BOOKS. Peripatetic: walking the talk

I wrote Kakistocracy: Rule of the Unprincipled, Unethical and Unqualified because of my interest in leadership integrity issues. I was then very much involved in anticorruption movement in the Philippines while working in the academia on the side. Kakistocracy became a foundational material every time I was (and still am) invited to talk on various leadership seminars and lectures nationwide in the public and private sector. But in every one of those times these past years, I have been asked about follow-up material, this time more focusing on good and principled leadership.

Dr. Ronnie V. Amorado, Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs & Graduate School Faculty of the University of Mindanao in Davao City signs a copy of his book, “Peripatetic: Practical Lessons on Leadership,” which was launched Saturday, September 14, 2019 at the UM Auditorium. MindaNews photo by CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS

I have started conceptualizing a sequel book since then, while writing other books along the way. Since Fixing Society, I have been collecting a wealth of data from key informants’ interviews, focused group discussions, seminars and workshops, and new literature on leadership issues. I knew this data would become my baseline not only for Kakistocracy but also in preparation for its sequel. Almost 10 years passed, the time is now ripe for a sequel. Kakistocracy highlights bad leadership, while Peripatetic: Practical Lessons on Leadership underscores good leadership.

Peripatetic contains fresh and practical lessons from the field and various organizational workplace environments. Many of these lessons, while practical in intent, are presented as satirical to drive home the point. This sequel offers plenty of lessons for everyone, especially for leaders, managers, and administrators, old and young alike.

The lessons are not meant to be absolute; they need to be nuanced and appreciated in specific contexts. They are borne out of personal experiences as well as discernible learnings from eminent persons and experts. As such, these lessons become indicative or suggestive, and to the extent that they are symptomatic of what is lacking, Peripatetic lessons stand for what we yearn for. Principled leadership continues to be wanting; our search for it is a never-ending longing.

This is the essence of Peripatetic—to walk the talk. It derives from Aristotle’s ancient tradition of talking—or teaching—while walking with and among his students. It has become a symbol of good leadership in words and in deeds. There are leaders, managers, and administrators who just talk the talk. This is leadership by lip service. Conversely, peripatetic leadership is leadership by example.

Peripatetic is both an experiential and research-based book. It combines many years of lessons inferred from experience and analysis of various philosophies, patterns, practices, and principles in the leadership, management, and administrative profession. The book is also replete with frameworks, which serve as synthesizing concepts to capture emerging principles for practical lessons. To augment the practical lessons, keywords and caselet exercises are provided in every topic for processing of ideas. This effectively provides the avenue for leadership assessments and organizational diagnosis.

The first chapter dwells on the theory and practice. A big portion of this chapter is inspired by John Maxwell’s 360o leadership concept. The second chapter is an applied art and science of exercising peripatetic leadership in various areas and functions. And lastly, the third chapter gives attention to special problems in peripatetic leadership. The first part of Chapter 3 is about kakistocracy, which is the link to this book’s prequel, Kakistocracy. This is followed by selected problematic or undesirable forms and rules of leadership and governance. The last part offers good leadership under the umbrella of eucracy, or the rule of what is good. Eucracy is effectively the opposite of kakistocracy.

Part of eucracy are concepts I already proposed in Kakistocracy. I intentionally revived them with minor tweaks and updates to sustain my advocacy for principled leadership. In essence, the eucracy in particular and the peripatetic in general are the book’s scholarly contribution to various concepts for principled leadership. The book offers a careful scrutiny and conceptual analysis for understanding such concepts as integrity, trust, credibility, euthenics, common good, and citizenship, among others. Ending the chapter by way of a synthesis is a social commentary on leadership at the current juncture and exigency.

Books on leadership development already proliferate in the world. Peripatetic’s niche is its humble contribution of fresh, practical lessons gathered from many years of discerned experience, keen observation, and scholarly research work.

Peripatetic resonates strongly with John Mattone in Intelligent Leadership (2013), upon his striking viewpoint:

[We] need to look for people who possess . . . a strong set of competencies, which enable them to demonstrate the capability to develop, grow and self-nurture. The most critical thing to look for and measure, however, is character. When I work with organizations to help them identify high-potential and emerging leaders, I look for evidence that they are, at a minimum, courageous. I look for their willingness to sometimes stand alone, in the teeth of pressure, possibly even from their own managers. When working with executives, I explain that saying no to the easiest and most rewarding route, when that decision doesn’t align with what you know is the correct one, may seem difficult. However, as soon as you begin flirting with such decisions—those that yield better operating results, greater revenue, and greater profits yet clearly compromise you ethically and morally—you enter a world of agony and stress. Making such choices will lead you into a world of painful long-term consequences, not the least of which is an increased probability you will say yes to more insidious acts in time (Mattone 2013, 6).

Jerry McClain admirably puts it—the best example of leadership is leadership by example! This is Peripatetic; this is walking the talk.

(Ronnie V. Amorado, Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs & Graduate School Faculty of the University of Mindanao wrote this preface for his book, “Peripatetic: Practical Lessons on Leadership” launched Saturday, September 14, 2019 at the University of Mindanao auditorium in Davao City).