In August of 2019, the CEOs of America’s largest companies gathered for the “Business Roundtable”, an association whose elite membership is comprised of the CEOs of the largest corporations in the U.S. This year, the all-powerful and influential group issued a pronouncement that the New York Times, on its front page, described as a major “philosophical shift.” Our largest companies would no longer focus exclusively on pleasing their shareholders; instead they would move to include caring about their people: employees, customers and “society” itself.
While this may have been news to many of us, it was another day at the office for Jeffrey Deckman, founder of Capability Accelerators, a New England-based leadership consultancy, who has been at the forefront of the movement to redefine how leaders lead for 15 years. Jeffrey Deckman pulled from more than 40 years of leadership experience and put it all down in a groundbreaking book, “Developing the Conscious Leadership Mindset for the 21st Century,” published in March of 2019. The book was honored with Gold in the 2019 American Business Awards® and Silver in the 2019 International Business Awards® for Best Business E-Book and Best Business Book, respectively.
A successful serial entrepreneur who launched two multi-million-dollar companies, Deckman exited that line of work in 2005 with a mission to change the way companies treat their employees and those with whom they do business. “I went from the front lines to the front office,” says Deckman. “I have done everything from customer service calls to eventually running board meetings. As a result, I saw the powerful relationship between leaders, employee engagement and ROI at every level of organizations. Engagement plunges when ‘power and control’ is in play in the C-suite; replace it with ‘authenticity, integrity and respect,’ and engagement skyrockets with profits following suit.”
This revolutionary book changes the paradigm for modern leadership as Deckman leads those who occupy C-suites and other senior positions on a subtle and highly effective journey of personal and professional transformation; it also gives leaders the tools they need to lead their teams in a similar transformation.
Deckman’s book breaks with the norm of business books in other ways as well. The book is intentionally an easy-to-read and follow – and even fun - workbook, all the better to engage an audience known to resist training. As Deckman explains: “Many leaders don’t want to admit, publicly at least, that they need training even though the truth is that most business leaders have not been trained in how to manage the complex tribal dynamics, psychological drivers and cultural influences that are the engines that drive profits in the Knowledge Economy. We – unfairly – expect them to learn all of this on their own, which few, in my experience, can.”
Deckman’s book transforms leaders as they absorb – contemplate, really – each of its powerful 52 “sections”. “Talking and telling” is replaced by “connecting and listening” (the average leader listens for seven seconds before interrupting; listening significantly improves employee engagement);“managing org charts” is replaced by “engaging and empowering tribes”; “command and control” is replaced by “communication, collaboration and facilitation"; and “getting others to do more” is replaced by “creating a supportive environment in which employees learn how to do more.”
The physical design of the book also stands out. It is a beautiful book to both look at and to hold, all the better for this discriminating audience. It also gives leaders the option of a shorter 26-week program as many leaders are busy as well as to turn either length program into a training program for their teams in order to maximize the book’s impact. As one Stevie judge aptly commented: “What a clever book. The 26-week or 52-week plan encourages the reader to incorporate and apply the ‘work’ set out in the readings.”
Since publication, top leadership consultants have posted five-star Amazon reviews pushing the book to #1 in Occupational/Organizational Psychology. Fast Company and CEO Blog Nation featured Deckman as have many leadership podcasts. Deckman’s fourth Conscious Leadership Conference is nearly sold out. Since publication, the author has also become a popular lecturer on leadership at the University of Rhode Island.
A stage 4 cancer survivor given a clean bill of health in 2019, Deckman knows that “the need for change is urgent and the time for change is now.”
As the Stevie judges recognized, this book is an agent for that change.
Interested in winning a Stevie Award in 2020?