Coffee with Cleo is a new book by leadership development consultant Cleo Franklin. Franklin has written a collection of 10 leadership lessons and personal stories of inspiration, self-reflection and insight from his 32-year career as an executive with iconic global brands John Deere, Case-New Holland and Mahindra. Readers, especially those who are business leaders or on startup teams, will find inspiration and courage in Franklin’s honest and self-reflective writing. “I describe [the book] as a modern-day Aesop’s Fables,” says Franklin.
The book’s foreword was written by Anand G. Mahindra, executive chairman of the Mahindra Group. “A good story requires a good storyteller….Through artful storytelling, Cleo offers valuable leadership lessons for any aspiring leader or start-up business team seeking guidance and a framework to help develop and improve their leadership skills… For many successful executives, it will serve as a reminder that we should sometimes jog the memory for insights that have, perhaps, been long forgotten.”
Cleophus “Cleo” Franklin Jr.’s leadership experience and expertise has been globally recognized, as has his passion for business development, developing robust brand strategies, and designing and implementing innovative, disruptive business models that have benefited many iconic brands across multiple industries. He is a fervent believer in the servant leadership model and helps communities and individuals find their purpose and focus by going beyond just selling products and services.
Cleo grew up in Chicago’s inner city West Side in a family of nine children. He was raised by parents who brought their resourceful, no-excuses, community-service and education-first mentality to the family. Although growing up in urban America, Cleo’s industry expertise is deeply connected to agriculture, spanning over 30 years as a senior executive working for three major global agriculture brands. He owes this connection to his parents’ multigenerational rural and farming background in Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi.
Cleo is the president and CEO of Franklin Strategic Solutions, franklinss.com, a global consulting business that focusses on leadership development. He is also the founder of the Franklin Leadership Foundation in partnership with Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. The foundation works with businesses to develop future leaders through internships, scholarships and mentoring access for students to top business leaders. ◊