Why Be Ordinary?

The first step to becoming extraordinary is simply to stop being ordinary.

Here are five suggestions to help you:

  • Avidly collect firsthand experiences– Sherlock Holmes’ greatest claim to fame was his power of observation. Make the effort to observe and understand the nuances of what is going on in your organization. Just one among many leaders? You are still the only “you”, and you know your experiences better than anyone else. Get out from behind your desk, and know what’s happening out there. First-hand observations are critically important-make it a part of your regular routine to gather them.
  • Have a “beginner’s mind” – set aside what you know and be open to looking at things with a fresh perspective. You have extensive education and experience, you may understand tradition, you probably have preconceived notions about things. Don’t forget the importance of starting with a blank page when confronted with new opportunity.
  • Keep an “idea wallet” so you don’t lose momentary insights– anthropologists carry a notebook and camera to record their discoveries. Try recording ideas in real-time – make use of current technologies like your mobile phone with camera, or do it the old-fashioned way with a journal or index card. When you see or hear something interesting, record it for later development and exploration with your team.
  • Become a proactive “idea-broker” and practice continuous cross-pollination– Develop solid, trusted relationships across departments and lines in your organization so that you can understand and apply the lessons you learn in one context to another. Combine learning and collaboration so that you become a conduit for fresh ideas for your team.
  • Embrace the power of storytelling – telling a story has an emotional appeal that transcends the raw data we often collect. Listen to your team. Encourage them to listen to those they come into contact with. Let the stories that come out of those conversations become the vehicles for communicating your message. It will be powerful, memorable, and uniquely yours.

Stop being ordinary TODAY. Reject routine and set yourself and your team on a course to becoming extraordinary.

The world will notice.

inspired by and adapted from The Big Moo, edited by Seth Godin

The Big Moo

The Heart of Leadership

There is a lot more to leadership than great individual work. – Mark Miller, The Heart of Leadership

The Heart of LeadershipMark Miller, VP of Organizational Effectiveness at Chick-Fil-A, has just released his newest book, The Heart of Leadership. In his latest enlightening and entertaining business fable, he describes the five unique character traits exhibited by exceptional leaders and how to cultivate them.

 

If you don’t demonstrate leadership character, your skills, and your results will be discounted, if not dismissed. – Mark Miller

heart-of-L-5b-preorder

 

In setting up the true “heart” of leadership, Miller uses the familiar and helpful metaphor of the iceberg: typically we only see about 10% above the waterline, with 90% below. Miller depicts the iceberg as a picture of leadership, with leadership skills being the visible 10%.

Great Leaders SERVE

  • See the Future
  • Engage and Develop Others
  • Reinvent Continuously
  • Value Results and Relationships
  • Embody the Values

That metaphor in itself is a helpful reminder, but the true strength of the book comes as Miller develops the “heart” of leadership – the 90% below the waterline.

Leadership is not about what you do nearly as much as it’s about who you are becoming – the heart of leadership is a matter of the heart. – Mark Miller

Download a sample chapter here.

Applying the Power of AND: Understanding the Universal Needs of the People You Serve AND Innovating to Meet the Unique Needs of Your Local Environment

There is an ongoing debate among cultural anthropologists between the two conflicting perspectives of universalism and cultural relativism. Universalism suggests that the underlying similarities among all people are greater than their cultural differences, while cultural relativism asserts that cultural differences have a profound effect on people, making it difficult for “outsiders” to fully understand the relevant context of behavior.

As a church leader, you may not consider yourself a cultural anthropologist, but go back and read that last phrase and you will probably change your mind.

To put it a different way, how easy is it for “outsiders” to become connected to your organization?

In Leading the Starbucks Way, organizational consultant Joseph Michelli uses two years of research with dozens of leaders in the Starbucks organization to develop five actionable principles that forge emotional connections that drive innovation, grow new business product lines, and foster employee and customer loyalty. These principles are “brief and clear, and put the customers, products, and experiences at the purposeful center of Starbucks.”

