Matt James is in trouble. Recently promoted to head his division, he's delivered two years of divisional losses in clients, market share, and profits. He knows his workers are talented and creative, but they don't respond to his efforts to lead them, and he's on the brink of being fired. In desperation, he reaches out to an old mentor, David Butler, who now works with wild mustang horses and hard-to-place foster children on a ranch in Colorado. David agrees to work with his former student but only on the condition that Matt comes to him—to the ranch. Matt has no idea what the ranch could possibly have to do with his problems, but David assures him that if he spends some time there, he'll learn exactly what he needs to know.
Through David's unorthodox tutelage, Matt discovers that leaders who succeed in engaging their workers do so because they see their day-to-day work as an opportunity to build an organizational culture of engagement. The engagement model is illuminated as Matt comes to understand its components piece by piece—and ultimately discovers how to engage those on his team and in his life.
In this inspiring leadership fable, John Stahl-Wert and Ken Jennings draw on their years of experience as consultants and chief executives, as well as on findings from Gallup's groundbreaking Q12 survey of 4 million workers from 360,000 workgroups, to lay out an innovative leadership model that will turn employees from dutiful drones to committed contributors. But Ten Thousand Horses is also a story of personal transformation. Beyond specific practices and techniques, Matt must learn a whole new way of relating to his employees—because, as he discovers, leading an engaged workforce is as much about who you are as what you do.