Category: Leadership

How to Think Like a Leader

I read this blog post early this year and it really has helped me understand leadership and what my role is as a leader. I’m growing everyday in this game changing way that I see leadership.

By Jack and Suzy Welch

Too often, people who are promoted to their first leadership position miss the point. And that failure probably trips up careers more than any other reason.

Being a leader changes everything. Before you are a leader, success is all about you. It’s about your performance. Your contributions. It’s about raising your hand, getting called on, and delivering the right answer.

When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. It’s about making the people who work for you smarter, bigger, and bolder. Nothing you do anymore as an individual matters except how you nurture and support your team and help its members increase their self-confidence. Yes, you will get your share of attention from up above—but only inasmuch as your team wins. Put another way: Your success as a leader will come not from what you do but from the reflected glory of your team.

Now, that’s a big transition—and no question, it’s hard. Being a leader basically requires a whole new mindset. You’re no longer constantly thinking “How can I stand out?” but “How can I help my people do their jobs better?” Sometimes that requires undoing a couple of decades of momentum. After all, you probably spent your entire life, starting in grade school and continuing through your last job, as a contributor who excels at “raising your hand.” But the good news is that you’ve been promoted because someone above you believes you have the stuff to make the leap from star player to successful coach.

What does that leap actually involve? First and foremost, you need to actively mentor your people. Exude positive energy about life and the work that you are doing together, show optimism about the future, and care. Care passionately about each person’s progress. Give your people feedback—not just at yearend and midyear performance reviews but after meetings, presentations, or visits to clients. Make every significant event a teaching moment. Discuss what you like about what they are doing and ways that they can improve. Your energy will energize those around you.

And there’s no need for sugarcoating. Use total candor, which happens, incidentally, to be one of the defining characteristics of effective leaders.

Through it all, never forget—you’re a leader now. It’s not about you anymore. It’s about them.

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Please Stop Complaining About How Busy You Are

This is a great article from Harvard Business Review about the busyness of life and how we present ourselves. It reminds me of a Eugene Peterson quote that I blogged about before. She actually gives some helpful tips at the end as well. Give it a read … it’s worth your busy time!

Please Stop Complaining About How Busy You Are

by Meredith Finem,
September 2nd 2013

We’re all just so "busy" these days. "Slammed" in fact. "Buried." Desperately "trying to keep our heads above water." While these common responses to "How are you?" seem like they’re lifted from the Worst Case Scenario Handbook, there seems to be a constant exchange, even a a one-upping, of just how much we have on our plates when we communicate about our work.

My favorite "busy" humble-brag was that of a potential client who apologized for lack of communication due to a "week-long fire drill." What does that even mean? Does this mean there were fake fires, but not real ones, all week? Does calling it a "drill" mean that everything is okay? Is your business in flames? Should I call someone?

Then there was the date I had with a fellow who was so busy "crashing on deadlines" that he asked me to "just make a reservation somewhere" for him. I was floored.

So much of this is about out-doing each other. To say that "I’m busier than you are" means I’m more important, or that my time is more valuable, or that I am "winning" at some never-finished rat race to Inbox Zero. (Inbox Zero is another absurd contest to tackle at another time.) What you’re trying to say with these responses is: I’m busier, more in-demand, more successful.

Here’s the thing: it’s harming how we communicate, connect, and interact. Everyone is busy, in different sorts of ways. Maybe you have lots of clients, or are starting a new business, or are taking care of a newborn. The point is this: with limited time and unlimited demands on that time, it’s easy to fill your plate with activities constantly. But this doesn’t mean that you should.

To assume that being "busy" (at this point it has totally lost its meaning) is cool, or brag-worthy, or tweetable, is ridiculous. By lobbing these brags, endlessly puffing our shoulders about how "up to my neck" we are, we’re missing out on important connections with family and friends, as well as personal time. In addition to having entire conversations about how busy we are, we fail to share feelings with friends and family, ask about important matters, and realize that the "busy" is something that can be put on hold for a little while.

