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It’s Already Inside: Nurturing Your Innate Leadership for Business and Life Success (Book Review)

Its Already Inside You

“Are leaders born or made?”  It’s an age-old question, and Robert Murray addresses this question head on in his book, It’s Already Inside: Nurturing Your Innate Leadership for Business and Life Success.

Murray believes that everything you need to be a great leader is in your DNA.  He also believes that leadership talent, while it’s innate within us, needs nurturing and practice to bring it out.

In, It’s Already Inside, Murray shares his wealth of leadership experience and wisdom from both the balcony view and from the trenches.  His stories and battle scars help you fully absorb the lessons he shares, as well as enjoy the journey as you read your way through enlightenment.

The book is really a “Pocket Leadership Mentor” and I find that it’s really a great synthesis of the leadership habits and practices that will make you a more productive and more effective leader.  More importantly, it helps you find a path that’s fulfilling for you, while recognizing what your unique value and talents are. The most refreshing aspect of the book, for me, is how to really tap into what’s already inside you to bring out your best, and to be a better leader, in work and life.

Murray writes in a simple conversational way, and with a focus on results.  In fact, here’s what he says about his writing in the opening of the book:

“I will say this up front.  I write the way I talk.  After fifty some years, I am comfortable enough in my own skin to say that.  I know all my English teachers and professors will be annoyed and some purists out there may be offended by my sentence structure.  So be it.  In business and in leadership, it really is about getting the job done.  From the head and the heart.  And that is where my writing comes from.”

The book is a fantastic addition to your leadership or personal development collection.  While sometimes it might seem like an old song sung new, the value of the book is actually the experience, perspective, and opinions that Murray shares with us, to help us both avoid some potential regrets, as well as accelerate our leadership and personal development in a wise and powerful ways.

What’s In It For You

It’s Already Inside You helps you with several aspects of effective leadership:

  • What is the wisdom of leaders you can use in work and in life to reach new levels
  • What are the key lessons learned in leadership and personal growth from the school of hard knocks
  • How to discover and cultivate the talents you’ve always had
  • How to tap into your innate leadership skills to get the job done
  • How to turn around a business filled with bad attitudes
  • When to overreact and when to under-react
  • How to stop wasting time in meetings
  • How to encourage those around you to succeed

Chapter At a Glance

  • Chapter 1 Is Your Character Contagious
  • Chapter 2 The “Roof of Africa” — Vision and Leadership Lessons from the Most Unlikely Sources
  • Chapter 3 “Why?” — Unlock This Code and Watch What Happens!
  • Chapter 4 The Magic Question
  • Chapter 5 Keep It Simple — A Lesson from NASA
  • Chapter 6 Pit Stop — Teamwork that Drives Results
  • Chapter 7 Execute Like a Pilot — It’s all about Vision, Structure, and Focus
  • Chapter 8 Get Your Car Keys — Solution Finder vs. Problem Finder
  • Chapter 9 What Are You Famous For? — Providing Value Starts with Knowing What Value You Provide
  • Chapter 10 Lessons from Billy Idol
  • Chapter 11 Doug — July 23rd, 199
  • Chapter 12 Running with Grizzly Bears
  • Chapter 13 Being Downgraded and Other Micro Insults
  • Chapter 14 Under-React in a Crisis
  • Chapter 15 Overreact to Values Violations
  • Chapter 16 Directing, Coaching, Mentoring, and Sponsoring, but Always Authentic — The Split Personalities of a Leader
  • Chapter 17 LBWA — The Things You Find Out from Truly Listening to the Frontline!
  • Chapter 18 Never Walk Past Corporate Graffiti
  • Chapter 19 Meetings — And Other Complete Wastes of Time
  • Chapter 20 Yoda was Right — There is No “Try”: Only “Do” or “Do Not”
  • Chapter 21 Don’t Be Fooled by “Experts”
  • Chapter 22 Flight Simulator
  • Chapter 23 Everyone is in Sales — And Customer Services Too for that Matter
  • Chapter 24 Who Got You Here? — Never Forget Your Roots
  • Chapter 25 Microphones & Megaphones, Mirrors & Windows
  • Chapter 26 Teenagers — What They Can Teach You About Emotional Intelligence
  • Chapter 27 Learn to Speak — Do It Often and Have Fun Doing It
  • Chapter 28 Love the Place You Are In
  • Chapter 29 Don’t Drink the Ouzo — Work Intentionally
  • Chapter 30 Home is Not Where You Go When You Are Tired of Being Nice to People
  • Chapter 31 Become Conscious
  • Chapter 32 You Have the Body of a World-Class Athlete — Being a Great Leader Starts Within You
  • Chapter 33 Run a Marathon or Something Else Really Stupid
  • Chapter 34 School is Never Out — Just When You Thought You Had Learned It All
  • Chapter 35 Create Cloud Time and Solve the World’s Problems — At Least the Problems in Your World
  • Chapter 36 Everything Matters — Absolutely Everything

