Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Apple a Day

The July/August of "Fast Company" has a great article on Apple entitled "Apple Nation." It's one observer's version of what "the Apple playbook" might look like. It's fascinating - and it has some implications for your organization.

  • Go into your cave - Apple is fanatic about secrecy when it comes to their development process. Behind it's often closed doors, Apple can ignore the clamor of the world and create its own unique brand of "magic."
  • It's okay to be king - Apple's engineers spend 100% of their time making products planned by a small club of senior managers - and sometimes entirely by Steve Jobs himself. It may seem dictatorial, but it works. The hyper focus lets everyone know exactly what is needed.
  • Transcend orthodoxy - despite all the noise about Apple's closed ideology, the company adopts positions based on whether they make for good products and good business. Results are the driving philosophy.
  • Just say no - CEO Steve Job's primary role at Apple is to turn things down. "I'm as proud of the products that we have not done as the ones we have done," Jobs told an interviewer.
  • Serve your customer. No, really - however great your product or service, something will go wrong - and only then will the customer/client take the true measure of your organization.
  • Everything is marketing - Apple understands the lasting power of sensory cues, and goes out its way to infuse everything it make with memorable ideas that scream its brand.
  • Kill the past - no other company re imagines the fundamental parts of its business as frequently, and with as much gusto, as Apple does. Nothing holds it back, so it can always stay on the edge of what's technologically possible.
  • Turn feedback into inspiration - Apple doesn't exactly ignore the many customer requests for improvements in its products. They simply use their ideas as inspiration, not direction; as a means, not an end.
  • Don't invent, reinvent - revolutionary is one of Jobs's favorite words. It curates the best ideas bubbling up around the tech world and makes them its own.
  • Play by your own clock - Apple doesn't get caught up in the competitive frenzy of the industry; it plays by its own clock. Apple's product release schedule is designed around its own strategy and its own determination of what products will advance the company's long-term goals.
Everyone wants to be like Steve Jobs and his powerhouse company. It's not easy. But the lessons of Apple above may just help move your own organization forward.

Have you had your Apple today?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Milestone at ABF

A church construction project goes on for months and months; after the excitement of the groundbreaking and the first few weeks, sometimes interest begins to lag. At JH Batten, we like to keep the client fully informed and involved throughout the project. One of the ways we do that is through “milestone celebrations”. Scheduled throughout the duration of the project, they help the client keep the momentum and enthusiasm at a high level.

On one of our recent projects, a new sanctuary and education building for Alliance Bible Fellowship in Boone, NC, the congregation was able to come onto the site at the end of Phase 1 of construction and participate in a “beam signing” ceremony.

The ceremony is typical in large construction projects by signing their names and writing scripture verses and prayers on the steel infrastructure of the building when it is complete. Members of the church “left their mark” on the steel columns, signing with permanent markers.

Some view the signing of the beam as a form of legalized graffiti and almost like a time capsule for members. While we hope the building is there for awhile, in a hundred years if the building is demolished, some day somebody will know a little more about ABF; who they were, why they were here and that they had a presence and purpose for the project.

At its very basic meaning, the names of those who signed will be forever attached to ABF’s worship center project.

And that's a pretty cool thing!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Brightest Person and the Baton

Last year I wrote a post about the danger of being the brightest person in the room (it was not self-descriptive!). It was about the problems encountered when individuals (no matter how brilliant) put themselves above their team.

Reading this month's "Fast Company" magazine, I came across an article by Dan and Chip Heath entitled "Blowing the Baton Pass." The story highlights the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the misfortune of the men's and women's relay team's disastrous results: a dropped baton disqualified each team. Read the whole article for some great insight, but here is the absolute gold quote:

Organizations make this mistake constantly: They prize individual brilliance over the ability to work together as a team.

  • The relay team with the fastest sprinters doesn't always win.
  • The business with the most talented employees doesn't either.

