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Leadership comes in many forms and effective leadership is dependent, in many cases, upon the leader themselves. Our experiences, learned responses, gifts, and personality traits all play a role in how we lead. I have found it is much harder to change a leadership style, and many times we spend the bulk of our time attempting to change who we are as a leader instead of focusing more on how we are leading. I’m worried that we abandon the needs of people for the need for sound strategy. I love what Simon Sinek says about leadership, “A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible.” In other words, great leaders help others succeed.

Everyone has needs and every team has basic needs that lead to success. Our team needs help to drive sustainable success.

Four Basic’s Your Team Needs From You

 

  1. Information

Most teams fail for a lack of clear information. Information is where you give your team the necessary resources; clarity of vision, the why behind the what, the game plan to succeed. We can’t expect a team to move toward success if they have not been informed about what that success is. “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” – Helen Keller

 

  1. Inspiration

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Leadership is the about people. It’s about having the ability to move people toward a common, transformational goal or cause. Many leaders use strategies to attempt to move people, but the only way to truly move people with passion and purpose is to lead through inspiration. A great leader communicates in a way that connects to the heart before it connects to the head.

 

  1. Initiate

 Once a team is clear on expected outcomes, and feel their heart has been connected to that outcome, a great leader must then begin to take steps to walk a team through the journey. This is where strategy and planning begin to take form. The great coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Hope is not a strategy.” A team can be informed and inspired but without the process of moving toward the goal there is no success. We must help our teams walk the steps needed toward the goal.

 

  1. Influence

Lastly great teams need to see the importance influence plays in success. This stage allows a team to empower one another by holding each other accountable to the stated goals. If your team is informed, inspired and taking steps toward the goal, many times influence will happen naturally. “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Kenneth Blanchard

Leaving a Mark

November 27, 2018 — Leave a comment

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I have mark, behind my right knee, that is a scar from when I fell as kid. I will not go into the gruesome details of the accident but let’s just say it was not pretty. Every time I see the scar it reminds me of the day of the accident but also reminds me of a lot of other events, relationships and other things that happened during that period of my life. That’s what scars do they are marks with a story and those stories are usually attached to other stories which many times shape who we are.

As coaching leaders we leave our own marks on the lives of those we lead, little reminders of our influence in their lives. I started coaching junior lacrosse last year and part of my preparation, besides learning a game I knew nothing about, was thinking through the kind of mark I wanted to leave through my leadership into the lives of these young boys. I believe this is something we should all be mindful of and think through as we prepare to lead through each season. Marks can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes but I believe all marks should contain the same basic attributes.

  1. Leaving a Mark should be Intentional. Every coaching leader should think through what type of mark they want to leave on those they lead. Some marks may be encouraging, some marks may equip and some may challenge. The marks we leave are, many times, dependent upon the needs the person may have at any particular time.

 

  1. Leaving a Mark should be Inspirational. Every coaching leader should strive to leave a mark that inspires someone to move closer toward their intended purpose. That’s what inspiration is, doing something that moves someone toward the ultimate impact they can have on the world.

 

  1. Leaving a Mark should be Every coaching leader should leave a mark that invites their followers to something bigger than themselves. I feel, by encouraging, equipping and or empowering a follower, we are involving them in a process that allows us both to grow and as a result our team grows as well.

 

Coaching leaders will always leave marks. The decision we all must make is what type of mark we want to leave.  Remember all marks are part of a story that many will carry around with them for the rest of their lives. When you lead you have a role in the present and the future of those we influence.

What Type of Leader Are You?

November 13, 2018 — 1 Comment

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I can’t begin to recount how many books and articles I have read on leadership over the years. I have been drawn to the importance of leadership since I started in ministry, seeing the importance of leadership in faith settings. What I have found is that just about every book and article on leadership tackles leadership style. There are many different opinions on the types of styles a great leader should have. At its core, leadership style is very subjective. I have found that most styles mirror the personality, background, experience and life history of the leader, as a result it makes it very hard to pigeonhole everyone into one or two styles of effective leadership. Author Peter Drucker is known for saying; “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”

I have been around a lot of leaders. I have been led by them, influenced by them and even had the opportunity to lead right beside them, what I have found is most leaders fit into one of three categories.

