Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Leave a comment

BOOK REVIEW: Leaders Made Here by Mark Miller

Leaders Made Here by Mark Miller. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. 130 pages. 2017

In his latest book, Mark Miller writes that you ensure you’ll have the needed leaders to fuel your future success when you build a leadership culture. A leadership culture exists when leaders are routinely and systematically developed and the organization has a surplus of leaders ready for the next opportunity or challenge. The author states that he wrote the book primarily for those who can see the value in a strong bench of capable leaders but lack the strategic framework to make it so.
As is his custom, the author teaches through an entertaining fable, much like those of Patrick Lencioni and Ken Blanchard. We meet Blake, the new CEO in a mid-sized firm in a slow-growth industry. Not only is the firm not growing, but it sustained a recent tragedy (explosion) on Blake’s first day on the job, in which six employees were killed. Although the accident was attributed to human error, Blake said that it was actually due to leadership error. Leadership failed and people died.
Blake tells his senior leadership team (minus one, as the head of Human Resources decided to retire about being injured in the explosion), that they need to build a leadership bench, which is not a term they are familiar about.
Blake decides to seek out his mentor Jack, who we met in the author’s previous book Chess Not Checkers. Jack suggests that Blake appoint an interim or hire a consultant to help with the leadership bench issue. Blake decided to reach out to Charles, a rock star in the human resources world to help him out and also to help identify a new head of Human Resources. Although Charles is going through his own personal issues, he agrees to take on the short-term assignment.
As Charles and his team begin their task, they develop a charter, conduct interviews with members of the senior leadership team, and do some benchmarking with leading firms that have built a leadership culture. They want to build a culture where they can say with integrity that leaders are made here. They eventually come up with five commitments of a leadership culture.
I’m fortunate to work in an organization that has a leadership culture. Much of what I read in this book reminded me of my organization. For those who work in organizations that do not currently have a leadership culture, this book would be an excellent first step to take toward building one.


Leave a comment

INTEGRATING FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday


Books and Videos:

  • Wisdom from Women of the Bible - John MaxwellWisdom from Women in the Bible. John Maxwell releases his latest book, Wisdom from Women in the Bible. Like his two other Giants of the Bible books, it’s written in a narrative form, but it’s still filled with the things that he’s learned from each featured Biblical character. This time, he focused on female leaders in the Bible, imagining what it would be like to meet these inspiring women.
  • God, the Gospel, and Getting Things Done. Check out this one-hour video of a discussion panel with Matt Perman (author of the excellent What’s Best Next), Charles Smith Jr., and Dr. Jason K. Allen.

 Favorite QuotesQuotes on FAITH AND WORK:

It’s amazing to me to see how many people expect to end up in a certain place and yet they will not lead and they refuse to be led. Andy Andrews

Life is special when you reach out beyond yourself to be a true servant leader for others. Ken Blanchard

Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. John Maxwell

Education without motivation serves no useful purpose. Dr. Alan Zimmerman

If you think you’re leading and look behind and no one is following, you’re just out for a week. Dr. Alan Zimmerman

Great leaders find their own approach to learning, but they all do whatever it takes to keep learning. Mark Miller

Book Reviews

CChess Not Checkers by Mark Millerhess Not Checkers: Elevate Your Leadership Game by Mark Miller. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. 144 pages. 2015

The latest book from Mark Miller helps leaders elevate their leadership, looking at leadership as chess, rather than checkers. I have previously enjoyed Miller’s The Secret (with Ken Blanchard) and his previous book The Heart of Leadership. See my review of The Heart of Leadership here

This book is written as a story or parable, much like the books of Ken Blanchard, Patrick Lencioni or Miller’s previous books. We meet Blake who leaves his position at Dynastar to take on his first CEO assignment at a small organization that has a good product, but is not being led well. In fact, Blake is the fifth CEO in the past ten years. On his first day he is stunned at the culture he walks into. He knows he has a lot of work ahead of him if he is going to be successful. He needs help so he reaches out to his long-time mentor Debbie, who herself had been mentored by Blake’s late father. As much as Debbie has helped him in the past she feels that he needs mentoring from someone who has been a CEO in the past, and was very good at leading large and complex organization. So Debbie connects Blake with Jack.

Blake begins a mentoring relationship with Jack, who uses the games of chess and checkers to help Blake elevate his leadership game and try to turn his new company into a high performance organization. Jack share four leadership moves, applied from the game of chess, with Blake. Blake then takes what he has learned back to his leadership team. He meets some resistance and realizes that as Jim Collins has written in Good to Great that he not only needs to get the right people on the bus, but he needs to get the wrong people off the bus as well. Not all of Blake’s current leadership team buys into his vision for the future and thus they have to go.

I really enjoyed following Blake’s leadership journey in this story, but much more so the valuable lessons Miller brings out in this short book. Although you can read the book in just a few hours, I recommend that you take a different approach. Read and discuss the book with your current leaders or mentees, taking time to discuss in depth each of the moves and principles Jack shares with Blake.

Miller currently serves as Vice President for Leadership Development for Chick-fil-A, an organization I very much admire. I’m very excited that a new Chick-fil-A restaurant is being built at this time in my community. Don’t forget to check out Mark Miller’s website at

 Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler The Conviction to Lead Book Club

The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters by Albert Mohler

We’re reading this excellent book from Albert Mohler, one of the best that I’ve read on leadership. It is broken down into 25 relatively short chapters. Won’t you read along with us?

Chapter 10: Leadership and Credibility Happens When Character and Competence are Combined

  • A good leader stands out when character is matched by competence and the central virtue of knowing what to do.
  • True credibility rests in the ability of others to trust what the leader can do.
  • When you enter the room, trust and confidence had better enter with you. If not, leadership is not happening.
  • No leader is competent to fill every leadership position in every organization.
  • You must be competent in the skills and abilities of the leadership role to which you have been called.
  • Some positions of leadership require specific educational preparation and academic credentials. Other positions of leadership require the credibility that comes through experience.
  • Credibility can be earned. As a matter of fact, that is the only way you can get it. The good news is that credibility can be earned. The bad news is that it can also be lost.
  • The effective leader cannot afford to lose credibility—in fact, he needs to stockpile it and build it in reserve.