» Are you a mountaineer or a mountain guide? Are you a mountaineer or a mountain guide? – David Marquet

Are you a mountaineer or a mountain guide?

Can you really be a better leader in just 9 minutes? That’s the premise of James Robbins’ new book, 9 Minutes on Monday.

Currently on Amazon there are 365,000 books in the leadership and management category. That’s 1000 for every day of the year. Why should you care about another one.

James Robbins grew up at the base of the Canadian Rockies. Inspired by the mountains, he combined his love of climbing with his passion for people. Initially propelled to be a preacher, corporations became interested in his secular leadership seminars where he combined his honest, observation of the human condition with his experiences climbing mountains (both as mountaineer and guide). He has a program and now a book.

The title refers to a reflective and structured 9 minutes at the start of every week where leaders actively decide what actions they will take during the week when interacting with their subordinates. I like this approach, as it is habit-centric in that the focus is on the behavior.

Secondly, the content is good. Rife with mountain climbing stories, James deconstructs the elements of good leadership in today’s world where thinking is the most important activity your people do.

James makes the case that humans, including you and your subordinates, are motivated by 4 primary and 5 secondary needs. The 4 primary needs are:

  1. Care
  2. Mastery
  3. Recognition
  4. Purpose

The 5 secondary needs are:

  1. Freedom
  2. Connect
  3. Play
  4. Model
  5. Grow

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 3.20.49 PMHe has chapters for each of these needs and provides concrete behaviors for how to meet the need for yourself and your employees. Throughout the book are woven some more enduring themes such as trust.

I found the book helpful, practical, and coaching without pontificating. It’s a welcome addition to any leadership library and would also serve as a supplemental text or workbook for organizations wanting to improve the leadership skills of their people.

Take “9 Minutes on Monday” to be a better leader.

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