The Pope & the CEO: John Paul II's Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guardby Published 01 Sep 2011
|The Pope & the CEO: John Paul II's Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard.pdf|
|Publisher||Emmaus Road Publishing|
John Paul II showed me what real leadership looks like. He modeled for me how to pursue our God-given potential. Not coincidentally, this also makes us and those around us better employees, more capable of and more willing to work hard at building a stronger company. That s something that makes both good human sense and good business sense. - Andreas Widmer Former Swiss Guard, CEO and business leader
Andreas Widmer gives a behind-the-scenes look into Pope John Paul II, the most authentically human person I ve ever met, and reveals how those memories shaped and forged his success as a corporate executive. In what papal biographer George Weigel calls a powerful example of leadership at work, Widmer recounts his personal experiences serving Blessed Pope John Paul II in the Swiss Guard, and the secrets of successful leadership that he learned at the feet of the great pope.
"The Pope & the CEO: John Paul II's Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard" Reviews
An intriguing and uplifting book. I've always been curious about the life of a Swiss Guard and this offers the perfect balance of interesting real-life anecdotes and wisdom obtained from life-experience looked at through the lens of a deep spiritual faith.
Widmer shares many interesting personal stories from his life as a Swiss Guard, moving memories of working with John Paul II, and his own struggles as a young Christian with so many conflicting ideals. He goes on to consider the corporate experience of his later life and how he managed - or failed - to live up to his earlier calling.
He offers practical and deeply spiritual steps to help young Christians unite their faith, profession and personal life. He explores the topics of vocation, prayer, ethics and the human person (here he applies JPII's beautiful theology of the human person to everyday life), exercising free will, preparing for the future while living in the present, developing personal and professional talents, choosing to do what is right, living in moderation, and humility and the freedom won through detachment.
Recommended as an interesting, enlightening, and very encouraging read.
Reviewed for www.GoodReadingGuide.com
Now I'm not a catholic and I'm certainly not a CEO but I was very pleased when the "You're a goodreads winner" email dropped in with notice about this book. And that's because I am intrigued by Pope John Paul II. I can't help but be fascinated by a man who just seemed so, well simply put, good.
This book gave me a taste, but probably against it's own values it tempts me. I want more. I loved the stories about the Pope's daily lives and his dealings with the Swiss Guards and how that can transfer across to your daily working life. And there was a bit of that, but just not enough. I know that Andreas Widmer has some amazing stories, even those that seem mundane to him and I wanted to know more about his current work and those failures he's had prior to this current business.
This was a bit of a surprise self-help book really and I wasn't expecting it. I'm not sure whether I failed to read the giveaway details properly or whether it's just not wholly clear, but I wasn't ever going to do the end-of-chapter reflection exercises, though I did read them and think about them.
My mum is going to love this book. She's a catholic convert and I know it'll give her many talking points, it's already been a discussion between me and many people, because if you just take one lesson from it about how to be a better person, then as far as I'm concerned, this book has done it's job. Pope John Paul II said "Whatever you shall be in life, whichever calling you choose, remember, that the fundamental calling of a human being is to have humanity." He puts it far more eloquently than my base level of belief, the single rule of Beckyism - "Don't be a shit to people". Either way works for me.
And now I'm done being preachy.
I won this book through Goodreads FirstReads and would like to thank Andreas Widmer for his book and kind message.
You’re twenty years old and on your first day on the job you have an life changing encounter with one of the most important figures of the twentieth century. This is what the author, Andreas Widmer, experienced as a Swiss Guard for John Paul II. Over the course of two years, Widmer had firsthand experiences of the character traits that made John Paul II not only a great leader, but a saint.
Widmer does an admirable job of distilling these qualities into “Big Ideas” and applying them to his experiences as a CEO. The result is a valuable handbook on how to live a fulfilling life and to run a successful business. At the end of each chapter are questions for reflection and how to apply these ideas to your life or business. Widmer peppers the book with wonderful experiences of Pope John Paul II. For instance, John Paul II wanted the Vatican to change its attitude towards gypsies, who were perceived as con artists and thieves. With Mother Teresa, he opened a 74 bed shelter inside the Papal Palace. Many religious sisters and Swiss Guards volunteered and witnessed John Paul II holding audiences for the gypsies and the homeless. “The significance of that was never lost on the gypsies who came to the audiences. As I stood guard, I would watch the faces. They were different in that room than they were on the outside…They lost the anonymous look of the beggar and reflected instead the God-given dignity as individuals…After those audiences, none of us in Vatican City could look at gypsies in quite the same way.”
Most corporations have lost their souls, treating employees as interchangeable cogs within the machinery of progress and disposing of them in the name of "faster, better or cheaper" through outsourcing and layoffs. In the process, people have lost the importance of work and its spiritual value to man. It’s no wonder workers view their work as a “job” rather than a vocation. Instead of perfecting their craft, they do the mere minimum necessary to collect the most money for the exchange of value. Widmer offers practical ideas to change this sad state of affairs - Live as a Witness, Know Your Team, Know How to Choose What’s Right and Know God. This is required reading for all entrepreneurs and CEOs if you want to build a great company and lead a happy life.
Good leadership book with Catholic prayer undertones. Basically, if you don't center your life on something concrete, then you'll get lost. I like the idea, and I like the book.
Disclosure: I received this book for free through First Reads. Thanks to the publishers for allowing me to read this book for an unbiased review.
The Pope in the title is John Paul II, and the CEO is—well, John Paul II again, or the author, Andreas Widmer, or ... you!
You don't need to be Catholic or a CEO to benefit from reading this book. You don't even have to be Christian. I think anyone looking for more practical spirituality in their life will like this book.
In a nutshell, the author, Andreas Widmer, finishes school in Switzerland and, not sure what he wants to do, kind of falls into working at the Vatican as one of the Swiss Guard, the Pope's traditional bodyguards.
Next he moves to America to be with a girl and study International Business. He marries the girl, and with her encouragement, takes an unpaid internship at a small tech startup. The internship leads to a job, and by the time of the startup's IPO he is a Vice President. He moves to a second company, and when it is acquired for $600 million the shares he receives are worth enough to leave him financially independent.
Here's what's interesting: his wife feels uneasy and wants him to sell the shares, but he ignores her wisdom. Then it comes out that the new company is fraudulent, the shares tank, and his fortune disappears. Burned out from overwork and feeling betrayed by the new owners, he stops to re-examine his life. He reflects on what he learned during his two years of close contact with John Paul II and begins applying that in his marriage, in his work, and in his own life.
After twelve years of unconventional success, Andreas Widmer shares what he has learned in this book.
The overarching framework is the Three Vocations. There's the universal vocation to be a child of God. Your primary vocation is your spiritual lifestyle: married and in the world, single and in the world, or a full-time religious life. Your secondary vocation is your work.
I find this metaphor freeing:
our vocation is the way in which we give back to God what he has given to us. It's a bit like when you give your child art materials—paper, brushes, pencils, colors, glitter, glue, scissors, wiggle eye stickers and pom-poms—then ask them to "use all this material and make something great. Go ahead—be creative!" You then wait excitedly until they come back and proudly present the latest creation. You of course love it and, just as proudly, display it at your office or in your kitchen.
The author's explanation of the Examen, a way of cultivating spiritual awareness, was helpful to me: "One way to do this is at the end of the day ask yourself how you feel spiritually about what's going on in your life."