The Mission Always Wins: Quit Appeasing Stakeholders, By Tod Bolsinger

The Mission Always Wins

Quit Appeasing Stakeholders

Practicing Change Series

by Tod Bolsinger
Illustrated by Mark Demel
Foreword by Marty Linsky

The Mission Always Wins
  • Length: 112 pages
  • Dimensions: 5 × 7 in
  • Published: August 13, 2024
  • Item Code: A0868
  • ISBN: 978-1-5140-0868-3

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It's time to further the mission. Not the boss, not the team, not the stakeholders—the mission.

Change requires tough decisions. But when the focus is blurred, how can we stay on track? We need clarity and agreement on the real task at hand—our genuine mission. In this fully illustrated volume in the Practicing Change Series, Tod Bolsinger guides us through naming competing values and realigning the driving purpose with missional clarity.

More adaptive leadership titles in the Practicing Change Series:

  • How Not to Waste a Crisis
  • Leading Through Resistance
  • Invest in Transformation

"The Practicing Change Series is compelling and immediately applicable. Each book weaves us through story, illustration, and discussion to contextualize paradigm-shifting frameworks for thinking. Your leadership, but more importantly the impact through your leadership, will experience a trajectory change through the words penned. Tod is a master storyteller, carefully threading points, principles, and processes with ease and nuance. Today's era of leadership calls for continual, on-the-go growth, and this series offers solutions to today's demands. For the leader whose time is limited and responsibilities toward self and service are complex, these books are for you."

Wendy Nolasco, general supervisor and vice president of US Mission for the Foursquare Church

"Here's a scary truth: regardless of where you work or what you do for a living, a crisis is coming. In fact multiple crises lie ahead for you because our world is now changing at an unprecedented rate, and those changes will render you and your organization obsolete if you can't find a way to continuously adapt to these coming crises. Leading through these changes will require leaders who aren't afraid to slay some sacred cows, challenge conventional wisdom, and even live outside their own leadership comfort zones. Adaptation will be the single most critical survival skill of the twenty-first century. Tod Bolsinger's four short books in the Practicing Change Series are the 'emergency preparedness drill' that you will be grateful to have read when the next 'tsunami' hits your organization. Read them now before the next wave hits your shore."

Richard Stearns, president emeritus of World Vision US and author of Lead Like It Matters to God

"The Practicing Change Series is like having Tod Bolsinger as a personal coach. He offers practical and powerful wisdom for anyone who is wrestling with the complex challenges of ministry leadership today."

Mike Bonem, consultant, coach, and author of The Art of Leading Change

"This series is required reading for anyone who wants to lead change. In the very best way, reading these books was like sitting down with a mentor who has done the hard work of leading change himself and wants to help us work through the mistakes, challenges, and dynamics we can't see by ourselves."

Michaela O'Donnell, executive director of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership and author of Life in Flux

"Leaders who know organizational change is needed but don't know how to go about it will find accessible, practical, and wise guidance in Tod Bolsinger's Practicing Change Series. I've found the concepts of adaptive leadership incredibly helpful in thinking through organizational challenges. Bolsinger helps us apply and practice these concepts in a way that will transform our organizations and ourselves as leaders."

Teri McDowell Ott, editor and publisher of the Presbyterian Outlook and author of Necessary Risks: Challenges Privileged People Need to Face

"The Practicing Change Series provides exactly the kind of help that busy leaders need in seeking to bring meaningful change to their organizations in the midst of the ongoing demands of day-to-day leadership. Concisely accessible. Imminently practical. Immediately actionable. And built on solid theory tested in the real world. My own life and leadership have been profoundly impacted by having Tod Bolsinger as a trusted guide in navigating the complexity of leading adaptive change."

Barry D. Jones, senior pastor of Irving Bible Church and author of Dwell: Life with God for the World

"This book is a punch in the gut, but a good kind of punch! Tod Bolsinger skillfully conveys the power of being clear about mission—or purpose as I like to say. And he brings to life how often a multitude of other things—our desire for approval, comfort, or safety—actually becomes our focus more than our so-called mission. You can't exercise leadership without passionate clarity around purpose. This book shows you why and how to bring that to life in your life."

Ed O'Malley, CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation and coauthor of When Everyone Leads

"Leadership is a lot like twirling a baton: it looks easy until you try it! If you are involved in leadership at any level I would highly recommend Tod Bolsinger's Practicing Change Series. It invites those of us in leadership to reflect on and rethink what it means to be a leader and to build a 'in what really makes a difference—transformation.'"

Daniel Dorsey, GHM, president of Glenmary Home Missioners


Foreword to the Practicing Change Series
Introduction: Disappointing Leadership
1. A Leadership Story: When a Good Day Goes from Bad to Better
2. Old Mindset: Think Win-Win
3. New Skillset Part 1: Create a “First Team”
4. New Skillset Part 2: Write an Eight-Word Mission Statement
5. New Skillset Part 3: Face the Reality of Casualties
6. Adaptive Reset: Name and Navigate Competing Values with Missional Clarity
7. The Story Continues: The Meeting Before the Meeting
Discussion Guide: Taking Your Team to the Balcony


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Tod Bolsinger

Tod Bolsinger is the founder and principal at AE Sloan Leadership Inc., the executive director of the DePree Center Church Leadership Institute, and associate professor of leadership formation at Fuller Seminary. He is the author of Canoeing the Mountains and Tempered Resilience. Tod and his wife, Beth, split their time between Pasadena, California, and Ketchum, Idaho.