Review on Visionary Leadership Book


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This is my personal book review on Visionary Leadership Book by Burt Nanus. Comments and recommendations are welcomed. Thank you

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Review on Visionary Leadership Book

  1. 1. Review on Visionary Leadership Book by Burt Nanus Visionary Leadership Author of this book is Burt Nanus and forward by Warren G. Bennis. He presents astep-by-step approach to the development of vision. To do this, he divides his book intothree parts and explains what vision is, how to develop it, and how to implement it. Wellwritten, practical in approach, and laced with numerous examples. This book content consists of three parts; Part One: What Vision Is and Why It Matters(1. Vision: The Key to Leadership and 2. Where Tomorrow Begins: Finding the Right Vision),Part Two: Developing the Vision (3. Taking Stock: The Vision Audit, 4. Testing Reality:The Vision Scope, 5. Considering the Possibilities: The Vision Context and 6. Finding YourWay: The Vision Choice) and Part Three: Implementing the Vision (7. Making It Happen:Translating Vision into Reality, 8. Running a Race with No End: The Re-Visioning Processand 9. Developing Visionary Leadership: Securing the Future).(a) Critique the book using the five elements of the Relational Leadership Model. Inaddition, analyze the book for its contribution to your understanding of leadership.i. Purposeful When Burt Nanus told a story in this book about Wayne Huizenga; who is a visionaryleader, the element that I can relate to Relational Leadership Model is ‘Purposeful’. In 1962,at the age of twenty-four, he bought a garbage route in Florida. Six years later, he joinedwith Dean Buntrock (who had married one of his cousins) to form Waste Management,Inc.he had a vision of a nationwide sanitation company created from many small firms, ableto pool resources, share knowledge and take advantage of the many new environmentalopportunities being created in Washington. Waste Management undertook blitzkrieg spurt ofacquisition in the early 1970s and is now a $6 billion company, by far the leader in itsindustry.By: Nor Ashikin Jamal Page 1
  2. 2. Review on Visionary Leadership Book by Burt Nanus He built substantial businesses many areas and in 1987, sensing a new opportunityin the proliferating ownership of home VCRs, he invested in a small local video rentalcompany called Blockbuster Entertainment and built it into a nationwide chain over 1,900stores, approaching a billion dollars in sales in an unbelievable four years. Wayne Huizenga is an exceptionally successful leader with an extraordinary sense ofvision, but his is a vision always fully grounded in reality. He didn‘t start Waste Managementuntil he had personally hauled trash from construction site, run bulldozer for two years, andmanaged small garbage collection firm. He quickly learned a lot about the other businessestoo, so that his vision of what was possible for them was always based on a fundamentalunderstanding of what business scholars call their ―core competence‖. He chose simplebusinesses, but after all, such firms are a lot easier to understand and Huizenga would bethe first to admit that he wouldn‘t touch a business that he doesn‘t understand. And I agreebecause we must be clear about the purpose and the fundamentals of the business that weare in.ii. Inclusive Nanus stated that the best way to ensure that the vision-forming process is alive andwell – and continuously practiced – in our organization is to multiply the number of visionaryleaders at all levels. We must include them in decision making and encourage them all toarticulate visions worthy of their commitment and the organization‘s confidence. Applaudtheir initiative and tolerate their mistakes. The continuous visioning this stimulates will keepthe process of organizational evolution alive and vital and will make it far less likely thoseimportant threats or opportunities will be overlooked. Moreover, the experience gainedthrough continuous visioning will prove invaluable as these leaders are promoted into moreresponsible, higher –level leadership positions.By: Nor Ashikin Jamal Page 2
  3. 3. Review on Visionary Leadership Book by Burt Nanusiii. Empowering I got a better understanding about ‗Empowering’ through paragraph stating that wecan put thrust in the hands of younger people with less commitment to the status quo andextend it later to other parts of the organization. Or we can assign responsibilities to opinionleaders and champions in the organization who know how to take advantage of informalnetworks to establish a sense of renewal and progress with the new vision.iv. Ethical Burt Nanus stated that values are abstract ideas that influence thinking and action inthe organizational and, ultimately, the choice of vision. Values affect vision in several ways.First, values provide the context within which issues are identified and alternative goalsevaluated. Second, values also shape assumptions about the future and limit the range ofchoices considered for a new vision. Organizational culture includes values but goes furtherencompass other dimension that determine how people act in the organization, for example,beliefs, expectations, norms, rituals, communication patterns, symbols, heroes, and rewardstructures. These values are influential in shaping the organizational culture at our workingplace. Leaders must always understand their own values, as well as the values and cultureprevailing in their organizations, because these values determine whether a new sense ofdirection will be enthusiastically embraced, reluctantly accepted or rejected as inappropriate.v. Process oriented Statement from Burt Nanus that opened my eyes about the ‗Process Oriented‘ iswhen he wrote that educational institutions at every level, from kindergartens to universities,also need to play a responsible role in the creation of future visionary leaders. If we havesome influence at our school or college, help us rethink our academic agendas.By: Nor Ashikin Jamal Page 3
