Author Interviews

Exceed the Standard

A pocket-sized leadership guide. Exceed the Standard delivers quick and easy reads that serve as daily reminders to leadership principles. Based on the lessons learned over a military career, this guide is a must-have for the aspiring leader. Are you ready to Exceed the Standard?

Leadership is an exhaustive, unrelenting, selfless journey that has left Noel DeJesus with rewarding memories and haunting pains. For those who are seeking to carry the burden of leadership, His book Exceed the Standard is for you!

While knowledge can be acquired, leadership can only be forged in the fire of experience. And through all of his experiences, the adversity, combat, triumph, and failures, these writings have kept Noel grounded.

Tell me a little about your new book “Exceed the Standard”

My book, “Exceed the Standard” is a collection of leadership reads that I’ve produced over the past decade. I’ve always found a tremendous amount of value in writing, and specifically capturing the leadership challenges that I’ve come across in my career and documenting the lessons learned. Leadership is often glamorized and simplified into a glorious practice in which a hero guides their people through adversity and into triumph. But in reality, leadership is a unique, intimate, and unorthodox process that rarely concludes in an illustrious celebration of recognition. Instead, the joys of leadership are often quietly experienced by those who are most affected, the leader and the follower. Exceed the Standard is my leadership legacy, and it shares all of the writings that I have frequently come back to again and again to help guide me through my leadership journey.

What is the biggest takeaway that you hope a reader will learn from your book?

The biggest takeaway that I hope a reader will learn from Exceed the Standard is that leadership is a reciprocal system in which a leader’s energy output is directly related to the energy input that they will receive from their follower. Leadership is a relationship-based model that is dependent on the actions, or absence of actions, that the leader and follower choose to take. While the conceptual thinking of “copy and past leadership” tends to dominate the 21st-century leadership environment, the true strength of any team lies within its individual members, and individualized leadership is the key to unlocking a follower’s ambition and potential.

What books do you recommend and which influenced your thinking about leadership?

The books that I often recommend are “Bad Leadership” and “Followership” by Barbara Kellerman, “The Ethics of Leadership” by Joanne B. Ciulla, “The Courageous Follower” by Ira Chaleff, and “The Art of Followership” by Ronald E. Riggo, Ira Chaleff, and Jean Lipman-Blumen.

One of my favorite leadership statements comes from “The Art of Followership” – “Instead of viewing followers as the ‘good soldiers’ who carry out command dutifully, we need to view followers as the primary defenders against toxic leaders or dysfunctional organizations. The buck stops more with followers than leaders.”

What are you reading right now?

Right now, I’m reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Joy A. Degruy, and Cannibals and Kings by Marvin Harris. I’ve always had a passion for anthropology and the behavioral impact of cultural changes and societal evolution.

What is one of the best investments you’ve ever made in your career?

The best investment that I’ve made in my career was to continue my educational journey and pursue my Master of Arts in Administrative Leadership from the University of Oklahoma. While it was an extremely stressful time, in balancing my military career and transitioning with my wife and one-year-old daughter from Fort Gordon, Georgia to Daegu, South Korea, the depth of knowledge that I acquired in the arena of workforce management was priceless. While knowledge can be acquired, leadership can only be forged in the fire of experience, and with the combination of the two, I had the full confidence that I could deliver the best version of leadership to my followers.

What is next for you and your writing projects?

My next project is titled “The Leadership B.L.U.F – Daily Leadership in 25 Words or Less”. Time is the most precious resource that leaders have in today’s leadership environment and The Leadership B.L.U.F is aimed at providing one-minute reads that serve as daily reminders to key leadership concepts. I’ve often found myself yearning for a quick shot of leadership, and even with some of the pocket-sized reads that I’ve produced in the past, they’re all still a bit too long for a quick read between meetings or between exercises in the gym. The Leadership B.L.U.F is targeted at filling that need.

Exceed the Standard can be purchased here

Noel DeJesus is a combat veteran who has served on three tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. His passion is to provide pocket-sized leadership guides that are quick and easy to read. He holds a Master of Arts in Administrative Leadership from the University of Oklahoma and numerous leadership certifications.

Noel can be reached via LinkedIn, Facebook or his website

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