What Happens Now

Reinvent Yourself as a Leader Before Your Business Outruns You

John Hillen, Mark Nevins

SelectBooks, May 2018

Few leaders will admit it, but again and again the growth of their organizations outruns their skills. If you’re one of those leaders, you know the result: as the job grows bigger than you are, you get disoriented by a world of unfamiliar challenges. You then hit a wall of ineffectiveness, a stall point. Why won’t doubling down on the managerial and technical building blocks that have worked before help you out of a stall? Because you invariably neglect the new political, personal, strategic, and interpersonal skills needed to manage yourself and others. Predictable and inevitable, your stall then escalates into a crisis. And the crisis escalates faster the higher you go, since challenges of sophistication dwarf those of complexity at higher organizational levels. What Happens Now?: Reinvent Yourself as a Leader Before Your Business Outruns You, helps you to embrace this reality. It shows how sophistication requires you do things you’ve never done before–inspire people, nurture relationships, energize teams, groom successors, influence stakeholders. What Happens Now? doesn’t dwell on leadership theory and philosophy. As troubleshooters for leaders of all kinds, authors John Hillen and Mark Nevins focus on the most menacing issue they see in organizations every day: leaders who try to solve challenges solely by engineering solutions to more complexity–process mapping, data analytics, information systems, instant reports. The result? Organizational wreckage. Will this be your fate? Can you instead turn game-stopping stalls into personal growth and organization success? Can you struggle through the realization that you’re the cause and launch the next phase of your lifelong leadership journey? Can you reinvent yourself? Hillen and Nevins show you how. If the dozens of leaders they profile can overcome these stalls, so can you.

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About the Author

John F. Hillen, PhD, is a leadership and strategy professor in the School of Business at George Mason University, a consultant, and a director for many companies. His views on leadership draw from his experiences as a CEO of public and private companies, a board chair and director, a US Assistant Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, and a former US Army officer and decorated combat leader. He holds degrees from Duke and King’s College London, received his MBA at Cornell and his doctorate from Oxford. A Washington Technology columnist, he writes regularly on leadership and strategy, both of which he teaches in George Mason’s MBA program. Recently recognized as one of the one hundred most influential business leaders in the Washington DC area, Hillen is a winner of a number of prestigious leadership awards in the military and business and the author or editor of several books on international security.

Mark D. Nevins, PhD, is a consultant and advisor to top executives, teams, and organizations. Earlier in his career he was responsible for learning and development globally for Booz Allen Hamilton, and for organization development and human resources globally for Korn/Ferry International. He has coached and advised a broad range of executives from the C-suite to high-potential vice presidents at large corporations such as American Express, Citibank, NBCUniversal, and Time Warner, as well as smaller companies, high-growth startups, and top-tier professional and financial services firms. A Harvard PhD and former literature professor, his views on leadership and business are informed by universal themes of the human condition as well as extensive pragmatic work with hundreds of executives and senior managers across almost all industries as well as the higher education, not-for-profit, and military sectors. Nevins has worked, taught, and travelled in more than sixty countries. An author and business writer, his previous work includes The Advice Business, a book on management consulting.