What's Holding You Back? Ten Bold Steps ThatDefine Gutsy Leaders
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More About This Title What's Holding You Back? Ten Bold Steps ThatDefine Gutsy Leaders


"Leadership is not for everyone. It requires bold, gutsy individuals. If you accept that premise, you will find his [Bob Herbold’s] book rewarding reading."
Harvey Schachter, The Globe and Mail Quit hiding from tough decisions and learn to confront them head-on

Why do managers at all levels sacrifice corporate success by shying away from making the tough decisions? What's Holding You Back? reveals exactly why managers often hesitate to confront difficult issues-whether it's the absence of a perfect solution, the knowledge that no decision will please everyone, etc.-and, most importantly, how they can overcome these common managerial obstacles to maximize their company's success. What's Holding You Back? elucidates the ten core principles of confident leadership, outlining proven tactics by which managers can confront their inner wimp and highlight their inner courage.

  • Features dynamic real-world examples from Apple, Microsoft, Porsche, IBM, Merck, Canon, Sony, Whirlpool, IDEO, Tesco, P&G, Target, 3M, and more
  • Pinpoints the corporate failures that can result from hesitant or self-conscious organizations, and what managers can do to avoid them
  • Clearly delineates how managers can cultivate and deliver accountable and decisive leadership, even during the toughest dilemmas

What's Holding You Back? proves that practicing gutsy leadership is the key to operational and innovative excellence in the workplace


ROBERT J. HERBOLD is the managing director of the Herbold Group, LLC, a consulting business focused on profitability, strategic, and operational issues. He serves on the board of directors of Neptune Orient Shipping Lines and of Agilent Technologies. Formerly, Herbold was executive vice president and chief operating officer of Microsoft Corporation. He is the author of The Fiefdom Syndrome and Seduced by Success. He lives in Seattle and Phoenix.


Introduction 1

1 The Big Issue: Managers Lacking Courage to Make Tough Decisions 5

2 Principle I: Devise a Demanding Game Plan to Confront Reality 19

3 Principle II: Staff for Success 37

4 Principle III: Clean Up the Sloppiness 59

5 Principle IV: Institutionalize Tight-Fisted Cost Control 79

6 Principle V: Insist on Functional Excellence 95

7 Principle VI: Create a Culture of Innovation 113

8 Principle VII: Demand Accountability and Decisiveness; Avoid Consensus 127

9 Principle VIII: Exploit Inflection Points 141

10 Principle IX: Value Ideas from Anywhere 153

11 Principle X: Shake Up the Organization 169

Conclusion 185

Notes 189

Acknowledgments 203

About the Author 205

Index 207