GLN conversation – Faith matters
Earlier this year I was approached to become a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK (GLN) and having accepted the appointment I had a “conversation by email” where we explored my background and some leadership related topics. The discussion that ensued is reproduced here in an unedited format. (Note that the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) is the flagship conference for the GLN which is held in Chicago in August each year. This includes talks from Leaders around the world and is rebroadcast around the UK later in the year.)
It’s evident from some of your answers that you’re a man of faith. How does that fit in with your work, if at all?
I came to faith at the age of 23, after graduating from Loughborough University. I’ll leave the details of that part of my story for another time, however, since that time my faith has been an important part of my life. I’ve found myself serving on the leadership teams of churches and other ministries that I’ve been involved with, and I have thoroughly enjoyed leading small bible study groups for much of the time since becoming a Christian.
Over the last 20 years, in particular, I’ve found that God has been leading me into new and unexpected areas, and I’ve felt His hand at work on the course and direction of my professional life. When I had the opportunity to start my own business nearly 20 years ago it was a move that was prayerfully inspired through my daily devotional time, supported wholeheartedly by my family, and confirmed through my relationships with several close Christian friends.
This led me to a career where I was involved mainly in a commission-only sales role selling a high ticket, highly secure online database product, and delivering all of the training to the customers who bought that product. Over time I found the training role was far more fulfilling for me than the sales role, and in fact, one of the attractions to making a sale was found in the opportunity to deliver some more training.
Over the years I had become increasingly interested in leadership. I had discovered many of the books written by a leadership expert named John C Maxwell, and I found the Global Leadership Summit. I became an avid reader of Johns books, attended many of the GLS events held at a venue near me in Stafford, England and followed up with reading books published by these speakers. Through this, I came to discover what I came to describe as “Kingdom Principles”. By this, I mean that many of the leadership principles that I had discovered in business that worked, were also being written about and spoken about by John Maxwell and other speakers at the GLS such as Jim Collins, Andy Stanley, Marcus Buckingham, Chris McChesney, Travis Bradbury and Patrick Lencioni. I really resonated with the sentiment that I heard Ken Blanchard say after he had become a Christian later in his life, where he explained that he found that every leadership principle he had discovered in his career being was displayed in and through the life of Jesus Christ.
This, in turn, led me to start training and coaching some local church leaders, many of whom shared that although they had received years of theological training, they hadn’t had even a single hour of leadership training. That’s when I initially started delivering leadership training, based on my experiences in leadership positions at work and in ministry, reinforced with the great teaching I was learning from John through his books and the “Million Leaders Mandate”, and the GLS events and speakers.
It was some years later that I felt that God was telling me that I would be embarking on a new career “next year”, although at that time I had no clue what that new career would be. I remember discussing this challenge with family and close friends and with the people in my study group and wondering what my new career would be. Around the same time, several other things happened around me which all came together to lead me into the new direction that my career has now taken.
The first was taking part in a program called Chazown from Life.Church. Chazown is a Hebrew word for vision, and the program was intended for the participants to discover what God has in mind for their lives. A key part of this program was the exercise that looks back over your life story. Rather as Steve Jobs once said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Through this program, I started to understand where the dots were pointing, and that was soon to be confirmed.
I have been involved with Life.Church, based in Oklahoma, for around 8 years, and for most of that time, I have been a volunteer with the Church Online team. In Church Online we share the message that is used at the weekend in all of the Life.Church campuses, and combine that with the other aspects of a usual church service with a Church Online pastor leading the service and a worship band playing worship music that has all the relevant copyright licences in place. This makes a one-hour service that is repeated over 80 times every week and attracts over a quarter of a million unique visitors each week. Every service has a chat room with a team of four or five hosts who chat with our visitors and moderate the content of the chat room.
After signing up initially as a host, my involvement led me to be invited to become a Host Team Leader, then I was appointed as one of the first Community Leaders and subsequently as the first Host Team Coach. We now have four Coaches, who together with the two Host Team Pastors provide leadership to the entire team of over 350 hosts from some 40 countries around the world. It was at the time I was contemplating this recent career move that I was invited to become a Host Team Coach. (It wasn’t until several months later that I shared with the Life.Church team that I had been considering my new career move.)
Finally, as I was contemplating the new career challenge, I came across the opportunity to join the John Maxwell Team (JMT). This marked the turning point, and I turned all of my attention and focus onto the JMT training, which led to becoming a Certified John Maxwell Team Speaker, Coach and Trainer at the International Maxwell Certification event in Orlando, Florida. This, in turn, has led to what is now my current career under the brand of “Leadership for Business”, bringing leadership development mainly to Chief Executives and their Senior Management Teams in Business, in the Social Sector and in Education through speaking, coaching and training.
I am still involved with Life.Church as a Host Team Coach, and earlier this year I was appointed as a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK, both unpaid positions, which also allows me to engage with Leadership Development and Training for Christians in a largely church context.
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a leadership specialist delivering Leadership for Business Achievement through Speaking, Training and Coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Leadership for Business also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.