Characteristics of Success

I have been listening to and reading a book called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. It is a study which looked eleven American businesses that were extremely successful over a consecutive fifteen year period of time. One of the key characteristics espoused by the author was that the leaders were very different from their peers. They were humble men who deeply cared for their teams along with corporate and community good. Although many other leaders were successful they did not produce the same long lasting results that these ones did which outlasted their tenure with the company.

So what was their secret? What made them so different that only eleven leaders and companies could meet this criteria between 1965 and 1995? I would suggest that they could have used Jesus as their role model. Some of these leaders were believers but certainly not all.

So what are the characteristics we might look at to help us understand this?

  1. Jesus first and foremost came as an example to follow that is why we are called disciples, learners and followers. Now most of us think of a teacher as someone we listen to in church, university or school. What if we looked at it from the perspective that we are learners largely in the non-formal setting by observing? We watch and evaluate the value of what we see and learn that way. Jesus was very much a see and do teacher at times. People will follow if they value what they see.
  2. Jesus came as a servant. In Mark 10:35-45 James and John expressed a desire to be important and powerful. Jesus then goes on to explain how He has come to serve not to be served. This is also demonstrated in John 13:1-17 where Jesus washes His disciple’s feet. We are called to be servant leaders, to serve others.
  3. Lastly I would suggest that Jesus was entirely focused on the task at hand. He just got on with the job whether it was straightforward or difficult. It was imperative that He saw His role and task through. Which He did to our eternal benefit.

One of the things that was made abundantly clear at the end of the “Good to Great” book is that you don’t need to become an important leader to do this. You can in fact lead from anywhere with this style of leadership. There are people practicing this style of leadership in obscurity all over the world just as the eleven business leaders were virtually unknown to the general public.

There are opportunities to lead whether that’s at church, as a sports coach or lead from where you are in your job, you don’t have to have a title. You can lead in your marriage if you are married, and in your family if you’re a dad. If you follow Jesus’ leadership style you will certainly be effective. You may not get lots of earthly acknowledgement but you can be sure that heaven is watching.

Paul Monahan

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