The Advancing Leadership Blog

February 2015 #Shelfie

Shelfie (blog)Edmonton TEC Chair GREG HADUBIAK is the next contributor to our #shelfie series and shares a few titles that inspire him as a business leader and mentor. Share your own #shelfie with us on Twitter @TECCanada


Reading has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. In the days when we used to rely on books rather than Google or Wikipedia, I could often be found just reading a volume of our encyclopedia set or spending a free hour or two in our local library. I still remember Ms. Samuels, my small town librarian, from my frequent borrowing activity. My book collection is expansive and when asked to take a picture of my bookshelf I had to ask myself “Which one?” So from that collection it was tough to narrow it done to those that follow.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

Almost from my first leadership role in 1986 I was open to new ideas and thoughts about how to be a better person and a better leader. And I had a lot to learn at age 21. Stephen Covey’s work resonated with me and more importantly caused me to become more focused and deliberate about who I was and who I could become. As a direct result of being exposed to Covey’s 7 Habits, I crafted my first personal mission, vision and values statement. More importantly, I have continued to use this foundation throughout my leadership journey. While my personal vision has shifted over the years as I have matured and grown, I have been pleased to note that my mission and values have remained relatively unchanged. Some might consider Covey’s work to be dated, with this first book dating back to 1989, but I believe the core of what he wrote remains relevant in 2015.


Good Strategy/Bad Strategy – Richard P. Rumelt

As a leader and now TEC Canada Chair/Executive Coach and consultant, I have often been and continue to be involved in helping organizations chart their future course – their strategic plans. Too often, however, strategic planning exercises can be nothing more than elegantly crafted and filled-in templates, lacking any real insight and driving energy. Rumelt argues eloquently and succinctly that too many strategic plans and strategies lack for true insight or diagnosis of the challenges that an organization faces. He further argues that insight is not enough. It must be accompanied by a strong guiding policy which then is made real and relevant by a coherent set of actions. There are a number of gems in this book, not the least of which is “failure to face the problem” and “the unwillingness or inability to choose” as it relates to developing strategy and then pursuing a desired end with unwavering energy and focus.


South – The Endurance Expedition – Sir Ernest Shackleton

I am continuously drawn to stories of intrepid explorers – whether their ventures prove to be successful or not – and I could have chosen from a variety of biographies and narratives of expeditions sitting on my shelf recounting gripping tales of adventure in Africa, Asia, North America or even the exploration of our solar system. However, I came to rest on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition across Antarctica in 1914 that turned into one of mankind’s greatest stories of endurance, strength of will and teamwork. Six men had to cross over 800 miles of the roughest seas in the world in an open boat to find help in returning to save 22 of their fellows who were stranded on a remote island at the bottom of the world. That this feat was accomplished without loss of life is truly extraordinary and is an inspiration to me, illustrating what is truly possible when we bend our will to a task.


17 Hours to Glory – Mathias Muller and Timothy Carlson

Having only recently been introduced to the sport of triathlon and more specifically the Ironman distance, I was drawn to stories of other competitors in this endurance event. As the 17 stories in this book demonstrate, there is so much more to completing an Ironman than simply having the physical talent to do so. The stories recount the mental and emotional challenges – and even physical disabilities – that these 17 individuals have overcome to meet their goal. Moreover, for some the goal is not achieved once, but multiple times. The individuals, their stories, their challenges, their indomitable will and strength of character serve as inspiration to people like me in the triathlon world, but quite frankly transcend the sport and act as guideposts for anyone who dares to dream the impossible dream. Anything is possible.

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