Developing a Leadership Culture
Is your organization stacking the deck or filling the bench?
Many companies, groups, schools, and ministries agree leadership is important. This does not, however, mean they have any idea where to start.
Leadership, unfortunately, does not secretly infiltrate the minds of the chosen ones while they sleep. Leadership is not birthed from osmosis. Leadership can, however, emerge once the powers that be come together around the shared goal of creating a leadership culture.
I have learned so much from my friendship with Mark Miller over the years. Mark, well-known for his book ‘The Secret’, has come a long way and influenced countless people since I first met him with my father years ago. He was serving on a board of a Christian school and I had the opportunity to hear him speak.
If you know me you know I love Chick-fil-A – their food and their vision speak to my heart. Mark has been with the company for nearly forty years. He began in a restaurant as a team member and has since grown in his impact to serve as a corporate employee overseeing leadership development of people both inside and beyond the Chick-fil-A organization.
I was able to catch up with him and wanted to share some of the fruits of our time together.
As a leader – don’t abdicate … delegate.
You need systems. Systems set protocols and parameters, they make expectations and goals known and achievable for you outline the steps another must take to succeed.
Oftentimes the realization that we need a leader or the importance of a leader in a given area is revealed to us shortly before the critical moment they are needed. So what do we do? We throw a Hail Mary of sorts, place a rising star in the position, cross our fingers and say a prayer.
Then we wonder why they fail. Why the vision isn’t being chased and achieved. Why it just doesn’t fit.
Friends, it is time to begin looking to our leadership as a culture to be defined and developed. Be intentional.
Rather than stacking the deck, or pushing those we assume to be high flyers to the front, let’s create a training ground where future leaders are identified and encouraged, pruned and allowed to flourish. Let’s pack our bench so when the time comes, our question is, “How will we ever choose?” rather than, “Well, what’ve we got to lose?”
With your team, if you were to gather everyone together and ask for a definition of leadership, you would find (a) all could respond, and (b) no two responses were the same. A definition alone is helpful, but insufficient.
I want to encourage you as a leader to invest in Mark Miller’s latest book, Leaders Made Here, because he digs deep into what this process looks like and how to effectively complete it.
You will know you have nailed a leadership culture when leaders are routinely and systematically developed; you have a surplus of leaders.
Success is defined in this process in two ways. Firstly, you have growing leaders who seek out growth opportunities. Secondly, you continuously have new leaders-to-be stepping up to start their process.
The cycle must refresh itself for it to last, for it to work.
As a numbers guy, I appreciate this because it means we have a qualifier – Is there a surplus? Your team is able to do well-checks on your leadership culture, and that is an empowering position to be in.
I want to thank you for beginning the journey of discovering what it means to create and nurture a leadership culture. I applaud you on taking the first step and look forward to hearing what you do with it!
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