The Seasons of Organizational Growth

A few years ago I heard a statement that really shifted the way I evaluate and asses Bloom Church. Someone said and I am paraphrasing “Every healthy leader of a healthy organization knows exactly what season their organization is in”. That we should be purposefully understanding where we are at as an organization and what are the biggest needs for us to move forward. Now that may sound like a no brainer, but if we are honest most organizations are stuck in the day-to-day mindset and the thought to evaluate where they are at as an organization and where they need to go is non existent. What we must understand is that every organization goes through seasons and we never stay in the same season for ever. Now if you don’t understand this concept of organizational seasons you will do one of two things. First you will think you are the only organizations experiencing what you are experiencing and put yourself in a silo. Secondly, when times are great or when times are not so great you don’t understand that neither season last forever and if you are not looking ahead you will find yourself in trouble.

Seasons in an organization can look a lot like the seasons we experience in a calendar year.

FALL– Fall is the season of change. The leaves change colors, the air gets crisp, and the reality is everything is dying to embrace for winter. The same is true in your organization when you are in the season of fall. This is when change must happen in your organization to go to the next level, but with change there is a price to pay because the way you used to do it will die. Things will start to look a little different in this phase of the organization, but don’t worry because change overtime becomes the new normal.

WINTER This is the dreaded season because on the surface it doesn’t look like much is happening, but beneath the surface is where new life is forming. Most people quit in this season because they reminisce about how good it was in the past instead of understanding that there are new seasons in their future. With the change of fall we see the dead of winter and sometimes we lose some of our people, but this is the pruning process and cleaning process of your organization. We all need to get rid of the unhealthy areas of our church so we can allow the new growth to take place. Maybe the death is in character flaws, leadership struggles, ineffective ministries, or systems that are failing and it is in the dead of winter that we start building and perfecting those once weak areas.

SPRING– This is where hope starts rising as the temperature starts to change and birds start singing again. You start to see the new colors forming where life is coming back into bloom! This is the stage that you actually start seeing the changes you made have a positive effect on your organization and you start to see some growth take place. This is a much needed relief after a long winter of developing, training, and restructuring and now you are starting to understand that it was worth it.

SUMMER– This is where momentum kicks in and everything is rocking on all cylinders. Everything is in full bloom, relationships are being formed, and sense of joy just permeates your organization. Everyone loves the excitement that the growth of summer brings and the places your organization is going. However, if we just kick our feet up in this phase and not anticipate another year of seasons we will not make the necessary improvements and changes that our organization needs to sustain this growth. Then we will be like one of those summer main attractions that was once so popular in the past, but now is just a ghost town.

We all experience the seasons in our organizations and the length of those seasons all depend on the size of the problems you are facing and/or your willingness to embrace the seasons and change. Remember that if you embrace the season you are in and anticipate the next season you will arrive at the seasons of growth soon enough!

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5 Ways to Win the Battle of Your Mind

I truly believe that life is won or lost in the mind. That too many people set them selves on a negative path because they are consumed with the wrong mindsets.   Paul says in Romans 12:2 “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” James says that a person that doubts the promises and nature of God is unstable like a wave bouncing back and forth. If we could win the battle of our mind by attaching it to the promises and nature of a good God then we would start seeing victories in our lives in areas that we desperately need them.

Your tomorrow can look differently than your today and you have the ability, through Jesus, to move forward.  Get that understanding running through your mind and watch the places you  will go and the freedom you will experience.  So lets break down 5 ways we can win the battle in our minds…

1. HATE BEING IN A BAD MOOD!

Listen to me you have to hate and I mean despise being in a bad mood.  Most people are ok with having a pity party, being upset, being ticked off, being mopey and they settle for a regressive mindset.  You have to hate being in a negative mindset because if not you will never leave it.  Most people tend to think the worst and believe that the best is just luck.  They get offended all the time because they always think the worst in people.  This is why most relationships suffer because instead of understanding people make mistakes and said or did something that wasn’t right out of emotion.  Their minds automatically go to thinking their spouse, family member, or friend is out to get them and deep down that person is a horrible person trying to hurt them in the most unimaginable ways.  Now we may not come out and say that, but the way we get offended and hold grudges suggests that!  Being in a bad mood is a choice and we have to remind ourselves we are choosing to stay there.  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  If it is contrary to the thoughts of Jesus we take it captive and remove it from our minds.

