Cory Bouck is the creator of the ‘Serve—Build—Inspire’ leadership development method.

“I have applied the elements of this model over the last twenty years in very different kinds of organizations: the military, academia, business, and in politics. I believe that Serve – Build – Inspire® is the model that will help us nurture the great leaders that are needed in the U.S. and in emerging markets to establish trust, sustain growth, and unleash the ambition in the people they touch.” – Cory Bouck

It starts with SERVE, but not with the classic form of servant leadership. It starts well before that:  followership begins when you are still an individual contributor. Then followership never ends - no matter how high up in the organization you go - because everybody has a boss. You do. Your boss does, too. Once you become a leader, you have to serve “down” with your leadership, but also continue to serve “up” with your followership. A lot of leaders forget to practice followership up, and that hurts their careers - both the speed and direction of their future roles. Great leadership is mastery of the paradoxically simultaneous roles of both leader and follower.

Then, great leaders BUILD. They build themselves, and they use the business to build their people. They build their own skills as a method of serving others. People will grow the fastest and achieve the most if they can earn their way into relationships with people who are smarter than they are—people who are the best in their category or industry or profession. Great builders develop their knowledge so they are capable of meaningful professional conversations with people two levels above them. The best leaders are also great teachers who recognize that most of the learning occurs on the job, not in a training event.

Finally, great leaders are able to INSPIRE, or “breathe life into,” their teammates. They know how to build motivation generators inside those they lead and by engaging them in a worthy cause. They enlist people from all directions on the organizational chart – and also from outside the organization – to accomplish great things. The best leaders don’t lie awake nights worrying about everyday challenges. They lie awake nights worrying about how they can get their teammates to lie awake worrying about the everyday challenges. This is the servant-led, self-improving team. By tapping into these deep reservoirs, inspirational leaders unleash extraordinary amounts of commitment and accomplishment. They prepare themselves and their teammates for those unexpected moments that define a career and a life. 

Ken Blanchard calls Serve—Build—Inspire a “true outline for success.” Great leaders deliver great results. To do that, they serve others through followership and leadership. They put forth tremendous effort to build their own skills and build the skills of others. And they dig down deep inside themselves and challenge their team to become truly great – to be ready for those moments that count. Leaders who model Serve—Build—Inspire live a life of impact…of worth and value to themselves, their family, and our world. 

For more information on Serve-Build-Inspire, read Cory’s book, The Lens of Leadership: Being the Leader Others WANT to Follow, or contact Cory for an introductory conversation.

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