Saturday, July 17, 2010

Name My Leadership Development Book Contest

I was pleased to recently be rated #5 in HR Examiner’s Top 25 Digital Influencers in Leadership. While that’s way cool, I know I’ll never achieve true leadership development guru status until I have a best selling book. Well, maybe even an OK selling e-book

I know what I want to write about – a practitioners guide to leadership development and succession planning. It will be filled with practical advice and tools – an expanded collection of my best posts and more.

What I don’t have is a title. Now I’ve noticed that the books that seem to get the most buzz and sell well have provocative titles.

Here’s a few already taken leadership titles from Amazon, keywords “leadership”, and “leadership development”:

Get Rid of the Performance Review”. Hey, everyone hates performance reviews, so this one worked well for the author.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”. That’s it, maybe I need a good number. But is it 1, 2, 4, 21, or 101?

You Don't Need a Title to be a Leader”. This one appealed to the masses and broadened the potential audience. These are good because they get purchased in bulk and handed out as motivational gifts.

Leadership Secrets of Attila the HunLeadership, Soprano Style” and “". Hmmm…., so maybe pick a lovable bad guy? Maybe BP’s Tony Hayward, or Michael Scott from “The Office”?

Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building Talent from Within”. Well, it’s descriptive, but borrrrring.

Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It”. I like the word “mojo”, I could just say that all day. Mojo, mojo, mojo….

Leadership for Dummies”. How about “Leadership Development for Morons”? Or Idiots? Pinheads, dorks, muttonheads, boneheads, twits? Naw, that might insult my target audience.

"The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't". A cuss word sure would get attention, although I’m not much of a cusser.

OK, so I need some help from my readers. Here’s a few titles that I don’t think have been used yet – what do you think? What’s your favorite? Can you come up with more?

1. “Kill All the Managers and Replace them with Leaders”. Kind of plays on the old “management is bad, leadership is good” cliché.

2. “Using Social Media to Develop Leaders”. I could jump on the social medial bandwagon before it gets old. Although Prince has already declared the internet is over.

3. “Leadership is Underrated”. A companion to the bestselling “Talent is Overrated”.

4. “Get Rid of Talent Reviews”. If we’re getting rid of individual performance reviews, the next step should be to get rid of group talent reviews, right? Trashing HR always gets a lot of attention.

5. “How to Develop Leaders in 30 days”. I could market it like a weight loss program and make an exaggerated claim.

6. "Leadership Development the Justin Bieber Way”. Hey, he’s the most searched person on the net. Although I’m not sure about his staying power. Maybe Lady Gaga?

7. “The Vampire's Leadership Development Guide”. Vampires are hot, hot, hot.

8. “How to Lose Your Best Employees and Ruin Your Business”. Uh, see, it’s a book on what not to do… get it?

9. “The No Bull%$#& Guide to Leadership Development”. I’ve actually written a few “no b.s.” guides before, but should I spell it out? A federal court just ruled you can swear on television.

10. “Annie’s Guide to Leadership Development”. Annie was my lab that’s in my profile picture. Dog books seem to be selling well these days too.

How about it? Can you give me a few more ideas? Please comment with your ideas.

I’ll send a review copy of the upcoming new book THE ORANGE REVOLUTION: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization (September 21, Free Press) by Chester Elston and Adrian Gostick, coauthors of the New York Times bestseller The Carrot Principle , to the one I like the best. Don’t forget to leave your email with your comment if you want to qualify for the book so that I can contact you.


Ned Keitt-Pride said...

Of all the titles you listed I would go with #9, though you may turn off as many people as you turn on. It is definitely a marketable title that could easily lend itself to speaking gig titles, print materials (the no BS workbook would probably be a hit).

Alternatively, perhaps focusing on a particular aspect of your topic that you feel most passionate about might give you ideas. For example, my views on the subject are very much geared towards leaders stepping back from "doing the stuff" to make room for others to step forward and gain experience. A good leader in this context, to me, is one that works themselves out of a job by mentoring someone capable of replacing them. So I would think along the lines of a title that illustrates this process without making it seem like the reader is preparing for the death of their career. Military analogies are generally popular, so perhaps something along the lines of "Generalship: How to move from the front line to the command bunker."

Dan McCarthy said...

Ned -
Thanks, you're right, the bs theme could lead to related marketing and promotional opportunites. Maybe I could sell those little rubber fake dog poo piles , or "no bs" coffee mugs....
I like your idea of a theme.... I keep going back to dogs for some reason. Sled dogs? Hmmm....

Andrew said...

How about* "Leadership 2.0-The Next Level/Frontier"*

this kind of ties in with the web 2.0 and social media theme as well as
showing that your approach is new and a step forward.


Trudy Cassise said...

I like the idea of "Replace your Managers with Leaders in ?? Days"

Eliminate the KILL (a little bit tooooo strong) add the power of days. Having one of your postings for each day of the month.

Day One: -----
Day Two: -----

At the end of the month provide a check list of noticeable changes in behavior. Thus replacing the Manager with a Leader.

. “Kill All the Managers and Replace them with Leaders”. Kind of plays on the old “management is bad, leadership is good” cliché.

By the way I really enjoy your postings, I started to forward the ones that apply to the culture of ArvinMeritor, adding my thoughts to those I've trained on leadership.

And everyone Thanks You .... and me of course!

Lisa Rosendahl said...

Hi Dan, I was playing with Worddroid ( a little this morning . . . how about "Leadlines: A Practitioner's Guide to Getting It Right"

Dan McCarthy said...

Andrew -
Not bad... I'm hearing William Shatner narrated the mp3 version: "Leadership, the final frontier". Maybe I should get out ahead of the curve and go 3.0?

Trudy -
NICE! I really do like the day by day thing. I could turn it into a desktop calendar!
Thanks for sharing with me how you use my posts at ArvinMeritor. You are now the offical transporation supply company for Great Leadership.

Dan McCarthy said...

Lisa -
I like your thinking - make up my own new leadership buzzword! Cool tool too, thanks for sharing it.

Trish McFarlane said...

How about 'You Made It to the Top: Don't Forget to Look Down'. It has that elitist ring that a leader will love (*smiles*) and will elude to the lessons on succession planning you're going to give them.

Or, how about 'Arrival and Departure: A Guide For Climing the Ladder and What to Do When You Want Down'. Probably too long.

thanks for the fun challenge!

Dan McCarthy said...

Trish - (aka HR Ringleader) -
I like #1... sounds like a contender. Thanks for playing!

davidburkus said...

I say you build on #3. "Management is Overrated."

Dan McCarthy said...

David -

You're right, I had it backwards, didn't I? That could sell.....

Anna Smith said...

How about 'A practitioners guide to leadership development and succession planning'?
Subtitle 'An expanded collection of Dan McCarthy's best posts and more' with a yellow star sticker that reads: Filled with practical advice and tools.
And then, font color white-on-white: iVampires, employee engagement, idiot's guide, 10 best ways to - you name it...

John said...

How about "What's Holding You Back? Emerging as a Leader"


Executive Coach Caroline Smith said...

How about "Leadership Kindergarten: Getting Back to Basics". You could do a lot with this theme....just a basic approach to leadership development.

Dan McCarthy said...

Anna -
hmmm, I might need some design help for that one. thanks

Dan McCarthy said...

John -
Not bad, not bad. Thanks!

Dan McCarthy said...

Caroline -
Well, it sure feels like Kindergarten sometimes. Thanks!

Shawn Hinkle said...

I actually run a leadership camp for high school seniors each summer. Through all the presentations and books I have seen or used, I always thought a book or presentation called "The Unofficial Guide to Leadership" would be a great title. It reminds me of those great travel books like "The Unofficial Guide to Disney World" that take all the little tidbits, thoughts, and insights people have learned over the years and condensed them into one book. It conveys that I don't need a big name or title to have a great book - because if you want to read the real "inside" story on leadership, read this.

Stacey Ho said...

Something like... lessons in leadership for the poor soul who thinks they want my job after I leave...

just a thought.

Dan McCarthy said...

Shawn -
Great idea, I like it - "The Unofficial Guide to Leadersghip Development". You're in the running..... thanks.

Stacey -
LOL, I fell out of my chair- love it! Thanks, a top contender.

Anmol said...

Hi Dan,

I love your's always refreshing to read your perpective on things. :)

So here's my suggestion - "The nuts & bolts of Leadership Development: A practical guide".

Dan McCarthy said...

thanks. That works too!

Dan McCarthy said...

All -
Thanks for all of your great ideas!!! I had a lot of fun with this and I hope you did too.
There were a lot of awesome ideas, but the one that maked me laugh the most was Stacy's "lessons in leadership for the poor soul who thinks they want my job after I leave...".
Runner-up honors go to Trudy, Trish, and Shawn.

Stacey Ho said...

Just glad to get a laugh - thanks again and can't wait to read the book!