leadership development

Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here?

Daniel Montgomery Reality

DANIEL MONTGOMERY
Founder & CEO
Leadership Reality

A friend once told me a parable that went something like this:

About 2000 years ago, a Rabbi ambled along the way, paying more attention to the little plumes of dust kicked up by his feet than to where he was going. 

When the Rabbi meandered a touch too close to the provincial governor’s estate, a soldier appeared, clad in armor with a sword on his hip. 

“Who are you and what are you doing here?”

The Rabbi stopped and looked up. “What did you say?”

“Who are you and what are you doing here?”

The Rabbi pondered deeply for a moment.

“Son, I don’t know what they’re paying you, but I’ll give you double to come stand by my tent and ask me those two questions every morning.”

Who are you and what are you doing here?

Since stepping down as the lead pastor of Sojourn Community Church last year, I’ve had to think hard and pray about how to answer those two questions.

Who am I? I am who I’ve always been—a Christian, husband, father, friend, and leader.

What am I doing? I may not be leading a church, but I’m still serving the Church by consulting with other pastors across the country.

God has shown me a lot over the past few months. To become a better servant to His Church in general, He’s challenged me to expand my ministry outside her four walls. 

In my book Leadership Mosaic, I wrote about the crisis facing church leadership today. Over the past year, as I’ve found myself consulting with several different businesses, I’ve learned that a similar crisis has taken hold in the corporate sphere.

America’s business leaders are hurting and, as a result, so are its workers. There’s an abiding need in the marketplace for a business savvy shepherd who understands how to run a sprawling organization and minister to the deep needs of its beleaguered leaders.

I believe the Lord has uniquely called and equipped me to fill in that gap.

Who Are You? A Lack of Awareness

You can call what I’m doing leadership development. And, it is that, but it’s also much more. For all the great leadership talk out there, nobody’s really doing much leadership development. 

In the businesses I’ve worked with, I’ve found the highest achievers you’ll ever meet. These men and women know their Drucker. They’ve drunk deep from the well of John Maxwell. They get things done better than David Allen himself.

What they lack, though, is a meaningful sense of who they are and why that matters.

I’ve met hard-charging, high-capacity executives who can successfully manage a multi-national operation but can’t see how their 100 mile-an-hour personalities tend to railroad everyone around them.

I’ve worked with incredible managers who can handle hundreds of millions of dollars in production, but lack the personal, emotional, and professional self-awareness they need to take their leadership to the next level. 

What Are You Doing Here? A Crisis of Culture

Without that self-awareness, leaders default to pragmatics. 

Instead of describing “who I am” as a leader or “who we are” as a team, they find easy shelter in “what I do” or “what we’ve done.” Before we’ve even had a chance to talk about mission or vision, we’re talking strategic planning, daily metrics, and KPIs.

All of that is good and necessary. But, when leaders put the pragmatic cart before the cultural horse, they lose the most potent source of energy they’ve got.

When leaders put the pragmatic cart before the cultural horse, they lose the most potent source of energy they’ve got. -Daniel Montgomery #leadershipreality Click To Tweet

Like that tired old chestnut about the two bricklayers, a culture-less organization is an army of bricklayers. Each employee does the bare minimum to get by, but that’s about it.

But, in organizations who get the importance of culture, there’s no such thing as a mere bricklayer. Instead, you’ve got a team of cathedral-builders who pour themselves out daily for the sake of the mission. 

So, What’s it Going to be?

I’ve told you who I am and what I’m doing. Now it’s your turn.

If you’re a church or a business leader—heck, if you’re a stay at home mom or a soccer coach—these are the two most important questions you can ask yourself today.

That may sound squishy to you. It may not seem all that scientific.

But, trust me, as a Leadership Challenge Facilitator and Certified Flippen Coach, I know the science. I use the most sophisticated psychological assessment tools with all my clients. And, without fail, they all point to this essential, immutable core. 

The best leaders know exactly who they are and what it is they’re doing.

Do you?

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