The Leadership Dojo
Build Your Foundation as an Exemplary Leader
by Richard Strozzi-Heckler
In 1985, Richard Strozzi-Heckler conducted an experimental and unprecedented training for
the United States Army. The training, intended to create a "holistic soldier," involved twenty-five Green Berets and
included martial arts, stress reduction techniques, healing arts, as well as communication and team building skills
training. While the soldiers' already impressive abilities improved drastically in such areas as fitness, mental
alertness, and moral integrity, the unexpected side effect of Strozzi-Heckler's training was a dramatic improvement in
leadership skills. The project, originally undertaken to improve performance, soon became known as a "leadership program."
Seeking to understand why this warrior training produced not only better soldiers but
better leaders, Strozzi-Heckler's research led him to the realization that leadership can be learned. This revelation
flew in the face of the general belief that one is either born with the ability to lead or one is not. In Leadership
Dojo, the author contends that leadership is a "skill and art that can be developed through commitment and
Take note of those two words commitment and practice. Leadership
Dojo does not provide a handful of tricks or a promise that you, too, can be a great leader in three easy steps.
This slim volume is a full-bodied examination of mind, body, and spirit training that requires the full and conscious
participation of the reader.
Chapter headings tell us "We Are All Leaders" and "You Are What You Practice", along with
vaguely familiar come-ons such as "Place of Awakening" and "Cultivation of Self". In another context, these would be
little more than feel-good invitations to register for a weekend conference. Leadership Dojo, however,
delivers! Practices are clearly spelled out, and address all aspects of personality by providing emotional, intellectual
and physical exercises.
Punctuated with anecdotes that describe the experiences and results of this program, the
greatest strength of Leadership Dojo is its clear and persistent reminder of the need for practice. This is
not a book to be skimmed nor a program to ponder in spare moments. It does not teach how to act like a leader
but rather how to be a leader. To attain leadership skills, one must be fully engaged -mentally, physically,
and spiritually- in the practices. The author refers to a sign in his office, an example of found wisdom, that reads:
You must be present to win. Exactly so, and being present with Leadership Dojo is highly recommended.
| North Atlantic Books / Frog, Ltd.
| September 4, 2007
| Hard Cover
| Self Help
More at Amazon.com
| Deborah Adams
NOTE: Reviewer Deborah Adams
is the Flair and Macavity Award winning author of the Jesus Creek Mystery Series: All The
Great Pretenders, All The Crazy Winters, All The Dark Disguises, All The
Hungry Mothers, All The Deadly Beloved, All The Blood Relations, and All
The Dirty Cowards. She was also an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel.