Here are some reflections on reading “View from the Top: An inside look at how people in power see and shape the World”. The book was based on 550 interviews over 10 years with CEOs and business leaders and the author had been in Christchurch recently. I did not attend any meetings but a friend loaned me the book so had a read if it.
What stood out to me was the purposeful approach those interviewed took in their lives. They did not sit back and wait for the right situation to present itself – they were proactive and up skilled and met the right people then embraced opportunities. How often do we, by contrast, expect good things to just happen?
Another point which stuck out was that the people often knew the value of EQ and having a diverse network of support and wide range of interests – being generalists rather than too specialist.
The final key thing for me was the use of the word “catalyst” – that the best leaders also draw the best out of others as well. Hand in glove with this was the fact that they all recognised someone had helped them along the way and so they too looked to help the next generations coming up.
The conclusion had a few other key points that included:
– act personally, but think institutionally
– maximise opportunities, but leave something behind
– great leaders sacrifice
I would like to have seen a bit more on the shadow side of being so driven – there was some discussion on how leaders made time for family but I got the sense there was a lot more material there. Should someone working a 100 hour week and making millions be applauded when their children don’t know them?
I would recommend the book as a high level overview of some key things to consider if you are thinking about your own life and the different leadership roles you may have.