why

Leadership Starts With Why

One of the greatest resources in helping me think outside the box in leadership is TED: Ideas worth spreading. There are some amazing talks by incredible people there, and it is all free. I recently came across a talk by Simon Sinek from 2010 that looks at why some people are able to defy the odds and do well when others who seem to have everything together end in failure.

He sums it all up in one simple statement.

People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.
@SimonSinek

Leading teams is difficult, especially if your team does not understand or buy into why you are doing what you do. If all your team knows is what their tasks are and how to do them, they are likely to burn out or stop at satisfactory. If your team knows why they are working, they will put in that extra effort to achieve excellence in what they do. If they buy into the why, they will follow your lead and bring others along with them….

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authenticity

Hidden Qualities of Exceptional Leaders – Authenticity

In today’s culture it’s easy to believe that leaders “stand out” based on external or easily observed qualities.

It may be their physical presence or command of a room as they speak. It may be the way that they always seem to be “in control” no matter what the situation.

Over the next several weeks, I’d like to share a few “hidden qualities” of exceptional leaders that I have observed over the years. These are character traits or sometimes skills that have been developed or refined through years of pursuing the uncommon pathway to excellence.

The first hidden quality is that of authenticity. If there’s one characteristic that is demanded by next generation leaders and appreciated by every segment of leaders its authenticity.

The digital age in which we find ourselves makes it very easy to become somebody else, someone who you’re not. Facebook and Twitter and numerous other social media outlets give us a platform to create a persona that is not who we really are….

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Winston Churchill

Communication is the Oxygen of Leadership (Part 3 of 3)

Continued from last week, here is the conclusion of our review of the 12 great principles of communication…

Winston Churchill was a great leader and a great communicator. He was a man fit for his time. Some called him “the voice of England” because he could communicate in such a way that it captured the hearts and minds of the people and their dreams. The following quotes illustrate this:

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…

Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival….

Never, never, never give up!

Winston Churchill was amazing at knowing the needs of his audience, living his own message, and painting a vision that moved people forward with hope and anticipation….

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Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator

Communication is the Oxygen of Leadership (Part 2 of 3)

Many American presidents have made an impact on our country as great communicators. Some examples are John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. But only one president was actually called “the great communicator”, and that was Ronald Reagan.

Reagan was a good executive because he possessed a clear vision, made decisions easily, surrounded himself with leaders with complementary skills, and delegated very effectively. But he was a great leader because of his uncanny ability to communicate. When it came to leading the country, people knew who he was, where he stood, what he wanted, and they couldn’t wait to get on board with him. His ability to communicate effectively made him the kind of leader people wanted to follow.

You may not aspire to be president, but every leader still needs strong communication skills. The success of your marriage, job, and personal relationships depend on it. People will not follow you if they don’t know what you want or where you are going.

Here I continue what I started last week, the 12 great principles of communication:…

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1971 Titans

Communication is the Oxygen of Leadership (Part 1 of 3)

Leadership is our ability to positively influence others. As such, it is fundamentally a relational skill. It has been said, “Communication is the oxygen of relationships.” Without good communication, relationships die. Consequently, without good communication, leadership doesn’t stand a chance.

In the early 70s, many communities in the United States were in the process of dismantling segregation. Alexandria, Virginia was one such community. It took tangible steps toward equality when it combined the populations of three area high schools into one. Two had been white and one was black. Herman Boone, a black man, was chosen to be the football coach at the new high school ……. over Bill Yoast, a very popular white coach. This added to the tension, especially since Yoast and another white man became Boone’s assistant coaches. Boone did everything in his power to bring the players and his coaching staff together. And it worked. That season, the team won the state championship and became the second highest ranking high school football team in the country!

When asked what the secret was to this high-performing team’s success, Boone stated, “Communication. Talking to each other. Getting to know and appreciate each other. We forced the kids to spend time with each other to find out things about each other. Every player was required to spend time with teammates who were a different race.” Result: the team went undefeated. And that is why, to this day, the people of Alexandria still remember, and talk about, the 1971 Titans.

