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Next Generation Leader

Compiled by Chuck Olson

Title: Next Generation Leader: Five Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future

Author: Andy Stanley

Copyright Date: 2003

Book Summary: 

A growing number of next generation Christians are eager to learn, grow, and lead in ministry or in the marketplace. Mentoring young leaders, as they face the unique issues of a changing world, has been pastor and Visioneering author Andy Stanley’s passion for more than a decade. Here, he shares material from his leadership training sessions, developed to address essential leadership qualities such as character, clarity, courage, and competency. This is the perfect guide for any new leader -­‐ -­‐ or for the mentor of a future leader!

Drawing on two decades of experience mentoring a rising generation, seasoned visionary Andy Stanley shows how to: • Discover and play to your strengths • Harness your fears • Leverage uncertainty • Enlist a leadership coach • Maintain moral authority

Andy Stanley serves as senior pastor of the campuses of North Point Ministries, including North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, Buckhead Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and Browns Bridge Community Church in Cumming, Georgia. Each Sunday, over twenty thousand attend one of these NPM campuses. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and is the bestselling author of Visioneering, The Best Question Ever, It Came from Within, and How Good Is Good Enough? Andy and his wife, Sandra, have two sons, Andrew and Garrett, and a daughter, Allison.

Book Notes:

In leadership, success is succession. If someone coming along behind me is not able to take what I have offered and build on it, then I have failed in my responsibility to the next generation. (11)

I have identified five concepts that serve as the outline of this book: 1. COMPETENCE – Leaders must channel their energies toward those arenas of leadership in which they are most likely to excel. 2. COURAGE – The leader of an enterprise isn’t always the smartest or most creative person on the team. He isn’t necessarily the first to identify an opportunity. The leader is the one who has the courage to initiate, to set things in motion, to move ahead. 3. CLARITY – Uncertain times require clear directives from those in leadership. Yet the temptation for young leaders is to allow uncertainty to leave them paralyzed. A next generation leader must learn to be clear even when he is not certain. 4. COACHING – You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without a coach you will never be as good as you could be. 5. CHARACTER – You can lead without character, but you won’t be a leader worth following. Character provides next generation leaders with the moral authority necessary to bring together the people and resources needed to further an enterprise. (11-­‐12)

Perhaps the two best-­‐kept secrets of leadership are these: 1. The less you do, the more you accomplish. 2. The less you do, the more you enable others to accomplish. (17)

Of the two or three things that define success for you, which of those are in line with your giftedness? Of the tasks you have been assigned to do, which of them are you specifically gifted to do? (20)

You owe it to your employer to identify the areas in which you could add the most value to your organization. (20)

The moment a leader steps away from his core competencies, his effectiveness as a leader diminishes. (21)

After challenging hundreds of leaders to play to their strengths, I have identified five primary obstacles to a leader adopting this way of thinking. 1. THE QUEST FOR BALANCE – Don’t strive to be a well-­‐rounded leader. Instead, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else. 2. FAILURE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN AUTHORITY AND COMPETENCE – Every leader has authority over arenas in which he has little or no competence. 3. INABILITY TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN COMPETENCIES AND NONCOMPETENCIES – Leaders who are successful in one arena often assume competency in arenas where in fact they have none. As we will discuss later, success is an intoxicant, and intoxicated people seldom have a firm grasp on reality. Successful leaders tend to assume that their core competencies are broader than they actually are. In general, an inability to own up to personal shortcomings is often rooted in some sort of insecurity. When you acknowledge your weaknesses to the rest of your team, it is never new information. 4. GUILT – Some leader don’t play only to their strengths because they feel guilty delegating their weaknesses. Your weakness is someone’s opportunity. 5. UNWILLINGNESS TO DEVELOP OTHER LEADERS – But leadership is not always about getting things done “right.” Leadership is about getting things done through other people. (22-­‐27)

I once heard John Maxwell say, “You are most valuable where you add the most value.” (33)

The most productive people I know seem to have more, not less, discretionary time than the average person. (34)

Observation and analysis confirm that 20 percent of our efforts result in 80 percent of our effectiveness. Richard Koch, in his groundbreaking work The 80/20 Principle, documents this important relationship. The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs, or rewards. Taken literally, this means that, for example, 80 percent of what you achieve in your job comes from 20 percent of the time spent. Thus for all practical purposes, four-­‐fifths of the effort—a dominant part of it—is largely irrelevant. (34-­‐35)