Key Features

Here are some of the key features of It’s Already Inside:

  • Authentic.  It’s written in a conversational, open, honest, and down-to-Earth way.  It’s easy to relate to, and easy to imagine Murray across from the table, speaking as a friend.
  • Short chapters.  The book is easy to flip through and find quick gems of insight.
  • Story-Driven.  Murray shares his insight with little stories that drive the point home or lead us to “ah-has” or remind us in a gentle way of a truth we know we need to pay more attention to.
  • Discovery questions for reflection and clarity.   Murray includes a choice set of questions and exercises among the chapters to give you a way practice what you learn, or to take it to a deeper level.

Here is a sampling of some of my favorite insights and nuggets from the It’s Already Inside:

Mirrors and Windows

Murray uses a great metaphor of mirrors and windows for thinking about the successes and failures that you face as a leader and as a team.  Murray writes:

“I’ve had some remarkable successes along the way, but they were all successes because of the team I had working with me.  The failures were because of me.  That is the essence of leadership.  When times are good, look out the window at your team.  When times are less than good, look in the mirror because world-class leaders always take ultimate responsibility.  And, great leaders encourage every leader in the organization to push boundaries, knowing full well that mistakes will be made, lessons will be learned, and employees, customers, and shareholders will prosper because of it.”

Create Cloud Time

One of the ways Murray suggest we can be more productive, more creative, and better leaders is to decompress and create more “cloud time.”   According to Murray, it’s a quietness in our minds where we can hear our own thoughts.  Murray writes:

“I came to the realization a number of years ago that I was far more productive at my job, far more strategic, and a far better leader when I carved out time in each day and during the business week to goof off!  I call it ‘cloud time.’ When you were a kid, did you ever lie flat out on a piece of grass and stare up at the clouds? … Our imaginations went wild.”

Ten-Point List for Lifelong Learning

Murray shares a pragmatic approach to continue your personal development and lead a life of learning:

  1. Get a mentor.
  2. Be a mentor.
  3. Get a mastermind partner.
  4. Turn into a habitual personal planner.
  5. Turn your commute into a university.
  6. Always be reading something.
  7. Stay abreast of business news and always be thinking, “If I were CEO of that organization, what would I do?”
  8. Do what you say you are going to do.
  9. Learn to say “No.”
  10. Go to workshops!

Home is Not Where You Go When You are Tired of Being Nice to People

Murray reminds us that friends and family are where your trusted support network is, and that they will be there long after the job.  He encourages us to setup a process for decompressing between work and home.  Murray writes:

“I was not switching gears from young leader and budding executive to husband, partner, friend, and father.  Yet, when I drove back in the next morning and went for a run before starting work, I had at least two hours where I mentally prepared for being a leader again.  I was failing to decompress from the day and get my head into my family.

My family was getting an up-tight, highly wired bundle of negative energy when I got home – they weren’t experiencing the person they could look up to and rely on as an unconditionally loving part of their lives.  I started a new regime of turning off my cell phone when I got in my car.  I turned my sound system in the car on to listen to great music and inspiring tapes from respected leaders who talked about achieving balance.”

Get the Book

It’s Already Inside: Nurturing Your Innate Leadership for Business and Life Success by Robert S. Murray is available on Amazon:

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Image by Parker Knight.

3 Comments on "It’s Already Inside: Nurturing Your Innate Leadership for Business and Life Success (Book Review)"

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  1. Leadership: It’s Already Inside – Promises | January 27, 2013
  1. Viv says:

    Now I’m intrigued! I wonder what Yoda has to say about ‘There is No “Try”: Only “Do” or “Do Not”’ from Chapter 20.

  2. JD says:

    @ Viv — It’s actually a great little chapter on going from “can’t” to “can.” In Murray’s words, “Can’t doesn’t live here anymore.”

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