Archives For team

Best Book I’ve Read in 2016

November 22, 2016

The best book I have read in 2016 is Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud.

It deals with the difficult process of ending things in our lives. This could be letting an employee or co-worker go, ending a bad habit, or making a needed change in our lives.

Take a look at some of the wisdom Cloud shares in this book.

“Your attempts to fix should also include a realistic assessment of the potential for recovery and whether or not you are indulging in false hope. Leaders by nature are often optimistic and hopeful, but if you do not have some criteria by which you distinguish legitimate optimism from false hope, you will not get the benefits of pruning.”

Working in a volunteer organization, I found the next one very challenging.

Great leaders ask questions. They are always seeking to learn and grow from others.

In his recent leadership podcast, Andy Stanley looks at the power and influence questions can accomplish. This short talk has stayed with me for days. It is extremely profound, yet refreshingly simple.

Asking questions of ourselves and others do three things for us:

  1. They reveal values.
  2. They reinforce values.
  3. They reinforce behaviors.

But perhaps the greatest questions great leaders ask is the ones they ask of themselves.

Andy shares the story of something Bill Hybels shared with him about decision-making. Hybels when faced with a decision, will ask himself a profound thing.

“What would a Great Leader Do?”

Roads Academy Masterclass, Warwick University, November 2010.

This question accomplishes four things:

  1. This raises the standard of our leadership above the circumstances and emotion of the issue we face. We can make sound decisions rather than those which cater towards the loudest and most immediate need.

I’ve done a lot of reflecting recently on my past years in leadership when I worked with a multi-cultural international team overseeing a missions campus.

I am still haunted by several poor decisions we made.

These are clearly seen in hindsight, but in the midst of busy schedules and deadlines, often go unnoticed until it is too late.

When you are on the outside, it is much easier to work at identifying ungracious culture. We excel at pointing the finger or identifying dysfunction.

But when you are engaged in an organization in the day to day, I’ve found it hard to spot or react to in the moment until you are carried downstream by it, only becoming enlightened in retrospect.

This type of a culture manifests itself in multiple ways:

  • Working around leaders rather than confronting or dealing with issues head on.

Misunderstood Unity

February 23, 2014

I work in an organization which sends many short-term teams as well as develops working groups around projects.

I hear a repeated statement coming out of their meeting times.

“Give us unity….”

I prayed this with my teams for many, many years….until I realized what it meant.

Now, when I hear teams pray this, I cringe.

You have no idea what you are asking for.

Misunderstood unity believes the following:

“If we are unified, we will never fight.”
“Unity means we will agree and have similar views on the decision we face.”
“Unity is standing in a circle holding hands singing “Bind us Together.”

Wrong.

That view of commonality is not unity, it is cultic.

Group think is dangerous.

In Scripture, the most common analogy given for unity is the body, with many members working together. The members and their talents they bring are not the same, but the goal is.

Inviting Feedback

January 9, 2014

One of the podcasts I listen to regularly is the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. These are short, powerful talks which I apply to my leadership often

Recently they did a two-part series of the “Art of Inviting Feedback”. Andy interviewed Clay Scroggins, who is the constantly doing this in the North Point organization.

The question which was posed for leaders to consider asking their followers is, “If you were me, what would you do differently?”

This is based on the premise that everyone has an opinion about everything we do as leaders. If we don’t invite this into the process, we are unable to benefit from all these opinions.

I did this.

I’ve recently handed over leadership of my team, so I asked all my people what they would have done differently.

I received some great feedback I would not have gotten without asking. It really provided me some insight into where people were at as well.