Leadership Development

Wise Leaders Rarely Opine

Retired Air Force General Jerry White shared a leadership principle that he practiced over the course of his decorated career: wise leaders seldom express their personal opinions. In light of the post-election unrest in America, our political leaders could have benefited everyone by heeding this advice.

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Save the Founder’s Mentality

Founder’s Syndrome If this musing by an organization’s founder on the value of organizational founders seems self-serving, indeed it is. But with the conventional avalanche of driveling complaints I hear and read about “founder’s syndrome,” it’s high time to speak up about the invaluable asset that many organizations forfeit when the founder walks out the door. Examples abound of founders who become a liability to the organizations they labored hard to birth and nurture. They hang on too long. Or they don’t know how to keep their noses out of the successor’s business. Founders whose tenures are long and whose track records are stellar can be particularly annoying when it’s time for a leadership change. Boards, stockholders, and staff are regularly warned of the dangers associated with transitioning founders. We get the message: founders can be a pain!

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A Vote For Virtuous Leadership

The pending election for the leader of the free world has been hotly debated. The results will determine directions for our nation and planet in years to come. But this time around, millions of us are more deeply skeptical of our choices. Perhaps it’s because “virtuous leadership” needs more attention in our public discourse. The term “virtues” does not carry much credibility because it sounds like a throwback to the Victorian era. In generations past, leaders spoke of virtues, those beliefs and practices that provided common rules of engagement both in public and private life. These virtues included honesty, humility, fairness, justice, and individual dignity. Although our leaders did not always live up to these benchmarks, at least we agreed on what they were.

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Much Practice Does Not Make a Perfect Leader

Much Practice

What does it take to become an expert? A popular writer cites the “10,000-hour rule.” According to this rule, if you practice for 10,000 hours, you will become an expert. But this rule is an oversimplification of important research: in fields as diverse as music, math, and leadership, deliberate practice is the only kind of practice that promises to produce excellence. 10,000 Hour Rule In his best-selling book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell cited studies on expert violinists to promote the “10,000-hour rule.” He used Mozart as a prime example. Mozart learned to play at the age of four. Despite his musical genius – both as a performer and a composer – he practiced for thousands of hours to cultivate his art while other boys played with toy soldiers. So Gladwell does get the general concept correctly. To become an expert in any discipline – even for those with latent talent – takes tons of practice. But not all practice is equal.

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Competent Leadership

The 2020 Vision Statement of Freedom to Lead: In five years we will see 5000 storycentric leaders in 25 under-resourced countries being transformed into competent Christ-centered leaders. For the FTL Summer Blog Series, we have been unpacking our Vision Statement for the next five years. If you have missed any from this series, feel free to visit each one: Freedom From What? 25 Countries, 5000 Leaders Under Resourced Being Transformed Today we are going to talk about the competency component.

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Under-Resourced Communities

Today we are going to look at the word “under-resourced.”

Imagine for a moment – you have sensed a calling to lead others. You sense God wants you to lead in a church, in a business, or in a school. so where do you go to grow in your leadership?

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Is there any real difference between evangelism and missions?

Evangelism and missions both flow from the Great Commission – Christ’s command to “make disciples of every nation” (Matthew 28) by reaching them and teaching them. Isn’t this all just Great Commission work? Yes and no. There is a big difference between those that have been reached with the gospel and those that have not.

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Riding the “Movement” Wave

Movements and Institutions. It’s trendy to criticize institutions. Decaying behemoths that cater to the elites of a bygone cause are easy targets. Across the political and religious landscape, many prefer to associate with “movements” that eschew the traditional establishment in favor of an idealized future. Yet a nagging reality remains: any movement that does not institutionalize will not have lasting impact. In politics, movement is in; institution is out. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has referred to Trump’s popularity in the current Republican race for the White House as a “movement.” Bernie Sanders’ “movement” has also resulted in his unlikely surge among disaffected voters. Institutions get backhanded in the religious world as well. For example, I just read another Christian leadership author who repeats the predictable mantra that movements are preferable over institutions. Although the vast majority of his book’s endorsements are from institutional leaders, the author pontificates that movements prioritize innovation and spontaneity while institutions focus on control that “quenches the Spirit.” We get the message: movements are good; institutions are bad.

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The Leader’s Desire, Design, and Destiny

Desperate Desire Everybody’s got a hungry heart. – Bruce Springsteen What is the longing within leaders to reach audacious goals, to “make a dent in the universe,” to leave a legacy? We are designed with this longing, and only freedom will lead us to our destiny.

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Leadership For a New Year

Courageous Leadership Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln” highlighted a four-month period at the end of the Civil War in 1865 that is instructive for leaders facing a new year’s opportunities and challenges. The United States’ sixteenth president had declared that he hated the “zeal” for slavery’s expansion. “I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself,” Lincoln said, and “I hate it because it . . . enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites—causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity.”1 Lincoln correctly calculated the task before him, and described the Emancipation Proclamation as “the central act of his administration.” His courageous leadership to end slavery was a pivotal event in American history.

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Leadership Matters

We believe that leaders make a huge difference in people's lives.