Leadership Development for Dummies

By | Business, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Vision | 7 Comments

Leadership development begins with an understanding that the success of any organization depends greatly on the leader’s willingness to delegate responsibility to others in the organization. The more a leader tries to control, the less likely others will be to help him or her accomplish the vision. Without people willing to follow a leader, there is no leadership development.

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Understanding The Power of Caged Momentum

By | Business, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Innovation, Leadership, Vision | 9 Comments

I recently posted an important leadership and life principle I have learned the hard way. When you get a brilliant idea, before you quickly rush to complete it, sleep on it. You can read that post HERE. I want to continue that thought process with another principle that builds from that one. Let me illustrate it with a practical example:

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10 Ways To Create More Margin in Your Time

By | Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership, Life Plan, Vision | 9 Comments

How do you fit more into an already busy schedule? I agree. Great question. If we are going to “do more” in 2009 we have to find a place to put it. Here are a few tips to help create more margin of time in your life. As I told Freddy T, this post is more theory-based. Each of these represents areas I need to improve upon in my life.

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6 Steps to Finishing Well in Life and Leadership

By | Encouragement, Leadership, Life Plan, Vision | 8 Comments

Everyone wants to be successful in life, but the truth is many people never really achieve what they set out to accomplish. Many of us fall short of obtaining our dreams and goals. This is true in life and leadership.

After years of observing a lackluster success rate among some of the people to whom I minister and to leaders I coach, I began to examine why some people never seem to succeed.

What is it which keeps people from being achieving what they claim to want most in life?

Are there some steps which can be taken to enhance our chances of winning in this “game” of life?

If I am asked to coach someone to be a winner, these are some of the steps I will start.

Here are six steps I suggest to win in life and leadership:

Step One: Get in the right race.

Many people never achieve the success they wanted, because they entered the wrong competition. They are aiming for the wrong targets. We should ask ourselves “where do I want to go in life and what do I eventually want to accomplish?” Until we know how we want our life to end we will never know the steps to take to succeed. This is true for leaders. If you don’t have a vision for your leadership – where you’re leading people – you’re failing before you get started. Of course, I believe in life this starts with a decision to allow Christ to set your path. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

Step Two: Discipline for the race.

Winning happens over time – not in an instant. The greatest athletes work hours outside the game in order to perhaps win even a single game. Victory doesn’t often happen without hard, painful work to get there. It takes diligence and consistency to be a winner. Many times victory was just around the corner, but the people gave up too soon. The best leaders I know also learn their individual skills and continue to develop them and they surround themselves with people who complement them – and cover for them in their weaknesses.

Step Three: Develop character first.

People who truly win in life spend a great amount of time on the development of themselves and others around them. Most of the successful business people and church leaders I know set aside time each week for personal development. They are frequently in the gym, reading a good book, and attending church on Sunday. They develop their mind, body and spirit. They recognize that they must be relationally, physically and spiritually healthy if they want to have success in life.

Step Four: Accept Failure

Most winners are built through brokenness. The greatest leaders have failed many times. Before inventing the light bulb, Thomas Edison failed a thousand times. Babe Ruth had 714 home runs and 1,330 strikeouts. Abraham Lincoln was said to have failed so many times, in business, in his love life, in politics but finally became one of the greatest President of the United States. People who finish well in life and leadership allow failure to be their friend not their enemy.

Step Five: Ignore unnecessary distractions.

Winners don’t give up when obstacles get in the way of achieving their goals. They find a way to work around them. They don’t waste a lot of time and energy on the wrong things. They build upon the strength of others. Life is full of disappointments and set backs, but those who finish well learn to keep pushing forward – even through the darkest days.

Step Six: Stay in the race.

If a person wants to win he or she has to stay in the race. One cannot be a quitter and still win. Many times the winner is the one with the most heart. I know some leaders who need this encouragement – and, they will need it many times in their career as a leader. Often we see the underdog team come from behind to win simply because they have more passion. If you want to be a winner – if you want to finish well – stay in the game!

Choose today to be a winner! Finish well! Don’t let your “hope to do’s” become your “wish you had’s”.