How about your team? Do you have a process that promotes teamwork, allowing collaboration and cooperation? Are you practicing baton handoffs regularly, or do you assume your team can do it without coordination?

Answer wrong, and you will be looking at a baton on the track and the backside of your competition.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mission is What You Measure

Following up from yesterday's post, here's a simple question for you:

What types of "film" would you watch to improve the effectiveness of your church?

Keeping in mind that I'm using "film" in a figurative sense - there are many ways to observe, measure, and evaluate activities in your organization for possible improvement.

What most established churches measure is harmony, stability, and privilege. That is what occupies the agenda of most staff meetings, congregational gatherings, and denominational processes.

  • Churches go to great lengths to measure harmony - they mark every single, conceivable, and even half-baked complaint, anxiety, or hurt feeling.
  • Churches go to great lengths to measure stability. They chart the financial and membership trends. They have mastered the art of risk management.
  • Churches go to great length to measure privilege. They maintain elaborate by-laws and exacting processes for consensus management
Often the problem is that a watching and seeking world sees the disconnect between the stated (or at least assumed) mission of the church and the reality.

Is it possible to consider other activities that the church should be doing? How about "watching the film" in these areas for starters?

  • Do you have a red carpet? - what is your guest experience like? How do you welcome people to your campus? What makes your guests say "Wow - I didn't expect that!"
  • How do you handle frequent fliers? - welcoming every guest is important. Welcoming guests for the second and third time is extremely important!
  • Who's on your team? - team matters - if you're going to be in the game, you've got to have a team. There are probably dozens of opportunities in your church for people to be involved. How do you move them from attending to participating?
  • What's my draft like? - sports teams don't just randomly pick their players; they spend lots of money and effort to know the potential of each player. Recruiting leaders in your church ought to operate the same way.
  • How many teams are in your league? Your church probably worships in a large group or two, but it will only thrive and grow by creating small groups. How do you create them, what do you expect them to do, and how do they reproduce?
  • How do you define a win? In sports, you look at the scoreboard. What's a win look like for your church as individuals, groups, and the church as a whole?
I've only scratched the surface - you can probably add a dozen more activities to this list - things you ought to be "watching the film" on. Understanding what is important, and then taking steps to continually improve it, will produce results.

Mission is what you measure.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Roll That Film

It may be soccer-crazy right now following the USA's win over Algeria, but I'm thinking football.

Let me explain.

I'm working on a leadership training event for a new church plant that is launching this fall. Their marketing campaign for the launch centers around football concepts. Borrowing the theme, I'm structuring four sessions over two days that will use the metaphor of football and its associated "team" lessons.

In the middle of this preparation drops a great article by Dan and Chip Heath (authors of "Made to Stick" and "Switch"). Published in the June issue of Fast Company magazine, it's entitled "Watch the Game Film." You really need to check out the whole article, but here's a quick summary:

  • Football coaches use game film to spot things they'd never see in real time. They have an entire week to review a 60-minute game.
  • In the business world, every day is game day, and leaders don't take the time to "study the film" of their activities. It's unfortunate, because studying game film can yield unexpected results.
  • Doug Lemov, a consultant to school districts, utilized film of top-tier teachers in the classroom to train other teachers - resulting in raising students a grade level and a half in one year.
  • It doesn't have to be film - Jump Associates, a strategy consulting firm, uses trained observers to record client meetings. After the meeting, the Jump staff hold a debriefing, modeled on the Army's after-action reviews.
What insights might your team be overlooking because no one is observing carefully enough?

Maybe it's time to press the PAUSE button and start screening some game film. There are some things you'll never see unless you look.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From Personal to Organizational

Yesterday's post on creating a "stop-doing" list was a starting point, but it goes much beyond the personal - to the organization you lead.

Here's a simple, strategic challenge for your organization:

In the next 90 days, work with your leadership team on a "Stop Doing" Strategic Review.

