Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Quarterback Sneak!

Written by: on November 15, 2016

Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice by Khurana and Nohria

offensive line book

The quarterback on the football team is viewed to be responsible for the game win or loss by the fans. On the field, he knows the gameplays, makes the calls to aid the frontline when to move and receive the ball from the center. He tells the team which plays are next. Every team member has a purpose, yet the quarterback is expected to make it happen. The game plays are their strategy, and their goal is to make points mainly in the end zone.

I have learned being an Executive Director of a nonprofit organization does not compare to leading youth organizations or corporate employees. The knowledge I received as a leader in those entities assisted in the shaping of my skills to guide and direct the nonprofit organization. I have spent years reading books, attending leadership workshops on how to be an effective leader and how to manage people. My former employer provided a variety of training to help manager, be efficient there was limited success be, and they never asked the managers above their challenges. After training, we were encouraged to apply their principles:

  • One Minute Manager by Blanchard and Johnson whose points were” three practical secrets: One Minute Managing, One Minute Praise, and One Minute Reprimand,” [1]
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Carnegie whose points were: “Six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and nine ways to change people without arousing resentment,”[2] and
  • Who Moved My Cheese by Johnson whose point “was to see change as a beginning and not as an ending.”[3]

Porter and Nohria, did “an in-depth study examining the CEO’s role in large, complex organizations. The results identified several core leadership functions: direction, organization, selection, motivation, and implementation.” (Kindle, Location 287) Managers must provide direction and motivation to those serving on the team. They must have a plan of organization (plan of action), selection (assignment of duties), and when to implement the plan as well as completion of the plan. A small nonprofit board sometimes views the CEO or Executive Director as the one who alone makes the organization successful. A large nonprofit board has officer positions with expected duties of that office, for example, Vice President is the chairperson of the Gala fundraiser. Some board members attend for their designated purpose, they’re not invested in the mission just their purpose.

Khurana and Nohria stated that CEOs are “expected to be proactive-to set an agenda, develop plans, and drive action. They are expected to anticipate the future and plan for potential contingencies. In their studies, they learned there is still a debated on “whether leaders are born or developed. Their view is that they are inherited or innate.” (Kindle, Location 315)  I believe the gift is innate and then inherited by way of development from other leaders.

To be successful, one must have a strategy which provides direction and clarity to the purpose of the organization.  “The CEO having a good strategy brings clarity about what the organization will do. Goals go hand in hand.” (Kindle, Location 5494) The CEO’s job is similar to the offense team which develops a strategy to get into the end zone (goal). We too as leaders need to set goals and strategize how to reach those goals. As a CEO we must huddle with the team, the board members and staff, share the gameplays. In that huddle, we need to give each team member an assignment, and motivating them to support the goals of the organization.


Thinking globally, my nonprofit’s goal is to globalize our services. Our first step toward globalizing was providing school supplies to students in Ghana. We want to continue but it is a financial challenge. “The authors stated there are three important tasks needed to encourage globalization:  institutional work, integrative work, identity work.” (Kindle, Location 7458) “Institutional work is a survival strategy.” (Kindle, Location 7080) “Integrative work is connecting (face to face) with people and resources.” (Kindle, Location 7226) “Identity work involves shaping awareness of differential.” (Kindle, Location 7362) These are excellent tools. We touch on them but as Executive Director, we will surely apply them.

(the footnote format keeps changing)


[1]Tammie Cagle, “Top Management Degrees,” accessed November 15, 2016. http://www.topmanagementdegrees.com/management-books/.

[2] IBID.

[3] Tom Butler-Bowdon, “Success Classic” Tom Butler-Bosdn http://www.butler-bowdon.com/spencer-johnson—who-moved-my-cheese.html.



Butler-Bowdon, Tom. “Success Classic”. http://www.butler-bowdon.com/spencer-johnson—who-                  moved-my-cheese.html.

Cagle, Tammie. “Top Management Degrees.” Last Accessed November 15, 2016.                                                    http://www.topmanagementdegrees.com/management-books/.

About the Author

Lynda Gittens

11 responses to “Quarterback Sneak!”

  1. Great analogy to football Lynda! I especially liked how you huddle with your players. Easy to visualize. I’m interested in your non-profit that you direct. What is it and do you have a website?

    • Lynda Gittens says:

      Hey Jennifer

      The nonprofit offers free tutorials (after school, reading, and SAT) for students who are challenged academically, have learning disabilities, and whose family is experiencing financial challenges. We provide school supplies in January to students. We have character building summer sessions in low income communities through bible camps, and we have summer academic enrichment programs at low income apartments.

  2. Stu Cocanougher says:

    “The CEO’s job is similar to the offense team which develops a strategy to get into the end zone (goal). ”

    Lynda, my actual job title is “Share Strategy Pastor.” It is my job to oversee the externally focused ministries of our church. This one quote gives me a new paradigm. Thanks.

  3. Geoff Lee says:

    I once heard an executive pastor in a large mega-church say that strategy is 80% implementation. Getting it done leadership is often the challenge. We can strategise and set goals until we are blue in the face, but getting it done is another matter all together. I like leaders that are hands on and realise the times that they have to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the details and the delivery.

  4. Mary Walker says:

    Lynda, I really like your illustrations and insights. The quarterback may be in charge, but it’s with a purpose! And he can’t do it all by himself!
    I wonder if the globalization strategy would work even on a smaller scale, say with planting a sister church for example. Maybe “institutional work, integrative work, identity work.” would be important for any group that works with people.

  5. Mary Walker says:

    Oh, and thank you for answering Jen’s question about your organization! It is truly wonderful how you help kids with disadvantages.

  6. Geoff, I agree with you that implementation/execution is a challenge with a team with no expectation, inspiration, or empowerment. Sometimes we have to demonstrate what we want, let them experience it in their action, then come back discuss. Make another effort. Sometimes we just accept the results. regroup, and brainstorm the challenges and seek/provide the wisdom and go for it.

  7. Mary even planting churches the globalization tool would be useful. Everything you do brings you to a position where you have to interact with people. For example, the suppliers, team members, workers, officials, etc. It may need to be modified but I think you would.

  8. Lynda it is great that you have been able to take in all of your former training and experience into your role as an ED of your organization. The challenge is always how do we continue to apply information we are learning in whatever context we are called to lead in. Strategy is important. It provides direction and tactical objectives as to how an organization will accomplish their mission and goals.

  9. Katy Lines says:

    Even the quarterback is dependent on the team. The QB must be able to communicate clearly and convince the team that working well together is the best strategy. As a director, you have to be able to provide direction and strategy for moving your team towards to end goal, whether it is scoring a touchdown, or growing internationally. Nice metaphor thread!

  10. I love your football analogy, Lynda, because of the visual of how a quarterback has to adapt and adjust as a play is broken or shifts. It seems every essay mentioned the importance of being adaptable and flexible. I feel like 90% of leading is remaining calm and focused on the vision when everything turns upside down.

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