A penetrating survey of the mindset, skills, traits and behaviors needed to become an executive in any organization.
In a genre filled with books with catchy titles, simplistic metaphors and prescriptive formulas, this debut business book takes a different approach. Saye, a technology executive for a global services company, offers a straightforward title and 10 densely written chapters probing many facets of the executive experience. Three chapters cover topics for managers aspiring to the executive level, and five explore the challenges that new junior executives face and the responses they’ll need to succeed; the final two chapters focus on how junior executives may rise to senior leadership. Each chapter contains about 10 subheadings, with 100 topics in all; many are conventional, such as “Project Management” or “Vision and Mission,” but others take imaginative turns, such as “Pastoral Thinking” and “Credibility Judo.” Saye summarizes each topic effectively in a boldface coda beginning “The Junior Executive will…,” as in, “The Junior Executive will organize all domain activities into portfolios that can be led by lieutenants.” The author’s overall premise is that most management books fail to bridge the chasm between theory and practice and that preparing for the executive role should be as rigorous as performing it. Using real-life examples, Saye’s writing carries an air of experience and authority, but this isn’t an easy read, nor is it intended to be. Suggested readings include standards like Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince and Carl von Clausewitz’s On War but also works less often cited in management books, such as Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha and Franz Kafka’s The Castle. Overall, Saye presents the path to executive leadership as a highly philosophical, individualized program of self-development and a quest that requires significant introspection.
A book for serious candidates for the executive ranks.