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Book Review: How to Inspire Success from the Top Down by Susan Bagyura

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When you own a small but growing business like me, you can use all the help you can get. A new book entitled The Visionary Leader: How to Inspire Success from the Top Down by Susan Bagyura takes a holistic approach to managing people and team building. A management coach and seminar speaker, Ms. Bagyura talks to the reader as if the reader were sitting in one of her seminars.

In the beginning of the book, Ms. Bagyura discusses different leadership styles ranging from authoritative to democratic leadership. A chapter follows this on professional success, in which Ms. Bagyura writes, “The most successful people know what their purpose is and persist in what it takes to realize wealth and success.” This is where the book takes a turn and becomes more self-motivational. She quotes Mary Kaye of Mary Kaye Cosmetics as saying, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Recently I was talking with a coach myself about how to grow my business, and he told me if I believe and everyone else believes, it will happen. Susan Bagyura reiterates that statement.

In the following chapter, she talks about the team and who’s on the team. She writes that there are different types who will be challenging and yet need to be managed differently. The one takeaway from this chapter is that the CEO or President of the organization puts the imprint on the organization and the group will follow that culture.

Another point Susan Bagyura makes is the importance of giving staff and prospects a personality test to see who fits the organizational mold. This is followed by learning what your mission and value statements are along with goal setting for the staff and the leader.

Interestingly, three months ago, my staff and I created goals for ourselves, and we discussed the results today. Most of the staff had achieved their goals because they wanted to make them happen. One of my staff members wanted to get more involved in networking and try to bring in leads and because she believed it she made it happen. That’s what Susan Bagyura is talking about – believing in yourself to make things happen.

As the book progresses, she becomes much more spiritual and offers the reader visualizations to believe in him/herself.

The decision chapter is also thought provoking. I know for myself when I make a tough decision, I think that maybe I should have done the alternative. She says, once you make a decision, “don’t look back.” She says don’t be indecisive, don’t have fear and don’t avoid the inevitable. She tells a story about a group of millionaires who have only one thing in common; they know they can't fail.

She says the best way to “deal with indecision is focus.” She leaves us with “you are the master of yourself and your future.”

The book is also a workbook. After each chapter, Ms. Bagyura asks the reader tough questions that make you think. The reader then writes down his/her answers so there is a permanent record of the information.

The Visionary Leader is a good reinforcement type book. There are no surprises or magical methods for success. What it does is it helps the CEO focus on what is important – the growth and development of his/her firm.

What I didn’t like about the book was that I felt as if she “pitched” herself and her seminars throughout the book. She writes, "I go into it in more depth in my seminars.” I felt the last chapter sold too much. I didn’t read the book to be sold her services. I read the book to learn more about leadership and management styles – and that’s what I learned.

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About Hilary Topper

  • Karrie

    I agree with your analysis of “The Visionary Leader.” While not breaking now ground, it served as an aggregate of a lot of self-help books that came before it. Especially Susan Jeffers classic, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.”

    I think, though, that I would rather visit one of Bagyura’s seminars than rely on her book. Seminars, I’ve found, are much better at reinforcing the “message” than just reading a book.