Thursday, October 27, 2005

Feedback from a student on my book

Recently I met with a college student to provide information for a class project. His professor had assigned my book, Swamp Fox Insights, as a class reading. I told him what I asked in return for meeting with him was feedback on my book. I've gotten lots of nice compliments, but nothing has been as meaningful as this email from someone starting out.

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Dear Mr. Warner,

I wanted to once again thank you for meeting with me a few weeks ago. I have now finished your book and have highlighted a few quotes that I feel were the most powerful. Each illustrated what I feel are important leadership qualities.

Swamp Fox Insights:

In reading Swamp Fox Insights the most powerful message I gained was leadership and the importance of a leader. Through out the book I wrote down some of the memorable quotes that illustrated the importance of a strong leader, and how they should approach leading a group. Each quote seemed to clearly paint a picture and eloquently illustrate an idea even though it was very simple.

“We consistently over estimate the amount of change in the next 2 years, and under estimate the amount of change in the next 10 years.” Bill Gates

I completely agree with Bill Gates on this one, and change has to happen over time, and the change that occurs today is the effect of years of effort over time. There might be observed change today, but I feel that this only happens because of hard work over the course of time.

With a goal in mind to change something for the future it is important to have a clear and attainable goal, and realize that things will take time, and they may take time to develop. In Bill Gate’s case he has certainly observed change in the operating systems that Microsoft has made, and none of them had big short term change, but rather gradual change that when linked together were very noticeable and apparent.

“Nothing meaningful happens until a leader envisions what can be ...”

Without a vision no goals will be set, and no future will be dreamed. Major change does not happen by chance, and a strong leader must envision a future and a direction.

“Perhaps nothing is more valuable in life than people who can be counted on to do what they say they will do.”

“Leaders cannot do it all and must delegate important tasks to subordinates.”

“Authority can be delegated, but responsibility cannot.”

The first quote is something I feel is extremely important. Throughout life and school I have always been someone who has been dependable and reliable, and I expect the same from people around me. The saying goes that if you want it done right you should do it yourself, but there are times when you can’t do everything and it is those instances when you need to rely on someone else who is dependable.

I have observed that the most effective leaders are those who are able to delegate authority and find people who can effectively execute those tasks. Leaders can only achieve so much by themselves, and they need to find high quality people to do important tasks.

And no matter how responsible the people are that are around you or how well they execute their responsibilities, I find that it is a leader who does have to be responsible for the outcomes and making sure they are done properly. When it is done well and properly they should get the credit, but if something goes wrong, it is a leader’s job to take responsibility.

All of these quotes describe how important a leader is in order to develop a High-Impact Company, and even though the model is describing how to develop a company, I have noticed how the qualities that we look for in a team for a company are the same qualities that I have looked to surround myself in school. Throughout school we have projects and presentations and tasks that have to be accomplished and in order to achieve the goals, a leader has to have a vision, a leader has to delegate and a leader has to take responsibility. As a leader I have dealt with these problems, and they are very similar to the problems that a leader of a company would also have to deal with. Within the various organizations I am involved with I have different roles. In some of my classes I am a subordinate who has to be highly dependable and I take on the tasks that are delegated from a group leader, while in my fraternity I am a leader who has to be responsible and one who develops a vision.

After reading Swamp Fox Insights I feel I have became more understanding of what I need to do as a leader, and as a subordinate of a leader. Also your book has made me more aware of my strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and it has clarified how I can work to be a better leader and follower.

Thank you very much for everything.

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Man on man. This is why I wrote the book.

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