Book Review: Greater Than Yourself

Greater Than Yourself

Another quick read! I finished Greater Than Yourself by Steve Farber over my vacation – in fact, on the flight from Phoenix to Vegas (well, the hour delay in the airport helped). Quick and well written. It is a parable that builds on the “invest yourself in others” and “pay it forward.”

 The Greater than Yourself (GTY) concept is based on great leaders become great because they cause others to be greater than they are. Leaders look for those folks with potential and with one on one development help the person to be more capable, competent and accomplished than they are. There are three parts:

  • Expand Yourself
  • Give Yourself
  • Replicate Yourself

Not to give away too much, when I was reading this, I was thinking about where I have done this. Did I follow the three parts? Probably not. But, I have taken folks and passed on my knowledge, contacts and experiences to help them become better than myself. When I sat and thought about the book more and my past experiences, I found a couple of requirements that I want to highlight. First, the subject must be one that you are passionate about. The passion is important for both parties, no passion the project will be slowed. The second requirement is there needs to be a strong level of trust between each of you. Trust is fundamental, but you will be surprised that if trust is not strong, the GTY will not be as successful as it can be.

As mentioned this book is a parable, but there are two sections that are not normally found in these types of business leadership parables. One section is on real life examples within  Up With People. Here Steve discusses the pitfalls and key learning’s. The second section is really where the meat is, the Framework for Action section. A step by step guide to getting started and helpful hints to making GTY work. He has created a web site with examples and resources to get you going. In particular, there is a four minute video of a GTY project conducted by the Up With People organization, that is a good overview of what this is all about and the impact it can have. The participants in this GTY project don’t rule out that great things can come in small packages. The tendency is to pick someone who is already doing well and then working to make them greater; jump on their bandwagon so to speak. There’s certainly nothing wrong in that, but perhaps the most impact can come from taking someone who really needs a leg up and connecting them to what they need.

Now that I am armed with some new tools, I am ready for my next GTY project.