Leadership Principle #3: Reach for Common Ground

Starbucks leaders have made their share of mistakes in attempting to strike a balance between the universal and the cultural. In the process of their setbacks and victories, Starbucks serves as a helpful guide on how to make powerful and respectful connections in new opportunities.     – Joseph Michelli, Leading the Starbucks Way

The goal of leadership is to create the right environment for human connections to occur and to help staff members manage the inevitable issues that surface.

ChurchWorld Application

  1. Are you paying attention to your Guests’ needs to be seen and heard?
  2. Would you go so far as to say your Guests feel understood and known?
  3. Do your team members say thank you, offer a fond farewell, and invite guests into future opportunities to connect?
  4. When it comes to seeing, hearing, and knowing your Guests, what are the strengths and opportunities for your organization?
  5. Are you connecting with each Guest verbally and nonverbally upon first contact?
  6. Do you go from listening to Guests to Guest knowledge on which you can act?

Your community has all kinds of specific challenges. Do you know what they are?

Understanding your local predicament is about having an intimate grasp of the soil where God has called you to minister. It’s about walking firsthand your contours of locality.

Starbucks leadership has deployed a series of key approaches and adjustments to maximize the local relevance of products, services, and physical environment. They include decentralization and revitalization of their corporate structure, developing relationships with local allies, and understanding the physical properties of history of the community they serve.

 Considering local cultural influences is an important layer of our design process to ensure market relevance. For us, it starts with listening and observing the needs of our partners and customers. It’s about communicating up front, talking to customers, listening to partners, and it’s seeing through the lens of that collective experience.     – Thom Breslin, Director, Design, Starbucks UK

ChurchWorld Application

  1. Are you seeking to provide the same thing to everyone, or do you understand the needs of unique needs of different people?
  2. How far can and do you go to achieve local relevance?
  3. Have you completed a “sense of place” in your new markets such that you can blend your brand with local needs?

Leaders understand that maximized choice is essential to today’s consumer, but with choice comes a responsibility to ensure that you can execute the new product offerings at a level commensurate with your existing levels of excellence.

 If you don’t innovate, renovate, and constantly seek relevance – you die.     – Thom Breslin

ChurchWorld Application

  1. What are the product rituals and daily use patterns of prospective customers in new markets?
  2. How are you positioning your product (define or give examples) to capture customers in the context of their lifestyles?
  3. What are you doing to stay alive and thrive in new opportunities?

Starbucks leaders actively seek local relevance and adjust their product and service offerings accordingly. When leaders find the right business partners and make conscious and concerted efforts to give customers what they love, their business achieve lasting connections and maximal success.

What are the unique needs and opportunities where God has placed your church?

Part 6 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

Level 5: Lead from the Pinnacle

Definition of a Level 5 Leader: People follow you because of who you are and what you represent

Leadership at Level 5 lifts the entire organization and creates an environment that benefits everyone in it, contributing to their success.

          John Maxwell, The 5 Levels of Leadership

Today’s post is the final in a series of five that takes a closer look at John Maxwell’s latest book, The 5 Levels of Leadership. As indicated in the introduction to this series, “5 Levels” has been five years in the making. I’ve been in leadership development in ChurchWorld for over 30 years – and I’ve been looking for a resource like this.

To whet your appetite and convince you to drop everything and get your own copy today, over this series I’m going to quote Maxwell’s top 3 points in each of five sections for each of the 5 Levels. In math shorthand, that’s 3 x 5 x 5. The product of that equation is a leadership development gold mine for you!

 Level 5– The Pinnacle

The Upside of the Pinnacle

  1. Pinnacle leadership creates a Level 5 organization
  2. Pinnacle leadership creates a legacy within the organization
  3. Pinnacle leadership provides an extended platform for leading

The Downside of the Pinnacle

  1. Being on the pinnacle can make you think you’ve arrived
  2. Being on the pinnacle can lead you to believe your own press
  3. Being on the pinnacle can make you lose focus

Best Behaviors on Level 5

  1. Make room for others at the top
  2. Continually mentor potential Level 5 leaders
  3. Create an inner circle that will keep you grounded

Help Others Move Up to Levels 4 and 5

  1. Identify and create the crucial leadership lessons they must learn
  2. Look for unexpected crucible moments they can learn from
  3. Use your own crucible moments as guidelines to teach others

