Interview with Brad Lomenick – The Catalyst Leader

Brand Lomenick is the president of Catalyst, one of America’s largest movements of young Christian leaders.  Brad is the author of the new book, The Catalyst Leader, released  on April 15, 2013.  You can order your copy by clicking HERE. He was involved in the growth of Life@Work magazine and was also a management consultant with Cornerstone Group. You can connect with Brad on Facebook and Twitter. 

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1. What is the Catalyst Leader about?

The Catalyst Leader lays out the eight essentials for becoming a change maker. The traits that I believe one must develop in order to become a change maker, and ultimately a Catalyst Leader. I hope this book will provide practical leadership answers for a new generation of aspiring leaders who are looking for answers and solutions, and not just leadership theory. It’s a practical guide for leading now, and leading well, serving as a leadership handbook for the next generation of leaders in our country. The book presents the key essentials that I believe will define our generation’s ability to influence over the next 20-25 years, laying out what it means to be a Catalyst in this generation.

2. Why did you write The Catalyst Leader?”

I wrote this book primarily for 3 reasons.

First, while leading the largest leadership movement that gathers young career aged Christian leaders in America, I noticed that many of these young leaders desired to lead right now, but they didn’t know how to ultimately lead well. We have a generation of “called but not yet equipped leaders.” Called leaders who want to change the world, a generation ready to action, ready to influence and ready to lead, but not yet equipped for the task. They need the tools, the roadmap, the guide for leading well and getting that done. So many of my peers at 25, 30, 35, 40 years of age are flaming out and need a resource to help them finish well.

Second, I noticed that the leaders who were leading well shared several common traits and characteristics. What I’m calling the eight essentials. The book lays out those 8 essential characteristics for becoming a change maker, and ultimately a Catalyst Leader.

Third, we’ve been handed the reins to lead. I just turned 40, and I believe it’s my generations turn and time to stand up, take the reins, and lead. We are now in the driver’s seat, and it’s up to us. The called but not equipped generation. I want to see leaders, my peers, finish well. Too many leaders are crashing early and often right now. Just like me, tons of leaders in their 20’s and 30’s are facing great opportunities that they feel a deep calling and passion for, and willing to take on, but not altogether equipped to handle. These peers of mine need a roadmap, a guide, a handbook for leading well and tools for the journey forward. Our generation needs a roadmap for leading well. Some of my best friends currently sit atop great organizations but are failing to shepherd their teams and lead these entities well. I’ve begun to see a disappointing pattern among young leaders. They achieve liftoff with a rocket start but quickly fizzle out. With each instance of short lived success, I grow further convinced that we need to nurture leaders who will not just lead now, but also lead well. Ultimately, I’m writing a book that I wish would have been available to me 20 years ago when I was first starting my career and vocation life.

3. Who do you hope to impact with, “The Catalyst Leader?”

All leaders, but specifically those in the first half of their vocation life. I’m writing specifically to the called-but-not-yet-equipped leader. Young leaders (primarily in their 20’s and 30’s) who are called and passionate hopefuls who want to change the world but are unequipped, and need tools and a roadmap for how to get that done. I want to help me. I’m in the same boat as leaders I’m writing this book for. I am a called but not yet equipped leader. I desire to be a true change maker, and ultimately a Catalyst leader, but I know I fall short constantly. So I’ve written this book really for me and my peers, and ultimately my generation. This book is for anyone that leads, but the strike zone is a 35 yr old senior manager, church planter or senior pastor, innovator or entrepreneur. Take Jim, who runs a 2 million dollar small business with 20 employees. He needs someone to help him Lead well now. He’s trying to figure out how to lead with courage, to be a collaborator. Take my friend Shawn, who leads a thriving social innovation company. He’s grown from 5 employees to 50 in the past year, and wrestling with how best to manage his staff of 20 somethings. Take Hannah, a 23 year old recent college graduate who is struggling with trying to figure out what God has called her to. Take my friend James, leading a growing church in downtown Chicago, has board members who are difficult to manage and tension between his older staff and younger more progressive and innovative staff. 

4. Talk about the 8 Essentials. A catalyst leader must be the following:

–          Called by God to leadership and willing to seek his will

–          Authentic and humble, becoming influential rather than impressive

–          Passionate about God, committed to developing a heart for the creator

–          Capable and determined, working harder than anyone on the team

–          Courageous when the time comes to take a leap

–          Principled in every decision made, unwilling to compromise for convenience

–          Hopeful despite challenges, believing God can do what we cannot

–          Collaborative, drawing on the strength of others and sharing praise

Living and leading by these essentials provides both spiritual and practical avenues to developing the qualities essential to leaders hoping to build a passionate, effective team that will last. This is not a book of theories. It is not a bragging autobiography from one successful boss. It is an honest and authentic examination of what you must be and do in order to empower and lead others to success and righteousness.

5. The essential of Calling is important for young leaders to figure out, to know what you’ve been wired to do. What is your specific calling?

To convene, connect and invest in leaders is my personal calling and purpose. I use the phrase “influence the influencers.” I find tremendous joy in being a “facilitator of good” by connecting people together for the greater good and greater vision. I also feel a deep calling to lead. To be out in front and leading the charge.

6. Talk a bit more about the essential of calling.

To start with, here’s a working definition of calling: God’s personal invitation for me to work on His agenda, using the talents I’ve been given in ways that are eternally significant. In essence, calling is where your greatest talents and deepest passions intersect. Our vocation should flow from that crossroads. It’s imperative that you discover God’s unique calling on your life. I’ve come to realize that living and leading from one’s calling is a necessary first step to leading well and becoming a change maker wherever God has planted you. Without understanding your calling, you’ll end up bogged down in the mud of life. But when living out your calling, your work will be better, and you’ll naturally want to work harder. Calling should give us life, and provide us direction. Our vocation should flow out of who we’ve been uniquely designed by God to be. Think back to your childhood. Identify the things you were good at and energized you. Do they still? What did you naturally look forward to? What barriers are preventing you from pursuing the stuff you love to work on? God desires for a sense of mission to burn within us, driving us forward in the perilous journey of life. I believe God has a unique purpose that He desires to carry out in every single person he creates. He’s carved a specific and significant path for us all. A Catalyst leader is called. Find your uniqueness.

7. Let’s talk about legacy, how does someone create legacy where they are right now?

Your legacy, regardless of where you are in your leadership journey, starts now. The way you start determines how you finish. Start with the end in mind. So many of us don’t think about our legacy until we reach the finish line. But creating legacy has to begin when we begin. Starting well means finishing well.

If you’ve never heard of the Catalyst conference, I hope you check out this 1:30 second clip on the conference. Catalyst is a powerful convergence of like-minded leaders whose collective instincts, ideas and energy are inspiring a whole new generation. I’m planning to attend the conference in Atlanta. I hope you can join as well!

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