I’ve Got Your Back puts into focus the leading well and following well concepts I have tried to live and to mentor in others. Not having given as much thought and prayer to the subject, the ideas were vague and less defined for me. James Galvin succeeded in giving them a clarity and logical format that had me saying, “So that’s why I suffered under that boss,” and “Oops, I didn’t follow well that time.”I worked for a Fortune 500 company, where I led several large, complex teams to a successful end. I was a member of two successful teams that had national significance. As I looked back to those experiences while reading I’ve Got Your Back, I could see how the principles of the book were effective. I also realized that the teams could have been even more effective if we had known what we were doing.
James Galvin attempted to write the book for those who have one of two learning styles: by analogy (fiction) and by facts (nonfiction). Successfully writing in both genres is extremely difficult. I have yet to see an author write both well in the same book. Mr. Galvin is no exception. The first part of the book is a well-written parable. The balance between dialog and action is good. The story is long enough to get in enough detail without dragging. (As a side note: Mr. Galvin amused me by having Jack offer a different snack for each meeting with the team. He became quite inventive.)
The second section of I’ve Got Your Back is nonfiction and less well written. The section title is appropriate (A Concise Theology of leadership and Followership) because it reads more like an executive summary to a longer report or a long outline. It contains the same basic information as the parable, but gives few modern examples showing the way the principles work. For that, a reader must return to the parable. However, section two provides clear descriptions of the five follower styles and suggests ways to relate to them.
I was disappointed, however, when I reached the end of section two and I found that Mr. Galvin had failed to use the classic biblical account of a successful leader/follower. Luke recorded the event in Luke 7:3-10. A Roman centurion, whose slave was dying, sent the local synagogue leaders to ask Jesus to heal the slave. Before Jesus reached the centurion’s home, the centurion sent Jesus this message: “Lord,
do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.
Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But
say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Jesus’ response was striking. He praised a Roman military commander, one who was occupying Israel. This is the way Luke recorded it: When Jesus heard these things,
he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such
faith.” (ESV) The centurion’s message implied that he understood Jesus’ relationship to God the Father because of his own earthly leader/follower relationship. This account is one of the few recorded places where Jesus commended the way in which someone approached Him. When you read I’ve Got Your Back, you will understand just what the centurion meant.