7 Steps to Achieve Your Dreams

By | Change, Christians, Church Planting, Encouragement, Faith, Fear, Innovation, Leadership, Life Plan, Vision | 18 Comments

I love and encourage dreaming, because I think it’s healthy emotionally and the process helps us accomplish great things personally and for God. We are told we serve a big, creative God, whose thoughts will always be bigger and better than ours, so dreaming should be natural to believers. Dreaming stretches the vision of churches and organizations, it fuels creativity, and many great opportunities develop first as a dream.

The reality is that more people have dreams than attain them. Perhaps you have dreams you have yet to accomplish. I certainly do. One reason dreams never come true is that we don’t have a system in place to work towards them. I love to be an encourager for people with great dreams, so with that in mind, here are some steps to help you move towards reaching your dreams:

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Identity Always Precedes Activity

By | Encouragement, Life Plan, Vision | 31 Comments

This is a guest post from Jeff Goins. Jeff is a writer, speaker, and blogger. Jeff has also become a friend and I’ve enjoyed the times to hang out with him. He’s a sharp young mind you should get to know. Check out his new eBook, You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One).

Here are some thoughts from Jeff:

I’ve spent too much time trying to prove something to myself instead of living into the reality of my identity.

I’ve labored and toiled, desperately trying to affirm in myself what I hope is true about me. That I’m good enough. That the world needs to hear my message. That what I have to say counts.

I’ve wasted years on this pursue and not spent nearly enough time grasping my identity as a child of God. A son. An heir.

And frankly, I’m tired of it. It’s exhausting and pointless. I’ve given up on proving things (to me or you) and started surrendering to who I am. In the process, I’ve learned two lessons:

Lesson #1: You are not what you do.

Your identity comes from some place deeper than your resume or list of accomplishments.

This is important, because in a culture of competition, it’s easy to get lost in the rat race. To chase the horizon and never catch it.

So many people live out of their false selves, constantly performing for an invisible audience and never feeling satisfied.

This will leave you dissatisfied and disillusioned. The way out is to trust what God says about you is true:

  • You are accepted.
  • You are righteous.
  • You are forgiven.
  • You are loved.

Lesson #2: What you do comes from who you are.

This is related to the first, but still worth stating, because so many people aren’t doing this. They’re living out of some fake place of pretense — a facade, a front. And everyone can see it, but them.

The way out of this is to stop lying to yourself. To admit you are who you already know you are:

  • A writer.
  • A dreamer.
  • A plumber.
  • A dancer.

Whatever it is that you were made to do, it’s time to stop hiding and start believing. And then, once you believe, it’s time to do it.

So many people are waiting for God to tell them what to do with their lives, but I believe God is waiting for those people to be who he’s made them to be.

Are you still living life with a performance mentality? Or have you finally given yourself to be who you are? If so, what are you?

4 Things I Need from a Mentor

By | Encouragement, Life Plan, Vision | 16 Comments

I am a fan of the term mentoring. I have been and had a mentor for over 25 years and can honestly say mentors have helped make my life better.

I’ve written several posts on mentoring previously:

The Mentor Recruiter

5 Types of Mentors

How do I find a mentor?

Why I (You) Need a Mentor

5 Questions to Help You Know What to do with a Mentor

One question about mentoring I am consistently asked is, “What should a mentor do?” That’s an obvious question. What do you do when you have been asked to be a mentor or you decide to intentionally recruit someone to mentor you? What role should the mentor play in the mentee’s life?

Well, I don’t believe the point of a mentor is to script another person’s life. That’s not what I’ve ever wanted from my mentors or what I’ve attempted to do with those I mentor. I can’t share everything you may need in a mentor, but I can share what I have sought in one.

Here are 4 things I want in a mentor:

Help shape my path – Mentors have been used to help me make life altering decisions. Whether it was with career choices, marriage issues or character development, I need a mentor to help me make the major decisions in my life.

Allow me to learn from their experiences – Mentors have shared the good and bad elements of their life which has helped protect me from needless pain and guide me to better results. This is why I generally prefer mentors a generation ahead of me.

