Leaders Made Here by Mark Miller – Book Review and Summary

Leaders Made Here: Building a Leadership Culture

Leaders Made Here by Mark Miller — Book Review

I would rate the book at 7/10 ★ since there is a lot of great information.

Great leaders create great organizations. However, a scarcity of leaders today means a shortfall in performance tomorrow. Don’t gamble with your company’s future! You don’t need to hope that leaders emerge from the ranks or that search firms can find the leaders you need in a timely fashion. But, hope is not a strategy!

4.1 (186 ratings by Goodreads)


Organization long term sustainability would eventually dependent on the quality of leadership at its helm. Most organization just don’t have enough leaders or even a sustainable “leadership pipeline” of junior leaders. And in most cases, organization abound by the strict traditional style of leadership.

Leadership expert, Mark Miller detailed out in his book on why quality leadership is essential to an organization, and how an organization can develop a robust leadership culture and what best practice a company should pursue in order to attain effective leadership development.

To illustrate his leadership story, Miller spins a fictitious tale of a business, its executives and their efforts to develop a strong leadership culture. His leadership development advice is solid, though his fable seems a bit stretched. So, I would suggest focussing more on Miller’s sharp leadership lessons. As for fables and tales, I would recommend you reading Robin Sharma Books. My favourite Robin Sharma book is The Secret Letters of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and Simon Sinek’s Start With Why.

The Secret Letters of the Monk Who Sold His FerrariThe Secret Letters of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

one of the best book on the purpose of life that I’ve read.

View all my reviews

Leaders Made Here by Mark Miller — Book Summary

Strong Leadership Culture

Top-performing organizations depend on four main principles

  1. Bet on leadership
  2. Act as one
  3. Win the heart
  4. Excel at execution

That seems fairly simple and straightforward.

“Leadership is critical to…future success. It is like oxygen – without it, you die. As an organization, we don’t want to wonder where our next breath is coming from.”

All organization, big or small needs a strong leadership culture. This strong leadership will provide a long term competitive advantage over their competitors.

The litmus test to evaluate if your organization already have a leadership culture would be — “A leadership culture exist when companies routinely and systematically develop their leaders” — in house.

In an organization where leadership culture is readily established, it will have a surplus of leaders ready for the next opportunity or challenge.


Let us define leadership

The exact definition might be organizational specific. Meaning it might vary from one organization to another. But for your organization, the definition of leadership should be agreed-upon companywide.

This is of utmost importance since lack of shared definition on leadership can and will generate conflict down the line with everyone pursuing their own training and developmental plans which might or might not be of benefit to the organization as a whole.

“High performance organizations…have four things in common. They all bet on leadership, act as one, win the heart and excel at execution.”


How to implement an agreed-upon definition

Think of leadership as an iceberg — Most leadership involves individual character. The unseen 90% of the iceberg under the water and the rest concerns skill which is the visible 10% of the iceberg above the waterline.

As you develop your definition of leadership, start with the basic principle that leaders serve others. The “SERVE” acronym can guide your thinking: “See the future, engage and develop others, reinvent continuously, value results and relationships” and “embody the values.”


✔ See the future
✔ Engage and develop other
✔ Re-invent continuously
✔ Value results and relationships
✔ Embody the values

The Leadership Pipeline

“A leadership culture exists when leaders are routinely and systematically developed and when you have a surplus of leaders.”

Strong organization culture encourages the development of high quality and dependable leadership pipeline (supply) who are ever-ready to take the organization forward. Hence, making leadership at every level an actual working structure.

As with any other organizational changes, top-level support — senior leadership supports. However, at times you might need to navigate some opposition to the idea of developing a leadership culture.


Typically due to some misguided reasons. Here are the reasons among others:

We don’t need a leadership culture; we’re doing fine
A handful of superior people often account for the lion’s share of a firm’s success. This small group of corporate heroes can work wonders for a while – but not forever. Support them by building your bench.

“Leaders are born, not made”
Assuming that talented, high-quality leaders will just show up when you need them is a fantasy. “In essence, you are waiting for Superman or Superwoman to miraculously appear and save your company. This is a dubious strategy for future success.” Develop a reliable corps of homegrown leaders.

“We’re too busy to think about the future” 
Most organizations don’t have enough leaders to manage their affairs properly, much less to stop working so they can make visionary plans for the future. The leaders who are available are so busy treading water they can’t worry about preparing other leaders to take care of the company’s future. Don’t let a current burdensome shortage of leaders continue to plague your organization.

“Even if we wanted a leadership culture, we don’t know how to build one”
Claiming ignorance is a manifestation of fear. Embrace the future, and vest in the people who are doing great work for your company now.

“Building a leadership culture will need to be one of your strategic priorities for the foreseeable future. It won’t happen without your direct involvement and support.”

Every organization need leaders, those worthy are the one responsible and great at managing challenges, disasters and other emergencies. Great at thinking on their feet. Everyone can lead in victory, but in defeat is when our steel is tested.

And when it comes to corporate affairs, hope is not a strategy.


How to create a leadership culture Charter (guideline)

✔ State & set your primary goal — that is embedding a leadership culture

✔ List your deliverables — the systems, practices, mechanism, and activities

✔ Establish a budget

✔ Get information on the industry best practices

✔ Determine how your firm can benefit from the best practice

✔ Set up a strategic leadership development process for every level of the organization

✔ Establish metrics to measure the organization progress

✔ Get buy-in from the organizational leaders


Action Items

Focus your leadership development planning on 3 primary action items:

  1. List your organization’s current leadership development activities.
  2. Speak with important stakeholders within your company about which additional leadership development programming and activities they’d like to see.
  3. For benchmarking purposes, investigate other firms’ leadership development policies and programming, and look for good examples.

The 5 ongoing commitments of a strong leadership culture

  1. Define it
    Those involved in your leadership development activities should all agree on what leadership means within your organization.
  2. Teach it
    Communicate your firm’s “leadership point of view” to all leaders and employees. Make sure your leaders have the necessary skills to do their jobs.
  3. Practice it
    Provide meaningful opportunities for leaders at all levels to lead.
  4. Measure it
    Monitor, measure and analyze all your leadership activities and adjust them as required.  
  5. Model it
    Your leaders must demonstrate professional leadership and exemplary personal behaviour to give your leadership development program credibility with your employees. Of course, senior leaders should provide especially worthy role models for junior leaders.

The Benefits of having a strong leadership development program

✔ A continuous supply of competent and loyal leaders
✔ High organization reputation
✔ This will be your organization key attractive attribute for high-quality new hire

“Most people do want to grow – especially leaders. Sometimes they may need a little encouragement to combat complacency, but the best leaders are always learners.”



Author: Muhamad Aarif

A notorious book addict by night and an oil and gas executive by day. As Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." So, read, read, and read some more.

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