Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Leading Through Crisis

Recent events in Boston, MA and West, TX have reminded us of a stark reality: we cannot escape crisis situations. Although unable to avoid them, we can learn to lead people through them. In fact, dark, difficult times may be the moments when leadership is needed the most.
While very few of us will ever be responsible to lead in the aftermath of a large-scale catastrophe, we all encounter times of intense difficulty within our organizations. By nature, a crisis urgently demands attention, and yet it can be difficult to know how to respond to sudden adversity. My hope is that this lesson equips you to lead others with poise and confidence through the storms of life.
1) Discover and define the real problem
As Max De Pree noted, “the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” Leaders must wade into the mire in order to learn precisely what has happened and to make sense of current conditions.
2) Act quickly
3) Provide reassurance
The place to handle a crisis is not from behind a desk but in front of the people. A leader’s visible presence during times of crisis inspires confidence and gives others a sense of security. Certainly, the ability of leaders to control their own emotions is paramount during crisis. In addition, preparation is key. Obviously, some crises are completely unforeseeable. Still, organizations can drawn up strategy plans in anticipation of an emergency. Companies with an emergency plan in place are far better positioned to handle a sudden crisis than those in which the leaders must operate on the fly.   
4) Simplify the situation
In times of crisis emotions run high and circumstances appear overwhelming. To make clear-headed decisions, a leader has to step back from events to determine the aspects of a situation that are beyond repair and to identify the main issues at stake moving forward. During a crisis, I make a point to withdraw from everything momentarily to list out my top concerns. I then assemble my core leadership team, gather their input, and amend the list accordingly. Putting the main issues on paper helps me to wrap my mind around the crisis and to stay focused amid chaos.
5) Enlist support of influencers
In every organization, a small group of people holds the majority of influence. During a crisis, devote extra attention to making sure key influencers are on board with your plan to handle the crisis.
6) Decide to take action one step at a time
In crisis, conditions are in a state of flux. For this reason, plans extending too far into the future are doomed to failure. When confronting a rapidly changing situation, it’s wise to concentrate on the near-term. Focus on making the next step, let the dust settle, and then reevaluate the situation.
7) Do what is right and not what is easiest
Difficult problems seldom have simple solutions. Refuse to cut corners or to lower your ethical standards to make the situation easier. Instead, hold to your convictions and put the needs of your people ahead of your personal comfort and convenience.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Are We Addicted to Addition?

An outstanding post by Make Lake.....

The addiction to addition can be one of the greatest factors that limit a church’s expanding influence in the community and world. I’ve been reading from Acts lately and it’s challenging me to have a greater mindset for multiplication. One of the things we always marvel at when reading the story of the early church is the rapid addition of more and more people to the church. Consider these passages from Acts 2-19,
- “and that day 3000 were added to their number”

- “the Lord added to their number daily”
- “and believers were increasingly being added to their numbers”

- “the number of disciples grew greatly in Jerusalem”

- “They increased in number daily.”

There’s no doubt it’s exciting to be a part of a growing environment. We love it when our small group spills over from the living room into the dining room. It’s thrilling to see the ushers putting out more seats in the auditorium because so many people have arrived for the 11:00 service. We celebrate when our church-wide serve event has 51% of attendees showing up and using their gifts. These are all good things and good signs of addition.

But when you look underneath the surface of Luke’s record of the early church it’s not a book about addition, it’s the story of multiplication.  The disciples could’ve easily become addicted to the rapid addition to their numbers in Jerusalem. They could’ve settled in and made plans for bigger buildings, more seats and increased capacity.  These are all good things. But the disciple’s obsession was not with addition, they recognized it was a movement that called for multiplication. The early church leaders begin to move the Gospel out, reproduce leaders and start a multiplication movement.  Somehow, as tempting as it must’ve been, they avoided the allure of addition.

What are the signs we’ve become addicted to addition?

We’re more concerned with expanding seating capacity rather than sending capacity.

We’re more concerned with how many people are in groups rather than how many people are leading and multiplying groups.

- We’re more concerned about how many show up to serve together at one time rather than how many we can empower to serve 24/7

- We’re more concerned about how many people are “following me” rather than how many people are “leaving me” to go to lead a movement of their own

- We’re concerned only about our community or our sphere of influence rather than the world and the nations.
One of the biggest temptations in a rapid growing environment is to become addicted to addition. Don’t get me wrong addition is good. But multiplication is better.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Seven Qualities of the Best Leaders

