Saturday, 31 December 2016
Thursday, 22 December 2016
Another excellent post by Dan Rockwell
Recognize and solve negative patterns or you’ll end up solving the same problems over and over.
The third time you have the same conversation, with the same person, about the same disappointing performance, you have a pattern, not a problem.
#1. Point out the pattern.
Watch for a deja vu feeling. It may not be the exact same conversation. It just feels familiar. Point it out. “It feels like we’ve been here before.”
#2. Listen for fairy-tale thinking:
- “I just need to try harder.”
- “I’ll get it done next time.”
- “I need to be more disciplined.”
#3. Say hard truths.
When you hear, “I just need to try harder,” say, “I’m surprised you aren’t already bringing your best.”
When you hear, “I’ll get it done next time,” say, “What specifically will be different next time?”
10 considerations when solving people patterns
- Purpose. Does the behavior or result matter?
- Expectations. How are expectations clear? Foggy?
- Clarity. How are goals clear? Foggy?
- Team composition. Are the wrong people on the bus?
- Management incompetence or confusion. When good people don’t succeed, consider the possibility that management is the issue.
Breaking negative patterns requires leaders to institute temporary measures.
- Frequent reporting.
- Uncomfortable accountability.
People need hope. Celebrate imperfect successes, even as you expect continued improvement. Hope energizes progress.
Monday, 7 November 2016
A great post from Dave Kraft!
Learning how to delegate could literally mean the difference between life and death. You might think I’m overstating my case, but I will never forget the lunch with a friend who had a heart attack at 39 years of age.
I observed, learned and applied! (Don’t try to do it all by yourself, Dave.)
I know way too many leaders who are doers, but not delegators. They haven’t learned how to train and give responsibilities to others. There are leaders who assume they are delegating when they give tasks to others but unless they give away the responsibility for making decisions, they are still involved in all the details. And all these details for all these various responsibilities resting with them (with you) will do them in.
Read Exodus 18 in this regard.
It’s when you begin giving away the power to make decisions that a whole new level of leadership opens up. People are empowered, your load is lightened and new ideas begin to get implemented. Will people fail…of course they will, and that is when you sit down and go over what happened. The hope is that they then make more, but wiser, decisions.
“But I can do it myself so much faster than it would take to train and let somebody else do it.”
In the short run this may sound doable, but in the long run that philosophy will send you to an early grave. Some leaders are fearful of delegating responsibility.
- Fearful that people may fail.
- Fearful that people may outshine or outperform them.
People to whom you delegate will fail and some will do it better than you could. You can deal with both of these fears if you are secure in Jesus and who he made you to be.
But, if as a leader you are insecure, you have a whole other issue you need to face.
Below are some awesome ideas from Michael Hyatt on “Levels of Authority.” I have shared these five levels with numerous leaders I coach and it's taught at my Leaders Who Last Seminar.
Understanding and applying these five levels will take your leadership to an entirely new level and tap into the gifts and creativity of those on your team and under your employ. You goal is to, over time, have everyone who reports to you at level four or five.
It is all about trust: trusting the Lord and trusting those who work for you and with you.
Levels of Authority by Michael Hyatt:
As a leader, whenever you delegate a task, you need to make it clear what level of authority you are conferring to others:
Level 1: Do exactly what I have asked you to do. Don’t deviate from my instructions. I have already researched the options and determined what I want you to do.
Level 2: Research the topic and report back. We will discuss it, and then I will make the decision and tell you what I want you to do.
Level 3: Research the topic, outline the options, and make a recommendation. Give me the pros and cons of each option, but tell me what you think we should do. If I agree with your decision, I will authorize you to move forward.
Level 4: Make a decision and then tell me what you did. I trust you to do the research, make the best decision you can, and then keep me in the loop. I don’t want to be surprised by someone else.
Level 5: Make whatever decision you think is best. No need to report back. I trust you completely. I know you will follow through. You have my full support.
Delegate or Suffocate…it’s that simple!
Friday, 28 October 2016
An outstanding post adapted from Dan Rockwell.
When trust has been eroded or is lost, it is very difficult to regain it. Dan Rockwell shares secrets to identifying people whom you can trust.
Failure awaits all leaders who trust the wrong people.
Surround yourself with people you can trust. Few things are more powerful than a team of talented people who trust each other.
It doesn’t matter what you want to accomplish if you surround yourself with untrustworthy people.
Looking for people you trust:
1. Trust people who connect rather than isolate. Accept the need for privacy, but trustworthy leadership includes relationship building.
People who can’t connect, can’t lead.
2. Trust people who stay supportive after not getting their own way. Beware of team members who cross their arms and pout when they don’t get what they want.
3. Trust people who criticize up and down organizational hierarchy.
- Don’t trust people who refuse to voice constructive criticism.
- Don’t trust people who only criticize people who aren’t present.
- Don’t trust people who shift positions depending on the people around the table.
4. Trust people who express gratitude for colleagues and teammates. People talk about you the way they talk about others.
