Interview – Alison Vidotto, author of 22 Leadership Fundamentals
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by Alison Vidotto, author of 22 Leadership Fudamentals . Welcome to the Showcase Lounge, Alison.
Alison Vidotto: Thank you, it’s great to be here.
SPS: For any of our readers that haven’t come across your work previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself?
AV: I grew up in England until I moved to Australia with my family when I was 13 years old. I now live in Queensland, Australia with my husband. I’m a mother of six, an author, a business woman and Director of an international Charity that I founded to support blind and seriously ill children living in poverty in Vietnam (www.accv.net.au).
SPS: Living independently at 16, working full time and attending night school… it must have been a steep learning curve!
AV: It was, very steep! It took me a while but I was very passionate about getting an education and that’s a way that I could do it. It worked out well for me in the end. I always tell people in similar situations that it doesn’t matter where you start out, what matters is where you end up.
SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?
AV: I love the quiet morning hours before everyone is awake. That’s usually when I do my best writing, or on a quiet weekend afternoon. Sometimes we’ll manage a weekend away to the beach or the countryside, the perfect writing environment! I try to write every day, even if it’s just a little bit of journaling first thing in the morning
SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment where you decided that you wanted to publish your work?
AV: I had been encouraged by many to write a book for a number of years, particularly since setting up ACCV, but I’d always resisted. As I studied more leadership courses, including a module for my MBA, I found the Leadership texts to be quite dry. I thought it would be great to read about a Leader who is living a fairly ordinary life using solid Leadership principles.
SPS: Your first book is a work of non-fiction; do you see yourself ever writing fictional work?
AV: I would never say never, although it’s not part of my plan. I encounter so many real life stories that are far more interesting than anything I could make up.
SPS: So, tell us about 22 Leadership Fundamentals.
AV: My book is a Leadership Memoir. It covers the fundamental principles of Leadership that I have found necessary to raise a large close family, run a successful business and build an international charity. With each of the fundamentals I have included real life situations where I have encountered the Leadership fundamental (or lack thereof) discussed in that particular chapter. The book also comes with reflection questions at the end of each chapter designed to prompt the reader to increase their own leadership skills.
SPS: How did you come up with the tag line “The door to success says push!”?
AV: I first heard ‘The door to success says push!’ from my mother, Christine Edith. She taught us that there is always a solution to a problem; we just have to work hard to find it.
She was right (of course she was, mums are always right) the door to success does say push. Success doesn’t just happen, it requires hard work and effort and when times are tough you have to really push.
This expression really resonated with me. I used it frequently with my children, so much so that it came back to me engraved on a business card holder as a Christmas gift. I researched it a while ago and it turns out that it comes from suffragette England 1859 when women were petitioning the Royal Academy demanding that female students be allowed admission. I thought it was the perfect tag line for a leadership book.
SPS: Are all of the ideas situations that you have gone through yourself?
AV: Yes, the book is based on my own experiences and the Leadership fundamentals that were appropriate to the situations I encountered. Each fundamental tells the story of myself, my family, our business or those we support in Vietnam through ACCV.
SPS: Is their one fundamental above all others that you would highlight as being the most important for someone looking to be a successful leader?
AV: Self Leadership, without doubt. You can’t lead others if you don’t have self-awareness, self-belief and strong values. We must lead ourselves and conduct our own lives effectively before we can expect others to follow our lead. You can’t say one thing and do another, nobody is going to follow a hypocrite. To quote Thomas J. Watson Sr: “Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.”
SPS: What kind of feedback have you received so far from readers?
AV: I have been quite humbled at the positive response the book has received so far.
SPS: What kind of person would benefit the most from reading your work?
AV: Anyone who would like to build their Leadership skills. I wrote the book with business leaders in mind but the feedback is suggesting that it also appeals to people who aren’t running a business but want to increase their leadership skills. Leadership really does impact every aspect of our lives.
SPS: Have you written 22 Leadership Fundamentals as the first in a proposed series of self-help books, or will it be a one-off?
AV: I love writing and sharing the knowledge that has benefited me along the way. I will definitely author more books.
SPS: Can you take a moment to tell us how you came up with the cover for your work?
AV: We are a close family and we run a Conscious Business with a very close team so it was a collective decision. We threw around a few ideas and everyone gave their input. I wanted something very simple and other’s felt that my photograph should be on the front cover. We then had a few options put together and a vote was taken. The selected cover was the favourite by far. It was a very easy decision.
SPS: It’s probably a good time to ask, what can we expect next from the pen or keyboard of Alison Vidotto?
AV: I am currently working on a Leadership journaling book and I have a few other ideas simmering away at the back of my mind. A number of people have requested a sequel that focuses on the stories of people in Vietnam. The journey of ACCV includes some incredible stories so it would be nice to share them with people too.
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?
AV: Yes, I hadn’t considered any other options. I wrote the book to use as an effective tool for our leadership training courses. I hadn’t thought about wider sales until I was quite a way into the process.
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
AV: And more! It has been a very steep learning curve but I have loved every step in the process so far.
SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?
AV: Do it because you love it and do it well. Research, edit and be authentic.
SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
AV: That’s a tough one, there are so many great authors out there. I am currently reading Christiane Dosne Pasqualini’s autobiography: ‘Enjoying Research from Canada to Argentina’. It’s a fascinating read spanning over 90 years of her life. She’s an amazing women with a great story; She was the first woman to occupy a permanent chair in the National Academy of Medicine.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today Alison, and all the best for the future.
AV: Thank you for interviewing me.
SPS: For more information on Alison and 22 Leadership Fundamentals, please do visit her Author page here.