Guide to Being Your Best at Level 5

  1. Remain and humble and teachable
  2. Maintain your core focus
  3. Create the right inner circle to keep you grounded

Developing leaders to the point where they are able and willing to develop other leaders is the most difficult leadership task of all. But here are the payoffs: Level 5 leaders develop Level 5 organizations. They create opportunities that other leaders don’t. They create legacy in what they do. People follow them because of who they are and what they represent. In other words, their leadership gains a positive reputation. As a result, Level 5 leaders often transcend their position, their organization, and sometimes their field.

If you are a leader in ChurchWorld asking “How can I develop leaders?”, then John Maxwell’s book The 5 Levels of Leadership will certainly provide you with proven steps to answer that question.

 

 

Level 4: Lead by People Development

Definition of a Level 4 Leader: People follow you because of what you have done for them personally

Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.

          John Maxwell, The 5 Levels of Leadership

Today’s post is the fourth of a series of five that takes a closer look at John Maxwell’s latest book, The 5 Levels of Leadership. As indicated in the introduction to this series, “5 Levels” has been five years in the making. I’ve been in leadership development in ChurchWorld for over 30 years – and I’ve been looking for a resource like this.

To whet your appetite and convince you to drop everything and get your own copy today, over this series I’m going to quote Maxwell’s top 3 points in each of five sections for each of the 5 Levels. In math shorthand, that’s 3 x 5 x 5. The product of that equation is a leadership development gold mine for you!

 Level 4 – People Development

 The Upside of People Development

  1. People development sets you apart from most leaders
  2. People development assures that growth can be sustained
  3. People development empowers others to fulfill their leadership responsibilities

 The Downside of People Development

  1. Self-centeredness can cause leaders to neglect people development
  2. Insecurity can make leaders feel threatened by people development
  3. Shortsightedness can keep leaders from seeing the need for people development

Best Behaviors on Level 4

  1. Recruiting – find the best people possible
  2. Positioning – placing the right people in the right position
  3. Modeling – showing others how to lead

Beliefs that Help a Leader Move Up to Level 5

  1. The highest goal of leadership is to develop leaders, not gain followers or do work
  2. To develop leaders, you must create a leadership culture
  3. Developing leaders is a life commitment, not a job commitment

 Guide to Growing Through Level 4

  1. Be willing to keep growing yourself
  2. Decide that people are worth the effort
  3. Work through your insecurities

 Good leaders on Level 4 invest their time, energy, money, and thinking into growing others as leaders. They look at every person and try to gauge his or her potential to grow and lead – regardless of the individual’s title, position, age, or experience. Every person is a potential candidate for development.

Tomorrow: Level 5 – The Pinnacle

 

Level 3: Lead by Production

Definition of a Level 3 Leader: People follow you because of what you have done for the organization

…good leaders don’t just create a pleasant working environment. They get things done! That’s why they must move up to Level 3, which is based on results.

          John Maxwell, The 5 Levels of Leadership

Today’s post is the third of a series of five that takes a closer look at John Maxwell’s latest book, The 5 Levels of Leadership. As indicated in the introduction to this series, “5 Levels” has been five years in the making. I’ve been in leadership development in ChurchWorld for over 30 years – and I’ve been looking for a resource like this. 

To whet your appetite and convince you to drop everything and get your own copy today, over this series I’m going to quote Maxwell’s top 3 points in each of five sections for each of the 5 Levels. In math shorthand, that’s 3 x 5 x 5. The product of that equation is a leadership development gold mine for you!

