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An Emerging Idea of Hope: An Excerpt from TRANSFLUENCE

Leadership exists within a complex, interconnected network—an ecosystem that’s always changing, often in ways hard to predict. Figuring out how to navigate this landscape successfully is no easy matter, but something I call transformational influence is at the heart of finding the way forward.  

Understanding this ecosystem—its challenges and its opportunities—will prepare you for the next steps of growing into a leader who truly influences others to do great things. To begin this journey, I invite you to read the brief excerpt below from my new book, Transfluence: How to Lead with Transformative Influence in Today’s Climates of Changeavailable today.

Together we can help the next generation of leaders seize opportunities, embrace challenges, and make their organizations and communities greater than ever.


It’s easy to grow discouraged by the state of affairs in our world, to see anger, bitterness, and divisiveness as the dominant themes of the day. Some pundits suggest our best years are behind us and that civilization, despite myriad technological advances, is rotting right before our eyes. Not me. I believe there is great hope for our future, and it lies in the hearts of emerging leaders.

That’s not a generational term. Many emerging leaders are, in fact, young. They are the twenty-to-thirty-somethings who are just getting started in life and looking for ways to make a positive mark on the world. Some emerging leaders, however, are more seasoned. They’ve been working their way up the organizational ladder, and the windows of opportunity are opening for them to step through and lead in more formal ways. Others, still, are emerging from old styles of leadership. They’ve been “in charge,” but the world around them is changing. Now they are exploring a better, more relevant version of themselves.

An emerging leader is simply anyone who is ready to take the next step in their leadership journey and embrace the challenges of the modern world. And I believe these leaders can have a transformative influence in their work, their families, and their communities. By overcoming the fears and pride that stunt their influence, by building transparency into their leadership, by developing a strong core of authentic values, and by passionately pursuing a meaningful purpose, they can seize the opportunities in front of them, embrace the challenges of society’s complex climates, and make their organizations and communities greater than ever.

If you want to have that type of transformative influence, this book will help you do it.

Much of it is based on the lessons I learned during the crucible of leading the global real estate investment company Prologis from near bankruptcy back to a position as the undisputed leader in its industry. But that experience came after I had spent more than a decade helping Prologis grow into a giant in the industrial warehouse business. 

Now, it’s not unusual for leaders to write a “legacy” book to preserve the story of their journey or to write a book to promote some new venture like speaking or consulting. There’s nothing wrong with those motives for writing a book, but those weren’t my reasons. I was moved mainly by the challenges I saw emerging leaders facing and by the idea that some of what I’d learned along the way might help them rise to meet those challenges in some meaningful way. 

There is practical value in the details of how we turned Prologis around, and that’s a big part of my story. Those details, however, have a more powerful purpose as a backdrop to broader truths about leadership in our ever-changing culture. I didn’t want to write about leadership unless I could confidently say I was adding something new to that much-discussed topic. After several false starts and a few changes in direction, I landed on a message I think is unique because it’s based on timeless principles but applies them to the challenges and opportunities of modern leadership. So, while much of what you’ll read in this book isn’t new in theory, I think you will find that it is fresh and, in some ways, quite radical in how it must be practiced in the context of new realities. 

To get to the final product, I had to go well beyond my experiences at Prologis. Some leaders define their leadership philosophy during a crisis. The really hard times cause them to take a deeper look at who they are and how they operate, and it can result in some fundamental changes in their leadership. I believe my trial-under-fire experience at Prologis exposed and refined my core ideas about leadership. In fact, had I not moved into that position with a strong foundation, I don’t believe I would have survived the ordeal.

My leadership philosophy was and is pretty straightforward: leadership is about influencing others to do great things. It’s an outward influence—one that’s built on foundations of trust and that emphasizes service to others. I’ve spent the last few years evaluating that philosophy with a critical eye— studying what I’ve learned from my journey to make sure that approach is something more than just the linchpin to my story. I read books, articles, and blogs. I reviewed research. I talked to other leaders who have earned my respect. I wrote, reviewed, reflected, and edited. I sought opinions and advice. And as I refined my ideas into what you’ll find in this book, I became convinced that they really will add significant value for emerging leaders around the world as they face unique and unprecedented leadership climates. 

The result is a book about transformative influence—what it is and how to achieve it. I’ll lay some groundwork by defining the climates that shape the modern leadership landscape, then build out an approach for leading in this complex environment. You’ll learn how to chase your internal storms and deal with the fears and pride that come with leadership. You’ll discover how to create a strong microclimate by looking outside the storms that surround you, embracing transparency, and developing a 3H-Core of humility, honesty, and heart. And you’ll find how passion and meaningful purpose can make your leadership a force of nature.

Adapted and reprinted with permission from Transfluence: How to Lead with Transformative Influence in Today’s Climates of Change by Walt Rakowich, copyright ©2020. Published by Post Hill Press, distributed by Simon & Schuster.


Lead with Transformative Influence

Transfluence shows leaders how they can have transformative influence by overcoming their fears and pride, building transparency into their leadership, developing a strong core of authentic values, and passionately pursuing a meaningful purpose. Available Now.

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