Book Review | You Don't Need An MBA by Alicia McKay


You Don’t Need an MBA lives up to its name in spades, offering a relevant, insightful and chock full of value alternative to accelerate leadership capability and impact for the real world.

It’s clear from the get-go that Alicia McKay knows her stuff when it comes to leadership and performance. What’s more, she doesn’t beat around the bush while generously sharing her lived experiences. McKay candidly calls out common traps and excuses for poor leadership and equally offers up clarity, practicality and a good dose of humour to shed light on what really matters when it comes to making an impact on people and business.

There is absolutely no sign of artificial leadership constructs here. You Don’t Need an MBA is light on theoretical models. Instead, it’s cleverly laid out around five core modules, each comprising fundamental and relatable lessons for strategic performance leadership, with actionable questions and ‘next steps’ for every stage of development, and a cheat sheet to sum up key takeaways.

As the subtitle suggests, this book genuinely is all about leadership lessons that cut through the crap. McKay puts leadership into its rightful world, organisational and strategic context, tracing the roles, identities, mindsets and behaviours of great leaders. It connects the dots between essential elements of flexibility, systems, decision making, performance and influence. All this at a time when we most need it to navigate constant and inevitable change.

This really is a playbook for growing leaders. It will challenge you to deeply reflect on your own leadership, to acknowledge where you’ve come from, where you find yourself and where you need to get to. It will undoubtedly prove to be a reliable mirror, a coach and guide for leadership transitions at any stage of your career.

You need to read this book. But be warned, it will dare you to lead differently!

- Louise Gibson, Founder & Director, With Verve

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