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Staff Pick: Becoming the Best

Name: Nurul Humaira Kamarulzaman
Book: Becoming the Best: Build a World-Class Organisation Through Values-Based Leadership
Author: Harry M Jansen Kraemer Jr
Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1st edition (March 9, 2015)
Language: English
Year: 2015

Book Synopsis:
What does it mean in practice to be a values-based leader? When faced with real situations, how can you be your best self and create best teams while also being the best partner with customers and vendors, the best investment for your stakeholders, and the best citizen making a difference in the world? It’s a tall order, but these are the expectations for world-class organisations today.

In his bestselling book From Values to Action, Harry Kraemer showed how self-reflection, balance, true self-confidence, and genuine humility are the traits of today’s most effective leaders. In Becoming the Best, his highly anticipated follow-up, Kraemer reveals how, in practical terms, anyone can apply these principles to become a values-based leader and to help create values-based organisations.

  • Use self-reflection to become your “best self” as you lead yourself and others more effectively
  • Create a “best team” that understands and appreciates what they’re doing, and why
  • Forge “best partnerships” through win / win collaboration with vendors and customers that enhance the end user’s experience and support the mission, vision, and values of the organisation to generate returns that distinguish a “best investment”
  • Make a difference in the world beyond the organisation by becoming a “best citizen”
Becoming the Best by Harry M Jansen Kraemer Jr

Powerful case studies from Campbell’s Soup, Ernst & Young, Target, Northern Trust, and many others demonstrate the four principles of values-based leadership in action and show how thinking beyond the corporation can trigger positive outcomes for both the company and the world.

Regardless of level or job title, individuals can make a difference in their organisation and beyond by embodying the essential traits of a great leader. Becoming the Best offers a definitive, actionable guide to show anyone how to apply in practice the principles of values-based leadership personally and professionally, making it an indispensable manual for the new wave of better leaders.

In this book, the author shares a formula for success in establishing Values-Based Leadership (VBL) centering on the application of four principles self-reflection, balance, true self-confidence, and genuine humility to the five key demands of VBL:

Being the best self: By actualising who you are meant to become through reflection and introspection. “One needs to develop greater self-knowledge in order to positively influence and lead people.”
Being the best team: By assuring that all team members understand and appreciate what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how that successfully integrates with the goals and objectives of the organisation.
Being the best partner: By forging win-win partnerships with vendors and suppliers in order to enhance the customer experience.
Being the best investment: By focusing on generating a return for the owners through positive and meaningful actions that support the mission, vision, and values of the organisation. As the best investment, one must commit to developing its greatest asset – its people.
Being the best citizen: By focusing not only on success but also significance, through social responsibility and making a difference in the world, beyond the organisation and its people.

Proven case studies illustrate the importance of values in practice. In addition, the author conveys meaningful information in a very accessible style.

In conclusion, this book teaches me how to turn values into actions that I will use throughout my career. A highly recommended read!

“Self-reflection is the gateway to self-awareness and self-knowledge. The more you understand yourself, the better you are able to relate to other people. Relating to them allows you to influence them, which is how leadership happens. Values-based leadership moves from the inside out, rooted in the knowledge of what you stand for and what matters most – personally and professionally.” – Chapter 1: The Self-Reflective Balance Leader. Page 16.

You may be someone who has natural gifts; perhaps you’re very good at mathematics or mechanics, writing or music. Alternatively, you may be someone who, although not endowed with an incredible amount of natural talent, has quickly come out with the learning curve through a combination of drive, discipline, and studiousness. Maybe you struggle to gain expertise and competency in certain areas, but although perseverance, a strong work ethic, and a lot of effort, you develop a special skill set or knowledge base. Wherever you fall along the talent and competency continuum, you know what you know. You take pride in your accomplishments and what you’ve attained.”Chapter 2: The Humble, Self-Confident Leader, Page 35. 

“The old adage that the customer is always right also has its limitations and drawbacks. The customer is important, and the customer does come first. But that does not mean that the customer is right on every issue. With the best partnership, a relationship exists in which the customer feels important and valued, without needing to always be right (which often implies that the supplier is wrong).”- Chapter 6: Building Best-Partnership Customer Relationships, page 115.        

This book is available at the Perdana Library. If you are interested in reading or borrowing the book, please visit our Library in Putrajaya, or contact us at 03-8885 8961 (Library Counter).