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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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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The Biggest Weakness of Most Leaders (People)

I would venture to say that over the years I’ve found that one of the biggest excuses I hear people tell is “I just don’t have enough time”.  I would say out of all the weaknesses there are, time management is probably the biggest, or pretty close to being the biggest weakness for most leaders or people in general.  The crazy thing is that this is the one commodity that every single person has the same amount given as every other person.  Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Larry Page – the list could go on and on; all had just 24 hours a day just like you and me.

The radical difference between someone who is productive and someone who is not is the way they choose to use this precious commodity of time.  Time is the most precious commodity because once it is gone it is gone forever and too many of us are spending our time instead of investing it in areas that have an ROI.  I heard it best described that we are all given 86,400 seconds in a day, and let’s look at each second like it is a dollar.  So we are given $86,400 a day and told we must use all of it everyday because none of it can roll over, but how we use it is extremely important.  We could spend it on things that have little long term value and once spent is literally gone forever. However, we can invest it in areas that will produce long term gains towards a bigger goal, and we can get the benefit of compound interest in the future because we were wise in how we spent it in the past.  It is easy to waste time because we are “live in the moment” people with little to no cognitive thoughts about where we will be 5 or 10 years from now. But unless we change our perspective, 5 or 10 years will pass and we will still be in the exact same place in life!

So how can we maximize this commodity called time? Well let’s look at 4 ways to get an ROI out of your time:

1. You control your calendar.  Your calendar does not control you.

As driven people in our search for success we can easily become workaholics because we love what we do, but in doing so we destroy the greatest loves in our lives.  When we allow our calendar to control us we are slaves to our work instead of masters of our work.  What I mean when I talk about our calendar controlling us is that our true priorities are taking a back seat to every other activity that is already scheduled.  You MUST schedule your “top priorities” first and there is no compromise in this area.  Listen if you just try to fit in your so called “top priorities” it is expressing to yourself and the people around you that work is actually your “top priority” and everything else is filler.

So how do you discover what is the most important areas or priorities in life?  Well, I ask myself,  “What will impact me in heaven a thousand years from now?”; because that is what should be at the top of my list when it comes to my priorities.  Those two things are my relationship with God and my family.  I can’t take my business, my money, my cars, or my homes with me; but I can take people with me and I will get to spend forever with Jesus.  So those two areas ALWAYS come first in my calendar because I can be the most successful on paper, but if spiritually I am bankrupted and my relationships are strained it is all meaningless!

2. Schedule Everything!

You must put everything in your calendar.  Every meeting, lunch, haircut, appointment, all has to go into a calendar, and what is on the schedule always comes first. (Now a side note: I am not talking about family emergencies). What will throw a schedule completely out of whack is several 20 to 45 unplanned meetings that people need to have with you.  The next thing you know you are running behind and are late to your scheduled appointments, which is extremely rude to the person you are scheduled to meet. If someone needs to meet with you, schedule them in or block out a certain amount of time that is built for random meetings, but either way it is scheduled in your calendar.

3. Maximize empty slots.

Now that you have your priorities in your calendar and you are scheduling every meeting, you will see where you have empty slots in your schedule.  These moments are where we can either invest or spend our time.  We can either hop on Facebook or turn on Netflix or we can start chipping away at our goals.  The choice is yours and you have to have the discipline to choose wisely. If you can develop this discipline you will maximize your progress at a speed that most in this world do not, and this is where you separate yourself from the pack.

4. Wake up early.

I know this one is definitely not sexy and no one likes to wake up early, but I feel it is imperative to success.  On top of the studies that say you work better in the mornings, I do it for a few different reasons beyond that. First, it takes discipline to wake up early.  Secondly, when I wake up early and I have already been productive before the day begins I feel accomplished and that builds momentum into my psyche.  Thirdly, I am more presentable for the day in my appearance and in my attitude.  When we roll out of bed straight to work and we look like we have been run over by a truck, it does not boost confidence or respect from our team.  It also takes time for your brain to wake up and you are losing valuable productive work time.  Fourthly, nothing causes stress or ruins your mood like rushing out the door as you are running late. Lastly, as a married man my wife cares much more about us going to bed together than us waking up together.  There is something meaningful about going to bed at the same time with your spouse instead of working late, going to bed separately, and then sleeping late.

I know life can seem busy and you may be working a job that is not in your future while trying to pursue your dreams, but trust me it is still possible to manage your time so you can be productive moving forward. I am speaking from a first hand experience, and it can be done if you have the discipline to make it happen!

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

Our Decisions Must Elevate the Vision

As leaders we must make decisions that impact the entire organization not just the select few!

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Problem-Oriented vs. Solution-Oriented

Let’s be honest problems will arise in your organization and you have two choices to make.  Will you become a problem-oriented leader or a solution-oriented leader.  Most people fall into the the first category which is problem-oriented.  They are good at identifying a problem or they know that their organization is struggling, but that is as far as it goes.  They panic, they ignore, they complain, they blame, but they don’t not change.  However, there are those who are solution-oriented that not only see the problems, but react in a manner that figures out the solution.  They take responsibility for their organization, they understand that a decision has to be made, and they rally the team to help move the ball forward.

So lets look very quickly at 5 steps to become a solution-oriented leader when problems arise:

1. Stop & Breathe

Listen very quickly EVERY organization has problems that pop up.  I know you may be sitting here and saying, “you don’t know what I have to deal with” and you are right I don’t. However, I can promise you that I have felt that overwhelming feeling before and I know many other leaders that have felt that way also.  Problems come up and sometimes they are huge and sometimes they feel more like annoyances, but they are problems none the less and problems are just a part of running an organization.  You are not alone and you are not a failure because you have to deal with the issues at hand.  However, I do have some bad news for you… The problems only get bigger as your organization grows, but the sooner you develop this mentality the more resilient you become to those problems.  Stop and breathe!

2. Pray

This sounds cliche to some, but the reality is God is practical just as much as He is spiritual.  Check out James 1:5 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.” He gives wisdom and He gives peace, but you have to stop and ask. There is something that happens in the heart and mind of a leader that walks around knowing that God always has your best intentions at heart and that He guides those that listens.  You have a peace and joy in the midst of the greatest storms that the world just cannot understand!

3. Hunger for Growth

You have to develop in your spirit that good enough is NEVER good enough.  I celebrate wins, but I am always anticipating greater wins.  I never have a heart that wants to settle and I’m always looking for opportunities to grow and learn.  Build in your mindset the understanding that progress builds happiness and that stagnation kills purpose.

4. Get the Facts

Do not put your head in the sand and ignore the facts.  Most leaders don’t like to look at the numbers or hear the truth because they feel that the facts reveal that they are failures.  So they develop an out of sight and out of mind mentality.  The reality is the only thing that will define you as a failure is not whether you have a problem, but what you do with those problems.  You cannot solve a problem that you don’t have a clear picture of what the problem really is.  Gather facts and face the reality of the situation and I promise you and your organization will be better for it in the future.

5. Take Steps 

As leaders we have this tendency to think that we need a HUGE answer to solve our problems.  If I got “x” amount of dollars in, hired this person, or landed that account all my problems would be fixed. That is a big fat lie because you didn’t actually change anything you just put a bandaid over the problem and sooner or later that bandaid will fall off and reveal the problem all over again.  You have to take this thing one step at a time.  If you remember anything remember this that small changes over time leads to a big change in your organization. Think of it like this that if you fixed or changed one thing a week you would be 52 steps closer to a solution than if you just sat around hoping for a miracle.  Not only that but you are developing a culture that will prevent that certain problem from arising again in the future or preventing it from rising to the magnitude that you know it as today!

We all face problems, we all have to grow, and we all have to learn so remember that you are not in this thing alone.  Stop, pray, desire change, get the facts, and start taking steps toward your solution!  The future looks bright you just have to start walking towards it!

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

YOUR GREATEST MARKETING TOOL

marketing-toolI would probably say that the #1 question most pastors or church planters ask me is “how do I get the word out about our church?” or “how do we get more people to come to our church?” and for good reasons. Marketing your organization or product is a huge priority for any business and that includes for the church because if people don’t know you exist it doesn’t matter how great your services are…They aren’t coming!

We have to spread the word about what we are doing and we should want to because we should be excited about what we are a part of.  The problem is most people go about marketing all the wrong ways and spend WAY TOO MUCH money on advertising that just simply doesn’t have the ROI for the capital it costs.

Nine years ago, the world changed when apple literally took a computer and put it in your pocket in the form of a phone.  Never in a million years did we think it would be possible this soon to have a computer with internet connection carrying around with you where ever you go.  In this moment the death of traditional advertising started to happen.  Advertising and marketing had always been very costly and with this new creation, why spend it on those means anymore?  Radio? What is that— we have Spotify, Pandora, and Podcasts.  Newspapers, ummm, we get our news online…  Billboards, who even looks up from their phones these days?  The world has changed and we must understand this shift or we will be spinning our wheels and watching our organizations continue to plateau and decline.

So where should we sit in this new world of connections and what should be our focus? The answer is easy, but the response is something that takes much more effort.  We live in an ecosystem that no longer wants to be sold, but connected and inspired and this is the beauty of social networks.  They are platforms thats soul purpose is to connect and give you, the organization, the ability say whatever you want.  Now, that can be dangerous or empowering and it is completely up to you which of those paths you take.  You have the ability to connect with people; that would be impossible before. You have that ability to add value to their life in ways that were much more difficult a decade ago. Coming from a Pastors stand point, our job is not to gather large crowds, but to see lives changed for Jesus and that means we should use any tool at our disposal to add value to people.  The great thing is when you connect with people, add value, share your story, and inspire then you also see the growth in your physical location following the growth that is taking place online.

My next posts I want to talk about “HOW” we do social media effectively, but today I just wanted to discuss “WHY” we need to have an online presence.

So some “Next Steps” for you to work on until our next posts…

  1. If you haven’t already, create accounts on the different social networks.  For most churches the two I tell everyone to focus on are Facebook and Instagram.  There are several you can choose from, but I would rather be really effective on a few platforms than “okay” on several platforms.  Also these two platforms have the widest reach for your community.  Build a business Facebook page, not a personal Facebook page for your organization.  Facebook is the largest social media site and hits the most age demographics. Next create an Instagram profile.  Instagram is great for organizations because most people are very visually driven and in doing so we digest the content more. Instagram allows all posts to be seen by its followers unlike the Facebook algorithms.  Instagram also has created features that look a feel like Snapchat in many ways and unlike Snapchat it is much easier to search for profiles which make finding your page much more accessible.
  2. Now you need to make sure your information is up to date on all your platforms.  The right profile pictures, web addresses, physical addresses, and service times.  It is a big turn off when information is not updated or incorrect.
  3. Make sure your branding stays consistent.  Your branding, your design look, needs to be the same at your physical location, on your website, and on all your social sites.  It is extremely confusing when these things do not line up because people question whether it is the same organization, and if it is, then they start wondering why there is no harmony.  I am going to dive into this more on the next posts, but don’t brand yourself online what you are not in person.  BE YOU because if you try to act like you are something online that you are not really in person then when they visit they will immediately have red flags go up and completely miss your heart.
What are your thoughts on how much our culture has changed over the last decade when it comes to Marketing and advertising?

3 Questions to discover your Vision

MP3 Version at the bottom

I get asked by many pastors and leaders a lot the “HOW” question.  How are you growing? How do you get more people to attend your church? How do you grow your client base? How do you grow your organization?

With Leaders we are obsessed with the “HOW” because we want that next level, we want that growth, we want that expansion, but that CANNOT be our first question we ask!

The first question that has to be answered is the “WHY”.  Why do you do what you do? What is going to separate you from every other organization? What is your vision? What does this look like?

You cannot just have a blanket statement or a generic answer like “Well I am called to pastor a Church”. Ok that is great, but what does that Church look like? Having a generic answer without being able to answer the why is like someone saying they want to be a writer.  Thats great but what are you going to write about?  Are you going to write biographies, teaching materials, or romance novels?  Are you going to write books or blog posts?

You have to get more specific with your calling.  There is so much uniqueness with people and you have the ability to impact those people that will connect with your heart, but first you have to ask the “WHY” question because that’s your Vision.

3 Questions that help you discover your Vision

1. What am I just naturally good at?

Ask yourself what are you or what is your organization just naturally good at? Now this question is not answered by what you think you should be good at?  See many times we find ourselves playing the clone game where we look at other organizations and try to be carbon copies.  It doesn’t work that way.

So ask yourself what are we gifted at? Where are we excellent or heading that way?

2. What am I passionate about?

You have to enjoy what you are doing or you’re wasting what is already precious time in a very short life.  Do NOT pursue something because it is a good idea, but pursue something because you’re passionate about it!  Good ideas will never fulfill you and they will never give you the resolve to be successful.  John Maxwell said perfectly “Passion provides the fuel in a person’s life to keep them going!”.  If you are not passionate about something you will burn out and quit!

3. What will work?

Now I know you may think that is the million dollar answer, but you should know the demographic or market well enough that you can see where the needs are not currently being met.  If you don’t have that understanding you have not put in the due diligence to succeed because success takes a TON OF WORK. Understand the people you are trying to reach and see where their needs are not being met and thats how you reach a group of people who are not currently getting their needs mets.

When these three answers come together it is like magic.  That is the vision!

Like the Bible says “Without vision the people will perish” or as other translations say “run wild”.  If you do not answer the “WHY” your organization will run away from you and you will be left picking up the pieces.

You MUST answer the “WHY” before the “HOW”!