You cannot have a high performance team unless you have communicative players on the team. Without communication you don’t have a team, you just have a collection of individuals. You will be a much more effective communicator, and leader of your team, if you follow these 12 principles:…

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Getting Unstuck

When you are in the middle of the ‘day to day stuff’ of ministry, there are very few easy answers to getting ‘unstuck’. These questions suggested by Tony Morgan are helpful IF they create the basis for a conversation about practical steps that can be pursued to bring about change.

I would recommend you take the top five most relevant to your situation and make them the basis for a ‘half-day’ retreat. Our Leadership Team found that a solid, four-hour, focused time can be extremely productive. Give it a try!

11 Questions Church Leaders Should Be Asking

Leading From Within

“This is why, I think, so many companies fail. Not because of challenges in the marketplace, but because of challenges on the inside.”
– Howard Schultz, Onward

There are many times that I have heard leaders point to things outside of their organizations as obstacles to growth and/or reasons for why efforts for success are failing.

The truth is, if it is solid and healthy on the inside, your organization can weather most storms that come from the outside. Easy? No. Survivable? Yes.

Flip that scenario around, and it’s a different story. If your organization is not healthy on the inside, it is doomed to be an obstacle to its own success. I’m sure you know of at least one example that proves this point.

As a leader, what are you doing to make your organization stronger?…

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Jesus Washing Peter's Feet

To Lead, You Must Serve

If leadership is influence, and we have the desire to be leaders, why do we want to influence people? I’m sure there are many answers to that question. Some people want to influence others in order to feel better about themselves. I think that is why there are so many self-help books out there. Others work to influence others for their own gain. Our primary goal at Passavant Leadership Group is to come alongside the leaders of churches, so our reasons are much different than these. We want to partner with leaders in order to advance The Kingdom of God. Our reason for influence is Jesus Christ.

This is why leadership in the church looks so much different than leadership in many companies of the world. Our leadership example did not influence others for His own gain or to feel good about Himself. Instead, He served others in order to influence them….

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Invisible Ponies

Invisible Ponies

As people and as an organization it is easy to get stuck when you look into the future. How you look forward can determine how much headway you make into your dreams and goals. Sometimes it even determines whether or not you have dreams or goals.

It doesn’t take a lot of research to discover that there are at least two ways to look at the world around us. We use various examples: glasses that are half-filled, sports analogies, and many other topics.

I was recently reminded of a story that Ronald Reagan made famous that goes like this:

The parents of two brothers, one an incurable pessimist and the other an incurable optimist, took their sons to see a doctor in the hopes of curing the boys of their respective conditions. The physician started with the young pessimist. He took the boy into a room brimming with a mountain of new toys. “These are all yours,” the doctor said. Immediately, the young pessimist burst into tears. “What’s wrong?” His parents asked. “If I play with the toys,” the boy sobbed, “surely they will all break and be ruined.”

Next, the doctor tried his hand with the young optimist. Instead of toys, the doctor took his patient into a room filled with a mountain of horse dung. “This is for you.” The doctor told him. With that, the boy smiled so wide he could have eaten a banana sideways. Excited, he raced to the top of the mountain of manure, where, with his bare hands, he began digging into the pungent heap. Baffled, the doctor and the parents looked at one another quizzically, “Son,” the father asked. “What in heaven’s name do you think you’re doing?”

“Well,” the boy replied, “with all this horse dung, I figure there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere!”

There’s really no need to spend the next couple of paragraphs reiterating the point of the story. It’s pretty self-explanatory. However, I would like you to think about how you focus the point of the story in your life….

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change

The Speed Of Change

One of the things that continues to be problematic in the local church is how difficult it is to change some of the ancillary, let alone fundamental, issues that prevent the church from fulfilling its mission.

The church is often structured in such a way that many people share authority, and therefore decisions require a great deal of (sometimes needless) scrutiny by multiple layers of people who might be affected.

It’s not that I believe in authoritarian power in any way. In fact, I’m much more convinced that the Lord leads the church through gifted people who work together in small but effective groups who have responsibility, accountability and authority to make decisions….

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