It is difficult to categorize this estimable book by social venture capitalist and former senior tech executive Andreas Widmer. It combines threads of principle-based leadership and work-life balance with mission, organizational and personal value definition. Readers of the business press will have encountered many of these concepts before. For example, that effective leaders are first of all servants. However, Widmer tells these in a fresh and innovative way.
The author has been profoundly influenced and inspired by the life and work of Pope John Paul II. In this he has the company of millions – Catholics and non-Catholics alike. However, in addition to having observed John Paul II’s public career,
he brings a rarefied inside perspective – that of a Swiss Guard. As a Guard, Widmer had a behind the scene vantage on how John Paul communicated, influenced, led by example and, in a holistic sense, taught.
The book is more than anecdotes and cases, but also a training manual with actionable exercises. These begin with personal and introspective tasks, but evolve into a social and communal sphere. As such they become relevant to managers and executives. Thus, in a chapter titles, Know Where You Are & Where You Are Going; we are enjoined to think about the goals and aspirations of our staff and our organization and what specifically we do to promote them.
The ideas are clearly informed by its author’s Catholic faith and experience, yet this is not a book only for Catholics or even those, who think of themselves as religious. It’s intriguing to speculate how business, politics and daily life might change if more people practiced the principles of The Pope and The CEO. You can find an excerpt at ThePopeAndTheCEO.com as well as a WSJ interview with the author and decide for yourself.