Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

What If…

Posted: March 29, 2011 in Leadership, Lessons, vision
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What if all that we have gone through, good and bad, had a bigger purpose?  What if the events of our life was to shape us and mold us into the person God intended us to be?  What if the hurts and pains of life were designed to build our character for something greater in the future?

I know, many of you are reading this and saying…duh, you are just now getting that?  Well, the simple answer is…Yes.  I remember coming out of college and thinking I had the world by the tail.  I was going to have success and change the world (just like the commencement speaker at graduation said I would).  Well after graduation, life started happening and I experienced “the real world” that they never told me about in college.  I complained to God and told Him how he wasn’t playing fair.  I had given up a lot to purse Him and his plan for the world and He was not returning the favor, or was he?

Graduation was nearly 20 years ago and I am a different person than I was back then.  My journey has not been easy and I would not wish it on my worst enemy, however, I wouldn’t trade it.  It has helped shape my character, my competency, and my compassion for others.  Here a few of my lessons I have learned along the journey…

  1. Find the positive in the negative
  2. Be truthful, even if it may hurt.
  3. If you must make a hard decision, do it with integrity.
  4. Don’t judge (my younger years was full of judgement, and it has come back to bite me)
  5. Be patient with others, they are on a journey…just like me
  6. encourage, love and inspire others to be great

There are many more I have learned.  I am sure there are many more I still need to learn.  I haven’t gotten life figured out yet but I will keep adding each lesson I learn into my arsenal.  Life is still hard at times, however, I am on the journey to something great.

I am just curios…What have you learned?

Here is a little quiz you can take.  Simply answer with “improvement” or “not improvement”…

  1. Cordless Phones…improvement or not improvement
  2. McDonalds……improvement or not improvement
  3. Hawaii 5-0…..improvement or not improvement
  4. American Idol……..improvement or not improvement
  5. Email…………..improvement or not improvement
  6. Denver Nuggets (after the trade)………improvement or not improvement
  7. President Obama………..improvement or not improvement
  8. Caller ID…………improvement or not improvement
  9. TV Programming…..improvement or not improvement
  10. Verizon……improvement or not improvement

There are a lot of things that may or may not improve the quality of your life.  However, there is one thing we can all do….do something to improve the quality of life for someone else.  A simple smile, a nice tip to the waitress, a kind comment to a stranger, picking up that wrapper off the ground, planting a tree, or calling someone to say hi.  When we serve others, we change the quality of life for a lot of people.  A kind word can give someone confidence and confidence is a key to success and that persons success can improve the quality of life for many others.  Picking up that wrapper seems so minor but everyone enjoys visiting a clean place, it feels good and it improves that quality of life for all who experience it.

So what are you doing to improve the quality of life for others?

I recently was evaluating my life and the journey it has brought me through.  I thought about the moments that I felt like I had failed, which led me to the question, “Did I Fail?”

The truth is I have made some very dumb decisions.  I have hurt others by my decisions and I have let a lot of people down.  Like the time I tried to get a volunteer to resign from her position.  I came up with a plan that would give her some time off.  My hopes were that she would enjoy the time off and come and resign to me.  Not a good idea.  After the “time off” was over, she was ready to get right back in, and she did.  After a few weeks of avoiding her calls and hoping for a good ending, I had to talk with her.

The conversation did not go well.  I listened, for what seemed like hours, about how I was a poor leader and I needed to be honest upfront, even if it was going to hurt.  I felt horrible.  She was right, she deserved better and I let her down.

If the story ended there, I would say I failed.  However, because of that blunder, I committed to myself to learn from this and become a better leader.  That moment hurt her and some others, but because of that, it helped shape my character.  Today, I make difficult decisions, but I am honest and clear about the decision.

I believe failure is when you refuse to allow your character defects to teach you to become a better person.  Don’t be a failure, learn and correct.  I learned a valuable lesson at the expense of someone else, but I am glad I learned the lesson.

I recently moved into an apartment but have lived in a house with a front yard and a back yard for many years.  I took pride in what my lawn looked like.  I would mow, trim, fertilize and water with incredible discipline.  Because of the hard work, each year the family could enjoy the plush green grass that felt so soft and comfortable on our bare feet…well, at least the front yard was that way!  The back yard was a different story.

The backyard is the area no one sees.  It is hidden behind a fence, keeping the weeds and the yellow spots hidden from the “lawn gockers”.  The front yard got mowed twice a week, the back once a week and sometimes one every two weeks.  The back never received frequent watering and only received fertilizer when there was some left over from the front.  Why does the backyard need to look good?  No one sees it!!!

Unfortunately, many of us treat our character the same way.  We keep the visible well-groomed, watered and fertilized.  Besides that is what people see.  We take pride in maintaining the appearance of a very disciplined manicured life so that others can look and applaud.

However, character goes beyond the visible (or the front yard).  I know I have character defects that I don’t want others to see.  So, I hid them and work harder on the ones I want everyone to see.  Character is truly defined by how well you maintain the parts that no one sees.  Think about it, you can be a great employee in the office, but be a terrible husband or father; you can be a great husband but struggle with lust and pornography; you could be a great business person but be terrible with your personal finances.

Character development begins in the backyard.  It begins with the areas that no one sees.  Working on unseen character defects is hard and it takes time.  After all, these areas have been overlooked for so long and weeds take time to get rid of.  The good news is with a little discipline and attention the backyard will look great and so will our character.

What does your back yard look like?

