Cover of Leading with Sense by Valérie Gauthier
Leading with Sense
The Intuitive Power of Savoir-Relier
Valérie Gauthier


200 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804786256
Ebook ISBN: 9780804792721

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Excerpts and More

Silver Medal (Business/Career/Sales Category) in the 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs)

Today's business environment demands a new approach to leadership, one that effectively connects individuals and organizations in the midst of change. Leading with Sense offers a new, practical approach to meeting this challenge. Drawing on her experience as a poetic translator and her expertise in cross-cultural leadership, Valérie Gauthier outlines the tenets of savoir-relier: a framework for building sensible, trustworthy, and lasting relationships that enables leaders to value difference, work across boundaries, and navigate complex systems.

Savoir-relier teaches leaders to tap into their senses in the midst of strategizing, allowing them to act intuitively and rationally at once. Few leaders dare to claim that their "gut feelings" are critical to their decisions. But, by engaging their intuition, they are able to draw on experience, better appreciate their environment, build confidence, and summon the courage to tackle the task at hand.

Leading with Sense trains readers to be poets and translators in the business context. With savoir-relier, we can write our own stories, deciphering the challenges that we face with acumen, humility, and respect. Using real-world examples of this pioneering approach, Gauthier provides readers with methods and tools for cultivating a savoir-relier mindset to build positive relationships, nurture diversity, drive mindful innovation, and foster success.

About the authors

Valérie Gauthier is Associate Professor at HEC Paris where she was also Associate Dean of the MBA program; she has been Visiting Professor at MIT Sloan and NYU Stern.

"[T]o help readers place Leading with Sense into context, Gauthier provides an impressive overview of relevant literature, both pop and academic. She covers a lot of ground . . . Leading with Sense is . . . worth your time, because it will stretch your thinking about what passes for corporate leadership today."

—Tom Brown, Strategy+Business

"The book trains readers to be poets and translators in the business context . . . The monograph, which contains a useful notes section, should be read from start to finish for the most impact. After reading the book, readers will understand their own relational intelligence and its impact on relationships with self, others, organizations, and society. In the end, the book provides a framework that enables business leaders to value difference, work across boundaries, and navigate complex systems . . . Summing Up: Recommended."

—W. A. Garrett, CHOICE

"When managing complex teams in chaotic environments, Valérie Gauthier advocates a leadership style she calls savoir-relier, defined as relational intelligence . . . Gauthier details how she employed savoir-relier techniques to lead a turnaround of a troubled MBA program at HEC Paris. The result is a warm, practical, and thoughtful book."


"Valérie Gauthier offers an original, engaging, important, and useful perspective on effective leadership for dynamic times. The book shows how top managers are driving organizational change based increasingly on relational intelligence. It adds to the growing literature that highlights the development of deep leadership traits—not just narrow skillsets."

—David Schmittlein, Dean, MIT Sloan School of Management

"A wonderful book, admirably lucid, a pleasure to read. Valérie Gauthier's story of how she has used enjoyable and stimulating exercises to enrich personal and professional life across many different organizations is fascinating. Now I understand why she has herself had such extraordinary success as a leader, international negotiator, sports champion and as an inspiring person."

—Theodore Zeldin, CBE President, Oxford Muse Foundation

"I found a new voice for leadership in this book. It paves the way to enriched personal relationships between business and consumers. Gauthier encourages entrepreneurs and leaders to value open and sincere dialogue, and to drive innovation that builds on sense. Savoir-relier will deliver the humanity that our digital world needs."

—Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO, L'Oréal

"This book offers a new perspective for your leadership journey. In it, I found an easy and practical method to engage in qualitative interpersonal relationships that transcend differences or tensions. Savoir-relier shows us how to slow down and pause at critical times in the midst of fast-pace change. This is the best way to drive transformation with energy and purpose for all."

—Clara Gaymard, President and CEO, GE France and Vice President International, GE