For decades, I’ve had several book titles rattling around in my head. If you ask any of my colleagues over the years, they’ll be sure to tell you I’ve said, “It’ll be in my book, when I finally write it.” I’ve always been an avid reader of books – especially business books – and have found inspiration from the likes of Jim Collins, David Maister, and Michael Lewis. Many of the strategies and theories they, and other thought leaders, have researched and written about over the last few decades have shaped my perspective and influenced key decisions I have made at the various companies we created or advised over the years. Yet, I’ve been building upon and expanding my thinking on leadership and putting into practice new ideas around followership and amplifiers through Clarkston Consulting’s leadership development program for years. I felt that some of these ideas were unique and under-researched, but I was able to observe first-hand in many different companies and across different functional levels, and I knew that the most effective leaders incorporate elements of followership in their leadership approach.
On June 24, 2020, Zachary Schisgal a senior editor of business publications for Wiley reached out to me to see if I would have any interest in authoring a book with them. As many of you will recall, about a month prior to this email from Zach, on May 25, 2020 George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Along with much of the country, I was outraged by the injustice, and I was ready to do anything, try anything, to make a difference. So, the note from Zach caught me at a time where I was ready to try to take the lessons I have learned and put into practice over the years and make the ask of corporations to be different and think differently about leadership, talent identification, equity and inclusion, followership, and driving positive change.
I had the pleasure to interview a number of prestigious individuals to include in my book. One of my first interviews was with former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. I had worked with him on a deal a year or two prior when he was leading the Bain Double Impact Fund, and wanted to get his perspective on leadership and followership. Next up was John Hope Bryant, an inspiration to us all as he works to achieve his vision that if he can help people with economic and financial independence, they can prosper and live a more fulfilling life than previous generations. I also spoke with a number of corporate leaders like Dan Calkins (CEO of Benjamin Moore), Ann-Marie Campbell (Home Depot), Helena Foulkes (CEO and Board Member), and Tim Hassinger (former CEO of Dow AgroSciences and Lindsay Corporation), among others.
I incorporated their perspectives into my book, Amplifiers: How Great Leaders Magnify the Power of Teams, Increase the Impact of Organization and Turn Up the Volume on Positive Change. This book addresses leadership in a new way – by looking at followership as a key element of success and how leadership and followership combine into a True Amplifier. It also covers how to find and develop amplifiers in your organization with a number of how-to guides embedded throughout the book. And, lastly, and perhaps most importantly, once you have the right leadership team, filled with amplifiers, the book will walk you through how to amplify your corporate strategy, change management, corporate racial justice, and life.
All of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the I’m Not Done Yet Foundation, a 501(c)3 in support of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients and their families.