Today is the two-year “bookiversary” of Growing Influence!
I remember receiving my first copy while living in Thailand. I had just moved there with my family about a month prior, and it was the first international package I’d received at our new address. As I opened the box and held my copy, I felt overwhelming gratitude: for Ron Price, my coauthor; for our spouses and families, who supported us while writing; for the team that helped edit and publish the book; for the community who had already rallied around its release.
Not long after the official launch date, I was back in Idaho for a book release party. And not long after that, our book started hitting bestseller, winning awards, and most importantly, impacting the lives of leaders around the world.
Today, Ron and I get messages weekly from readers. We celebrate each note—they are demonstrations, to us, of the influence and impact of our book. I can’t wait to see what the next two years bring!
To celebrate, I’m sharing the author Q and A from the back of the book. I hope you enjoy reading about our inspiration and process, and our big vision for our book. And if you haven’t read Growing Influence yet, I hope you’ll add it to your reading list.
1. What compelled you to write this book? What inspired you to write it as fiction instead of nonfiction?
Ron Price (RP): I have spoken on the topics in the book for several years. One of our team members, Andy Johnson, kept encouraging me to write a book about these concepts because he felt they were original and impactful. As I reflected on this, I concluded that the models of leadership would be better communicated through a work of fiction. Originally, I asked Stacy to serve as the executive editor/ghostwriter. It quickly became obvious to me that she should be credited as a coauthor. This book could not have been completed without her valuable and original contributions.
Stacy Ennis (SE): I’ve worked on a number of leadership books over the years, all of which have been meaningful. However, I’d never worked on fiction within the genre of business and leadership, and the idea was both exciting and challenging. One of the things I enjoyed about writing this story with Ron was pushing ourselves to explore a new way to communicate leadership lessons that can profoundly affect people’s lives and careers. Developing the story with Ron stretched my creativity and helped me grow as a leader, and I can’t wait to see the impact it has on others.
2. Did you discover anything new in the process of writing this story?
RP: We always discover new things through the process of writing! We decided early on that framing our leadership insights within the context of gender bias would be valuable. Then the #metoo movement happened and elevated the importance of what we were doing.
SE: I agree with Ron—we learned a lot about the content and characters, and we also saw the importance of the story play out in the media as we were writing the book. But more than that, I learned the power of conversation around leadership as Ron and I dug deep into the concepts of the book. We recorded hours of discussions as we teased out ideas and explored different pathways for interpretation and implementation by readers.
3. What was the most rewarding experience throughout your book-writing journey? What has been the most important or beneficial lesson you have learned?
RP: Collaborating with Stacy has been a very rewarding experience for me. She is an extremely skillful writer and represents a set of experiences I value but will never have myself. Though we come from very different backgrounds, we share many values. Once again, I have been reminded of how little I can do alone and how much better my writing projects are when I collaborate with talented people.
SE: Working with Ron on this book taught me what it looks like when you bring two perspectives together to create something bigger than we could create on our own. Ron is one of the most values-driven, ethical, hard-working leaders I know, and he’s also a great listener. As we watched the #metoo movement unfold alongside revising this book, we had great conversations about what it means to be a woman in business. He modeled empathy and understanding, which I strive to bring into my own leadership.
4. What were the biggest challenges you faced cowriting a book? What were the biggest rewards?
RP: Scheduling was our only real challenge. I am extremely busy with our work, including traveling up to 70 percent of the time. Working on the book took place after normal business hours. Stacy was patient and responsive throughout the process. The biggest rewards are seeing a result that neither of us could have created alone. Participating in the creative process is always one of my greatest joys. In my opinion, writing fiction with purpose is a delicate venture, and I’m thrilled with OUR end result.
SE: Ron’s response makes me smile, because he was extremely on top of revisions—truly an ideal coauthor! As someone who writes around two and a half books a year, the greatest challenge was stepping outside of my normal nonfiction process to work with Ron in creating Emily’s and David’s characters and telling their stories. The biggest reward? Even after all these rounds of revision, I still tear up when I read the last chapter. To me, we did the story and content justice.
