unique and original to them. As an executive, Shelton recommends these steps:
• Find your own voice. Don’t use a ghost-
writer or “collaborator” who brings all
the substance and style. Speechwriters
and other assis-
tants should take
more than a cue
from you — they
should get the
essence, if not
the full text, out
of you from interviews.
• Enhance your
ability to think
and write clearly.
If you fail to
ately and regularly in speech and writing, you forfeit influence. Your ability to
express yourself will fade, as will your
ability to feel and think deeply. So
record your insights and feelings, especially as they relate to mission, vision,
people, performance and direction.
• Establish your identity as an author.
Your leadership authority is linked to
your identity as an author. So write your
own script. Revise it, refine it, publish it,
distribute it. Get feedback on it.
• Separate your writing from others’.
Always recognize and attribute sources
properly. Acknowledge and reward collaborators, contributors and counselors.
Credit your sources in all forms of communication. If you use other people’s
material as your own, you compromise
How to Become an Author
• Appoint someone on staff to assist in
capturing, transcribing, editing and
publishing your material. Leverage
your time. In your line of duty, there
are few things more important than
publishing your vision and values,
principles and life experiences.
• Find or create a suitable medium in
print or audio/video format. Create in
the medium and format that are
most comfortable and natural to you,
but also learn to adapt to other formats. This often requires some
coaching, constructive and objective
feedback, and capable editing.
• Schedule creative periods and submission deadlines. Organize thoughts
around these times. Be accountable
to someone for meeting deadlines.
• Develop a system for capturing your
insights and other important communication; then for organizing; storing and filing; and publishing.
• Keep a journal — otherwise much
may slip through the cracks.
Benefits of Authorship
• Identity. Publishing your own material
and ideas helps you and your organization gain identity and position — to be
seen and known as original sources.
• Philosophy. Moral philosophers are
needed as much today as they were
at the time of our nation’s founding.
Even if you are rich in profitability,
you cheat your organization if you
are poor in philosophy.
• Authenticity. You can gain a sense of true
identity, legitimacy and integrity because
of heightened awareness of who you are
and what you believe in and stand for.
• Authority. Much of your potential
management authority lies outside
the confines of your office and position. It must be earned through
authorship and authenticity.
• Legacy. You leave something behind
to be remembered by.