Lee Thayer is known around the world for his pioneering work in making high-performance organizations and the leadership required to do so. He is also known for his acerbic wit, his engaging style of leading by questioning, and his incomparable work as a problem-solver, both at the personal and the organizational level. In either role, as his many books show, he has no peer.
Thayer is a “pragmatic idealist.” He believes people should start with a vision of the ideal, but think about and do everything according to their unique circumstances.
A high-performance organization is one that actually does everything better than any organization with which it might be compared. A high-performance person is measured in the same way. It is the person’s performance and the organization’s performance in the real world that matter. That’s the pragmatic side. To establish a standard which others must then surpass is the ideal side.
It isn’t what you know that creates excellence in performance. You can know everything there is to know about management (of oneself, or of one’s organization) and still be a lousy manager, to paraphrase Charles Handy. (Handy is the British version of Peter Drucker.) It is the impact of the performance itself.
Leadership is all about influencing others on the path to great and worthy purposes, which is Thayer’s forte. If you don’t have a great and worthy purpose for yourself and for your organization, who cares? You can be conventional with very little effort.
Thayer started life as a unique and effective problem-solver for many of the Fortune 500 companies and their leaders. He is still at it, at age ninety, consulting and holding forth in every kind of venue with his smash-face approach. Why? Because everything depends upon its implementation. You either have the conviction for making a better life for yourself or your organization or you don’t. People may “want” a good life for themselves and for everyone in their organization and everyone they deal with. But few will persevere, which is what it takes. He has learned in the trenches with his clients how to make this happen. It requires determination. It’s hard work changing an organization’s ways. It is harder still changing an individual’s ways – his or her habits of thinking, of being, and thus of doing.
He and his work (reflected in his many writings) are indeed the game-changers par excellence.
To create excellence in the world, you must be able to think excellently about what needs thinking about, and you must be capable of performing the kind of leadership that makes it possible for you to engage yourself or other people in making possible what is necessary, and making necessary what is possible.
That is the philosophy of the Institute that carries his work into the farthest reaches of this world of ours. We have the unique perspectives and the proven tools to help you make it happen. They are the most powerful ideas for potentiating people and organizations you could find anywhere.
- And They Lived Happily Ever… Before: What Love Has To Do With It…Or Not$9.99 – $29.99This book is about the apparent incompatibility of romantic love and conventional marriage. They go together (the popular song has it) like a horse and carriage. But if the horse is ailing or otherwise not up to the task, the carriage will slowly rot away in the carriage house. It is also about the perverse […]
- Leadership: Thinking, Being, Doing$9.99 – $19.99This book is for anyone who has to carry out real achievement, whether by choice or by happenstance. There are, after all, no leaders, at least not until historians dub them thus. There is only “leadership.” That’s what’s required when one can take on that role for purposes of changing history. That could be you. […]
- Life Left Over: An American Pandemic$9.99 – $19.99First, what this book is not about. It is not about prolonging life or about stopping aging. There are plenty of people gainfully employed in that industry. They also age and die just like the rest of us. You can easily buy a recipe or a magic potion for extending your life. Rather, this little […]
- Making Competent Organizations$9.99 – $29.99Travel where you will in today’s America, and you’re likely to be drawn into a conversation about mistreatment by one or more of today’s organizations. Someone ordered something. But when the order came it wasn’t what they ordered. Or “Your call is very important to us. That’s why you’re number 19 in the queue.” Doctors […]
- Meaning: The Stuff of the Mind$9.99 – $29.99Meaning is an indispensable condition of all life. We humans have the advantage (or disadvantage) of talking about it. For all other living things, it is a part of their built-in metabolism for growth and for survival. For good or ill, we humans have minds. And meaning is the stuff of human minds. This book explores in depth […]
- Perspectives: How Our Lives Get Channeled$9.99 – $29.99Perspective: How Our Lives Get Channeled takes you on an adventure, an adventure into why you are the way you are, and hence why the world you live in is the way you perceive it. It is a challenging adventure—this seeing why you are the way you are and your world is the way it […]
- Relationship$9.99 – $29.99Relationship is about all of the kinds of relationships people can have. It is about how relationships emerge. But it is also about how indispensable they are to our ongoing sense of being who we are in the worlds we inhabit. We have relationships with various people. But we also have relationships with our possessions, […]
- Relevance$9.99 – $29.99This book addresses the centrality of relevance in people’s health and lives. It is not about what is relevant to us, but to whom or to what we are relevant. Loss of relevance leads to the degeneration of mental and then physical health. Those who do not feel relevant to their world are the people […]
- How Executives Fail: 26 Surefire Recipes for Failing as an Executive$9.99 – $29.99For all those who would presume to manage a human enterprise, there are two ways of succeeding: One is to get lucky. The other is to avoid failing. It may seem perverse, but there are also two ways of failing: One is to follow one’s peers lemming-like down the slippery slope of mediocrity. The other […]
- The Competent Organization$9.99 – $29.99The Competent Organization is about how the chief executive—along with everyone else directly involved—needs to think about transforming an “okay” organization into a fully competent one. Everyone would like to have a more competent organization. There is a lot of fairy dust out there about how to accomplish that the easy way. But there is […]
- Leadership Virtuosity: A Trove of Virtuoso Ideas$9.99 – $29.99The concept of leadership virtuosity has been remarkably instrumental in raising the performance of organizations and their leaders wherever it has been applied. Based on the idea that leadership is ultimately a performing art, this book provides all of the background you might need to apply the concept in your home or your organization. As […]
- Mental Hygiene: Communication and the Health of the Mind$9.99 – $29.99One of the greatest gains in human health and longevity came not from medical “science” but from sanitation and hygiene. Why might this not also not be the case with our waning mental health and longevity? That is the question Mental Hygiene: Communication and the Health of the Mind takes on and then answers. It […]
- Explaining Things: Inventing Ourselves and Our Worlds$9.99 – $29.99Explaining Things: Inventing Ourselves and Our Worlds is about how we invent ourselves and our cultures by how we explain things. We invent our explanations, and then they invent us. It is a book about how we create our virtual worlds – the habitats of our minds – by how we explain things. It is […]
- Communication: A Pocket Oracle for Leaders$9.99 – $22.99Communication: A Pocket Oracle for Leaders will tell all of you leaders what you need to know about communication to enhance your everyday performance and thus enable your success. In 53 succinct chapters, this little book sets forth the basic issues you absolutely need to understand from a highly pragmatic point of view. Some of […]