The following questions are designed to help you discover your core competencies. 1. What do you do that is almost effortless from your perspective but seems like a daunting task to others? 2. In what arenas do people consider you the “go-­‐to person”? 3. What do you enjoy about your current job? 4. What do you wish you could delegate? 5. What do you do that elicits the most praise and recognition from others? 6. What environment do you look forward to working in? 7. What environment do you avoid? 8. What kind of advice do people seek from you? 9. If you could focus more of your time and attention on one or two aspects of your job, what would they be? (36-­‐37)

Organizations seek equilibrium. People in organizations seek stability. Both can be deterrents to progress because progress requires change and change is viewed as the antithesis of stability. (49)

Accepting the status quo is the equivalent of accepting a death sentence. Where there’s no progress, there’s no growth. If there’s no growth, there’s no life. Environments void of change are eventually void of life. So leaders find themselves in the precarious and often career-­‐jeopardizing position of being the one to draw attention to the need for change. Consequently, courage is a nonnegotiable quality for the next generation leader. (50)

Simply recognizing the need for change does not define leadership. The leader is the one who has the courage to act on what he sees. (50)

A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. (51)

Courage is essential to leadership because the first person to step out in a new direction is viewed as the leader. And being the first to step out requires courage. In this way, courage establishes leadership. (51)

Leaders are not always the first to see an opportunity. They are simply the first to seize an opportunity. (53)

Courage is essential to leadership because the first person to step out in a new direction is viewed as the leader. And being the first to step out requires courage. In this way, courage establishes leadership. (51)

Leaders are not always the first to see an opportunity. They are simply the first to seize an opportunity. (53)

Leadership is about moving boldly into the future in spite of uncertainty and risk. (55)

As I listen to leaders tell their stories, I hear very little about strategic planning and goal setting. I hear a lot about identifying and acting on opportunities. Strategies and goals have their place. But they don’t define leadership. Leaders see and seize opportunity. And in most vases, the opportunities take them by surprise. (60)

The only way to figure out how something can get done is to refuse to take your eye off what needs to be done. (68)

I want to give you three specific expressions of courage that are essential for those who aspire to be leaders worth following. These three expressions of courage often elude next generation leaders. 1. THE COURAGE TO SAY NO – The ability and focus on the few necessary things is a hallmark of great leadership. 2. THE COURAGE TO FACE CURRENT REALITY – Designing and implementing a strategy for change is a waste of time until you have discovered and embraced the current reality. If you don’t know where you really are, it is impossible to get to where you need to be. What you don’t know can kill you. 3. THE COURAGE TO DREAM – I keep a little card on my desk that readers, “Dream no small dreams, for they stir not the hearts of men”. (69-­‐75)

Uncertainty is a permanent part of the leadership landscape. It never goes away. Uncertainty is not an indication of poor leadership; it underscores the need for leadership. It is the environment in which good leadership is most easily identified. The nature of leadership demands that there always be an element of uncertainty. Where there is no uncertainty, there is no longer the need for leadership. (79)

You will consistently be called upon to make decisions with limited information. That being the case, your goal should not be to eliminate uncertainty. Instead you must develop the art of being clear in the face of uncertainty. (80)

Your capacity as a leader will be determined by how well you learn to deal with uncertainty. (81)

If you are unable or unwilling to be clear when things are not certain, you are not ready to assume further leadership responsibilities. (91)

If you are at the helm of your organization, the application is clear. You must be clear if you are to retain your influence. It is not enough to be the boss. You must be clear. Clarity results in influence. (91)

In this chapter I offer four practical suggestions for enhancing clarity in the midst of uncertainty: 1. DETERMINE YOUR QUOTIENT – To begin with, look back at previous decisions and determine the degree of certainty you have achieved in the past. 2. EXPRESS YOUR UNCERTAINTY WITH CONFIDENCE – Two things always happen when we pretend. First, we close ourselves off from the input of others. Second, we expose our insecurity to the people we have asked to follow us. Uncertainty exposes a lack of knowledge. Pretending exposes a lack of character. 3. SEEK COUNSEL – Consensus builds confidence in the face of uncertainty. 4. MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS BY THE SCOREBOARD, NOT THE PLAYBOOK – Coaches measure their success by the number of points on the scoreboard, not the number of plays they successfully execute. (92-­‐96)