I am not trying to belittle anyone’s work-load in the slightest. But in using it as a one-upping mechanism, we’re failing to connect in a very substantial way. And we’re making the problem worse: When everyone around us is "slammed," it’s easy to feel guilty if we’re not slaving away on a never-ending treadmill of toil. By trying to compete about it, we’re only adding to that pool of water everyone seems to be constantly "treading" in. And all this complaining is having serious effects on our mental health.

And yet we continue to use long hours as a sort of macho badge of honor.

We need to work smart, not (just) hard.

Just because you clocked 15 hours at your office, with likely dry eyeballs and a complete lack of focus, doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished things in a smart way. Many people have written or spoken about this. Typically, you have 90-120 minutes before you devolve into internet fodder or social media. If you’re putting in 15 straight hours at your desk, without breaks, how good is your output? How much time are you wasting?

The distinction between working hard versus smart has hit me as an entrepreneur. In high school and college I was always that girl who read all the assigned reading (and no, I was not giving you my study guide). I created outlines, outlines of outlines, and then flashcards. One of my greatest lessons as a businessperson has been to throw out that skill set. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be diligent or that you should half-heartedly execute, but rather, that it’s crucial to know what you have to do as opposed to everything you could do. It’s about being strategic.

For once, I’d like to hear someone brag about their excellent time management skills, rather than complain about how much they can’t get done. Maybe we could learn something from each other.

In fact, I’ll start — here are three tactics I’ve been using to work smarter:

Constrain the time. The more I constrain my time, the more focused and productive I feel, and the less I waste time on low-priority work. If you can only afford to spend 45 minutes on a certain project, then only spend 45 minutes on it — and move on, even if it isn’t perfect.

Use a scheduler. If you’re really up to your neck, it’s very easy to find a scheduler, virtual or otherwise, to help put things on your calendar. Sometimes it’s a matter of freeing up that time used for coordinating plans to actually doing them. Zirtual is a great answer to this. As is the DIY scheduler Doodle.

Cut the fat. Once I cut out superfluous meetings that were not: fun, productive, leading to new business, or really had something wonderful in it for me professional or otherwise, that plate emptied a little bit. (Here’s a tool for figuring out what to cut.)

Yes, we all have some strange need to out-misery each other. Acknowledging that is a first step. But next time you speak to a friend and want to lament about how busy you are, ask yourself why. Try steering the conversation away from a complain-off. With some practice you might find yourself actually feeling less "buried" (or at least feeling less of a need to say it all the time).

And maybe that’s something worth bragging about.

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McDonald’s Theory

This is brilliant!

I use a trick with co-workers when we’re trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas. I recommend McDonald’s.

An interesting thing happens. Everyone unanimously agrees that we can’t possibly go to McDonald’s, and better lunch suggestions emerge. Magic!

It’s as if we’ve broken the ice with the worst possible idea, and now that the discussion has started, people suddenly get very creative. I call it the McDonald’s Theory: people are inspired to come up with good ideas to ward off bad ones.

This is a technique I use a lot at work. Projects start in different ways. Sometimes you’re handed a formal brief. Sometimes you hear a rumor that something might be coming so you start thinking about it early. Other times you’ve been playing with an idea for months or years before sharing with your team. There’s no defined process for all creative work, but I’ve come to believe that all creative endeavors share one thing: the second step is easier than the first. Always.

Anne Lamott advocates “shitty first drafts,” Nike tells us to “Just Do It,” and I recommend McDonald’s just to get people so grossed out they come up with a better idea. It’s all the same thing. Lammott, Nike, and McDonald’s Theory are all saying that the first step isn’t as hard as we make it out to be. Once I got an email from Steve Jobs, and it was just one word: “Go!” Exactly. Dive in. Do. Stop over-thinking it.

The next time you have an idea rolling around in your head, find the courage to quiet your inner critic just long enough to get a piece of paper and a pen, then just start sketching it. “But I don’t have a long time for this!” you might think. Or, “The idea is probably stupid,” or, “Maybe I’ll go online and click around for—”

No. Shut up. Stop sabotaging yourself.

The same goes for groups of people at work. The next time a project is being discussed in its early stages, grab a marker, go to the board, and throw something up there. The idea will probably be stupid, but that’s good! McDonald’s Theory teaches us that it will trigger the group into action.