Help me me meet my goals – In business and in ministry, mentors have taught me valuable insights, discover paradigms, built principles into my life, which have helped me to be more successful in the things I hope to achieve.

Challenge me – Mentors have been there to encourage me to improve my life in areas of struggle, moments of fear, or in a resistance towards needed change. Mentors give an objective, but caring outside perspective that often gives me the nudge to do what I need to do.

My life wouldn’t be the same without the mentors in my life. Who have been some of the mentors in your life?

What else would you want from a mentor?

The Danger of Vision Casting

By | Church, Innovation, Leadership, Vision | 18 Comments

Vision casting can be dangerous…

It can destroy the health of a team…

Cast your stones if you want, but it’s true.

The most prolific vision-casters can ruin a good team.

Let me explain…

Casting a vision is one part of success…an important part…

Completing the vision is another…equally important part…

And if the team doesn’t understand the vision…

Or how to complete it…

It won’t matter how well the vision was cast…

In fact, it can even do more harm than good.

Visions can appear bigger than life…

People left without the “how” may feel discouraged, defeated; like failures.

They may give up and the vision dies…

Vision-casters, by nature, thrive on casting…so they are continually throwing out the big idea…

It’s fun, exciting, motivating…visionary…

Great leaders continually work to ensure people not only catch the vision…

But also understand the how and have the resources to accomplish the vision…

It takes both…

Great leaders:

  • Ask questions to make sure everyone understands…
  • Ensure there are plans, strategies, and systems in place…
  • Never leave the process during implementation…
  • Break the vision down into measurable steps or goals…

Have you been on the bad side of vision casting?

Bad Culture Eats Good Vision

By | Culture, Leadership, Vision | 22 Comments

Bad culture eats good vision…

I don’t know who said it first. I’ve heard it several times. I’d love to give credit for it’s author, but I just don’t know.

I do know the phrase helps shape my thoughts as a leader…

Bad culture eats good vision…

You can have the greatest vision…

You can have an incredible plan…

You can be cleverly strategic…

You can have the best of intentions…

But…

Bad culture eats good vision…

Every time….

Display seeds of dishonesty…

Spread some gossip…

Throw a little laziness in the equation…

Embrace complacency…

Have a controlling leader…

Let momentum dwindle…

Resist change…

Name the bad culture…

It will eat a hearty meal on your vision…

You know why?

Because…

Bad culture eats good vision…

I love whoever said that…

It almost seems to make culture as important as vision…

Moral of this story: Always build and maintain a healthy culture so you can protect your vision…

Have you seen bad culture eat a good vision?

Embracing Intentional Change

By | Change, Life Plan, Marriage, Vision | 16 Comments

We moved downtown…

After we became empty-nesters, Cheryl and I sold the house where we raised our boys and purchased a condominium in the downtown area of our city. We have a river view. It’s an open floor plan. Everything we do is on one level, plus we have an upstairs living space for the boys when they come home. We walk downtown almost every night. When we can, we eat downtown too. On Saturdays, we visit with the downtown street festivals. We love it!

It was hard leaving our home with so many memories of raising our family and move from the safe and quiet neighborhood, but we sensed it was time for a change in our life. Here is something we have learned from experience: Sometimes people need intentional change in order to keep life interesting and protect or grow a marriage. I shared before about “Couple Dreaming“. Cheryl and I had always dreamed of living downtown, so rather than keeping it a dream, we took steps to accomplish that dream.

Working with many couples and individuals in counseling I have learned that becoming bored in a relationship can be dangerous. We don’t intend to let that happen! As we entered into a new chapter of our lives as empty-nesters, we decided to make some intentional changes in our life. We have a few more dreams in our future…we’ll see what happens next with them. It’s keeping our marriage and lives exciting!

It doesn’t have to be a move, but sometimes a change of pace will ignite new excitement in marriage. The same can be true of a career or a personal life. Change can bring about renewed energy and motivation. Cheryl and I were not bored in our marriage. We would have been fine had we stayed in the house, but change made us even closer in our marriage, because it forced us out of our routines and into new avenues in our relationship. It’s an exciting time.

What intentional change have you made or do you need to make in your life?

Motivate us: Share an experience of when you made an intentional change in your life!