When Mike Hawkins decided to distill his executive coaching leadership course into book form, he didn’t realize that an eight-year journey lay ahead of him. The project evolved from a 312-page outline to a series of six books and a total of 1,360 pages. Hawkins spent five years developing his materials, then three years writing, during which time he woke up at 4 a.m. every day to get in a few hours of writing before he started work.
“I made a commitment that I’m going to write this,” he told himself, and powered through.
Now, Hawkins will be celebrating the release of his books, the “SCOPE of Leadership” series, by participating in a book signing at The Next Page bookstore in Frisco on Saturday.
Years of experience
After graduating with a degree in engineering, Hawkins quickly decided he was not interested in the engineering field, though he said he continues to use his analytical skills.
He went to work in sales for IBM, staying with the company for 15 years, then attended an advanced management program at the Harvard Business School. His jobs after that took him traveling nationally and internationally until 2005, when he started the Alpine Link Corp.
“I do executive coaching, I do speaking, I do leadership training and management consulting,” Hawkins said of his company.
Another perk of starting his own company was that it finally allowed him to settle in Breckenridge full time. He had been living off and on in Summit County for 13 years previously. Although he often travels several days a week, he said he loves being in the mountains.
Hawkins’ “SCOPE of Leadership” book series came from the development of his leadership boot camp, which he has taken hundreds of clients through over the years.
“This leadership approach is based on practical experience; it is based on my correlations of results to behaviors and the clients that I’ve coached,” he said.
Hawkins has always been interested in leadership models, even in his youth. He said he often pondered the factors that made some people more successful than others. Now, it’s his job, and he has compiled his findings into his book series.
The organization of the series is based on a hierarchy Hawkins created, starting with Self and then moving on to Communications, Others, Partnerships and Execution. The first book, “Competency for Role,” offers an overview of Hawkins’ pyramid, as well as a personal assessment to show potential areas that need work. The book series is for both first-time and longtime leaders, Hawkins said.
“It’s a soft skill. Leadership is intangible,” he said. “You don’t take a test and then once you’ve passed the test you’re done. Leadership is a journey. It’s not an event. It is truly an ongoing, ever-evolving state or trait.”
The purpose of the books is to provide a framework for new leaders as they begin their development and to act as a reference to already established leaders as they seek to improve their skills and influence.
Each of the five hierarchies is broken down into a set of competencies, of which there are 38 in total. By mastering the competencies, readers can make their way from the base of the pyramid to the top. Although the books were designed to build upon one another, readers can decide to read them in any order.
Throughout each book, Hawkins presents his advice in factual elements such as charts and figures and narrative elements such as personal stories and experiences.
“One of the objectives I had when I wrote the ‘SCOPE of Leadership’ book series was to make it an enjoyable read,” he said. “I wrote with the intent to make it entertaining and readable, almost like a novel. But I also wrote the book series to be a reference guide, so essentially I was trying to write a novel as well as a textbook.”
Hawkins said he’d be happy to discuss his books and answer questions during the book signing. Anyone can read the books and benefit from them, he said.
“In my thinking, change is possible. ... People can learn, people can grow, people can change. Everyone can be a leader,” he said, “… but great leadership is a learned trait.”