I read a ton of leadership books every year. While they all are unique in some form or another, they typically state a problem, reasons for the problem and some insightful ways to overcome the problem. A very broad description, but quite accurate in my opinion. When I began reading Full Steam Ahead!, I approached it with the expectation of having this type of structure. What I found was much, much different.

I was drawn into a story of a chance meeting between two people who were in two very different stages in life. I got a “fly on the wall” view into their relationship, their struggles and their discoveries into how vision is interlaced amongst all the various corners of our lives. Ellie and Jim took me on a journey of the fears and uncertainties that come with trying to craft a vision not just for a company, but for their lives as well. It wasn’t neat and tidy, but rather messy and dotted with mistakes. It was honest and authentic without trying to present a pristine view of how everything should happen. The reality of it all was amazingly refreshing.

Some of the high points I found in the book were:

  • How to use the three elements to create a powerful and enduring vision
  • The process to create a vision that engages the hearts and minds of everyone on your team and throughout the company
  • How to create a vision for your own life that provides meaning and direction

Ken Blanchard and Jesse Lyn Stoner take great care to lay out exactly what vision is, and what it is not. They also painstakingly wade through the fluff to point out why vision is important. Because vision has been done so poorly, many of us have developed a perception of vision as this “pie in the sky” statement that is more often framed than lived out. Ken and Jesse make it a point to get their hands dirty by digging into why so few people are guided by vision.

All too often we want the end result. So many authors cater to this and just feed us the what but leave the how dangling somewhere in the nether regions of learning. Not Ken and Jesse. The entire storyline of the book is underscored by revealing the value of the process of creating vision as equally important as what the vision is meant to communicate.

Don’t mistake the superficial simplicity of the story for lack of content and depth. Full Steam Ahead! is definitely a valuable piece of reference material that should be a part of any professional’s library and easily found. If you haven’t purchased the 2nd edition of Full Steam Ahead!, let me encourage you to do so. May 2-6 is a special time when all proceeds from book sales will be donated to Give Kids The World.

They are a non-profit organization that exists only to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids The World Village for as long as there is a need.

Help make a difference in a child’s life while making a difference in your own. Buy Full Steam Ahead! before the 6th of May.