Forbes Books, 2018
There is perhaps nothing more ubiquitous in the world of books than self-help or inspirational literature. However, once a sub-genre, leadership literature, that is, motivational books for business and management, have certainly risen to the top. It would be too easy and too foolish to dismiss such work because it is obviously striking a chord with readers and fulfilling a need. What is fascinating is how this need goes unnamed and unfulfilled even with the vast amounts of literature orbiting it. In a way, leadership literature is a kind of search for a Holy Grail, a quest to discover the one true path to success.
So when we approach leadership literature we must ask, what is the author’s motivation for writing? It’s a painfully simple and obvious question, but one that far too often readers fail to ask and, if they do, fail to answer. Authors will frequently obfuscate, muddying the waters of this question or avoiding it altogether by masking their motivations in corporate jargon and/or the mystical code words of self-help. Thus, when an author lays all their cards out on the table from the get-go, they assert their credibility. Such is the case with Carla Moore in her new book Crash! Leading Through the Wreckage.
Moore doesn’t open her book with corporate platitudes, rather her personal story of surviving a harrowing automobile accident (her title is no mere metaphor). It is this moment Moore constantly refers back to and draws strength.
Reading Crash! we encounter a powerful voice, one that goes beyond confident, fixated not on necessarily imparting knowledge, specialized techniques, or even profound personal affirmation but rather on stoking insight, on bringing out the highest qualities in others. This is another quality separating Moore’s book from her peers, she is passionately focused on drawing out excellence by instilling confidence. Her leadership doesn’t bully, nit-pick, passive-aggressively sulk, lie, cheat, or steal. The leadership presented in Crash! is the kind tempered in fire made to be the best tool for others to use.
This kind of leadership, restorative though critical, she calls enlightened leadership:
“Enlightened leaders know who they are and what they are here for; they no longer feel a need to compete and prove how good they are. Instead of showing the world how good they are, enlightened leaders help other people discover how good others can be.”
This is such a vital distinction. Many and most corporate thinking convinces itself it must be predatory at all times while constantly pushing limits. Moore’s track asserts provoking and developing the quality of those around you, deepening their knowledge and expanding their experience, creates the greatest value for the least cost because it is is lasting excellence and regenerative.
Throughout her book Moore lays the groundwork for those readers looking to improve or become enlightened leaders. But her book isn’t just for leaders, it also for those who want to be led. A leadership structure or, rather, point of view advocated by Moore isn’t just empowering for team leaders it is enlivening for team members. Competency too often is quashed by poor leadership creating a corporate climate or business culture where employees loathe work and hold hierarchies in contempt. Moore’s techniques of self-evaluation and naked critique seen in the ‘Pit Stop’ sections after each of her chapters where she tasks readers with answering intense personal and professional questions intend to move readers towards a deeper understanding of their life/work balance.
Moore moves gracefully and authoritatively as her prose challenges negative self-talk while demanding more and better from self and context. She sees this as something involving everyone, “Crash moments are transformation in disguise: for you and everyone around you.” Crash! Leading Through the Wreckage will augment any executive’s library providing not just a resource but a prompt to re-evaluate not just how to achieve success but also what exactly success looks like.
Carla began working at HBO 20 years ago and has since worked her way up from an entry-level sales trainer in Atlanta to her current role as Vice President, Point of Sale Strategy in New York City. She is an active member in the communications industry and serves on the national board of NAMIC (National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications). Carla earned her MBA at Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago and is a graduate of two leading industry leadership programs, CTAM U at Harvard Business School and NAMIC’s ELDP at Darden School of Business at UVA. Her most fulfilling work is through her community service as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In addition to her role at HBO, Carla is a leadership author, transformation speaker, and certified professional coach. She is passionate about sharing her story and has engaged over 10,000 people through her public speaking and life coaching and has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Bold TV and other media outlets. Her mission is to inspire others to “live the life you’ve imagined!”