For the past 22 years, Ana de Andrés has worked as a leader in top-notch companies in the private sector (Procter & Gamble and Grupo Danone), in multilateral organizations (World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank) and as a social and organizational development Expert through her own practice.
Shine is an extraordinary book that takes a comprehensive look at other ways of leading and, ultimately, of being in the world. In today’s world, where change is disruptive, we need individuals who are willing to undertake the journey that leads from one way of being in the world to a completely new way that offers a whole new universe of possibilities. Through her book, Ana de Andrés discusses how the word ‘lead’ can embrace both depth and beauty.
“In times of change learners inherit the Earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer
Good leadership is a key ingredient in the creation of better futures and it comprises the capacity to transform our environments and ourselves, so that we shine and illuminate, unleashing our potential in the right direction. If we want to change the world around us, we must first work on ourselves so that we become better leaders and we improve how we express ourselves as human beings. Shine is part of a movement rethinking our organizations, institutions, countries, and even the world we live in.
Shine reviews eight essential components that — when combined — give leaders the skills they need to lead with real legitimacy, vision and purpose. The first ingredient is presence…everything else starts with us cultivating our presence and making ourselves available to life, vs. fighting it, or living in the past or in the future. Then, Shine prompts us to choose and defend a cause which deserves us and to fight for it, embracing a specific and comprehensive aim.
The third and fourth ingredients are an expanded mind — the capacity to engage in diverse thinking — and the ability to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others, which is essential to boosting creativity and motivation. This is especially relevant for those who have chosen the path of being of service to others in any way or form. Shine talks about self-care in the broad sense of the word as the basis for powerful, vibrant leadership. Leaders do not need to live under stress, they need to work on self-care as a strategic choice before they can offer themselves to others.
Shine also examines the four components of what the author calls “public victories,” which are related to expressing this renewed self, using it to change everything else. Leaders need to transform the outside world, and this is possible by expanding their “circle of influence,” using their potential to transform the way around them, their teams, their organizations and ultimately the planet.
Furthermore, good leadership is only possible if it is exercised with generosity. It is important to identify inspirational referents and to act as one if we are to make a difference. Inspiring leaders will prompt others to show them trust, loyalty and commitment, and their generosity will be key to revealing and developing the true talent of staff.
Last but not least, leaders also need to act impeccably and to remember that everything is a game, and some games are worth playing in the pursuit of success.
The author reminds us of a quote by the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” We need leaders who are prepared to play the game — common good and fair games — and who are also ready to create new games where each one of us can play our part for the benefit of the causes we would like to defend.
The time to engage in hopeful, determined, gritty, purposeful action is now. The time to prepare the future is now. The time to start the right conversations is now. The time to not look the other way is now. The time to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others is now. There has never been a better time. May the Force be with us.
The Association of International Spanish Civil Servants, together with its Committee Palabras+ and the United Nations Spanish Book Club, will organize the presentation and launch of Shine in Geneva on Tuesday 2nd June 2022 at Bibliothèque d’art et d’archéologie (Musée d’Art et d’histoire, Promenade du Pin 5, 3rd floor, 1204 Genève). More information on the event can be found on the Association’s website www.afie.es, Instagram: @palabras_mas, Facebook: Palabras+ and Twitter: AFIE_ES