Recently, I had the pleasure of connecting with Brad Lomenick. He’s the Grand Poobah, as his podcast partner Ken Coleman calls him, of the Catalyst Leadership Conference.
Brad’s work has included 5 years at [email protected] Magazine and management consulting with Cornerstone Group. He’s also ridden horses for a living in Colorado. This man has a wide berth of experience. He’s also the author of the soon to be released book The Catalyst Leader.
I hope you’re ready to go deep. Brad really brought it during this interview.
Q1: Brad, could you please share a little about the work Catalyst does and your role with the company?
BL: Catalyst gathers Christian leaders to inspire and equip them to truly be Catalysts in their communities. My role is to lead the organization and provide strategy, vision, brand development, and programming oversight.
Q2: My team has attended two Catalyst events. They’ve been great. It seems like a great place to work. What pleases you most in the work you’ve done with Catalyst?
BL: That we’ve been a part of the story that God is unfolding for this generation. It’s very exciting to see the way young Christian leaders are making a difference, working together, and intent on leading well and leading now. The church is strong, and God’s purposes for this generation are advancing. We’re just incredibly grateful at Catalyst to be a small part of that story that continues to unfold. Also, our team really enjoys working together, both our full time staff as well as the larger circle of folks who help us put on Catalyst events throughout the year. We really do have fun together and enjoy accomplishing the goals we’ve set out to get done.
Q3: How did you get started in leadership?
BL: Early in life. I’ve always been drawn to leadership, whether student council or leadership development. Even in grade school I felt compelled and called towards leadership and trying to be out in front.
Q4: Who has had a great influence on your life? What was so special about this person that their influence has stuck with you?
BL: Bob Foster Sr. He was a man of integrity and lived it out in his 70’s when I was around him. He mentored me for several years while I worked at Lost Valley Ranch.
Q5: Creative thinking can be stifled in many organizations. How do you help promote creative thinking at Catalyst?
BL: We try to look for creativity everywhere. And make sure that everyone feels comfortable and released to bring creativity to the forefront every day. Also realizing that there are no bad ideas. And many times the most creative ideas start out as just average ideas that are built upon.
Q6: Great perspective on the start of creative ideas. You said a lot of times they start out as average ideas. How do you decide which average ideas should be built upon?
BL: Average ideas become great ideas because of the add on principle. You have to give folks the opportunity to “yes, and” your idea, not “no, but” your idea. Most of our best creative moments at Catalyst events over the years have been average ideas that became great because we allowed them to be baked and fleshed out. Give an idea a bit of time to soak in as well. For example, if you come out of a meeting with 10 average ideas, within a week maybe one of those will turn into something great.
Q7: Young leaders face a myriad of challenges, especially as they’re first getting established. What do you think is the biggest challenge they face?
BL: For many a major challenge is discovering and embracing their calling. Another challenge is to make sure there is a strong sense of humility they are leading from and their internal life is always synced up with their external life.
Q8: I can relate to the difficulty of discovering calling. It seems so elusive at times. How would you encourage someone to discover and embrace their calling?
BL: Figure out what you are good at, what you love to do, and what you have the greatest passion for. Calling doesn’t have to be mysterious. Many times we make calling way more complicated and mysterious than I believe it really is. Learn from those who know you best, take tests, look backwards as well as forwards, and pray. Calling in essence is the place where our greatest strengths and deepest passions intersect. That intersection can help anyone discover what their true calling is.
Q9: What is one characteristic you think every leader should possess? How would someone go about building this characteristic?
BL: It’s hard to narrow it down to one. In the upcoming book The Catalyst Leader, we identify 8 essentials necessary for every leader to possess. But I would say integrity and authenticity are crucial. Especially in today’s culture of real time news and social media where it’s much harder to “hide” than ever before. Because of the “on time” and real time culture we live in, it’s more important than ever to be leaders of integrity and authenticity, and being who we say we are and doing what we say we’ll do.
Q10: I’d like to expand on this answer by asking 2 questions. First, would you share what your new book is about and how it will help leaders? Second, if someone has lacked integrity and authenticity in the past, is there hope for them? What should they do to build integrity into their lives or gain authenticity?
BL: On the first question- my new book is entitled The Catalyst Leader and is a roadmap for leaders that includes 8 Key Essentials for becoming a change maker, thus becoming a true Catalyst and true influencer in today’s leadership landscape. It’s based on my experience in leading Catalyst and the leadership lessons I’ve learned over the past 10 years from our Catalyst community. It is practical and will provide application driven content for leaders to lead well, and lead now.
Regarding integrity and authenticity- it’s never too late to start building those into your life, regardless of your past. You have to start with reality and understand who you truly are- an honest assessment. That will help set the stage. Integrity also means having full disclosure in your life in all areas. So surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable and make sure you are staying true to your word. A circle of accountability is crucial.
Q11: You’ve been able to connect with a wide range of leaders. From Jim Collins to Dave Ramsey to Mark Burnett to many others. How could a young leader begin to connect with those that are more advanced in leadership?
BL: Well, many times it’s difficult because it’s only a one way relationship- a young leader just seeking value and connections and info and advice from that person, and giving nothing in return. I would suggest starting with how can you add value or provide significant help to folks you are wanting to connect with, not just thinking about how they can help you. Or helping their organization. Also, if you have a request from someone more advanced in leadership, be direct and very clear in what you are asking for, and when they tell you no, don’t be offended or frustrated, just know that they’re really busy and have lots of folks asking for their time or help on things.
Q12: Besides Catalyst, can you share a couple of resources would you would recommend to a young leader seeking to increase his leadership skills?
BL: Andy Stanley Leadership podcast, Q Conference, Relevant Magazine, Fast Company magazine, Hillsong Conference, TED.
Q13: Final question. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the deal. What does Brad Lomenick eat for breakfast?
BL: Coffee. And an occasional chick-fil-a chicken biscuit!
I’d like to once again thank Brad Lomenick for taking the time out of his day for this interview. I hope his answers were as insightful to you as they were to me.
Question: What was your biggest takeaway from Brad’s interview? Please share what you learned in the comment section below.
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