3 Takeaways from My Time with David Green (Hobby Lobby)

(coach) shawn lovejoy blog May 18, 2022

Last year, I had the privilege of attending an event with my friend, Bill High (The Signatry). Bill’s extensive work with Hobby Lobby allowed me to connect with and learn directly from David Green, the Founder.

Bill has worked with David for years and served as a co-author of David’s book (which can be found in every Hobby Lobby store), Giving It All Away & Getting It All Back Again.

David is a kind, generous human being and leader. I am honored to call him a new friend. The time with him stretched me as a husband, a father, a CEO, and a coach. As you can imagine, I took a lot of notes!

Today I wanted to expound on a few of the things David said that I thought may be encouraging and challenging to you.


“If we’re not careful, we can spend our lives building things that just don’t matter.”

If you’ve watched the trajectory of Hobby Lobby, you’ve witnessed a company that has been built on values of faith, incredible treatment of its people, and generosity of its resources.

Hearing this quote put those visible results into perspective for me. David and his team have stayed focused on building something that matters today and will leave a legacy for generations to come.

As leaders, we face things every day that serve as time vacuums to our calendar based on the urgency of things that simply may not be that important. In my book Measuring Success, I did my best to give you a bullseye of what matters most:

Ultimate success is being loved and respected by those you go home to. Leader, what you are building out in this world matters, but who you are building at home matters more. Lead and live in a way that nurtures the health of those relationships closest to you.


“As the CEO, you can’t allow yourself to be the elephant in the room.”

Statements like this are always a bit jarring as a leader, but they’re the statements leaders need to hear. David models this type of leadership on his team. Frankly, I believe it’s part of what’s allowed Hobby Lobby to scale exponentially over the years. There’s never a moment where honesty cannot be practiced with David.

What’s the first step in creating an honest culture on your team?

A healthy leader who can handle it!

That is, you are the first step.

As the leader goes, so goes the organization. If you are the leader, the bad news is that you are the lid.

The good news?

You are the lid!

Want to lead yourself and your organization to the next level?

Be prepared to spend an inordinate amount of time working on yourself first. If you want to build a healthier, more honest team.. .lead the way by getting healthier yourself. You get healthy, the entire team gets healthy.

You get better, the entire team gets better.


“Your values can’t just be in your heart or your head. They must be documented and communicated.”

I work with leaders, CEOs, and non-profit teams across the country. Over my 20+ years of coaching, I am still shocked at the amount of high level organizations who do not have a set of Core Values. David’s statement and Hobby Lobby’s example reminded me of not only the vitality of core values, but of the necessity to have them written down and put into a system of accountability.

See, most of your team’s core values are already within your team. If not there, Leader, they’re within your head and heart.

They are the things that you already value, you just have to get them out of your heads and down on paper. Before you know it, you have your core values nailed down.

I talk more about the process I took my own team through to discovering core values in my book Be Mean About The Vision, but the real power is found through a system of “picking” your core values we employ at CourageToLead that is part of our larger coaching process.