As you make "stop"decisions, a careful, disciplined get-out-from-under execution plan must be developed as well. Keep it visible to the whole organization -out front, above ground, in-your-face visible.

Where will clarity take you on Day 91?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One of the Most Important Lists You Will Ever Make

Jim Collins,  teacher to companies around the world and best-selling author (Good to Great, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fall) speaks and writes about it frequently.

Tom Peters, consummate speaker and game-changing author (The Search for Excellence, Re-imagine, The Pursuit of WOW!, and The Little Big Things) doesn't just speak on the subject - he rants about it.

Steven Covey, business consultant, professor, and author (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, First Things First, and Principle-Centered Leadership) makes it the foundation of his time management principles.

Richard Swenson, physician-futurist, award-winning educator, and best-selling author (Margin, The Overload Syndrome, and In Search of Balance) thinks it is one of the keys to restoring balance in our lives.

Maybe you're getting the idea it's a big deal. It is...

...especially for such an innocuous thing.

Here it is:
"To-Don'ts" are more important than "To-Dos"

A little elaboration:
  • What you decide not to do is probably more important than what you decide to do
  • You probably can't work on "to-don't" alone - you need a sounding board/mentor/advisor/nag whom you trust to act as a drill sergeant who will march you to the wood-shed when you stray and start doing those time-draining "to-don'ts."
With only a little tongue-in-cheek:

The top of your "to-do" list for today is to immediately begin working on your "to-don't" list!

Monday, June 21, 2010

2 Questions for Your Consideration...

Alan Webber, co-founder of Fast Company magazine and author of the book "Rules of Thumb", thinks every leader needs to keep 2 lists:
  • What gets you up in the morning?
  • What keeps you up at night?
There is a lot for leaders to think about in those two sentences. Here is a summary of  Webber's challenges:

Some people just have jobs. Others have something they really work at.
Some people are just occupied. Others have something that preoccupies them.

It makes all the difference in the world.

Consider this: you spend at least eight hours a day working, five days a week. A minimum of forty hours a week for at least forty-eight to fifty weeks a year. That's a minimum of 1,920 hours a year. For how many years? You do the math.

What gets you up in the morning?
The level of energy put out by an organization's people is one of the things that you are aware of as soon as you enter their space. There's a buzz in the air (sometimes literally) created by people who are working  hard and working together. They want to be there - they came in ready to go.

What keeps you up at night?
This is a chance to be honest with yourself. Many times leaders rarely get a chance to reflect on the things that really matter to the organization's goals. Most of the time, day-to-day urgent concerns crowd out broader issues that are the really important ones. The things that often keep leaders up are the things that never seem to find the time or place for serious engagement in the course of an ordinary workday. 

We all want to do work that excites us. We want to care about things that concern us. So, about that list...

Take out a stack of three-by-five cards. Use one to write down the answer to the question "What gets you up in the morning?" Keep it to one sentence. If you don't like your answer, throw away the card and start over - it's only a card. Keep doing it until you've got an answer you can live with.

Now repeat the exercise for the question "What keeps you up at night?" Work at it until you've got an honest answer.

Now read your answers out loud to yourself. If you like them - if they give you a sense of purpose and direction - congratulations! Use them as a compass, checking from time to time to see if they're still true.

If you don't like one or both of your answers, you have a new question to consider: What are you going to do about it?

Whatever your answers are, you're spending almost two thousand hours a year of your life doing it.

That makes it worthwhile to come up with answers you can not only live with but also live for.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Because I am a father...

...I get to be a grandfather!

Spending the day with Jack yesterday meant:
- a trip to Lowes to get the materials to repair a window
- buying an American flag which he waved throughout the store
- a trip to Walmart for a Woody t-shirt and a "bikey" - his word for anything with wheels that isn't a car or truck
- the "bikey" just happens to be radio-controlled, so it's a gift for Jon and Jack to play with together
- playing the rest of the day, inside and out

The other big part of my Father's Day weekend was a surprise by Aaron and Amy: they cooked up a plan with Anita to come home from their camp jobs for the weekend!

