Amat Victoria Curam – 9 Ways To Prepare For Victory

Victory Loves Preparation

March 10, 2017

I recently spent two days with five colleagues interviewing candidates to be the next executive director of a nonprofit, Lutheran Music Program, where I sit on the board of directors. LMP is a sort of Interlochen music program, but add a Christian faith component. I was feeling a little overworked going into those days of intense volunteer activity, and then, fortunately I had a change of perspective.

I realized that I could turn this time into a great learning experience as we listened to highly capable leaders tell us what they believed about leadership, and how to strengthen our organization. Here’s just a little of what I learned:

  1. Amat Victoria Curam – Victory loves preparation. It was obvious who did their homework to learn about our organization and who didn’t. I witnessed candidates demonstrate how they carefully studied our organization (website, budgets, annual reports, marketing materials, social media postings, etc.) Most used this information to enrich their presentation.
  2. Raised Sites – As leaders we must continually hold the tension in the organization between where we are and where we aspire to be. Several candidates did a masterful job of painting a picture of a preferred future for our organization. That was inspiring, and raised our sites.
  3. Articulating Mission – I was reminded that our mission’s “ground game” has the potential to evoke transformation in all those we serve (our students, faculty, donors, and other stakeholders). After all, this is what it’s all about – transformation.
  4. Perspective – I’m grateful that I had that “aha” experience very early in the process. This wasn’t just volunteer duty, but a great opportunity to learn from each of the candidates. Even those we won’t hire still shared thoughtful and creative ideas we may benefit from.
  5. Assume the Position – Several interviewees did a masterful job of projecting themselves into the executive director’s role. You could sense those who were really bought-in by their use of “we, us, our” versus “you, they, them” changed their energy and conviction level.
  6. Story Telling – I kept thinking “would I give them my money, would I send my child to this camp, would I volunteer for this organization,” based on the story they told about the organization? How you articulate the organization’s mission and impact takes practice and conviction. Some clearly “had it.”
  7. It’s Personal – One candidate boiled down LMP’s impact by telling the story of how one young person’s life was transformed by the experience. This made it personal and powerful.
  8. WOOing – Winning others over is vital for effective leaders, but you don’t have to win over everyone, and you shouldn’t try. Focus on the few “tillers” that have the potential and interest to work with you as you lead the organization to the desired state.
  9. The Truth Will Set You Free – One young candidate has an unofficial advisory council that he convenes quarterly. They speak the unvarnished truth to him concerning his leadership skills. They also affirm and encourage him. This is a brilliant and inexpensive way to get coached by seasoned, caring leaders who are willing to pour into you.

Remember, your perspective is your choice. The world needs more leaders like you! Amat Victoria Curam


This blog shares my perspective on how we all have the ability to create new endings to our stories that are meaningful, powerful and filled with hope. I facilitate transformational change processes helping organizations achieve maximum mission impact. Also, I provide leadership coaching to help executives and aspiring leaders become the fullest expression of who they’re intended to be.