Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Lead Me out of Dysfunction"

In a perfect world:

  • I know the goals and purpose of my organization

  • I know my role and how it fits within my organization
  • Based on the organization goals, I collaborate with my team to create my initiatives
  • I identify the tasks, calendar scheduling, and priorities to carry out these initiatives
  • While keeping these initiatives visible to myself, I execute my objectives
  • These newly completed projects are made public to key stakeholders within my organization
  • I'm updated with other initiatives completed by my team
  • I realign with the goals and purpose of my organization and leadership and repeat the process

In the real world

  • Organizations don't have clear goals or a concrete vision of who they are and why they exist
  • People are operating without a clear job description or clear measurable objectives of how they fit in the big picture
  • Their team doesn't have defined roles either, so people really focus only on what they do
  • People fill their days with tasks that keep them busy and they feel as if they are productive
  • People continue to react to the day to day demands and feel like they are doing a great job because of how busy they are
  • When asked what was accomplished, managers don't understand why "nothing is getting done" and why things take so long
  • Edicts come down from management, people are frustrated and hate their jobs, organizations spin their wheels, there is no growth
  • People realign with what perception they need to maintain to keep their jobs, get a paycheck, and wish they had other options

No matter what character you are in the story, as leaders, we must do better. We can lead up, lead down, lead across, and lead ourselves. How are you doing?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My 10 Big Rocks for Life

There are fundamental tenets to life I've landed on at this point in my life. When I feel stressed or off course, I come back to these truths. As I look in our world, it's clear that others have other principles they seem to have chosen. I'm curious, what are yours? Have you identified them? Except for #1, these are not in any particular order:

1. There is a God. Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be, and the Bible is inerrant in its truths. Once I believe this, it changes everything.

2. It's not about here. Here meaning the 70-80 years on average we get to live. Once I believe #1, I believe I'm going to live forever. 70-80 years here vs. eternal is nothing, zip, 0.

3. Four Friends... Do the people I surround myself with help me in these 10 Big Rocks for Life or guide me off course? Do they encourage me? Do they challenge me? Who I surround myself with matters. My wife is my best friend and makes me a better man.

4. Lifetime Learner... I want to grow and learn. The more I can learn the more I can embrace change, lead well, and fulfill my God-given purpose. What's the alternative? Rely on my high school Algebra class to get me by? Part of who we become is what we read, who we're learning from, and what we listen to. I need to choose wisely.

5. My best days are ahead of me. Looking in the rear view mirror of life doesn't seem to help anyone. There's always the next mountain to climb with the new knowledge of experience. My 21 year old body is not needed.

6. Excellence- If you're going to do it, do it well. It's easy for me to get spread thin which leads to "winging it" or giving something my leftovers. That's normal. Excellence? Not so normal.

7. Self awareness. The more I know myself, the more I can do something about it. To stick my head in the sand about my own weaknesses, fears, or bad habits just hurts me. Therapists rock. Good, trustworthy friends that will give me candid feedback are helpful. I need to be a student of me.

8. It's not about money. The love of money simply makes me less effective, more selfish to hold onto it, more fearful to lose it, and is a false foundation. Retirement is not in my vocabulary. I want to be a contributing, used up sponge when I die.

9. Control what I can control. Obsessing about things outside my control just frustrate me, get me spinning, and I don't get anything done. I need to learn to be content with the place I'm at today and be responsible for what I've been given to this point in my life.

10. Maximize others because it's about others. Helping other people find Hope, purpose, and Big Rocks in their lives energizes me. We were all meant for more and to be part of God's story. How can I serve others whether in the workplace, in my home, or in my community?

Could there be one or two rocks missing? Sure. Do I have days where I fail to focus on the big rocks and make mistakes? Absolutely. Can I get up tomorrow and try again? In Sarah Palin's words..."You betcha..."

What principles will you live your life by in the next 5 years? 10, 20 years?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 Things I've Learned About Church Online

On the brink of launching idochurchonline.com to our weekend crowd in a few days (November 15th, 6:30 & 8:30 EST), here are 10 things I've learned in these five and a half months:

1. There's a ton I still don't know. I think this would be true for all online church leaders. This is still the bleeding edge trend and there isn't a 25 year old Denomination of Online Churches (thank goodness).

2. Criticism will come. The foundation of how we do church is being shaken. It doesn't set well with a few of those who think you have to attend a physical church to be a fully devoted follower of Christ. (For the record, I'm a huge fan of different churches for different people... the physical church building will continue as a great option for millions) There are valid questions to ponder.

3. The burden of a pastor. My Dad's been a pastor for 40+ years. While my title is Online Church Director, I still feel the weight of the scores of people that will come with needs, questions, and real pain in their lives. I'm reminded you can only lead people where you've been. I have a whole new appreciation for my leaders and my Dad.

4. The unity amongst other Online Churches is inspiring. I am so appreciative of the support from the pioneers ahead of us... The open hand of support and conversations with Life Church and Liquid Church were particularly helpful and motivating. I look forward to the opportunity to meet more of these leaders and find ways of how we can work and learn together. I pray for them often.

5. It's important to identify your audience. Are you primarily serving your current congregation so they can watch services while they're away? Is it for English speaking people only? National? Global? (to name a few) Our programming will continue to need to be evaluated to align with our target audience.

6. New rules for volunteer teams. We already have volunteers outside our of state and country which is incredibile! How do you empower, train, lead, and screen them appropriately? This is certainly a work in progress.... :)

7. Partnering with the right development team was critical. Working for a technology company, I have a whole new appreciation for AspireOne. They were able to shift strategy mid-stream to meet the new challenges and opportunities technology brought. They owned this project as if it were their own site.

8. Most people don't get it. I'm met regularly with a tilted head and crumpled forehead as I try to explain the strategy of Online Church. I think we'll see the light come on more each month that passes. It's a whole new mission field.

9. There are people who "play" church regardless of the location. Checking the box of going to church isn't the church. Going through the motions of taking communion while thinking about what you're going to do when you get home misses its purpose. One's heart determines whether or not they did church or not, online or not. The greatest examples of "being the church" have no walls and typically happen outside of an hour weekend service.

10. God is not afraid of the cloud. (Cloud meaning the internet) God can move through the internet, a fish net, or a New Jersey Net if He wants. It's quite a feeling "knowing" the stories of life change are coming. I can't wait to see what He is going to do....

I'm sure we'll make some mistakes along the way but we'll keep falling forward. Let the ride begin!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lasting Impressions: Mark Waltz Session Innovate 2009

More great stuff from Mark Waltz here.....
  • Will we be responsible for people or to people?

  • I'm not the star of the story... God owns life change, not me.

