Leadership,  Living as a Leader

“Connecting One’s Voice to One’s Touch”

“At the core of becoming a leader is the need always to connect one’s voice to one’s touch” Max De Pree in Leadership Jazz

Within any group of people, whether it is a friendship, marriage, family, or organization, holding shared values, a common purpose, and set of beliefs creates meaningful, enduring, and influential relationships. Without these commonalities, relationships become superficial, temporary and incapable of making a significant difference in the lives of the people in the relationship, or to others in the world.

So how does a family, team or an organization achieve a unified commitment to such important issues? Ultimately it’s through leadership.

After Mark Olson hired me to replace him as Director of our Michigan overnight camp I asked him what his expectations were for me. He simply said “maintain our culture”. In other words my job was to not only assure that our core values, mission and beliefs were never compromised but that they were also reinforced and advanced. Mark understood the absolute importance of a leader’s role in creating this kind of organizational clarity and commitment.

Today, at SpringHill, we call leaders who do this “Culture Bearers”. And being a Culture Bearer isn’t just a philosophical ideal disconnected from the real work of our staff. Instead being a culture bearer, I believe, may be the most important personal quality a leader at SpringHill must demonstrate.


Because it’s only through leaders fully and visibly living out SpringHill’s mission, values and beliefs, in other words “connecting our voice to our touch”, that these important truths become baked into our culture. And as they’ve become baked into our culture, I believe it’s given SpringHill a true opportunity to make a significant and enduring difference in the lives of young people.

This is the final post of 14 in a series of about what it takes to be successful at SpringHill.

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