Sunday, April 19, 2020

Book Review: Leading from the Roots by Kathleen Allen

Book Title: Leading by the Roots
Book Author: Kathleen Allen
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐⭐) 

In Leading by the Roots, Dr. Kathleen Allen addresses the complexity of leadership and its practices through a unique correlation to nature. During the current season of uncertainty for organizations, which stems from the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe that Allen’s text is a must-read. 

Right now, the leadership teams within an organization is key to the survival of the organization and collaboration among colleagues. This text not only supports this belief, but it provides concrete evidence that this is true, as well as illuminates ways that an organization can transform by implementation of specific practices.

Now more than ever, the role(s) of leaders in an organization is immensely important to its productivity and morale among colleagues. According to Allen, cooperation is important to leadership with an organization. Thus, Allen promotes the identification of interdependency among leadership teams and colleagues. An example of an exercise to identify the interdependency is included in Chapter 5. Through this identification of how each member of the team is interdependent, a shared purposed can be established.

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I was intrigued by how the text identifies an aspect of nature and its correlation to successful leadership. The evidence-based descriptions of the correlation are very clear. Allen encourages the examination of nature principles to successfully transform organizations to be more efficient and productive. 

In each chapter of the book, Allen presents important concepts, lessons, and suggestions to address different aspects of organizational culture that can negatively impact its success. For example, Chapter 5, Nature Rewards Cooperation, suggests the articulation of a shared organizational purpose, the building of integrative power, and the enhancing of intrinsic responsibility through the creation of systems and policies. Additionally, this chapter encourages the development of trust and trustworthiness for cooperation within the organization. 

Since COVID-19 has surprisingly transformed organizational culture in every aspect, reading this text can help leadership teams tread through the unfamiliar and uncertain waters to continue leading their teams. I believe everyone in any organization should read this text. Readers will not be disappointed. This book contains a wealth of knowledge that can be implemented. I know that I plan to use this text to teach my graduate students in the Rural Public Policy and Planning program.

About the Book
Leadership Lessons Inspired by Nature

NEW YORK—SEPTEMBER 4, 2018—Morgan James’s new release, Leading from the Roots: Nature-Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World by Dr. Kathleen E. Allen, is a primer for applying the laws of nature to business practices, taking organizations and leaders to higher performance levels and more meaningful missions.

The concepts presented by Dr. Allen in Leading from the Roots map nature’s underlying design and principles across organizational contexts. The author carefully explains how to use nature as a model, mentor and muse to rethink how leadership is practiced todayLeading from the Roots will help any organization find a new way of leading and designing workplace structure by applying the generous framework found in mature ecologies to human organizations.

“As I furthered my study of nature and biomimicry I came to the understanding that organizations are not inert objects as the more traditional mindset would have us believe. They are living systems with the capacity to evolve and learn just as nature has always done,” says Dr. Allen. “I wrote this book in the hope that others too could realize how organizations can become more generous by operating with a living system mindset. After all, the best business leaders understand that the ultimate goal is not just to contribute to the bottom line but to give back to our communities and the world in a meaningful, sustainable way.”

Dr. Allen introduces the “living system mindset” as an alternative to a traditional, top-down leadership paradigm. She helps shift assumptions, practices, structures and processes of organizations to become more resilient and nourishing for everyone, and demonstrates how to apply the laws of nature to business, helping leaders “design” their way out of workplace dysfunction and unnecessary drama.

To begin, Dr. Allen takes readers through the definition of living systems and generous organizations, making a compelling case for the need to shift traditional leadership practices toward those that are healthier for the organization, for the human beings working there, for our communities and for our world. Each chapter within Leading from the Roots delivers an absorbing dive into the laws of nature that help it thrive, from discussions on diversity and self-organization, to the ways in which nature adapts and fits form into function in a successful, thriving ecosystem.

Leading from the Roots demonstrates to the reader how to apply the primary lessons of nature to build stronger leadership skills for the 21st century. Dr. Allen’s gift for storytelling creates a captivating look at how organisms reduce waste and increase efficiencies, and the ways in which creative, forward-thinking leaders and managers can use these concepts.  The author clearly provides compelling proof that adopting a new, nature-inspired leadership mindset can create organizations that are more innovative, have greater productivity, and more importantly, help leaders pursue a healthy, sustainable, mission-driven purpose for the entire organization.

About the Author: President of Kathleen Allen and Associates, Dr. Kathleen Allen specializes in leadership coaching and organizational change in human service non-profit organizations, foundations, businesses, health care and collaborative networks. She is a prolific writer and speaker on topics related to leadership, human development, and organizational development. Dr. Allen holds a Doctorate in Leadership from the University of San Diego. For more information visit

More About This Title:
Leading from the Roots: Nature-Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World by Dr. Kathleen E. Allen, will be released by Morgan James Publishing on September 4, 2018. Leading from the Roots—ISBN 978-1683508496—has 204 pages and is being sold as a trade paperback for $19.95.

About Morgan James Publishing:
Morgan James publishes trade quality titles designed to educate, encourage, inspire, or entertain readers with current, consistent, relevant topics that are available everywhere books are sold.

Friday, April 17, 2020

4 Books that Make You Think

I am addicted to books that challenge me and often present complex thoughts and ideas. With COVID-19 forcing all of us to challenge how we view what our normal lives are, I thought that I would share a list of books that resonated with me long after I finished reading the very last word.

1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I gave this text  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(5 stars on Goodreads). My book review on Americanah explains why I was so pleased with this text. I devoured it as I read each page. This text is very thought-provoking and will keep you engaged until the last page. 

2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I rated this text ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(5 stars on Goodreads). This book is one that I can read several times and still discover something new. The Alchemist is laced with so many life lessons that I can use to transform my personal and professional lives. I think that teenagers should be required to read this text because it can help them focus more on how they want to shape the trajectory of their lives.

3. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I was first introduced to this book by my oldest son, who was assigned to read it by his high school English teacher. I believe every African American male should read this text. My copy is signed by the Honorable John Lewis. I met him at the Atlanta airport, and I grabbed the first thing I could to get his signature. The only thing I had was this text, which is very precious to me. When I finished this book, I rated it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(5 stars on Goodreads).

4. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I rated this text ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4 stars on Goodreads). I think this book is a perfect read while we are dealing with COVID-19. The premise of this book revolves around the idea that watching television is more important and essential than reading literature. REading was taboo and almost extinct in the world that Ray Bradbury creates. This book reminded of the Denzel Washington movie, The Book of Eli. If books were banned, I don't know how I would survive.

Have you read any of these books? What am I missing from this list? Leave me a comment.

*This post contains some affiliate links so you can easily find the books that I recommend.

my currently-reading shelf:
Cassandra Hawkins Wilder's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (currently-reading shelf)

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