Friday when I got home from a meeting, Aaron walked out of his room. Saturday night on the drive back from Boone Amy called to tell me about her week at camp, her day spent at her house in Buies Creek, and "oh by the way I'm at home and will meet you, Mom and Aaron for supper tonight."

And of course I wouldn't be a Dad at all if it weren't for Anita. She is amazing!

Thanks you guys for a great weekend! I love you!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Motivating Result

All week I've been recapping a section of Bert Decker's great book on communication, "You've Got to Be Believed to Be Heard." He has created the following chart that shows the path from information to influence.

The end result of the process displayed above (and described in blog posts here, here, here, and here) is that your communication will move from information to influence. You will be able to more effectively persuade your listeners, not just by the power of your person, but by the power of your presentation as well.

As leaders, we often think that if we say words, people will get them. That is not necessarily true. They might get the words and our message if we are enthused and confident - but not if we're nervous and we block our message by inappropriate behavioral habits.

John Maxwell has a famous definition of leadership: "Leadership is influence." If you believe that, then what are you doing today to make your communications move from information to influence?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Memorable Process

Today is a continuation of a quick journey through Bert Decker's path from information to influence. Briefly, he created a matrix of four actions, and then expanded it by four types of communication modes. Here is a quick look at The Educational Process; here is the Involving Process.

The Memorable Process

Moving people from the intellectual to the emotional realm is more difficult. This idea is not about ignoring the intellectual or reasoning processes in the listener, but adding the emotional dimension to your content. This is not something that is taught to us, but it is a very powerful mindset that you can learn quickly and use continuously.

Emotional perspective comes from the energy of our behavior, of course, but it can also be applied in our content. We want to become memorable by using techniques and methods that get us out of the dry and didactic world of facts and figures. We want to use our creativity, to become storytellers and interesting visualizers, to move deeper into the world of ideation and metaphor.

Decker's book is entitled "You've Got to Be Believed to Be Heard." It's a great resource for anyone who speaks before a group of people - from 5 to 500. My focus (which ends tomorrow) has only been on one section - From Information to Influence.  There are four other sections that will help you create, organize, and then deliver - powerfully - your message.

Tomorrow: The Motivating Result

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Involving Process

Author and communication expert Bert Decker has developed a matrix that shows how to move your communications from information to influence. Yesterday's post was about the educational process. This process combines the active and intellect sides of the matrix.

To move people from passive to active, there are many options. One of the most important is to convey our energy and enthusiasm, which resonates in the listener. It's hard to be passive when someone is excited, but it's easy when someone is uninteresting, low on energy, and monotonous.

There are several things you can do that deal more with content and process. You can ask questions, getting people to think. You can do interactive exercises, or take people through simulated exercise or though processes. How about fill-in-the-blanks in handouts? However you can, get people involved, and move them from passive to active by interacting with them.

Tomorrow: The Memorable Process.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Educational Process

Author and communicator Bert Decker developed a chart that illustrates the path from information to influence. In developing it, he starts with a typical four-quadrant diagram, and then expands it one further step, finally adding a diagonal path.

Step one of the path from information to influence starts with the educational process.

Starting in kindergarten and continuing through college into graduate school, we are mostly taught passively. Basically we sit in chairs and teachers lecture at us. They appeal to our intellect, our cognitive side.

That is our educational system, and it continues into business and into life. It is the world of information. It is on the Passive and Intellectual side of Decker's chart, Create Your Experience.

Take a journey back to high school or college, and remember your favorite teacher. It probably wasn't the teacher with the longest tenure, or who was most published, or who had the most degrees. It was probably the person who was the most excited about the subject - and that enthusiasm was contagious.

You caught it, and because of that they influenced you to "get" the information and knowledge.

The journey from information to influence has to start with the Educational Process, but there has to be movement: from passive to active, and from the intellectual to the emotional mental states.

