Archives For Leadership & Leader Development

Lauren sunset 2014Good morning!

We talk much about the dearth of leadership in our businesses, non-profits, churches, and governments. Yet we have leadership institutes in our colleges, we have thousands of blogs on leadership (including this one!), there are enough books on leadership to fill up a library, we have seminars, and on and on. Yet we still hear of organizations lamenting the lack of good leaders. Organizations struggle with succession as their next level of leaders are not yet ready to step up and lead and we see failure after failure of leaders.


From my experience and study, it seems that one key reason is that we are not truly willing to put the work into crafting new leaders. We talk about it, but when it comes to actually doing it, we just don’t prioritize the development of new leaders as we should. We see this in our approach to leadership development.

Most often the approach I have seen, and read about, to developing leaders is one with a mass production mentality. Have them read books and discuss in groups, send them to seminars or conferences, have them pursue advanced degrees or certifications,and so on. All of your prospective leaders being run through the same mass production system. The problem is, while these things may or may not have value, the real leadership development does not occur in this type of system. All you get with this approach is mediocrity.

Leaders are not mass produced through a one size fits all system. Leaders are individual works of art crafted lovingly by a master craftsman who loves his work and focuses intensely on his work. Time and again, when you learn about exceptional leaders you discover that there was someone who invested deeply into their lives. Someone who walked with them showing them the way. Someone who knew them well enough to design learning experiences just for them to meet their specific needs.

Leaders are handcrafted one at a time by a “master craftsman” who is willing to invest into the developing leader. It’s hard work. It takes knowing the person well, which means studying them. They are unique individuals that require a uniquely designed approach to enable them to flourish and to reach their potential as a leader.

So, if you really want to develop highly effective leaders for your organization that truly possess your organization’s DNA, then you will have to roll up your sleeves and begin building them – one at a time.

Hard work, but well worth it.


Mission-Drift-coverMission Drift – it is a common issue among faith-based organizations – just think of Harvard and the YMCA.

In their book, Mission Drift, Peter Greer and Chris Horst make the following statement:

“Without careful attention, faith-based organizations drift from their founding mission. . . Slowly, silently, and with little fanfare organizations routinely drift from their purpose and many never return to their original intent.”

Is this happening in your organization? What do you need to do to correct your course?


“3 Forces That Shape Character” by Michael Hyatt

mindsets of true leaders

February 24, 2014

beautiful shiesGood Monday morning to you! Winter is not quite done here. The snow started melting last week, but the temps have dropped again. It’s 15 with a wind chill of 0. I am about ready for spring!!

Your mindsets are critical to how you live your life.They determine how effective you will be and how you will impact others. Collectively organizations can and do have mindsets that guide how they function and directly impact their long-term success.

Allow me to suggest to you four mindsets that I believe are critical to how well we perform as leaders:

1. Trust – trust is foundational to the well functioning of a leadership trust. Most say that trust is earned and they treat it like an emotion. My contention is that trust is a choice and it is given. Choose to trust people – choose to trust your team.

2. Dependency – that sounds a little odd in our culture does it not? What it means is that we realize that unto ourselves we are insufficient and incapable of accomplishing much of anything. We are all dependent upon God and we are all dependent upon one another. Pretending you are superman and can fly solo in life is an illusion.

3. Humility – this is probably the most foundational and most important mindset of all of life. The choice to walk the path of humility is a life changer. As C.S. Lewis outs it, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less often.” Humility is an outward focus on God and others instead of an inward focus on yourself.

4. Growth – are you continuously learning, growing and becoming a better person? For that is what leaders do.

Mindsets are critical to being an effective leader.

Questions for you – what are your actual mindsets right now? Worry, suspicion, fear, or . . .? Which of the four mindsets listed above are you going to start developing this week?

Peace and grace,


are you a bearer of hope?

February 17, 2014

snowflakes 2014Good Monday morning to you!

One of the most important things that a leader does for his people is to give them hope. Not false hope, but true hope.

We have to be honest with our team about the obstacles and difficulties ahead of us, but at the same time it is our job to give them hope and then to work our way through those challenges together.

Be a giver of hope, seek hope, share hope – it is powerful.

By the way, if you want to be a hope-filled person, you need to be a “Word filled” person.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV

Blessings on your week,


Lauren MI Blue Skies FEB 2014Found this excellent article in today. Too often we, as organizational leaders, think all we have to do is restructure our organizations to make things work – we treat them like some kind of machine with interchangeable parts.

Guess what? An organization is a complicated network of people and their relationships – it’s not some kind of mechanical device.

Also, often the problem may not be the organizational structure, but maybe you have a relational “wiring” issue.

Check out this excellent article Restructure This: Why Shuffling Your Org Chart Won’t Bring Real Change on

By the way – rewiring is much harder than restructuring and requires greater leadership to accomplish. However, you will accomplish true change with rewiring instead of the usual cosmetic change that often occurs with restructuring/reorganizing.

Blessings on your day!


“The 9 Traits That Define Great Leadership” –

Lodge JAN 2014 - LaurenGood Friday morning to you. Still a bit nippy here. It was a minus 11 earlier this morning.

A simple thought today. At Ambassador, we talk a lot about mindsets or attitudes. Four of the mindsets we feel are especially important are:

1. Trust

2. Dependency (on God and others)

3. Growth

4. Humility

We consider humility to be the foundational mindset. Without it, the others just don’t work.

We also believe that a mindset or attitude is an intentional choice on an individual’s part. You can cultivate all of the mindsets, you can practice them and drive them deeper into your life.But, you begin with humility.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3-4

“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” Augustine of Hippo

So, what do you choose? Do you choose to walk the path of humility? If so, it will be a decision you will need to make daily.

Hope you have a great and blessed weekend!