Bob Buford

Bob Buford

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Bob Buford (1939-2018) was a cable-TV pioneer, social entrepreneur, author, and venture philanthropist. He co-founded Leadership Network in 1984, became founding chairman in 1988 of what was initially called The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, and popularized the concept of Halftime through several books he authored.

Bob is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and of the Owner Managed Program at Harvard. He has played active roles in Young Presidents' Organization and World Presidents' Organization and serves on the board of the Hauser for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard. Center Business School.

In the fall of 1999, Bill Pollard of ServiceMaster, Nan Stone, former editor of the Harvard Business Review, and several other people agreed that it was vitally important to preserve the writings and management ideas of Peter Drucker for the future leaders of business and nonprofit organizations. In connection with Claremont Graduate University, The Drucker Institute was created. Buford served on the Board and in 2008 was appointed Chairman of its Board of Advisors.


  • Halftime: Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance (1997)
  • Game Plan (1999)
  • Stuck in Halftime: Reinvesting Your One and Only Life (2001)
  • Finishing Well: What People Who Really Live Do Differently! (2004)
  • Drucker & Me: What a Texas Entrepreneur Learned from the Father of Modern Management (2014)

Bob Buford - Latent to Active Energy





Leadership Network

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Leadership Network was co-founded in 1984 by Bob Buford. It is a nonprofit private foundation that helps innovative Christian leaders increase their impact. Leadership Network's main office is located in Dallas, Texas. It has also been less precisely described as a

  • non-profit church-growth consulting firm
  • research group and consultant
  • church-growth think tank
  • church consultant group


Of the estimated 350,000 churches in North America, only a relatively small number play a significant role in introducing innovations to the Church at large. Leadership Network's "DNA" is to work directly with those few pioneers who are testing and implementing the new ideas that will drive the Church in the future.

The investment in high capacity innovators is central to their strategy of diffusing the best information and ideas throughout the Church. Many churches that participate in the leadership communities become teachers themselves, taking what they have learned to a broader and larger audience. Leadership Network's book publishing initiatives, e-newsletter Advance, concept papers and events spread these best practices even further. As innovation spreads, the Church better fulfills its mission to serve, to love and to expand the Kingdom of God.

Leadership Network will continue to identify, explore and develop new areas of innovation and share the results with others.

About Leadership Communities

Leadership communities are small groups of innovators and thought leaders pursuing a common ministry outcome, sharing ideas, developing strategy and benchmarking measurements in the context of authentic relationships. Leadership Network discovers emerging ministry initiatives and carefully invites strategic leaders into these communities of peers who are seeking to improve their personal and organizational performance in the focused outcome areas.

The leadership community employs a process where peers work interactively through a series of gatherings, conference calls, web dialogues and planning tools to accomplish a significant leap in their personal and organizational performance. To these communities, Leadership Network brings a variety of resources and tools that address both the unique challenges of individual organizations as well as the common "mega challenges" of the community as a whole. The communities will also provide a framework for peer and coach accountability to assist participants in reaching their accelerated target outcomes.

Leadership Network’s purpose is to accelerate the impact of 100X leaders. These high-capacity leaders are like the hundredfold crop that comes from seed planted in good soil as Jesus described in Matthew 13:8.

  • We explore the “what’s next?” of what could be.
  • We create “aha!” environments for collaborative discovery.
  • We work with exceptional “positive deviants.”
  • We invest in the success of others through generous relationships.
  • We pursue big impact through measurable kingdom results.
  • We strive to model Jesus through all we do.

Believing that meaningful conversations and strategic connections can change the world, we seek to help leaders navigate the future by exploring new ideas and finding application for each unique context. Through collaborative meetings and processes, leaders map future possibilities and challenge one another to action that accelerates fruitfulness and effectiveness. We share the learnings and inspiration with others through our books, concept papers, research reports, e-newsletters, podcasts, videos, and online experiences. This in turn generates a ripple effect of new conversations and further influence.

From Christianity Today Apr. 9, 2014, by Ed Stetzer:

A Catalyst that Fostered a Movement: Thoughts on Bob Buford and Leadership Network

Catalyzing Change Agents

About 30 years ago, Buford pioneered Leadership Network and began to influence the influencers. He invested his time to train the trainers. He sought to create learning communities that might foster mutual learning among high capacity leaders. He did this early on with men like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and Robert Lewis.

