Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Paul Levy's New Book: Lessons about Leadership from the Executive Suite... and the Soccer Field

As many of my readers know, I'm the co-author of a multi-media case study and a Harvard Business Review article about Paul Levy's turnaround of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  Paul took the helm in January 2002, when the hospital was in dire straits.  As CEO, he helped the hospital return to profitability, after years of losses.  Prior to his tenure at the BIDMC, Levy served as Executive Dean for Administration at Harvard Medical School, where he was responsible for administrative, budgetary, and facility issues.  He also served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, where he led the "Boston Harbor Cleanup," one of the largest pollution control projects in the country.  Levy also writes a popular blog titled "Not Running a Hospital.

Levy now has written a terrific new book, which I highly recommend.  The book - Goal Play! Leadership Lessons from the Soccer Field - weaves together anecdotes from his twenty years of youth soccer coaching with his experiences as a chief executive.  Levy uses examples from these disparate settings to illustrate his theories of effective leadership.   This book is not the usual fluff that we read in books that try to apply lessons from sports to business.  Levy offers concrete lessons that can be applied by leaders in many different kinds of organizations.  He illustrates his ideas with anecdotes from soccer, but then shows you those ideas in action in the executive suite.   Along the way, he describes the effective actions of other executives too, rather than simply drawing on his personal stories.

Levy describes how you can be a supportive and transparent leader.  However, he also describes how to make the tough calls required to improve organizational performance.   Levy's book and his experiences show that making tough decisions doesn't mean simply dictating plans to the troops in your organization and ordering them to follow you.   How can you be supportive and empowering, yet still move quickly and get results?  That's the question Levy seeks to answer in this book. 

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