5. What makes your book unique from other books on leadership?
RP: The models we write about are unique to us, and they have been tested and validated for more than forty years. They are an extension of the work we do understanding and encouraging leadership excellence.
SE: I’ll echo Ron, though the leadership lessons are his. I helped refine and expand them, but they are concepts he’s developed over decades. Our book is also unique because it brings together two voices from different backgrounds and life experiences to tell a single story, which will allow a wide spectrum of readers to be able to connect to the characters and lessons.
6. The lessons that David shares in the book, where did they come from? Were they lessons you learned through your own careers, saw through others’ careers, or researched?
RP: David’s lessons come mostly from my experiences and work with other leaders—much of the book is autobiographical. There are also several special touches I am thrilled with from Stacy’s experiences.
SE: Ron’s stories are present throughout the book. You’ll see some of my life through Emily’s experience, especially when it comes to her parenting. Some of the discussions Ron and I have had also made it into the book through David and Emily.
7. What would you say is the most important message or lesson to take away from Growing Influence? Why?
RP: If I had to narrow it down to one message, it is that everyone is a leader, and their influence is made up of a combination of character, expertise, and position. Intentional leaders think about building integrity in all three dimensions based on their individual passions and purpose.
SE: I’ll add one thing to Ron’s response: all leaders have the opportunity for growth, no matter their current situations. The message of intentionality extends to the decision to grow.
8. Is there anything else either of you wanted to include in this book that you may have not had the chance to?
RP: This book captured everything I was hoping it would. Because this is an extension of earlier books (The Innovator’s Advantage, The Complete Leader, and Treasure Inside), I view it as part of my journey reflecting on leadership. There may be one or two more books in the future to complete my sense of responsibility in sharing these reflections with others. There are so many wonderful books about leadership, it is impossible to acknowledge all of the authors I admire and benefit from reading. That said, our team members at Price Associates have authored several books that are near the top of my list (http:// price-associates.com/store).
SE: As a writer, I would love to explore a more complex version of this story. Since this is a business fable, we made intentional choices to keep the story in support of the lessons.
9. What are your plans for the future? Will you write another book?
RP: I hope to write at least two more. I have spent the last five or seven years working on content through speeches and conversations with leaders that I hope to use as the basis for my future writing. I have been working on a new approach to strategy, developing practical keys to effective supervision, and using value theory (axiology) as a management practice. I hope that I can eventually craft my thinking around these topics into books that benefit others.
SE: One thing I’m especially excited about is a women’s leadership platform training I cofounded with three other incredible women (www.nextlevelwomenleaders.com). As for writing another book, my answer is definitely. I’ve been writing regularly since grade school, and I don’t plan to stop writing any- time soon. I also look forward to publishing more books under my name, as many are ghostwritten.
10. Do you identify with any of the characters? If so, who and why?
RP: Both David and Emily! I probably identify more with David because much of his story is my story in disguise. How- ever, Emily’s experience also has autobiographical aspects as well.
SE: I identify with both characters as well, though probably more so Emily. As a mom of two young children, her challenges balancing family with career certainly resonate with me. My husband is also an all-in father and constant support to me, much like Emily’s husband, Jason.
11. What kind of research did you do for this book?
RP: Over forty years of reading thousands of books, then implementing what I was learning in my experiences, and finally working with scores of emerging leaders as an executive coach and program facilitator. Because I develop my thinking about a topic for at least five years, my research happens along the journey much more than during the writing process.
SE: I love research and spent a lot of time listening to podcasts about women in business, leadership, and more, as well as reading articles and books. Like Ron, I’m an avid reader and have spent more than a decade refining my thinking around the concepts we explore in the book.
That’s the end of our author Q and A! If you want to join in celebrating our bookiversary, you can do one of three things: 1) purchase a copy for yourself or a friend, 2) leave a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads, or 3) share about the book on social media using the hashtag #growinginfluence.
Please share your thoughts about the Q&A or Growing Influence in the comments—Ron and I would love to hear from you!