Leadership Culture

There’s a great post from Mary Schaefer over on leadchangegroup.com on “What Every Leader Should Know About Organization Culture.”

Leaders, what are your thoughts as you read this?  One line that jumped out at me was this: a leader’s mood and behavior set off a powerful chain reaction among those around her or him.” Ouch.  How important it is for us to get this right!  

This week, let’s reflect on this, and let’s think through the mood and behavior that we communicate in our organizations.  Let’s be intentional about what behaviors we model; they’re contagious.

Have you seen this at work in your organization?  How can you be more intentional about the behaviors and moods that WILL influence your organization?

Wishing vs. Hoping

I recently listened to a podcast with Dr. Henry Cloud, who I’ve heard speak numerous times.  I’ve also read many of his books, all of which have impacted my leadership in tremendous ways.  One of his most recent, Necessary Endings, is powerful and a must read for leaders (along with Boundaries for Leaders).

In the podcast, Cloud discussed a topic from Necessary Endings – the difference between wishing and hoping.  Have you ever heard someone say “I hope this changes” or “I hope this person changes?”  Cloud said that what they really mean most of the time is that they wish that it would change or that person would change. Hope, by contrast, involves action – it involves time.  Hope is wishing with feet moving.  The Bible says that hope does not disappoint; wishing is just wishing, and often wishes just don’t come true.

I have been reflecting on this for a while now, and I have to honestly admit that I’ve just been wishing that many of the things I would like to see changed in my current leadership context would eventually change.  I’ve waited for the knight on the white horse to come charging in and save the day, and I’ve done little to put time and action into making change happen.  There’s a HUGE difference between wishing and hoping.

These days, I’m moving to hoping; I’m putting feet to my wishing.  As Mark Batterson often says, I’m going to work as though it depends on me and pray like it depends on God, because it does.

What things have you been wishing would change in your leadership context?  Is it time to move from wishing to hoping, and put action and time into them?

Are You A Consistent Leader?

DSCN8820Just a quick post on the day after Easter – I just ran across a new leadership blog with some great content. Check out Dan Black’s post “What Great Leaders Consistently Do.”  Consistency is CRITICAL to leadership, and it’s difficult to achieve without intentionality.

How are you doing on the 8 things Dan lists?

Fridays Are For Sharing – 4 Leadership Resources For You

As I mentioned last week, each Friday I’m going to share some of the online (free) leadership resources that I have found helpful.  And I hope you’ll add some to my list in the comments below!

BookBub - I like to read.  A lot.  And I don’t have unlimited resources.  So I’m always on the lookout for free or very cheap books.  BookBub sends me an email every day in book genres that I choose.  I usually download at least one or two books a week from them, including some great books on leadership, and I’m introduced to new authors as well!

Free Kindle Books - Another free Kindle book site. Even if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon makes a Kindle reading app for iPads/iPhones, Mac, PC, and Android.  I get several books a week from this daily email as well.

Michael Hyatt - one of the best leadership blogs I get in my inbox.  Michael Hyatt is a voice I respect and have learned a ton from.  I can recommend his blog to you without reservation.

Scott Cochrane - this is a newer resource for me, but I’m loving Scott’s posts! Some really great leadership insights here, and I’d recommend that you check it out!

What resources online are you finding helpful these days in your leadership?


Have you ordered your copy of LEAD?

Lead Book Front Cover Final


Just a reminder that you can get your copy of Lead.: Leadership Lessons from the (Not So) Minor Prophets in paperback or Kindle ebook at Amazon. This can make a great small group study book or can be used in monthly leadership development sessions. If you’re looking for more than 10 copies, contact me and we can work out a deal for bulk copy pricing.

2 Questions About Mistakes, Regrets, and Intentionality

photo_13170_20090815A friend of mine named Mark sent me this story recently about the former coach of the Washington Redskins, Joe Gibbs. It’s a nice, feel good story about what the coach is doing in his retirement, and I smiled when I read parts of it.

But about a third of the way into the article, a paragraph caught my eye.

“I missed so much of them growing up,” Gibbs says in a quieter voice. “I really messed up there. So I like working with J.D. and Coy. I’m trying not to do the same thing again. With J.D. and Coy, I missed so much. With the grandkids, I try to do something special with them every week.”

If you lead, whether it be a company, a church, a family, a community organization, or whatever, you WILL have regrets.  None of us get it right all the time; none of us leads mistake free.  But how we respond when we recognize our mistakes is crucial.

Gibbs admits that he messed up. He sees with the clarity of hindsight that he did not get this particular part of his life right.  He’s an outstanding leader by most accounts, winning three Super Bowls and three NASCAR championships.  But he didn’t get everything right.  Any leader worth his salt can relate to that.  But what does Gibbs do upon recognizing it?