It takes a crazy kind of courage, of focus, of foolhardy perseverance to quiet all those doubts long enough to move forward. But it’s possible, you just have to start. Bust down that first barrier and just get things on the page. It’s not the kind of thing you can do in your head, you have to write something, sketch something, do something, and then revise off it.

Not sure how to start? Sketch a few shapes, then label them. Say, “This is probably crazy, but what if we.…” and try to make your sketch fit the problem you’re trying to solve. Like a magic spell, the moment you put the stuff on the board, something incredible will happen. The room will see your ideas, will offer their own, will revise your thinking, and by the end of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, you’ll have made progress.

That’s how it’s done.
Jon Bell
Do you agree?

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Discouragement WILL Hit

Discouragement WILL Hit: What Leaders Can Do by Scott Boren

It’s unfortunate, but discouragement is a reality for all leaders. 5 keys to navigate the tough times.

With leadership comes discouragement.

In fact, let me be so bold as to say that if you never experience times of discouragement, you most likely are not taking many risks. Or you don’t care that much. But if you don’t care, you most likely are not reading this blog.

Discouragement is just part of leading.

You will hit walls when you don’t know what to do. Your group will go through times that make you want to give up. People will disappoint you. And you will disappoint yourself.

What do you do with this?

Let me suggest a few things that I’ve learned about discouragement through the years of leading.

First, beware of the temptation to ignore the reality of what you are facing.

Avoid the tendency to ignore your discouragement. Some will tell you to have faith, to get back in touch with the vision, to claim God’s promises and to act as if there is not a problem. When we do this, we are not dealing with reality. God knows where you are on the journey and wants to meet you in your discouragement.

Second, learn to be honest about what you are discouraged about.

Really honest. Take it to God. Share it with a friend, a pastor or a coach. God’s leaders are “wounded healers” and you don’t have to pretend to be more than you are.

In the midst of this honesty, the third step is to ask God what he wants to do in you.

The situation that is causing your discouragement is not a problem to be fixed. It’s an opportunity for you to meet God in a new way. What is God saying to you in the midst of the discouragement?

The fourth action may the hardest: wait.

Be still. Make room in your life for the Spirit to transform you. Every time discouragement has hit me, my natural tendency is to get over it and get back to doing what I know to do. But when I finally wise up and slow down, I sense God working deep within my soul in a new way.

Fifth, act in faith.

Grab the vision. Walk in hope of a new future. Claim God’s promises. Fight. But know this. You will fight in a different way because you have pressed through the discouragement.

You’re not alone. God’s working.

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Leading Up …


Most leaders will spend most of their time leading those who are "under" them (i.e. direct reports). But what about your boss? How do you lead up? If we want to be a 360 leader, we have to not only learn and grow from all directions, but we have to lead in all directions as well.

I read this great post about 4 ways to lead your leader and I think it provides some helpful ways to respect your organization and your leader/boss:

4 Ways To Lead Your Leader

No matter what area we work in, at some point we all find ourselves in a support role for a leader in our church or organization. When you are in the co-pilot seat, you have a responsibility to lead up and help that person grow and lead effectively. You have a responsibility to lead up.But how do you do that? By remembering that the greatest threat to any leader is themself.

In light of that, here are a few key actions that can help you lead your leader.

1) Protect Them With Perspective

After sitting in the leader’s chair for a while, leaders have to work harder to see things accurately.

Being a mirror for your leader is probably the most powerful gift of protection you can give them.

For me this has meant showing a leader where they have unknowingly hurt someone, or where they have an incorrect perception of how other’s see them. Being a mirror for them protects them from treating others in a way they didn’t mean to, it protects them from incorrectly beating themselves up, and on the good days it protects them from puffing them self up.

2) Inform Them With Accuracy

Even a great decision maker is only as good as their information. This is just true.

A great leader with bad information is unsuccessful 100% of the time.

If a leader is as accurately informed as possible the organization can move quickly under wise decision making. One challenge for leaders is that their staff can sometimes paint a positively skewed picture for their department thinking it will make them seem more competent – your leader can get lost in the “spin”. It’s your job to push for clarity. Over communicate the most accurate information to your leader and they’ll make better decisions for everyone.

