The Keystone Habit For Leadership Growth

A “keystone habit” is a habit that results in other positive habits. The thinking is, if you nail this one habit you really get exponential growth because it results in several other habits that also enable growth.

Being able to lead in a church that has seen rapid growth (growth that can only be explained by God’s grace and not man’s abilities), many people have started to ask us, “How have you all made this happen? What’s the secret?”

Well, first of all, we haven’t made it happen. Only God can change hearts and transform lives and draw people to himself. For some reason God has chosen to pour out his grace and that is really the only “secret” that has “made it happen.”

Our staff often says our entire job has been to “keep up with what God is doing.” We haven’t done anything beyond trying to keep up so we can be good stewards of God’s grace.

Once we make that clear to people who ask, “What’s the secret?” we then encourage them to adopt the one keystone habit that has helped more than anything else.

Pursue Pacesetters To Hone Your Craft

In simple form, a pacesetter is someone further along than you that you can learn from as you lead. They “set the pace” for you as a leader. Just as “one who walks with the wise becomes wise,” anyone who learns from great leaders become better leaders.

Here are the three types of pacesetters I have consistent rhythms with:

  • Publications- There are an insane amount of books, blog posts, and other publications that leaders can constantly pour into to learn and grow. This is an easy way to be constantly intaking great material from leaders who have accomplished a lot, led through adversity, and sustained success.
  • Podcasts- Thankfully, technology has allowed us to learn from great leaders across the nation, from different tribes, and with different specialties: everything from cultural engagement with Al Mohler, practical leadership with Andy Stanley, Carey Nieuhof, and Craig Groeschel, to podcasts that hit a wide range of things like 5 Leadership Questions and Unseminary, and to spiritual growth from your favorite preachers. Whether you are in the car, working out, or doing house work these podcasts provide great opportunity to push you forward as a leader.
  • People- No matter how many publications and podcasts you intake there isn’t anything like getting to sit down in front of a great leader and ask them as many questions as you possible can. Do whatever it takes to get a meeting on your calendar with a pacesetter and come with questions ready.

Some Tips To How To Do This:

  • Prioritize the important over the urgent. Honing our craft often gets pushed aside because more urgent things grab our attention. Everything that is truly important makes it into your calendar. Open your calendar and put in the times you can get the different pacesetter rhythms of publications, podcasts, and people in there.
  • Always have your next “people” pacesetter on your calendar. Even if it is 3 months out, know when your next pacesetter meeting is and get your questions ready.
  • Consistently look for pacesetters outside of your tribe. People outside of your tribe will help you approach issues differently and give you ideas that you wouldn’t come up with on your own or in your normal networks.
  • Ask people around you who they are learning from and be willing to learn from anyone. I am a reformed, Acts 29 guy, yet I have benefited greatly from Perry Noble, Andy Stanley, and many others who disagree with my theology.

There is a direct correlation between how much intake we get from pacesetters and how much we grow as leaders. To lead anything significant we have to learn from those who are further ahead of us.

Establishing the habit of honing our craft through pacesetters leads to us growing in other positive habits that makes us better leaders.