I Want Leaders Like This

What kind of leader do you want to develop? Not, what kind do you want to find? But what kind do you want to develop? My guess is you want leaders who…

  • are men and women of character
  • give their all to the cause
  • embody the values of your organization
  • inspire others to follow
  • think biblically and decide wisely
  • display patience and perseverance
  • are committed to reproducing themselves in other leaders

Leaders like this aren’t built in the classroom …they’re built on the battlefield of the mission.

Leaders like this aren’t built from reading a book …they’re built from the challenge of putting content into action.

Leaders like this aren’t built through “just jump in and figure it out” …they’re built through constant input and feedback.

Leaders like this aren’t built in a day … they’re built over a season.

Developing Your First Leader

Developing a new leader for the first time can be a scary task. We are overwhelmed with “What If’s.” What if I fail. What if they don’t learn from me? What if they ask a question I can’t answer? The prospects of failing at this crucial task can be frightening.

Do you want to know the bottom line secret to developing your first leader?

It’s not reading a book on leadership development. It’s not going to a conference. listening to a podcast or taking a class on leadership development.  Here the secret: Just get started.

That’s right, just do it. Yes, you’re going to make mistakes. But every mistake makes you better if you learn from it. The books, conferences, podcasts, and classes can be a help but the only way you will really ever learn to develop a leader is by developing a leader.


Need Help with Your Leadership Pipeline?

When I ask pastors, “What is your leadership development strategy?”  I only get one of two answers.  Some are honest and say, “We don’t have one.”  Others hesitate for a moment and say, “Well ours is organic,” which means, they don’t have one.

I just returned from a trip to New England where I wrapped up a Leadership Pipeline training with 16 churches.  Over the past seven months, I have personally worked with these leaders to build out the Structure, System, Content and People portions of their pipeline.  It has been amazing seeing these churches who had no leadership development strategy work hard and create an intentional leadership development strategy that actually results in new leaders.

I asked for testimonies at the end of the training and Larry, the Exec Pastor of one of the churches, said the Leadership Pipeline training has been a game changer for them.  This church is growing at an amazing 40% rate this year.  As a result of the training, they have raised up a group of new coaches AND get this…VOLUNTEER Directors!

Kristine, who heads up leadership development, for a 3-year-old church plant that runs 300 told me that the Pipeline training has given them a strategic way to equip their leaders and their leaders are loving it. She shared that each month after our group sessions she would go back and teach what she was learning to her key leaders.

Imagine what could happen in your church if you equip and empower lay people to lead at higher levels like this!  This is one thing that the Leadership Pipeline training can do for you.

In just a few short weeks, on August 21 & 22, David Putman and I will kick off another Leadership Development Pipeline Co::Lab in Atlanta, GA.  We have room for three more church teams (Limit 10).

We, Auxano, have been taking dozens of church teams through this process since 2013 and are seeing some amazing results.

During this Co::Lab you will benefit from….

  • 20 principles for creating a culture of Leadership Pipeline Development
  • We will give you dozens of Tools, templates, and techniques for developing leaders
  • A template to guide you in building your own systems
  • Development of a learning path for every level of your pipeline
  • An action planning guide for use between sessions
  • Coaching calls between each session
  • Peer learning environment limited to 10 church teams

Most important you will benefit from the development of your very own Leadership Pipeline.

For the details click here, and to start a conversation simply email me at maclakeonline@gmail.com and we will personally reach out to you.

Helping Your Team Create Raving Fans

Sometimes we get so busy doing the work of our organization that we actually forget about the very customers we’re there to serve.  In those times we can let our attention to serving customers needs slip off our radar and become second priority.

The following 60- 75-minute huddle is designed for you to lead your team through a development discussion that will help shape the way they think about serving your customers. I used this with my team a few weeks ago and they’re still talking about ways we can create raving fans.

I’ve attached the Word document so you can edit any portion of it to fit your needs or context.  The document includes both the Leader Guide as well as the Participant Guide.

Creating Raving Fans Long Huddle

Enjoy.  And let me know how it goes.

When you grow as a developer everybody wins!

If you’re not actively engaged in leadership development then you’re not learning anything new about it.

If you’re not learning anything new about developing leaders then you’re not getting any better at it.

That’s dangerous because a lack of development has a long term effect on your organization that may not be visible today but will certainly become evident at some point in the future.

Regardless of how bad you think you may be at development just start doing it. Dive in. Look at every coaching conversation, mentoring session or team huddle as “practice” and you’ll find yourself getting better.

Seeing every development opportunity as practice allows you to progressively learn more and more about the art of developing others. And as you get better at development your team will get better at leading. And when your team gets better at leading your organization will get better at accomplishing its mission.

When you grow as a developer everybody wins!

12 Great Leadership Questions

Years ago I heard leadership coach and author Bob Biehl say that he loves to collect questions.  That thought intrigued me.  So since that time I’ve been a student and collector of questions.

