Summer Reading! New Book on Leadership by Dr. Lalia Rach
What is your leadership story?? Are you actively telling it to your colleagues and bosses? Managing the Book on You: Rewriting Your Leadership Story, the first book on leadership by Associated Luxury Hotels International’s (ALHI) Dr. Lalia Rach, the former and founding dean of the NYU Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. We had a quick chat with Lalia about the book:
Why write a self-guided workbook for executives when bookshelves are already overflowing with volumes on how to become a better or more complete executive, with each promising a different take on what is holding you back?
Short answer, I believe there is an element of professional development that has been overlooked or underappreciated as vital to continued professional success. That vital element is making certain that who you have become and what you have changed is clearly understood by those you work with, hence, Managing
the Book on You.
I have coached many executives over the past three decades, mainly women in mid- and senior-level positions in Fortune 500 corporations, family-owned businesses, and everything in between. While the focus of my coaching is on assisting the professional in becoming a better leader, it became clear that it wasn't enough for the individual to improve and grow. They needed to actively change the out-of-date views and assumptions held about them by colleagues, bosses, and team members.
Interesting, you wanted to create a more active approach to leadership building. Was there a specific moment that inspired you?
I had an ah-ha moment in late 2019 while coaching an executive vice president of a hospitality company. As I explained a way to view what she was experiencing, I asked her to consider if colleagues recognized how she had changed in the 20-odd years she had been working for the same company. I asked her to describe herself as a 20-something associate and to contrast and compare it to the 40-something executive she is today.
After some thought, she had an impressive list of tangible accomplishments she had worked to improve her executive presence and emotional maturity and was now engaging a coach to navigate what she called the "finishing touches." This was a reasonable approach but as she compared her development, I realized yet again that a client had not focused on “telling and showing” others just who she had become as a professional and a leader.
The missing element: She needed to actively revise and update how others viewed her. I characterized it as editing the book others wrote about her. She had to actively manage the small and large impressions held by her boss that were no
longer valid. She needed to address views her colleagues had of her from some time ago as these views could be kept alive because a colleague was threatened by the change the professional represented.
So you are flipping the script and having women take a look and try and manage how others view them as a way to grow?
Yes, I offered a few questions for her to think about. When she was less experienced, was she a micro-manager? Too much of a people pleaser? Unwilling to have direct conversations about difficult issues? Someone who made mountains out of molehills? Was she seen as too aggressive? As we worked through these and additional aspects of her younger, less experienced version of leadership, I explained why understanding who you are−and who you’ve become−matters.
My client asked me why I hadn’t written a book about my approach.
That question stopped me in my tracks. As someone who is seldom at a loss for words, I was. Her question made me realize writing a book about “managing the book on you” was. something I could and should do.
What a terrific idea and story on your motivation for writing the book!
Thank you! This book is more than stories and advice. It is a workbook, a place for you to explore the views, assumptions, and beliefs others hold about you that are no longer current. Putting who you are into proper focus for others is something many of us ignore and pay the price for doing so. Throughout the book, there are examples to help you identify what you were versus what you have become. The narrative and workbook will help you identify opportunities for you
to demonstrate what has changed about you.
What you were: As a less experienced professional, you may have been reticent about speaking up or disagreeing. You might have been viewed as having a lack of confidence or a desire not to rock the boat.
What you have become: Tangible changes including promotions, certificates, associations you are active in, and improvements to your executive presence. Intangible changes include being more emotionally mature, a better listener, less inclined to jump to conclusions, and more collaborative.
The best part is as you progress through the book it will become yours, containing stories, phrases, and characteristics that others have gathered about you and your leadership style. Your book will clearly detail your leadership development. The chapters can be revised and updated regularly to document your progress and will validate your growth to yourself and your coworkers so that you are truly managing your book and the one others have written about you!
Join Lalia TODAY, August 11 via Zoom for her launch party at 12 noon CT as she reads an excerpt from her newly published book, answers questions, and discusses the inspiration behind the book.
If you can't attend the launch, you can still order the book here.