Most leadership books and teaching centers on being the top guy; the number one in the organization.

I recently read a refreshingly different perspective. Creative Followership: In the Shadow of Greatness centers on influence, while not being the top guy.

Jimmy Collins retired as the President of Chick-fil-A restaurants. He was a great leader to many. But, he knew his role was to serve the founder and chief visionary leader, Truett Cathy. Together they built a successful organization which is seen as a model for business around the world, in both style and substance.

His philosophy on leadership is different than most. Rather than considering how to be the best number one and always looking to climb the ranks, he knew he could succeed by being a successful follower.

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He gives a few principles which are equally powerful for both leaders or followers.

Dwell

June 24, 2015 — 1 Comment

I am often asked, “If God knew how things were going to turn out, why did He create the world?”

There are lots of token answers. But the most satisfying answer I am settling on more and more is profound in its simplicity.

God wanted to dwell with us.

When God created the world and it was perfectly good, He placed himself in proximity to Adam and Eve; dwelling in the Garden with them.

We know this utopia did not last long. Adam and Eve broke the one commandment they were given. Sin, death, and separation from God entered the picture. They broke the planet. Things were no longer how God created them to be.

But this did not change the heart of God to pursue His people.

Fast forward hundreds of years to the time of the Exodus. God wanted to deliver his people out of slavery to dwell with Him in the wilderness.

I live in South Africa. Our president has multiple wives, has had numerous trials for corruption and other crimes, and it has been proven he used millions of public money for his personal house. Even so, compared to some other presidents around the world, ours is a saint.

The multitude of Facebook comments from America reflect a similar frustration with politics and leaders. I would argue whoever occupies the White House is “not that bad” compared to many world leaders, but the frustration remains. In fact, it seems to be despair at times.

Dr. Larry Osborne’s new book, Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture addresses this sense of despair by looking at the life of Daniel.

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Daniel saw his beloved city, Jerusalem,  destroyed and was taken captive to a pagan land of Babylon. He was made to learn its culture and religion. Daniel thrived in Babylon by having a different perspective. He faced evil and endured physical hardship, knowing God had a plan.

We casually toss around the word grace in so many ways. Saying thanks before a meal, a name on a church, or a greeting in the Bible.

There are both common and specific forms of grace.

Saving grace is very “generic” (not cheap but similar for all). Grace for life is where it becomes unique.

Grace enables

“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.” 1 Corinthians 3:10

Paul is speaking of a specific grace given to him for the completion of the job God had for him.

We use words like calling, leading, prompting, or the will of God. We know these things are unique.

Here Paul says this is the specific grace given to aid us in doing what we are made for.

Great leaders ask questions. They are always seeking to learn and grow from others.

In his recent leadership podcast, Andy Stanley looks at the power and influence questions can accomplish. This short talk has stayed with me for days. It is extremely profound, yet refreshingly simple.

Asking questions of ourselves and others do three things for us:

  1. They reveal values.
  2. They reinforce values.
  3. They reinforce behaviors.

But perhaps the greatest questions great leaders ask is the ones they ask of themselves.

Andy shares the story of something Bill Hybels shared with him about decision-making. Hybels when faced with a decision, will ask himself a profound thing.

“What would a Great Leader Do?”

Roads Academy Masterclass, Warwick University, November 2010.

This question accomplishes four things:

  1. This raises the standard of our leadership above the circumstances and emotion of the issue we face. We can make sound decisions rather than those which cater towards the loudest and most immediate need.