Leaders First is a leadership development book that outlines six steps construction leadership can use to revamp outdated leadership practices and reinvigorate their companies. These steps include: step up to responsibility, define critical outcomes, grant and accept accountability, integrate roles, design a strategic reporting structure, and track performance.
Instead of presenting the material in a more traditional resource-book format, author Gene Morton conveys his six steps through the context of a story. Morton’s story centers on the leadership team at Blue Range General Contractors (fictional, though based on real groups) as they struggle to recover from a devastating financial loss. This loss proves to be the catalyst that inspires the core leadership team to let go of its outdated structure and create a strategic vision that enrolls and motivates the entire company. This approach is effective and works — to a point.
Morton is a gifted storyteller; however, the reader is left with a desire to know more and go deeper into his expert insights on the implementation, tactics, and replication of his six steps. The scope of the book’s claim is ambitious — not just improving a single leader, but reorganizing leadership structure throughout a company. The reader gets the impression that Morton is capable of taking on this challenge, however in a quest for storytelling, his practical, nuts-and-bolts advice is often relegated to sidebar status.
While this book focuses on leadership in construction, its lessons are applicable to myriad industries. There is no doubt that readers will enjoy this book, glean some valuable nuggets of strategic leadership, and likely recognize friends and colleagues in its characters. But Morton might have gone further to move Leaders First from an engaging narrative to the business must-read he has the clear potential of producing.
Also available as an ebook.