“I’m trying not to do the same thing again.”

AA defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Gibbs is not doing that. He’s being intentional, starting now, and learning from his mistakes. He’s doing what he can to change the future outcome by changing his actions in the present. That’s a lesson that EVERY leader can learn from.  I sure am.

What leadership mistakes can you recognize in your own leadership thus far in your life?

How are you being intentional about learning from those regrets and mistakes?

Mornings… grrr….

DSC_0272I thoroughly enjoy receiving and reading the blog posts of pastor Carey Nieuwhof from Canada.  Carey  always makes me think and challenges me. He recently posted a link to an author I was unfamiliar with, Shane Parrish, who wrote on “What the most successful people do before breakfast.”  Wow.  Powerful, powerful article, and extremely convicting for me.  I’ve NEVER been a morning person.  On the dig earlier this year, we had to be on the bus by 7, so I was getting up at 5 so that I could have time to wake up, get ready, and eat breakfast before I had to be on the bus.  I’ve never liked mornings.  If you want to talk until midnight, I’m your guy, but 5 a.m.?  Not so much.

Parrish’s article really challenges me in this.  Recently I’ve been trying to spend at least an hour in the morning writing, and I’ve found that, just as Parrish says, I am much more mentally alert and creative in the morning.

Who’d have thought that?

So, just like with anything else in life, change is afoot.  I believe God uses change to challenge and transform us into His image, and I’m not there yet.  So I might be seeing more daybreaks in the days ahead.  Who knows – it might just make more difference than I can imagine.

Are you taking advantage of your morning’s full mental batteries and creative peak?  

5 Free Online Leadership Resources

Every Friday, I want to share with you some links to blogs and online resources that I find helpful.  I’m only going to share with you resources that I’ve read/used and found relevant and useful – hopefully you’ll be able to utilize them in your own leadership.

Leadership Digital – one of the best aggregators of online articles about leadership that I’ve found – I get their emails and always look through them for helpful content

Leadership Journal – the best magazine I get in the mail on this topic.  They have a lot of  resources at their online presence as well.

Brian Dodd on Leadership – Brian’s content comes to my inbox, and usually has at least one nugget that makes me think and evaluate my own leadership decisions and processes.

Leadership Freak – Dan Rockwell writes on the topic of leadership, and I’ve found his articles to be very thought provoking and challenging.

John Maxwell Company Blog – John Maxwell is, well, John Maxwell.  How many books on leadership has he written?  Every one teaches me something.

What are some leadership resources that you’ve found helpful?  Share in the comments below!

4 Things I Learned Visiting Other Churches On My Sabbatical

IMG_2365During the first quarter when I was on sabbatical from my church, I visited 15 other churches. I am a firm believer that leaders need to be continual learners; and you can learn from anybody!  Sometimes it’s what to do, sometimes what not to do, but if you have a teachable spirit, you can learn something. I learned a lot of things during my visits, but I want to share four big ones with you today.

1. It is VERY obvious when a church is ready for and expecting guests, and when they are not.

This should be (and will be) a whole separate post, but let me just say that as a guest, I can tell when you’re expecting me.  One of the churches I visited had a First Impressions team and system in place that was outstanding – the best I’ve ever seen.  Another one… not so much.  They acted surprised that I had come and didn’t really know what to do with me.  Ouch.

2. Parking is important.

Self explanatory I hope, but if there’s not adequate parking, and I’m driving around and around and around, that’s not a great sign that you’re expecting guests.  A principle I’ve taught to small group leaders is to always have an empty chair in the room when your group meets.  That way, if a guest comes in a little late, there’s no awkwardness of them not having a chair.  Rest assured, they won’t be back.  It also serves as a reminder to the people in the group that we’re always expecting guests – a great thing to keep in mind.

3. Signage is even more important.

One church I went to didn’t have clear signage on what door to enter in for the service.  I went to one door – locked.  Another door – locked. Finally I saw someone going in a third door, and I went in that one with them.  Nothing wrong with locking doors you want people not to go in, but put a sign on it! And maybe even direct them to the right door :)

4. A variety of teaching styles, music genres, and models can all be used to communicate the message of Jesus.

I went to uber traditional churches, uber contemporary churches, and everything in between.  Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, non-denominational, Calvinist, Armenian – and you know what?  All of them worshipped God.  All of them talked about Jesus.  And in all of them, I worshipped.  Some more easily than others – I do have preferences just like you do – but if you focus on the content and the heart, all that other stuff can take a back seat if you work at it.

Have you been to a church other than your regular one lately? What did you notice that others could learn from?