Heroic Leadership

Undoubtedly much has been written about heroes, leaders, and I am sure, heroic leaders.  When I think about heroic leadership, I am particularly drawn to a book by Chris Lowney, entitled “Heroic Leadership”.  

The following is from Chris’ website where his book is discussed:

“Chris Lowney’s landmark first book, Heroic Leadership… has been translated into eleven languages. Used widely in corporations and charitable organizations, it has also become a staple of business school and college curricula. The book challenges our assumptions and stereotypes about leadership and invites each reader to embrace his or her own leadership opportunity and responsibility.

“Drawing on Chris’s unique background as a one-time Jesuit seminarian who later served as a Managing Director of JP Morgan & Co, Heroic Leadership paints a refreshing new vision of who leaders are and how they live. Specifically, Chris articulates four pillars of great leadership: leaders are self-aware, heroic, ingenious, and loving. That is, they know themselves deeply, live for “heroic” purposes greater than self, adapt confidently to a rapidly changing world, and respect the dignity and potential of those around them.

“Chris illustrates these four pillars through fascinating vignettes from the history of a 450-year-old company that changed the world. That unlikely company? The Jesuits.”

From my perspective, Heroic Leadership is a fascinating book not only about the Jesuits but also about leadership. As Chris writes in the book, “Founded in 1540 by 10 men with no capital and no business plan, the Jesuits built, within one generation, the world’s most influential company of its kind. They built the world’s largest higher education network … by the late 18th century, by one estimate, the Jesuits were educating nearly 20% of all Europeans pursuing a classical education and had more than 700 secondary schools and colleges sprawled across five continents”.

To me, it’s fascinating to see what the Jesuits accomplished with just 10 people who had a burning passion and deep desire to make a difference in the world.  Much the same I am sure can be said of the inspirational and heroic work of Mother Emilie Gamelin, who founded the Sisters of Providence in 1843.

I think that we sometimes underestimate the impact that just one person or a few people can have.  There is no question that each of you can have a great impact on helping our organization achieve the mission and vision for Providence Health & Services.

For your information, Chris Lowney was previously the board chair of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) which like Providence Health & Services is one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in the United States.

Heroic leadership efforts are underway here each and every day. The work that you do makes a difference and I want to thank you for what you do.

All the best,