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#26: Mike Sharrow — Mission vs. Margin

"Leadership should never be done alone."

Mike Sharrow is the CEO for The C12 Group, a for-profit operator of peer advisory groups serving Christian CEO and owners and their key players.

C12 was founded in 1992 by Buck Jacobs and has grown to serve over 42,000 members across the US, with new chapters in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Africa China, and Brazil. C12 serves CEOs, owners, and businesses from a million to five billion in gross revenue through full-day peer advisory groups, facilitated by full-time C12 chairman using proven best practices, performance-enhancing tools, and MBA-level curriculum geared around helping the serious-minded entrepreneur build a great business for a greater purpose. With a business as ministry mindset based upon Ephesians 2:10, Galatians 2:20, and 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Mike Sharrow started his career in a startup financial services small business in Lake Forest, Illinois, focused on pension plans and wealth management, then was part of a startup subsidiary of the Walgreens Company, focused on health plan strategies and pharmacy benefits. It was while working at Walgreens that Mike first began the odyssey of an integrated missiology. Reconciling the artificial but handicapping sacred versus secular mindset and pursuing a great commission and identity-based vocational mindset instead of a positional or contextual one. He embraced tension.

After Walgreens, Mike joined the staff of his local church, Grace Point Church, as the associate pastor for four years. It was in the latter time of pastoring that Mike launched a management consulting business, TQ Strategies, focused on serving the enterprise healthcare arena, served as a fractional strategy leader for Health by Design, and first joined a C12 Group as a member in 2010. In 2011, Mike became a C12 Chair in San Antonio, then partnered up to buy a combined Austin and San Antonio region, which grew to be the largest market for C12 from 2013 to 2016. In 2016, there was a succession event for the C12 Group, and Mike was selected to be the third CEO to lead the national organization, with the HQ operations eventually relocated from North Carolina to Texas.

The mission of the C12 Group is to equip Christian CEOs and owners to build great businesses for a greater purpose towards a vision of changing the world by advancing the gospel in the marketplace.

Connect with Mike Sharrow:

LinkedIn | Twitter | Connect

Selected Links

Recommended Books:

Quotes from the Interview

  • Haitian Leadership Proverb: “Behind every mountain is just more mountains.”

  • “As a leader, you’re always reacting to where the pain is, but that tactical reactionary leadership rarely scales your enterprise for the future so you need to have some sort of model that forces you to work on the thing that’s not broken today but will break you tomorrow so you stop having fire drills.”- Mike Sharrow

  • “The leader has got to lead with integrity that helps set the direction both corporately and personally.” - Mike Sharrow

  • “I cannot outsource my marriage, I cannot outsource my parenting.” - Mike Sharrow

  • “Not all opportunity is calling, not all growth is good growth.” -  Mike Sharrow

  • “Leadership should never be done alone, should always be done with peers, [because] who you run with matters.” - Mike Sharrow

People Mentioned

Show Notes

  •  [00:00:00] Introduction to Mike Sharrow

  •  [00:04:00] Mike growing up with RA

  •  [00:11:00] Important person in Mike’s life, Tony Barret and impact on life and faith

  •  [00:15:40] Mike reluctant to go to Texas then becomes a pastor

  •  [00:19:00] Mike realized God rescued him from disaster

  •  [00:25:40] Elevator pitch for C12

  •  [00:29:50] Mike scales C12

  •  [00:33:45] Lessons learned in scaling

  •  [00:40:50] Five-point alignment and balance wheel tools used at C12

  •  [00:43:30] Steve Kaplan impact on C12 tools

  •  [00:46:25] How to challenge ministry thinking beyond funding

  •  [00:52:20] Characteristics of a great CEO

  •  [00:59:00] How CEOs can improve on rest and retreat in 2024

  •  [01:05:00] Knowing when to grow and how to grow

  •  [01:08:00] What’s coming up at C12

  •  [01:12:32] Closing remarks and episode wrap-up

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The Tension Podcast
The Tension Podcast is for those of us who’ve read every single leadership book and article that gives us just only one way to do things — but we’re ready to hold opposing ideas at once. It’s an exploration of where curiosity and wonder can take us.