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Building a Mindset for Exceptional Leadership

This book explores eight of the primary shifts in mindset that enable exceptional leaders to think above the crowd.

Exceptional leaders think above the crowd.

I have worked with many good leaders. Most work very hard, but sometimes it seems like they are in a vaudeville act spinning lots of plates on sticks. They rush from plate to plate keeping some spinning while others come crashing to the ground. They may be well respected in their organization or industry, but they feel stressed and are often overwhelmed.

Exceptional leaders stand out from their plate spinning peers. They have more impact with much less visible effort. They tend to lead highly energetic and talented organizations. What’s different? These leaders have cultivated a fundamentally different mindset that changes their whole approach to work.


100+ Questions

This guide is for executives who wish to lead their software development organizations through the chaos of the wild to their highest potential.

Project teams should build smart, aggressive plans that enable them to make commitments to their management and ultimately their customers. A smart plan is one that is well thought out to provide the quickest, high-value option possible. The “quickest” refers to the design approach. Being quick should always be paired with commitments the team can keep, or even exceed.

I have found over and over again teams build plans and deliver results based on the questions that leaders ask. Building smart plans quickly with low effort requires leadership to ask the questions that drive the kind of results you want. In other words, this book of questions was created to set and reinforce expectations of excellence in the teams that build your products.

The questions are overlapping on purpose. Vary the questions and keep your teams thinking. For any project plan review, please add your own situational awareness and judgment and customize/eliminate questions for your situation.

LEADING THE UNLEADABLE: How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas, and Other Difficult People

Prepare to transform the troublesome into the tremendous with LEADING THE UNLEADABLE.
The control-freak, the narcissist, the slacker, the cynic…Difficult people are the worst part of a manager’s job. What sets great managers apart is the ability to turn these problem personalities into productive team players.

  • Master the necessary mindset
  • Explain problems calmly in short feedback sessions
  • Get a commitment to change, and follow up
  • Coach others to replicate the process
  • Develop the situational awareness required to spot trouble even earlier in the future


“Whether you’re new to leadership ranks, a veteran, or recently promoted from one leadership role to another, Alan Willett’s Unleadable will lead you through the quagmire of difficult issues in turbulent times.  Alan gives you the courage and skills to lead in tough situations, with tough people, in a tough environment.
Alan Weiss, PhD

Author, Public Speaker, Entrepreneur

“Alan’s book is timely, topical and extremely valuable. Alan’s “out of the box” thinking is refreshing, challenging, wise and always useful. I highly recommend this book to leaders, potential leaders and the unleadable.
Barry Dwolatzky

Director, Director, Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Interested in a Book Talk, Guest Blog or Event?

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