3) Confront Them With Truth

In healthy organizations, as leaders move up the ladder they often have to make decisions in smaller and smaller circles. This is good because they can make decisions in good time. However, the people in that small circle must be willing to confront the leader when they feel that they are making poor decisions for the organization or in their life.

You may be the only regular, daily guardrail your leader has.

You must take that responsibility very seriously. People are counting on you.

4) Encourage Them With Regularity

While people often think the leader gets all kinds of praise, here’s what I’ve learned:

Most leaders don’t walk around over encouraged, they just don’t.

Their position means they are likely on a platform, and that makes them vulnerable to criticism. There are definitely far more arm-chair quarterbacks in the world than there are people who are willing to lead. Pray for and encourage your leader when they need it and when they don’t expect it. It’s like fuel in their tank and it will never be wasted.

So what leader are you serving and how are you leading them well? What practices are you putting in place that help protect that leader?

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My Twitter Birthday

So, exactly 6 years go, I started using Twitter and I had no idea how addicted I would be to it. I got on it pretty early as I’m an early adopter on many services that I got a three letter twitter handle (@ksc). Most of the time it’s great, except when there’s something happening at the Kennedy Space Center (@KSC), and then my mentions on twitter goes crazy. 🙁

As I reflect on how I’ve used Twitter in the past 6 years, it has not only kept me connected with friends and met new ones, but really been a place where I’ve been challenged, encouraged and learned so much from the people I follow. The best way I can explain Twitter is that it’s all about influence. I have been influenced by those I follow and I am able to influence those who follow me. Through this medium, I’m able to learn from people who I would never had access to and I’m able to influence people who I’ve never even met. That’s amazing.

As I celebrate my Twitter birthday today, another interesting fact is that Twitter was actually born on the day I was born. We share the same birthday. I knew I felt a connection to Twitter. 🙂

Michael Hyatt wrote a blog post about a conversation he had with a friend about Twitter, who was skeptical about it.

He finally blurted out, “It just seems like a huge waste of time. I don’t need one more inbox to check. I can barely keep up with what I have now.”

I said, “Buddy, you’re completely missing it.”

“Missing what?” he said, defensively.

“The potential.”

“What potential?” he asked emphatically.

“It’s not about what you get out of it,” I said. “It’s about the opportunity it affords you to give to others and make an impact.”

“Excuse me,” he muttered.

“Twitter is an opportunity for you to lead in a way that was not possible until now.” I explained.

“As you and I both teach, when you boil it down, leadership is influence. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” he acknowledged.

“Leadership is not about position, a title, or status. It is about influence. Plain and simple. I know you believe that, too, right?”


I continued, “If that’s true, then Twitter provides an unprecedented opportunity for people like us to extend and amplify our influence. You don’t have to buy time on television or radio. You don’t have to write a book or magazine column. You don’t even have to blog,” I went on.

“All you have to do is write short 140 character micro-posts about what you are doing or—more importantly—what has your attention right now.”

I could almost hear his brain shift into a different gear. “You and I both know that people today crave leadership. They are dying for role models. They want to see what good leadership looks like—as it is lived out in the challenges of everyday life.”

I continued, “If you are living your life on-purpose, like I know you are, then by Twittering, you are modeling something worth emulating. This is unquestionably the most powerful way to lead.”

“Hmm.” I could hear the flicker of possibility in his voice. I knew this was resonating with him. But then he countered, “But you just can’t lead by Twittering.”

“I agree. I am not suggesting that you can. It is simply one tool in your leadership toolbox—but a very powerful one. Twitter is like an influence amplifier. It enables you to extend your influence in ways never before possible.”

We continued to chat about this for several more minutes. He finally said, “Wow! Maybe there’s more to Twitter than I thought. How do I get started.”

How do you use Twitter?

