We must be leading Ahead of Schedule.

I love this concept Leading Ahead of Schedule. We lead anticipating where we are going and what it will take to get there. With this understanding we are just waiting for our present to catch up with our reality!

A Vital Ingredient for an Effective Leader

To be an effective leader you have to have resolve…grit… fortitude or you will give up when it counts the most! As leaders of organizations that are leading the way we will face obstacles that few face. We will face challenges that are far greater than we could have imagined and if we do not have that resolve, that deep inner desire to take action and find the solution to keep our team moving forward, we will crumble to the circumstance.

James said… “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3

That we should actually find joy in these crazy circumstances that we face not because it is fun going through stressful moments, but because it is refining ourselves as leaders and our organizations.  That is why he continues with this statement…

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:4

That as we develop resolve or steadfastness we become perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. That these situations pull out the best in us and we start walking in the fullness of our potential.  When the balls in our hands and there is a few seconds left on the clock we act.  The more we act the more natural those situations become, though still not easy, and the more confident our organization becomes.  If you fear challenges to the point of inaction then you are greatly limiting your potential.

So where does this resolve come from? Well James goes on to explain…

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

Resolve comes from Godly wisdom.  That we serve a God that moves in the practical just as much as He moves in the spiritual yet many of us never seek Godly wisdom.  The Holy Spirit connects with our spirit and gives us wisdom, counsel, knowledge, and understanding if we just ask.  Great leaders are leaders that lead through prayer and understand that God speaks and guides His people.  However, it doesn’t just end in prayer there must be a response of action that follows the guidance.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6-8

Godly wisdom is only complete when we trust the guidance, will, and promises of God.  If we waiver like the waves in the sea back and forth then we will not receive anything from God.  Resolve is not double-minded in that it does not bounce from trusting God to trusting this rational world.  That this audacious resolve trusts fully the nature, the will, and the promises of God.  That God always has our best intentions at heart and when He tells us to take steps of faith we will respond with obedience. Even when the answer is bigger than ourselves we trust a God that is bigger than our circumstances.

The lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.” Deuteronomy 28:8

Have the confidence that God is guaranteeing success in your life when you are trusting the wisdom He gives you and responding to His promises.  Your storehouses will be filled and blessings will come with every new opportunity. So build the resolve to fight through the temporary to experience your destiny.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, leave a comment I would love to hear from you!

JUST START

I would venture to say that the majority of successful people are those who pursued their dreams despite having less than ideal circumstances and far from a guarantee that their ventures would prevail. However, the majority of people will not pursue their dreams to the fullest unless the circumstances line up in a way that can guarantee success.  Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way and that is why the most dreams look more like wishes.

You have to start somewhere and you must know everyone starts small with very little physical evidence that there will be success. I heard it describe that the very act of starting a business or being your own boss is an act of the utmost courage! However in the midst of that courage we can walk towards a higher purpose that is bigger than ourselves.

Tim Urban once referred to everyone as blank canvases, but unfortunately most people are just painting white on white.  They are working, but no one really notices. It is easy to hit cruise control in life and work through our days, weeks, and years with very little impact. Very few people live beyond themselves to add a splash of color in this world.

Now dreams don’t have to be these lavish things that must be world renowned, but they do need to be relationally rich.  They do need to be able to impact those in our sphere of influence.  Some people’s sphere is larger than others, but we all have the ability to impact lives for the better.  I can promise you that life will never make sense until you live for something bigger than yourself and until you start pouring your life into some one else.

I felt today very quickly that I simply wanted to share with you and maybe give you the permission to START! Just start! Start that business plan, build that website, start writing that book, start that blog, enroll in school, start serving, start that LifeGroup, start hustling on the side… Yes it is scary…Yes you have a ton to learn… Yes it will harder than you can ever imagine… Yes you will have to work your tail off… But YES it will be worth it.  Tune out the fears that are screaming “what if you fail” or “what if it sets you back” and know that setbacks are just give you a running start towards something greater! JUST START!

I wanted to leave you with an excerpt from J. Oswald Sanders’ book Spiritual Leadership

Procrastination, the thief of time, is one of the devil’s most potent weapons for defrauding us of eternal heritage. The habit of “putting off” is fatal to spiritual leadership. Its power resides in our natural reluctance to come to grips with important decisions. Making decisions, and acting on them, always requires moral energy. But the passing of time never makes action easier, quite the opposite. Most decisions are more difficult a day later, and you may also lose an advantage by such delay.

I wrote this blog yesterday at around 6AM and Gary posted this yesterday afternoon so I thought it was fitting!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, leave a comment I would love to hear from you!

The Most Overlooked But Important Aspect of Organizations.

Most leaders focus their entire efforts on the visual product. Whether that be the services they provide, the items their organization is selling, or as Pastors the worship experience i.e. the preaching and music. Focusing on those things are not inherently bad unless you are ignoring the unseen factor which is culture. Culture is not seen, but felt and experienced. Culture can’t be copied from someone else, but has to be developed from who you are as an organization. Culture is the unified DNA of your leaders that creates an environment that your people feel or experience.

A good way to check the pulse of how effective your culture may be is by listening to people’s feedback on how they felt as they experienced your organization. Not what they liked, but how what they liked made them feel! It is one thing to hear “that was a good message” compared to “I felt like you were speaking directly to me and I left with so much hope”. Its one thing to hear “your people are nice” or “I have never felt so welcomed, loved, and at home by the way I was greeted”. Do you see the difference? It is how they feel that communicates most effectively what they experienced and what they experience is your culture.

Every organization has a culture whether they realize it or not, but most do not have an effective culture. I have heard it said by many leaders that “A bad culture eats a good vision for breakfast”. So focusing on your culture is imperative for your organization and developing team values is one of the most effective ways in identifying the culture you desire for your organization.

1. Write out what you want to stand for!

Team values are a list of traits that make up your leaders and what you stand for as an organization. What do you want to be known for when people talk about you to others? What do you want people to experience in your organization? What are qualities you want your leaders to have?

2. Don’t create more than ten.

If you have too many values your people won’t remember any of them. List out the values that you identified earlier and start to list out the absolute most important down to the least important. Also identify if any values could be combined because of similarities.

3. Make the value rememberable.

Don’t make the value to long and complicated, but keep it short to make it easier to remember. You can add a short description afterwards to really define it, but the initial value should be something we can remember. For an example you can find our Team Values at Bloom Church here.

4. Repeat often.

Vision leaks and so does your values. We get so busy doing our projects that our tunnel vision can cloud our memory. It is important to constantly go over your values just like you would go over your vision. I heard Craig Groeschel once say something of the sorts that when your team starts making fun of what you say because you have said it so much that it has finally stuck. Speak your values so much that your team starts finishing your sentences.

5. Celebrate often.

What is celebrated is repeated. Celebrate when your people are rising up to the occasion and creating a culture that impacts your people. Celebrate with words, with cards, and with gifts. Also it is great to celebrate these people publicly in front of the whole team because it does two things. First the person feels extremely special as they become recognized in front of their peers, but also it reminds the other team members that you notice those values being lived out. So it is a positive way to remind the team to rise up to the occasion.

Values create culture, culture creates an environment, and an environment creates an experience. This is should be at the top of your list to develop and implement immediately because it will radically shift the interactions that you have with your people. Remember culture doesn’t cost anything but time and effort!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, leave a comment I would love to hear from you!

MAXIMIZING YOUR IMPACT

As leaders we must recognize that our heart for people has to be directed in areas that maximize results not limit results!