  • When I think I'm responsible "for" people, I think I have to dictate what their next step is in their walk toward Christ vs. I know they must figure out what their next step is...
  • I talk to God on their behalf vs talking to a lot of people on God's behalf
  • People are responsible for their own actions vs. me feeling the guilt/shame for their actions
  • I share journeys, offer encouragement/teaching vs. never allowing people to wrestle/mess up
  • Our energy is going to be To people and For environments
  • We need to create spaces for people to tell their story... it communicates they matter and can develop a sense of belonging... I'm not alone and my story matters to someone else.
  • When stories take place, my story connects with God's story and to stories of others around me
  • What is space?: Giving people the opportunity to tell their story, a environment to be safe, ask questions, challenge, and where there's grace (my understanding of space)
  • Recommended book: Search to Belong by Joseph Myers
  • For most of us, we won't have more than 4-6 intimate friends our whole life and half of those will be within our family... "I trust this person to a level that I can share anything about my life to them, and I have. He/she has my back and can also share in return and I have their back."
  • Think like a designer, what's the purpose of this environment? Who will use this space? What do we want people to experience in this environment? What do we want people to leave with? Who's responsible for quality control?
  • Goal is to help people to move from visiting to owning... own their journey
  • Look for opportunities to give people "on ramps" to get involved
  • We can't create "personal" spaces but we can control the environment to help people organically find those connections
  • Sometimes "measurables" are selfish in nature. We care more that we want to know we're successful for what we did and for whom. Sometimes stats aren't needed.
  • We decided to be a church "with" small groups, not "of" small groups... a church "of" relationships

Big Idea: Be purposeful about the spaces we create for people to connect

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Well it's coming soon! Granger Community Online Church. Above is a screen shot from a test we did a few weeks ago... for more screen shots and feedback, click here.

Here are some random nuggets and FYI's:
  • I am humbled to be the Online Church Director and will be building volunteer teams and processes as we launch and grow our service offerings- it's a great new challenge!
  • We've launched an Online Church blog here where more information on Online Church and more will be posted
  • We'll be testing for a few more weeks but look for soft launch in Beta mode in October!
  • I am excited about the opportunity for people to literally be able to invite anyone across the globe to go to church, attend the same service, and have an opportunity to discuss what they/we experience together....
  • It's incredible to think we could have volunteer teams from all over the world.... wow.
  • If you're interested in opportunities to volunteer, drop me a line and/or follow the Online church blog

I can't wait to see what God will do! Stay tuned at Idochurchonline.com as we roll out soon!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

2009 Spur Conference: Leaders Collide

On October 1-2, 2009, I will be attending the 2009 Spur Leadership Conference...a unique opportunity to listen to a collision of thought leaders from the church, government, business, technology, and the military. Why?

I am an Operations Manager of a technology firm and just recently am the Online Church Director for Granger Community Church. Everyday my worlds collide with real challenges, how to have faith at work, providing leadership to a team of 58 people, strategizing growth plans, and there are no boxes to compartmentalize. I wouldn't have it any other way.

As leaders:

  • Churches struggle to tap into the strengths of leaders in their communities... what could the Church learn from the expertise' of industry that sit in their seats every Sunday morning?
  • There are leaders in your church waiting for a mountain to climb. Are you working to find BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) opportunities for these entreprenuer leaders to jump in with renewed purpose?
  • There are business men who struggle with how to effectively apply their faith into the culture of their organizations. Paralysis can set in...what's appropriate? What's too much? What's effective?
  • As a business leader, I need to be reminded it's not all about profits and growth. My pendulum can drift into spreadsheets and away from real people with real lives and needs.
  • Business leaders cringe at the inefficiency of many churches and would naturally seem wired to think, "why would I want to invest resources there?". Note to non-profits/churches: effectiveness, excellence, and great management of gifts matters.
  • Marketplace leaders need to be reminded that "to those who much has been given, much is expected..." While building your organizations, have you given as much focus to your "give back" initiatives? What might you be able to do in your community to make a real difference?

Straddling the blend of marketplace and ministry can be daunting. I need tools to help me manage on the front lines... There are only a few events a year that offer this unique mix, I hope to meet you there!

You and your team can register here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Marriage Blues"

Marriage is not easy. It takes work. It can suck the life out of you and days or weeks can be very "low". The past 6 weeks for Kem and I was a challenging stretch along with observing strain in several marriages around us.

When I got married, I didn't think these thoughts would ever come to mind: "Did I marry the wrong person?" "Is this going to be my life for the next 40 years?" "Life would just be better if I was single..."

I'm sure I have plenty to learn in the upcoming years but here are some observations of myself and people around me:

  • Pace is an enemy of intimacy. Kem and I are both very driven and task oriented. If not kept in check, we can accelerate to consume more and more white space in our calendars. Action: Protect the balance of work, ministry, and time to keep "margin" in our schedules.
  • Today's snapshot is not a reflection of reality. Emotions can drive us in the valley... once my emotional tank is on "Empty" it can be hard to get our relationship moving again. Action: Identify what fills my tank to help me be a better spouse... A little time away? Coffee with a friend to get perspective?
  • Men don't listen so literal. When we fight...if I hear "always" or "never" I tend to break out the spreadsheet of time identifying all the times when I DID clean out the sink, plan a date night, or got home at the right time. Action: Weed out the always and nevers and try to understand the message behind the frustration. Women, never say always. Always say something different.
  • Your Purpose is life is bigger than your marriage. Having a common purpose bigger than Kem and I has been a lifesaver and glue for our marriage. Our marriage is a subset of our purpose, not THE purpose. I want to be a better husband BECAUSE of the purpose God has for my life... Action: God has called us to bring Hope and Love to a dying world, what does that look like for you as a couple?
  • Get Outside Help. Communication is too broad of a difficulty to manage alone in marriage. Close friends and professional counselors are part of our "life board of directors". Men and women are crazy different. Action: Don't believe the lie that counselors are for the weak or that you don't need help, they can take your marriage from average to good and from good to great.

Over the last few days we've been dumping our boat again and swinging the pendulum back into a healthier place and pace. The good news is that we still like each other. :)

How do you maximize your marriage? What helps you when you feel like there's no hope? Do you have a Purpose bigger than your marriage?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Watching Greatness

I absolutely love this picture. My daughter Emmi watching Tiger Woods walking up a fairway at the Buick Open in Michigan a week ago...

We had the opportunity to watch Tiger do what Tiger does.... when leading going into the 4th round, he is an amazing 35-1 only losing one time when in the lead on the final day (I believe when he was 20). He didn't disappoint, crowd was going crazy, and it will be a day I'll never forget.

What happens to you when you watch greatness?

It seems people respond one of two ways.... "I want to be like that... I want to be great at SOMETHING..." inspired to keep falling forward to find it...

