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Transforming Leaders Into Progress Makers

Transforming Leaders Into Progress Makers
Leadership for the 21st Century

First Edition

July 2010 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Leadership Solutions

Progress: the focus of a new perspective on leadership

Weaving together original research, novel strategies and tactics, and stories of successful leaders, this book provides insight into how to become a progress-making leader. Written by an academic and a business executive, the book provides actionable ideas grounded in sound research and tested in real organizations.

Find out more!

1. Click on the Features/New to this Edition tab above for more information about the book.

2. Visit the authors' website for teaching and learning resources:

3. Watch the video! A video touching on some of the issues covered in the book is available on YouTube: click here to watch the video. This video is a great resource that can be used in the classroom to launch discussion about the nature of leadership.


1. Introduction
Our Purpose

Our Approach

2. Exploring
Attributes of Explorers

Exploring and Progress Making

Concluding Thoughts

3. Refining
Attributes of Refiners

Refining and Progress making

Concluding Thoughts

4. Platforms
How Platforms Emerge

Features of Platforms

Concluding Thoughts

5. Progress
Defining Progress

Implications of the Progress Definition

Concluding Thoughts

Progress Maker Profile: Oscar Boldt and The Boldt Company

6. The Progress Model
How the Progress Model Works

So What?

Concluding Thoughts

7. How Explorers and Refiners Make Progress
The Explorers Mode of Making Progress

The Refiners Mode of Making Progress

The Challenges Faced by Explorers and Refiners

Concluding Thoughts

8. Progress Makers
The Central Conundrum

The Progress Maker’s Response

Making the Right Choices

Progress Maker Profile: Ron Reed and the Discovery Channel

9. Envision the Future with Calculated Boldness
Defining the Concept

What Inhibits Calculated Boldness

What to Do?

Concluding Thoughts

Progress Maker Profile: Brigadier General H.R. McMaster

10. Cultivate a Focused Flexibility Mindset
A Deeper Look at Focus and Flexibility

Why is Focused Flexibility so Difficult?

What to Do?

Concluding Thoughts

11. Enlarge the Circle of Engagement
The Concept

Why Don’t We Enlarge the Circle?

How do You Enlarge the Circle of Engagement?

Concluding Thoughts

Progress Maker Profile: Vicki Wilson and Door County Coffee & Tea

12. Foster the Growth of Investment-Worthy Employees
Defining the Concept


What to Do?

Concluding Thoughts

13. Seek, Nurture and Evaluate Actionable Ideas
Defining the Concept

Phases to Generate Actionable Ideas


What to Do?

Concluding Thoughts

Progress Maker Profile: Laura Hollingsworth and The Des Moines Register & Gannett

14. Select, Detect, and Correct the Proper Errors

Error Management Framework

The Counter Forces

What to Do?

Concluding Thoughts

15. Practice Receiver-Centric, Strategy-Based, Feedback-Driven Communication
Defining the Concept


What to Do?

Concluding Thoughts

16. Conclusion
Appendix 1: Progress Makers
Appendix 2: UMM and the Origins of Focused Flexibility
About the Authors

This book will quickly become required reading for all who aspire to organizational leadership. Phil Clampitt and Robert DeKoch have crafted an insightful and practical approach to leadership development. Packed with organizational examples from their extensive business experiences, the book draws from a broad array of literature in management, science, arts and technology to explore change, innovation and other strategic leadership issues. The book is not only readable, but hard to put down.

Angela Brenton
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

This book contains concepts and insights that advance the study and practice of leadership. It is to be celebrated equally for its humility as well as its assertions. Here there are no false claims of certainty demonstrating that the authors practice what they preach. Instead of punctuating their work with a declarative statement of truth they enjoin the reader to refine and explore. The authors are in search of a more sustainable form of leadership, a project that could be the next great platform of leadership theory.

George Reed
University of San Diego

"The book is filled with rich and diverse business examples that challenge the reader to re-evaluate long-held "truths" about how to move an organization ahead, in spite of inevitable roadblocks along the way."

Jeannette Terry
Director of Americas, Global Leadership Alliance

"Clampitt and DeKoch enhance the reader's understanding of their model by providing compelling examples of leaders who have transformed their organizations into highly effective, successful organizations; true Progress Makers."

Rick Fantini
Executive Vice President for Appleton Coated

"Underpinning their theory are practical tools to help leaders make the right day-to day choices and transform themselves into true "Progress Makers." This is a must-read for navigating these extremely uncertain times and moving your company forward."

Terri Pawer
COO of Dental City

Content was not appropriate for course objectives.

Dr Mary Weber
Ctr for new Learning, University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh
March 22, 2013

Very quick and informative read. Great text to compliment other readings. I recommend!

Mr Brian Agnew
Deans Office, Rutgers University
September 18, 2011
Key features

Key Features:

  • The Progress Model: This framework shows how progress can be made by exploring (trying something new), refining (improving existing ways of doing business) and establishing platforms (a way of completing a task or providing a service)
  • Demonstrates the clear link between strategy and tactics: Helps readers see the distinction between the two and shows that while effective leaders focus on certain strategies, they may use a wide variety of tactics to implement each strategy
  • Progress Maker Profiles: Provide examples of real-world leaders who have moved their organizations forward by utilizing the Progress Model; case studies include a coffee entrepreneur, a general in the U.S. Army, a newspaper editor-in-chief, and a Fortune 500 executive
  • Includes a wealth of new leadership research: Findings are provided from interviews with over 50 leaders, and surveys of over 1,000 employees about how their organizations manage uncertainty and of over 200 employees about how they organizations manage errors