Tomorrow: the Involving Process.

Monday, June 14, 2010

From Information to Influence

Jack Ryan, the historian-CIA-politician hero from author Tom Clancy's fiction writings of the 1990s is always good for a quote:

Next time Jack, write a #@$!! memo!

He muttered this to himself as he was being lowered in a raging storm from a helicopter to a submarine, on the way to averting WWIII. His research led to an astounding discovery, but it was his willingness in presenting the information first-hand that led to the quote above. It may make for good summertime reading and an action movie, but there is actually an instructive lesson in it for anyone who seeks to become a better communicator.

The written medium is a cognitive, linear, literal, and didactic process that's great for transferring information.

Speaking is the medium of action and influence. In speaking, we create an experience where people get us and our message together - and the two are inseparable. In speaking, we use information to influence. The power is in the presentation.

The two previous paragraphs come from Bert Decker's book "You've Got to Be Believed to Be Heard." Whenever I'm working on major presentations I always find myself coming back for a refresher course.

This week I'll be posting excerpts from this book along with observations for ChurchWorld.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Clarity Solves the Visionary's Dilemma

The problem with most visionaries is that they see a world that doesn't exist.

It's not so much of a problem until they try to explain their vision to the rest of us mere mortals. They can imagine products or services not yet invented. They can envision a way of living different to the way we live now.

Yet they can't always get it out in a way that anyone can understand.

Simon Sinek, author of the book "Start With Why," has a great post here on the visionary's dilemma.

Here's a quote that pretty much sums it up:

A vision, no matter how brilliant, will only ever see the light of day if others, those less visionary, are able to also see the potential. It is a person's ability to paint a picture of something that doesn't exist in words so clear that others can clearly picture it themselves without any confusion or uncertainty that matters most. It is at that point that an idea can inspire people to act. To share the idea and to help bring it to reality.

His formula for explaining the vision in words everyone can understand is pure gold:
  1. Words that require thinking should be avoided, words like "convergence," for example. When someone says that in a sentence, I have to furl my brow and really pay attention.
  2. Explain why it matters, not what you're doing. Who cares if you're "developing applications for mobile devices...blah blah blah," why should I care?
  3. And most importantly, always, always speak as if you're describing an image. A picture. A scene.
And finally: And, after all, it is why you have your vision, not how you intend to create it, that inspires.

Leaders in ChurchWorld ought to be visionaries - and many are. Just make sure you are able to speak to that vision, and communicate it to others with clarity.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What if Pixar Came to Your Church?

Pixar Animation Studio's track record: 9 for 9.

That's nine films since the studio's launch in 1995, every one of them a smashing success. What's their secret? Their unusual creative process. Unlike the typical studio who gathers all the necessary personnel to produce a film and then releases them after it is finished, Pixar's staff of writers, directors, animators, and technicians move from project to project.

The result: a team of moviemakers who know and trust one another in ways unimaginable on most sets.

The May issue of Wired magazine has a great article on how Pixar does it, using "Toy Story 3" as the example. You can read the whole article here, but take a look at their step-by-step process in a nutshell:

