Why I wrote a book

by | Dec 5, 2015 | News

Cirrus CEO Dr Simon Hayward tells us what led him to write his first book, Connected Leadership
I can’t quite believe that my first book, Connected Leadership: How to build a more agile, customer-driven business, is about to be published. I’m looking forward to actually holding it in my hands.

I’ve worked in the field of leadership development for over 25 years. During that time I’ve seen a great deal of change. When I first started working as a consultant, most organisations were still very hierarchical. There were a lot of ‘hero’ leaders around – people who single-handedly set the tone, and took all the decisions. Many created a great deal of dependency and stifled the people around them.

Then the world changed. Things started to become a lot more unpredictable. We had a digital revolution. The pace of change increased. Leaders had to change too.

Command-and-control leadership still prevails, but it is failing us. Rather than relying on people at the top of an organisation, we need to devolve decision making across the business. I became fascinated by this and decided to make it the focus of my doctoral research over five years at Alliance Manchester Business School. I also worked more and more with clients who were keen to develop agility in order to respond to rapidly changing markets and customer needs, and realised they needed to move decision-making closer to the customer.

The rigour of academic research enabled me to create a model of Connected Leadership. Working in partnership with clients, I was able to further develop the model and ensure it could be successfully applied in the real world.

I decided to write my book because I wanted to provide a clear and practical guide to Connected Leadership. I’ve included a series of tools and techniques to diagnose an organisation’s current position and plot a successful course to a more connected way of working. I also hope the book will help individuals to change their leadership style.

I’m also very grateful to all the organisations who were happy for me to include their Connected Leadership stories. They really do help bring the book to life.

I found the whole process of writing the book very enjoyable – the research, interviewing clients, distilling concepts into useful tips, and working with the FT Publishing team, who were very supportive partners. It did of course take over my life at times. It’s nice to have weekends with family and friends again!

If you read the book, please let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

You can also read more of my thoughts on Connected Leadership on my personal blog.

@SimonJHayward

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