Leadership

man and woman

World changers… Meh.

We’ve turned that into a badly-worn cliché. It seems as though anybody with a Selfie Stick and a cause can be labeled a world changer.

And if your goal is to be famous – to get your 15 minutes of viral – let me just remind you that these days that cuts both ways. Thanks to the wonders of always-on video, social media and instant rushes to judgment, you can go from completely unknown to globally hated within hours. Just ask Walt Palmer or Justine Sacco.

But what if I were to tell you that it’s possible to have global impact – the long-term kind, way past your local address and far past your own lifetime – without being a celebrity or even well-known? What if it were possible to shake the earth with potential without ever holding a microphone or appearing in the media? What if I told you that even when you felt swatted away like a gnat by the elites, you could still make history?

This is for those who are looking for a hero without a stage, press conference, or package to sell. This is for those who may have resigned themselves to obscurity at best, or chronic rejection at worst. This is for the ordinary guy with average intelligence or the woman who has a cause (or calling), but no one to recognize their genius or talent.

I want to introduce you to the first “power couple” in the New Testament. But let me hasten to say that these two never conducted a massive missionary campaign, started a church, wrote a book of the Bible, or even said anything that was written down for future generations. They appear to be walking wallflowers. And yet the most famous Christian of his day said something about them that he never said of anyone else. [click to continue…]

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Grandpaw and Archer

(My dad with Great-Grandchild #9, Archer Wiley)

 

I’ve been simmering on this for a while, and I figured since I’m away from home this Father’s Day, this would be a good day and a good way to honor my dad.  My daughter Carrie did this for me last year and reposted it again here.   I also wrote this about what I learned from my Mama last year.

Regardless of the many influences and teachers I’ve been blessed by over the years, none of them has taught or influenced me more than my dad. I have mentioned often that I was blessed to have a father who actually wanted to be a dad and influenced me to want to be one.  With 8 grandkids of my own now, I would say that desire has definitely passed through to another generation.

There are many practical things my dad taught me over the years, including how to drive a nail, play dominos, put on a jacket without bunching up your sleeve, ride a bicycle, and bathe the 36 different body parts that need cleaning up every day.

But what interests me most are the ideas that still speak to me today as principles.  These are transferrable to almost any endeavor. I could just as well title this, “Ten Things My Dad Would Teach to Pastors,” or “Ten Things My Dad Could Teach to School Teachers.”

So here, in no certain order, are ten lessons that still speak to me most every day.  I’m sure there are many more than this, but these are for starters.  See if they don’t speak to you on some level, while my daddy says, “Your welcome!” [click to continue…]

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Garth Brooks

Count me in.  I now know what all the fuss is about.

Went to hear Garth Brooks in concert over the weekend in Birmingham, Alabama.  Definitely a step outside of my routine, but anybody with experience I talked to about the upcoming event told me, “It’s one of the best, if not THE best, concert experiences you will ever experience.”

Yeah, that.

Six of us took a road trip with center-section, row 9 seats.  Close enough to see the sweat and be covered when the confetti dropped.  And as-advertised, it was an extraordinary experience.  In part I felt like an outsider looking in because I didn’t know every word of every song like most of the crowd apparently did.  But on this night it didn’t matter. I was part of something bigger than myself, regardless of my lack of experience.  Garth and his team saw to that.

Now before you “Older Brother” types write me off and resume your search for friends in HIGH places, hang with me.  I’ve had some time to think about what we saw and heard that night. I’ve looked at it through several different lenses.  A leadership lens.  An organization lens. Even a Church World lens. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned that can speak to your world, too. [click to continue…]

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Loneliness Concept - 3D

What did rejection look like to you on the school playground?  What about Junior High?  College?

What did rejection look like after you got married, or started a family?  What does it look like today in your workplace or your worship space?

Describing your experience with rejection is like describing an encounter with a snake.  Each experience is a little different, and the beast appears differently in every scene.  But in each case the result leaves a story to tell and an emotional experience to re-live or respond to.

I’ve had my own experiences, of course.  And I’ve seen it played out in countless lives…

Like the 59-year-old woman who said of her then-76-year-old mother, “Just once I wish I could hear my mother say I did something right.”

Or the only-child high school student who was rejected by his friends because he had a helicopter mother before the term was ever invented.  She meddled, and her son, whom she was trying to help and advance, was hated all the more.

Then there was the businessman who was rejected in the business world because he was part of a revolutionary approach to financial services, but was obnoxious about it.

