News & Reviews

Reviews of The Leadership Crash Course

Management Executive*, July/August 2006

Even while they might have read a dozen of books about it and know biographies of Churchill, Napoleon and Mandela by heart, executives still have trouble finding an answer to the question: how to bring those theories and lessons of great leaders into practice. Taffinder addresses that question head-on. The Leadership Crash Course is a practical guide for those who would like to be a little bit less of a manager and more of a leader.

*Translated from the original Dutch article.

Financial Executive, July 2006

This is a comprehensive and well-constructed resource on leadership skills and how to improve them.

Accounting & Business, June 2006
By Stefan Stern

Very few books on leadership are genuinely of practical use. Paul Taffinder's new book is different. It is succinct (at under 170 pages), crisp and helpful. This is a significant achievement, a much harder trick to pull off than the author makes it appear. Book Club, Spring 2006

This is a self-improvement course: readers can analyze their strengths and weaknesses with guidance on taking on new leadership roles, communicating change to employees, disturbing the organizational culture to make things happen, and mobilizing staff to pull in the same direction.

Management Today, May 6, 2006

Taffinder takes a psychological approach to leadership, provoking the reader into analysing their innate leadership qualities. He identifies five: making and taking risks; challenging and changing; making clear what matters; having deep conviction; and making things happen at scale.

Supply Management, March 30, 2006

The book avoids excessive theory and concentrates instead on practical steps to create value in your team and organization.

Director, November 1, 2000
By Carol Kennedy

Why is leadership the scarcest resource in business, given the number of courses and books and workshops available out there teaching it? In the nature or nurture debate, Paul Taffinder, a respected name in corporate transformation, comes firmly down on the side of nurture in this snappy "six-step fast-track self-development action kit" to sharpen leadership skills.

Press Mentions of Paul Taffinder

"An Interview with Dr. Paul Taffinder
By Alistair Craven
ManagementFirst, October '06

[ManagementFirst] You have advised dozens of Global 500 companies on leadership and large scale change. What have been some of your greatest challenges in this respect?
[Paul Taffinder] Getting top teams' difficult, undiscussable issues onto the table so that executives can resolve them and take decisions in a more rational, less political and less conflict-driven way.

"Leading Through Uncertainty"
By Becket Bright
The Wall Street Journal Online, July 10, 2006

[] What types of leaders are best for different situations?
[Paul Taffinder] Some leaders are better at some organizations and at different times in the life cycle of that company. Generally, leaders fall into two types: those who are focused on making things happen, who are good at enforcing, giving a directive. And then there are those who are what we call reckless opportunists, those who are good at taking risks, and inspiring growth.

"Become a Strong Leader"
By Paul Taffinder
Better Business, July 2006

The distinction between what you know and what you do is everything. In most instances, it explains why some people are successful and others not. It explains why some businesses outperform others on almost any measureover sustained periods. And it explains why some people become great leaders and most do not.

"Say Yes to Dr. No?"
By Don Durfee
CFO, July 2006

CEOs don't get to be CEOs by being modest. "If you've managed to reach the top of an organization, there's a very good chance that you have a dominant personality," says Paul Taffinder, a psychologist and a London-based partner with Marakon Associates, a management consulting firm. "If the organization doesn't have mechanisms to balance that, you can have problems."

"Solving the People Puzzle"
By Sarah Murray
Financial Times, June 17, 2004

When employees remain uncertain about their future, they become lessproductive. "Usually people are obsessed with who gets what job, so you get managers and employees – and the managers in particular – circling each other warily," says Paul Taffinder.

"Trying Times, True Leaders"
By John S. McClenahen
Industry Week, August 2002

"Executives are tending to behave more like managers than leaders," contends Paul Taffinder. "They drive only the numbers – rather than experimenting, trying new options; they react to market conditions – rather than creating new markets; and they seek compliance from their employees to implement current plans – rather than commitment to serve customers," he states.

"Staff Cuts Need Long-Term Vision"
By Paul Taffinder
The Financial News, February 4, 2002

The concept is to look at things not from the perspective of a particular function or organizational unit, such as the bought ledger department, but to identify the underlying business process, such as taking in goods from suppliers, and to track it as a whole across every one of the functions which contribute to that process.

"Bonus System May End in Dustbin"
By Paul Taffinder
The Financial News, October 29, 2001

Firms need to understand that, even without the phenomenon of "guaranteed bonuses" peculiar to investment banking, the whole approach to pay in these institutions creates something immensely powerful in its own right – and that, put quite simply, is selfish expectation.

"Why Trading Places Work"
By Stephen Hoare
The Times, October 4, 2001

Mr. [Paul] Taffinder, author of The Leadership Crash Course, says: "You're gaining experience in the politics and group dynamics of a boardroom and it's a great preparation for a more important role. The nature of the business does not matter; it's the experience of operating at that level that is important."

"Massive Attack"
By Kate Hilpern
The Guardian, October 4, 1999

Dr. [Paul] Taffinder argues that too many people working together is an inevitable recipe for disaster. "It is, quite simply, unnatural and is a sure way to slow down production. That's why I believe it is the size of the group or department that matters more than the size of the company. It is also the very reason that many of the biggest companies in the world are finally beginning to ensure that units and offices never exceed a certain number of staff."

Mentions of Paul's Other Books

"It's All Yours – I'm Out of Here"
By Darius Samai
The Guardian, August 22, 1999

Paul Taffinder ... says a boss's holiday is invariably stressful for deputies but can also be a time when underlings come into their own. "Quite a lot of future leaders develop successfully when their bosses step out of the frame for a period of time, and studies have shown higher stress levels can actually improve decision-making capabilities," he says.

"Big Change"
By Gary Caswell
Supply Management, January 7, 1999

This book offers a fascinating insight into the theory and corporate reality of implementing major business transformation. One of its most compelling features is its pragmatism – strategic models and theories are used but it is essentially action-orientated, based on real organizations' experience of the often difficult process of change.

"Thinking Ahead in Turbulent Times"
By Roger Crowe
The Guardian, May 16, 1998

The key elements he writes about are leadership, conflict and innovation – familiar subjects in most management books, although Mr. Taffinder takes a different view to many. He believes in strong leadership to drive the early stages of transformation and argues that conflict is necessary to draw out creativity, clarity and understanding.