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

This Could Work

Written by: on November 13, 2014

The “Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice” edited by Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana is an intriguing leadership compilation of great leadership writings. Birthed out of a belief in a lack of strong academic and scholarly, researched-based writing on the topic of leadership theory and practice, Nohria and Khurana have compiled a significant work addressing this breach in leadership thought and literature.

“The world is crying out for better leadership.”[1] is the claim and serious questions are being raised about the level of competence and character that is being bred into a Western and developing, globalized leadership culture. Among the questions being addressed, Nohria and Khurana ask, “Are these (elite higher education) institutions developing leaders who have the competence and character necessary to lead the web of complex institutions that have become so vital to the collective health of modern societies?”[2]

The framework of the “Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice” lays out a great possibility of this work addressing the chasm between the way our institutions are developing leaders of competence and character and the results being demonstrated in the private, public, and social sectors making up society. The book is structured into five major sections that give it this great possibility of tackling the divide by creating a potential cycle of growth and reflection the develops the whole leader.

In my church planter training experience, I have primarily used Robert E. Logan’s “Intensive Church Planter Training” material and I find a direct parallel between Logan’s training framework and the structure and the structure and dualities Nohria and Khurana lay out that create the great possibility of better preparing the leaders the world needs. I find the parallel to be as follows:

Who am I? Thinking and Doing vs. Becoming and Being
What am I called to do? Universal vs. Contingent
Who will do it with me? Person vs. Social Role
How will I do it? Agency vs. Constraint
How will I know if I am successful? Performance vs. Meaning


In Logan’s set of questions and modules of training, each question is deeply developed. “Who am I?” focuses on the identity of the planter/leader and the tension between transactional existence and transformational presence. “What am I called to do?” centers on contextualizing a broad calling into and exact setting and situation where a planter’s/leader’s work will be lived out. “Who will do it with me?” draws attention to the dynamic of relational intelligence and the navigating of complex responsibilities, delegation, and empowerment of teams and varying groups of people and audiences. “How will I do it?” concentrates on developing fluid plans and contingencies that allow for visionary thinking, strategic action, and innovative flexibility that accomplishes the goals. Finally, “How will I know if I am successful?” emphasizes the battle of “winning” with quantitative outcomes and “winning” through qualitative results. Through each section of Nohria and Khurana’s work, each article addressed aspects of each of these questions, tensions and foci.

Having walked closely with many planters and living out a personal planting and leading journey of my own, I have experienced these five questions and dualities as a continual framework for a life long learning loop.



I believe this cycle has allowed for a truly transformational journey requiring deep rflection and growth while on the frontline of leadership theory and practice. I have personally developed Logan’s five questions into a narrative leadership development and planter training model (Who am I? – Storied; “What am I called to do? – Ruined; “Who will do it with me?” – Banding; How will I do it? – Purposed; and “How will I know if I am successful?” – Reigning) and in light of Nohria and Khurana’s dualities introduced, I can see a strong alignment leading to the development of character and competency. The combining of these frameworks can be viewed as follows: 1) Living a “Storied” life: balancing the identity search between “doing” and “being;” 2) Living a “Ruined” life: balancing the calling search between the “universal” in a “contingent;” 3) Living a “Banding” life: balancing the relational search between “person” and “social role;” 4) Living a “Purposed” life: balancing the strategy search between “agency” and “constraint;” and 5) Living a “Reigning” life: balancing the success search between “performance” and “meaning.”

Ultimately I would conclude that the “Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice” is a fantastic start to a needed initiative to raise the bar on an ultimate leadership development journey that needs to be expanded to answer “the cry of our world.” A work such as this can truly help our institutions establish a more robust effort of developing the kind of leaders with the full character and competency to respond to the demand and complexity of modern societies emerging in our world.

Nohria, Nitin, and Rakesh Khurana, eds. Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: an Hbs Centennial Colloquium On Advancing Leadership. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, 2010.

            [1] Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana, eds., Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: an Hbs Centennial Colloquium On Advancing Leadership (Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, 2010), 24.

            [2] Ibid., p.3

            [3] Ibid., p.7

About the Author

Phillip Struckmeyer

10 responses to “This Could Work”

  1. Jon Spellman says:

    Phil, great practical connectivity! One of the hallmarks of a great leader is the ability to connect dots that might not be obviously connected. You have done that here. Church planters have to be, if nothing else, great leaders.


  2. Interesting reflection Phil. Your diagram reminds me of one I saw in a Vineyard leadership handbook about ten years ago — a helpful frame. Here is another one from Branson and Martinez, “Churches, Cultures and Leadership” — http://nextreformation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/practical_theology.jpg

  3. Nick Martineau says:


    Really great connection between Logan’s “Intensive Church Planter Training” and Nohria. I really appreciate the parallel you pointed out. It’s sounds like you might have just got the start of a new church training manual. (-:

    Have fun in Dallas!

  4. Brian Yost says:

    Great job connecting Nohria and Khurana with your current model of leadership development. I can see this book being a great companion to current models to help fill in some of the gaps, address the questions that may not be asked by current models, and give a broader perspective.

  5. Mary Pandiani says:

    If I give you credit, can I use your diagram for a class I’m going to teach in the spring? I appreciate the impact each phase has on the other. I’m curious about “ruined” – how did you land on that word?
    Isn’t it so true that all of these dualities addressed by Nohria and Khurana necessary for the entire picture?

    • Phillip Struckmeyer says:

      You bet Mary. No credit needed. The ruined word comes from Nehemiah being wrecked for Jerusalem and then knowing what he must do with his life . . . rebuild the city!

  6. Dave Young says:

    I appreciate how we can take really good secular theory and take good theory intended for Christian use and look at the similarities and the differences. We go to something with our experience and exposure and then we broaden and deepen our understanding. It’s a good reminder that we should come to our studies with greater curiosity because we never know where the lightbulb is going to go off.

    Thanks for a great post

  7. Travis Biglow says:

    Phil, I think “how will I do it” is the big question. One of the things I dont want to do is get out of the will of God by trying to make something work that is not in his plan. Waiting on God sometimes is the key to true and lasting answers.

  8. Dawnel Volzke says:

    Phil, these are great questions that we should all continuously be asking ourselves as we grow our leadership ability.

    Who am I? As we assess ourselves, we need to look at our reflection to others and become aware and honest about who we really are and if we are the person we should be.

    What am I called to do? This is so important! I don’t think we talk about calling enough in the church, and we often expect people called to ministry to fit a “one size” model. Yet, God has called us each for a specific purpose. He may not reveal the details of our calling all at one time, yet he guides our individual steps. Our skills, talents, and passions are good indicators of our calling.

    Who will do it with me? Wow, this one is very powerful. Too often we think in terms of leading alone… Getting help is often equated with weakness, yet I’ve never met a successful leader who achieved goals without help from others.

    How will I do it? If takes resources and strategy to accomplish goals. Too many times we have all of the other answers, but don’t have what is needed to accomplish our tasks. “How” is often the biggest challenge.

    How will I know if I am successful? Measure, optimize, measure again… In marketing, I remind people to ABT…always be testing. Success should be measured in many ways, unique to each endeavor. One should determine success factors in advance, and constantly test and measure to ensure milestones and goals are reached. Feedback is essential. Good leaders seek insight and feedback from others, and constantly adjust based on information they receive.

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