By Gary A. Johnson, Publisher – Black Men In America.com (Originally published August 2017)
Author’s note: “This book is a gem. It is timeless. It will go into ‘umpteenth’ printing and still hold it’s own with any leadership book. With the holidays upon us, this is one of the best gifts that you can give. If you can read, this book is smart enough to figure you out. That’s how good it is. –Gary Johnson, Publisher – Black Men In America.com. (November 15, 2021)”
“The Little Black Book of Success” is in its 7th printing. I am proud to say that I was one of the people who was there at the beginning. I had established a friendship with one of the authors, Elaine Meryl Brown who had written two previous novels. When Elaine told me that she and two other colleagues were writing a book on leadership, that intrigued me, because I make my living teaching leadership to corporate, government and military managers and executives. Elaine told me that this book was different. This would be the first book on leadership written by black women for black women. Also being in the public relations business, I wanted to help publicize this book. Once the book was released and I read it, I knew this book would have a long life–it was that damn good!
“The Little Black Book of Success” was much bigger than I thought. This is a solid leadership book, not just for black women, but for EVERYBODY including men!
I seized the opportunity to help promote the book. With the help of my PR partner Lee McDonald, the Chief Strategy Officer for The Renaissance Group, we worked to get the ladies some TV and radio gigs and a book signing at a popular bookstore in a suburb of Washington, DC. The ladies drew a large crowd and SOLD every book in the store.
Left to Right: Rhonda Joy McLean, Marsha Haygood and Elaine Meryl Brown in Largo, MD (Photo courtesy Gary A. Johnson)
The authors, all high-level black executives, seek to “support women who do not always have access to coaches, mentors, or the ‘Old Boys’ Network,” and their professional advice is savvy and sensitive to the challenges women of color face in the workplace. They offer self-affirming advice to rev up a career, complete with “MAMAisms”-what the authors describe as aphorisms and “familiar terms, both practical and spiritual, that we grew up with and can draw upon as we travel the road to leadership success.” The authors revisit and refresh familiar tips on staying positive, honing skill sets, having a plan of action and following through, networking, and avoiding common workplace dilemmas. They also provide valuable advice on achieving work/life balance and finding guidance, mentorship, and support. Offering sound advice, practical tools, and warm wisdom, this book will help black professional women get and stay on track and maximize their abilities.
When Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy McLean wrote “The Little Black Book of Success” they had hoped it would touch and transform the lives of women who wanted to get ahead in their careers, change careers, find a new job, or start a new business. Not only did “The Little Black Book of Success” help numerous women AND men get promoted, navigate challenging situations, cultivate skills and land new positions, it was a national bestseller, an NAACP Literary Award nominee, and the topic of talk on traditional and social media that moved the authors into the national spotlight.
Readers, listeners and followers said they wanted to delve even deeper and reflect on their leadership potential, and thus, “The Little Black Book of Success Workbook” was born.
Each chapter in the WORKBOOK correlates to a chapter in “The Little Black Book of Success” and contains a number of questions and quizzes to help you tailor each lesson to your individual needs. Within the chapter, the Group Discussion section addresses the issues to a larger group and the Senior Executive sections add value to your journey–whether you are at the highest rung of leadership or if you are just starting out and want to get a glimpse into your future.
Left to Right: Rhonda Joy McLean, Gary Johnson, Marsha Haygood, Elaine Meryl Brown
“The Little Black Book of Success” became known as the “mentor in your pocket”, and this WORKBOOK will be your “personal call-to-action plan.”
Here are some of the topics that the authors address in the book:
- The challenges black women face in the business world, particularly in today’s tough economy
- The extent to which black women have role models in business
- The difference between church values and business values, and how to walk the line between them (for example, in church we’re taught to “forgive and forget”; in business you may forgive, but you should never forget)
- Workplace behaviors that can help black women advance their careers (for example, using the lessons learned from the double burden of racism and sexism to your advantage), and behaviors that can hold them back (for example, becoming the office Mammy)
- Their top tips for black women seeking leadership roles (for example, learning how to lead as a visionary and how to create and use power)
- How to stand out by identifying and building your brand
- How to think of yourself as a VIP without having a sense of entitlement
- How to avoid bringing emotions into the workplace
- How to establish a network of mentors who are confident and supportive
- What “stepping out of your comfort zone” entails
- Why it’s so important to approach your boss for feedback
- How to stick to your goals and follow through
- Whether success strategies shift at the managerial level
- What they consider to be their greatest achievements
- Obstacles, turning points, and success stories they have encountered on their way up the career ladder
Left to Right: Rhonda Joy McLean, Marsha Haygood, WHUR Radio Host Harold Fisher, Elaine Meryl Brown at WHUR-FM, Washington, DC.
About Gary A. Johnson
I am the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life,”: A Quick and Comprehensive Guide To Making Your Life Better—Today! and contributing author to “The Black Father Perspective: What We Want America To Know,” and “In Search of Fatherhood – Transcending Boundaries: International Conversations on Fatherhood.“ In 2019, I developed a line of spices marketed and sold under the name of “MasterChef Gary’s Premium Organic Seasoning.”