leaders it is a rare insight into what preoccupies them and what they need from their team. For those who might become a chief executive, it makes the role more tangible (including detail about applying for a chief executive post) and achievable, without masking any of the real personal and professional challenges which inevitably accompany it. Students of management will value lived-in experience of all the main management dilemmas.
This is a business book without diagrams and lists, but full of guidance and wisdom based on having 'been there'. It balances the heart and the head, behaving well and managing efficiently. And on the way the reader learns something of trees, yoga and some great writers, proving that business does best when it connects with the wider world.