Books: Leadership Tools

By Jude Qing Zhu, CMA, CSCA
June 1, 2020

Coauthors Jim Canfield and Kraig Kramers combine senior management tactics with analysis of real-world cases in CEO Tools 2.0: A System to Think, Manage, and Lead Like a CEO. They break down professional terminology related to budgeting and a balanced scorecard into understandable language for management executives and employees with limited accounting and finance knowledge.



As a book for C-suite executives, it adopts a traditional structure, starting with vision, value, and strategy, then moving to planning and controlling, and ending with culture and future aspects of effective leadership. The cases make the book attractive to management accountants, and the theories and methodologies that the authors explain are understandable and practical.


For example, the book introduces a tool called Quarterly Priorities Manager (QPM). By explaining in detail how QPM has been implemented in a company named Graphic Arts Center, the book demonstrates its value as an effective performance management tool.


Effective communication is another key theme of this book. Professionals with an accounting background may underestimate the importance of communication. They’re normally good at accounting techniques and financial calculations and reporting but may lack sufficient interpersonal skills to deal with their supervisors, peers, or subordinates. This problem could be magnified when they get promoted to senior management, where people skills are a top priority.


CEO Tools 2.0 provides useful tactics to deal with this issue, such as walking the four corners (W4C) and writing personal notes to colleagues and clients. I’ve tried some of these techniques in my consulting work, and the feedback has been positive beyond my expectation.


CEO Tools 2.0 provides a clear structure outlining recommendations for what the CEO and other leaders should do, complemented with stories and real-world cases that illustrate leadership lessons. It’s an interesting book that’s worth reading.


Jude Qing Zhu, CMA, CSCA, is a co-founder and board member of Odysec Inc., the founder of GreenStone Consulting, and the founder/president of IMA’s CMA Nanjing Elite Club. You can reach him at jzhu@greenstone.club.
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