Notes from Mark Sanborn at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast

Mark Sanborn was one of my favorite speakers at this year’s Chick-fil-A Leadercast.  I’m always amazed at how much quality content he packs into his presentations.  He packs so much in that I find myself writing much of the time that he’s talking, it’s like I can’t write fast enough!

Mark has written some great books, my favorite being You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader.  It’s a great book for anyone who works as part of a team, but who is not the top leader.

A main focus of Mark’s talk at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast was about stories and how people are shaped by the stories they have for themselves.  According to Mark we all have a story about ourselves and we see the world through that story.  And as leaders we need to always be seeking to understand the stories of the people we lead.

Here are some key points Mark shared:

How does “working for me” affect someone’s story?

This is a question that all followers ask of their leader.  They want to know what their leader is going to provide for them.  What is that leader going to do to help them grow, develop and improve their lives.  Are they going to have to worry about having a paycheck every week, is there benefits going to be sufficient to provide for their family, or is there job going to give them the satisfaction they need in life?

Leaders need to get our of their own heads and into the minds of the people who “work for us” to see if we’re giving people what they need as part of their story.

Failure is something that happens to you, not something that you are.

 Very true.  As motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar says, “Failure is an event, not a person.”  Failure is a result of the effort and ability we possess.  But it does not define our identity.

People have no reason to change until we accept them.

One thing that I’ve learned from leading people is that I can’t successfully lead someone who I am secretly judging.  I need to always have respect and appreciation for the person I’m trying to lead.  If I don’t have that respect and appreciation, I have to find it.  Luckily, I’ve always been successful to find something about every person which I can respect and appreciate.

I’ll accept you where you’re at to help you go
where you want to go.

This is the essence of every leader’s job and responsibility.  A leader is responsible to help his people grow and become the person he or she is meant to be.  A leader should foster that growth, development, improvement and life journey so the person can go where they want to go. 

By Christopher L. Scott

Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington. Through his writing ministry more than 250,000 copies of his articles, devotions, and tracts are distributed each month through Christian publishers. Learn more at