How to Be an Intentional Leader with Boosterthon Founder + CEO Chris Carneal
Note: This article was written by the team at InfoSurv, a leading survey company, and first appeared on their Insider blog.
About 15 years ago, Chris and Lyndie Carneal, noticed that most schools are under-funded, and decided to find a better way to raise funds for schools. Chris and Lyndie founded Boosterthon, a turn-key fundraising company for elementary schools with the corporate mission “We Strengthen Schools.” Boosterthon is a high-energy, character-based fun-run program that kids love and that allows schools to raise more money than they think possible. In addition to raising more money, Boosterthon relieves the school and parent volunteers from the burden of fundraising, freeing them to use their time to address other school needs.
Now with over 600 full- and part-time employees throughout the U.S., the company served approximately 1900 schools in 2017. Boosterthon is a true servant leader modeled company whose values are:
- Integrity – we do what’s right.
- Enthusiasm – we are positive and fun.
- Leadership – we develop intentional leaders.
- Results – we do excellent work.
- Community – we celebrate and care for people.
Intentional leadership is Boosterthon’s translation of servant leadership. According to Chris, when he founded the company, he first determined what kind of leader he wanted to be. “To lead others, you first have to lead yourself. To do that, I lead with intentionality, and I encourage and coach others to do that as well. From the first thing in the morning, and throughout the day, be self-aware and question what your leadership intentions are. Then act accordingly.”
According to Chris, intentional leadership shares many characteristics of servant leadership. However, it also has a different perspective. While servant leadership begins with serving others, Chris believes, “Intentional leaders start with themselves. The intentional leader allocates time and resources for self-leadership and for understanding their motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. Only then are they ready and able to lead others.”
Chris offers these tips for intentional leadership:
- Find the best talent.
- Affirm your employees and allow them to act.
- Model desired behavior well.
- Check-in often with employees.
- Champion individuals’ strengths.
- Challenge individuals’ growth.
Boosterthon, under Chris’s leadership, has even developed an app to systematize leaders’ abilities to live these values by communicating, coaching, and leading others.
Chris believes in servant leadership and studies many of the leading thinkers and writers on the topic. He also encourages others to implement servant leadership in their companies, as servant leadership often leads to business success. As Cheryl Bachelder points out in her book, Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others, financial results from servant leader led companies far outperform the ROI from companies using traditional leadership models. According to Chris, “Anyone can be a servant leader, but it has to start with you. What type of leader are you, what type of leader can you be. The size and success of your organization will flow from there.”