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Why Organizations Are So Afraid to Simplify

Read a great article by Ron Ashkenas on Harvard Business Review and it has great insights for the church as most churches have so many different programs and events. That’s because the gravitational pull for a church is to become more complex over time, to offer more entry points for people. But the byproduct of that is that its hard to see what the focus and vision is. It also makes it very difficult for a church attender to understand what their next steps are because there are so many. The most frustrating thing is that when a church has many programs, it seems like the same people go to all of them and the majority of people are not involved in any of them. But, because the church focuses on many things, the quality of the programs are not where they should be. Personally, that’s why I’d rather be a part of a church that does a few things well than many things mediocre. And the programs that the church doesn’t do, they can partner with existing para church or non-profit organizations that do it very well. That’s definitely easier said than done as the organization has to have a laser-focused strategy for this.

Why Organizations are So Afraid to Simplify by Ron Ashkenas

While most managers complain about being overloaded with responsibilities, very few are willing to give up any of them. It’s one of the great contradictions of organizational life: People are great at starting new things — projects, meetings, initiatives, task forces — but have a much harder time stopping the ones that already exist.

Take this example: The CEO of a large consumer products company was concerned that the organization was becoming too complex and unwieldy — which was adding to costs and slowing down decisions. After a long discussion with her senior team, everyone agreed to identify committees, projects, and studies that could be stopped across the firm. However, when the executive team reconvened the next month to review the ideas, everyone pointed out activities that other teams should stop instead of opportunities in their own domains. They then spent an hour justifying why everything that they were doing was critical and couldn’t be stopped.

There are several deep psychological reasons why stopping activities is so hard to do in organizations. First, while people complain about being too busy, they also take a certain amount of satisfaction and pride in being needed at all hours of the day and night. In other words, being busy is a status symbol. In fact a few years ago we asked senior managers in a research organization — all of whom were complaining about being too busy — to voluntarily give up one or two of their committee assignments. Nobody took the bait because being on numerous committees was a source of prestige.

Managers also hesitate to stop things because they don’t want to admit that they are doing low-value or unnecessary work. Particularly at a time of layoffs, high unemployment, and a focus on cost reduction, managers want to believe (and convince others) that what they are doing is absolutely critical and can’t possibly be stopped. So while it’s somewhat easier to identify unnecessary activities that others are doing, it’s risky to volunteer that my own activities aren’t adding value. After all, if I stop doing them, then what would I do?

The final reason that unnecessary tasks continue is that managers become emotionally attached to them. We see this often with "zombie projects," activities that are seemingly killed or deprioritized but somehow keep going because managers just don’t want to let go. Once people have invested in creating projects, committees, or processes, they feel a sense of ownership. Getting rid of them is like killing their own offspring.

Given these powerful underlying dynamics, what can you do to stop excessive activities in your own organization? Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

Separate cost-reduction from work-reduction. Since people are naturally (and understandably) protective of their livelihoods and careers, it’s difficult to ask them to do things that will result in the loss of their own job. So if cost-reduction is a key driver, try your best to eliminate jobs first. Only then should you work with the "survivors" to eliminate the unnecessary work.

Make work elimination a group activity. While managers are hesitant to point out stoppage possibilities in their own areas, they often can see opportunities elsewhere. By bringing teams together across different business units and functions, you stand a better chance of surfacing activities that can be brought to a halt.

Insert a "sunset clause" in the charter of all new committees, teams, and projects. Instead of swimming against the tide in trying to stop ongoing endeavors, make the shut-down process a natural event in the life cycle of organizational activities. If people know from the start that there is a beginning and an end, then managers will start to expect that things will be turned off at a specific time and can plan accordingly.

All organizations need to periodically hit the "off" button on activities that add unnecessary costs and complexity. Doing so however requires that you deal with the psychological dynamics that make it easier to get things started than to get them stopped.

Do you think churches and organizations should simplify?

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Participation Without Involvement Breeds Cynicism

We all have a gravitational pull toward cynicism to the things that we are "a part of" and I believe Regi Cambell identifies why:

To watch this principle in action, go to any homeowners association meeting. Whether you like them or not….whether you agree with them or not…those people involved in leadership who put in all the time and really care about the neighborhood…they will rarely be cynical. It’s those who just show up for the meetings but do little else that are the cynics.

I first discovered this truth in church-world. We had been involved in our church for years, but little by little, we’d moved on from this ministry and rotated off that committee. We found ourselves being cynical about the very things we used to be involved with. When we were involved, when we had a stake in the decision making, it was all good. But as we slid into passive participation, our hearts were lost and we became cynical. We found a new church.

