Leadership Wisdom From The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: The 8 Rituals of Visionary Leaders

BOOK: Leadership Wisdom From The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: The 8 Rituals of Visionary Leaders
11.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Leadership Wisdom
from The Monk
Who Sold His

The 8 Rituals of
Visionary Leaders



Robin S. Sharma, LL.B., LL.M.



To my daughter, Bianca. May you always be the model of joy.


To the many readers of
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
who took the time out of their busy lives to tell me how this simple book touched them. You have moved me.


And to all those leaders who deeply honor the sacred trust between them and the people they have the privilege to lead. Keep blessing lives and liberating talent.


This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, being a true force of Nature instead of a feverish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy…. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

George Bernard Shaw



Title Page

    CHAPTER ONE: A Wild Ride To Success

    CHAPTER TWO: A Monk In My Rose Garden

    CHAPTER THREE: The Miraculous Transformationof A Corporate Warrior

    CHAPTER FOUR: The Wisdom Of Leadership Vision


    CHAPTER FIVE: The Ritual Of A Compelling Future Focus


    CHAPTER SIX: The Ritual Of Human Relations


    CHAPTER SEVEN: The Ritual Of Team Unity


    CHAPTER EIGHT: The Ritual Of Adaprability And Change Management


    CHAPTER NINE: The Ritual Of Personal Effectiveness


    CHAPTER TEN: The Ritual Of Self-Leadership


    CHAPTER ELEVEN: The Ritual Of Creativityand Innovation


    CHAPTER TWELVE: The Ritual Of Contribution And Significance


About the Author

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari


About the Publisher

A Wild Ride to Success

It was the saddest day of my life. As I arrived at work after a rare long weekend spent hiking and laughing in the mountains with my kids, I saw two enormous security guards hunched over the mahogany desk in my coveted corner office. Running closer, I could see that they were rifling through my files and peeking into the precious documents on my laptop computer, oblivious to the fact that I had spotted them. Finally, one of them noticed me standing there, my face flushed with anger, my hands shaking at the sight of this unforgivable invasion. With an expression that revealed not a hint of emotion, he looked at me and spoke fifteen words that left me feeling as if I’d just been kicked in the chest, “Mr. Franklin, you have been fired. We must escort you out of the building immediately.”

With that simple dispatch, I went from being the senior vice-president of the fastest-growing software company on the continent to a man without a future. And believe me, I took my dismissal very hard. Failure was a foreign concept to me, an experience I had no idea how to manage. In college, I’d been a golden boy, the kid with the perfect grades, the beautiful girls and the
boundless future. I made the varsity track team, was elected class president and even found the time to host a hugely popular jazz show on our campus radio station. It seemed to all concerned I was gifted and destined for great success. One day I’d overheard one of my old professors saying to a colleague, “If I had the chance to live my life over again, I’d like to come back as Peter Franklin.”

Mind you, my talents were not as natural as everyone believed. The true source of my achievements could be traced back to a punishing work ethic and an almost obsessive desire to win. My father had come to this country as a penniless immigrant many years ago with a deeply held vision of a more tranquil, prosperous and happy life for his young family. He changed our family name, settled us into a three-room apartment in the honest part of town and started working tirelessly as a factory worker for minimum wage, a job he would keep for the next forty years of his life. And though he had no formal education, I’d never met a wiser man — until recently, when I met a most extraordinary human being, a person who you truly must get to know. I promise to tell you more about him shortly. You will never be the same.

My father’s dream for me was a simple one: get a first-class education at a first-class school. A career of peak achievement and just compensation would then be assured, or so he thought. His firm belief was that a well-developed base of personal knowledge laid the foundation for a successful life. “No matter whatever happens to you, Peter, no one will ever be able to take away your education. Knowledge will always be your best friend, no matter where you go or what you do,” he would often say to me while finishing his supper after another grueling fourteen-hour day at the factory he devoted most of his life to. My father was quite a man.

He was also a great storyteller, one of the best. In his home country, the elders used parables to convey the wisdom of the ages to their children, so he carried this rich tradition with him to his adopted country. Prom the day that my mother died suddenly while making his lunch in our well-worn kitchen until the time that my brother and I entered our teenage years, my father would send us off to a dreamy sleep with a delightful story that always had a life lesson. One that particularly stands out in my mind is about an old farmer on his deathbed, who asked his three sons to gather around him. “Sons,” he said, “Death is close by and I shall soon take my last breath. But before I do, I must share a secret with you. In that field behind our farmhouse, there lies a glorious treasure. Dig deep and you shall find it. You will never have to worry about money again.”

