22 Sep #087 – Integriosity – Re-Align Ingredient #2 – Intentional Leaders – WHO Identity
ESSENCE: The second key ingredient (after flexible approach) needed for successful execution of a Re-Imagined Purpose, Re-Imagined Values and a Re-Imagined Culture is Intentional Leaders. An organization will not faithfully “do right” through business a better way without them. The four important aspects of the Intentional Leadership required to lead an organization to faithfully “do right” through business a better way, while avoiding the pitfalls of faith as usual Side Roads, are (1) commitment to a WHO Identity, (2) commitment to a Bigger WHY, (3) commitment to Cultivating Culture and (4) commitment to Authenticity. A leader’s heart–and the kingdom they pursue building (theirs or God’s)–will be tied to what they see as their primary identity, and that primary identity can be either a WHO identity based on who the leader is in relation to God or a WHAT identity based on their career. Only a WHO identity will prioritize building God’s Kingdom, particularly when the road gets challenging.
In our last post we explained the first of five key ingredients for executing a Re-Imagined Purpose, Re-Imagined Values and a Re-Imagined Culture–a Flexible Approach. In this and the next three posts, we will explain the second ingredient–Intentional Leaders.
Re-Align Ingredient #2: The Importance of Intentional Leaders
An organization will not faithfully “do right” through business a better way without Intentional Leaders. Max Depree rightly observed:
Unless somebody articulates something different, you are going to adopt a secular standard without even thinking about it.
Like a person, an organization can have one ultimate ambition–one ultimate identity–one true “heart”. Without Intentional Leaders, that “secular standard” will be Profit as Purpose–profit over people–because it is at the core of business as usual. As we have emphasized in past posts, every organization has a culture (whether intentional or unintentional, healthy or toxic), and an organization without Intentional Leaders will have an unintentional culture. Unintentional cultures will reflect the values that the people perceive to be those valued by their leaders. In the words of management guru John Maxwell:
People emulate what they see modeled. Positive model—positive response. Negative model—negative response. What leaders do, potential leaders around them do. What they value, their people value. The leaders’ goals become their goals. Leaders set the tone.
If no values are stated and reinforced, people will gravitate to “me” (the worldly defaults of self-advancement, self-protection and personal profit maximization). Unintentional cultures tend to become unhealthy or even toxic cultures based on self-interest and the behavior of the leaders.
In this and the next three posts, we will examine four important aspects of the Intentional Leadership required to lead an organization to faithfully “do right” through business a better way, while avoiding the pitfalls of faith as usual Side Roads:
- Commitment to a WHO Identity
- Commitment to a Bigger WHY
- Commitment to Cultivating Culture
- Commitment to Authenticity
Unless somebody articulates something different, you are going to adopt a secular standard without even thinking about it. (Max Depree)
Re-Align Ingredient #2: Intentional Leaders Committed to a WHO Identity
In post #068 (Mind-Shift #2–The “WHO” of Leaders), we explained that one of the five key “mind-shifts” of business a better way is rethinking the “WHO” necessary for faith-work integration–it is getting at the person needed to lead an organization to faithfully “do right”. The critical thing to remember about Mind-Shift #2 is “You Are Not What You Do“. Mind-Shift #2 is about seeing yourself first in terms of WHO you are in relation to God and second in terms of WHAT you do. In order for an organization to faithfully “do right” through business a better way–avoiding the pitfalls of business as usual and faith as usual–it needs Intentional Leaders committed to a WHO identity.
A leader’s heart will be tied to what they see as their primary identity. It will drive their actions, will influence the actions of those they supervise, will set the tone for the culture, and ultimately will impact the destiny of the organization. Only a God-based identity will prioritize building God’s Kingdom and the pursuit of faithfully “doing right”, particularly when the road gets challenging. George Barna observed:
A large share of the people who figure out what’s coming as they pursue holiness choose to retreat to previously mastered stops on the trail, preferring the comfort and security of mediocrity to the challenges of godliness.
Leading an organization to faithfully “do right” through business a better way requires mind-shifts that lead to heart-shifts, both in the leaders and in the organization. Anything less can bring the the missed purpose for organizations, the missed calling for leaders, the missed flourishing for people and the increased misery that was explained in post #036 (Placebos–The Problem). We believe it is time to begin executing business a better way in alignment with Biblical beliefs, values and priorities–it is time to begin faithfully “doing right” through Integriosity®.
SPOILER ALERT: Our next few posts will explore the other key aspects of Intentional Leadership.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): Identity has been a central idea in many Integriosity posts. How someone sees their primary identity will also impact which “kingdom” they prioritize building–theirs or God’s. A WHO identity prioritizes your God identity. A WHAT identity prioritizes the worldly identity of “what” you do. An important (and toxic) aspect of work as usual and business as usual is the prioritization of work as an idol and identity (post #020). Profit as Purpose demands it and business as usual leaders model it and expect it from others. It is also a driver of the brokenness of work (post #007), workplaces (post #008) and workers (post #009), which leads to brokenness in families and in the mental and physical health of humans.
I grew up believing that if I was a good provider, then I was, by definition, a good husband and a good father. I was building my “kingdom” for provision. As I learned through the pain it caused my wife (and the near-divorce crisis it caused in our relationship), our “kingdoms” are illusory and fragile. (God miraculously restored our relationship, but that is a much longer story that you can read about in the book Miracles by Eric Metaxas. For those interested, here is a link to a PDF of the chapter called “God and Marriage”.) At the time I was learning this hard lesson, Casting Crowns had come out with a song called American Dream. In many ways, the American dream is about the ability to build your own kingdom. The song reveals the fragility of that pursuit. Click the link below to watch and listen.