It was painful and ugly, Lisa told us. She had left town to attend a school, presumably to train people to be worship leaders. What she discovered instead was an unhealthy, “I’m always right” form of egotistical authority-wielding. If anybody in the so-called “school” suggested an idea that didn’t line up perfectly with the ego-polishing done “on the stage,” there was hell to pay. And the favorite punch(ing) line: “You need to buy into the vision.”
“We’ve been spending some time rethinking our organization’s vision,” John said.
“Why is that?”
“Because we need a better way of communicating to the public and to our people the essence of why we’re here.”
May I offer a polite suggestion? (If not, I’ll be happy to offer a rude one.)
Before you start planning or pontificating on what you, somebody else, or the organization “needs,” don’t you think it would be a good idea to have a clear definition of “need?”
And before you merge onto the leadership freeway, teeming with thousands of commuters headed, they say, in the direction of their “vision,” don’t you think you need to have a grasp on what a vision actually is? [click to continue…]
I have a pretty high tolerance for clutter.
Until I don’t.
Can you relate?
If you can, you’re probably what the Myers-Briggs people call Perceiving. If you can’t, and the very idea of leaving stuff out in case you need it a month from now is deeply disturbing, you’re Judging (not judgmental – that’s a different animal).
The problem with being a clutterbug “P” like me is that the items on my schedule or the stuff on my desk start to accumulate until productivity-wise, it feels as though I’m in quicksand. And then I just want it all gone.
Not organized. Not streamlined. Not prioritized. O.U.T.
What’s true in life is true also in leadership. If you could imagine the whole sphere of your leadership activity – relationships, meetings, communication, conflict resolution, vision, more meetings, planning, etc. – as items on a desktop, what would your “desk” look like? And if you could compare your “desk” with the “desks” of others in your team or organization, how full is theirs? And not to stretch the metaphor too much, let me add that wishing for a bigger “desk” is probably not going to solve the problem.
In leadership as in life, things have a way of accumulating. But you don’t have to surrender to clutter creep. Here are seven ways to redirect your leadership T.R.A.F.F.I.C. and in the process free up more time to focus on those areas where you are indispensable: [click to continue…]
Quick question: What do Tiger Woods, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and Rafael Nadal all have in common?
Quick answer: Other than being in the top tier of their games, they all have a coach. Back in the day, it was often said, “Even Michael Jordan has a coach.”
How about you? Do you need a coach? Do you have one?
The short answers are yes, and yes. Everybody needs coaches and you have them, whether you realize it or not. You may not be utilizing your coaches to their maximum potential, but you’re most likely following somebody’s guidance. And in just a minute I’ll show you how to recognize who you turn to for coaching, at least on an informal level.
But first, a word from the Lone Ranger… [click to continue…]
All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar (Psalm 138:4-6, NKJ).
- If you’re feeling far from God, pride may be the issue.
Ever try one of those teachable moments with your kids that gets turned back on you? As in, Who’s teaching whom?
Twenty or so years ago, we were living in West Alabama and I took Cassie, about age 9, to the local shopping center (translation: Walmart). It was just before Easter. We didn’t find whatever it was we were looking for, so we left past the customer service counter.
“Daddy,” she whispered. “Look… those people are poor!”
“Those people” were a middle-aged married couple, standing at the customer service desk. They were very humbly dressed, to be sure. And they had all the individual parts to make their own Easter baskets – apparently not able to afford the prepackaged wonders that were for sale in the back.
Ah, Fatherhood! The opportunities we have to engage with our children at teachable moments to give them perspective, wisdom, and character. This was certainly one of them, and a donned my SuperDad cape. [click to continue…]
This is a true story. The names are changed.
Will was an insecure, painfully shy 11-year-old boy who came from a very poor family. But his sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Goodwin, saw something special in him – not just in the student he was at the time, but as the adult he could become. And through that year, she began to give Will a gift that no one to that point had ever dared offer – the gift of confidence.
She told him he was the smartest student she ever had. She said it to him personally and to the class.
She told him how much potential he had.
She took him to her home.
She even took him to the junior high school he would attend the next year to introduce Will to his teachers and tell them what a great student he was.
She told him that the only other student who showed his potential became the vice president of a well-known university.
True to Mrs. Goodwin’s prediction, Will became the first person in his family to go to college. Buoyed by her care and concern he went on to a successful academic career… as a… (you guessed it) vice president of a major university.
Mrs. Goodwin was more than a teacher. She was a leader. She saw in an awkward kid a destiny that nobody else saw. Put in leadership terms, she had a vision. Then she set about investing the time and service necessary to put Will on a path toward that vision.
And the tool she used: Influence. [click to continue…]
I’d rather write about just about anything than this. But Jesus said a few things about little ones and offenses and millstones, and I believe Him.
So can we talk about the secrets we keep? And the ones we shouldn’t?
Last week a group of Evangelical leaders joined together to release a statement in conjunction with the American Association of Christian Counselors and an organization called GRACE, which stands for “Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.”
Boz Tchividjian, the executive director of GRACE, said of the statement, “To my knowledge, this is the first major public statement by the evangelical world regarding the horrors of sexual abuse within the church and the dire need to begin addressing this in a manner that loves and serves those who have been so hurt. This is a historic moment in the life of the Church.”
My God, what took us so long? And I do mean “us.” [click to continue…]
I’m a huge believer that the quality of your life and leadership is the direct result of the quality of the questions you ask. Ask good questions, you get good answers and good direction. Ask lame questions, you get lame directions. Ask no questions at all, and you’ll soon be the blind bleeding the blind.
Here are seven daily questions any leader, parent, or achiever can ask quickly to zero in on the most effective use of your time and life. Answering any three daily can quickly shape your day and your influence. Aligning the answers to all seven daily can revolutionize it.
This little collection uses the classic “five W’s and an H – who what, when where, why and how – with an added little bonus – an “if” question. [click to continue…]
Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret (John 18:20).
Want to lead like Jesus?
Stop hiding your agenda. [click to continue…]
I didn’t know it would be the last time.
But then again, we both had lived long enough to know there are no guarantees when it comes to this sort of thing.
It was in Orlando, coming up on three years ago. Rick said he’d drive me back to the airport. We had been together during the Southern Baptist Convention. (It would be less-than-honest if I said we had been there FOR the Southern Baptist Convention). But we used the meeting there as an opportunity for a reunion of the Wolfepack. Rick was always the undisputed leader of that gang.
During a difficult time in my life, they had made sure to include me in the meeting. And it was as though we had never missed a beat. That’s the nature of the truest of friends.
Rick dropped me off at the airport to fly home. Just after walking into the terminal, I realized to my horror that I had left my phone in his car. I found a way to call it, and of course, he turned around and brought it back to me.
He took that picture of himself on it (above), and made it the wallpaper.
That was Rick.
And I kept it as my wallpaper for about a month after my wife started asking, “How long are you going to keep that?” [click to continue…]