Grounded: A book review by Bob Morris

GroundedGrounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World
Bob Rosen
Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint (2014)

The leadership skills needed to cope with speed, impermanence, complexity, transparency, competition, and globalization

Over the years, I have interviewed hundreds of thought leaders (many of them CEOs) and have learned that, however different they may be in most respects, all of them agree on the importance of having effective leadership at all levels and in all areas so that the given enterprise can respond effectively to a tsunami of forces that include speed, impermanence, complexity, transparency, competition, and globalization.

In this volume, Bob Rosen provides an abundance of information, in sights, and counsel that will help almost any executive in almost any organization to help it cope with those forces “in an uncertain world” in which change occurs faster and has greater impact than at any prior time that I can recall.

As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of the fact that all great leaders have a “green thumb” for “growing” others to become good-to-great leaders. So let’s view an organization (whatever its size and nature may be) as a “garden” whose health is entrusted to its leaders, its “gardeners.”

After more than 25 years of research and analysis of research on challenges that leaders face, he and his colleagues at Healthy Companies made several remarkable discoveries. “Leaders who are truly healthy in all sense of the word are evolved human beings and extremely effective leaders. As we dug deeper into the qualities that make up this healthy leader, we unearthed three unequivocal truths. These findings form the themes and substance of Grounded.” They are:

1. Who you are drives what you do [and don’t do].

2. Who you are [for better or worse] is grounded in your healthy [or unhealthy] roots.

3. Healthy leaders build teams and organizations that outperform.

Rosen devotes Part II (Chapters 4-22) to “The Roots of Healthy Leadership” in terms of physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational, and spiritual health. He carefully explains how to improve one’s health in each of these dimensions, and then in Chapter 22, “On Becoming a Healthy Leader,” he reiterates several key points.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Rosen’s coverage.

o Finding a Solution by Digging Deep (Pages 9-11)
o Science Supports the Healthy Leader (19-23)
o Inside the Healthy Leader Model (26-30)
o Managing Your Energy (52-55)
o Failed Leadership Arises from Ignorance (72-74)
o What Emotions Derail You? (87-90)
o Bend, Don’t Break: Things to Consider (98-99)
o Leading with an Adaptive Mindset (122-124)
o Embrace Opposites (131-135)
o Four Pillars of Healthy Relationships (157-160)
o The Journey of Self-Improvement (191-193)
o The Drive to Succeed: Playing to Win (200-202)
o Purposeful Leaders In Action (220-222)
o Putting Your Global Literacy Into Action (230-232)
o Making Connections with Stakeholders at Every Turn (288-292)
o Leveraging Talent for Growth (296-299)

When concluding his book, Rosen reassures his reader, “By discovering and demonstrating your true self, you can lead the way into a new age, a time of health and prosperity.” He then cordially invites his reader to check out the resources at three websites that his firm, Healthy Companies, created:

“We hope that you will visit us and share your thoughts about what you’ve read. We welcome your personal stories about your own voyage of discovery into the roots of healthy leadership.”

I realize that no brief commentary such as mine can do full justice to the quality and value of the material that Bob Rosen provides in abundance. However, I hope that I have given at least some indication of why I hold him and his work in such high regard.

Posted in

Leave a Comment