Leadership Briefs

Shaping Organizational Culture to Stretch Leadership Capacity

Written By Dick Daniels

Leadership Briefs challenges leadership practitioners to: (1) Shape an organizational culture that accelerates the development of emerging leaders who will be needed for business expansion and succession planning, and (2) Stretch the leadership capacity of existing leaders by identifying competencies needed in current roles to more effectively achieve anticipated outcomes. The strategic challenge is to identify the competencies that uniquely define the leadership profile of the organization and assess leaders against that profile. The Assess, Learn, and Grow model articulates the pathway to move from vision to reality. Leadership Briefs is written for the sustaining leader who is looking for practical insight and applicable solutions that can be immediately implemented to solve these leadership challenges.

“Leadership Briefs” by Dick Daniels is a must-have guide for all professionals who aspire to leadership positions. It starts by giving the reader basic knowledge on leadership development. The author first invites the readers to ask themselves a few questions. These are questions for both leaders and followers. I found the questions to be the best way to begin this book, as it set the tone for what was coming.

Even though the book is geared to people who are seeking to move into leadership positions, and thus is a ‘business book,’ it actually reads in a very personal tone. As the reader, the voice of the author made me look within to discover whatever leadership characteristics I already possessed, so that I could develop and enrich them to take me to the next level. The book also ventures into Company Culture, Strategy, Organization and Communication, and how these play in the leader’s mind to reach goals and lead successfully. One of my favorite parts of this book is the ‘Leadership Debrief’ that makes it possible for readers to revisit quickly, a bullet point concept at any giving moment.

Dick Daniels’ writing style is awesome. He definitely has the gift to communicate complex ideas in a simple and to-the-point style. This made the book enlightening and easy to read at the same time. The way the author designed the book not only makes sense and flows perfectly; it also allows the reader to visit concepts as standalone portions. This no doubt will contribute to its shelf value as I am sure many will be inclined to keep it to re-visit over and over again.

I found “Leadership Briefs” by Dick Daniels to be an insightful and very helpful guide and a quick reference for professionals of all levels, who want to pursue leadership roles. It is definitely a five- star valuable tool for leaders!— Susan Violante, Reader Views

