Determination – One step closer to Character-based Leadership

Determination – One step closer to Character-based Leadership


“Determination is required to cultivate a courageous character core in a world filled with challenges and sometimes even chaos, corruption, unethical behavior, and dubious values.” ​
~ Danita Bye


​I grew up in an 800-square-foot, tar-papered homestead shack with no running water. My dad, I call him “Super Dad,” worked three jobs in order to feed the family and to fuel his dream of owning a cattle ranch. When I ask my mom about those days, she says, “All I can remember is that I was tired all the time.”

I suppose you could say I grew up in Little-House-on-the-Prairie conditions. A lack of running water, the football-field-long trek to haul the water back for cooking, and the nightly snow blowing under the door in the winter are just some of my childhood memories. But, my Finnish ancestry blessed me with a determination to accept my circumstances, but also to accept the challenges that be okay with all of that – the sheer challenge of it seemed to make every meal cooked with that hard-to-get spring water all the more tasty, And it was really tasty the night I had to dodge an angry bull to bring the cooking water home. My parent’s hard work brought Dad’s dream to fruition.The TTT Ranch still exists today, and offers welcomes guests from around the world to experience natural beauty.

Now I know that physically, things are much better today for most of us. Thank goodness! However, I also know emerging leaders are facing very different, but equally daunting challenges. For example, many of them feel afraid of taking risks, often needing guidance to understand true success vs. superficial self-esteem. Others are caught up in the digital world and need to be more aware of real-world obligations. On the other hand, seasoned leaders wonder if the younger leaders have what it takes to contribute to and eventually take over our business growth strategies.

Character-based Leadership and Dakota Way Determination

​The acronym D.A.K.O.T.A. reminds us of the key qualities required for embracing Dakota Leadership. The “D” represents one of my favorite strategies: DETERMINATION. It is the first action step in cultivating a courageous core. For sustained character-based leadership guided by a godly passion, it is vital to cultivate a courageous core. Since we live in a world filled with chaos, corruption, uncertainty, unethical behavior, and dubious values, those with a well developed, character-based leadership approach will be world changers!

Here are some tips to help develop determination in Next Gen Leaders:


This verse from Philippians 4:13 (ESV) always encourages me. It invites us to go deeper, go broader, and go upwards. 
 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”​

  • Think about a time you tackled a task that was extremely difficult. What kept you moving forward, even though it was incredibly demanding?  Find a time to share that experience with someone you are mentoring
  • Ask yourself what skills, ideas, and mindset you’ve developed over the years that might help Next Gen leaders deal with today’s challenges. As you work together, don’t hesitate to ask the young leaders on your team if they think these skills are relevant for their current challenges.
  • Schedule time for personal reflection after you discuss the concepts below with emerging leaders:

Go Deeper, within yourself, to see what else you have to bring to a situation.
Go Broader, beyond yourself, to see who else might help or provide encouragement.
Go Upwards, to the God of the Universe, to gain wisdom, insight, and discernment.

The Dakota Way is a creative catalyst to guide future leaders in their quest to cultivate a character that can tackle and not cower to adversity.

Dakota Way Leadership question: What are you doing to ensure that the choices you make to promote business growth and succession strategies are choices that will motivate the younger people in your organization?

Dakota Way Leadership lesson: Nurture determination in others by encouraging them to go broader, go deeper, and go upwards.

© Copyright Danita Bye, 2016

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