What Defines True Leadership
What qualities define a leader? Over the years, this question has inspired thousands of studies and incited countless debates. “More than fifty qualities have been identified that are important to leadership,” notes success expert and bestselling author Brian Tracy. “But there are seven qualities that seem to stand out as being more important than the others.”  Each of these critical qualities can—and must—be learned through focused discipline, practice, and repetition:
1. VISION. Leaders can see into the future. They have a clear, exciting idea of where they are going and what they are trying to accomplish. How can an aspiring leader develop vision? “Begin with your values,” says Tracy. “What are the organizing principles of your business that you believe in and stand for? Based on your values, imagine the perfect future for your business. Once you are clear about your values and your ideal future, draw up a mission statement for your company with specific, measurable, time-bounded targets.”
2. COURAGE. Leaders are risk-takers. They are willing to move out of their comfort zones and initiate bold action with no guarantee of success. How can an aspiring leader develop courage? “Practice what is called the ‘continuous offensive.’ Dare to go forward in all circumstances,” says Tracy. As he also stresses, true courage requires patience: the ability to stay the course and continue to persevere, regardless of the obstacles or setbacks.
3. INTEGRITY. Leaders adhere to complete honesty in everything they do, both internally and externally. Truthfulness, the core of integrity, is the foundation of the trust necessary for the success of any business. How can an aspiring leader develop integrity? “Accept responsibility,” says Tracy. “Leaders continually remind themselves, ‘I am responsible.’ Leaders refuse make excuses when things go wrong. Instead, they make progress.”
4. HUMILITY. Leaders are strong, decisive, and humble. They have the self-confidence to recognize the value of others without feeling threatened and the self-awareness to admit that they don’t have all the answers. How can an aspiring leader develop humility? “Continually strive to get better,” says Tracy. “Learn from the people you meet and work with. Listen as much as you talk.” He also advocates devoting 30 to 60 minutes a day to reading in your field.
5. FORESIGHT. Leaders are good strategic thinkers. They have the ability to anticipate promising trends and potential threats, well in advance of their competitors. How can an aspiring leader develop foresight? “One of the best tools to help leaders anticipate both crises and opportunities is called scenario planning,” says Tracy. “Scenario planning gets you thinking about what could go wrong so you prepare for the future today.”
6. FOCUS. Leaders continually focus on the needs, strengths, and results of their business. Their job is to help every person on their team achieve laser-like focus on the most valuable contributions he or she can make. How can an aspiring leader develop focus? “Start by taking stock of your personal core competencies, whatever it is that you do extremely well,” says Tracy. As he assures, this positive focus will lead the way to focusing on the core competencies of the organization and becoming intensely solution-oriented.
7. COOPERATION. Leaders work well with others. They have a gift for getting everyone pulling together for the success of the whole enterprise. How can an aspiring leader develop cooperation? “Make a commitment to getting along well with each key person every single day,” says Tracy. Leaders who truly believe and show that people are their most valuable asset are liked and respected by everyone around them. What’s more, as Tracy points out, they don’t have to do all the hard work alone.

Boston: A Picture of the Church by Randy Robison

Believe it or not, the Boston Marathon bombing revealed a picture of what the church should be. Seconds after the explosions, emergency workers, medical personnel, and ordinary people rushed in to help those maimed by the blasts. Nobody asked the victims, “Are you Republican or Democrat? Are you straight or gay? Are you rich or poor? Do you have any unconfessed sin in your life?” No workers asked those around them, “Which medical school are you from? Are you really qualified to help?” (We saw the same thing again on Wednesday night, as volunteers and neighbors pulled together to help each other in the small Texas town of West.)

This should be the attitude of Christ’s church. We must help those in need. There are devastating “bombs” going off every day – divorce, illness, tragedy, and other damaging attacks. As God’s “triage” on earth, the church must rush to meet the needs of those emotionally and spiritually maimed by the enemy’s insidious devices. Those rendering aid on the streets of Boston did so immediately, unquestioningly, and purposely. They got people through the trauma of the attack so that they could get to the hospital. The same is true spiritually. Healing takes time, but the need to rescue is urgent. We must rush to those whose lives are in danger, then tend to them until they are healed.

The scene in Boston split into three basic groups: those who needed help, those who could help, and those who ran from the confusion. The death toll would have been far worse were it not for the preparation of the medical and emergency personnel on the ground. Granted, they expected more dehydrated runners than shrapnel victims, but they were ready and willing to help in any way needed.

As the church of Jesus Christ, we must be anxious to give the Gospel to those in need. Amidst the confusion of this world, we must not be caught up in the chaos. We must “be prepared in season and out of season,” as 2 Timothy 4:2 put it, with the urgent compassion of Christ. We know who the enemy is. We know his tactics and objectives. But we also know the Healer. We must rescue as many people as possible and carry them into His presence.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Crown Him with Many Crowns

Check out Christian Tomlin singing Crown Him with Many Crowns - awesome!


Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour is truly Lord of all. At the name of Jesus every knee will one day bow the knee.