Are You Interested In Becoming An “Exemplary Leader”?

You may have been born with some leadership traits but an Exemplary Leader is created over time and of course the whole process starts with a right spirit toward God. You see we’ve been created for excellence and to operate with a Spirit of Excellence.

The mind ultimately becomes a battlefield where God’s vision, desire, and action mapping for our lives collide with soulish emotional issues like insecurity, worry, anxiety, doubt, fear, etc.

An Exemplary Leader creates a lifestyle of seeking, obtaining and imparting Insight, Growth, Impact and Legacy as is the focus of Convene.

You begin this journey with the end in mind, “What legacy do I want to leave this earth with?”, “How can I best honor God with my life” and work backwards from there. This vision of a future state actually starts attracting resources to fulfill your vision of legacy. I often say that where God’s vision is for you that’s where His provision will be and where it will start showing up. “Seek FIRST The Kingdom of God and all that you will need will be added unto you.”

“How do I know His vision / legacy for my life”, you ask? Well, it’s in His Word and it is in your desires; “When we delight ourselves in the Lord He give us the desires of our hearts”. When we are God focused, dwelling in His presence continually, living in the awareness of His presence He places His desires for us in our hearts to be acted upon. Jesus says to us, “My sheep hear My voice”…. “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord”. On a business level and as a business and organization leader, a CEO | Business Owner | Solo Entrepreneur, how are you going to develop into an Exemplary Leader? A leader who inspires others, drives people toward excellence, holds people accountable, instills a sense of trust promoting sustainability and profitability for your organization honoring God in the process and changing the culture?

Learning what exactly makes an Exemplary Leader is your first step. Among other things, an Exemplary Leader centers around character, purpose, integrity and values all converging creating a leader driven by a Spirit Of Excellence and this attitude, “Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [greatest] reward. It is the Lord Christ whom you [actually] serve.”

Manifesting a Spirit of Excellence is allowing the manifested Glory of God to be seen.

Here are a few initial steps to start taking in order to becoming the Exemplary Leader you’ve always wanted to be:

1. Defining Your “WHY”! | Establishing Your Vision

What is the “one thing” that, as a business, you are most passionate about, solves a problem, and honors God? “And He who sent Me is [always] with Me; He has not left Me alone, because I always do what pleases Him.” Jesus

What is your “Why” [vision / purpose]? What are we in business to provide a solution for?

The most useful vision statements are laser focused on your primary customers desired results; a solution that solves a problem. “I have come to seek and save the lost” Jesus stated.

What ‘need’ are we developing a solution for?

In conjunction, “What’s” the one thing you must measure to know if your successful.

When there is a big enough reason “Why” [vision / purpose], you will always figure out the “how”. What purpose and passion [The Why] is burning in your soul for your business?

Vision should then result in priorities being established; it is about getting and remaining focused on it. Laser-Focused.

2. Self-Control

“… the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control…. those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites.”

Exemplary Leaders are effective and efficient, exercising the character quality of self-control; self-discipline and willpower in order to stay focused on the big picture, stay the course, and create enough margin in your life in order to focus and keep driving toward the vision. “Do everything decently and in order.”

Self-Control as well has to do with inner motivation; pleasing God or seeking people’s approval.

Exemplary Leaders establish clear goals and objectives, leading others on the journey to manifesting excellence. An Exemplary Leader develops a clearly articulated vision [The Why] for their business and the self-control to become laser-focused on bring the vision into reality.

This laser-focused approach includes creating the right business model and organizational design: systems, structure, strategy, style, staff, shared values, and skills. The truth is, “organizations function the way they are designed to function”. It is up to the leader to create the environment and culture to realize the vision, honoring God in the process and influencing the marketplace toward the Kingdom of God.

Self-Control, among other things, has to do with following through in everything you do and measuring the results of the core activities that drive the business to its intended vision. Remember, what you don’t measure you can’t manage and targeted adjustments are not possible.

