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  • Writer's pictureLars Christensen

The Anywhere Leader by Mike Thompson

I finished this book in March 2023. I recommend this book 6/10.

This a good book if you, as a leader, feel like you are on a continued path to surviving our fast-paced world. The book will give you faith in handling adversity, uncertainty, and disruption.

Get your copy here.

My notes and thoughts:

  • P13. Why do we want our doctors to be curious about our illness, understanding of our history, and aware of our vitals, but we want our employees to go straight to the answers—to the solutions? Like the ER doc, the Anywhere Leader assesses before acting—which is why her actions are usually productive.

  • P26. The Anywhere Leader is driven for progress, sensationally curious, and vastly resourceful. Driven for progress is why the Anywhere Leader operates with the right and proper motives and remains determined. Through their drive for progress, Anywhere Leaders give new initiatives, processes, or opportunities the right amount of thought; they take active and progressive steps to set up these initiatives well, and they are determined to see them through. They've done their homework and sought out the opinions and insights of experts and participants. Sensationally curious is why the Anywhere Leader is a consummate learner who continues to grow and improve herself, her team, and her work. Vastly resourceful is why the Anywhere Leader never gets stuck in uncertainty but invents her way through setbacks and out of thought spots. When the answer book doesn't exist, the Anywhere Leader's resourcefulness helps her find or create new answers to new problems.

  • P60. The Anywhere Leader's evaluation of a good choice can't be baseless or up for debate. Her good judgment leading to good choices must be based on the drive for progress, not on maintaining stability—based on the betterment of the team, not on self-promotion. Her choices must be more about significance and meaning than personal comfort—more about discovery than the status quo, What about you...what do you base your judgment on? The point is that to be an Anywhere Leader, you must have a higher standard of discernment than the average Joe or Josephine. You must make decisions the favor of progress—no matter how disruptive, unclear, or challenging your circumstances are. And you have to be ready and able to readjust your thinking as those circumstances shift. It's not easy.

  • P68. As an Anywhere Leader:

  • Make decisions that don't compromise your core values.

  • Adjust your leadership behaviors to make good decisions in a given situation.

  • Make decisions in favor of the collective group.

  • Approach your decisions by being neither overcautious nor overconfident for progressive and effective growth.

  • P73. By Analyzing the odds and considering the potential, the Anywhere Leader takes smart risks. She never gambles when the odds are significantly unfavorable, and the gains are insignificant. Nor will she take favorable odds that are somewhat meaningless in value. After all, she wants to progress, grow, and advantage—not the status quo.

  • P76. Anywhere Leaders place bets on their efforts and their intellect. They neither play it safe nor leave their risk purely to chance. What about you? If you're making daring and bold moves that are left purely to chance, stop. Make sure the odds of your big-bet risks can be improved by your effort and intellect.

  • P78. That's what determination is: the ability to pursue the right agenda to the end, even if it's difficult and costs you something in the process. To be an Anywhere Leader, you must be willing to take steps to address a problem or a challenge, even if it's not the easiest solution for you. Going for ease won't address the true nature of the problem. Even if the right move ends up being the hardest move, it's still right—and you still have to make it in order to meet the goal.

  • P79. All of us have a Zone of Objectivity. It lies squarely between our desire for power and our sense of fear. That's the place to be. Without keeping my power in check, I will lose objectivity. I'll develop more and more false confidence until I become arrogant and stupid—and then I will inevitably do something completely irresponsible.

  • P85. What are your KPIs? If you don't have formal and informal tools that can provide you with valuable and accurate feedback on your leadership and on your performance, you run the risk of getting off track. Consider establishing feedback groups and 360-degree assessments to gain valuable feedback that can help you recognize and avoid some pretty significant pitfalls.

  • P87. As you grow in power, keep in mind that power leads to arrogance, and arrogance leads to a crash. As you experience failure, keep in mind that failure leads to fear, and fear can remove you from the action completely. To remain more determined through power surges or periods of fear, keep these points in mind:

  • Grow your zone of objectivity.

  • Take a personal reality check.

  • Set up KPIs that help you recognize when your power is turning to arrogance or your failure is turning to fear.

  • Be willing to make changes in your life based on what the KPIs tell you.

  • P92. Reflecting on that time, I can easily see how things unfolded in his favor. My mistake was that I kept my nose down, trying not to engage in personal politics. I did my job as a life support technician and survival instructor well, and I relied on my reputation as a hard worker to secure my spot. Meanwhile, the other guy immersed himself in the pilot world. He built strong relationships with other pilots, learned about their lives, invested time understand their profession, participated in pilot culture, and asked lots of questions. While I sat back, hoping to be discovered, he went off and discovered the job. Some people would say he was politicking for the position. He wasn't playing politics; he was gaining insights through his curiosity. He was becoming an Anywhere Leader—seeking knowledge in order to fit in and succeed in unfamiliar territory.

