By Dianna Brodine, vice president, editorial, Plastics Business

A few years ago, I was invited to participate in a three-day leadership experience at the Kansas Leadership Institute. It was a mentally exhausting examination of what I believed about leadership, how my personal style helped or hindered the people around me, and the ways in which I could thoughtfully change the culture of organizations I work for or participate in by understanding when to step forward and when to step back. Those are things I’m still working on to this day, but one thing I truly believe is that every organization improves when every person involved believes they are in a position to lead. The first book in this issue’s Booklist was written by one of the founders of the Kansas Leadership Institute. It’s a quick read about finding the opportunities to make an impact, step forward and influence the direction of the organizations around you.

When Everyone Leads: How the Toughest Challenges are Seen and Solved
Authors: Ed O’Malley, Julie Fabris McBride
Released: January 31, 2023

This book is not about leadership, at least in the way we normally think about it. Leadership is engaging others to solve daunting challenges. Those challenges appear in our professional lives, in our communities, our families – and they seem unsolvable, beyond our ability to see what needs to be done or outside our capacity to make the changes needed. They are not. Because leadership is an activity – small actions taken in moments of opportunity. And as you start to look around, you can begin to see more of those moments, seize the opportunity in those moments. Most importantly, you can help others see those opportunities too. That’s why everyone can lead and the real power to solve our most important challenges is when everyone leads.

The Wisdom of the Bullfrog: Leadership Made Simple (But Not Easy)
Author: Admiral William H. McRaven
Released: April 4, 2023

The title “Bullfrog” is given to the Navy SEAL who has served the longest on active duty. Admiral McRaven was honored to receive this honor in 2011 when he took charge of the United States Special Operations Command. When McRaven retired in 2014, he had 37 years as a Navy SEAL under his belt, leading men and women at every level of the special operations community. During those four decades, Admiral McRaven dealt with every conceivable leadership challenge, including the capture of Saddam Hussein and the raid for Osama bin Laden. The Wisdom of the Bullfrog draws on these and countless other experiences, including crisis situations, management debates, organizational transitions and ethical dilemmas. Each chapter provides a parable, rich with insights about the leadership traits required to be at the top of your game.

Turnaround Time: Uniting an Airline and Its Employees in the Friendly Skies
Authors: Oscar Munoz, Brian DeSplinter

The people of United Airlines are locked in a struggle against time to ensure your aircraft lands and takes off for another flight safely and efficiently. This “turnaround time” is the heartbeat of an industry, but turning around an aircraft and turning around an airline are very different challenges in most respects, except one: It takes a united team to perform it well. In 2015, when Oscar Munoz took the helm, its culture was anything but united and its reputation was in free fall. Meanwhile, only a month into the job, Oscar suffered a near-fatal heart attack. The health emergency might have been the end of the story – until employees and union leaders rallied around him. By the end of his tenure, the people of United were finally flying together as one team. With candor, humor and heartfelt wisdom, Oscar offers soulful, much-needed leadership lessons for today’s world: listening with empathy, standing up for employees, building durable cultures that are profitable because they’re principled, and advancing a vision for a genuinely inclusive economy for the future.