Advice for Emerging Leaders

In a recent address, leadership expert and author Jim Collins provided advice to young, aspiring leaders to help them become great leaders. It’s interesting to see how this secular business leader’s advice lines up with God’s wisdom.

05_BP_Emerging_JN1. Build a personal board of directors selected for their character, not their accomplishments (see Proverbs 15:22).

2. Turn off your electronic gadgets. Effective people take time to think. Begin the discipline of putting white space into your calendar. Like Jesus, make time for solitude (Luke 5:16).

3. Work on your three intersecting circles, what Collins calls the “Hedgehog Concept”: (1) what you can be passionate about (what passions has God given you?); (2) what you can be the best in the world at (this connects your God-given passions to your spiritual gifts); (3) what drives your economic or resource engine (what gifts, abilities, and resources has God provided to you?).

4. Ask more questions and make fewer statements when you communicate or give feedback. Look at how Jesus did this consistently with his disciples and the religious rulers.

5. Start a “stop-doing” list, beyond the normal to-do list. Collins frames it like this: If you woke tomorrow morning and discovered you had inherited $20 million and also had 10 years to live, what would you stop doing? Solomon said chasing after everything in this world is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

6. Articulate the values you will not compromise. For the Christ follower, these are the values that come from God in his Word. (See Proverbs 19:21 and Matthew 6:33.)

7. Find the thing for which you have so much passion you’re willing to endure pain to achieve it. As Jesus told us, count the cost for what (and who) is most important.

—Adapted from Salt & Light blog by Paul Sohn (

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