>I just finished up Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley. Overall, I thought it was a good book. Very easy to read, which is always a plus, and it seems to be a characteristic that is common with his other books as well. Here are some of the key points that stuck out to me during my reading.

  • -“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).
  • -“Only do what only you can do” (19).
  • -“We should strive for balance organizationally, but it is not realistic to strive for balance within the sphere of our personal leadership abilities” (23).
  • -“Leaders who are not in touch with their own weaknesses feel that they are as good as anybody else in their organization at anything that pertains to leadership” (25).
  • -“We must never forget that the people who follow us are exactly where we have led them” (28).
  • -“Being busy isn’t the same as being productive…. The most productive people I know seem to have more, not less, discretionary time than the average person…. Observation and analysis confirm that 20 percent of our efforts result in 80 percent of our effectiveness” (34).
  • -“The primary reason we do too much is that we have never taken the time to discover that portion of what we do that makes the biggest difference” (36).
  • -“We know when we are misemployed. We know when our talents and efforts are being misappropriated. What we don’t know is how open our supervisors are to hearing about it” (39).
  • -“There are times when you must pitch in and do things that fall outside your core competencies. But those occasions must be chosen strategically, and they must be the exception, not the rule” (43).
  • -“Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside” (51).
  • -“Leaders provide a mental picture of a preferred future and then ask people to follow them there” (52).
  • -“Leadership is about moving boldly into the future in spite of uncertainty and risk” (55).
  • -“Strategies and goals have their place. But they don’t define leadership. Leaders see and seize opportunity. And in most cases, the opportunities take them by surprise” (60).
  • -“Leaders worth following are always carefull” (61).
  • -“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).
  • -“Don’t allow the many good opportunities to divert your attention from the one opportunity that has the greatest potential. Learn to say no” (70).
  • -“Leaders worth following are willing to face and embrace current reality regardless of how discouraging or embarrassing it might be” (72).
  • -“It is impossible to generate sustained growth or progress if your plan for the future is not rooted in reality” (73).
  • -“Facing current reality is often nasty, but always necessary. Nasty because it may entail acknowledging that you aren’t as far along as you thought you were. Necessary because you can’t get where you need to be if you don’t know where you are to begin with” (73).
  • -“You must allow your mind to wander outside the boundaries of what is and begin to create a mental picture of what could be” (74).
  • -“This is the tension every good leader lives with: negotiating uncertain terrain while casting a clear and compelling vision” (86).
  • -“People will follow you in spite of a few bad decisions. People will not follow you if you are unclear in your instruction, and you cannot hold them accountable to respond to muddled directives” (88).
  • -To enhance clarity in the midst of uncertainty: 1) determine your certainty quotient; 2) express your uncertainty with confidence; 3) seek counsel; 4) measure your success by the scoreboard, not the playbook.
  • -“Uncertainty exposes a lack of knowledge. Pretending exposes a lack of character” (94).
  • -“Leadership is not about making decisions on your own. It is about owning the decisions once you make them” (95).
  • -“Clarity of vision will compensate for uncertainty in planning” (97).
  • -“In the world of leadership, however, we operate under the misguided assumption that because we are leaders, we don’t need to be led” (105).
  • -“A good coach will evaluate your performance against your potential” (106).
  • -“If you are not teachable, you are not coachable” (110).
  • -“Great leaders are great servants” (113).
  • -“An effective leadership coach: 1) observes, 2) instructs, and 3) inspires” (119).
  • -“As a leader, you are not responsible for knowing everything there is to know about leadership. But you are responsible for sharing what you do know with the leaders around you” (127).
  • -“You can lead without character. But character is what makes you a leader worth following” (131).
  • -“Character will do what’s right even when it’s hard” (133).
  • -“The day will come when progress seems to call for a compromise of conviction” (135).
  • -“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).
  • -“Moral authority is established once it becomes clear to those who are watching that progress, financial reward, and recognition are not a leader’s goals” (139).
  • -“The fact that some people choose to follow you is not necessarily an indicator that you deserve to be followed” (151).
  • -“To leave a legacy that goes beyond accomplishment alone, a leader must devote himself to matters of the heart” (152).
  • -“To become a leader worth following, you must be intentional about developing the inner man. You must invest in the health of your soul” (153).
  • -“Character is personal, but it is not private” (155).
I know that’s a lot to swallow all at once. Take some time and come back to it from time to time. Better yet, get the book and check it out for yourself. It’s good stuff.
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