  4. 4. Review on Visionary Leadership Book by Burt Nanus Every school should encourage students to have leadership experience while stillschool. Schools should include leadership itself as an important subject for study. And ofcourse, schools should teach how organizations work. Since most of modern work – and allof leadership – takes place in organizations, it is important for future leaders to understandorganizational cultures, structures, and processes. Students also need to acquireorganizational skills such as teamwork, negotiation, entrepreneurship, and networking and tolearn how to cooperate in multicultural settings. In connection with that, we can apply this method to the organization. We need toinvolve all departments in determining the direction of the company and also in making anydecision. In addition we are also able to recognize potential leaders who will be thesuccessors to existing leaders.(b) How has the book contributed to your understanding of leadership? This book designed for individual leaders to develop their own vision statement, thisbook guides readers through the mechanics of forming a vision, guidelines for developingthe scope of the vision, and processes for implementing that vision. Successful leaders know that nothing drives an organization like an attractive,worthwhile, achievable vision for the future. Nanus shows why vision is the key toleadership, and demonstrates how any leader can use a logical, step-by-step process tocreate and implement a powerful new sense of direction in his or her organization. What is Nanus has done here was if you are in a leadership position, the diagram of theessential components of leadership in the first chapter is alone worth the price of admission.By: Nor Ashikin Jamal Page 4
  5. 5. Review on Visionary Leadership Book by Burt NanusThese are insights by someone who has studied and analyzed what it takes to be a"facilitative" leader--not a boss leader, not a manager, but a true "inspirer" of others who canharness the energies and maximize the focus of an organization--a "leader of leaders"--thisbook essentially lays out how to maximize BOTH alignment and empowerment.(c) What did you agree and disagree with? Why? Visionary Leadership is an indispensable guide for leaders at all levels. What I like mostabout this book is it will always help to retrace our steps. He also gave examples of jointrecommendations related to the explanation. Nothing drives an organization like an attractive, worthwhile, achievable vision for thefuture. Leadership expert and best-selling author Burt Nanus finally shows why vision is thekey to leadership—and presents a logical, step-by-step process to create and implement apowerful new sense of direction in any organization. Visionary Leadership is anindispensable guide for leaders at all levels, from top executives to heads of divisions anddepartments, from large corporations to small businesses, from manufacturing and serviceorganizations to government and non-profit institutions. Furthermore, he wrote that the vision needs to be audited. By giving example of PrimePet Food, first examining the nature of the business and its mode of operations and endingwith a vision audit that identifies where the organization appears to be headed. Leadersneed to ask themselves and answer several questions given as guidelines. There is one thing that I think that I‘m not agreeing with. In Part Three: Implementing theVision; Chapter 9 – Developing Visionary Leadership: Securing the Future. Nanusmentioned about Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft as an example. Even though he holds nocollege degree at all he did become a remarkable leader by patiently working his way up aBy: Nor Ashikin Jamal Page 5
  6. 6. Review on Visionary Leadership Book by Burt Nanuschain of management promotions. The New York Times captured his secret quiteperceptively:‖as a youth, Bill Gates envisioned the future the future and became a billionaire.Now, as Chairman of Microsoft, he still claims to see what his competitors don‘t‖. But in my opinion, we cannot secure the future. What we can do is we can make aprediction and forecast what possibilities that will happen in future are. By chance, luckilythere are few successful leaders that have capabilities to predict future; Bill Gate, Steve Jobsand Mark Zuckerberg. However, Nanus list down some of their characteristics of the new-first-century organizations which is I think it‘s a good for readers to apply it as guidelines.(d) Would you recommend this book to another student of leadership? Why or whynot? I would recommend this book to another student of leadership because it can be thedefinitive resource for leading personal life and an organization to a new future. It clearlydelineates the steps the leader should follow to bring the organization to a shared vision ofits future which is inspirational yet achievable. The supporting rationale for the advantages ofVisioning over conventional Strategic Planning is explained by the author. The progressionfrom Vision to implementation of strategies is also treated in depth. Furthermore, this book is geared toward business leaders in helping them discover avision; I found the book very helpful and insightful in the process that it develops thatenables a group to discover their vision. The book focuses less on WHY vision is importantand more on HOW to discover and articulate an organizations vision. If the studentinterested the topic of vision, this is a must read.By: Nor Ashikin Jamal Page 6
  7. 7. Review on Visionary Leadership Book by Burt Nanus(e) If you had to write a book on the same title as the one you reviewed, what wouldyou write about that is different from the author’s presentation? There is not much I can do because the content of the book is good. But, if I get theopportunity to write this kind of book I will try to compress the contents so much simpler andeasier to understand. This book contains 224 pages (not including references and index). Iwill try to write in the estimated 100 to 150 more pages. Based on my experience readingthis book, I had to repeat to read each paragraph to understand the content they wantdelivered by the author. Other than that, I will put in diagram, chart, pictures or other suitablesubstances that can help the reader to understand the writing of the book more easily.Conclusion This book is designed for individual leaders to develop their own vision statement; thisbook guides readers through the mechanics of forming a vision, guidelines for developingthe scope of the vision, and processes for implementing that vision. Job as a visionary leader is to set the direction and personally commit to it, to spreadvisionary leadership throughout organization, to empower employees to act, to listen andwatch for feedback, and to always focus attention on helping the organization achieve itsgreatest potential.By: Nor Ashikin Jamal Page 7