1st Edition

How Successful Leaders Do Business with Their World The Navigational Stance

By Stephen Barden Copyright 2021
    140 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    140 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this rigorously researched book Stephen Barden presents compelling evidence that top leaders learn from a very early age to 'do business with the world' by using their power and authority to partner with it, rather than impose themselves on it. Based on interviews with military, corporate and educational leaders, How Successful Leaders Do Business with Their World offers powerful insight into how these findings can be applied in practice.

    The book illustrates how the assumptions leaders formed as children, and the way they learned to 'make space for themselves', directly links to the way they exercise their leadership as adults. Barden uses these findings and insights, as well as studies from his own corporate leadership career and coaching practice, to describe a set of common assumptions held by successful leaders. The book clearly outlines several key concepts - the Navigational Stance, the Partnering Stance, the Oppositional Stance and the Navigational Compass - illustrates each with relevant examples and makes recommendations for applying these insights in practice.

    How Successful Leaders Do Business with Their World will be a valuable asset for coaches, leaders, HR and L&D professionals, and all professionals working with leaders.

    To learn more about the author and his work, please visit stephenbarden.org.


    Introduction: What This Book Is About

    Section 1

    1. Choosing Our Leaders Blind

    2. What Is a Successful Leader and What Is Power?

    3. Discovering the Navigational Stance

    4. The Navigational Compass

    Section 2

    5. Navigation

    6. Pragmatism: Do the Best Possible

    7. Triangular Challenge

    8. Socialised Decision-Making

    9. No Attachment to Failure

    10. Acute Sense of Reality – No Wishful Thinking

    11. Alertness to Constituents

    12. Holism – See All the Linkages

    13. Direction – Not Fixed Target or Dogma

    14. Mentors

    Section 3

    Introduction to Section 3: The Navigational Leader

    15. Our Children

    16. Choosing Leaders

    17. Changing Leaders


    Stephen Barden, DProf, is a professional coach-mentor working with clients in Europe, the UK and the USA. Prior to coaching he was the chief executive of several media and technology corporations.

    Stephen's podcast series, The Power of Balance, can be found at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1311442/5406607.

    "I've always believed that the best organizations were 'learning organizations', that had a culture of self-reflection and candor and that had built-in processes for critical self-analysis...much like the US Army's AAR (after-action review) process. Stephen Barden has done a masterful job of explaining how to identify and develop leaders and managers who can create and lead such organizations. I wish I'd read his book when I was a young Officer instead of retired Officer!"

    Lieutenant General (retd) Ben Hodges, US Army; Pershing Chair, Center for European Policy Analysis; Partner, New Vista Partners; Advisory Board Member, Spirit of America

    "This is an important book and one that deserves as wide a readership as possible. It should be mandatory reading for those preparing to assume positions of authority and responsibility. I have worked with Stephen Barden and have the greatest of respect for his experience and insight which he has distilled into a highly readable and engaging book. It made me smile and it also made me squirm as I recognised many of my own failings in the examples."

    Major General (retd.) Colin Boag, British Army (CB, CBE, Officer of the Legion of Merit, US); Managing Director, the Mount Stuart Trust

    "The Navigational Stance is an "out of the box" but absolutely accurate approach to explaining both underachieving and high performing leaders. I found it to be very thought provoking which cause me to reflect not only on myself, but those leaders that worked for me who thrived and didn't. I also thought about the many leaders I have worked next to or above and why their paths ended where they did. A must read!!!"

    Brigadier General (retd.) Martin Schweitzer, US Army; former Owner of Network Designs Inc.; Partner, Chrystal Group

    "Stephen Barden has captured the fluid expanse of leadership in The Navigational Stance. This book has achieved the challenge of successfully weaving rigorous research findings into a highly illustrative and captivating story of leading amidst the complexity of modern organizations. Barden transforms our understanding of power into a way of doing business by exploring, learning, and acting in partnership with the world. He begins this premise founded on childhood experiences contrasting those leaders whose curiosity led them to discover that the world is manageable and engageable, resulting in the adaptive Partnering Navigational Stance. Whereas those leaders with an Oppositional Stance experienced an imbalance of power as children, they bifurcate their world into those having superior or inferior bases of power. This leader manages their world through the lens of power; leading is dominated by fighting for supremacy or submitting to others who hold higher power or in the case of others with less power than they forge ahead unilaterally without engagement. Barden translates these principles of leading by inviting the reader into the boardroom, the Cabinet, and the C-suite with leadership stories that uncover the Navigational Stance model in action. His depth of experience as a corporate leader and coach is evident in his recommendations for transforming oneself from an Oppositional to a Partnering Navigational Stance. This book is an excellent choice to stimulate leaders to reflect on their underlying assumptions around power and doing business with the world."

    Elizabeth L. Holloway, PhD; Diplomate American Board of Professional Psychology; Fellow American Psychological Association; Professor of Psychology, Graduate School of Leadership and Change, Antioch University, USA