My Church Website…

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Leadership, Thoughts, vision
Tags: , , ,

websiteI read an interesting article today about church marketing.  The article points out that most websites point out the positive of the church (and often times not truthfully).  But, what if a church website was honest about their weakness.  Instead of trying to hide them, and hope no one sees them, what if we mentioned them up front?  Here are a few from the article:

  • Our sermons run an hour plus and our pews aren’t padded: You do the math.
  • We work our volunteers to death. Then grumble when they want a break.
  • Drums are evil.
  • Our Sunday morning service is a major production. Sit back and enjoy the show.
  • Our people probably won’t talk to you until you volunteer for something and even then don’t hold your breath.
  • We pay lip service to social justice.
  • We stand up and sit down a lot, so try to keep up, OK?
  • Our sermons have more movie clips than Bible quotes.
  • You’re going to get lost in our sprawling campus. Bring a map or hire a guide.
  • We believe homosexuality is…
  • The only diversity you’ll find here is in our stock photography.
  • We’re so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good.
  • We plan more social events than Bible studies.
  • Nothing ever starts on time at our church.
  • Our pastor is a minor celebrity with an ego to match.
  • We think the role of women in leadership is…
  • We’re really old.
  • Churchese spoken here. Translators are not available.
  • We’re good people but we’re going to judge you.
  • Our children’s ministry is an after thought.
  • We hug.
  • On Sunday morning you’ll never/always see an altar call.
  • Our people talk more gossip than gospel.
  • We lift up our hands and get a little crazy when we worship. It’s going to freak you out.

So, what would your church website look like, if you were honest?

number-1-sign-756266I have discovered Facebook to be a great place to get feedback.  I ask a question on my status and I get lots of great responses.  A few weeks ago, I posted, “What does Failure look like?”, and I received some amazing thoughts.  So this week I posted this question, “What is the # 1 leadership lesson you have learned?”  I figure if I could provide a list of # 1’s, it would be a valuable list.  So, here they are and not in any order:

  1. “I agree with General Robert E Lee when he said, “I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.” submitted by Kevin King
  2. “You cannot give what you do not have.”  submitted by Shane Wilson
  3. “Spend 80% of your anointing/calling ministering to God.  This is the key to not getting burned out, and staying effective.-Graham Cooke”  submitted by Angela Barnard
  4. “Be willing to make mistakes: admit them, correct them as much as possible, and move on.” submitted by Jenny Archer
  5. “Always look at the best results that can happen and at the worst that can happen and make changes to keep the worst from happening.”  submitted by Lisa Garrett
  6. “Don’t be afraid to take into consideration the experience of your other team members when decisions about projects are being made.  If someone can can save you the pain of a mistake because of what they have already learned, that is a great gift.”  submitted by Carol Porterfield
  7. “Keep your mouth shut, even if they have it coming”  submitted by Sabrina Roberts
  8. “Servant leadership.  Christ was the great example.  Don’t ask others to do what you are not willing to do yourself.”  submitted by Jennifer Swift
  9. “Being a leader is hard and pretty much impossible without the Lord behind you.”  submitted by Jim Smith
  10. “Communication is HUGE.”  submitted by Cyndi Stahl
  11. “Don’t be to proud to do the lowest job.  Remember, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, stay HUMBLE.  Pride comes before a great fall.”  submitted by Dana Covert
  12. “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  submitted by Randy Cartwright.

Thank you to everyone that took the time to respond.

What is your #1 leadership lesson you have learned? I would love to hear them.

failureA few weeks back I asked this question on my facebook, “What does failure look like?”  Within seconds I started receiving a number of responses.  Here are a few of my thoughts on what failure looks like based on the responses I received.

  1. Failure is objective.  Eric Thomure added this, “depends on what success looks like”.  How true.  We have no idea if we are successful if we have no benchmark of success.
  2. Failure is strongly connected to emotion.  It is amazing how many can feel like a failure on Monday and feel like a success on Tuesday, and nothing has changed between the two days.  Emotions change, and as they change, the feeling of being a failure can move up or down in direct proportion of our emotions.
  3. You can fail.  Wow! If you are given a simple task that you are capable of performing, you can fail (look at #1).  However, failing at a simple task does no make us a failure!
  4. Blending the lines of failure is VERY DANGEROUS.    It is possible to fail at simple tasks.  However, failing at a task does not make me a failure as a dad, husband or even a man.  Another way to say this,  “perspective is everything.”  Loosing a job or missing that golden opportunity is very painful, but don’t blend the lines of who you are as a creation of God with difficult situations.  If you do, it can be devastating to you and to those around you.
  5. Failures increase your wisdom.  The Bible connects gray hair with wisdom.  Gray haired individuals have been around a while, they have incredible perspective.  They have gained wisdom through their failures and success’.  I am sure if asked they would tell you their failures in life helped shape who they are and they really were not failures.
  6. Failure shows  you were willing to try.  There are only 2 people that walked on water.  Jesus and Peter.  Peter gets ridiculed a lot, for getting his eyes off of Jesus and sinking.  However, he was the only one to get out of the boat and try!  Everyone else stayed in the safe dry boat.

I leave you with a response from a friend who went through a very dark time.  Listen to this response…  “you’ve been taught that “all things are possible through Christ” but yet you’ve encountered an impossible situation.  You feel like all is lost.  We must remember tho that when Christ died on the cross – it looked like failure…however, it was really the beginning of everything God wanted to do for mankind.  I think we have to be careful not to judge “our” failure and look instead for what God is doing in us.  Hope is extremely powerful!!!!  It snuffs out failure every time.”