TouchPoints: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: May 3rd, 2012 by bobmorris

TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest Moments
Douglas Conant and Mette Norgaard
Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint (2011)

How to prepare for and then embrace the privilege of being of meaningful service to others

This volume endorses the principles of servant leadership with which Robert K. Greenleaf (1904–1990) is generally associated. Here is a brief excerpt from an essay first published in 1970:  “The servant-leader is servant first…It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”

In TouchPoints, Douglas Conant and Mette Norgaard explain how and why great leadership is about servant leadership in human relationships, “about being present in the moment and feeling confident that you can deal with whatever happens in a way that is helpful to others.” Think about it. How many times, on average, during your waking hours do you interact with other people? Each interaction is a “TouchPoint,” one that offers an opportunity to make such contact mutually beneficial. ToughPoints can also involve sources of inspiration, knowledge, and cultural enrichment. To those who aspire to leadership, Conant and Norgaard offer an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that can help them to accelerate their development as leaders with a model that is most appropriate for them.

More specifically, they help their reader to prepare for TouchPoints, create situations in which they can occur, and then when they do, ensure that the shared experience has great value to everyone involved. The approach must be crystal clear, the intentions must be honorable, and the competencies must be applied with humility and gratitude as well as with confidence. As Conant and Norgaard observe when concluding their book, “The beauty of TouchPoints is that they are both approachable and aspirational: every moment is an opportunity to aim for mastery, while achieving  mastery will remain an elusive target. That’s because mastery is not a destination – it’s a quest. It is a commitment to developing ever greater clarity and capabilities so that you may become ever more helpful for the moment.”

May your own journey continue from one meaningful TouchPoint to the next.

 

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