Leadership is not just a state of mind. It's a state of action. In Leadership Briefs, Dick Daniels gives you actionable ideas of how to be a better leader and a better role model for future leaders."— Craig Leipold, Owner, Minnesota Wild, St. Paul, Minnesota
Yet another book about how to be a good leader? Hardly. Dick Daniels has captured the joy and the pain of being an effective leader and how to channel both those emotions towards a higher performing team and organization. Leadership Briefs is about connecting your own experience with best practices and keen observations. Use this as a handbook, not as bedtime reading."— Dr. Matt Kramer, President and CEO, St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, St. Paul, Minnesota
There are many books on leadership. Here is the one you need to read. Why? From my studies and experience, it is truth, it is concise, and it elaborates enough to bring understanding. If you wish to improve your leadership skills in the economic sphere, the governance sphere, the sphere of your beliefs, or all three, you will be thrilled about how much you learn from Leadership Briefs." —Albert H. Quie, Former Minnesota Governor and Congressman, Minnetonka, Minnesota
In short order, Daniels covers a broad array of leadership solutions! Leadership Briefs is on target and gives actionable strategies for becoming a trusted leader. Daniels’ principles will help leaders become more successful." David Horsager, author of national bestseller, The Trust Edge, speaker, consultant, and CEO Horsager Leadership Inc., St. Paul, Minnesota
Over the years I have greatly appreciated the work of Dick Daniels and his Leadership Development eLetters. The content has been profound but presented in an easy-to-reference and easy-to-read format. Each letter has been intensely practical. More than leadership ideas and philosophy, Dick provides insightful and tested principles and practices that work. In addition to taking them to heart, I have passed on the letters to leaders in other organizations. I am excited about Leadership Briefs." —David Veerman, Chief Creative Officer, Livingstone: The Publishing Services Division of Barton-Veerman Company, Wheaton, Illinois
Leadership in the military is forged through a series of crucible events from the moment one enlists or is commissioned and lasts until one retires from service. Leadership Briefs is significantly applicable in helping understand the dynamics of leadership and the challenges of being an effective leader at any level within a military or civilian organization. Leadership Briefs provides a useful framework for anyone to better understand their leadership capability as well as the importance of creating a culture where their leadership style is most effective." —Major Aaron D. Krenz, Minnesota National Guard, Cottage Grove, Minnesota
I could have used this book 30 years ago—and saved myself and my team members from unnecessary leadership pain! Every chapter begs to be discussed and implemented in a weekly staff meeting. The chapter on delegation is worth the price of the book. I’ve already borrowed his memorable outline: Think, Talk, Act, and Ask. Brilliant!" —John Pearson, President of John Pearson Associates Inc., and Author of Mastering the Management Buckets, San Clemente, California
’Practical and People-centered’ are the words that describe Leadership Briefs. This work is comprehensive and it puts a human face on the subject. It is your personal guide on how to lead as if people matter, including such important topics as corporate culture, character building, and developing emerging leaders.” I recommend reading a brief per day. And when you finish, you will need to start all over again." —Dr. Richard L. Gathro, Director, Washington DC Program, Pepperdine University, Washington D.C.
The humility concept within Leadership Briefs is fantastic and empowering. It starts with the premise of leaders learning through mistakes. How true for us all, yet how uncomfortable. Each leadership topic is succinctly defined into one page that packs in action-oriented content. This book covers the spectrum of leadership development including elements I never considered having an impact on my organization. The digestible format allows for consuming the content at your own pace, keeping it truly brief or diving much deeper. I'm planning to read this a few times." —Mark Morse, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, MorseKode, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Dick Daniels’ Leadership Briefs is filled with references, and transformational moments. It is “the source” for strong, inspiring leadership: Comprehensive, eloquent, yet precisely written for those who dare to lead! I highly recommend Leadership Briefs, timely and relevant to our times." —Angela RM Crane, M.D., Board Certified Internist, Healthcare, Boston, Massachusetts
’Keep your arms straight and your knees bent.’ You can learn to water ski the hard way or take advice from those who already know how to do it well. Leadership Briefs is a handbook of tips on doing leadership well. Why not do it the easy way and take tips from those who do it well? Thanks, Dick Daniels for compiling these ideas for us!" —Steve Saint, Founder and President, ITEC, Dunnellon, Florida
’Everyone wins when a leader gets better.’ is a phrase Bill Hybels often uses. Daniels’ book, Leadership Briefs, is a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to lead better. It gives practical, actionable, and tested ideas based on his many years of helping organizations succeed. It’s more like a handbook for frequent reference rather than a book to be read and put on a shelf." —Gary Schwammlein, President, Willow Creek Association, South Barrington, Illinois.
I recommend Leadership Briefs both for seasoned leaders who want to grow their leadership, and for young people who one day want to step up and lead. This book is filled with insights, ideas, and practical next steps. The format is perfect for use in team development settings. I will use it as a reference book in years to come." —Dr. Lise T. Sagdahl, Project Manager, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
Having read through quite a few leadership books over the years, I have seldom encountered a book that makes me stop and ponder in depth like Leadership Briefs. A perfect book to use as you develop your leadership skills over time. Leaders are made not born, and this book will certainly help you and your team in the process." —Leif Ingvald Skaug, CEO Compassion Scandinavia, Mysen, Norway
Daniels’ Leadership Briefs landed on my desk just before I was named interim President and CEO of the Character Education Partnership. What perfect timing for such a useful tool—short, thoughtful pieces on various aspects of leadership. I found myself reading several short selections a day and reflecting on the relevance of each message. I can see using Leadership Briefs as staff development conversation starters." —Rebecca Sipos, CEO Character Education Partnership, Washington D.C.
As a former leader in a Fortune 500 company, I thought I knew everything on leadership. It became clear to me that Leadership Briefs is more than just another leadership book. It is a blueprint, a shift in thinking, giving the reader an advanced degree in leading in this post-modern era. Every leader and emerging leader needs to read it, study it, and implement it immediately." —Simon T. Bailey, CEO Brilliance Institute, Inc. and author of Release Your Brilliance, Windermere, Florida
Leadership Briefs is like good wine. Dick has been around long enough to see all the fads, flows, and flaws of leadership. His ideas are well balanced, mature, and integrated with a deep awareness of leadership in an emerging world. It’s a nice pairing of philosophical and practical and is written in a very digestible form. Thank you!" —Dr Theo Geyser - Cultural Architect, InVia, Cape Town, South Africa
Leadership Briefs is the most practical and accessible book on leadership I've had the pleasure to read. Don't be misled by it's apparent simplicity. Daniels asks tough and searching questions which are truly thought provoking!" — Julia Bickerstaff, Founder The Business Bakery, Author of How to Bake a Business, Sydney, Australia