2. BUILD GRATITUDE INTO YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE.

I have found that the most happiest people are the most grateful people.  They treasure the things that mean the most and they physically remind themselves of the immense blessings that their life possesses.  You have a plethora of blessings in your life, but human nature is to focus more on what we don’t have instead of what we do have because of our survival instinct.  However, human nature is not always healthy nature and a scarcity mindset will always leave you empty.  I promise you if you prime your mind with gratitude and physically put yourself in the meaningful moments that you are grateful for that you will start to see a permanent smile grace your face and you will work harder for the things that truly matter.

3. DECLARE THE PROMISES OF GOD.

Declarations are the most powerful tool of the mind because the more you declare the more you believe and what you believe you receive.  However, we need to declare truth and the truth we know for certain is the promises of God.  Fill your heart and mind with Gods word and declare those promises over your life constantly.  Many times when I am struggling I find all the scriptures I can dealing with that area and save them to a note in my phone.  Every time those negative thoughts start to rise up I pull out my phone and start speaking those scriptures out loud over my life!

4. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LIFE-GIVING PEOPLE.

We don’t need to stay here long but negative people produce negative results and you can always tell where someone is going by who is standing on the right and left of them.  A key component to becoming a successful person is surrounding yourself with people you desire to be like. So surround yourself with positive people and watch your environment change!

5. SET MEASURABLE GOALS.

Nothing is more frustrating than stagnation or the feeling of a lack of progress.  Most people don’t feel productive not because they don’t work hard, but they simply don’t work smart.  Exerting a bunch of energy and not making any progress is extremely frustrating and demoralizing.  You have to know where you want to go and set measurable goals that you can cross off as you are making steps toward your ultimate goal.  Nothing is more exhilarating than working toward a large goal and seeing all the progress you have made along the way and that is what motivates you to keep going!

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7 Ways to Handle The Stress as a Leader

Lets be honest there can be a ton of pressure we face as leaders and if we are not careful these pressures can be almost too much to bear. The majority of leaders face these pressures by sweeping them under the rug, biting their lip, and they believe the lie out of sight out of mind. Unfortunately this is a common mentality from leaders and finally those pressures build up until the pressure becomes unbearable and they either quit or lose their job.

So lets look at 7 healthy ways to handle high pressure moments as a leader

1. PRAYER IS A MUST

Listen I know this one isn’t a hot take and can seem cliche, but trust me prayer moves mountains. You must understand that our God is just as practical as He is spiritual. James 1:5 says…. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

I promise you that when you seek the wisdom of God you will receive it and not only that, but God also will give you peace beyond understanding. Many times when we are struggling it is not because of a temptation problem, but a relationship problem. Many times we are on empty because our relationship wth God is lacking and we are not allowing Him to fill us up.

2. ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

A person that focuses on their problems quicker than their blessings will always be consumed with the size of their problems and miss the size of their blessings. Grateful people are so consumed on how far they have come and what tremendous blessings they have that the size of their problems shrink to their realistic size. I promise you that your problems are not nearly as big as your blessings. Grateful people are also people that declare the promises and the future that God has for them and in this declaration they walk more confidently through this life!

3. SAFE OUTSIDE VOICES

You need people outside your organization that you can talk to and that can pour into your life. You need non biased wisdom in your life and people who have a deeper understanding of what you are going through. Most leaders feel extremely lonely because most leaders have no peers outside their organization in their life. We need to develop relationships through networking or hiring leadership coaching. It is also important to make sure you are getting fed through conferences and other Pastors to help fill your tank from draining to empty!

4. HAVING A HEALTHY TEAM

Nothing can deplete a leader like a unhealthy team. We cannot get lost in our day to day jobs to forget that our main job is developing and encouraging our team members. If they are struggling, their department will start struggling, and ultimately that will end with you struggling.

With that said sometimes there is a team member that is not a fit maybe they’re not rising up to the expectations you are placing despite your constant efforts to develop them. Maybe they are causing division in your organization and corrupting your culture. Both instances can cause immense amount of stress if you are not willing to address the situations and move forward.

