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.
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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.
34 The Lord mocks the mockers
but is gracious to the humble. (NLT)
2 Pride leads to disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom. (NLT)
15 Fools think their own way is right,
but the wise listen to others. (NLT)
33 Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom;
humility precedes honor. (NLT)
12 Haughtiness goes before destruction;
humility precedes honor. (NLT)
4 True humility and fear of the Lord
lead to riches, honor, and long life. (NLT)
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.