5. Trust people who disagree kindly and openly. Don’t trust people who raise an eyebrow of disapproval, but don’t openly voice concerns.
Manipulators wrinkle their foreheads, but don’t speak up.
Beware of people who avoid, deflect, and sweep important issues under the carpet.
6. Trust people who treat powerless people with respect. Do they speak kindly to you and rudely to the server at dinner? It’s possible to have a bad day. What’s the pattern?
7. Trust people who trust others. Delegating, listening, and transparency indicate you have learned to trust others.
A person who can’t trust others can’t lead.
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Manage the splash:
You always impact those around you. Even if people turn from you, you have impact.
Some leaders tend to lift people toward bright. Some leaders tend to drag people toward dark.
Patterns produce splash – your impact on those around you. Successful leaders monitor and manage the impact of their presence and interactions. Know the effect of your current impact in order to enhance your impact. I recently asked a leader to explore his impact on others.
- How are your conversations going? (General question)
- What are you trying to accomplish? (Begin with the end in mind)
- What are you doing that impacts others? (Internal reflection)
- How are people different after you spend time with them? (External reflection)
- What would you like to try, or do differently? (Forward-facing curiosity)
Monitor and manage the energy you create:
Have a trusted team member run an energy survey. Ask everyone you regularly interact with to respond to one statement. (No names.)
“On a scale of one to five, my interactions with you tend to increase your energy.” One is low. Five is high. Try to avoid a three. Which way does the needle tip?
Have your survey-master compile the results.
5 questions to explore the results:
- What behaviors produce the result on the energy survey?
- What should you keep doing? (If the number is high.)
- What should you stop doing? (If the number is low.)
- How might you improve? (If the number is low.)
- What should you do more frequently?
Talk over your observations with trusted allies.
Monday, 12 September 2016
A great post by dave Craft. Take the time to think this one though in your own life!
In the Sunday L.A. Times Parade Magazine, I read the following: “The word noise comes from nausea, the Latin word for sickness.”
Wow, did that ever get my brain cranking! I wonder if too much noise is related to being overly busy, having no margin and not practicing the principle of Sabbath.
It's true for many of us that, literally, there is too much noise in our lives--traffic, planes overhead, TVs, iPods, constant advertisements, music in the neighborhood late at night, voice mails, etc. But, too much noise may also be translated into too many commitments, obligations & responsibilities which can also make one sick!
I need to regularly take a long look at my own life realizing how “noisy” it can get if I am not careful to cultivate solitude and silence (which doesn’t come naturally to me & for which I need lots of grace.) Being still and realizing that He is God (Psalm 46:10) seems to me to be a lost art today--at least for many of the people I know and rub shoulders with.
Is it time to get back to “Walden’s Pond” the famous work of Henry David Thoreau, first published in 1854? I don’t know that this is Christian at the core, but it does explore the whole idea of de-cluttering, simplifying life and cutting back on the “noise.” I began to think (and continue to think) about how much ill health experienced by many (whether it be spiritual, mental or relational) is due to too much noise.
Here are a few questions to ponder:
- Is my life so noisy that it is drowning out the voice of God?
- Is the noise in my life not allowing time for deeper relationships?
- Is the noise in my life keeping me from having time to think and gain perspective on what is going on in my life as well as with my family, co-workers and friends?
- Is the noise in my life making me sick in one way or the other?
I believe that many of us have a good theology of work, but not a very good theology of rest. Last week someone told me that if he was relaxing or taking a few minutes for himself he felt guilty that he wasn’t being productive. Is legitimate, and essential, rest and quietness being equated with laziness and non-productivity?
In my book, “Leaders Who Last” (page 68) I quote from a Suday newspaper as follows:
“In the relentless busyness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between action and rest. There is a universal refrain: I am so busy. As it all piles endlessly upon itself, the whole experience of being alive begins to melt into one enormous obligation. Sabbath time is a revolutionary challenge to the violence of overwork. Many of us, in our desperate drive to be successful and care for our many responsibilities, feel terrible guilt when we take time to rest.” Wayne Muller, “Remember the Sabbath,” The Palm Springs Desert Sun, April 4, 1999
I am afraid things have not improved much since 1999, but have only gotten worse. The “tech toys” we own now own us and we are working longer and, perhaps, less productively than we ever have. Additionally, the money going toward medical bills due to too much noise in our lives is definitely on the increase from everything I am reading.
With His Grace, what will you do to cut noise out of your life?
Thursday, 8 September 2016
A great read from Dan Rockwell
An organization’s deadliest enemies are internal. How we treat each other while we face external challenges determines our ability to win.
Internal environments are more important than external issues.
Organizations exist to maximize the power of diversity. We’re better together, only if we honor, develop, and harness difference.
3 ways organizations die from within:
1. Judging others by your uniqueness rather than theirs.
You can’t maximize diversity and expect everyone to be like you. Intolerance produces sideways energy, or worse yet, people pulling against each other. When this happens, competitors win and customers lose.