5. BEING ORGANIZED

A scattered schedule, will cause a scattered mind, and that will cause a scattered life. I can not stress this enough that you must be organized. Plan your days, schedule everything, and don’t allow yourself to get distracted. If you can develop this discipline I promise you that your productivity will drastically increase and your stress will drastically decrease. Anxiety thrives in a cluttered and distracted environment.

6. HAVE DISTRACTION FREE FAMILY TIME

Family time has to be off limits from work time. You must disconnect from the pressures of the job and connect to your family. Most leaders never shut off and wonder why they always feel depleted. They may be with their families, but they are still answering work texts, phone calls, and emails. Unless you are willing to remove the distractions and truly connect with your family you will suffer and most importantly your family will suffer!

7. HAVE FUN

Life is too short not to enjoy it! Why make money and be miserable and why spend your life doing something you hate. Do what you love, spend your life with people you like, and take vacations and have hobbies you enjoy. Don’t waste another moment settling for a life you were never intended to live!

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The One Business Every Organization’s In

I feel like it is easy for any leader to drift into manager mode as they drift out of leadership mode. We tend to do this because we simply hit cruise control running through our day to day operations and we become more managers of the schedules and the duties than leaders of our people. I understand in any business there are a certain amount tasks that must completed every week, but if forget our number one task which is development of our team and the well being of our people/clients then every area of our organization will suffer.

I don’t care what business you may be in you are first and foremost in the people business. The faster you learn that and the more you focus on that aspect the quicker you will see life and success happening in your organization. You are not selling a product or a service although you may think you are. However, what you are selling is an experience, is relief, and an enrichment to someone’s life.

Coming from a ministry perspective I understand how easy it can be to drift into manager mode and get consumed in the task. You would think that it would be weird that a church could forget about the people, but every week Sunday comes and there is another service we have to pull off. So every week can get lost in the tasks over the experience if you are not careful. You can get lost plugging holes in the scheduling of volunteers instead of elevating the volunteers, you can get so distracted with writing a new message that you forget the audience that you are trying to help, or you can just pick a few random songs that sound good instead of prayerfully crafting a worship experience.

We must wrap our mind around this idea of people first and tasks second because in that we will execute on our tasks in a more impactful way that elevates our entire organization.

1. CHANGE THE LENS THAT YOU VIEW FROM

Lets be honest what becomes normal becomes overlooked and the atmosphere, environments, systems, team members, and structures all become normal to us. Overtime we just don’t notice what is wrong or what could be improved because frankly we don’t really see it. Put on the lens of a guest, new customer, new client, or new team member and try to view your organization from their perspective. Start to think what their 1st impression would be when they encounter your organization, your product, your service, or your staff culture for the first time. A helpful tip is to visit a few other organizations in your realm of business and take in your 1st impression reactions and then with that new mentality view your organization through that lens.

2. KEEP FILLING THE TANK OF HONOR

You can never overfill the tank of honor in your organization because honor leaks overtime. We must build a culture of honor in our organizations because there is nothing better than a reputation of honoring the people that your company interacts with day in and day out. Honor is seen through many ways by delivering on excellence with your service or products, by being generous with your time, talent, and treasure, and by showing and expressing tremendous amounts of gratitude for your team members and customers.

3. ELEVATE YOUR TEAM MEMBERS

Healthy organizations are a product of healthy leaders. We have to be equipping our team members with the tools to succeed. Unfortunately as much as we know this very few leaders follow through with this understanding in their teams. We either allow the busyness of taking care of the day to day functions of the organization to over ride the discipleship aspect or we over complicate developing leaders. What I have found is that leadership development is neither time consuming or difficult and yet is still the most beneficial to your organizations growth. A few simple principles that are extremely helpful to build a culture of leadership development is first read a leadership book together as a team and discuss it a chapter at a time. Neither difficult or time consuming. Second is make sure your team is writing out measurable goals and review the progress with them frequently. Both of these ideas are simple and neither are extremely time consuming yet I promise you if you implement these ideas at first they will give you a HUGE ROI!

