The Executive and the Elephant
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About the Book

"Kings, heads of government, and corporate executives have control over thousands of people and endless resources, but often do not have mastery over themselves. From a distance, larger-than-life leaders may look firmly in control of their businesses and their personal behavior. What about up close? Personal mastery is a difficult thing." — from Chapter 1

Dick Daft gives practical steps to fix leadership flaws by controlling your "inner elephant."

Leaders know what they should be doing, so why aren't they doing it? When a leader knows the perferable behavior, why stick to an old pattern and fail to perform as desired? The answer is that each of us has two selves: one self is thoughtful, circumspect, and rational (the inner executive), and the other self is habit bound, impulsive, and emotion driven (the inner elephant). In this groundbreaking book, leadership expert Richard Daft reveals how leaders can recognize the two parts of themselves and learn to calm down, train, and guide their inner elephant toward the desired successful behavior.

Inner excellence means removing the personal flaw that is holding you back as a leader—such as procrastination, avoiding confrontation, a short attention span, perfectionism, tactless remarks, weak resolve, overreacting, criticizing, chasing the wrong gratifications, or not following through. This important book is filled with lessons for leaders on resolving the inner struggle between impulse and self-discipline, between blind reaction and big picture wisdom.

Dozens of proven exercises will empower you to direct yourself and others more productively. With a little practice, your inner executive will learn to choose correct actions rather than let your unwanted behaviors have their way.

This book is about the how, not the what, of improving your leadership. The purpose in this book is not to give you another list of what makes a good leader but to provide the how of changing and improving yourself into the leader you want to be and can start managing yourself to become more effective as a person and a leader.

Comments From Readers

"The Executive and the Elephant by Dr. Dick Daft provides brilliant insights!!! It is straightforward, easy to comprehend, and extremely useful to business professionals searching for self insight. This book has helped me to understand my Elephant and strengthen my Executive. My favorite chapters focus on the six mental mistakes every leader makes, reprogramming yourself, and meditation. I recommend this book to any professional who is not only trying to identify areas of improvement, but also in search of tools to help make the necessary changes." - a reviewer, Amazon.Com


"We've all seen them, the boss or CEO that lead a company to great heights, then got busted for some ugly personal flaw. This can be a big letdown if you're on the inside, and from the outside, it makes you question the rest of the company's integrity, products, service, and all sorts of things unrelated to the incident.

Hopefully, no one reading this has been that person.

To help avoid that, Richard Daft has written a great book called The Executive and The Elephant: A Leader's Guide to Building Inner Excellence. The book explores issues of impulse vs. self-discipline, and inspires leaders through exercises and personal research in management, psychology, neuroscience, and even eastern spirituality.

Not so much a religious book, but very much a self-help help book, Daft leads the reader through a complex and personal maze of self-understanding and insight, in order to be better prepared to not make mistakes, in business, and in life." - a review from 800 CEO Read Blog.