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Shades of Gray

Creative leadership is not just black and white—and more unconventional wisdom from the man who engineered your dishwasher.

Good leaders delay making decisions. Good leaders think indecisively. Good leaders do not keep up with popular trends. That's according to Steve B. Sample. He wants us to question conventional wisdom about leadership. Sample, an electrical engineer, musician, and inventor, is also president of the University of Southern California and author of The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2002). His book has been widely praised by leaders in politics, business, and now the church.

A committed Christian, Sample was interviewed about his provocative leadership principles by Bill Hybels at Willow Creek's recent Leadership Summit. Hybels told the audience when he read the first few pages of the book, Sample's concepts "knocked me out of my airplane seat." The pastor made The Contrarian's Guide mandatory reading for leaders at Willow Creek Community Church and the subject of a two-day staff retreat. "That's how strongly I feel about these principles," he said.

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