A few months ago I sat with a group of CEOs  who were reflecting on a statement John Maxwell makes in one of his books “ A truly valuable vision must have God in it. Only He knows your full capabilities. Have you looked beyond yourself, even beyond your own lifetime as you’ve sought your vision? If not you may be missing your true potential and life’s best for you.”1

A few of these men are in the middle of the process of handing over the leadership of their companies to the next generation. Others will be starting that process in the next five to ten years. One of the topics we discussed was looking beyond your lifetime.” The men in this room have all been successful by the standards of the world. They started their companies from nothing and all have experienced struggles in pioneering companies. All of them shared different emotions they are experiencing as they move through the process of transferring day to day leadership.

A common theme of concern was handing over leadership of a successful company to the next generation that may not have experienced the hardships and lack of money that these men sitting together had. There were a few common concerns among the men in the room.

“Will my children have the same value for people I have, when they haven’t experienced financial hardship themselves?”

“Will they be good stewards of relationships with the staff?”

“Will my children seek to understand others and act with compassion?”

As we enjoyed our coffee one man brought up a question: “Will the Christian values and generosity in giving to Christian causes that the company was founded on continue in future generations? Some of these men shared how they have laid a strong foundation in giving generously. They highlighted how they have focused in the last few years on teaching about the foundational values of the company. But the concern is still there.

Then the big question that all of these men struggled with

“What will be the legacy that I leave behind for future generations?”

All of the men agreed it was not money or the success of the business that mattered to them. It was the foundation of having God at the center of their business. Their question is pretty simple – “Have I modeled Christ to those around me?”

Then a few of them shared how they wished they could do some things over again.

The room became pretty quiet for a few minutes as they all focused on the mug of coffee in their hands.

Then one shared.

“I wished I had managed my time better. Not having put the business first. Looking back all of the long hours at work aren’t so important now.”

Many heads began nodding in sad agreement.

During this gathering, I experienced what John was talking about in his book “Teachability—to keep leading, keep learning”. I put the art of listening into practice that day and I learned a lot about leadership.

These men, who are all successful businessmen by the world’s standard, shared with each other and me what was on their hearts. They shared what was truly important in regard to being a leader.

If I could summarize their realizations about leadership:

  • It is not money or the gain of things that mattered to them. Did they model Jesus in the world they were put in?
  • Did they value people above things?
  • Did they lay a good foundation for future generations to follow?
  • Did they lead well?

1Page 149 The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell copyright 1999 published by Thomas Nelson Inc

Check out some of our other posts!

Seasons Change

I think there is wisdom in this process that applies to all of us, gardeners or not. As we enter into new seasons of life, work, ministry, family, or church, do we know how to transition into the new season? What fruits of the previous season does God want us to preserve that will bring us nourishment in the next season?

All things to all men

As leaders, we need to look for men and women who love us and want what is best for us and are willing to tell us of areas to watch out for. And as leaders we need to trust those who are on our team. We must train and release them. When we do that well, our ministries and staff will grow and we as leaders will be healthy.

What do I do with the fear of failure?

We all are faced with failure, or the fear of it, especially if we are in a place of leadership. Leading will involve risk. Do our past failures lead us to say, “I never want to try that again,” and do use that mindset to discourage others? Or do we use our past failures as learning experiences in moving forward?

Is my Team Just Like Me?

As good leaders we must seek to effectively work with all four personality types and recruit them for our team. This will help our ministry or business grow, and it will accomplish more than possible without these differences. It will also help us to grow as individuals.

Leadership for a New Course

I find it amazing how God becomes so relevant in the middle of my normal Bible reading schedule. This morning I was reading from Luke 22:24-30


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *