Category Archives: Leadership

Don’t Miss God Because You Don’t Understand

Generally, I think it’s safe to say that we are quite convinced of our opinions and perspectives on life. When we think about it, we know that we don’t know it all. The challenge is when we don’t think about it, we forget. As leaders, you and I will benefit the people in our organizations we lead, whether they be in our companies, nonprofits, volunteer groups, or families, by recognizing this common limiting bias within ourselves and make every attempt to keep in under wraps. Let’s open ourselves up to how big God is and how big his ideas are for our assignments and that of those we lead. Take a look at this scripture with me.

“Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” Acts 15:7-11

I was listening to a message by a pastor yesterday morning. He pointed out several times throughout recent and ancient church history where God moved in ways that the established church didn’t quite accept. He pointed out the Jesus People movement where hippies, sometimes right in the middle of LSD trips, were encountering Jesus, and coming by the droves into churches. They didn’t look, talk, or smell like the other church goers but they definitely had encountered Jesus and were willing to worship together with people very different from them. The established church goers were not quite as accommodating in many cases. Another example was the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. At that time protestant churches taught rather vehemently that the catholic church was purporting heresies and no one from that tradition could possibly have a genuine relationship with Christ and Holy Spirit. Well, they did – even in the midst of all that misunderstanding and misapplication of scripture. And then the pastor went to the book of Acts where the Jewish followers of Jesus were having real issues with these gentile believers not following the closely-held traditions of the Jewish faith. In fact, these believers were pretty confused about a lot having come from totally polytheistic cultures.

I chuckled at these examples then stopped chuckling when I recognized I can be just like these others.

I realized in that moment that when I pray to God for a fresh move and transformation in a church, business, and organization, I have in mind that everyone will come to see my side of things. They will see and understand like I do. They will see that the organization should be governed and directed how I think it should be governed and directed. It will be glorious when everyone comes around to see things correctly! Admittedly, it sounds absurd as I write this blog – I know!

The idea that God’s move may require me to grow to where others are rather than them grow to where I am, was absolutely not on my radar. It’s a little embarrassing how egotistical this looks – but it’s just the truth. I need a mindset shift here – and maybe you do to.

So, let’s open our hearts just a little bit more to how big God is and how big he moves. We’ve all had those moments where God worked in something but did it in a way that we did not expect. Let’s just recognize that a little sooner; let’s cooperate earlier in the process! When we see someone’s walk with God and it doesn’t seem quite like what we have experienced, let’s open our hearts a little bit wider to allow Holy Spirit to lead both us and them! When someone suggests passionately that the organization head in a different direction than we would lead, let’s not immediately write it off as wrong. Let’s grow by appreciating what God is doing in and through others just as much as what He’s doing in and through us. Maybe this is just a slightly different aspect of the “love your neighbor as yourself” bedrock principle.

One thing I am confident of – when we can see a bigger picture than the one we have painted on our own canvass, great growth is ahead!

Do you think 41 cents could change the world?

41 Cents … a quarter, dime, nickel, and penny

I do. You might wonder what in the world I could be talking about. You might even think I’m crazy but I genuinely believe that 41 cents could bring shift in our world. A few years ago I stumbled onto an idea to find a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter and place those in one pocket before I left to go about the day. During the day, I would look for opportunities to do two things – express appreciation and appreciate expression. In expressing appreciation, I wanted to be intentional in sharing my appreciation for something someone had done. I wanted them to know that I noticed and they made a difference by doing what they did. It was about noticing what others were doing. In appreciating expression, I wanted to be intentional in sharing my appreciation for who someone is. I wanted them to know that though we may be different, I genuinely appreciated the strength they contributed by being different than me. It might be their choice in music, mode of problem-solving, communication style, sense of fashion. It could literally be anything that reminded me that the world is a much more interesting place with such diversity in people. Today, these two perspectives remind me that I’m not unimportant nor more important than anyone else. We’re very similar and very different all by design. That’s what those different denominations of coins represented in my pocket. Every time I shared with someone appreciation for what they had done or who they were, I would transfer a coin to the other pocket. My goal was to transfer all coins to the other pocket by the end of the day. As a result of this habit (and there’s many days I miss) I genuinely can see a shift in my perspective. I would like to invite you to give it a try. It’s really quite enjoyable to be a little expression of appreciation in people’s day. I think our world needs a little more of that!

Just a Stack of Coins …

41 Cents Leadership – The placing of a quarter, dime, nickel, and penny in your pocket as consistent reminders of the importance of expressing appreciation to and appreciating expression of the individuals on your team.  Transfer one coin to the other pocket each time you meaningfully connect with someone on your team through expressing appreciation or appreciating their individual expression. The goal … to transfer each of those coins at least once each day!

Now, on to a leadership principle …Take a look at the quarter, dime, nickel, and penny. Stack them with the largest on the bottom, then the next largest, the next, and the final coin. Obviously you would have the quarter on the bottom, then the nickel, the penny, and finally the dime on top.

There’s a few takeaways with this simple picture …

The quarter is the most valuable contributor to the total 41 cents. It supports the rest of the team. But it’s on the bottom! Often times our strongest contributors aren’t necessarily the people you see at first glance. You have to look a little deeper to see the real picture. Who are those people on your team that are key strengths to the entire organization? Take some time today to appreciate their contributions!

Think of that stack of coins as your organizational chart. Arranged by size, the coins do not align with actual value. Just because someone is in a certain layer of the chart or has a certain title on their name placard, doesn’t necessarily indicate their overall contribution to the organization. Right now, you can probably identify people that are higher on the organizational chart, but contribute very little to the health and productivity of the organization. And conversely, you can readily identify people lower on that same organizational chart that contribute significantly more than their role would indicate. Don’t allow a job title to be your filter of assessment. Look more closely at each individual – their strengths, their uniqueness, their character. Take some time to appreciate their contributions – regardless of where they are on the organizational chart!

One final thought and I’ll let you go …

The most stable structure for these coins is in the arrangement you are looking at right now. Imagine if the dime stack were reversed … Now consider the pressures that an organization faces in today’s economic climate. There are the ever-increasing pressures to produce more with less, to beat last year’s metric by a strong 10%, and to properly position the organization for the next round of changes. Our people in the right places on the team is integral to our success! If you place those same pressures on a team where several people are not in the right fit, it is likely you will see failure or underachievement at best! Take the time needed to appreciate the expression of individuals on your team. Are they in the right places? If they are, continue to grow them there. If not, it’s time to make some strategic shifts.

Go! Lead! Be bold in your leadership! This world needs difference makers!

I would love to hear what thoughts you might derive from this simple illustration. I’m sure there are some great thoughts out there! Thanks for checking in …

Fit Trumps Size

You’ve got the quarter, dime, nickel, and penny in your pocket.  They are consistent reminders of the importance of expressing appreciation and appreciating expression (individuality) in your team.  As you go to transfer one of the coins after a meaningful exchange with one of your team members, you reach into your pocket and grab the quarter.  Take a look at that quarter and consider this …

The quarter is just 13.5% larger than the nickel but is a whopping 500% more valuable!  And what about comparison to that penny? It is only 21.5% larger than the penny but a staggering 2500% more valuable.  People’s “size” of value to the organization may be quite similar.  People may have a similar position, similar educational backgrounds, even similar career histories.  But one may be an exponentially better “fit” than the other for a particular task, project, or role – that person may, like the quarter as compared to the nickel or penny, bring the organization considerably more productivity.

I will explore this principle further in future postings, but FIT trumps SIZE all day long in our organizations!  Get to know the people around you and how they are wired.  Move them into the best fit possible so they can do what they do best everyday!  The organization will benefit exponentially!

What are your thoughts?  I would love to hear some examples of how you’ve seen this principle play out!  Thanks much for checking in.