Paul Levy has a lot to say about leadership. After all, he’s had plenty of practice as the head of the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority during the harbor clean up and as head of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center when it came back from the brink of demise. His ideas are sometimes counter intuitive and often a radical break from conventional wisdom. And yet, they work. In breaking up the traditional strangleholds that cripple institutions, he creates an environment in which people are able and eager to do their best work.
All of this creativity, energy and innovation could easily have been wrapped into an extremely dull tome on how to be a better leader. But the very qualities that make Paul different as a leader make him different as an author.
He eases the reader into the lessons by starting with his experiences coaching girls soccer. We start on a sunny morning with parents cheering and players learning as much about life as the game and then move into the board room, which can be just as exciting.
The juxtaposition is clear. Soccer is about challenging yourself, playing on a team and having fun. Work should be too. The leader of a soccer team is a coach. The leader of a company should be too.
In this book, Paul lets readers into the backroom of the major decisions and challenges he faced as a leader and coach. He highlights his successes, and he admits his mistakes.
When he could have played it safe, he chose instead to take risks and to share the lessons he believes readers really want and need to hear.
With characteristic internal debate after gathering external advice, Paul chose to self publish this book. It was a combination of wanting to maintain control and to meet a tight schedule. Before release, he vetted it with several high placed leaders to see if it resonated with them. Their unabashedly favorable reviews indicate that it does.
I had the privilege of working with Paul on this book from the very early stages as an editor/coach. I got to watch it emerge from a jumble of ideas and concepts into a well organized, engaging and instructive guide to being a leader/coach. This is the book I wish every boss would read.
Here’s what Paul has to say on his blog, Not Running a Hospital:
This is not your traditional business book, where you can read the introduction and skip the rest. Each chapter has a rich mixture of stories, practice, and theory. I hope you will find it engaging.
You can find it on Amazon or order it at your local bookstore. A portion of the proceeds of the book will be donated to support the non-profit Massachusetts Youth Soccer GOALS program, “developed to provide a rewarding athletic and life experience to inner-city children throughout Massachusetts.”