Book Notes | Hacking Leadership

bookEvery Saturday I share some notes from a book I just read. To see some past ones, click here. This week’s book is one of the best leadership books I’ve ever read and one I will go back to on a yearly basis. It’s Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly by Mike Myatt. While it is a business book, the applications for pastors and churches are endless. Pretty much any time he said “business” you could apply it to churches.

I could not agree more that churches have gaps in them and these gaps, if they go untouched, keep the church from fulfilling why God placed the church here.

Here are the gaps and stop me when you feel like it applies to your church or a church you worked at:

  1. Leadership gap – “we don’t have enough leaders or volunteers.”
  2. Purpose gap – “where are we going, why do we exist, why are we doing what we’re doing?”
  3. Future gap – “what is next, how do we reach the next generation, how do we make choices?”
  4. Mediocre gap – “it’s good enough for church.”
  5. Culture gap – “this gets at why things are done without thinking (ie. we’ve always done it this way)”.
  6. Talent gap – “who is being developed, how do you hire people, how do you raise up leaders.”
  7. Knowledge gap – “how do you communicate, do leaders and volunteers know how to make decisions that line up with the vision.”
  8. Innovation gap – “how will your church go to the next level and reach the next generation.”
  9. Expectation gap – “are ministries aligned or are they silos doing their own thing?”
  10. Complexity gap – “how clear is your strategy, how busy is your church, how many layers and committees does it take to get an answer to a question.”
  11. Failure gap – “how does your church or leaders handle failure when it happens?” And it will happen.

As I said, incredibly relevant.

I love his writing style as well. He had one liners all over the book. Here are a few:

  • Holding a position of leadership is not the same thing as being a good leader.
  • The plausibility of impossibility only becomes a probability in the absence of leadership.
  • Businesses don’t fail, projects don’t fail, and products don’t fail—leaders fail.
  • Real leaders don’t limit themselves, but more importantly they refuse to limit those they lead.
  • The seminal question you must ask yourself as a leader is why should anyone be led by you?
  • Leaders who don’t have the trust and respect of their team won’t be able to generate the influence necessary to perform at the expected levels.
  • Leaders simply operate at their best when they understand their ability to influence is much more fruitful than their ability to control.
  • Leaders who are not growing simply cannot lead growing organizations.
  • Not all engagement is necessary or productive.
  • Leaders who are bored, in a rut, or otherwise find themselves anesthetized by the routine have a huge problem—they are not leading
  • People can be rallied around many things, but none more powerful than purpose.
  • I have always believed the gold standard of leadership, the measurement of leadership greatness if you will, is based on a leader’s ability to align talent and outcomes with purpose.
  • Purpose is the foundational cornerstone for great leadership.
  • You cannot attain what you do not pursue.
  • All great leaders are forward thinking and leaning.
  • Leaders deserve the teams they build.
  • Leadership that isn’t transferrable, repeatable, scalable, and sustainable isn’t really leadership at all.
  • Leadership can be boiled down into either owning the responsibility for getting things done or failing to do so.
  • Leadership and loyalty go hand in hand.
  • The number-one reason companies make bad hires is they compromise, they settle, they don’t hire the best person for the job.
  • What most fail to realize is years of solid decision making is oftentimes unwound by a single bad decision.
  • You don’t train leaders; you develop them.
  • Almost universally, the smartest person in the room is not the one doing all the talking—it’s the person asking a few relevant and engaging questions and then doing almost all of the listening.
  • If you’re not willing to embrace change you’re not ready to lead.
  • Few things harm the forward progress of an organization like leaders who fail to understand the value of aligning expectations.
  • The easiest way to judge a leader is by balancing the scorecard between promises made and promises kept.
  • The difference between good and great often comes down to discipline.
  • Complexity is the enemy of the productive.
  • Only way to protect value is to create more of it.
  • The true test of all leaders is not measured by what’s accomplished in their professional life, but rather by what’s accomplished at home.

Every year I think there are a few must read leadership books. Last year I said it was Start with Why. This year, it is Hacking Leadership

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