Being strong in your resolve and resisting the inevitable temptation to give up, or lose your identity for short term gain you are honoring God and setting an example for others to live up to. Jesus was tempted in this way and He responded with, “It is written”. His identity was clear and His mission was non-negotiable.


This has to do with keeping the corporate mandate visible. Mandate is something you do that you would die to accomplish.

God has created us with a desire to be involved in a cause and we operate better together when the cause is clearly understood by everyone. What is your “Why”?

The people you are leading need to completely understand the vision of the enterprise in order to gain meaning in their work, share your vision and work ethic in a heartfelt way. Every step of the way, communicate with your team to make sure they’re on the same wavelength and know what you expect of them.

The implementation of a defined vision requires a defined method. You need a plan, a method, a course of action in which you’ve gotten those around you involved in.

A mandate requires a having a razor fixation which then engages people. Take that a step further and get them involved in the planning process. This gives everyone a greater sense of ownership toward the end result; it results in greater retention and sustainability leading to greater customer satisfaction, profitability and legacy generating. This honors God.

“But I do not consider my life as something of value or dear to me, so that I may [with joy] finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify faithfully of the good news of God’s [precious, undeserved] grace [which makes us free of the guilt of sin and grants us eternal life].” Paul


To me money is not the most important thing in your purpose. What we need more than money is people. In God’s Kingdom and Way of acting and behaving money is considered temporal and a “little thing” but people’s souls are for eternity.

Vision and Purpose involves others. It requires us to become “others focused” and not “self-focused”. How do you help the people around you grow and improve? Provide for their families? How do you teach, lead, and succeed together. How do you disciple people in a marketplace environment?

Exemplary Leader praises highly and in public while criticize constructively and in private. The way you praise and criticize others can make all the difference.

Publicly praising the people who do excellent work for you will feel a sense of accomplishment and the drive to do even better.

When someone does something wrong, offer constructive criticism and do it privately. Suggest solutions on how they can improve and take the time to answer any questions. They’ll accept your input more willingly if they know it’s done to help and not to harm.

Exemplary Leaders make it a point to understand their people. You can’t truly lead a group of people unless you truly understand their hopes, dreams, struggles, pains, and goals. All the good intentions in the world mean nothing unless you have a true sense of the people you’re working with.

Getting to know each other on a personal level will strengthen the bond between you. They’ll want to do better for you because you’re more than just a “boss”, you care.

Be their leader, first, and their friend second. You’re their leader and that means that you have to make difficult decisions from time to time. These decisions cannot be affected by personal relationships.

Choose your emotional response to a situation carefully. Sometimes you’ll need to practice the art of silencing your inner thoughts when they’re not appropriate in order to set a positive example. “Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.” One way we exalt God is by the way we treat others with love and compassion. Make the hard call. There are times when you have to bite the bullet and make some unpleasant decisions. Firing, demoting, and holding people accountable for their actions can be very hard at times. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to handle these matters. Being Christ like in how you handle it is how you please and honor God.

No matter where your leadership role takes you, believe that you can be a strong leader. Remember that in order to lead others, you must be disciplined yourself. After all, your actions will speak louder than anything you can say.

In order to gain the respect of others and honor God in the process, strive to lead by Christ’s example in every area of your life. You’ll be well on your way to becoming an Exemplary Leader!

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].”

As Proud Entrepreneurs We Have The Opportunity To Share

We business types are proud to be described as entrepreneurial.  According to Peter Drucker, entrepreneurship is about taking risk. The entrepreneur is willing to put his or her career and financial security on the line and take risks in the name of an idea, spending time as well as capital on an uncertain venture. Most of us would agree with that definition and most of us have had the opportunity to experience the “highs” of success and the “lows” of failures from the risks and ideas we have pursued.

