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Leaders Made Here: Building a Leadership Culture Hardcover – March 13, 2017
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“If you know Mark Miller’s work, reading this endorsement is unnecessary. You already know that when it comes to training ethical, top-notch leaders, Mark is as good as it gets. His latest work, Leaders Made Here, will be widely used by organizations for decades to come.”
– Mark Levy, founder of Levy Innovation LLC and author of Accidental Genius
“All great organizations are intentional about growing leaders. Any business or nonprofit desiring a stronger bottom line or greater impact in the world must make leadership development part of its cultural DNA. Leaders Made Here will show you the way.”
– Howard Behar, former President, Starbucks international
“In Leaders Made Here, Mark Miller shares an important road map for leaders seeking to build leadership cultures. His guidance is action oriented and details a very pragmatic, purposeful approach to helping build leaders at every organizational level. When employees feel empowered to lead, everyone wins.”
– Angie Morgan, cofounder of Lead Star and coauthor of the bestseller Leading From the Front and SPARK
“Mark is not just a leadership theorist. He is an everyday practitioner of leadership discoveries in a dynamic company. I read everything he writes.”
– Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church
“Mark Miller has tacked a profound subject in this book, and he’s spot-on. A healthy, intentional culture is the best way to multiply leaders. His parable unveils the actionable items we all can implement to build more and better leaders. I recommend Leaders Made Here to anyone who’s serious about leadership development.”
– Dr. Tim Elmore, President, Growing Leaders
“A timely book that speaks to the very core of sustaining growth of a company by developing a surplus of talented, skilled, and ‘ready-now’ leaders..As Mark says, ‘like oxygen, without them the corporation dies.’”
– Daniel Johnson, founder and CEO, Pureflow, Inc.
About the Author
Mark Miller started his Chick-fil-A career in 1977 working as an hourly team member. In 1978, he joined the corporate staff as the sixteenth employee – he divided him time between the warehouse and the mailroom. Since then, Mark has provided leadership for Corporate Communications, Field Operations, Quality and Customer Satisfaction, Training and Development, Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership Development. Mark’s desire to encourage and equip leaders has taken him around the globe. His writing has reached around the world as well. Today, there are over 900,000 copies of his books in print in twenty-five languages.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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As in life, everyone does not use the same approach or come to the same conclusions, other than a few shining principles featured toward the end of this short book. Actually, we notice regularly throughout that everyone does not have to and should not agree to the same approaches or tools. We are different from each other in many ways, and each person has to decide the ways that work best for them.
As always, Mark uses narrative style to effectively describe both people, places, and processes. I have not always been a strong fan of narrative style, but Mark is steadily making a believer out of me. He manages to pack quite a bit of learning and thought-provoking activity into each short chapter.
My personal favorite section was the slow uncovering of the essential principles from the primary character's exploration of effective leadership development at several different workplaces. Rather than jump directly into the final list, we see the "messier" work of a group of intelligent people grappling with how best to organize their learning and convey the core of that learning to others in a clear, simple, and effective way.
This is how real teams create outcomes, but many leadership books tend to treat this part of leadership like a miracle ... the finished statements just magically appear. Not so in Mark's book and we are the better for it.
I could say many other positive things about Leaders Made Here, but at this point, you get my message: This is another in a hopefully never-ending series of short and easy-to-read leadership books that brings great value in an attractive and engaging fashion.
Disclaimer: I have received a copy of this book for promotion, just like all the other times. I have also purchased extra copies to distribute to others, just like all the other times
Another difference with this book is that implementing these ideas will take organization-wide commitment, starting with the CEO. Ideas taught through Mr. Miller's other books, including Chess, Not Checkers, which is about more complex organizations, can be implemented without selling your boss on them. Leadership Made Here takes CEO buy in and a budget. That is not a knock on this book. It's just different from Mr. Miller's prior books, and I expect that it will take longer to implement these ideas and to see the pay off from making this commitment as an organization.
That is not to say that you have to read his other books to understand and apply this book. To the contrary, Mr. Miller inserts some of the key takeaways from his other books where those concepts dovetail into these new ideas in this book. I think he does a better job in Leaders Made Here of showing us the development of these ideas into a tangible, sharp set of leadership concepts over the course of the story. Hazy ideas in the beginning chapters become crystal clear by page 116: Define it, Teach it, Practice it, Measure it, Model it. You walk with Charles and his team as they flesh out these ideas into these 5 "ongoing commitments." Seeing that process develop is helpful in attempting to do this in real life.
In some areas, I think the story attempted to stay too generic and missed opportunities to give even more helpful insight into the 5 commitments. For example, Define it makes the point that an organization has to define what leadership means within it's specific culture and context. Mr. Miller appropriately makes the point that leadership can be properly defined in many different ways by different organizations. We never do get an example illustrating the definition of leadership that is appropriate for the company in this story. It's stated that they need to make one. Seeing this process included in the story would make the process of "Define it" more tangible for the reader. However, the point is adequately explained in this book, and I wasn't left confused over what the "to do" is on this specific commitment.
The storyline is engaging. The leadership lessons are very good. The point is made that these ideas aren't "flashy," and I love this tidbit about why that's the strength of these simple ideas: "Too many leaders call plays they cannot run....Effective and doable beats flash and improbable every time." This book is full "not flashy," effective, doable leadership ideas that will pay dividends for decades in organizations large enough to benefit from this level of structure in their leadership development program.
For the sake of full disclosure, I received a complimentary prerelease copy of this book with a request for me to write an objective review. I received no compensation for this review other than a free book that I would have purchased anyways. Mr. Miller's writing on leadership and teams have transformed several teams that I have had the privilege of leading and serving, and this book can have similar effects on the right kind of company.