  • P96. To be an Anywhere Leader, you've got to strike a balance between thinking and doing. If you think too much, you may be overanalyzing or accepting an unproductive level of languor. However, if you move too quickly to action without much thought, you could be moving faster to disaster.

  • P112. As you develop your own ability to be more reflective, realize that the reflective process is an internal search of your experiences. Therefore:

  • Make more of your own adventures for the sake of making more memories—do more stuff.

  • Diversify your experience so that you have a broader base of memorization to draw on as you contemplate issues. Do lots of different stuff. Add a little variety to your life to gain more perspective and gain more insights that you can apply.

  • Invest more of your time into thinking through your own thoughts.

  • Push yourself a little close to the edge—taking things a little further than you normally would—to stretch and test yourself more.

  • P114. Managing reflection and reception isn't a matter of balance; it's a process. Reflection is the first step as we process new ideas and thoughts brought about through our curiosity. Being receptive is the second step. Anywhere Leaders do a healthy amount of reflection before they open up to the ideas of others. They don't come empty-handed to a conversation. They come fully equipped to engage, discuss, and even debate when moving into receptivity. Contrast that to the person who shows up to a meeting having given zero thought to any of the issues that need to be discussed and debated.

  • P115. Anywhere Leaders know that defenses create barriers to improvement and betterment. They know that their tendency will be to defend their position, so they come to discussions and interactions trying less to be the authority and trying more to be the engaged students who seek answers, discussion, and constructive debate. Ask yourself:

  • Do I come to meetings wanting to be right or wanting to learn more?

  • Do people perceive me as open to the ideas of others in my interactions, or do others feel that I dominate the discussion?

  • Am I patient about offering comments, or do I race to contribute?

  • P121. As a recap to increasing your ability to become more receptive, consider performing the following:

  • Bring the Right Attitude to the Discussion: Be present, Encourage the exchange of ideas, and Nurture your novice nature.

  • Beware of Dogma—Seek out the ideas and input of diverse others, allowing them to improve and progress your ideas further to make them interesting and vibrant.

  • Make Time for Collaboration—Don't just plan the functional components of a project; plan in your stakeholder reviews and collaboration meetings as well.

  • Create a Receptive Environment—View collaboration in two ways: formal and informal. For formal collaboration, set up the environment to protect against distractions. For informal collaboration, make sure your office structure works to create more conversations among employees: connecting them, not isolating them.

  • P129. Ask yourself, What do I need to listen for the most? Above all else, what is the one thing I need to be evaluating every single day? By identifying the essentials, you make sure that your perception isn't being diluted by all of the noise clutter that comes with a new assignment.

  • P134. As you consider growing your perception as an Anywhere Leader, follow the recommendations of this chapter:

  • Become a continuous learner. Be eager to take on new and challenging assignments that help you grow your knowledge and increase your awareness. Tap into more resources to increase your knowledge inputs.

  • Focus on being keenly aware of the essentials to fend off the noise clutter. Identify that one thing that you need to be monitoring every single day.

  • Get more in tune with yourself by growing more aware of your sense during times of rest and recovery so that you can leverage them for peak performance. To become more aware of your senses, take time to take in more and limit what you give out.

  • Trust your perceptions. Embrace your intuition when the data doesn't exist, and follow your gut when decisions are necessary for uncertain and unpredictable circumstances.

  • P150. As an Anywhere Leader, your culture has to be about inclusion, which means it's never "your way or the highway." But remember the paradox—being a leader of an inclusive culture doesn't mean you have agreement or consensus across the board. You will need to manage your ability to listen and be influenced, but you will also be forced to decide. Inclusion doesn't take away your decision-making power. The hope is that it helps you make better decisions. "Your way" may be right. But you're not going to send people to the "highway" for their dissenting opinion.

  • P167. Resources don't just come to you as if you're some kind of magnet. Just as you don't wait for inspiration, you don't wait for people, ideas, or materials to come to you. You go after them. Gathering relation resources is extremely difficult for some. After all, who wants to seek someone out? Don't we want to be sought after? Don't we want to be the ones pursued? We have egos to protect, don't we?

  • P175. As you work to become more inclusive, consider implementing the following:

  • Broaden your reach for resources. Develop more relationships outside of your organization, and look to gain insights from outside your own industry.

  • Be more vulnerable in your leadership. Be willing to be the one to ask others for help rather than waiting to be the one pursued for help.

  • Don't just make contacts with others—invest in them. When you invest in them, they'll likely invest in you, too.

  • Be willing to use your relationships, calling them when you have a need. Don't shy away from engaging others because you don't want to feel like you're being a burden.

  • Be careful not to be inclusive of your external resources yet not inclusive of your own team. An Anywhere Leader works her resources and develops the capabilities of her internal team to tackle the challenges together.

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