Or.... people shut down... "There's no way I could ever do that... I'm just not that smart, talented, athletic...."

What triggers in my mind is about another great Person that walked down fairways... A sick woman did everything she could do to touch Him, Zacchaeus climbed a tree to see Greatness, and people ripped off roofs to help a friend get to Him. Jesus is Greatness.

What happens when you think of Greatness?

We were all made for more. For a purpose. God has a good, pleasing, perfect will for our lives...

Do you have drivers in your life that encourage you to your purpose or are you focused on the wedges that get in the way?

Friday, August 7, 2009

2009 Willow Creek Leadership Conference Final Thoughts

What's stuck in my head from the 2009 Willow Creek Leadership Conference?
  • I need to work to be great at mobilizing people and making it easy for them to launch in ministry or in business... Eliminate hurdles, it's about the team, and give them the freedom to thrive... "We is smarter than me"
  • The generation behind me is where I need to spend my focus- empower people and help them light up to change the world
  • Locally, work with key business leaders to light a charge in something... Connect the dots of great leaders, the upcoming generation, Online Church, and be flexible to what the collaboration of great conversations may bring.... and then "do".
  • Identify the big problems and hurdles facing our business and church and find small, simple steps of solutions to get them moving
  • Be candid about me, to my team, and the real truths of what we're facing... Don't be stuck in what's comfortable and build trust
  • Lots still processing....

What about you? How are you going to respond? May His will be done...


Session 9: Tony Blair

Tony Blair
  • Just because you're in leadership, it doesn't mean you're not full of self doubt at times
  • "Conventional wisdom can be the comfortable thing to do... Many times the comfortable thing is not the right thing".
  • Leadership... you have positions inside of you that you'll take a stand for... it's not about being inflexible, it's about having an "irreducibile core"... You're then faced with the fact that your view is uncomfortable for many others... You need to stick to you guns...
  • "My final duty is to do what I felt was right..." Need to be willing to stand or fall on those beliefs
  • "It was helpful to know that I'm willing to walk away from my position"- that thought was comforting to stick to what he thought was right
  • Leaders generally know when they make comfortable decisions vs. leading
  • How do you balance doubt vs. being real/vulnerable with those following you? The process of doubt is positive and right. And some point, you need to set aside fear and be willing to take a step and the responsibility for that decision.
  • Would have never imagined when he took office in 1997 that he would have to make decisions about 4 military conflicts
  • "How can faith not impact and be part of your decision-making?"
  • Faith and it's role in the world is an enormous potent force for good or bad...
  • We can engage in action with people of other faiths to change the world
  • Negotiating... find common ground...You have a strategic objective should be based on principle... to get there, there are difficult, tactical compromises that come along the way...
  • How to lead in a crisis? Are you going to point a finger or make a statement about our unity? Make it clear upfront we are united and we're not going to allow this to divide us.
  • How do you process pain and disappointment? Count your blessings... His wife, "What are you complaining about? It's a privilege to do what you do..."
  • The privilege of leadership should outweigh the pain and frustration that comes along the way
  • Leadership is a blessing, a gift you've been given, no matter how challenging... it's your duty to do it... The way the world works no matter what you do... Without leaders things don't get done.... The joy of getting stuff done makes it worth the pain you will experience along the way..."

Session 8: Bono The Church...3 Years Later

  • Interview a few years ago, God used Bono’s voice to inspire change within the church in attacking the issue of global hunger
  • In Kennedy’s Presidency, we put a man on the moon…. What are we capable of?
  • “The problems we can fix, we should.”
  • “It’s an offense to Christ and any sense of Truth that a 20 cent AIDS immunization can’t be handled to save lives.” The church is stepping up, a sleeping giant has been awakened... over 2 million Africans have been impacted in 3 years...
  • It’s a tough conflict of how to determine what resources need to be used locally vs. globally to make the biggest impact.
  • Bono wrote "Where the Streets Have No Name" when in streets of poverty
  • "U2's best work is when we don't know what we're doing..."
  • "Someone outside the church said you had to get off your butt"- (Thanks Bono...)
  • "It's been a hard year but I know someone has it worse"- Waitress giving to the AIDS effort at her church.....
  • We couldn't find 25 billion to save millions of people struggling with AIDS in Africa, yet when we had a financial crisis, we had no problem to come up with 700 billion to bailout banks...
  • Bono resists the church with a fear of denominationalism... enjoys going to a variety of churches...
  • "I find it hard to take a lifeless ceremony.." (that he sees in many churches)
  • Churches should have humility, be authentic, demonstrate honesty... with leaders being real.... Bono's advice to church leaders
  • Understand what you can do and give based on who you are... Are you a soccer coach? Use Soccer? Are you a musician, use your music... We all have something we can uniquely bring...
  • "Whenever I see Grace, I am moved..."
  • There's always resistence in the ongoing journey of equality... whether it's Jews...blacks...women...denominations... where does it start/stop for you?

The world is not impressed by a lifeless, pomp & circumstance church.

Session 7: Chip & Dan Heath "Switch"

  • Chip & Dan Heath
    Books: Made to Stick, Switch

  • What needs to change in my organization? What stands out right now
  • We’ve all chosen change in our lives, why would we say we’re resistant to change? We chose to get married, have kids…
  • We face internal battles anytime we want to change….
  • John Hyde, “A human rider sitting on top of a 6 ton elephant… the rider and the elephant need to align for change to happen.” The rider has to convince the elephant there’s something worthy to change.
  • In talking to first graders, a vision, “If you work hard this year, I can make you as smart as a third grader by the end of the year…” Keep the vision tangible for the world your “elephants” live in…
  • If we have 9 ministries and 2 are working well, (5 are OK, 2 aren’t working)- focus on the top 2 that are working well and investigate… these are the things that produce a bright spot…. Study it and clone it.
  • Solutions oriented therapy: “What was different when things were going well? “ It shows we’re capable of doing really well- (In marriage, alcoholics, etc)
  • “All this stuff is true but useless”… In solving poverty, big problems, don't focus on the problems and issues, look at the places where success was happening...
  • One guy went into a village to see what was working with poverish families that were able to bring nutrition to their kids.... ultimately 2.2 million people were impacted with new solutions
  • Big problems.... steps of small solutions...
  • The "rider" can get bogged down in true but useless information. The "elephant" is unmotivated...
  • A high school student asked that people would spend 10% more of their budgets within their county/local economy... in Minor County, taxes increased 15 million a year later.... Small solution, big change
  • Shrink the change: Find one topic that can appeal to a 20-something scheduled at the right time... If you feel overwhelmed by a big problem, try to find small victories that show effectiveness and give us hope
  • We owe it to people to prepare them for adversity... prepare our team, clients, and people of what to expect
  • Company: Ideo U-shaped curve, project will start out with hope to fix a problem (on a high), a dip/valley is going to come called Insight (struggle), and end with a peak of Confidence on how we're going to move forward.
  • Tiger Woods made a decision to overhaul his swing even when he was already the best. Some people have a growth mindset. With work I can become a.... (fill in the blank)
  • Built into a growth mindset is a tolerence for failure... a necessary step to success... Failure is a necessity of success. "Failure could be a warning sign to success."
  • Thomas Watson, founder of IBM.... employee lost the company 10 million dollars... Employee was worried about losing his job... Thomas Watson said, "Are you kidding? I just made a 10 million investment in you!"
  • Find out what is the situation that is happening in people's lives rather than label them as "uncommitted", etc...
  • 63% of seminary students stopped to help someone in need when they thought they had time... only 10% when they thought they were running late for something...
  • Good leaders find ways to make it as easy as possible for people to connect... make it easy for the "elephant" by giving them a path that is downhill rather than uphill...
  • If you're married and have kids, you've already gone through bigger changes than anything we will encounter in the workplace or any big social issue you're looking to change.

