Saturday, May 07, 2011

Review: Mother Teresa CEO

Mother Teresa, CEO: Unexpected Principles for Practical Leadership (Bk Business)

About the Book:
This book details the leadership principles used by Mother Teresa in building one of the world’s largest and most successful organizations, with this as its central lesson: leaders must articulate a simple vision, and execute it with absolute practicality. Bose—who spent eight months working with Mother Teresa in 1992-3—and Faust have distilled Mother Teresa’s leadership style into nine essential principles. Each principle shows readers how to apply Mother Teresa’s wisdom in their lives and businesses.

Much has been written about Mother Teresa. She is an actual saint, beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003, as well as the winner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, This book is the first to view her in another light—as a pragmatic, realistic leader who over 47 years raised billions of dollars and helped millions of people. This often meant making tough decisions—such as accepting donations from people of questionable morals. This book has the principles that guided those decisions. These are universal principles that can help any leader working to keep an organization on course and on mission.

My Comments:
There is a part of us that realizes that those religious leaders who have built large orders with multiple institutions must have some sort of management skills, yet is is generally their faith and their good works, not their leadership for which we remember the saints.  However Ruma Bose and Lou Faust have analyzed Mother Theresa as a leader and tried to determine why she was successful and how that success could be imitated and transferred to business enterprises.  

The book is divided into chapters by the principals described.  They are:  
  • Dream it Simple, Say it Strong
  • Dealing with the Devil to get to the Angels
  • Wait!  Then pick your moment
  • Embrace the power of doubt
  • Discover the joy of discipline
  • Communicate in a language people understand
  • Pay attention to the janitor
  • Use the power of silence
The chapters begin with a story either describing an encounter the author had with Mother Theresa or telling a story about her life.  The story is then tied into the principal and then the author tells how that principal was used in a business situation.  

I enjoyed the stories about Mother Theresa and her sisters.  As far as the management end of it, well, I'm not a manager, so I have a hard time saying whether the advice is good or not.  The book was interesting reading.  The only problem I had was that I thought the business examples were just too vague.  I know it is hard in a book like this to walk the line between giving advice in a manner that it seems only good for widget making or whatever other particular business you are using as an example, and giving advice so general that it is hard to figure how to employ it in a specific situation.  There were at least a couple of occasions on which I thought to myself that it would be nice to have had a better idea of what the problem was and how the principal in question was used to solve it.  Grade:  B

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for making a review copy available.

No comments:

Post a Comment

View My Stats