As Christian business owners, what are we called to do with the wisdom and experience gained through these successes and failures?  The Bible is filled with passages that give us direction on that question:

"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." (Hebrews 13:16)

"One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches." (Galatians 6:6)

Knowledge of God’s plan for our business talent and experience directs us to the question, "How can I help others develop their entrepreneurial capability?"

Peter Greer, President of Hope International and a speaker at the 2015 Convene Leadership Summit, continues to challenge all business leaders to share their entire entrepreneurial gift and experience with others.  In his recent book with co-author Chris Horst, Entrepreneurship for Human Flourishing, we see that free enterprise and entrepreneurship are integral to advancing human flourishing around the world. And it is the most effective way to overcome poverty and hunger.

Jeff Rutt, a member of our Convene team, founded HOPE International in 1997 motivated by a church mission trip to the Ukraine where he recognized that the charity food programs were not being successful–the people needed a “hand-up” instead of “handouts.” Jeff has always been bold in his business and life pursuits.  He bought the 200 acre family dairy farm from his father when he was 16 years of age. He and wife Susan operated the farm for 10 years, and after a decade of hard work and 100 hour weeks in dairy farming, Jeff decided to change careers. "I looked for something with lower risk and fewer hours" Jeff says with a straight face. "So I got into home building."

For the past 8 years Keystone Custom Homes has been the highest ranked builder in the mid-atlantic region. The 2015 sales goal for Keystone is 400+ new units. Whether farming, building, or founding Hope International, Jeff Rutt has always been an Entrepreneur who seizes The Opportunity

Recognizing the Rightful Owner of the Business

Who really owns your business? Who do you think really owns your business? A foundational principle for a Christian entrepreneur is that God is the REAL Owner of the business. The stock certificates may have your name on them, but they’re really held in trust for the Owner.

Wise men seek truth, and the first truth about all things is that God created them. Our lives, abilities, wealth and opportunities are ultimately given to us by the Creator. The most reasonable thing we can do is acknowledge His Lordship over our lives and businesses with thanksgiving, and seek to let Him work through us to accomplish His purposes.

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him” (Psalm 24:1, NLT).

Do you acknowledge God as the rightful Owner of your business? If not, ask Him to help you see that truth and act on it. If you do, how often do you thank Him for that tremendous opportunity?

How do your business strategies reflect God’s ownership? Are you confident you’re fulfilling His unique purposes for the business?

Are you at least as committed to fulfilling God’s purposes for His business as you would want your trustee to be in executing your estate according to your desires?

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2, NIV).

Monitoring Assumptions for Early Course Corrections

Many entrepreneurs create a plan for the year, set it on the shelf, and then look at it a year later. Invariably, some of their assumptions are wrong and their goals are unrealized, but they don’t realize it until it’s too late. When you get away each year with your management team to gain perspective and focus ON the business, you probably perform a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). During this process, it’s critical to “face the reality” of whatever situation your business is in and move from there. If you and your team aren’t brutally honest with each other about the reality of your business situation, the market will be brutally honest with you soon enough, and the consequences will be more severe than if your team was courageous and proactive.

“Don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first getting estimates and then checking to see if there is enough money to pay the bills? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of funds. And then how everyone would laugh at you!” (Luke 14:28-29).

Adding one step to your planning process can make the difference between managing the business ahead of the curve or simply reacting to missed results. Add ongoing measurables and assign the task of checking them regularly to yourself or another trusted teammate. If you document your assumptions and track the indicators that monitor them, you can get an “early warning” that they’re no longer valid and make changes to avoid months of missed results.

Without having the team’s assumptions documented, you’ll not likely remember them. Then you’ll be less likely to be able to pinpoint the faulty assumption(s) and adjust the plan for the remainder of the year, given the “new reality.” You’ll also be less likely to have accurate assumptions next year, because you aren’t reviewing assumptions vs. reality. Do you have people that you allow to hold you accountable for creating, monitoring and challenging your business plan assumptions?