After 25 Years As CEO, Inspiration Still Comes From Great Examples

This week, I checked back in with AgileAssets CEO Stuart Hudson to see what he was reading. Hudson has been at the helm of AgileAssets since 1994 and recently led the celebration of the company’s 25th anniversary during Xchange 2019, the global AgileAssets user community event in Austin, Texas.

Over the last 25 years, AgileAssets has solidified its place as a global leader in transportation asset lifecycle management, serving government agencies in more than 20 US states as well as regional and national road authorities in Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. One reason for the company’s lasting success? Hudson’s ongoing commitment to strong core values, leadership integrity, and an unwavering focus on client success.

He gets inspiration from some of the modern classics of leadership literature. Here’s what he has to say about what he’s reading these days.

Stuart Hudson’s Thoughts on Leadership Classics

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

It’s an old book, but its concepts are evergreen. I like to hand it out to our new employees because a lot of its core ideas translate to today. I typically reread it once every year or two. Sometimes I just read a page or two a day because the concepts are so good.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

This book really encourages me. It’s by a Navy Seal commander and his platoon leader, and they talk about lessons they learned on the battlefield—important important lessons like working with teams, following the chain of command and taking extreme ownership. It goes into how a team breaks down into smaller units and everybody needs to take extreme ownership up and down the chain of command. If the leader’s not going to do their job, then others need to step up and help the leader understand their role. A leader needs to be vulnerable to understand the needs of their team. In the case of AgileAssets, I apply those ideas back to extreme ownership in how we work as a company. We are one big team that’s made up of a bunch of small teams, and I want everybody to have the feeling of ownership in their role and understand how it fits into the bigger picture. Extreme ownership is also one of our company’s core values.

Dare to Lead & Daring Greatly by Brenè Brown

I’ve read and reread both of these books a number of times. They’re on the concepts of leadership, vulnerability, and relating effectively to those around us. Many of our company’s core values and cultural goals stem from these books. Our whole leadership team is studying the concepts put forth by Brenè Brown.

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday

At its core, this book is about stoicism. What it teaches is that when an obstacle or an issue has to be figured out, the most successful people will turn that obstacle into the path. How do we do a judo move on this issue and flip it to our benefit? The book highlights a lot of great examples of people redefining obstacles in this way throughout history.

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