Session 6: David Gergen Eyewitness to Power

David Gergen
Book: Eyewitness to Power

  • Leadership is a journey, each one of us needs to take our own path… but people can help you along in your journey

  • A teacher of leadership cannot produce a leader, but you can make people aware of the principles of leadership and introduce them to role models

  • Can you create a culture within your organization to serve and lead each other?
    BH: How does a leader get better?

  • What are you doing to improve your leadership? We have to do it…

  • Reflective practice: Where you learn leadership is in the doing it and continually reading

  • Harry Truman only President that didn’t go to college but he worked to be self-educated…. Was one of the most educated Presidents in the 20th century

  • Not every reader is a leader, but every leader is a leader- Harry Truman

  • Leaders need to take time to reflect on what’s working , not working, digest, discuss

  • Leaders confuse motion with progress… doesn’t mean you’re leading well

  • Great leaders choose their big goals and go after them tenaciously…. And get feedback along the way…

  • What do you hope to accomplish in 6 weeks? After 6 weeks, reflect and evaluate how you did….

  • 1940 election, Roosevelt, rather than have meetings, he went fishing… It gave him time to think… Out of it he came up with Lend/Lease plan for World War 2…

  • Our best leaders have enough self confidence to take time away to think, reflect, and clear their heads…
    Most Admirable qualities of:

  • Richard Nixon- Best strategist, could look into the future 20-30 years… someone who can look farther back can look farther ahead… Understanding the past opens up the future
    Weakness: There were people that appealed to his bright and dark side…. Nixon had demons he could not control that eventually brought him down….

  • Gerald Ford- Most decent President, can you be too decent and not effective leader? Nice guys don’t finish last… We seem to prize people who are decent because they are so rare…. Ford looks better and better as we look back on history
    Weakness: A little naïve, sometimes people took advantage of him.

  • Ronald Reagan- Best leader in the White House since Roosevelt… very principled, contagious optimism on life…. If you’re around leaders like that…. “We can make it…” …. It’s exciting to be part of…
    Weakness: Detachment, sometimes let others put their hands on the wheel… if he had a good team all was well…. His second team wasn’t so strong… Don’t entrust to a mediocre team…

  • Bill Clinton- Quick mind, tactical…. Would pick up a NY Times crossword puzzle in the middle of conversations… Was resilient… Always willing to get back up… He’s back…
    Weakness: Cracks in his character… he should have come clean and asked for forgiveness … he should have been straight with the American people

  • “Sometimes the right hand does not know what the far right hand is doing”- Ronald Reagan

  • “Moses came down from the mountain with the 10 commandments, CNN now here with the top 3”

  • Great leaders with flaws…. Maturity is coming to grips with your flaws and being self-aware… We need to be realistic that your flaws can’t “derail” you…. Kept in check…. Expectations on leaders can unrealistic

  • Martin Luther King was a great moral leader but had a chaotic private life… How do we reconcile? However, he never claimed to be a saint… he was trying to be better….

  • We should be more forgiving about people…. Press should be tougher on people in their public lives but less invasive in people’s private lives…

  • Leadership does not need to be lonely. The days of the Lone Ranger are over… Great leaders should be engaged with a great team of other leaders… Leaders should be collaborating with other leaders outside their group… “We build things together”

  • If you want to go fast…go alone, if you want to go far…. Go together

  • Leadership is working with others to achieve shared goals…. It’s increasingly about trust and communication.

  • Symbols matter to people. “V” for victory – Churchill

  • Speakers... Who the speaker is speaks as loudly as anything they say... listeners are trying to figure out who matters and who they should be listening to... are they being straight with me?

  • Aristotle understood public speaking, 3 elements: ethos (personality, believability) logos (logic of what is being said) pathos (ability to appeal to emotion)

  • Great speeches should be 15-20 minutes... only about 25% of the audience is still paying attention after 30 minutes...

  • Should be a rhythm to a speech, appealing to emotion with a call to action

  • Personal habits of leaders: self discipline, regular habits, physically fit helps...leadership can be grueling, reflection time in your day, time in your day with people you cherish

  • People in loving relationships at age 50 tend to live longer

  • What DG hopes for from a church: Find inner peace/quiet, not about you but something Larger, wants to learn something from pastor or reading, and an anchor in life

  • Whether your a Christian, Jew, Muslim... spiritual make-up helps you find your moral compass in your leadership

Take time to reflect. It's about a building a team.

Session 6: Wess Stafford Compassion International

Compassion International

  • How do we leverage the pain and hurt in our lives for ministry?
  • People aren't going to care what you know until they know why you care about what you know
  • Age 10, first act of leadership... spent 9 months at a boarding school in Africa... candle with two wicks, Boarding House leader lit candle on both ends while Wess had to hold the candle... abusive leadership overseeing missionarie's kids... Beatings were a regular event...
  • "BC" Before candle, "AD" After the Damage...
  • He held onto the candle and got his mission in that moment of pain... "I will protect children, I will stand against this injustice.."
  • Wess was being beaten 17 times a week, 50 plus kids abused physically and sexually
  • As a kid I thought, "I must be evil the way I'm being beaten and abused... an angry God.."
  • "If you tell your parents, it will destroy their ministries...." Kids learned to be silent, all 50 of them...
  • A village helped restore him, the poor taught him love, joy, and peace...
  • Poverty and abuse speaks the same language to kids...."Just give up... no one cares about you..."
  • What's your cause? Does it lead you to tears? What moves you?
  • "Nothing? Please... don't live like that... don't lead like that..."
  • Look at yourself in the mirror.... spend 30 minutes... Who are you? What do you care about? Why do I lead what I lead? Is your passion driven by pain or success?
  • Forgiveness is giving up your right for revenge.... Unforgiveness is an open invitation to bondage in your lives by our enemy

How is the greatest pain in your life affecting you? Driving your passion or harboring resentment and anger? What do you need to forgive?

