How to Take Your Leadership Skills from Good to Great

The book “Good to Great” is one of the best books on business leadership I have read, and it's principles reflect wisdom found in Proverbs.

How to Take Your Leadership Skills from Good to Great

Earlier this year I finally had time to sit down to read Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great.  It is easily the best business leadership book I have ever read and is one I will go back to time and time again.  But what God did next in my life after reading this book was amazing.

Related Content: A Leader is One Who Knows the Way, Goes the Way, and Shows the Way

Paradigm Shift’s very own Alex Sanfilippo shared with me what he often does for his daily devotionals.  He will read through the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds with the current calendar day.  For example, if today is the 10th then he would read and study Proverbs chapter 10 that day.  I like Proverbs and respect Alex’s faith walk so I was excited to dive into this new daily devotional.

It was not of my own volition but I just happen to begin this new daily devotional exercise directly after reading the book Good to Great.  God did something amazing. He showed me that what I just got done reading in Good to Great was validated through the book of Proverbs.  Before I get into the biblical revelations I gained, I would like to give some more detail on what I learned from Jim Collins’ book.

Now, I’m not going to give away the whole book because that would take the fun out of you picking it up and reading it.  I want to highlight one section in particular that really stood out to me.

Good to Great – Level 5 Leadership         

A Level 5 Leader is described in the book as, “an individual who blends extreme personal humility with intense professional will.”  It can also be summed up this way, “Humility + Will = Level 5 Leader.”  One Chief Executive Officer (CEO) the book highlighted for his leadership was the leader of Fannie Mae back in the 1980’s, and his name is David Maxwell.

Good to Great Level 5 Leader Example – David Maxwell

David Maxwell was CEO of Fannie Mae from 1981 – 1991.  He was recognized as one of the 10 greatest CEO’s of all time by Fortune magazine (1993).  However, one story in particular really stood out that exemplified the definition of a Level 5 Leader.

During Mr. Maxwell’s tenure at Fannie Mae, their stock prices beat the S&P 500 Index by 3.8 times!  That means that if an S&P 500 company’s stock went up 10% in a year, Fannie Mae’s would have increased 38%!  Maxwell ended up retiring at the top of his game and was due a $5.5 million as part of his retirement payout.  Naturally the government was catching a lot of heat for paying someone that much, and Mr. Maxwell, of course, took notice.

David Maxwell wrote a letter to his successor telling them not to pay the $5.5 million he was owed.  Instead, Maxwell insisted on having that money donated to the Fannie Mae Foundation for low income housing.  Mr. Maxwell had ambition for the company first and foremost along with its success before his own.  This is a terrific example of a level 5 leader.

A Biblical Level 5 Leader    

 So, to tie this all together I wanted to share some of the verses from Proverbs that God used to drive home what Mr. Collins wrote a Level 5 Leader looks like.

Proverbs 3:34

34 The Lord mocks the mockers
but is gracious to the humble. (NLT)

Proverbs 11:2

Pride leads to disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom. (NLT)

Proverbs 12:15

15 Fools think their own way is right,
but the wise listen to others. (NLT)

Proverbs 15:33

33 Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom;
humility precedes honor. (NLT)

Proverbs 18:12

12 Haughtiness goes before destruction;
humility precedes honor. (NLT)

Proverbs 22:4

True humility and fear of the Lord
lead to riches, honor, and long life. (NLT)

Proverbs 27:2

Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—
a stranger, not your own lips. (NLT)

If you are looking to better your leadership skills (both at work and home) turn no further then to the book of Proverbs.  It is a book full of wisdom to glean from and can be complimented by secular books such as Jim Collins’ Good to Great.

Question from Garrett Thompson, the author.

What’s your favorite leadership or work verse you turn to often?

Written by Garrett Thompson

Joshua 1:9 - I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the Lord your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go. (CEV)

5 thoughts on “How to Take Your Leadership Skills from Good to Great

  1. Love it man! I’ve not read this book yet, but I did get to listen to Jim Collins in an interview and it blew my mind!

    Right now on my desk I have one Bible verse, and it’s this:

    “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24

    P.S. Thanks for the shout out. 🙂

    1. I was fortunate enough to hear him speak live, which is what lead me to finally pick up his book and start reading it.

  2. Wow, Anthony, thank you for sharing your journey. That was very encouraging and inspiring to read! I wish you and I could sit down and talk about all that God has revealed to you through your biblical leadership journey, because I’m sure it’s extensive. Especially what God revealed to you through the historical accounts of Abraham, Noah, Joseph, etc..

  3. Garrett my brother, God has spoken MIGHTILY….WOW! Talk about jaw dropping and coming full circle, this really drives that home for me. Back around 2004 -05 I had my first encounter with this book along with a few others on leadership (particularly spiritual) I remember highlighting this book like crazy, but not long after this, God did something, He said something, and started leading me in a different way. Although I had amassed a pretty extensive library of books, He started taking me on a spiritual journey that changed my life. And here’s the amazing thing, the only source He used was the Bible. He began teaching me about vision and leadership qualities through life stories of Abraham and Noah. He taught me about the preparation, perseverance, and positioning of spiritual leaders through Joseph! He taught me one of the most important elements and characteristics of a spiritual leader, WISDOM, through Solomon, and the list goes on and on This journey in and through Christ brought Ephesians 1:3 to life and became my reality..

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”

    Now here’s the crème de la crème…He then said, “When you follow Me and My teachings you don’t go from good to great, you start out great and I help you maintain that greatness..

    God is calling us to be spiritual leaders, but to be spiritual leaders beyond the walls of church in the workplace, market place, and community….

    Thanks for this post, it’s indeed a full circle message for me!!

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