Co-Leaders: The Power of Great Partnerships


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“Co-leadership . . . is a tough-minded strategy that will unleash the hidden talent in any enterprise. Above all, co-leadership is inclusive, not exclusive. It celebrates those who do the real work, not just a few charismatic, often isolated leaders who are regally compensated for articulating the organization’s vision.–David A. Heenan and Warren Bennis. Today’s heads of big companies are as recognizable to us as the most popular entertainers or sports stars, but the heart and soul of every organization are those leaders below the CEO. Today’s celebrity CEO has become either a figurehead or an egomaniac, and often too public a personality to get the real work done. That work is done instead by teams of leaders–exceptional deputies who forge great partnerships to maximize both organizational and personal success. Heenan and Bennis believe we must look beyond the Bill Gateses of the world to understand what makes an organization excel. Written for CEOs, managers, and anyone else interested in modern organizations, this is the first comprehensive study of co-leaders and their often quiet power. Exhaustively researched and illustrated with memorable anecdotes and lively stories, Co-Leaders examines a dozen great partners such as Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, Bob Lutz of Chrysler, Bill Guthridge, coach of the University of North Carolina basketball team, and Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen Keller’s teacher. The changing nature of corporate leadership has seen the emergence of a new Silicon Valley model of success, where boss and subordinate seem more like peers, with the spotlight on great partnerships. Talent, not title, is the source of power at a growing number of hot high-tech companies. In these collegial, nonhierarchical organizations, today’s deputy can become tomorrow’s CEO simply by taking his or her breakthrough idea and walking out the door. Good ideas belong, initially at least, to the people who have them, not to the company and not to the boss, which is why this new egalitarianism isn’t just a matter of style–it’s a question of survival. Co-leaders understand both the executive and subordinate experience, making them better adapted to the needs of the new millennium, where men and women who can command and follow will prove to be the greatest assets of any organization. Co-Leaders is intended for everyone who aspires to make his or her organization great. By showing the enterprise through the eyes of inspired deputies, this book reveals how both organizations and individuals can benefit from a more inclusive, less celebrity-oriented definition of leadership. This groundbreaking book argues for a new paradigm: gifted leaders and their talented co-leaders working together to make their organizations stronger, more nimble, more equitable . . . and ultimately more successful. “At a time when CEOs and celebrities are synonymous, “Co-Leaders” offers riveting stories about the quiet powers behind the glaring spotlight of success. David Heenan and Warren Bennis, co-leaders themselves, give us an advanced look into the new management style for the Next Millennium.–Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, co-authors, The One Minute Manager. “Building an enduringly great organization requires more than just a visionary CEO. An outstanding co-leader is necessary also. Heenan and Bennis’s persuasive argument for the importance of the second-in-command and their in-depth descriptions of successful ‘back-up’ leaders make Co-Leaders a superlative read.”–Jerry Porras, Lane Professor of Organizational Behavior and Change, Stanford University, and co-author, Built to Last. “Co-Leaders is a compelling primer on establishing a co-leadership culture and managing in the New Millennium.”–Steve Case, co-founder, Chairman and CEO, America Online, Inc. “Through their fascinating stories of great co-leaders, Dave Heenan and Warren Bennis remind us that you don’t have to be captain of the team to find success. Important reading fo



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