Session 5b: Aid vs Trade Andrew Rugasira

  • What thoughts come to mind when you think of Africa? Poverty, disease, AIDS..?
  • "I view Africa as 900 million entrepreneurs who are able to live on $1 a day"
  • Africa, 53 countries.... how we view Africa dictates how we will invest our time and efforts towards Africa
  • The international community split the continent into borders often breaking up families, relationships... creating dysfunctional development
  • Founded African Coffee in 2003
  • Africans are best placed to solve their problems
  • Integrity is about being truthful about what we need to do to get out of a difficult situation
  • There have been a lot of well meaning people thinking Aid would help the continent... No country in the world has developed through handouts... (China, India? All by trade)
  • Trade is the only way to bring sustainable change in communities, train them out of poverty
  • Took 14 trips to the UK (from Uganda) to get distribution going with the coffee...
  • Africa produces only 2% of world GDP
  • People tend to lump all African countries as the same.... one problem in one country and we can think it bleeds into all of Africa.... risky...
  • "I'm looking for people to give me shelf space, not handouts"
  • We need to change the conversation about Africa
  • In 1995 Aid was at it's highest, yet that same year was the lowest GDP- Aid isn't the answer... it undermines accountability
  • Buying African products best helps Africa, it employs people and allows them to continue to develop

Trade. Not Aid. Rethink and change the conversation about Africa.

Session 5: David Gibbons Third Culture Leaders

More on David Gibbons here:


  • 2 Key commandments, love God, love your neighbor
  • We developed a “consumeristic” church
  • 3rd culture leader: Adaptation… painful Adaptation… learn and live in any culture even if it’s painful
  • When we love people that aren't like us, people will notice. When we hang out with people only like ourselves…that’s just normal.
  • 3rd culture leaders is about the misfits, not the masses
  • If you want to make a change in culture, you need to go after the early adopters, the people in the margins…. The fringe/misfits lead us
  • Dooce.com…. over a million people follow her tweets, thousands follow her blog
  • Vision typically starts with leader to Exec Team, to masses…. Normal…. In God’s model, the fringes lead from the outside/masses inward to vision
  • Ask the question, who’s the outsider in our community or in the margins that may lead innovation?
  • 3rd culture leaders have different metrics for success…. Normal… up and to the right… Reality is that failure IS success to God
  • Your weakness/failure is a gift from God
  • Most of the world doesn't understand America's success, but they do understand failure
  • More important than strengths are peoples' stories... do we assess people on their story?
  • Relationships trump vision. You can't have a great vision without relationships
  • We need more relationaries over visionaries- different metric for 3rd culture leaders
  • Change priorities to 70/30.... What are you spending your 70% on? Equipping leaders or creating messages, hung-up on tasks?
  • Redesign space, let local leaders design the space, let the fringe lead
  • Obedience more important than passion
  • 4 acts of obedience: Deeper collaboration.... outside of just our church/organization, Communal living... group of families choose a neighborhood... Prayer... do we really believe in the power of the Spirit, if so, wouldn't we pray? Radical sacrifice for the outsider... put aside material possessions... comfort

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Session 4b: Against All Odds Harvey Carey

  • I grew up "Po".... I wish I was "Poor"

  • Called to Detroit, the poorest city in one of the hardest hit states in our current economy

  • 9 churches positioned themselves against him because he was trying to be multi-cultural

  • "For all of you who aren't used to having nothing, welcome to the rest of the world... now you get the opportunity to see how God can do much with little"

  • Is your staff "Equipers", energizing and equiping volunteers?

  • How many "binders" do you need to do ministry? No more binders! Do the work of the ministry.

  • We need to invest more time for equiping.... members need to take ownership for the work.. genuinely engage them in the work

  • Do we ever break out of our "huddles" simply showing up to church or are we "in the game"... Get out of your huddle and change the world!

  • The things we learn we actually do! How many Leadership Summits have you been to but have done nothing?

  • "Urban Huddles"- They have 100 men campout at the biggest crack houses in their community, don't camp in the woods, campout on the front lines

  • They've touched everyone in their zip code

  • Think..... how can we best launch people? Wherever they are, whomever they are, and whatever resources they may or may not have?

  • We have a lid of, "When we have this, then we can do that..." "When we have this much $$$, then we can do this..."

  • When you have nothing, only God can get the glory.... When you're heavily resourced, sometimes "we" can get in the way or leak credit to other places...

  • If darkness is present in your community, then light is absent... Detroit has more churches per capita in America but remains a "dark" city...

  • When we leave this summit or some other conference you're at right now... are you adding another binder on the shelf or are you going to act?

Session 4a: Jessica Jackley and the KIVA Story

  • “My parents convinced me I could do anything and I believed them.”
  • “I can do something of ultimate significance.”
  • Learned about Microfinance in school, the power of a small amount of capital, and the difference it would make for poverished entrepreneurs
  • kiva.org Individuals can go to site and view profiles of people they can loan to... as little as $25 can be loaned... Average loan size is $500-$600.... average contribution is just over $100
  • Repayment rate is 98.5%
  • The fact people are out there that care is bigger to the entrepreneurs than the money in many cases
  • Meritocracy- "The Best Ideas Win"
  • We create tools to make it easier for people to expand the vision, Open Source, co-creation
  • What- Connect People, How- Through Lending, Why- Poverty Alleviation (Mission)
  • Decisions are made against the vision... they've turned down millions of dollars when it was "off-vision"
  • Common purpose is the best way to predict outcomes in an unpredictable environment
  • The church should be the greatest place for the life of new ideas, innovation, and revitalization
  • The loan is an opportunity for connection with people
  • Give people the opportunity to "experience" the joy of giving, don't "tell" them why they should give
  • "I hope fear never causes us to not take chances, pioneer, and new risks..."
  • Don't be afraid to start small... have the patience to work with one person at a time and eventually work to scale
  • Start. You'll learn more actually doing rather than getting bogged down in a business plan for too long
  • When we truly believe in the possibility of one another, you don't have to convince people to act. People will respond.
  • Theoretically, a Kenyan food stand worker could some day loan to a San Francisco entrepreneur and continue to build the world community

