I’ve recently had the opportunity to review a book from author Nancy Ortberg which is curiously titled unleashing the POWER of rubber bands: lessons in non-linear leadership. As Ortberg’s second book, rubber bands takes an unusual (and sometimes uncomfortable for us linear-types) approach to discussing leadership.

Ortberg states that, “early in [her] career [she] learned that [her] understanding of people would rival [her] job competencies in determining [her] leadership success.” This is an important point that we should all pay attention to, and is the main theme of rubber bands. Ortberg continues that “this book is a consolidation of what [she has] learned through success and failure, as well as what [she] deeply believe[s] to be true of great leadership.” Ortberg accomplishes her mission in this by practicing exactly what she preaches…   by telling stories.

Through her storytelling, she illustrates over and over again how leaders should stretch their teams. She uses personal experiences to build on her idea of how success comes through allowing people the opportunity to be who God designed them to be, but not pushing them beyond what they can handle. This is the core idea of the book and the inspiration for the name. “Stretch your team too far and they’ll snap. Don’t stretch them far enough and they’ll never realize their full potential. Kind of like rubber bands.”

Ortberg has the track record to back up what she teaches as well. She’s a founding partner of Teamworx2, a successful business and leadership consulting firm. She’s also a former Teaching Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, where her husband (and author) John Ortberg has also served as a Teaching Pastor for several years. And Ortberg writes directly from her own experiences in various leadership (and non-leadership) roles and experiences.

This book offers a unique insight into the world of leadership. I’ve found chapter after chapter not only to be full of valuable insights, but also quite challenging to me in my own leadership experiences. Ortberg’s work stays away from providing a step-by-step checklist that tells us how to be a better leader, but rather uses story to illustrate and inspire greatness. As I read the book, I can easily identify with the stories and people involved. I regularly find myself wrapped up in these experiences, and walk away better for having “been there.” I strongly recommend this book for everyone who wants to fulfill their God-given responsibility to lead others.

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[management by God] book review: unleashing the POWER of rubber bands

by Dan King time to read: 2 min
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