Book review: Stretch

Emma De Vita reviews the book by James Brook and Paul Brewerton

Stretch, by James Brook and Paul Brewerton
Stretch, by James Brook and Paul Brewerton

Despite its title and a foreword by the Olympian Kriss Akabusi, Stretch is not a keep-fit manual.

The authors, James Brook and Paul Brewerton, are in fact psychologists who have written a fable that follows the journey of a leader with a "deficit mindset".

A deficit mindset, if you were wondering, is apparently one that is "weakness-oriented". If you want to be a great leader, you need to "leverage" your "leadership edge" - your unique strengths, abilities and skills - to influence and inspire others to achieve extraordinary results. It is also about "positive stretch". This means stretching yourself and your team to achieve in the upper range of your collective strengths and capabilities.

As you can no doubt tell, the authors love their business lingo, and it doesn't stop there. Excellent leaders follow "Stretch Leadership Habits". First, they establish a clear picture of success (sharing visions). Second, they break the vision down into manageable stretch goals (sparking engagement). Third, they "skilfully execute" before finally "sustaining progress". To learn about "Stretch Leadership", you must read Joe's tale of life at Tiger Online Recruitment and its happy-ever-after ending. Is Joe a modern day fairytale hero? You decide.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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