Leaders Made Here | Mark Miller

Summary of: Leaders Made Here: Building a Leadership Culture
By: Mark Miller


Embark on a journey to understand the essence of building a leadership culture from the book ‘Leaders Made Here’ by Mark Miller. Drawing from Miller’s insights, grasp the primary principles forming the backbone of leadership culture: betting on leadership, acting as one, winning the heart, and excelling at execution. Discover the importance of a company’s culture based on employee behavior and explore the concept of leadership as an iceberg, emphasizing character and skill. This summary serves as a guide for companies to proactively plan and construct a solid leadership pipeline, complete with executive support.

Four Principles for Top Performing Organizations

Building a strong leadership culture is the foundation for long-term success, according to this book. The four primary principles to achieve this are to “bet on leadership,” “act as one,” “win the heart,” and “excel at execution.” Leadership should be the top priority for any organization, and a leadership culture should be defined by day-to-day employee behavior. To determine if your organization has a leadership culture, ask whether leaders are routinely developed in a systematic way. Creating a leadership surplus is crucial in proactive firms that plan for future challenges.

Defining Leadership for High Performance

Establishing a shared definition of leadership is crucial to avoid conflicts, poor transitions, and disorganization in an organization. To implement this, consider leadership as an iceberg, where individual character represents the unseen 90% and skills make up the visible 10%. Start with the principle that leaders serve others and use the “SERVE” acronym – “See the future, engage and develop others, reinvent continuously, value results and relationships,” and “embody the values” – to guide your definition. High-performance organizations bet on leadership, act as one, win the heart and excel at execution.

Building a Leadership Pipeline

A strong leadership culture creates a steady flow of quality leaders ready to step in when needed. This requires senior managers’ support for a leadership development program. However, some executives oppose this for misguided reasons. Firstly, a handful of talented individuals cannot sustain a company’s success forever. Support them by creating a pipeline of leaders. Secondly, the belief that leaders are born, not made, is unrealistic. Waiting for a superhero to save the company is foolish. Instead, develop a reliable corps of homegrown leaders. Thirdly, ignoring the future is a costly mistake. Most organizations lack enough leaders to properly manage their affairs, let alone make visionary plans. Don’t let a current shortage of leaders burden your organization. Finally, acknowledging ignorance in building a leadership culture is just fear. The key is to invest in people who are doing great work for the company now. With these steps, organizations can build a strong leadership pipeline that secures their future.

Building a Leadership Culture

In today’s unpredictable world, organizations need competent and reliable leaders who can navigate through challenges and crises. Developing a leadership culture is crucial to ensure readiness and agility. A strong leadership culture leads to a deep “leadership bench,” which is necessary to prepare for succession and train future managers. However, such a culture doesn’t happen on its own. Executives must take proactive measures to define what leadership means for their company and build a leadership culture. Hope is not a strategy. Therefore, building a leadership culture should be one of the top strategic priorities of any organization.

Creating a Leadership Culture

To establish a leadership culture in your organization, start with a charter and set a goal. Make a list of mechanisms and activities to meet the target. Establish a budget for leadership development activities and determine best practices. Develop a strategic leadership process for leaders at all levels. Ensure each leader has a customized growth plan, and engage young leaders in development activities. The current leadership is the primary reason for the lack of a leadership culture. A culture is the sum of people’s habits, so establish metrics to measure progress towards your development goals.

Building a Strong Leadership Culture

To develop a robust leadership culture, you need to assess your organization’s current leadership development activities, consult with stakeholders and research other firms’ leadership development policies. Benchmark companies that have successful leadership development activities and inquire about their growth strategies, characteristics they look for, helpful activities, and how they monitor leader growth. An open-minded and learning-oriented approach to benchmarking is necessary to avoid learning from organizations that deliver the wrong lessons.

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