  1. Those Who React. Most leaders are able to identify issues, areas for improvement or places of needed recovery. Many times, though, leaders have a tendency to react to the issue at hand. Reaction becomes harmful, for organizations, because reaction is often led by emotion. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Reactionary leadership is not sustainable. Great leaders take time to pause and reflect on the situation at hand. They devise a strategy by seeing all possible outcomes and situations. In sports coaches teach athletes to “read and react” in many game time situations. This is a great lesson for all leaders, instead of reacting to everything, take time out to read the situation, climate of the culture, the repercussions and then react with the best possible solutions.

 

  1. Those Who Respond. This category is not much different than the previous one. Leaders who lead from a response mindset are usually not creative or really leading at all. They become followers to the circumstances and this leads to reaction. “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.”  – Herbert Swope. Leaders who only respond usually do so to please others or to avoid conflict and failure. The desire to fail on the way to reaching a bigger goal is an untold secret to success. Failure means things are being attempted and tested, things that are not normal, things that are risky. It is from risk not responding that innovation is born.

 

  1. Those Who Initiate. The most successful organizations are filled with leaders who are initiators and not reactors or responders. Great leaders don’t let things happen that make things happen. I have this “gift”, well that’s what I call it, to recognize when something is sinking in mediocrity. I like to step in an initiate change, ideas, and sometimes leadership. Many people do not like this “gift” they see it as pushy or invasive into their world. The reality is people who think this way enjoy the status quo and most of their leadership is reactionary and responsive. They are either ill-equipped or lack the desire to initiate and seek innovative solutions. Someone once said, “To be a good leader, you sometimes need to go down the untraveled path. Being bold in the face of uncertainty will help give your team courage and motivate them to keep striving when the going gets tough.”

 

As leader always remember it is you who must forge the path toward greatness. Leaders who do this initiate risk, count the cost and paint a picture that all can follow.

 

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I am coming off my seven-day social media fast, and though I missed being able to share things with everyone, I did find the time away nice.

A couple weeks ago I shared five books with you that I thought would be great books for the new year. This week, I would like to share five books I am currently reading. If you do the math — it’s 10 book ideas for you this year!

1. Pivotal Praying by Tim Elmore and John Hull. As I mentioned in my previous post, I read this book at the beginning of every year. There are a lot of books on prayer, but this is full of stories and great application.

2. How to Be Rich by Andy Stanley. I love Andy Stanley books because the are so incredibly practical. This book is all about recognizing how rich you are and how rich you can be in many areas of your life.

3. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I have underlined almost everything in this book. It can be a little heady — you can’t just skim it. But it’s excellent for establishing good habits and breaking bad ones.

4. Global Explorers: The Next Generation of Leaders by Stewart J. Black. I am in school, so honestly I have to put in a book that I’m reading for school. This is a great book about the essentials of Global Leadership and how the world is in desperate need of it.

5. Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson and Mark Schlabach. This is the biography I am reading now. I attempt to read at least 4 biographies per year. Many of you are familiar with Phil and Duck Dynasty. Very intriguing story of the rise to fame.

Hopefully one of these books will help you in some are of your life. Enjoy and good reading!!

Photo ©iStock.com/sansara

library of old books

As we all begin the new year, I thought I would mention 5 books I have found to be very profound and helpful for me personally. Later I will share what books I am reading now.

Great leaders are always in the process of taking advantage of opportunities and training to be better. (tweet that)

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Incredible true story of inspiration, survival and perseverance.

2. 7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. The compact stories of seven great leaders in world history and what drove them toward greatness.

3. Becoming a Strategic Leader by Richard Hughes and Katherine Beatty. This is a great book for any leader looking to increase the effectiveness of your role in your organization.

4. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. Great read on how to energize your life, work and organization.

5. Pivotal Praying by John Hull and Tim Elmore. I re-read this book at the beginning of every year. It helps me to get back focused on the power of prayer and it’s effectiveness in times of great need.

These are five books I believe will help you in every area of your life. Like I said earlier, I will list the books I am reading now a little later.

Enjoy!!

My Planning Process

January 6, 2014 — 2 Comments

My New Year Plan

Years ago, a good friend of mine, Tim Elmore, got me hooked on a process that has really impacted my life. Tim encouraged me to develop a strategic plan for the new year. The process included spending time looking back at the previous year, and then looking forward to the year ahead. I wanted to share the process I go through with you. I have made some modifications to what Tim does. You can follow Tim’s amazing work at www.growingleaders.com. He has his process listed on his blog. Enjoy!