Session 3: Leading People to the Prodigal God Tim Keller

Tim Keller - Teaching based on the Prodigal Son story

  • Dirty little secret- pastors are amazed at how spiritually dead so much of their congregation is….
  • So few people do most of the work
  • Prodigal son story was more about the good son… Both sons were about the Father's "things", not the "Father"
  • There's two ways to get the Father's things.... by being really bad and by being really good... both ways can reject God
  • Are we "good" to get our Father's "things"?
  • At the end of the parable, the "bad" son is saved, the "good" son is lost... He was alienated to God because he thought he was so good and had expectations on God
  • Religion says "I obey therefore I'm accepted"... Gospel believers: "Because of what Christ did, I obey"
  • Everything is your's, already done, and you're the light of the one Person who's opinion matters
  • The source of spiritual deadness: Elder brothers that believe through their works they are standing with God based on their performance.... self-centeredness, pride, you don't see the fruits of the Spirit
  • Elder brothers get incredibly angry when things don't go well.... furious at God because they are owed... Instead of believing they're saved by Grace, they ultimately believe they are owed and therefore spiritually dead
  • Elder brothers when criticized either get furious or are crushed... They have such a high personal image of themselves
  • Elder brothers pray for things when going bad... there's no intimacy...
  • If your self image is based on having the right doctrine, you'll look down on those who disagree with you
  • Elder brothers can't forgive... You can't stay angry and bitter at someone unless you feel superior to others...
  • Our churches are filled with elder brothers.... to varying degrees
  • We need to get to new levels of repentence and new levels of rejoicing
  • Until you know how to repent for the reasons for your "right" doing- there's no renewal.
  • The dysfunction of why you do "right" things can be the lid to your spiritual renewal.
  • There was no way to bring the younger brother back without paying the costs out of the elder brother's inheritance.
  • The elder brother was not a brother, he was a Pharisee
  • Christ was the ultimate, right elder brother that paid a high cost to bring us home
  • Church renewal starts with squeezing the bad elder brother squeezed out of us
  • "Ask Jesus into your heart" can be miscontrued to working to be like Jesus sometimes creating a dysfunction elder brother
  • The leader needs to first work this out of his/her own heart.... Ultimately, am I really trying to be good for me? Ugh.
  • Are you overworking in your ministry because of your dysfunctional basis of success based on numbers in your congregation, etc.?
  • Let's believe our Gospel a little more today so we can give our money away more freely...
  • Teaching should be gospel centered, not morally centered
  • Share personal transformation to your leaders
  • Let the leader's spread it through groups or congregation
  • When you have gracious disagreements, people coming to you saying they've been going to church a long time but don't think they've been saved.... you may be seeing some spiritual transformation within your church
  • Book: The Prodigal God

Session 2: Manage Differently Now- Gary Hamel

Gary Hamel

  • Are you changing as fast as the culture and world around you?

  • The variables between Christians and non-Christians are hardly noticable

  • 9 of 10 Americans have a faith in a spiritual being

  • 82% of young non-believers have been to church at least once.... most disconnect within 8-12 weeks

  • Is the problem God's message or our methods?

  • All to often, churches haven't been "attractive" to the outside world

  • Churches are losing market share... attendance is going down...

  • We're challenged by fast paced culture, skepticism, angst over all large organizations, and more

  • Maybe we should be thankful that less people are "going through the motions" and playing church

  • Maybe we should be thankful that young people are forcing us to be clearer in our message and knowing what we believe and why

  • When internal change lags, external changes- your organization could be in trouble

  • Our problem is inertia.

  • The pace of change has gone hyper-critical.... population, energy consumption, internet usage, and more....

  • "The world is becoming more turbulent faster than most organizations are becoming resilient"

  • Around 40 years of age a church tends to plateau

  • Visions become strategies, strategies to processes.... business entrophy

  • Success is a self-correcting phenomina

  • The same change by eliminating the head of an organization is similar to dictators in 3rd world countries....

  • "Every organization is successful until it's not."- Are we in denial?

  • Cycle: Dismiss, Rationalize, Mitigate, Confront - Can be seen in boardrooms and bedrooms

  • How to deal with denial- get the facts. Numbers don't lie. Just present reality candidly.

  • Question your beliefs. Question "how" you do things. have humility, listen to the renegades, do we welcome dissent or do we styful?

  • Learn from the fringes in ministry, business, and world

  • The future has already happened but is not equally distributed

  • Organizations can be stuck with what they have and hold on to it rather than looking at

  • Leaders need to make change look more exciting than standing still

  • Are we listening to people on our teams to foster new, innovative ideas?

  • Most of what we do today is going to be irrelevant in the future.

  • Collaborate ideas online: Example: "Dell Ideastorm"

  • Hard to create new ideas if you can't deconstruct what you're currently doing, our orthodoxes....

  • What hasn't changed in 3-5 years? Why?

  • Compare to competition, what's identical and not unique?

  • Examples of myths: Church happens in church, more programs means more impact, we need to multi-site with the same cookie cutter styled church we currently have

  • Are you more committed to redemption, renewal, and reconciliation vs. programs, policies, and practices of your church? Would you be willing to give up some practices for someone's redemption?

  • When the mental models of the leadership team diminish faster than their authority, your organization could be in trouble.... Old leadership can hold an organization hostage to change.

  • It's easier for renegades to launch start-ups rather than change old, rigid organizations.

  • Are we building an organization that can thrive without dynamic leadership at the top?

  • Leader's Job: Mobilize, connect, support "Leaderless organizations"

  • People want to be a part of a community, not a hierarchy

  • Online, natural hierarchy/leadership.... as soon as the value you're creating diminishes, the less your leadership becomes.... Be relevant and add value.

  • The Facebook generation isn't interested in working for a Forturne 500 company or attend a church that looks/acts like one....

  • Maybe we need to try a little "disorganized" ministry... empower people

Panel: "Hiring, Firing, and Board Meltdowns"

Henry Cloud
David Ireland
Patrick Lencioni
Carly Fiorina
Bill Hybels

  • Do people have "cultural" connection- will they fit in your organization and/or lead within-DI
  • "If you haven't had a date in 10 years, everyone looks good"- HC
  • People see what they want to see, and many times first impressions are simply wrong- CF
  • What are the 2 or 3 behavior things that are critical, if they don't have them, we don't want them- PL
  • Interviews can be set-up and practiced.... spend time with them in situations outside of work if possible
  • What would other people say about you? PL
  • Ask the same question 3 times throughout the interview... open ended, be patient... PL
  • Ask conversational questions, not yes/no- DI
  • The less you talk, better. Ask them more questions about their answers... - HC
  • Clear, strong cultures needed- the people that fit there tend to be drawn to them, people that don't they are repulsed.... look around here, if you're not like this, you're going to hate it... People can self-select themselves in... PL
  • Clear job description, competencies, personality, needs... -DI
  • Why are we hiring, what we're expecting, what is the result we're looking to achieve communicated upfront. - CF
  • Create a process for HR, put the right people with those skills in those roles, and let the process work- HC Do you have a process for hiring with the right people involved?


