© 2019

The Simple Truths About Leadership

Creating a People-Centric Culture


Table of contents

About this book


In the middle of the last decade, businesses have suffered serious harm due to the world-wide economic slowdown/great recession, geopolitical tensions and conflicts, and the very unpredictable nature of our government. In the process of staying the course, many business leaders have made a number of decisions and have taken a number of actions that have done harm to their relationships with their own employees. The resultant psychological contract told employees that their leaders were in it for themselves, for owners and stockholders, for positive reports from Wall Street, for their customer base … for every stakeholder group other than the people who work there. This book offers a road map for creating a more engaged, committed workforce by adopting and maintaining a People-Centric culture. 

After describing why commitment and engagement are so important today, the author speaks to how mindsets that reflect an older business reality need to change before any sustainable change in behavior and work culture can occur.  This book underscores the role that leaders need to play by embracing 10 Simple Truths that underlie long-term, sustainable business success. Some argue that we may be approaching the next recession, and it is in those down times that businesses will need their people most. Now is the time for leaders to proactively start earning that support and turn their people into their partners rather than just their hired hands.

With a case study that describes a true People-Centric leader and that demonstrates what it takes to lead a culture change, this book is a call to action for leaders everywhere to (a) become a People-Centric leader, (b) earn the right to lead others toward this end, and (c) align their company culture with the mindset and capabilities needed to produce and sustain long-term business success.

If you are not getting the best from your people, read this book with the goal of turning that around. You will find it to be a good blueprint for leaders who attempt to create a more People-Centric culture.


employee engagement people-centric leadership work culture organizational culture development coaching culture change

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Neeley School of BusinessTexas Christian UniversityFort Worth, TXUSA

About the authors

Larry Peters is Professor Emeritus of Management & Leadership Development in the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University, USA. He is an award-winning instructor, scholar, and consultant. He has received four all-campus teaching awards and been honored for his career contributions to research by two professional associations. He was senior editor of the Blackwell Encyclopedic Dictionary of Human Resources Management. Professionally, Dr. Peters has provided consulting, presentation, coaching, custom training design, training, meeting design, facilitation, and applied research services to business, non-profit and government organizations. He has worked extensively in the organizational development, change, leadership development, and interpersonal communications areas.

Bibliographic information


“I have to say that this second edition really takes leadership to a higher level. Larry has woven even more of his practical consulting experience into a very thoughtful and user-friendly guide for those facing the challenges of an increasingly complex world…it is easy to follow and provides many practical tools to help people improve the leadership of their teams, their organizations, and especially themselves. Larry also puts two brave stakes in the ground. First, those that are seeking long term success have to start seeing the people in organizations as partners, not commodities. Second, only value driven cultures will survive increasing turbulent business environments. If you believe those two principles to be true, this is a must read.” (Joe Eulberg, Former Executive VP HR at Bob Evans Farms, Inc., Current faculty at Marymount University, USA)

“I highly recommend Larry Peters’ book, The Simple Truths About Leadership. The truths he identifies may be simple, but they are deep and profound. Peters writes with clarity and wit. I love the chapter title, “Corporate Culture: It Takes More Than Donuts!” That title gets at a big problem when organizations talk about culture change. Leaders and sometimes their consultants assume that catchy slogans, inspiring vision statements, good food, and team building will do the trick. It doesn’t, of course. He explains why and suggests ways to avoid “the donut” trap. He examines the other simples truths clearly and always with ideas we can use to bring those simple truths to life. I’ve got a feeling that this is a book I am going to return to often.”(Rick Maurer, Maurer & Associates, Author of Beyond The Wall of Resistance)

“…an engaging and accessible book on leadership that achieves that rare combination of being truly insightful while simultaneously being extremely practical.” (Stephen M.R. Covey, NYT's best-selling author of The Speed of Trust and coauthor of Smart Trust)

“Dr. Peters writes from long and unique experience as he helps us not just become better leaders, but better people.” (Joseph Grenny, NYT’s best-selling author of Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change)

“The lessons in this book are critical for the new talent era… A must read top winner for any leader’s bookshelf - start treating your employees as partners or someone else will!” (Louis Carter, Author of In Great Company: How to Spark Peak Performance By Creating an Emotionally Connected Workplace) 

“We all know that a company can only be as great as its people make it. The question is, how can you create a culture in which your people want to create a great business as much as you do? Larry Peters shows you the way in Simple Truths.” (Bo Burlingham, Author of Small Giants and Finish Big)

“His 10 simple truths are the building blocks for all leaders interested in awakening the sleeping giant of human potential in their organization. His insights on what creates a people centric culture are invaluable!” (Jim Haudan, Author of The Art of Engagement and Coauthor of What Are Your Blind Spots?)

“This is an interesting book that addresses leadership in human terms. It’s about leadership in the context of a highly volatile, unpredictable and fast-changing reality that puts greater responsibility on everyone to step up to current and future business challenges. When leaders can create partners (rather than followers), they create that cadre of people who can be counted on when needed most; in times of change.  Peters develops the notion that leaders need to be more people-centric to earn partners, and then goes on to spell out what it means to behave in a people-centric fashion. That involves a more in-depth exploration of what it means to show real respect to others.” (Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times No.1 bestselling author of Triggers, Mojo, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There; Only two-time Thinkers 50 No.1 Leadership Thinker in the world)

“There are many leadership books with few addressing the realities of today’s workplace. I am struck by Larry Peters’ insights as he addresses the need to engage, gain commitment from and, in turn, get meaningful and passionate contributions from our employees. 
The “simple truths” in the book are poignant. With application activities at the end of each chapter, the simple truths become real. Peters makes strong cases for the critical contributions that our people can make … as partners with leaders. Simple Truths is a book that you can use as a leader. While the prose is informative, the applications help translate the words into actions. I recommend the book to leaders who want to be more effective, students trying to understand what leadership should be, and those individuals who are looking for a practical perspective as their leadership vision.” (Robert Taylor, Dean Emeritus,College of Business, University of Louisville, USA)

The Simple Truths about Leadership" presents time-tested axioms that resonate with common sense principles.  It is an easy – and delightfully refreshing – read, devoid of any arcane theories and bursting with practical insights and solid advice. That said, it is also succinct, yet profoundly thought-provoking.  The bottom line for Dr. Peters is not about the financial outcomes, but how a leader treats his or her colleagues. The driving premise here is, rightly, that if you treat your people right, they will do the same for you and for your organization. Dr. Peters' extensive work and experience in the field of leadership shines through.  He offers some very worthwhile exercises that also raise some crucial questions leaders must address if they are to be worthy of the title.” (Brian Jackson, Founder, The Orion Trust)

“Dr. Larry Peters has written a powerful book about Leadership … one where People Matter Most! The concepts are candid, clear and actionable … but often easier to say than do! His exercises cause a leader to pause and reflect on what matters most; the leader him/herself! I loved the “one dream; one team” construct and the poignant new discovery of R-E-S-P-E-C-T spelled out in a way that defines leadership in a simple yet profound way! A must read if you want to succeed.  A humbling read if you take the time to reflect!  An inspiring read if you want to change.” (Toni Portmann, Co-founder and CEO, Walkabout Workplace)