Author: Scott Cormode

Scott Cormode, PhD, is a senior fellow at the Max De Pree Center for Leadership and is the Hugh De Pree Associate Professor of Leadership Development at Fuller Seminary. The Hugh De Pree faculty chair was established by the family of the late Hugh De Pree, an accomplished leader and former CEO of Herman Miller, Inc., and brother of Max De Pree.

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rolling tumbleweed


We must define our neighbor the way that Jesus did. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite are so wrapped up in their own business that they never acknowledge the needs of the hurting man: they decline to be a neighbor to the wounded man; they never acknowledge him as their neighbor. In the same way, we in the church can get so caught up in our own agendas that we neglect to listen to the people entrusted to our care. If leadership begins with listening, then we must be neighbors and listen to the people whom God has placed in our lives.

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crab trap on beach

The Wrong Mental Model Can Trap You

Congregations can also trap individuals within a story. For example, I was not sure I was a Christian until I could fit myself into the Christian story.  Anyone who has spent much time in an evangelical congregation can testify to the pervasive power of the conversion narrative.  The narrative structure says that people become Christians by turning from a life of sin to embrace the good news of the gospel.  The structure presumes a dramatic turn.

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two people sharing a paper heart

Listening with Empathy

The difference between empathy and sympathy has to do with the effect each one has on the person in pain. “Empathy fuels connection,” according to Brené Brown; “Sympathy drives disconnection.” And “what makes something better is connection.”

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puzzle pieces

How to Experiment Well

We need to be careful not to think that, once we develop a new idea, we are done learning. Lots of experimentation goes into creating a new prototype. But there is also a lot of learning that happens once we start to test that prototype.

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dirty traffic cones

Don’t Sign Up to Make Your Rookie Mistakes in Public

Every rookie makes mistakes. It takes time to learn.

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lightbulb and sunset

Building a Culture of Innovation

Culture is crucial.  Culture forms the informal rules by which people navigate working together.  The beliefs and values about how things should be – the mental models that comprise the organization – band together to create what we call organizational culture. 

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medical model and textbook of human heart

Adaptive Change: You Cannot Quit Smoking For Someone Else

We are accustomed to thinking that all problems are technical—that if we work a little harder and try a little more, we can fix whatever is wrong. Indeed, that is how we usually judge our leaders. We think of successful leaders as people who make things happen; they fix problems. But some problems cannot be fixed; they cannot go away.

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smoking tray ashes

Adaptive Change: What Will It Cost Them to Change?

Adaptive change is painful because people lose something; it costs them something.

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child on bike with sunset

Adaptive Change Requires a Holding Environment

A holding environment is a psychological space that is both safe and uncomfortable. Picture the stereotypic dad running alongside the kid learning to ride…

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Person holding globe by their side.

A People Entrusted to Your Care

I believe that every Christian, no matter what their station, has people entrusted to her care.  And wherever God plants you – in whatever position, and with whatever authority – the question that should orient you is: who are the people God has entrusted to my care?

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Work as Blessing, Work as Curse

(Excerpted from “Making Spiritual Sense of Money”) If the first step toward making spiritual meaning about money is to provide a language for being…

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Leadership Begins with Listening

We listen so that we will be transformed. Before we can recalibrate the church, we must ourselves be recalibrated. We Christian leaders must so immerse ourselves in the needs of the people entrusted to our care that they change us.

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Learning Agility

The world will reward agility, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Every manager and entrepreneur recognizes this. But our educational system does not yet prepare people for…

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Who Do We Listen To?

Short answer: We listen to the people entrusted to our care.  Sometime we choose these people and sometimes they roll in like tumbleweeds. Discussion…

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