  • Board needs to have it's own set of values, tone, behavior on how they'll work together- HC
  • Make sure the board agreed to have outsiders to the meeting- DI
  • Trust needs to be built within the core team, get to know them, so people can be vulnerable with each other- PL
  • Take 10 minutes at the end of each meeting and ask, "how did we do?"- HC
  • What does it take for a team to be functional? How do we handle tough conversations? Who is the final decision-maker? - CF
  • You got to have the right people on the board- can they help move the ship forward? If not, why are they on the board? - DI
  • Term limits recommended- 2-6 years possibly... DI
  • Board member "exhaustion", 4 year terms at Willow, step out for a year- BH
  • Size of board, 6-14, need to be able to have an immune system with a strong team- DI/HC


  • When someone is let go, they should not be surprised- CF
  • It is not compassionate to be honest with people, be candid with care so they have real feeedback of what's working and not working -CF
  • When you approach people with candor, they're either improve or begin to realize it's not a fit- PL
  • 3 steps/questions... Have I trained them properly? Could they be repositioned? Then, "retire" them...- DI
  • Create a 30-90 day plan of probation, plan, feedback for HR process- DI
  • "This isn't working, what can we do to make it work?"- PL
  • Willow ranks A, B, C- 2 times a year, feedback on how to get to the next level... - BH
  • "The kindness form of management is the truth"- Jack Welch
  • "Are you prepared to de-motivate your strong performers by leaving non-performers around?" - PL
  • When firing, if I had to be the one let go, how would I want to be treated? Try to put yourself in their shoes- HC
  • The more clarity you can give people as they're let go in the process helps people when they're being thrusted into "unclear" waters...- CF
  • Work to "honor" people in the process- BH

Session 1: "Leading in a New Reality" Bill Hybels

Rogue waves can be as high as 80 feet tall, captains look ahead to sea forecasts and will not travel if these conditions exist...

  • We've been hit by an "economic" rogue wave... we're all leading in a new reality as it's nearly impossible to predict what the future holds
  • The "old normal" may not come back for a long time if ever
  • Rough patches force new levels of courage and creativity, it's not optional anymore
  • Prioritization and resource allocations get very focused
  • Leaders were created for times like this, teams can form their strongest bonds in the hardest times
  • What is coming out of you in these tough times that calm seas never bring?
  • October, 2008, stock market dropped 1800 points, people starting losing their jobs in droves- When the wave hit, strategies had to change on a dime.
  • In the hardest of times, what a great opportunity for the church to step up and step in to the crisis. Do we still believe the local church is the hope of the world?
  • "Some of you have never been on the receiving side of giving... you may need to humble yourselves and be willing to be served."
  • Is your church "being the church"? Are you stepping into this opportunity?
  • As individuals and leaders of business, are we rolling our sleeves up to help more now than even?
  • Willow has created margin before and after their services to help people relieve the added tension and stress they are feeling through worship, the arts, prayer... an added 5-20 minutes before and after the service
  • Financial planning when revenue is going down while needs are rising is tough, the numbers don't add up...
  • Jack Welch, "In a crisis, cash is king." All organizations need cash reserves to help buy "time" to make adjustments. 25% of annual needs in long term cash reserves, individuals 6 months of earnings
  • Make 3 buckets, A/B/C... C- If your revenue dropped 50%, these would be the initiatives to go, Bucket B- 75% of revenue lost, what would go? Bucket A- The thing we would never stop doing...
  • When cuts are made, try to give people to give months notice, not days... be generous in severance packages
  • Willow budget standards: 50% of revenue to staff, 10% given away, 10% "wins of the spirit" flexible planning for budget changes mid-course , 15% ministry budgets, 15% facilities/utilities/debt service.... adjust accordingly
  • People will still give money to a white hot vision... How's your vision? How are you communicating it?
  • People will still be incredibly generous if you teach them, lead them, and cast the vision
  • 2 Chronicles 16:9 God is looking for people that are "fully" for Him... He wants to use us and pour out His plan through us
  • Are we creating working environments to fully allow our people to soar?
  • "How the Mighty Have Fallen"- Jim Collins book..... How many absolute key leadership seat positions in your organization? What % of those key people are filled by those key people? What is our plan for filling the rest of those seats with those key people? Are we developing back-up positions for those key seats for those key people?
  • How are you managing this new reality? Are you taking care of you? Can you sustain yourself at the current pace and pressure? How are you replenishing yourself?
  • "The pace at which I'm doing the work of God is destroying God's work in me"- BH 20 years ago in his journal
  • Romans 8:6 When you're in sync with the Spirit, you're full of life and peace.... Are you filled up?
  • The more your tank empties, the more fallout that's happening to the people around you
  • Who fills you up? Who depletes you? Fill your tank, hang out with "fillers"....
  • "When I listen to God more slowly, he speaks to me more clearly"- BH devotional time
  • The best thing you can bring to your team, company, organization, and family is a "filled up bucket"... What are your followers seeing from you these days?
  • God is not done. Hold on to Him... he wants to do great things in our day and through your leadership.

Friday, July 31, 2009

We Can Learn From Old People

Last weekend, I had a great opportunity to go on a Boyz Weekend Road Trip to a Tigers/Sox game and the Baseball Hall of Fame for the Induction Ceremony of the greatest player of all time, Jim Rice. OK, I'm biased.

The best part of the trip however was the chance to spend a weekend with three generations of Meyer's, most importantly, my Dad (pictured here named after Mel Ott).

On the way home, we had a chance to talk about what his legacy is, what matters, what he's learned... We all have a lot we can learn from the "experienced"...

  • Have a Foundation. My Dad has always been a strong, Bible-believing Christ follower. It's made decisions in his life easier as he's had a consistent guide of Truth. He's quite possibly the most faithful person I know.
  • Be Different. My Dad is an odd bird and he owns it (whether he knows it or not)... and it's good. God didn't use a cookie cutter when he created us, quit trying to be like someone else's crumbs.
  • Be Rich in the Things Money Can't Buy. I've only heard this 1,232,413 times in my life from my Dad but it's true. He doesn't have much money but he's got a warehouse full of relationships and purpose that is priceless. Choose people over possessions.
  • Retire and Expire. "Father" is still preaching and serving a church part time at age 72...his purpose isn't done, he is tracking to be "all used up" until the day he's called home...
  • Finish what you Start. Married almost 50 years, he's modeled commitment to his bride. (He did have it pretty easy though marrying the greatest woman in his generation). Whether marriage or sports teams, he's always modeled and taught to stick it out.
  • You can live a lifetime and never know who Madonna is. Yes, it's true, I don't think he knows. Along with Lost, Hannah Montana, and 93% of the other top cultural people or shows that exist today. You don't have to know what's up to make a difference...maybe we can spend less time trying to keep up.