2. Confusion regarding your place and contribution.
You can thrive in nearly any organization if you feel you belong and your contribution matters. (Compensation aside.) This idea speaks to the value and power of leaders.
Have conversations that address questions like:
- What value are you bringing?
- What makes you feel devalued?
- How might we show respect to each other?
- How might we lessen pressure to conform? This includes celebrating constructive dissent, eliminating the trappings of power, and adapting when new ideas emerge.
- How might individual purpose find expression in organizational goals? (This assumes that leaders are prepared to explore purpose with team members.)
3. Lack of shared accountability.
Problem solving, new initiatives, and project meetings are a delusional waste of time apart from shared accountability.
If we fail it’s not one person’s fault.
- How do you declare and define accountabilities?
- What happens when someone drops the ball? Is it their fault or our fault?
- Where is the “we” when things don’t get done? If success is the result of how we work together, so is failure.
Failing organizations are like a chicken coop. When one chicken has a flaw, the others peck at it.
In an all for one – one for all organization, one person’s failure is everyone’s failure.
Friday, 2 September 2016
A great post by Dan Rockwell for all our younger leaders to consider and use.
It’s growing more common for young people to lead teams that include elders.
Some elders look down on their youngers.
Entitlement expects respect or opportunity without earning it. Elders may expect respect simply because they’ve been at it longer. Younger may expect opportunity or position simply because they want it.
Both elders and youngers may feel the other doesn’t get it.
The greater challenge of working on inter-generational teams lies with the younger. In order to thrive, young leaders must navigate elders who have more experience, power, resources, and prestige.
7 ways young leaders succeed with elders:
1. Show respect, even if you don’t feel respected. It’s self-defeating to expect respect before extending it.
- Honor knowledge, even if you feel smarter. Ask questions. Stay curious.
- Honor experience, even if you feel it’s no big deal. Invite and listen to stories.
- Honor position, even if hierarchy irritates you. Learn how they earned their position.
Connection with elders is forged with respect.
Showing respect is about a humble heart. When you feel misunderstood, remember to understand others.
2. Adopt a learner’s attitude. Older leaders often feel superior because they believe they’re more knowledgeable. You may know more than your elders, but you haven’t experienced more.
Elders feel disrespected when youngers offhandedly reject suggestions.
3. Build a team of elder-advisors. Make it public that you’re listening to mentors. Publicly talk about things you’re learning from elders.
4. Try on suggestions that rub you the wrong way. I’ve found that wisdom often seems wrong when I’m unenlightened. I’m still rejecting ideas that make sense later.
5. Find an elder-advocate who believes and supports you. Some elders value the perspective and talent of young leaders.
6. Focus on adding value more than receiving it. How might you help elders achieve their goals?
7. Work hard.
How might younger leaders succeed with elders?
Saturday, 27 August 2016
Monday, 22 August 2016
A challenging post by Dave Kraft! Think it through for yourself and be ruthlessly honest about your own ambition!
"Are we trying to pat ourselves on the back? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart before God."2 Corinthians 5:12 NLT
Jesus, Wow! Having a sincere heart as opposed to having a spectacular ministry.
It's nice to be fruitful and see You do awesome things, but not at the expense of being sincere (without wax) before You. It really comes down to being all about You…me being all about You…everything being all about You.
I am okay with the ministry You are accomplishing through me to look like whatever You want it to look like and not trying to impress others or prove anything. Oh, the harm done by trying to look important, be important, feel important!
Jesus, Help me to be biblically content with: Who I am, where I am, what I’m doing and what You choose to do, and to make sure You get all the praise for what happens.
I have written previously about the word sincere, Simplicity and Sincerity, so you can check that out.
My simple observation after 48 years of vocational ministry with 15 different churches is that there is too much spectacular ministry (at least trying to be spectacular) and too little sincere heart behind it.
I fear that Christianity in the U.S is becoming a celebrity-seeking culture where we bow before the writings, teaching and books of well-known, famous and perceived successful Christian pastors and are invited to visit their churches so we can learn how they did it and replicate it in our own context!
May I humbly suggest a sincere heart that leads to a Spirit empowered ministry (not spectacular to impress people, but Spirit-empowered to honor Him) that is all about Jesus and not the leader? Nothing is more dangerous to the body of Christ than leaders who want to feel important, look important and be important at the expense of sincerity, integrity and humility!
“As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way?"-1 Corinthians 3:3, The Message
Wednesday, 17 August 2016
I once hear Gordon Macdonald talk about the importance of intentionally building key relationships into your life that I found very challenging.
He talked about eight indispensable friends that every leader requires.
· A coach to help you grow?
· Someone who stretches your mind?
· A person to listen to your dreams?
· Someone who laughs with you?
· A person who cries with you?
· Someone who rebukes you?
· A person who plays with you?
· Someone who seeks faith with you?
1. Place a tick against those for which you believe you do have such a friend.
2. If any are left blank, consider who might be such a friend to fulfil that particular role currently missing in your life.