The Leader Who Had No Title – by Robin Sharma

26 05 2010

A new book by Robin Sharma, the author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

As with his other books, the author uses a story and delivers his leadership messages, lessons through the characters in the story.

In this book, we meet Blake Davis, his mento Tommy Flinn and 4 leaders who imparts the leadership lessons on how we can lead without a title.

In summary, the 4 lessons are:

1. You Need No Title to Be a Leader

2. Turbulent Times Build Great Leaders

3. The Deeper Your Relationships, the Stronger Your Leadership

4. To be a Great Leader, First become a Great Person

Every chapter in this book, has lots of quotes and lines which are thought provoking to me.

One example was, the mentor, Tommy Flinn’s name card:


Human Being

Imagine if all of us had this job title, remembering that we were “born awesome”, that we are first humans, not “CEOs, directors, managers” — What a way to introduce ourselves!

The author does share that titles are relevant in an organisation, to give it structure. The key is not to get too attached to the title, and forget that if we strip off the title, who are we then? Have we worked within ourselves to stand for what we believe, to do what we want to do, to be our best?

Another quote “It’s impossible to build a tribute to success on a foundation of excuses”

This paragraph strike me:

“Work offers you a daily platform to discover the leader within. It’s a chance, every day, to reclaim more of the potential you’ve buried and to awaken the dormant relationship between the current you and your absolute best. It’s an opportunity to express more of your latent creativity and a whole lot more of your precious humanity.”

With each leadership lesson, were acronyms of rules that accompany each lesson:

IMAGE (Innovation, Mastery, Authenticity, Guts, Ethics),

SPARK (Speak with Candor, Prioritize, Adversity Breeds Opportunity, Respond versus React, Kudos for Everyone),

HUMAN (Helpfulness, Understanding, Mingle, Amuse, Nurture),

SHINE (See Clearly, Health is Wealth, Inspiration Matters, Neglect Not Your Family, Elevate Your Lifestyle)

Why this is a good read:

Most of the knowledge in there is nothing new. Yet the way all these are weaved into the story so that one can feel for the characters is a clever way of engaging the reader.

The message of this book also came at the right time for me, where I’m feeling overwhelmed by negativity, so much so, I’m becoming negative myself. It set me thinking, how each and every one of us is born to shine, but through conditioning and society, we conform, become mediocre – do things to get by.

Having the courage to stand for what we believe, to do our best everyday is not always easy, but if we don’t do this for ourselves, then who would?

This book is relevant now, as we are all pushed to be our true self, to shine and spark as a real human being. Nothing less than our best.


The Saint, The Surfer and The CEO by Robin Sharma

9 05 2008

Picked up this book by Robin Sharma, the same time I read “The Alchemist“.

The story is about Jack Valentine, and his search to learn how to live a happier, healthier and more beautiful life. The title of the book are the three guides that came to his life, to help Jack learn about the philosophy of life. There are 3 Final Questions in life:

“Have I lived wisely?” — how to conduct your life so that it’s lived in a noble and enlightened way. The importance of discovering the gifts on the inside of your life so you can live with immerse peace on the outside.

“Have I loved well? — how to love life itself and each of the moments that occur within it.

“Have I served greatly? — how to be a leader on the planet, not just in terms of career, but in terms of your life.

As I go through the book again, I see quotes that really strike me.

With the first teacher, a priest, he shares the following:

The journey of life is about spotting our weaker areas and healing them so that we eventually find our best selves.

…It (the journey of life) is not about improving oneself. It’s about remembering oneself

Success is nothing more living your life according to your own truth and on your own terms.

For your life to change, you must change. The place where your greatest fears live is also the place where your greatest growth is.

Techniques that we can use to get in touch with ourselves:
– Write down what we discover so that we have the inner conversations with ourselves: Journaling
– Take action each day to reveal the true you to the world – to close the Integrity Gap, to be authentic, be real, and by yourself.

From the Surfer, an ex-advertiser who gave it all up and lives on the beach, the following strike me:

For your life to be great, your faith must be bigger than your fears.

In the corporate world, there’s too much doing and not enough being... Live in a state of calm surrender, going with what life has in store for you.

Learn, do and then be...Moving from unconscious incompetence -> conscious competence -> unconscious competence

Adversity is the diamon dust Heaven polishes its jewels with.

Techniques for self love, self-care:
– Invest in self care activities such as getting a massage on a regular basis, taking time out to watch the starts twinkle,
– Feeding yourself with excellent food because you respect the temple that’s your body.
– Reading only the best books and listening to lovely music that sends your spirit soaring.

5 self-care practices:
– Shift from complexity to simplicity: leave space to enjoy the precious moments of life
– Daily Journaling: Answer in writing the Morning questions:
How would I live this day if I knew it was my last?
What do I have to be grateful for in my life?
What one thing could I do today to help make my life extraordinary?
What can I do to make today incredibly fun?
How can I help someone today?

– A daily period of silent retreat
– Communing with nature
– Nuturing your body. It’s the place where your spirit lives, your home. Stay fit. “Those who do not take time for exercise must eventually make time for illness” . Eating only the best foods available.

From the CEO, I learnt:

To have a better life, we must keep choosing how we are living…choosing our best thinking and our best actions. Choose how we live in every moment of our days.

Life is really short. Now is the time to raise your standards about what it means to be a person, to show the world who you really are. If not now, when?

Elite performance in career and in life is about personal accountability. Be there for the people in our life, genuinely care about people. Do the unexpected for them and give them some of yourself.

Happiness and success are the unintended yet inevitable by-products of a life spent creating value for other human beings.

Techniques/key notes:

– Have thoughtful conversations with people. Get good at conversations
– Be a value builder: Seek out ways to enrich others, improve the lot of thos who have the privilege of doing business with them.
– The purpose of life isn’t to be happy. The wold would change if we began to become consumed, not with being happier, but with being more valuable. How can I be more?…Happiness is a by-product, and it comes to those who don’t seek it.

2 reasons to be in business:

– To create value for others and for the benefit of the greater good;
– To grow as a person. To actualize who we really are, and in doing so, make peace with ourselves.

5 steps on manifesting our heart’s desires:

– Articulate a vision. Name what you desire in your life
– Develop your strategy. Break that vision down into a strategy to execute it under. Break into a week-by-week strategy, more manageable.
– Setup a self contract: Personal accountability, The Law of Diminishing Intent holds that the more time that passes after you’ve set a goal, the less likely you are to breathe life into it and to make it happen.
– Measurement. Self examination
– Celebrate your Proud moments
– Execution

The deepest of all human needs is the need to live for something more important than ourselves. Write about your legacy and what your life stand for.

There is much in the book that can be shared and learnt. The writing style is such that the author would reference to quotes, other books and using real-life stories and examples to invite readers to connect to the words and the ideas.

Nothing new in the book, but it does make one re-think and connect better with the story.

Good to read!