Book Review: Along Came a Leader

As a leader, what intentional actions are you taking to become a better version of you and an improved version of your organization?  How is your attitude?  Your stress level?  With whom are you surrounding yourself?  These questions and many, many more are discussed by Kelly Croy in his book, “Along Came a Leader: A Guide to Personal and Professional Leadership.”



While reading this book, I made notes of takeaways that I wanted to capture.  That list became quite lengthy and is included below.

  • Leadership can be taught.
  • Leadership happens long before the title is given.
  • Step up & do the work.  Take action.
  • Attitude is a choice.
  • Look to progress, not perfection.
  • Stress has a gravitational pull on you that may take escape velocity to overcome.
  • People should be measured on their best day, not their worst.
  • Wisdom is a journey and a willingness to learn.
  • Surround yourself with great people like a Board of Directors.
  • Continuously add new experiences to your life.
  • Recognize leadership.
  • Ask and seek opportunities and be ready to sacrifice.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Know your kryptonite.
  • Tenacity = Desire + Action + Repetition
  • You’re not really a leader unless you are facing a problem.
  • Respond, don’t react to the problems or mistakes that will come.
  • Leaders must make a contribution, an achievement.
  • Learn to say no and focus on what matters.
  • Ask, “What’s next?” and recognize if it’s time for that.
  • Training (focused on a result) > Trying (allows an option to exit)
  • Accountability partners are already in your life.
  • Leaders say, “Follow me,” through their words, actions, and decisions.
  • Be visible, lead from the front, and be eager to do all tasks.
  • Communication includes self-talk.  Make it positive.
  • Create a powerful impression.
  • Say these more often: (1) Yes! (2) I make mistakes, too! (3) You can accomplish anything! (4) How can I help you? (5) Thank you! (6) You matter!
  • Make communication personal.
  • Communicate the vision.
  • To lead, see a better version of you and an improved version of your organization.
  • Value the contributions of others.
  • Establish a grand vision with long-term impact.
  • Connect people to the vision.
  • Commit to educating others about leadership, providing others with leadership mentors, and encouraging others to lead.
  • Dream – Vision – Mission – Goals – To Do
  • Authenticity is responsibility and consistency of character.
  • Always speak up, choose right, especially when it’s hard.
  • Seek to become the best version of you.
  • Make things right when you make a mistake.

Two additional takeaways describe practices I utilize today and recommend to others:

  • Journal decision-making processes, to-do lists, personal accomplishments, physical achievements, goals, and resolutions.

I traded in piles of sticky notes and scraps of paper for a Moleskine journal some time ago and haven’t looked back.  I work to organize and minimize while capturing thoughts, reflections, and ideas in my journal.  More information about Kelly’s notebook can be found on his website:


  • Send hand-written letters – thank you cards, notes of congratulations, and messages of appreciation.

I send hand-written notes to people I lead and others I wish to acknowledge.   I keep a stack of note cards with me at all times so I am ready to celebrate, congratulate, mention, or thank without hesitation.


A Framework for Vision-Driven Instruction and Leadership includes a compilation of Leadership Practice Considerations, aligned to each of the vision premises under the six articles of the Visioning document.  Two such considerations are:

How do I establish and grow technology leaders, … ?

How do I evolve as a leader?

Methods, tips, and strategies to respond to the call of each of these considerations can be associated with the specifics within Kelly’s Six Leadership Commitments.


I encourage you to read this book, reflect on its message, and take action to awaken the leader within you.

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