 Level 3 – Production

 The Upside of Production

  1. Leadership production gives credibility to the leader
  2. Leadership production models and sets the standard for others visually
  3. Leadership production brings clarity and reality to vision

 The Downside of Production

  1. Being productive can make you think you’re a leader when you’re not
  2. Productive leaders feel a heavy weight of responsibility for results
  3. Production leadership requires making difficult decisions

 Best Behaviors on Level 3

  1. Understand how our personal giftedness contributes to the vision
  2. Cast vision for what needs to be accomplished
  3. Begin to develop your people into a team

 Beliefs That Help a Leader Move Up to Level 4

  1. Production is not enough
  2. People are an organization’s most appreciable asset
  3. Growing leaders is the most effective way to accomplish the vision

 Guide to Growing Though Level 3

  1. Be the team member you want on your team
  2. Translate personal productivity into leadership
  3. Understand everyone productivity niche

Leading and influencing others becomes fun on this level. Success and productivity have been known to solve a lot of problems. On Level 3, leaders can become change agents. They can tackle tough problems and face thorny issues. They can make difficult decisions that will make a difference. They can take their people to another level of effectiveness. 

Tomorrow: Level 4 – People Development

Level 2: Lead by Permission

Definition of a Level 2 Leader: People follow you because they want to

The agenda for leaders on Level 2 isn’t preserving their position. It’s getting to know their people and figuring out how to get along with them. You can like people without leading them, but you cannot lead people well without liking them.

          John Maxwell, The 5 Levels of Leadership

Today’s post is the second of a series of five that takes a closer look at John Maxwell’s latest book, The 5 Levels of Leadership. As indicated in the introduction to this series, “5 Levels” has been five years in the making. I’ve been in leadership development in ChurchWorld for over 30 years – and I’ve been looking for a resource like this.

To whet your appetite and convince you to drop everything and get your own copy today, over this series I’m going to quote Maxwell’s top 3 points in each of five sections for each of the 5 Levels. In math shorthand, that’s 3 x 5 x 5. The product of that equation is a leadership development gold mine for you! 

Level 2 – Permission

The Upside of Permission

  1. Leadership permission makes work more enjoyable
  2. Leadership permission increases the energy level
  3. Leadership permission opens up channels of communication

The Downside of Permission

  1. Permission leadership appears too soft for some people
  2. Leading by permission can be frustrating for achievers
  3. Permissional leaders can be taken advantage of

Best Behaviors on Level 2

  1. Connect with yourself before trying to connect with others
  2. Develop a people-oriented leadership style
  3. Practice the golden rule

Beliefs That Help a Leader Move Up to Level 3

  1. Relationships alone are not enough
  2. Building relationships requires twofold growth
  3. Achieving the vision as a team is worth risking the relationship

Guide to Growing Through Level 2

  1. Be sure you have the right attitude toward people
  2. Connect with yourself
  3. Understand where you’re coming from

Moving up to Level 2 is an important development in leadership because that is where the followers give their supervisors permission to lead them. People change from being subordinates to followers for the first time, and that means there is movement. Leadership always means that people are going somewhere. They aren’t static. No journey, no leadership.

Tomorrow: Level 3 – Production

Level 1: Lead by Position

Definition of a Level 1 leader: People follow you because they have to

Positional leadership is based on the rights granted by the position and the title. Nothing is wrong with having a leadership position. Everything is wrong with using a position to get people to follow. Position is a poor substitute for influence.

          John Maxwell, The 5 Levels of Leadership

 Today’s post is the first of a series of five that takes a closer look at John Maxwell’s latest book, The 5 Levels of Leadership. As indicated in the introduction to this series, “5 Levels” has been five years in the making. I’ve been in leadership development in ChurchWorld for over 30 years – and I’ve been looking for a resource like this.

To whet your appetite and convince you to drop everything and get your own copy today, over the next five days I’m going to quote the top 3 points in each of five sections for each of the 5 Levels. In math shorthand, that’s 3 x 5 x 5. The product of that equation is a leadership development gold mine for you!

Level 1 – Position

The Upside of Position

1.       A leadership position is usually given to people because they have leadership potential

2.       A leadership position means authority is recognized

3.       A leadership position is an invitation to grow as a leader

The Downside of Position

1.       Having a leadership position is often misleading

2.       Leaders who rely on position to lead often devalue people

3.       Positional leaders feed on politics 

Best Behaviors on Level 1

1.       Stop relying on position to push people

2.       Trade entitlement for movement

3.       Leave your position and move toward your people 

Beliefs That Help a Leader Move Up to Level 2

1.       Titles are not enough

2.       People – not position – are a leader’s most valuable asset

3.       A leader doesn’t need to have all the answers

Guide to Growing through Level 1

1.       Thank the people who invited you into leadership

2.       Dedicate yourself to leadership growth

3.       Define your leadership

Position is a good starting place – but great leaders are not content to stay there. Moving up from Level 1 to Level 2 requires the greatest personal change from a leader. It requires a change of beliefs and attitudes toward other people and leadership. But here’s the truth: once you decide to include others in the leadership journey, you are well on your way to achieving success at the other levels.