The principle comes from Scripture, where the Lord said (in Matthew 6:21) "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Our treasure is our energy, our caring, and concern for our church, business or organization. When we invest the "treasure" of our energy, our hearts follow. Whatever we invest time and energy into, we will care about. When we stop investing and become participants, we’ll care less and become more cynical over time.

Involvement says "I’m in." "This is partly my deal. I care about this. I’m not just doing the minimum…I’m going above and beyond. I have pride of ownership." Participation says "I’ll probably be there. I hope it’s good, but if it’s not, so what? I don’t have a dog in this fight."

When you’re involved, it’s "we"…it’s "my church", "our company". When you hear yourself start saying "they", you’ve probably moved from involvement to participation.

Let’s bring this home. If you lock your wife out of your family finances, she’s going to become cynical about the way you manage the money. If she’s involved, she’s going to feel more supportive of the decisions and more committed to making them work.

If you announce that you’re playing golf on Saturdays, was she involved in that decision or was it just announced to her? Is your wife cynical about your love for golf? There might be a clue here.

The next time you find yourself sour and cynical about something, check your level of involvement. It might be that putting in a little more of your "treasure" will bring a change in your heart!

What are you participating in that you should either quit or become more involved?

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Drive Conference 2013


I went to the first ever Drive Conference at North Point Community Church in 2005. Since, then I believe I’ve only missed one Drive Conference and have attended all the other ones. I was going to miss this year as well, but because they offered the online experience for the first time, I was able to "attend." Thank the Lord, as it was exactly what I need … I was inspired yet again and reminded that we’re on the right track!

There was many things that I learned and re-learned. But this blog post shares many of the learnings that I would have shared. So, hope it’s helpful to you:

On the Weekend Experience

1. We don’t tailor content of our services for unchurched people, but we do tailor the experience. This is such a huge and important distinction. Opening up your service to the unchurched doesn’t mean dumbing it down.

2. Nothing should offend people in your weekend services except the Gospel. Often people get turned away not because of Christ, but because of people’s bad attitudes or strange preferences for certain kinds of music or culture.

3. A parking team is not about ‘parking’ guests, it’s about welcoming them. Even if you don’t have a "parking problem", your welcome should start when your guests pull into the parking lot. Greet them personally and help them start their experience well.

4. Everyone has an approach to their weekend services. If there is a conflict between your goal and your approach, your approach always wins. Everyone has a template for their weekend services. If your template and approach aren’t getting you to your goal, change it.

5. If you start (a message or event) with common emotions and common experiences, not everybody agrees with your point, but everybody follows you there. Brilliant.

6. People learn best in emotionally charged environments. So engage their emotions early – with a fun opener (Andy referenced the 101st anniversary of the Oreo recently. They gave away a prize of Oreos and milk to an attender – cool). Or let music prepare people’s emotions.

7. We leverage common experiences and emotions, not belief systems. When you’re reaching unchurched people, don’t start with disagreement (belief), start with agreement (common experiences and emotions) and then get to belief later.

8. The more time you can spend in planning a service or experience, the more personal it becomes. Planning is the friend of the Holy Spirit, not His enemy. Often "I’m relying on God" actually means "I didn’t prepare".

9. Our goal is not to be creative, but to leverage creativity for the sake of the mission and vision. Bingo.

10. A clean environment communicates that we’re expecting you. I wish this was in the Bible. Then I could preach at people about it. But it’s not. So quoting Andy will do.

11. An orderly environment communicates you know what you’re doing. I wish this was in the Bible too. Clean and orderly communicates so much about you and so much about how you value the people you’re welcoming.

12. People stop attending church because they disengage, not because they disagree. HUGE insight. Very few people walk out your door because of disagreement. Many leave because of disengagement.

13. Attention span is determined by the quality of the presentation. With all the talk about diminishing attention spans, this is a clear reminder than 5 minutes of boring is 5 minutes too much, and 1 hour of gripping feels like not nearly enough. Pastors, before you use it to justify a 60 minute message, just make sure you’re that gripping.

