Values will prevail

A new take on leadership theory and values promises to help people overcome challenging times

Any leadership book that attracts forewords from Marshall Goldsmith and Jack Zenger is bound to make an impact. Sure enough, Prevail delivers. Penned by accomplished Kuwaiti businessman Abdulaziz Al-Roomi, Prevail – a word meaning both to persuade someone to do something, and to prove more powerful and superior – guides the reader through the field of well-documented leadership theory before offering the author’s own perspective on what it is to lead in today’s world.

Flowing similarly to a sequential workbook, you’ll need to read this from front to back to fully appreciate the step-by-step leadership blueprint that unfurls. Surprisingly practical, each section of this workbook concludes with helpful Q&A and ‘Call for Action’ sections to check for understanding. The author emphasizes that the reader (in particular, aspiring leaders) should use the book to formulate their own personal, values-based roadmap for their leadership.

The first half of Prevail is dedicated to equipping the reader with tools to identify and utilize the right kind of people and structure needed to compile and action their personal vision statement. Starting out with the end game in sight and mapping the road backwards from the end point, is, says Al-Roomi, the best way forward.

One point of interest to many leaders in our turbulent world is that the author asks leaders to take responsibility for the circumstances they find themselves in – and not blame others. The building of a personal vision statement is designed to help with this, with readers encouraged to live a purposeful life as they reach for leadership goals. By creating your own personal vision statement, concludes Al-Roomi, the reader can form behaviours that allow them to achieve in a way that is meaningful to them.

Readers are guided through the roadmap exercises – and an especially useful ‘wheel of life’ model, which helps to balance work and life – by well-researched leadership theories from Dale Carnegie and John Adair. The author continually places emphasis on the importance of mentors, guides and coaches – your Warriors, he calls them.

Supported by their Warriors and guided by their plan, Al-Roomi urges leaders to consider four ‘pillars’ of effective leadership: leading self, influencing others, leading teams, and motivation. He focuses on the need to develop better behaviours, citing two realistic, ubiquitous leadership dangers: resistance to change because of a lack of accountability; and the belief that making money supersedes the need for investment in personal development initiatives.

Like many leadership books, the author saves his most valuable wisdom for the final part of the book: the Prevail Leadership Model. A clever summary of the main points of the book, the Prevail Leadership Model explains how self-leadership, personal influence over others and team leadership are oiled and brought together by ‘fulfilment’ or a leader’s motivation.

In a lively and well-illustrated few paragraphs, Al-Roomi explains how to achieve ‘personal mastery’ to bring together the Prevail Leadership Model, vision statement and a leader’s personal brand with nine techniques, composed of seven habits, a positive mindset and resilience in the face of adversity. Using examples of globally recognized leaders, the author extracts lessons from Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Muhammad Ali and Cristiano Ronaldo, proving at each turn the value of the vision statement. Knowing what you want out of life, and continuing to pursue your dreams and visions, works.

Other highlights of Prevail include the cool stylistic approach to challenges as skirmishes to be overcome with help from fellow warriors, and an essential broadening of the perspective on the ‘born vs made’ debate about leaders. A further feature that must be mentioned is how this book is both delicately dotted with references to religion and the values-centric leadership examples found in the Qur’an, and punched up with bold quotes from artists (Leonardo Da Vinci gets a nod), sports stars and entrepreneurs.

Overall, Prevail is a meaningful leadership book, inspired in equal parts by existing leadership theory and Abdulaziz Al-Roomi’s own experience. This book is almost certain to appeal to aspiring business leaders with a strong moral compass, who will no doubt benefit from the workbook-style development exercises. In a difficult world, the author’s encouragement to celebrate milestones as they are reached is a valuable wellness initiative, oft overlooked by hungry (and overworked) leaders. The book’s emphasis on bringing Warriors and teammates along on the journey, and gaining – and maintaining – respect for the authentic journey, every step of the way, provides a great call to action, packaged neatly in the author’s Prevail Leadership Model. Prevail is an ideal read for those keen to discover, protect and grow their authentic self in both leadership and life.

Kirsten Levermore is assistant editor of Dialogue