Tomorrow: Level 2 – Permission

Getting a Handle on this Leadership Thing

A church leader I was having a conversation with the other day posed this question: “How can I develop leaders in my church?”

Talk about a loaded question!

The topic of leadership development is usually one of the top three categories of questions that ChurchWorld leaders ask when I am consulting with them. It was a question I always had in the 23+ years I served on a church staff; it’s been a recurring question over the last 7+ years I have been serving as a church development consultant. I also suspect it will be around as long as we have people in our churches!

I don’t have the definitive answer, but I do have an excellent resource on all things leadership: the wisdom and writings of John Maxwell. From his foundational service as a pastor to the founding of EQUIP, Maxwell’s leadership lessons have enlightened corporate CEOs, foreign government leaders, non-profit leaders – and countless ChurchWorld leaders just like you.

Maxwell’s latest book, The 5 Levels of Leadership, contains one of the most succinct answers to the question above. The Five Levels of Leadership:

  • Provides a clear picture of leadership
  • Defines leadership as a verb, not a noun
  • Breaks down leading into understandable steps
  • Provides a clear game plan for leadership development
  • Aligns leadership practices, principles, and values

Maxwell’s book is dedicated to understanding, and developing, the 5 Levels. Each section  gives you the opportunity to learn the upside – and downside of that level; the best behaviors for that level; the beliefs that help a leader move up to the next level, and how that level ties into Maxwell’s “Laws of Leadership.” Each section then concludes with a growth guide for that level.

Beginning tomorrow and continuing for the next 5 days, I will pull out the highlights of John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership in his own words. I hope that will entice you to pick up a copy and dive into on your own!

As for me, the next time a ChurchWorld leader asks “How can I develop leaders in my church?” I will simply pull out my Kindle and invite that leader for a discussion around the 5 Levels.

Tomorrow: Level 1 – Position

 

The Dead Horse Award

When is the last time you recognized someone who stopped doing something?

It’s a natural no-brainer to recognize and reward someone who effectively expands ministry efforts – that’s a positive and encouraging sign for others to emulate.

At the same time, it’s also a rewarding practice to acknowledge leaders who ends a program or ministry that is ineffective or not aligned with your church’s mission or strategy. Don’t get caught in “the way we’ve always done it that way” trap. Instead, encourage people to ask whether or not it’s best to continue a particular ministry or program.

Tim Stevens, Executive Pastor at Granger Community Church near South Bend, IN, lists some ministry ideas and programs they have ENDED at Granger:

  • Gen-X weekend services
  • Intensive Bible Studies for students as primary outreach
  • Building committees
  • 8 AM Sunday services
  • Classes as primary adult-discipleship programs
  • Twelve-week membership classes

He stated that some of the above programs or ideas had minimal initial success, but all of them ended up having little impact. That’s not to suggest they won’t work in a different ministry environment, because there are successful examples of all of the above. They just weren’t working for Granger, so they pulled the plug.

As with all major changes, ending an existing program or ministry requires communication, time and prayer, but can definitely pay dividends for your church in the long run.

One side benefit of rewarding people who stop dead programs is that it encourages people to take risks. Your team will soon learn that it’s okay to try out a new approach to see if it will be successful. If it doesn’t work, you can just stop doing it. This helps create a culture in which change is not only tolerated, it’s expected. People will get very creative if they know you’re going to reward their attempts to bring about positive change, whether that change is successful or not.

If you’ve got a “dead horse,” it’s time to dismount.

–          Adapted from “Simply Strategic Stuff,” by Tim Stevens and Tony Morgan