  • Day 1 - coming up with a great story. The creative team leaves the campus for an off site retreat, and knocks out a quick storyline - which they promptly discard.
  • Day 3 - working from a series of plot points, screenwriter Michael Arndt begins drafting the script. Director Lee Unkrich and the story artists start sketching storyboards. The storyboards allow the filmmakers to begin imagining the look and feel of each scene.
  • Day 36 - character design begins. Working in digital images, sketches, and clay figures, each character comes to life in a process called simulation - a constant negotiation between the artistic and technical teams.
  • Day 123 - the storyboards are turned into a story reel that can be projected, much like an elaborate flip book. This allows the team to watch along with an audience and determine what works and what doesn't.
  • Day 380 - actors come into the studio to record all the lines - dozens of times. The actors are also being filmed, so the animators can watch the actor's expressions and use them as reference points when they animate the characters' faces.
  • Day 400 - shaders began to add color and texture to characers' bodies and other surfaces that appear in the film. Complex algorithms are used to simulate the effect of light and shadow on different toy surfaces like plastic, cloth, or wood.
  • Day 533 - the pictures are moving, defined by up to 1,000 points of possible movement that animators can manipulate like strings on a puppet. Each day the team starts by reviewing the previous day's work, ripping it apart to make each scene more expressive.
  • Day 806 - technical challenges pile up. The studio's design which places essential facilities in the center allows the team to have unplanned creative conversations while on the way for a cup of coffee or walking to the bathroom.
  • Day 898 - the animators hit high gear, working late into the night in customized and personalized offices.
  • Day 907 - rendering, the process of using computer algorithms to generate a final frame, is well under way. The average frame (a move has 24 frames per second) takes about seven hours to render, though complex frames can take nearly 39 hours of computer time. The Pixar building has two massive render farms, each of which contains hundreds of servers running 24 hours a day.
  • Day 1,070 - the movie is mostly done. the team has completed 25 of the film's sequences and is finishing the most complicated scene of the move. It has take 27 technical artists four months to perfect that single scene.
  • Day 1,084 - Only weeks away from release, the audio mixers at Skywalker Sound combine dialog, music, and sound effects. Every nuance is adjusted and readjusted. Director Unkrich: "We don't ever finish a film - I could keep on making it better. We're just forced to release it."
And you thought getting a sermon ready for Sunday was difficult!

The process depicted above can be highly constructive for you and your team. Granted, you don't have either the budget or the time to produce a film like Toy Story 3, but you can take the principle above and apply them in your context, resources, and time frame.

So, how about it? What Pixar creative magic can you put to use this week?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Got a Few Minutes to Spare?

When you have a few spare minutes, do you turn on the television or turn to your computer?

Studies show that the time Americans once spent watching television has been redirected toward activities that are less about consuming and more about engaging - from Facebook and other forms of social networking to powerful forms of political action. And these efforts aren't fueled by external rewards but by intrinsic motivation - the joy of doing something for its own sake.

Authors Daniel Pink and Clay Shirky were recently interviewed in Wired magazine about the revolution in how we use our free time. The full interview is here, but some key points include:
  • Free time used to be something to be used up rather than used. With increased suburbanization and long commutes, there was less face-to-face interaction. Most people spent the bulk of their free time watching television.
  • Post-TV media - blogs, wikis, and Twitter - is now being tapped for other, often more valuable uses.
  • Television is a solitary activity that crowded out other forms of social connection. The very nature of new technologies fosters social connections.
  • Our intrinsic motivation - doing something that is interesting, engaging, the right thing to do, or something that contributes to the world - is a powerful motivator.
  • The possibilities of organizations tapping into this "free" time - what Shirky calls "cognitive surplus" - is staggering.
What about your "free" time? How do you use it? Is there a place in your organization for connecting this cognitive surplus for the good of others?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Few Thoughts to Start Your Day...

The Revolution Continues...
  • Seth Godin's Monday evening post: I saw a two-year old kid (in diapers, in a stroller), using an iPod Touch today. Not just looking at it, but browsing menus and interacting. This is a revolution, guys.

"Deeper" Christians?
  • My pastor, Steven Furtick, on the fallacy of "deeper" Christians: The point of the study of the Bible is not to learn things you’ve never heard of before but to begin living in a way nobody has seen before. And this can only be the result of active engagement with God’s Word, not merely increased depth in God’s Word.
Bad Situations are Great Opportunities to Earn Word of Mouth
  • Brilliant - simply brilliant: When a Southwest Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale to Denver had to be diverted to Pueblo because of bad weather, passengers were forced to wait two hours on the ground until the Denver airport could reopen.

    Passengers were tired, frustrated, and stuck.