I knew a pastor once who was rejected by the deacons in his church. After years of service, they felt that it was time for a change. So they gave him a deadline and asked him to find somewhere else to go. When he was unable to, they cornered him about resigning, and he turned the rejection tables back on them. Unbeknownst to them, he showed up one Sunday morning with has car packed, he got up at sermon time, explained that he’d been asked to resign, and walked out the door.  Ouch.

It may surprise you to know that some of the most memorable and powerful success stories in history are people whose lives arose from the ashes of rejection.  [click to continue…]

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Leading the Team Out of a Maze

Nobody talks about the life-changing leader who helped them raise their umbrella at the beach.  Influence happens only rarely in comfort zones or times of ease. Vision is not the starry-eyed product of Monday morning quarterbacks or couch potatoes. Adversity was made for leadership.  And leaders were made for adversity.

Seth Godin puts it this way: [click to continue…]

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The Last Piece

Thi lad I kne – a rathe larg, joll sor – onc joke, “I don’ hav a proble wit diet. I star on ever Monda!”

Th jok, o cours, hint a th proble.

Sor o lik th ki wh joine m scou troo afte bein a membe o tw other an wantin t star ove, workin o th ran o Tenderfoo.

Wh?

H like startin.  Bu no pressin o o finishin. [click to continue…]

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Weakness on Warning Road Sign.

Tense truth:  Since we all have points of glaring weakness, it is far more efficient to focus on our strengths and partner with others to address our weaknesses.  But sometimes we can’t escape the necessity of addressing those areas of epic incompetence. The key is discerning when to hunker down and deal with it, and when to hand it off to someone else.

+++++++

Need some encouragement?  I can help you with that.

Need to find the right words to express something?  I’m your guy.

Need me to remember a meeting or handle a detail I told you I would?  Sure hope I wrote it down.  With a reminder.  In more than one place.  Why?  Because I’m awful – I mean awful – at details.  Just ask some of my students about my “absent minded professor” moments.

Um, better still, don’t. [click to continue…]

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(Or Ministry…  Or Job…  Or Spiritual Gifts…  Or Life Mission… Or…)

Servant Leader

Years ago I had the privilege of visiting South Korea and preaching in two different evangelistic crusades.  One day our hosts took us to a beautiful national park – a very busy place, with lots of booths, a walkway up a small mountain, and a Buddhist temple.

As we were walking down the mountain and enjoying the beautiful scenery along the wide walkway, a young Korean woman approached me and asked if I was from America.

“Could I talk to you as we walk?” she asked.  “I’m learning to speak English and it helps to practice with someone who speaks it.”

She spoke English pretty well, albeit with a beautiful Asian accent.

“What do you do for a living?” she asked.

If you travel overseas or have any experience speaking to an ESL (English as a second language), it’s pretty common to try to simplify your vocabulary in order to be understood.  I was a pastor at the time, and was pretty sure she wouldn’t know what a pastor was. So I chose a different word…

“I am a minister,” I said.

Her whole countenance changed.  Suddenly she was in the presence of someone important!

“Oh!  You are a government official?”

Yes, I know I shouldn’t have… but I literally laughed out loud.  Then I tried to explain to her that in the U.S. we use the English word “minister” in a different way.

I think she was disappointed.  Anyway… [click to continue…]

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funny surprised girl  with glasses reading books

Well, the spring semester is well under way and the papers are already starting to fly.  Most of them get their well-deserved grades and get sent back with a little feedback.

Next!

But every once in a while a student will arrest me with a statement that is profound, beautifully written, or just plain funny.  And so over the years I have kept a file of favorite student quotations.

This edition is dedicated to some of the smiles or laugh-out-loud statements I have seen over the years.  Keep in mind that all of these were written for a grade, so humor carries a bit of risk when you’re supposed to be writing about serious things.  That didn’t stop this bunch.

So have a smile break on me and enjoy these seven… Click here for a smile or two… you’ll be glad you did.

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Businessman removing a wooden card reading Confident from the pocket

Chances are, you instinctively know how important and powerful a little encouragement can be.  Now there’s scientific evidence worth paying attention to that’ll back that up.

This was reported yesterday in Fast Company.  A recent study published in the Basic and Applied Social Psychology Journal suggests that the more detailed and specific an adviser expressed confidence in a student’s potential for success, the more likely that student would be to take action to pursue that success. [click to continue…]

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