Are you a serving, or a self-serving, leader?

Ken Blanchard was a featured speaker during commencement ceremonies for the college of business at Grand Canyon University yesterday. In his remarks Dr. Blanchard encouraged the aspiring leaders to remember that leadership is not about you—it is about others, and that true success in life is not about what you get, but what you give.

To illustrate his point, Blanchard shared one of his favorite stories by John Ortberg, a Presbyterian minister and best-selling author from Menlo Park, California.

Blanchard told how Ortberg used to play Monopoly with his grandmother every time she would visit. His grandmother was a good player and always won the game in short order.

One summer, Ortberg decided to change that. He spent the entire summer playing Monopoly with a friend until he understood the purpose of the game—the acquisition of property—and how to win consistently. That fall, when his grandmother visited, the young Ortberg was ready. Using everything he had learned over the summer, he soon acquired every valuable property including Boardwalk and Park Place. Beaming triumphantly, the young boy looked over the board and all he had accomplished. After congratulating him on his win, his grandmother then shared with John the one lesson which made the experience stand out in his mind.

Ortberg’s grandmother said, “John, now that you have learned how to play the game, there is one more thing you need to learn. At the end of the game, it all goes back into the box.”

Life is not about what you get, Blanchard explained. Life is about what you give. If your self-worth is tied up in the acquisition of status and power, you are in trouble warned Blanchard, because in the end, it all goes back into the box.

To read more about John Ortberg and how his experience with his grandmother changed his life, check out Ortberg’s book, When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box. To learn more about Grand Canyon University and their focus on creating responsible leaders for the business world, visit

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