Leading in Turbulent Times: Lessons Learnt and Implications for the Future

Sandi Mann (School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, UK)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 1 November 2011




Mann, S. (2011), "Leading in Turbulent Times: Lessons Learnt and Implications for the Future", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 32 No. 8, pp. 854-855. https://doi.org/10.1108/lodj.2011.32.8.854.1



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The title of this book may not be original (there are at least two others with the same title) but the content is certainly not a copy of previously published material. This book is aimed at leadership in the current global economic slowdown, which sees little sign of improving and is thus, a timely addition to the leadership library. The author, however, is keen to point out that turbulent times are not one‐off events and that we can all expect to lead during some turbulence or other – hence this book is always topical.

Lorange, an author with a vast array of leadership experience, lays bare his soul in the first real chapter of the book (after the introduction) as he outlines nine of his most significant failures, or learning points, in his career. This is a very biographical chapter that outlines his lessons for success, using very interesting case studies from real‐life companies to illustrate his points. Some lessons are very simple such as “only total commitment is good enough” whilst others are somewhat more complex.

He then goes on in chapter 3 to discuss the four leadership qualities that he thinks are the most important for coping in turbulent times: integrity (made up of trustworthiness, passion and communication), agility (speed and simplicity), a broad stakeholder (internal and external) focus and pragmatic optimism.

Chapter 4 covers the three leadership tasks that the author feels are the most critical to undertake in order to steer an organisation under great stress. These are selecting revenue‐enhancing strategies (using Lego and Burberry as case studies), rightsizing the organisation to create agility and secure cost benefits and reviewing relevant management processes to ensure that the organisation is functioning optimally.

Chapter 5, “Two sides: the talking organization”, then deals with how the leader can encourage broader participation in the organisation by employees and better understanding of shifting customer needs. The emphasis here is on communication as well as software and hardware.

In chapter 6, Lorange looks at the cyclical aspects of being a leader and how the leader can cope with making those lonely final decisions. This chapter focuses much more on the personal qualities needed to be a great leader and how to cope with the responsibility that leadership invariably brings.

The book ends with chapter 7 in which the author explores ways that he has been learning, adopting and practicing all the ideas in the book over time. Like the opening chapter, this is a very personal account and brings the book full circle.

Overall, this is a readable, entertaining and informative book that is sure to teach even the most well‐read reader of management texts, something new.

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