Lou Holtz once said, “I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.” Questions challenge us to see things from a different perspective and guide us to breakthrough behaviors.  You can be stuck and discouraged in one moment but with the aid of the right question, an instant later you’re flooded with fresh ideas and motivation.

Here are 12 of my favorite questions.  Chew on a few of these today and see what new insights or direction you might discover.

  1. What would a great leader do in this situation?  (Bill Hybels, Pastor Willowcreek Community Church)
  2. What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done, will fundamentally change my business? (Joel Barker, author of Paradigms)
  3. What is the wise thing to do?  (Andy Stanley, Pastor Northpoint Church)
  4. What is the single best measurable indicator that I am making progress toward my dream? Bob Biehl
  5. What are the “elephants” in my schedule? (Pareto said, “If you’re Noah, and your ark is about to sink, look for the elephants first.”) (Don’t know who asked this one but I like it)
  6. How can we become the company that would put us out of business? (Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group)
  7. What counts that we are not counting? (Chip Conley, head of global hospitality for Airbnb)
  8. What should we stop doing? (Peter Drucker, management expert and author)
  9. What are the gaps in my knowledge and experience? (Charles Handy, author and management expert)
  10. If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what would he do? (Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel )
  11. What advice would you give you if you were in your situation? (Came as a result of me having a pity party about my own situation several years ago)
  12. What questions do you have that you’d like answers to?  (From Action Learning Method)

Here’s one more bonus question, undoubtedly the most important question you can answer, “Who do you say I am? (Jesus, Mark 8:29)

What great question do you like to wrestle with?



What’s the Problem with Your Leaders?

You’re frustrated because your new leader isn’t working out like you thought. When they first started they were so enthusiastic. But now their commitment is waning, they seem complacent and if you’re honest they’re not being very effective.

This scenario is repeating itself way more frequently than you’d like and you’re getting discouraged. So you find yourself in that same old place of asking, “What’s wrong with these people?”

If this is a reoccurring issue then chances are you don’t have a people problem, you have a system problem.

Think of someone in your area of ministry that fits this scenario. Now let’s ask some diagnostic questions:

  • Did you screen them ahead of time by having them complete a questionnaire identifying their Gifts, Passion, Personality and past experiences?
  • Did you give them a season to pray and observe the ministry in action before they said “Yes” to serving in the role?
  • Did you meet with them 1-1 to discuss role and responsibilities?
  • Did more than one person interview them and agree they were the right person for the role?
  • Did you give them a written role description and go over it with them?
  • Did you provide training in the specific skills you expect for that role?
  • Are you providing ongoing communication, support and development?
  • Are you providing feedback on their strengths and growth areas?
  • Are you providing the opportunity for peer to peer learning?

Most leaders haven’t received this type of systematic onboarding and development. So let me ask: Is the Core Problem THEIR SKILL or is the Core Problem YOUR SYSTEM?   A strong system can produce a strong leader.

The Better Approach to Leadership Development

Approach #1

Talk, talk, talk. Talk, talk, talk, talk. Talk some more, a little bit more, and just a little more. And now end by talking.

Approach #2

Ask a question. Another question, another and yet another. Ask a self-assessment question. Ask an observation question. Ask about their point of view.  Ask about their past experience.  Ask their opinion.  And ask an insight question.

Now share an insight from your experience. Now back to asking a question.  Another question and another question.

I’ll leave it to you to decide which you believe is the better approach.

Leadership Thoughts I’ve Been Thinking: December

Here are a few of the leadership thoughts I’ve tweeted throughout December.  If you would like to follow me on Twitter you can find me at www.twitter.com/maclake

  • Dec 30, 5:03pm To maximize your leadership potential you cannot depend solely on development from others you must develop the habit of self-development
  • Dec 29, 4:47pm So what do you do when everything you’re doing isn’t working? More of the same is not the answer
  • Dec 28, 4:39pm People avoid that which they’re afraid of. That may explain why some of your staff are not developing leaders #LeadershipDevelopment
  • Dec 17, 6:03pm When you have a mindset of succession you will have a regular practice of multiplication
  • Dec 16, 2:38pm Reading daily will make reading a discipline #personalgrowth
  • Dec 16, 2:20pm Leadership development is about changing the leadership beliefs and behaviors of those your training
  • Dec 13, 9:28am Leadership development should always be done in a way that can be reproduced by the one you’re developing so they can develop others
  • Dec 12, 10:13am What you give ATTENTION to will ADVANCE #leadership
  • Dec 07, 11:31am People value what adds value to them #leadershipdevelopment
  • Dec 05, 1:21pm Collaboration makes you wiser, your team stronger and your organization more effective #leadership
  • Dec 04, 7:38pm There is a talent war raging. Is your organization winning or losing?
  • Nov 26, 8:59am Great intentions don’t produce growth, discipline does. #selfleadership
  • Nov 12, 6:10pm What would you tell you if you were in your situation? #selfleadership