Leadership Briefs by Dick Daniels covers all the topics one can imagine having a connection with leadership, such as the social graces of memorable leaders, questions for leaders and followers, developing leadership capacity, a leader's most valuable asset, or sustaining leadership. The content is quite exhaustive and hardly any facet of leadership is left untouched. In each of these areas, the pertinent questions are identified and appropriately answered. Rather than an open ended discussion on leadership, what is envisaged here, I think, is a closed examination of one's preparedness to meet the challenges of leadership. The price one should be prepared to pay for becoming a leader is also discussed. Whether it is criticism, challenge, gossip, or rumor, the leader should be ready to face all.

Leadership Briefs by Dick Daniels is written as a quick reference but also as a holistic guide. The book is replete with bulleted lists, important pointers, and procedural steps to ginger up the topic under study. The author has further enlivened the discussion by including intelligent quotations at all appropriate places, heralding his unique approach. For example, while discussing communication, the quotation from George Bernard Shaw, 'The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place' is given, I think, to show that there are many hidden pitfalls in communication, while the message you wish to pass on may be simple. Aphorisms of such nature are provided in many places, signaling the approaching topic." — Roy T. James for Readers' Favorite

Aw, heck. Just when you think you can pontificate on all-things leadership, along comes a phenomenal book that hammers your ego. I still have much to learn.

Case in point: Ask me how to build a healthy culture on your team--and I can give you three steps and three books. Ask Dick Daniels the same question and he delivers eight core elements and seven steps. (Where does he get this good stuff? It's off-the-chart insightful--and packaged brilliantly.)

In his book, Daniels says that "building a healthy culture requires a carefully crafted blueprint." He starts with four foundational building blocks: vision, mission, values...and one more we often minimize: leadership. Then in less than a page, he outlines the four sides of organizational framing: strategy, structure, staffing, and systems. He notes, "Staffing follows structure. A change in strategy leads to a change in structure which impacts staffing."

But...there's more! His seven steps to building culture are short and crisp (three to five lines each), yet comprehensive. The outline:

  1. Declare it.
  2. Define it.
  3. Model it.
  4. Defend it.
  5. Expect it.
  6. Measure it.
  7. Reward it.

He elaborates: "Culture is evidenced in specific and measurable behaviors. People consistently perform according to what is measured."

That's Chapter 3 on organizational culture--a feast in just four pages, plus an eye-catching "Leadership Debrief" three-line chapter summary on the fifth page. (Some chapters--with equal punch--are just two pages. My kind of book!)" — John Pearson of John Pearson Associates, San Clemente, CA (Amazon)

There are two striking dimensions to Dick Daniel's book. The first thing that struck me is that Mr. Daniels writes about leadership from a moral core. The second striking dimension is its practicality. I am using his principles and ideas not only in my own organization but also with the nonprofit boards on which I serve." — Richard Gathro, Director of Pepperdine's Washington D.C. Program. (Amazon)
Thorough, exact, focused on results! A read that could save a leader 100's of hours of heartache and sweat. I wished I had this 25 years ago!" — Earl Taylor (Amazon)
Everything you needd to know and more." — Gary R. Schroeder (Amazon)