4. BUILD CAMARADERIE WITH YOUR TEAM

You must spend time with your team members and build camaraderie. If you don’t like spending time with your team members they don’t need to be on your team because if you don’t spend time with them you will never build the bond that stands the test of trials. Loyalty is built over time, but also you would be surprised how much discipleship takes place that is unplanned when you are spending enough time with your team members.

5. KEEP IMPROVING

We honor our customers, clients, and team members when we show a hunger for growth and continual desire to keep improving. When we keep making our services, our products, or our culture better it is felt by the people are serving. How we impact the people our organizations encounters is the testament of a successful organization and the testament of the fact that we are in the people business. That understanding is always fueled by continually getting better week in and week out!

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Excellence Honors God & People

Excellence is not obtained through having more, but by being a steward by what you have already been given!

Growing Leaders Lead Growing Organizations

It is always a huge red flag for me when people complain about learning because of the work attached to it. This is a sign that we have seen that leaders lid and they will only take their department to the level they are currently at and no further. Without internal expansion of yourself there is no hope for external expansion in your organization. I truly believe growing leaders create growing organizations. If we have the discipline to be learners and apply what we learned to continually enhance our people and systems we will see over time substantial growth.

As far as growing I can only communicate the way I personally grow so lets look at ways that I grow as a leader.

1. I READ A LOT

I know this is the boring answer! It is like when someone asks you “how did you lose weight” and you respond “I ate right and exercised”. That is BORING but effective and the same is true when it comes to reading! Harry S. Truman once said, “not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.

Reading expands your knowledge, sets discipline in your life to actually sit down and read, creates a catalogue of information that you can return to in the future, and helps you enhance your time management skills. Reading is important for a leader and effective for all great leaders. Now when it comes to the type of books you read there are a plethora of options and what you choose may depend on the season of your life. I read a large variety of books everything from leadership, to faith building, to creativity, to biographies and that is to keep me from being singular focused as a leader.

A few of my favorite leadership books are “Leadership Pain” by Samuel Chand, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith, “Axiom” by Bill Hybels and of course “The E-Myth” by Michael E. Gerber and “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.

2. I LISTEN TO A LOT OF PODCASTS

Podcasts are what consume my time driving and my workouts at the gym. It is the perfect place to hear a variety of leaders as most podcasts are interview style and get exposed to new leaders or organizations you have never heard of before. Most podcasts are very practical in nature with the advice given and when you hear a great episode they are great to send to your team. A quick tip I listen to my podcasts on 1.5 or 2 speed to get through them faster. This may sound weird at first, but you get used to it and now sometimes when I am listening to a podcast it sounds slow and I think it is turned off when it is not.

A few of my favorite podcasts are “The Learning Leader Show with Ryan Hawk”, “Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller”, Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast”, “The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast”, “The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes”, and “Creating Disney Magic with Lee Cockerell”. The list could go on and on, but these are a great start!

3. I ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS.

I have learned that being a leader that is a “know it all” actually makes you a leader that “knows nothing at all”. Great leaders are like sponges that learn from others and can ask the appropriate questions. I like to go into an new organization with fresh eyes discovering how they do things and why they do it that way. I am fascinated with the systems and structures of great organizations and the best way to learn is to ask.

So you need to find a leader that is farther a long in the process than you and ask if you can have 30 minutes with them to ask a few questions. Make sure you have your questions prepared in advance so that you respect their time and so that you get the most out of the conversation.

Also attend a few conferences a year and learn the art of networking and question asking during the break out sessions. I promise you the more you sharpen this skill the faster you will grow as a leader.

4. I LEAD OTHERS

Now knowledge is useless unless you apply it and many times we as leaders don’t realize how much we actually know until we actually use what we know. The greatest way to do this is develop leaders inside your organization. Take what you have learned and help elevate the people on your team, invest in their leadership growth, and allow them to ask you questions. This will grow you as a leader and grow your organization.

A simple easy way to develop a small group of people is to have your team read and discuss a leadership book together. Have them read one chapter a week and then spend several minutes discussing it at the weekly meeting. You can also attend conferences together or webinars together. As you grow together the ceiling to organization grows!

Be a leader that learns because growing organizations are led by growing leaders!

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Dreams without Discipline is Fantasy

To find success as a leader we must desire the discipline of execution more than just the rush of the idea!

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