7 Principles for Developing Quality Leaders

This past weekend, I spent time with a handful of leaders who have joined The Cohort this year. The Cohort is a cluster of executive level leaders who meet with me monthly for one year in order to grow. These meetings are typically virtual (online), but over the weekend we meet face-to-face to kick-off the year. We had a grand weekend together. During the course of our two days together, I was reminded again of how great leaders are cultivated. Let me offer 7 ideas below.

1. The Cohort is a community of leaders who grow together. I believe leaders are not developed in isolation, where individuals interact only with a computer screen. We’ve formed a transparent community to share struggles, questions and insights.

2. Entrance into The Cohort is by invitation only. I believe quality leaders are not identified and developed in huge populations where anyone can get in. (There are places for that.) The best leaders are selected and invited into a privileged journey.

3. The size of The Cohort is small. Last year I had 16. This year I have 11. I don’t think leaders are raised up in massive groups, but through life-on-life mentoring relationships. I believe more time with less people equals greater life impact.

4. The Cohort will experience a plan for leadership development. Growth is not left to chance. We map out books to read, sessions to discuss and exercises to apply throughout the year. The development plan is intentional.

5. The Cohort members are partnered with buddies. Each person will have an accountability partner throughout the year to ensure they are reading and applying the topics we discuss. Everyone performs better when someone is watching.

6. The Cohort is EPIC in nature. It is an experience, not just a lecture. There are specific life applications to each topic we wrestle with on a monthly basis. Participants will have something to listen to, say, watch, and do.

7. Finally, there is a specific outcome we target in The Cohort. The end target is for each member to turn around and mentor other leaders in a plan for personal and leadership development. This group is committed to this specific goal.

The members of this year’s Cohort are from varied backgrounds. They’re from educational, business, non-profit, and church contexts. All are leaders, however, who are hungry to grow. I can hardly wait for our next time together.


7 Principles for Developing Quality Leaders