ELP inspiration book reading is a component of CSAAEINC’s Emerging African Leaders Program. In-between the ELP Leadership Foundation Conferences held in November/December annually and ELP Mid-Year Leadership Portfolio Summit held in June annually, emerging leaders read books on effective leadership selected by mentors. The aim is to enhance their ethics, leadership skills and innovative spirit. Books are read gradually for assimilation. Emerging Leaders discuss books read on ELP virtual training room every Friday. The aim is to share various views on the book and to apply it to emerging leaders’ peculiar situations. Book reading runs from December to November and books are provided free of charge to each emerging leader.
Who Moved My Cheese
Read by many, is the book, Who Moved My Cheese?; an interesting and inspiring story told by Dr. Spencer Johnson on how to help people, get acclimatized to unexpected changes.
The characters of the story were Sniff and Scurry, Hem and Haw. They were in search for Cheese but they did it differently; while Sniff and Scurry were particularly meticulous during their search, Hem and Haw gave a flippant approach towards their search for Cheese.
Amazingly, both saw the Cheese differently. While Sniff and Scurry remained attentive even after they found their Cheese, Hem and Haw were a little different; they saw the Cheese as an entitlement and never thought it would diminish.
The unexpected happened. Sniff and Scurry found their Cheese missing. Although, they were sad, but decided to move on. When Hem and Haw saw what Sniff and Scurry had seen, they were dumbfounded. They did not anticipate change. Unlike Sniff and Scurry, they decided to remain at. their old Cheese Station.
Haw, who was quite different from Hem, was filled with energy and ready to move on. He was however, daunted by Hem. Notwithstanding the fact that Haw was ready to move on, he was encumbered by his skepticism for a better Cheese. He feared engaging in a race of futility, but after several attempts, he faced his fears by defeating it.
The book emphasizes that Letting go of what we know is hard, but essential for growth and improvement. The quicker we let go of old things, the sooner we can learn new skills and create a better future.
Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell
Developing the Leader Within You by John Maxwell is truly the landmark book on leadership. The author, dives into the heart of leadership, showing us early on in the book that true leadership has very little to do with title, salary or the corner office. Instead, he teaches what it takes to become a leader that people want to follow; a leader that captures the hearts, minds and actions of his or her followers. Leadership, according to John Maxwell, is about who you become, not what you’re given or proclaimed to be.
He covered ten crucial areas of leadership (influence, priorities, integrity, creating positive change, problem solving, attitude, people, vision, self-discipline, and staff development), the core of his message can be broken into two parts: self-development and people development.
From the book we were able to extract the following Insights:
- Leaders are not born, but are made
- You have to discover leadership
- Leadership is the ability to obtain followers
- Everyone can become a great leader
- Leadership is influence
- Change the leader, change the organization
- Be open to change; i.e. Henry Ford example
- Never solve a problem for a person
- Work on yourself first, than others
- Nothing moves until your people make it move
The book clearly outlines best practices for successful leadership, and gives hope to those that wish to be a leader but are uncertain if they have the skills and abilities, as well as those leaders that wish to self-reflect and improve their own leadership. The book is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in pursuing, or continuing, a journey in leadership.