Bill Treasurer just released a 2nd edition of his wonderful book ‘Leaders Open Doors’. Below is the book review I wrote in May of 2013. The new edition contains an additional epilogue of stories from influential leaders who had doors opened for them – and are out opening doors for others today.
In December of 2011, I sent out an email to the entire staff of the insurance agency I work for.
It wasn’t quite a Jerry Maguire manifesto, but it felt like it to me. Our agency had gone through a major change in our computer management system–one of those massive overhauls of the system that controls everything from accounting to day-to-day client management.
If you’ve gone through that before, you know how stressful it can be. We were all stressed. We were all given to complaining and belly-aching a little bit about it.
I knew my complaining (and anybody else’s) wasn’t helpful for our productivity. So I sent out my email.
The gist of it was simply this: “There are many things we cannot control. But there are also things we can control. For those who’d like to get together every Monday at lunch to talk about and make commitments around the things we can control, then join me. No complaining about infrastructure changes. We will focus on the things we can do to be more productive and grow our business.”
I didn’t ask management permission to start a Monday weekly lunch. And while it doesn’t sound all that ground-breaking, it still felt like I was putting myself out there. That was the start of what we now call the Brown Bag Lunch (I always add ‘Mastermind’ before lunch, but I read too much success, sales, and leadership literature), meeting most every Monday since then.
A Leader Opening a Door
Before the end of 2011, I was called into the CEO’s office. The gist of that meeting was that they wanted to create a more formal nonprofit and social service insurance department. He wanted me to manage it. He wanted me to coordinate the efforts of the agents who helped nonprofits find insurance. He wanted me to help develop our vendor relationships.
He plucked me from being a solo insurance salesperson and gave me a little additional responsibility.
He opened a door of opportunity for me.
He honored my tiny act of courage by giving me an opportunity. That simple act of leadership meant the world to me. It empowered and encouraged me to turn some of the creative energy stewing in me toward helping to direct a team. A small opportunity to develop my own leadership skills.
Leaders Open Doors
That is what Bill Treasurer’s new book called “Leaders Open Doors” is all about: Leaders perceive problems as opportunities and empower those they lead by finding and opening doors to those opportunities.
Bill’s short, 92 page book, boils down leadership based on a light switch that flipped due to a conversation with his 5 year old son. His son had the opportunity to be “class leader” in his preschool. The class leader’s job? “To open doors for people.”
Treasurer, who has long been in the leadership and management consultant and coaching field, admits that most leadership books and programs over-complicate things – even his own approaches have been fraught with “complexification.”
Instead, leaders can simplify things by opening doors of opportunity.
In “Leaders Open Doors”, he identifies the thing that my CEO did for me as the key to quality leadership. My boss noticed what was going on with me. He noticed a hint of potential or a hint of skill. He then created a small opportunity, one that wasn’t there before, and gave it to me
This book is all about the importance of helping your team or employees find opportunities to grow. As Treasurer writes, “Open-door leadership is about noticing, identifying, and creating opportunities for those being lead.”
Perhaps this isn’t ground-breaking stuff, but most good ideas aren’t new. It’s a much needed emphasis. And it’s a simple thing. What would the transformation be in your organization if every leader was actively seeking not to put out fires, but to provide opportunities for growth? Or even this: What if those leaders viewed the fires as opportunities for their people to grow through solving those problems?
I highly recommend this short training manual for leaders. Most of us can knock out 92 pages in a couple hours. If you decide to take me up on the recommendation, let me know your thoughts!
Bill Treasurer, Chief Encouragement Officer at Giant Leap Consulting and former U.S. High Diver, wants leaders to be a part of opening doors of opportunities for others to thrive, achieve, and lead. The proceeds of his new book, Leaders Open Doors, are being donated to charities that serve children with special needs. Available on Amazon.