Uncertainty will not be your undoing as a leader. However, your inability to give a clear directives in the midst of uncertainty might very well be the thing that takes you out or causes you to plateau early in your career. (98)

The job of a counselor is to help individual resolve issues of the past in order to operate more effectively in the present. A coach, on the other hand, helps us assess the present so that we can operate more effectively in the future. (108)

As we discussed earlier, you can lead without character. But character is what makes you a leader worth following. (131)

Your accomplishments as a leader will make your name known. Your character will determine what people associate with your name. (132)

Your gifts and determination may dictate your potential, but it is your character that will determine your legacy. You can create an enviable lifestyle by leveraging your leadership skills alone. But you cannot create an enviable life without giving serious attention to who you are on the inside. (132)

Character is the will to do what’s right even when it’s hard. (132)

It is on the mountaintop that leaders often abandon the convictions and humility that got them there. Once they have “arrived” they are tempted to opt for a maintenance strategy that calls for an entirely different set of tools. Whether it is business, politics or religion, the pressure to compromise in order to maintain one’s success is a constant. (136)

Power, money, success, fame…they are all intoxicants. And intoxicated people see the world differently. For the intoxicated leader, rules are for the common man. Not for him. (138)

Leading with character is not about doing right to avoid consequences. Leaders worth following do the right thing because it is the right thing. Virtue is not a means to an end. It is the end. (138)

Every leader wears two badges: one visible, one invisible. The visible badge is your position and title. The invisible badge is your moral authority. (138)

Your position gives you authority within a certain context, i.e., the office. Your moral authority, however, gives you influence in a variety of contexts. Your position will prompt people in your organization to lend you their hands on a temporary basis. But your moral authority will inspire them to lend you their hearts. (138)

Moral authority is established once it becomes clear to those who are watching that progress, financial reward, and recognition are not a leader’s gods. (139)

Moral authority is the credibility you earn by walking your talk. It is the relationship other people see between what you claim to be and what you really are. It is achieved when there is perceived alignment between conviction, action, belief, and behavior. Alignment between belief and behavior makes a leader persuasive. (140)

The invisible badge of moral authority bestows upon the leader something that money can buy, but only temporarily. With moral authority comes influence. And it is far easier to lead from the vantage point of influence than position alone. You can manage people without moral authority. But you cannot influence them. (140)

We will not allow ourselves to be influenced by men and women who lack moral authority. Inconsistency between what is said and done inflicts a mortal wound on a leader’s influence. (140)

You can pay people to work for you based on your position alone, but you cannot involve people in a cause or a movement without moral authority. (140)

Doing the right thing when it costs something is the essence of true heroism. It is also the mark of a great leader. (142)

But still this truth remains: There is never a reason to violate the principles of God in order to maintain the blessing of God. There is never a reason to compromise God’s standards in order to maintain God’s blessings. (148)

The fact that people choose to follow you is not necessarily an indicator that you deserve to be followed. There is a significant difference between having a following and being worth following. The truth is that talented, charismatic, visionary people will almost always have a following. Whether they are worth following is a different question, predicated upon a different set of values. (151)

To become a leader worth following, you must give time and attention to the inner man. To leave a legacy that goes beyond accomplishment alone, a leader must devote himself to matters of the heart. (152)

Your gifts will open doors. Your character will determine what you do once those doors have opened. (153)

I hope that as an emerging next generation leader it is becoming clearer to you what you want to accomplish, what you want to do. The question is: Have you determined what you want to become? Your doing will flow from who you are. The outer man will reflect the inner man. The inner man determines the legacy of the outer man. (154)

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Chuck Olson

As founder and president of Lead With Your Life, Dr. Chuck Olson is passionate about inspiring, resourcing and equipping Kingdom leaders to lead from the inside out.  To lead, not with the external shell of positions, achievements or titles, but from an internal commitment to a deep, abiding and transparent relationship with Jesus. Serving as a pastor and leadership coach for over forty years, Chuck has a track record of building these truths deep into the lives of both ministry and marketplace leaders.

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