Leadership PQ – How political intelligence sets successful leaders apart.

Written by Valerie Wark - 16 January 2015

I never planned to write a book.

The book found me on July 8th 2011, as I listened to Lord Adonis deliver the Ashridge lecture on Public Sector Reform. It struck me that if someone with so much experience of the public and private sector had no easy answers on how they could work more effectively together, there was little hope for others. Surely it must be possible for these two sectors and the not for profit sector to work in ways that can benefit everyone and society?

I turned to Gerry Reffo and said “there’s a book in this” She agreed and our book was born.

My romantic notions of penning a book, as in the movies, were soon dashed. It is hard work. It is also one of the best experiences I have ever had. The opportunity to meet global leaders who were wrangling with this very same issue was a privilege, stimulating and immense fun.

As new authors, we had much to learn. I naively assumed you called a publisher with an idea and if they liked it you started writing. No such luck. Publishers demand a proposal, complete with chapter headings and market potential. This took three months of thinking, thinking and rethinking until we felt we had clarity about a book that would inspire leaders and for the first time tell them HOW to do it.

We called our book LEADERSHIP PQ – How political intelligence sets successful leaders apart. Our definition:

PQ is the leadership capacity to interact strategically in a world where government, business and wider society share power to shape the future in a global economy.

Our research interviews started in December 2011. We set out to meet leaders that we believe have PQ mastery, to find out what motivated them to lead in this way and HOW they did it. We purposely collected stories, which we could share with our readers to inspire them and to reframe what is possible. We distilled our findings to work out what are these leaders doing that others don’t. What we found is that these leaders do 5 things that differentiate their leadership and they work them in unison. We call this PQ mastery. We created a model for PQ leadership that captures the 5 facets.  Futurity, Power, Empathy with purpose, Trust and Versatility.

The journey of writing our book is a story in itself. The people we met, the organisations we visited, the adventures we had. Stories for another blog…

As Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, says “political intelligence – which the authors call ‘PQ’ – has never been more valuable. Business, government and civil society must find new ways to work together to crack the calculus for sustainable growth and create a brighter future. This timely and insightful book provides rich fodder for those who will be called upon to lead in the years to come”

Our publisher Kogan Page entered us into the CMI Management Book of the Year competition. As new authors it is an honour to be shortlisted as one of five books in the Management Futures category. We are passionate about this category: what can be more important than the future for us all and the planet?

For more information about the Leadership PQ visit www.pqleadership.com or www.koganpage.com

To learn more about the Management Book of the Year competition visit http://yearbook.managers.org.uk 

Valerie Wark

Valerie Wark is an independent executive coach and leadership tutor and an Associate of Ashridge Business School. She is widely known for innovative programme design and executive coaching that delivers results. Her clients include the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Vodafone, BBC Worldwide, The NHS, Lloyds Bank, Kerry Foods and BG Group.

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