What comes to mind when you hear the word hero? A dashing figure riding wave after wave of praise? Accolades and awards bestowed upon a champion by a fawning public?
Not so fast. All too often, we forget that those rosy images of leaders being embraced by society come at the end of the story, if at all.
Swept up in the fairytale, we fail to remember that the real heroes have always begun as disrupters and outsiders whose threats to the status quo left them out in the cold, not hoisted on shoulders or thrown parades. Early heroism isn’t a party. It’s lonely.
From Galileo to Mandela to Jobs, the greatest heroes have always been heretics.
But what does heresy mean in corporate America? Why does it matter?
In my new book Heretics to Heroes: A Memoir on Modern Leadership (available in June 2016), I explore the ways in which heretical ideas can transform business culture. Leaders who are brave enough to risk ridicule and think for themselves can create more than a better environment for their people. They can lead their teams to extraordinary performance that they once believed impossible.
The themes and ideas analyzed in Heretics to Heroes are not hypothetical. I share my own complex journey from a young engineer with subversive ideas to the guide and creator of All-In Leadership that I am today. I delve deeply into dark places that have never stopped breaking my heart, where men died and some saw people as tools instead of souls. But instead of pointing a finger, I recognize myself as one of the culpable. That guilt coupled with my growing realization that we as humans are capable of so much more helped shape my concept of All-In Leadership, and Heretics to Heroes traces that evolution.
I am a veteran executive performance coach, but I am also a storyteller. Heretics to Heroes reflects my love of a good tale: Readers will jump from gritty chemical plants and plush C-suites to the deserts and mosques of the Middle East. I’ll introduce men and women of inspiring character whose questions and bravery changed not just my life, but the lives of thousands.
At its heart, Heretics to Heroes is far more than a list of tips or a how-to lecture. My book is very much my own story, fueled by tragedy and inner disquiet transformed into bold action and redemption. Part memoir, part inspirational manual, Heretics to Heroes gets personal as it outlines principles that are the key to achieving exceptional performance.
You can read Chapter One right now. Then join the All-In community by signing up for the All-In Newsletter and the All-In Blog to be notified when the entire Heretics to Heroes becomes available. And as always, let’s learn from one another: Let me know what you think.