New Book From Psychologist-Turned-Leadership Consultant Dr. Kathryn D. Cramer Titled "Lead Positive"

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Cramer lays out a three-part framework that will teach leaders how to approach themselves, others, and the situations they find themselves in from a base of positivity.



Lead Positive gives leaders a playbook for how to be courageous, resilient, and optimistic as they spearhead positive change. —John C. Maxwell, bestselling author and speaker

Today’s leaders face intense pressure to deliver results in an uncertain, chaotic, and high-stress business environment. Under such circumstances, most leaders fall victim to their built-in “negativity bias” – the neural circuitry of the brain that compels us to respond faster and more intensely to problems than possibilities. And when a leader is caught up in negativity bias, they are blind to the assets and advantages inherent in a stressful situation, triggering a downward spiral that brings their followers and the organization down with them.

The traditional solution to this problem is to simply “think positive.” But psychologist-turned-leadership consultant Dr. Kathryn D. Cramer argues that in the realm of high-stakes leadership, positive thinking only has an impact if it ultimately influences what you say and what you do. In her new book, LEAD POSITIVE: What Highly Effective Leaders See, Say, and Do (Jossey-Bass; March 17, 2014), Cramer lays out a three-part framework that will teach leaders how to approach themselves, others, and the situations they find themselves in from a base of positivity. She argues that by shifting what you see, say and do toward assets and possibilities, leaders will solve problems faster, inspire followers, react better to crises and conflict, improve organizational culture, and get better results over the long-term – and feel more hopeful and happier about the future than they ever thought possible.

Cramer is a licensed psychologist whose previous book, Change the Way You See Everything, revealed how the slightest shift in perception can yield monumental results. Her signature approach – called Asset-Based Thinking (ABT) – resonated with thousands, making the book a breakthrough New York Times bestseller and leveraging her previous two spots on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Seeing the need to translate the insights from her years as a psychologist into concrete tools for leaders struggling to meet the challenges of today’s economic climate, Cramer has spent the past 30 years as a speaker, trainer, and consultant to the business community. Under her leadership, organizations such as DuPont, Microsoft, Starbucks, Peabody Energy, Deloitte & Touche, MasterCard and the US Air Force have adopted ABT approaches to developing their leaders and managing change. In LEAD POSITIVE, Cramer has taken the fundamentals of ABT and converted them into a playbook designed specifically for leaders, and those who train them.

The need for asset-based thinking at the highest levels of leadership could not be more urgent. Cramer’s research, corroborated by others, shows that people have a bias toward deficit-based thinking that follows the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time, leaders are on the alert for what is not working, what the mistakes are, and what course-corrections are needed. If they’re lucky, 20 percent of the time they focus on the upside of a given situation and how they can leverage those possibilities. And ironically, the situations most likely to trigger deficit-based thinking – angry clients, revenue shortfalls, disruptive new competitors, and a constantly shifting landscape – are the ones that stand to benefit the most from asset-based thinking. In LEAD POSITIVE, Cramer offers a framework that will help leaders flip the 80/20 rule so that they spend more of their time on the positive side of the ledger, whether they’re managing the latest crisis, trying to implement a major change in the organization, or simply trying to inspire followers.

Grounded in the latest insights from neuroscience and psychology as well as real-life application in organizations, LEAD POSITIVE offers assessments, tools, exercises, and first-hand case studies that work together to help leaders shift three things:

  • What they SEE – how to see more of the possibilities than the problems of any given situation
  • What they SAY – how to connect the positive things you see to what you say to others
  • What they DO – how to use the positive trajectory of what you see and say to act intentionally

When leaders employ an asset-based approach to leadership, they make sure that the possibilities they see influences what they say to others, which determines the actions the organization ultimately takes. By creating a holistic framework, Dr. Cramer ensures that positive thinking doesn’t simply end with good intentions, but that it influences behaviors and outcomes. LEAD POSITIVE also provides eminently practical tools and exercises to help leaders shift their minds to the positive side of the ledger – a seemingly simple act that starts a chain reaction that cascades first through the leader, then through followers, and ultimately the entire organization. By providing leaders with tangible ways to harness optimism, LEAD POSITIVE is an essential guidebook for every business leader today.

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Amy Packard
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