Once the old man had died, the sons ran out to the field and started digging with wild abandon. They dug for many hours and continued for many days. No part of the field was left untilled as they put every ounce of their youthful energy into this task. But, alas, no treasure could be found. Eventually, they gave up, cursing their father for his apparent deception and wondering why he would choose to make such fools of them. However, the following fall, that same field yielded a harvest the likes of which the entire community had never seen before. The three sons quickly became rich. And they never worried about money again.

So, from my father, I learned the power of dedication, diligence and hard work. In my college days, I toiled day and night, eager to stay on the Dean’s List and to fulfill the dreams my dad had set for me. I won scholarship after scholarship and diligently sent my aging father a small check at the end of every month, a portion of the salary I received from the part-time job that I held.

This was a simple token of thanks for all he had done. When it came time to enter the work force, I had already been offered a lucrative management position in the high-tech field, the field of my choice. The company was called Digitech Software Strategies and it was the place where everyone wanted to work.

Astonishingly successful, the pundits predicted its meteoric growth would only continue and I felt truly honored that the firm had actively recruited me to become a member of its high-flying team. Quickly accepting the post, I began working eighty-hour weeks to prove that I was worth every penny of the lofty salary I received. Little did I know that, seven years later, the very same company would humiliate me as I had never been humiliated before.

The first few years at Digitech were good ones. They really were. I made some fine friends, learned a great deal and quickly rose through the executive ranks. I became the acknowledged superstar, a young man who had a razor-sharp mind, who knew how to work hard and who showed true commitment to the company. Though I’d never really been taught how to manage and lead people, they just kept on promoting me to ever-higher positions of responsibility.

But, without a doubt, the best thing that happened to me at Digitech Software Strategies was meeting Samantha, the woman who would eventually become my wife. A bright young manager herself, she was strikingly pretty, with a formidable intellect to match. After meeting at the Christmas party, we quickly hit it off and were soon spending what little free time we had together. From day one, Samantha was my greatest fan, a true believer in my potential and talent. “Peter, you’ll be the CEO,” she would regularly tell me, giving me a soft smile. “I know you’ve got what
it takes.” Unfortunately, not everyone felt the same way. Or perhaps they did.

The CEO of Digitech Software ruled the company like a dictator. A self-made man with a vicious streak, he had an ego that matched his grossly inflated paycheck. When I first started working with him, he was polite though reserved. But when word started to spread about my abilities and my ambitions, he grew cold, often communicating with me through terse memos when the situation called for something less formal. Samantha called him an “insecure little clod of a man,” but the fact remained that he had power. Real power. Maybe he felt that as I rose to higher management positions, I would make him look bad. Or maybe he saw too much of himself in me — and didn’t like what he saw.

I have to admit, however, that I carried my own weaknesses. Foremost was a hair-trigger temper. If something went wrong at the wrong time, a rage brewed within me that I simply could not control. I have no idea where it came from, but it was there. And it was not a business asset. I’ll also admit that though I think I’m a fundamentally decent person, I could be a little rough around the edges when it came to the art of managing people. Like I said, I had never received any leadership training and operated on what little instinct I had been granted. I often felt that not everyone on my team shared my work ethic and commitment to excellence, which led me to frustration. Yes, I would yell at people. Yes, I took on far more responsibility than I was capable of handling. Yes, I should have spent more time building relationships and cultivating loyalty. But there were always too many fires to put out and I never seemed to have enough time to attend to the things that needed improving. I guess I was like the mariner who spent all his time bailing water
out of his boat rather than taking the time to fix the hole in it. Shortsighted at best.

And so the day came when I was fired. The months that followed were truly the darkest of my life. Thank God I had Samantha and the kids around me. They did their best to lift my spirits and encourage me to pick up the pieces of my once fast-tracked career. But those months of idleness showed me that our self-esteem is linked to our jobs. At a cocktail party, the first question we are inevitably asked is, “So what do you do for a living?” As we began our weekly round of golf, my partners would always ask, “Any news on work, Peter?” The doorman at our luxury high rise, always a master of small talk, would regularly inquire whether things were going well at the office. With no job to go to, I no longer had any answers.

BOOK: Leadership Wisdom From The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: The 8 Rituals of Visionary Leaders
11.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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