Over the last decade and a half I’ve seen Purpose Driven Leadership principles transform the institutions who apply them. Here are some of the characteristics you can expect to see within your leadership as you introduce PDL concepts:

1. They have a Purpose Statement that describes (in their own words) their commitment to building the institution and society.

2. They use a Purpose-Driven Strategy to fulfill their purpose statement. While using a variety of terms, a purpose-driven strategy brings people to your leadership and into membership in your team, then builds them up to maturity, then equips them for service, and then sends them out on a mission in the world. The PDL strategy is based on two vital assumptions: 1) People grow best when you allow them to make gradual commitments. 2) You must ask for commitment in specific ways, such as using pledges.

3. They organize around a Purpose-Driven Structure, which insures balance and gives equal emphasis to all intentions. PDL’s are team-based, rather than hierarchical in structure. They organize around purpose-based teams composed of leaders and staff, with each team responsible for a specific purpose and target group (such as the community, the crowd, the committed, and the core).

4. They program by purpose. They have at least one program for fulfilling each of the time and each of the corresponding constituencies.

5. They staff by purpose. Every purpose has its own champion. PDLs begin by finding volunteers to lead and serve on each purpose-based team, and they develop full-time, paid positions as needed.

6. The leader communicates by purpose. Messages and series are planned to insure that people receives a balanced emphasis on each of the purposes.

7. They calendar by purpose. The purposes are the determining factor in deciding what events are scheduled. Every event must fulfill at least one purpose or it isn’t approved.

8. They budget by purpose. Every expenditure is categorized by the purpose to which it relates.

9. They serve by purpose. Services are seen as society tools, not monuments. They must serve the purposes and never become more important than the purposes.

10. They evaluate by purpose. They regularly ask: Are we balancing all our purposes? Is there a better way to fulfill each purpose?

Most PDL institutions are built from the outside-in, rather than in the traditional way from the inside-out. It’s far easier to turn a crowd into a core, than it is to turn a core group into a crowd. You build a healthy multi-dimensional leadership by focusing on one level of commitment at a time.


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