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Blog: The Common Characteristic of Elite LeadersTHE Most Important Characteristic of Elite Leaders

Just before Christmas in 2021, SalesLoft, an Atlanta-based technology sales engagement platform, announced it received a valuation of $2.3 billion and would receive a growth investment from Vista Equity Partners based on its 10-year achievements since its creation in 2011. Kyle Porter, one of the founders, helped lead the company to unprecedented service for its customers, including Meta, Lenovo, 3M, etc. That kind of explosion from a start-up is very rare, but it is what many others are trying to achieve. Financial achievement like that gets our attention, but as business executives know, it takes quite a bit of skill and effort to pull off what Porter and his team did. So, we ask, how did he do it? What characteristic of elite leaders helps them achieve such success? 

Porter publicly credited Bob Lewis and the Lewis Leadership team as an integral part of the SalesLoft team’s success, ultimately leading to business growth and financial prowess. Lewis leads a referral-only, Atlanta, GA-based leadership coaching and organizational consulting firm established sixteen years ago. Developed from his years of corporate experience, primarily as an executive with Bellsouth, coupled with training and tools from a previous firm, Lewis Leadership has provided formal guidance to hundreds of for-profit and faith-based non-profit organizations.

In a recent interview, I asked Lewis what the most common attribute you have seen in an elite business leader is. “They all lead through adherence to core principles,” he said. “Principles are the core truths by which every decision is made, and every action is taken. We help leaders identify and apply those principles throughout their organization. That is how the culture and shared values of the organization are formed. Kyle Porter is an executive that embodies a principle-centered leadership style.”

I got a kick out of Lewis’ response when I followed the question above with one about the difference between leaders with a strong faith principle and one without. “They are both imperfect! They have that in common,” he delivered with a very deliberate facial expression and tone. “Egos can affect both types of leaders and will cause them to make mistakes. The Christian leader’s differentiator is that their guiding principles, or core truths, are based on the teachings in the Christian Bible. It all starts with focusing on their own spiritual growth and transformation while modeling the way Jesus led by meeting people where they are with a servant’s heart.”

Do you lead with a focused principle-centered approach? Maybe, in the new year, an opportunity exists for you to re-evaluate the core driver behind your actions and implement a better culture. Borrow the confidence of elite executives that have done this before – and generated incredible results.

FaithSearch Corporate works with our clients to identify core attributes like principle-centeredness as part of the in-depth assessment, sourcing, and consulting process. Increasingly, leaders need to align accurately with the organization’s future.

For more information about the FaithSearch Corporate executive search process, reach out to me directly at or visit our website at

Part 2 of my interview with Bob Lewis will be released next week.


FaithSearch consultants bring more than 130 years of cumulative experience in faith-based executive search. If you’re looking for leaders who can make a difference for the kingdom throughout your organization – people who will positively impact your people and community – reach out to us. FaithSearch excels in securing leaders for nonprofit, higher education, ministries, and faith-driven organizations.

FaithSearch Corporate, led by Senior Vice President Bryan Fowler, is for businesses that seek strong leaders of faith. We focus on service-based for-profit and secular nonprofit organizations that promote a more inclusive environment for all employees and clients.

Contact the FaithSearch team today for more information.


Photo by Mikhail Nilov

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