    And that’s when the Southwest pilot announced he was ordering pizza for everyone. About 30 minutes later, row by row, the pilot personally handed out slices to the stranded travelers.

Shower Time

  • Simon Sinek says a couple of more minutes in the shower will help you be creative: When we take showers or go for a drive (or paint or run or wherever you allow your mind to wander), it continues trying to solve the issues we face in our lives at the time. It accesses all our past experiences to help us see things our conscious brains can not.

Now you know; now it's time to act differently...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Managing By Wandering Around...

...It's All Around You!

In 1982 a book called "In Search of Excellence", by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman came out. Even though it was a business book, it made quite a hit in my seminary classes as well. (Way back when, even before it became the standard practice it is today, Ralph Hardee had us reading B books!)

One of the most important lessons of that book then, and still important today, is the idea of MBWA, or Managing by Wandering Around.

With MBWA, "what you see is what you get."

Tom Peters, in his latest book "The Little BIG Things," recently added these thoughts about MBWA:

  • Get out of your office!
  • Unplug your laptop!
  • Put your iPhone/Blackberry in the drawer!
  • Chat up anybody whose path you cross...especially if they are not among your normal chatees.
  • Go strolling in parts of the organization (or your neighborhood) where you normally don't stroll.
  • Slow down.
  • Stop.
  • Chat.
Put "wandering" on your permanent formal agenda. It may sound counterintuitive, but "aimless wandering" requires strict discipline. We all fall into ruts, even in our wanderings. Same route. Same people. Same time of day. Etc. Etc. Etc. Somehow you've got to introduce spontaneity.

Make a pledge to "just wander" at least a half-hour each day. You'll be amazed at what happens when you come back to the pile of work on your desk or the files open on your screen.

Practice MBWA today!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

All in a Day's Work...

I love my job - I just need more hours in the day:

  • Email correspondence, snail-mail letters, phone calls, texts, and Tweets: Communication is the lifeblood of what I do. My 100% Communication Rule - I assume total responsibility to make sure my words and calls are received and understood by the recipient. If not, keep at it until they are.
  • Consultations: Relationships are #1. When I get the chance to talk with a church leader - pastor, staff, or dedicated volunteer - I'm all ears first and foremost. If I can't listen to, and then respond to the person across the table, then I've failed.
  • Research: Information drives our society. The communication and consultations mentioned above are preceded, and then followed up, by research. It may come in a digital form, or from a printed page, or from a person to person interaction, but information about the matter at hand is vital to a continued relationship. My goal? I want to know as much as possible about your organization so that I can serve you well.
  • Face 2 Face: All relationships have a beginning and this is often the best place to start. I'm not going to waste your time - I just want to introduce myself, tell you about my passion, and ask you to call me when you need something - all in about 30 seconds.
  • Professional networking: I may not know the answer to your question, but more than likely I know someone who does. If not, I will in short order.
  • Meetings: Make the world go round - at least my world! In ChurchWorld, nothing gets done without meetings, or so it seems. If I called the meeting, it's going to be concise and productive. If someone else called it and I have a part, I'm going to come prepared. If it's a meeting that I am just attending, I'm going to make sure it's as beneficial as possible to all concerned.
  • Presentations: It's all about emotion and communicating your point of view to others. If all you want to do is create a file of facts and figures, cancel the meeting and send a report.
  • Questions: The simpler the better. Simple questions should be profound so that answering them requires us to make stark, honest, and sometimes painful self-assessments. When you ask the tough questions of what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what you must do to improve an organization's performance, you have had a good day.
That's what a good day is all about...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Creating Leaders

I'm in Greenville SC for the latest stop on NCPG's "Great Adventure Road Show." Glad to be partnering with NCPG for the third stop!

What's your greatest resource at your organization?



Your goodwill in the community?

How about the people on your team?

I suggest that the people in your organization are THE most important resource you have.

So what are you doing to create more leaders at your place?
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