Like I said, I spend about half a day looking back at the previous year. I journal a lot, so it’s easy for me to look back at the details of the year and the bigger events are pretty easy to recall. I always look at seven main areas of my life and see how I did in accomplishing the goals and dreams I had set, and where I achieved beyond my desires and where did I not do such a great job. My seven areas are:

  1. Spiritually
  2. Marriage
  3. Fatherhood
  4. Ministry
  5. School (I am getting my doctorate and it is a huge part of my life right now so I include it)
  6. Relationships
  7. Leadership

I ask the following questions:

  1. Did I grow in this area? If so, where and how?
  2. Did I benefit the growth of others in this area? If so, how?
  3. What was the one thing I am most proud of in this area?
  4. What is the one thing I am least proud of in this area?
  5. Was my strategy for each area effective? Why or why not?
  6. Did I fulfill the mission of my Life Sentence (this is essential and I will blog on this later) this past year?

Once I complete this process, I send a day looking forward and setting goals (actually, I like the term dreams better than goals). Tim Elmore calls his items “action lists” or “standard lists” which I love! This process looks like the following:

  1. What is the main dream I have in each of my seven areas? What will be needed in order to achieve this? (I use a Dream Chart that I developed in order to complete this process. A Dream Chart looks at where you are [Now] and where you want to be [Dream] and then maps out all of the steps required to get you there.)
  2. Of my 7 areas which areas do I need the most growth?
  3. What resources will I need for the required growth? (i.e., books, seminars, counseling, coaching, web sites, podcasts etc. I decide all of this at the beginning of the year and map out a schedule of when and where.)
  4. I map out my entire year. Monica and I do this together. We set date nights, family date days, vacations, major events on our calendar at the beginning of the year. These are non-negotiable!!
  5. Monica and I set family goals. What are one or two things we are really going to try and teach the kids this year? Last year it was patience and courage. We also set financial goals for the year and plan purchases for our house, what and to who we support financially, gifts, etc.
  6. I have a weekly chart that I use to account for pretty much every hour of my day Sunday – Saturday. I do have free areas where nothing is planned in order to account for surprises as well as provide me with down time.

My dream is that I continue to grow in all areas and the best way to do that is to learn from the past and plan the future. I believe just about any dream can be achieved with a good strategy, regardless if it is losing weight, changing jobs, buying a new car, building relationships, etc. My dreams are only as good as the strategies I implement. (you can tweet that)

Have a great new year!!

How Do You Plan?

April 30, 2013 — Leave a comment

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I have to admit that I am a planner. In fact, it is diffcult for me to operate without a plan. One of the things that really makes my marriage to Monica work is the fact that I am a planner and she is not, so our plans never really compete against one another.

I joke when I say she is not a planner — she does plan, but she is not obsessed like I am. In fact, our nine year-old, Jaana, may be more of a planner than both of us. I have turned her into an obsessive planner, which may be deemed child abuse in some circles but I deem it as I have created a girl who is always ready.

All joking aside I do believe planning is very important and I believe it is something we don’t do a good job of, especially when it comes to our life. I am going to do a series of podcasts on planing your life and the importance of balance, so I thought I would give you a taste of what’s to come.

Why should we plan?

1. Planning prepares us for the unexpected. Many people may say that planning takes away spontaneity. I would argue that planning better prepares us for spontaneity. I know the definition of spontaneous is impulse, but I believe if we have a plan for our life then we are better able to be impulsive in a constructive way. There are impulses that can work in our plan…if we have a plan for our marriage, then we can be impulsive about a date night or writing a note to our spouse. Planning can free up the time to be impulsive.

2. Planning can prevent regrets. We have all had regrets. I think it was Elvis who said, “Regrets, I’ve had a few.” There are too many people walking around in a sea of regret. If they had only had a plan for their life, the regret could have been avoided. For example, it took me 14 years to get my undergraduate degree in college. My plan was not to take 14 years to accomplish this. If I simply had a plan I could have avoided this regret. Oh and by the way for those of you saying, “Yeah, but look what you learned and the lessons you were taught during the process” I will speak to you specifically in some upcoming blogs.

3. Planning is already a part of our life. I know some of you may say, “I don’t know how to plan.” I am going to help you in the coming weeks, but understand one thing — you already plan. I mean, most of us plan when to take in our car for service, or how long we will sleep at night. We plan what route we will take to work, what we will do at work…you get the idea. We were created to plan because our Creator planned to create us and the world. We were born to plan.

This is just the beginning of how we will plan together. Over the next few weeks I will help learn how to develop a plan for your life. Once you have a plan the execution is easy and the results are pure awesomeness!!

Are you ready?!?!