The L.E.A.R.N.E.D. Leader

An Allegory About Navigating Change

When Mike Townsend is suddenly thrown into the position of interim CEO of a specialty chemicals company after the death of the founder and owner, he is overwhelmed with the issues in the organization that must make some dramatic changes to survive. He has six months to put the new company on track to success and to decide if he will take on the role as permanent CEO and new owner of the company. Mike hires Sandy Bishop, an executive coach to help him with the business, organizational and personal challenges. Through coaching conversations she guides his growth to become a L.E.A.R.N.E.D Leader, one who Listens using active listening techniques, Examines through Appreciative Inquiry and Powerful Questions, Accepts without judging, Reflects on learning, Navigates the way forward by setting goals and defining success, Engages all the stakeholders, and, Does take action. The story has a major emphasis on the interaction between the leader and the executive coach, demonstrating the impact of an effective coach.

From the Author

During my long career, first as a scientist, then as a business executive and entrepreneur, I read hundreds, if not thousands, of books, articles, and magazines, trying to learn that one magical tip, the one great idea that would change me from being an amateur to a respected colleague. Surprise. There is no one magic tip. No secret. No single book. It’s all of them. It’s the conglomerate of learning. But more important, it’s not just reading the information, but incorporating the ideas into your everyday life and work. It’s replacing your old ways of thinking with the new ideas and replacing your old actions with new ones. I learned that reading the books wasn’t enough. To incorporate the ideas, I had to actively and consciously put them into my daily routine then reflect on how this new method fit me. I had to modify the methods to fit my style and circumstances. I had to make the ideas part of me. This book is a story about fictional characters who travel through a maze of changes, toward leadership and success. The main character is guided through the journey by a professional coach as he becomes a L.E.A.R.N.E.D. Leader.

The only thing we know for sure is that everything will change. And, that change will be unpredictable in time and in intensity. What we don’t know is how we will react to change. Leaders embrace change with curiosity and optimism, recognizing that only through change can people and situations evolve and become better. This book is an allegory about a young man who is faced with a challenge and an opportunity. He works with a leadership coach to develop his skills as a L.E.A.R.N.E.D. Leader. By using these skills, he navigates change and leads his team to a better future.
Learned (leŕ-ned) is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as “characterized by or associated with learning; erudite, such as a learned scholar.”
So, if you are not facing a major change right now, inevitably you will in the future. Practice becoming a L.E.A.R.N.E.D. Leader and be ready to make the most of that change.

What a wonderful, thoughtful, easy-to-read book! Stephanie says “there is no one magic tip”, but this book should definitely be part of your “conglomerate of learning”. Using the story of Mike, newly thrust into an executive leadership role “The LEARNED Leader” provides a realistic, step-by-step approach to conquering the challenges faced by leaders every day. I recommend this be read and referred to by leaders at all levels.

Margo Boster - Impaq Solutions

Your book really touched home for me.  I just ordered 4 more copies to be given to my leadership team and am excited to see their eyes open!

Robert Feathers - President, Workspace Interiors, Inc.

In the end, Dr. Olexa succeeds in this walk through real life because she understands that people are humans first and business decision makers second.  Leading a team with an understanding of that fact in mind may be her biggest lesson in the book. successfully leading a business through any traumatic period obviously requires a solid understanding of business issues, but will only be meaningfully achieved when led through thoughtful engagement of the people surrounding you.

Wayne Barz - Ben Franklin TechVentures