14. A goal is something you accomplish. A win is something you experience. So true!

15. Creativity works best in the context of predictability. Creativity has constraints, but like obedience to the law, eventually the constraints bring a new kind of freedom.

Other Gems

1. Public loyalty buys you private leverage. Criticize privately, praise publicly. Your boss and colleagues will respect you. Flip it and they’ll fire you or never trust you.

2. Your direction, not intention, determines your destination. This principle came up numerous times. It’s just true. Good intentions amount to little.

3. Evaluate everything you do against your mission. This was from a session I attended led by Diane Grant. Diane is Andy’s Executive Assistant but a super strong leader in her own right. She owns this principles.

4. Great opportunities are a chance for a vision to drift. Again from Diane Grant. Exactly. And an opportunity does not equal an obligation. Stay true to the mission.

5. The loudest critics in the church are people who have become missionally disengaged. Clay Scroggins, a campus pastor at North Point, shared this nugget. So true. Why listen to people who are missionally disengaged give you feedback on your mission?

6. Kids begging their parents to go to church beats parents begging their kids to go to church. Invest in your family ministry environments. Chad Ward, UpStreet director at one of the North Point campuses shared this. So true. Get the kids, and you’ve got the parents.

What principle or learning strikes a chord with you?

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How to Attract Leaders Who Are Better Than You

Just read a blog post by Cary Nieuwhof on How to Attract Leaders Who Are Better Than You. It’s a great read:

This week I’m sharing leadership lessons I’ve picked up from North Point Community Church.

The Drive Conference is a leadership incubator and being a partner church of North Point has helped our team see and experience world class leadership development up close.

After yesterday’s post about what I learned from North Point on team alignment, I want to share another defining characteristic of North Point’s leadership: how to attract leaders who are better than you are.

North Point has done this so well. *Andy Stanley is one of the best communicators and leaders in the world, but his bench goes deep – very deep. *

** For 11 years, he worked with Reggie Joiner, a world class leader in his own right who leads the now-global Orange movement designed to help churches and families partner together to influence the next generation.** (Hint, if you haven’t registered for next month’s Orange Conference in Atlanta, do so now. It too is a world-class leadership incubator). While Reggie is one of the best examples of Andy’s ability to attract and work with exceptional leaders, he is not the only example.

At North Point (and at Orange) you run into dozens of people who could be running very large organizations of their own but who have chosen to work as a team together. In many respects, I feel the same way about our team at Connexus.

*Everybody else could be working for someone else and be making a huge impact there. *So how do you get them to work with you?

As Andy often says, he’s the leader because he was first. Andy honestly believes there are other leaders who are better than him in many roles at North Point. It’s an incredibly humble stance, and it’s allowed Andy to assemble a top rate team.

In my almost 7 years around North Point culture, here’s what I’ve learned about attracting leaders who are better than you are:

1. Deal with your insecurities. Insecure leaders will always feel threatened by people they think are ‘better’ than they are. Get counselling. Get coaching. Do what you need to do. Realize you have greater value to any organization if you can assemble a great team than if you want to be the team. Don’t cap your organization’s growth or mission because you are insecure.

2. Give away responsibilities, not just tasks. When you trust your team, it ushers in the opportunity for greatness. If everything has to cross your desk, you will only ever lead a small organization (because your desk isn’t that big). Make fewer decisions every year. And get people who make better decisions than you do.

3. Share the spotlight. If you have to be front and center all the time, you have a problem. Pushing other people into the spotlight is the hallmark of great leadership. Study both Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner on this by the way. They are both incredible at it.

4. Make it your job to help them succeed. What if you stopped trying to win and actually just spent your time trying to help other people succeed? If you do that, by the way, you might just end up being a little more successful too.

5. Create a culture of freedom. The reason many leaders are afraid to release leaders in freedom is because they haven’t done the tough work of aligning the organization. If you have a highly aligned team (here are five thing I’ve learned about team alignment from North Point), you can release them to do what they are called to do. High capacity leaders do not like to be controlled.

That’s what I’m learning about attracting leaders who are better than you.

What insights would you add? What are your struggles when it comes to attracting high capacity leaders?

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