Buford sought to find effective leaders who would teach others and then catalyze their skills. The end result was that leaders were pushed to a great capacity of leadership. Gifted pastors became effective leaders, resulting in stronger ministries. Their influence spread and, as a result, Buford's impact was multiplied. ...

Buford helped catalyze a movement—movements really—of churches that sought to have discerning leadership practices. Not surprisingly, they were effective and grew to the point that those movements and methods influenced thousands upon thousands of churches, probably including your own.

But that is what a catalyst does—in chemistry, a catalyst helps create a chemical reaction without being used up in the process. Then, it does it again. And, as you read the history of Buford's ministry endeavors, you see a roadmap through the new influencers of church and ministry, all of whom were made more effective by the catalyst named Bob Buford.

More Than Meetings

Buford did not just convene meetings. He funded the impact he desired. He did so selectively, however, only choosing investments that would create exponential returns. For example, he and Colorado billionaire Phil Anschutz financed the Burning Bush Fund. They took their catalyzing passion and combined it with strategic investment. Leaders like Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Larry Osborne, Greg Surratt, Neil Cole and others involved their churches and ministries.

I was brought in as a facilitator on the second wave of the project. Seeing the names of those who were invited in the first wave, I was struck by how many were almost unknowns at the time, but had since become national influencers.

Those were the "islands of strength" that Buford sought. He would find one and use his influence to build bridges to other "islands" so they could learn from one another. He made them better and helped them spread their story. ...

While the Church Growth Movement was declining, and the contemporary church was emerging, Buford became a key catalyst in remapping the church's influence in the third millennium—all the while remaining relatively unknown. ...

You may not have known Bob, but he probably influenced you and your church. More importantly though, he's chosen to be a catalyst for Kingdom impact—and I'm thankful for his passion and investment to that end.

Drucker's Impact on Leadership Network

Peter Drucker.

Before Bob Buford and Fred Smith Jr. co-founded Leadership Network in 1984, Buford consulted Drucker for advice. As a testimony to Drucker's profound influence on Leadership Network, Buford has observed, "Peter Drucker is the 'intellectual father' of most all that guides my approach to philanthropy. I've long since ceased trying to determine what thoughts are mine and which come from Peter."

In 1997, Atlantic Monthly magazine editor Jack Beatty interviewed Buford for two hours for a book titled, The World According to Peter Drucker. The entire volume contained only six words from Buford: "He's the brains, I'm the legs."

A Helping Hand for Leadership Network

Buford wanted to create a network of church leaders who could learn from each other and provide working models for other churches. So he naturally contacted his mentor for guidance. Drucker gave him three pieces of advice:

  • Build on the islands of health and strength" (that is, recruit leaders from successful churches as Leadership Network's first customers)
  • Work only with those who are receptive to what you are trying to do
  • Work only on things that will make a great deal of difference if you succeed.

These principles became the founding strategy for Leadership Network, but Drucker's influence was only beginning. His impact on Leadership Network has been so extraordinary that the organization "belongs partly to him," Buford says.

Leadership Network has provided a forum over the years for sharing Drucker's wisdom with churches. Drucker said, "The purpose of management for churches is not to make them more business-like, but to make them more church-like." In the 20 years Drucker has consulted with Leadership Network, the number of megachurches (over 2,000 attending) has grown tenfold.

  • Rick Warren e-newsletter, April 3, 2002: "Leadership Network bills itself as the advance scout for the emerging church."
  • Jim Collins wrote the foreword in Michael Ray's The Highest Goal (2004) where Ray tells readers to "practice emptying your mind", "experience not thinking" and "meditate regularly."  Other quotes in the book include those of Eastern religion gurus such as Ram Dass, Jiddu Krishmamurti and Swami Shantananda.
  • Ken Blanchard credits Buford for introducing him to the writings of Henri Nouwen
  • Ken Blanchard wrote the foreword in Finishing Well (2004): "Bob Buford thinks Peter [Drucker] is the wisest man alive."
  • Bob Buford endorsed the contemplative book The Papa Prayer (2006) by Larry Crabb together with Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, Brennan Manning, John Ortberg and Dallas Willard

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