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Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World

Bob Rosen

ISBN: 978-1-118-68077-3 October 2013 Jossey-Bass 368 Pages


A provocative, personal approach to leadership based on in-depth research with hundreds of executives around the world

Confronted by disruptive change and economic turbulence, many of today's leaders find themselves ill-equipped to manage the hazards they now face. They must contend with chronic uncertainty, cynical employees, and personal burnout. Most are poorly served by the prevailing paradigm that obsessively focuses on what we do to produce short-term results while sabotaging who we are as healthy human beings. Few have seen alternatives, until now.

Grounded proposes a new approach that's designed for actual humans who must grapple with these forces. This new paradigm speaks to our better selves. Based on the author's Healthy Leader model, it focuses on the six personal dimensions that fuel—and refuel—the world's top leaders: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational, and spiritual health.

The book argues that leaders at every level can be more self-aware, develop their untapped potential, and drive significantly better results—for themselves, their teams, and their organizations.

  • Shows readers how to build a personal leadership model that works with their values, goals and capabilities
  • Features fresh stories from leaders in a variety of organizations including the New York Fire Department, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Lego Group, and Medstar Health
  • Gives leaders practical tools to face their toughest challenges with greater skill, confidence, and impact

By developing themselves and mastering the six dimensions, readers can gain the stamina and strength to not only weather tough times but to achieve much, much more.


1 The Winds of Change 2

2 Are You Bending, Breaking, or Staying Rooted? 12

3 Who You Are Drives What You Do 24


Physical Health 38

4 Body-Mind Awareness 40

5 Energy Management 48

6 Peak-Performance Lifestyle 57

Emotional Health 65

7 Self-Awareness 67

8 Positive Emotions 76

9 Resilience 91

Intellectual Health 101

10 Deep Curiosity 103

11 Adaptive Mindset 114

12 Paradoxical Thinking 128

Social Health 138

13 Authenticity 140

14 Mutually Rewarding Relationships 151

15 Nourishing Teams and Communities 163

Vocational Health 176

16 Meaningful Calling 179

17 Personal Mastery 189

18 Drive to Succeed 200

Spiritual Health 215

19 Higher Purpose 217

20 Global Connectedness 225

21 Generosity of Spirit 235

22 On Becoming a Healthy Leader 248


How Healthy Leaders Build Healthy Organizations 262

23 Tapping into a Higher Purpose 265

24 Forging a Shared Direction 272

25 Unleashing Human Potential 280

26 Fostering Productive Relationships 287

27 Seizing New Opportunities 294

28 Driving High Performance 301

Grounded: A Change in Consciousness 311

Notes 314

Acknowledgments 330

About the Author 332

Index 334

About Healthy Companies 348

Advisor and organizational psychologist Rosen (CEO & founder, Healthy Companies Intl.; The Healthy Company: Eight Strategies To Develop People, Productivity, and Profits) outlines a holistic approach to leadership based on his in-depth research of several international companies (e.g., Polo Ralph Lauren, Alcoa, PBS). The book's main message is that a leader must cultivate a healthy internal balance of six aspects: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational, and spiritual. Rosen identifies these qualities as the roots of leadership and suggests that the leader possessing them can more easily withstand chaos. The core of the text discusses methods for developing sound foundations. The healthier the leader is, the stronger the organization will be as a whole. The book's final section expands on how developing these characteristics will influence a well-balanced person and contribute to a flourishing company. VERDICT Rosen draws from interviews and case studies to present a simple message to leaders: focus on improving yourself before you try to fix your company. While the conceit of the title is compelling, the concepts put forth may appear as unreachable ideals. This volume pulls together dissimilar leadership models and will appeal to business readers bored of training manuals. Recommended. —John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston (Library Journal, October 2013)