Mile One: Ed Roberts on Leadership
Ed Roberts offered to sign all pre-orders of his new book, "Mile One, an Endless Journey to Effective Leadership."
He had no idea that he would be putting physical pen to paper on over 3300 copies (and counting.)
We sat down with Ed to discuss the launch of his book, to understand why he wrote it, and, ultimately, what he hopes to leave readers with by sharing this with the world.
There was no question that once I decided to finally jump off the cliff, take that leap, and write this book, I knew it would be called Mile One. The title resonates with me because it reflects my leadership approach and experience. No matter where we are or what is next, we can’t go further without traveling that next mile; what matters next is what is in front of us.
Bozard Ford Lincoln just received their seventh Triple Crown from Ford Motor Company. How can you make the time to write a book while leading your team and the dealership to such great heights?
It’s what we do and what we do on an ongoing basis. Writing a book is not easy, but getting the context down in the grand scheme of things felt natural. The more challenging elements involved writing in a way that the reader could relate to, writing in such a way that made the story visual. This process required a reprioritization of my morning routine. I like to get started early; I would wake up and write before I got my day going.
Who influenced you and your leadership style along the way?
In the beginning, it was the guy that gave me a chance, the person who hired me. He did so much more than give me a job; I took the opportunity and really built on it.
A mentor who influenced me, without him knowing necessarily, would be Alan Mullaly. When he came up to Ford Motor Company, he entered what some would call a hostile environment, where everybody was in it for themselves. He had to cut through that; there was still talent in the business, but much work needed to be done to pull the best out of the people. He also did it with few changes in terms of the personnel. He showed that you could take a situation, clean it up and create a thriving company. I really latched on to that. I’ve read his book a few times, The American Icon.
That’s been a part of my influence. It’s about bringing people together to collaborate and build off each other’s strengths.
What advice would you give to a new leader, someone who has recently moved into a leadership role?
We run into challenges that we often create ourselves. Sometimes we get promoted to the next position because we performed well in our original role. During that transition, if we continue to do many things we were doing in the previous role, it makes us very busy, and we are not necessarily effective. As we move forward, it’s our job to lead the people in our team to be great at their jobs. We must pick up where the team needs to improve and help them do that. Many new or young leaders end up stepping in and handling it for them - when we do that, we are not helping the team overcome obstacles.
If there’s any one piece of advice I would give someone who has just moved into a leadership role, it would be to help the people that they’re leading to become as good as they were when they were in that position; to allow that person to grow, and not to do their work for them.
How do you understand who within your team is ready to move into a leadership role versus someone who may just be very good at their current role?
It’s all about making meaningful personal connections. When you do that and really get to know someone, you can learn the DNA of that person. You learn whether they’re capable of leading people. When we can bring others up around us and make others better, that is the foundation for someone to move into a leadership role.
Tell us about how you have personally experienced the launch of “Mile One, an Endless Journey to Effective Leadership” What do you hope readers will get from the experience of reading your book?
I’ve tried to write in a format that extends the lessons beyond our industry. I have tried to ensure that the information is timely and applicable, no matter when you pick it up and read it. I have also written it so it doesn’t have to be read from cover to cover. A lot of people in leadership roles are very constrained with time. There are 13 chapters, each take about five minutes to read, and I wrote the book so that you can pick it up, go to the part that helps or guides you with a specific area; at any given point, you can reflect.
The response has been overwhelming; I’m certainly blessed. I never expected so many pre-orders and so much support. I am blown away; I never expected to sell 100 books. I hope to leave a legacy by sharing my experiences.
As we end the interview, Ed holds up the original manuscript for “Mile One, an Endless Journey to Effective Leadership.” Ed has already achieved important personal milestones through this process. Reprioritizing his mornings to include writing and reflection, revisiting past experiences, and creating a visual experience through his writing (and we can confirm, there is also an interactive experience within the pages of his book) through to getting it done and out there.
You can order your “Mile One, an Endless Journey to Effective Leadership” copy by clicking this link.
Dealer Marketing Magazine will publish book reviews on “Mile One, an Endless Journey to Effective Leadership” in the future.