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With humble beginnings in a small, low-income home in Pittsburgh to over 40 years of business experience including serving as a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and member of several corporate boards of directors, being a corporate officer and running a $20 billion global operation for Johnson Controls, Inc., Automotive Operations, Worldwide, Rande Somma has seen some things in the context of leadership that deeply disturbed him.
Somma brings an empathetic top-down perspective to the problem of corporate leadership and the chasm of disconnect that often exists between the workers, management, and the C-suite executives. His book looks at lowered standards for leaders, higher compensation, and the path of convenience, fraud, greed, and corruption that leaders are more often choosing over obligation to their duties.
Recently, American businesses have been looking for and hiring leaders who are willing to do anything to elevate our companies to be “successful”, to be the “best”. The author contends that what is considered to be “successful” and the “best” has changed over the past several years or decades to refer almost exclusively to financial gain. While leaders we hire are supposed to be individuals talented in the art of leading people, they are now those guys and gals who are more talented at being financial wizards and creating the illusion that the business is fundamentally sound. This book is about what we have surrendered in the process of our hyper focus on financial gains, and that includes the exceptional return on investment of integrity.
The author presents a narrative about what he perceives as a serious and disturbing truth that is incrementally infecting companies both large and small. This truth that was once unacceptable has now become not just acceptable but expected and normal with regard to leadership in corporate America.
Somma demonstrates through his personal stories and others’ experiences how corporate American leadership has descended into leadershit.
While many of his stories are based on his own experience in the auto industry, Somma sees the problem as a more pervasive issue. It was not just the auto industry having a bad year or two; the pattern was repeated in other companies and industries and in other leadership situations. He recognized this as a leadership system that doesn’t serve us anymore, and therefore, it is the system that is the problem.
Somma shows how we – all of us – are paying for leadershit’s lack of commitment to absolute integrity, authenticity, and real performance. While this book walks through Somma’s own tangles with the facets of leadership over the course of his professional career with many organizations, he encourages the reader to recognize the challenges that we all face and for all of us to emerge with solutions and as authentic leaders.