If you have read any of the other articles I have written, what I am about to suggest will be a bit of a surprise. I think you should read the Christmas List.
I write about leadership. The lessons I discuss are usually most applicable in the context of business. When I stray from the topic of business leadership, it is usually to talk about how to borrow lessons from the military (e.g. Army Rangers or Navy SEALS) or politics in order to help you with what you face in your organization. So, my suggestion to read a Christmas book is a little different, but this book is different.
While setting up my Christmas tree, I listened to the Christmas List. The book was written by New York Times best-selling author, Richard Paul Evans. It was Dickens meets modern life in a fallen world.
A businessman who doesn’t care about who he tramples in order to make a buck reads his own obituary in what turns out to be a case of mistaken identity. For the first time in years, he considers the harm that he has caused in the pursuit of profits over people. He makes a list of who he has hurt and he decides to right his wrongs. However, he finds that unlike what you see in a Hallmark Christmas movie, not everything can be fixed.
The book was an emotional tear-jerker and I generally avoid this genre. But I found it compelling for different reasons. The same man was the living embodiment of the best and worst leadership practices at different points in the book.
The book is inspiring and motivating. We see how forgiveness can lead to second chances. While everything cannot be fixed in this broken world, with the right motivation, we can move toward healing.
Again, everything does not work out perfectly in the end, but it does not work that way in real life either. Read the book. Let me know if you see the hidden lessons that I see. I would love to hear your thoughts.
-Darin Gerdes, Ph.D.
December 11, 2012
Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University