Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Choose Alignment

I don't always agree with my leadership. That goes for work, church, government, or any other organizations I've been a part of... I have an urge to make sure my peers around me know that I don't "agree" with some decision being made or roll my eyes at the latest "edict" from above... but that may be dead wrong.

Most of the time, business plans, ministry methodology, or Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) plans are not revolutionary. They're not flashy. They're just OK. I'm guessing most of yours are too.

However, if you apply an aligned team to mediocre plans- great things can happen. The same is true of many products. Average restaurant food with a great staff can= a great experience.

Our leaders need our support despite their mediocrity at times. Whatever we choose to be a part of, we should choose to align with its leaders so greatness may happen.

  • It's been said, "leadership teams can yell and scream at each other within the boardroom but when they come out...they should choose to align to the vision/plan regardless of their personal views"
  • Sometimes, brown-nosers and "yes" men are absolutely right
  • My church doesn't need another critic, it needs me to jump in and be part of the solution
  • My owners don't need me to buck their initiatives, they need me to be a driver
  • Choosing to be "aligned" is a conscious choice that is made daily to every organization you've chosen to be a part of
  • Alignment is knowing when and how/whether to voice your ideas, concerns or disagreements
  • I need to know who my "first" team is and be completely aligned with them
  • My frustrations need to have a neutral, healthy outlet (or as Wayne Cordeiro would say, a lightning rod) so I don't bring negativity to the team
  • Normal is being a water cooler critic, a maximizer aligns with a vision

The day we can no longer align with our team may be the day we need to move on to a different vision, job, or church. And if you leave, leave well without leaving landmines or toxicity to those who remain. I'm assuming you had a reason to be where you're at today... are you a supportive, aligned driver or are you the hurdle, elephant-in-the-room dissenter?

Part of maximizing our lives is maximizing the things we've chosen to be a part of... sometimes it's simply choosing to align.

Monday, March 9, 2009

"My 8 Year Old Needs a Bailout"

The data is simply staggering... the need for bailouts just continues...

Recently my wife and I have noticed a few school lunches either left un-eaten or in the trash in the past few days... we had to investigate... Here's what we found from the testimony of "Peggy" the lunch lady.

The culprit is the 8-year old to the right, Easton (without hat). Yes, I know, he looks all cute here but there's more to the story and the numbers don't lie:

  • All but four days since the beginning of the year the kids have packed their lunches
  • Easton has elected to purchase a lunch 9 of the last 10 school days at a $1.70 a whack
  • Since the beginning of the year, he's purchased an amazing 24 lunches compared to the 4 approved
  • His current debt on his meal card is now $16.70 and collection calls are coming in
  • As parents we don't know if we should simply allow him to file for bankruptcy and suffer the consequences or will that have too large of an impact on the rest of the union of students?
  • Do we offer a bailout package to cover the loss, or will these losses keep occuring to the American taxpaying parents?
  • I'm not sure if I have confidence Congress knows what will happen next either
  • Bankers won't lend to him as he currently does not meet lending standards
  • It seems he's more than school "milk"-ing the system
  • The math does not add up and if history tells us from social studies, this PE ratio is not good

My 8-year old needs a bailout... anyone got any advice?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Lessons from Nuke"

"The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness." - Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) Bull Durham
Have you ever observed anyone that seems to be clueless to the perceptions of the people around them? They push their idea or entertain in front of a crowd and seem to completely miss the rolling of eyes all around them... Yet, five years later, they seem to have "made it" or have progressed to be an amazing talent despite their critics.

What can we learn from Nuke (Tim Robbins, left from Bull Durham) or others we know like him?
  • Critics are wrong... often...
  • We talk ourselves out of great ideas
  • If that doesn't work, people close to us will talk us out of those ideas
  • Persistence and hard work can take mediocrity to greatness
  • What other people think is really not as important as we make it
  • Be willing to look foolish and make mistakes while we're learning
  • Practice driving ideas... take them 3 steps farther or push 3 months longer than normal
  • Don't over analyze our choices, offer our opinion when asked
  • Offer our ideas freely even if they get shot down... they may lead to the next, better idea
  • If you love doing something... do it and work hard at it
  • Leaders regularly will be criticized for wrong choices, great leaders adjust and keep falling forward

I don't want fear to limit my future, my purpose, or my leadership.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"Hey Leader, Just Give Up."

Proverbs 29:19 "Where there is no vision the people perish..."

Hey leader, just give up. Throw in the towel, raise the white flag, just quit trying so hard... After all, is this really worth it? Aren't you simply tired of taking arrows in the back from your own team? Hasn't it been long enough to try to change their minds or ways? For all the hard work you've been doing to try to help your organization with no one recognizing your efforts, really... just relax, go with the flow... you'll have less headaches and your days can be so much easier.

This emotion or a flavor of it enters my head weekly (or in tough weeks multiple times a day).

As I look at the leaders around me, addressing this thought in our minds head-on is one of the most critical components in our development as leaders. I believe this starts with wrong thinking.

Change from:
  • I can control when people will change or "get it"
  • Eventually if I say and do the right things, everyone will come around and align with the vision
  • I'm right, they're wrong
  • People will rally around me because of my title or position
  • I should only implement ideas that people agree with around me
  • I'm going to have a lot of encouragement along the journey
  • It's my job to correct people every time they say or do the wrong thing
  • It's just common sense
  • I should just fire people that don't get in line


  • I'm going to simply keep doing the right thing and make the best decisions I can
  • I may not get encouragement (even by those closest to me) and that's OK, the mission is worth it
  • I'm not always right, there's probably more to the story- seek first to understand
  • Normal is for people to care only about themselves, my role as a leader is to keep making it about others and to have my actions back up my words
  • Negativity, sloth, and status quo will always be a drag if I allow it, accepting it simply comes with the territory can allow me to keep my expectations in check
  • I can't control how or when people will change, I'm going to simply keep encouraging, lifting people up, and reminding them we are all meant for more
  • I can learn from everyone.... even the biggest challenges on my team
  • Common sense is not so common
  • Everyone needs grace, give it
  • Strong vision with right actions and words= More people (not all) getting it over time

And sometimes, we simply need a good meal and some sleep. Right thinking and perseverance... is it in your arsenal or is it a leadership lid? God has given us a vision and has put us where we're at with our current team. What thinking will we choose?