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Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in Generational, Leadership | 1 comment

Get PROMOTED and gain FAVOR at work!

Get PROMOTED and gain FAVOR at work!

????????????????????????????????????????Here’s how I got my first salaried job.  I walked in for the interview and told my future boss, “I feel like God told me I’m supposed to work here and serve you.”  I was supposed to have a college degree.  I was supposed to have a resume showing admin experience.  I should have been laughed out of the room.  What happened was the opposite.  Over the next two years I was given responsibility over areas that a 20-year-old had no business running.  I was trusted to help manage a multimillion dollar department.  I was set on a trajectory toward management that has elevated my entire career.

I don’t recommend you go to interviews telling people God told you that you were going to get the job.  That part was foolish.  I shared that because it shows how God was posturing my heart toward my boss and the job I was pursuing. Here’s the radical posture I’m suggesting: God has sent you to serve your boss and the people around you at work.  If you will assume that posture, you will never stop being promoted and growing in favor at work.

The Bible says that “he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)  I wonder, is your posture toward your boss and your coworkers working for you or against you?  What could you do today to communicate your willingness to serve?  Get out there and serve the people God has put around you.  Your promotion is just around the corner!

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Posted by on Nov 28, 2012 in Inspirational, Leadership | 2 comments

Keys to Avoid Moral Failure

Keys to Avoid Moral Failure

There’s nothing that troubles my heart more than watching a spiritual leader morally collapse.  It brings such a wide-range of emotions.  I feel for the people who looked up to the leader.  I feel for the community that was supposed to be reached by those people.  I feel for the leader, their family, their calling.  I feel for myself.  ‘If it could happen to him, what about me?’  I get sad.  I get angry.  I feel loss.  But then, I quickly develop a sense of resolve.  ‘This doesn’t have to happen.’

Leaders don’t just spontaneously-combust.  That’s just how it looks the moment we hear about it.  The truth is that the seeds of that public failure were quietly sown long before they produced public fruit.  Those seeds were nurtured in an environment that allowed them to grow undetected.  Then, at the opportune moment (for our enemy), the disgusting fruit produced after the very kind of disgusting seed it came from.  Had the seed only been identified and destroyed, we would still be benefiting from all the good things these leaders have to offer.

What about you and me?  Will we identify the seeds of corruption in our own lives before they take root and destroy our lives?  No one else can do it for you.  Most people will never even know your secret battles unless some public fruit is displayed.  So, here are some tips to take with you into your personal struggle with evil.  By the way, if you want to win that battle, YOU WILL.  So don’t worry about it.  Just commit to smash those nasty seeds and cultivate the good seeds that Jesus has already sown into you!

Keys to Avoid Moral Failure (Click to Tweet)

1.) Make it Personal.  It’s easy to exist in a community – even a Christian community – without ever personally engaging with God.  It is totally awesome to go to church every week and to attend prayer meetings and small groups.  Do that and also spend alone time with God.  I’ve found it’s possible to put on a great show in front of other people even when you’re silently slipping away on the inside.  If you’re always with others, you may even convince yourself that everything is fine.  I’ve also found that it is impossible to seek out one on one time with God and not immediately be confronted with your true state.  Don’t be afraid of that.  That confrontation is the beginning of setting everything back on course.

2.) Honor the Word.  I’ve noticed that I don’t hear my kids anymore.  Years ago I started tuning out all their play noises so I could focus on other things.  As a result, I occasionally don’t even notice when one of my kids is standing right in front of me asking for something.  Terrible, right?   Consider how we do that with God’s Word.  The more we get used to hearing the Word and not acting, the less sensitive we become to it.  Eventually, the very tool He gave us to help us grow toward Him is useless to us.  Honor the Word and He will always be able to speak to you through it.

3.) Have Quality Conversations.  Genuine relationships with other people are a powerful tool for staying on track.  The problem is most of us don’t take advantage of those relationships.  We prefer to keep conversation surface-level and about others.  What if you found one person this week and created a quality conversation, one where you talk about what God has speaking to you about in the Word and in your time with Him? Going public with what God is challenging you with is a powerful tool.  Don’t waste your relationships on gossip and pop culture.  Mix in some quality.

4.) Be Under Authority.  Each of us need someone looking out for us that we’re accountable to.  Lone-rangering is a recipe for moral compromise.  Justifying your actions, behaviors, whereabouts and words to someone else may seem like extra work, but it’s worth it.  Just the process will help you avoid traps and self-deception.

5.) Focus.  With everything else covered, all that’s really left is to focus on doing what God has called you to do.  That won’t leave you with much time for any nonsense.  Assuming you’re putting to practice these other keys, simply being where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there will keep you on track most of the time.

What about you?  What keys have you found for avoiding moral failure?

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Posted by on Sep 20, 2012 in Leadership | 4 comments

Many Competing Priorities?  Why rigid time-management will NEVER bring “balance” to your life

Many Competing Priorities? Why rigid time-management will NEVER bring “balance” to your life

Several times in my life I’ve attempted to sit down and write out an ideal weekly schedule to live by…divided into 15min increments.  You know the drill…Monday: wake-up, read the Bible, pray, make breakfast, eat breakfast…  It was as if life was a weight-balance scale and if I could arrange all the competing priorities perfectly my life would have perfect balance.  Yet, every time I developed the perfect schedule I was never able to execute.

