To the outside world academia probably looks like something out of a movie, the prestigious institutions where the best and the brightest are taught by the best and the brightest. Where everyone gains higher power and passes this knowledge on to the next generation. It can also however look like a party house, where classes are freewheeling and there is more emphasize on your social calendar than what Darwin said. However, for those of us who work in higher education, we can find that there is another side. This side shows the ugliness of higher education as well as the accomplishments. It shows how change cannot happen without every governing body having their say. Dr. Charles Polk and Dr. William White’s, Apex Thinking along with Dr. Steven Samples book, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, are two such books that work to explain about leadership at the highest echelon. Dr. Polk and Dr. Sample biases are clear. They both have reached the top of their respective institutions, and as such talk within that frame work. Their strength and weakness of their books is that most of the examples and stories are drawn from events and interactions in their life rather than from the collective experience of others. Higher education is a very tight knit community and as such, the masses cannot relate to how business is done inside those walls. Still they both hit on some key points for managing and leading that can be used in any organization. Yet are their ideas as fresh and new as they at first appear to be? Or are they recycling (with their experiences) something that has been around for ages. Apex Thinking
Starting with Apex Thinking, I was intrigued by the straight-forward approach and honesty that was taken. Dr. Polk’s simple breakdown of the three things of one who aspires a leader to have; develop people skills, find a mentor who will teach you what is not taught in textbooks, and stay focused on your goal (p. 21). This seems straight forward, yet...
Cited: Bolman, L. G.& Deal, T.E. ( 2008). Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Polk, C.H. & White, W.M. (2007). Apex Thinking. Beckley, WV: Mountain State University Press.
Sample, S.B. ( 2002). The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
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