My Dad has left his Mark... I hope to extend his lessons to future generations... And quite possibly, his greatest days are still ahead. He's a great man that I love.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"It's Easier to be a Far Right Whacko"

It's easier to be a far right whacko. Whacko in the nicest sense of the word...

For that matter... any belief systems, sets of rules, political bent (whether far right or far left) that gives me my marching orders to live by regardless of the reactions and input around us is an easier road.
  • If I alienate people around me, it's OK because my "cause" is bigger than them- it's OK if they think I'm a whacko because they're just wrong
  • Slowly the people that disagree with me will gradually fall away and I'll be surrounded with people that think just like me
  • If I do enter conversations, it's primarily to "help" people understand why what they believe is wrong with a smile on my face
  • It eliminates confusion because EVERYTHING is black and white

What's harder?

  • To live in the conversation. Am I creating more conversations or shutting people down when talking about my faith or issues?
  • Building a friendship. Am I seeking to understand and learning about a new friend or am I offering premature, drive-by opinions?
  • To be silent. Am I willing to process and filter statements made or do I feel the need to always speak my mind?
  • Having my actions speak louder than my words. Am I living a life and carrying myself at work in a way that's attracting people or am I repelling people because of my engrained, rigid beliefs?
  • Crossing the line and mistakes. Living in the conversation has me on a line at times that I screw up in what I do or say (and regret). Sometimes I can be too loose and managing the edge can be very difficult.

I believe we can be strong, bold and effective. I believe I'm forgiven for my mistakes. I want to genuinely love and care for people. But this is the much harder road.

If you're stuck on the word "whacko" still- point made.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Can You REALLY go to Church Online?

After attending several churches online over the past few weeks, a number of questions could be raised:

  • Can you really count it as "going to church" by watching online?
  • Isn't it a challenge to build community online vs. being part of a local church?
  • Can God move through people through a computer? Can life change actually happen?
  • Can one grow in their spiritual life and disciplines online?
  • Can one give and contribute to a church online and have their entrusted resources put to good work?
  • Can I connect with people online and build relationships?
  • Could it be harder for some to stay "engaged" and drift away from having God as a priority in their lives?
  • Could this cause weekend attendance to go down (or continue to go down) at brick and mortar churches all across the globe?
  • Should church leaders invest time in understanding the online culture and the new opportunities and challenges it brings?
  • Will it be a normal reaction for many to immediately discount it as a fad and immediate try to find the negative?
  • Will it stir up fear?
  • Could it be revolutionary?
  • Can God handle both and move as He pleases?

I would answer "yes" to all these questions. More on this to come soon.... Your thoughts?

Friday, June 5, 2009

10 Qualities of a Great Job Candidate

I've had the opportunity to interview several strong candidates (and some weak one's) over the past few months for various positions at our company- here are 10 qualities and actions that have stood out to me:

  • Quality follow-up response: When someone takes notes during our discussions and follows the interview with a quality recap of what we talked about with a few value added nuggets for our company- it's rare and refreshing. A follow-up "thank you note" is one thing, taking the extra time to address something we talked about... better.
  • They've done their homework: A few people have stood out simply by answering the question, "So, what do you know about Pinnacle?" They studied our website, talked to a few clients, employees, or asked around about our reputation...
  • Positively Persistent: The best ones have followed up on a regular, positive basis- many times continuing our discussion with value added articles, events of interest, attended our events, and seem to continue to learn about our company.
  • A Moving Car: Mark Beeson has always said, "It's easier to do something with a moving car than a parked car" meaning... if someone has energy, is self motivated, and action oriented- attractive. Philosophers and sages of wisdom that don't do anything- not so much...
  • Genuine Character: When I know someone has integrity, it matters. A few indicators that scare me off: "It's all about me" attitude, bashing previous employer, a sense they're working too hard to tell me what I want to hear, or overly complimentary.
  • Demonstrated Leadership: If I feel like we can't find the "perfect fit" of skills and/or experience, I'll hire a leader. People that can make a decision, accept responsibility, will do the heavy lifting, and can drive initiatives. They may not have all the "technical" answers, but they're confident and competent enough to navigate their way to effectiveness.
  • Self-Assured: Those who are comfortable in their own shoes, can talk freely of who they are, who they're not, without apology= you're in the top half of all candidates. Don't be desperate, directionless, or tentative.
  • Lifetime Learners: The best are pressing in, reading, and have appetites for learning. While they're seeking, it's clear they're filling their time with positive, building activities. It makes me think they'll "dive in" when we hire them and will be able to learn what they don't know...
  • They Welcome Feedback: One person mentioned they have 2 or 3 strategic people in their lives to give them input on what their next steps should be, another thanked me for a few concerns addressed... we don't have time for games, we need a team that's real and can sharpen each other.... Defensiveness and excuses are normal. Superstars seek out editors in their life.
  • They Admit What They Don't Know: New team members are going to encounter too much "new" as it is... the last thing we need are people trying to "fake" their way through waters they've never navigated without asking questions. It's OK to admit what you don't know in an interview in my book.

We've got some great people and great days ahead as we build our team... What qualities would you add?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Communicate to Connect"

This weekend, Mark Beeson read "A Letter to the President" on the eve of President Obama arriving on campus at Notre Dame amidst all the hub-bub... If you get a chance... view it here on/before May 24th.

A simple takaway... when talking to your team, employee, spouse, kids... stop and T.H.I.N.K.

  • Is it True?
  • Is it Helpful?
  • Is it Important?
  • Is it Necessary?
  • Is it Kind?

The right thing said the right way at the right time has a chance of connecting... otherwise, we can expect to swing and miss. At the end of the day, we all have people in our lives we would like to influence. How can we connect/influence?

  • Encouragers are influencers. Who do you like being around? People who beat you over the head or those who call out the best in you?

  • Integrity Matters. Having principles that guide your discussions and actions allow you to be consistent and trustworthy to those values. Wild cards, hot heads, and unpredictability don't make it to many circles of trust.

  • Work for Other's Success. Sure...this goes against the crowd, however... when people know you're "for" them and celebrate their success... they may listen to constructive feedback.

  • Apologize when you're wrong or screw-up.

  • Keep Casting. You're not in control of other people. They may not respond the way you want, expect, or not at all. Keep casting your net... sometimes you end up connecting with an unexpected audience. Perhaps, that's where you should have been all along.

"We all will have an opportunity to speak Truth to those in power..."- Mark Beeson 5/17/09

The question is.... will we connect?