Here’s the problem I discovered.  Those weights…those competing priorities…they don’t weigh the same from week to week, or even day-to-day.  Wives get pregnant (how does that happen?).  Children develop bad habits that have to be addressed (another mystery).  Projects have deadlines.  Relationships have needy moments.  The weight of each of these competing priorities is constantly shifting.  You can’t expect to set a balanced scale and never tend it again.  To have constant balance, your scale must be adjustable.

Here are a two ideas to help your time-management system respond to this reality:

1.) Do your daily-planning…weekly: Many people develop a daily task list.  That’s a wonderful tool, but it doesn’t allow for big-picture thinking.  With many competing priorities, you’ll need to set aside a time each week to reflect on which priorities need your attention and when you’re going to be able to focus on them.  With daily planning alone, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important.  Here are some important components of your weekly planning session:

  • THINK.  Rigid time-management systems tell us where to be when so we don’t have to think about it.  But your weekly planning should have thinking time built-in so you can use common sense to help balance your life.  Family doing great, but you’re about to lose your job because of your performance?  I might get crucified for saying this, but maybe you should drop family movie night and work late on Thursday!
  • VALUES.  Use your weekly planning time to remind yourself of what’s important to you.  Make sure your time-management choices reflect those values.  There is nothing that will drive you more insane than knowing that you’re not living by your values.
  • RELATIONSHIPS.  Don’t just think in tasks.  Think in relationships.  Do you have a list of relationships that are most important to you?  Look at each person on your list and ask yourself what you would need to do this week to enhance that relationship.  Then, schedule it in.
  • BIG PROJECTS.  Most really important things can’t be accomplished in a day…or even in a week.  Break that big project down and ask yourself what you need to accomplish this week to move things forward.
  • TASKS.  There are always little things that have to get thrown in.  Schedule a few of these each day and knock them out after you finish your big items.

2.) Look for Opportunities and jump on them (be flexible): Another problem with rigid time-management systems is that we don’t know everything.  If we knew everything that was going to happen in our lives and in the lives of people around us, maybe we could build a schedule that would make the most of every opportunity.  Reality, though, is that unknown opportunities spring up everyday that can help us advance our professional and relational goals.  (i.e. – Thursday isn’t my day to pick the kids up from school, but it looks like I will win some real relational points with my wife if I can go pick them up today.  A minor adjustment to my routine and a great relational win!) If we look for those and respond to them, we can take full advantage of each day.  We must be willing to deviate from our schedule to jump on the unexpected.

Do you have competing priorities?  How do you manage it all?

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Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in Leadership | 2 comments

Defining Reality: A Powerful Leadership Tool You May Be Overlooking

Defining Reality: A Powerful Leadership Tool You May Be Overlooking

Everyone knows that one of a leader’s greatest responsibilities is to communicate a clear and compelling vision for the future.  However, there is a very powerful leadership responsibility that is often overlooked: defining the present reality.

There are hundreds of ways for the people in your organization or team to interpret the reality they work in.  Some will compare your organization with other organizations.  Some will judge based off some glorious past.  Some will go by their feelings or personal situation.  Left to chance, each person will have a different interpretation of where the team is.

Even if you’re able to communicate a compelling vision of the future, you’ll never find agreement on a pathway to get there.  Each person would start from a different point to reach the agreed upon destination.  A great leader must find a way to not only show people a glorious future, but to define the starting point.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality” Max De Pree

Here’s an idea for making the most of this leadership tool:

Define Reality in the context of where you’re going: The Vision should be the point of comparison that defines your present reality.  Any other measure is less powerful and potentially distracting for your team.

Ex: Your organization probably has all sorts of problems.  Part of defining the present reality is choosing which ones are BIG problems and which ones really don’t need that much focus.  You can’t FOCUS on everything at once.  Use your leadership influence to highlight the problems that stand in the way of the vision and downplay the problems that don’t.

Comparisons with the past, other organizations, and industry best practices can be helpful analysis, but they are not a powerful leadership tool until they are brought into the context of a vision for the future.  An intentionally defined present reality that is communicated in the context of a compelling vision will bring a great alignment and focus to your team.

What other ways could you use defining the present reality as a leadership tool?

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Posted by on Aug 3, 2012 in Generational, Leadership | 0 comments

Young Adults – Are we up for the challenge?

Young Adults – Are we up for the challenge?

Stretching.  I heard a speaker talk at Wave Conference this week.  He said that once you’ve stretched something, it never quite goes back to the way it was.  Take these jeans I’m wearing today that I bought a month ago.  They used to fit so perfect.  It only took a few days, though, before they lost that snug comfortable feeling.  Now I feel like I have to pull them up every five minutes to keep them from hanging around my knees.

Young adults…we’re about to experience a stretching that I don’t hear many people talking about.  Something is going to be required of us that is far beyond our current potential.  And I wonder…are we up for the challenge?

We are a relatively small generation sandwiched between much larger generations.  In less than two decades it’s going to be up to us to provide care for a much larger elderly generation while simultaneously providing a better future for a much larger generation following close behind.   The time investment…the financial investment…the emotional investment…all of it will be greater than anything we’ve faced before, or seen faced in our lifetime.  We are about to be stretched!
Are we up for the challenge?

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