I Should Write a Book

Many organizational leaders are inspired by management books, and quite a few have gone to the extremes of ordering the books for their leadership teams. Some even start book clubs or go through each book chapter by chapter in their meetings.

I’m an avid reader and have gone through a lot of management books in my time. Books on principles of leadership, leading without authority, team management, creativity, reward and recognition, communication, accountability, you name it, it’s out there.

Which brings me to a bright idea that I’ve been kicking around for a while. I should write a book. I can write inspirational stories that highlight Lean Six Sigma as the way to go… oh wait, that’s been done. OK, I can write a technically awe-inspiring tome chock full of statistical methods and applications… oh wait, that’s been done. Well, then I can write about Lean Six Sigma in a way that’s accessible to the general public… oh wait, that’s been done. Still, I think I could write a book. What might be the recipe for success?

I’d have to start with a great title. Now, many of the books that have caught the eye of leaders have numbers in them. For example, the one minute leader. Level three leadership. The four obsessions of leaders. The five obsessions ofleaders. Six thinking hats. Seven habits. Eight essential steps. Nine strategies. Ten principles. Twelve pillars. Twenty-two ways to develop leadership. 101 Management tips.

Another word in the title that catches the eye is theleader-oriented noun,as demonstrated in the titles above. Strategy, precept, pillar, principle, step, action, theory, law, science, practice, experience, philosophy, trait.

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Then, it’s essential to have “leader” somewhere in the title; and preferably, a sub-title that explains what the book is really about.

And, the name of an inspirational leader or group is very popular. Jesus, Sun Tzu, Lao Tzu, Colin Powell, the Marines, the Navy, Captain Kirk, Ghengis Kahn,Wooden, Churchill, Patton.

So, here’s my proposal for a great book title.

“The 27 Lean Six Sigma Leadership Secrets of AbrahamLincoln: Uniting your organization to a common purpose.”

That sounds pretty great to me. Now, all I have to do is… write the book!

Comments 11

  1. Mike86

    Wouldn’t it be the "four score and seven" secrets for Lincoln?

  2. Sue Kozlowski

    Thanks for your sharp comment, Mike, and how many people know exactly how many years that is?????

    Hint: A score (of anything) is a set of 20.

  3. Kevin

    Sue: Go for it!! It’s a lot of fun and very rewarding.

    We over at the Evolving Excellence blog had a similar idea a few months back and are just a couple days away from releasing a book based on the blog. The response has been great, including in one aspect we hadn’t anticipated: we’ve been told the "compilation of short stories" format of a blog-based book makes it easier for short attention span people to digest concepts. Not sure if that’s a positive.

    More info on the right side column of Evolving Excellence


  4. Jerome Alexander

    Several years ago I wrote a book on the subject of workplace culture and employee morale. It is as relevant today as it was then. Employee morale is directly linked to the interaction of employees with line managers who are charged with executing the policies and strategies of companies. Unfortunately, many of these managers subvert the good intentions of the organization to meet their own personal goals and agendas at the expense of their peers and subordinates. This management subculture is the result of a corporate culture of ignorance, indifference and excuse. Better corporate level leadership is the key. To improve this leadership, I suggest tapping the resouces of perceptive skeptics and cynics within the organization and dismissing the boot lickers, yes men and toadies. Of course this may all sound like heresy and blasphemy but I’ve included many real life examples from my personal experiences over the past thirty years. Read more in "160 Degrees of Deviation: The Case for the Corporate Cynic." I will continue to try and be the lone voice in the wilderness.

  5. Mike Carnell

    David Allen Coe took a similar approach to writing the perfect country song. There may be some ideas in here that will help – he made some pretty good money from the approach:

    (last verse)……
    Well, a friend of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song,
    and he told me it was the perfect country and western song.
    I wrote him back a letter and I told him it was not the
    perfect country and western song because he hadn’t said
    anything at all about momma, or trains, or trucks,
    or prison or gettin’ drunk. Well, he sat down and
    wrote another verse to this song and he sent it to me and
    after reading it I realized that my friend had written the
    perfect country and western song. And I felt obliged to include
    it on this album. The last verse goes like this here:

    Well, I was drunk the day my momma got out of prison,
    And I went to pick her up in the rain.
    But before I could get to tye station in the pick-up truck,
    She got runned over by a *$&%ed old train.

    And I’ll hang around as long as you will let me.
    And I never minded standin’ in the rain. Ohhh.
    You don’t have to call me darlin’, darlin’.
    You never even called me,
    Well I wonder why you don’t call me,
    Why don’t you ever call me by my name?

    (I tried to put up the link but the site won’t allow it – again.

    Good Luck

  6. Mark Graban

    Don’t forget to include the "innovation" buzzword.

  7. Mike Carnell

    Excellent point. Let’s cover everything.

    The definitions are very ambiguous betwwen creativity, invention and innovation. You may need to include all three to make sure that regardless of definition we all have that Kumbaya feeling deep in our soul.


  8. Robin Barnwell

    Hi Sue

    Why stop at a book? How about forming a band, Sue and the Sigma’s with some great covers:

    • Queen – ANOVA one bites the dust
    • Robert Palmer – DMAIC’s my day
    • Gene Vincent – EVOP-A-Lula
    • Elvis – Don’t ASQ me why


  9. Sue Kozlowski

    Thanks to all for your creative ideas. I’ve been roundly chastised by my co-workers for leaving out the important word "transformational" as an essential title ingredient.

    For the tie-in CD, Robin gets the credit for selecting and naming the songs.

    Any ideas for titles of the tie-in movie??? Indiana Jones and the Takt Time of Doom? Leangirls? The Pursuit of Normalness?

    Just asking.

  10. Meikah

    Hi Sue! I always enjoy reading your posts and learn a lot from it. A book will be a good step up the ladder. Go for it! :)

  11. Ron

    Well I probably shouldn’t let this out of the bag, lest someone beat me to it… but how about a Six Sigma or DFSS book written in novel format much like "The Goal" is for TOC and "Andy & Me" is for Lean.

    You would have to have some cheesy love story be part of it too I guess.

    Also, I just started a new Lean Six Sigma blog so if you all have a minute please come check it out! The URL is above. My most recent post is about Michael’s research project on SS savings. Cheers!

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