Stay the Course - Global Leadership Summit, Session 8

We have a drifting culture. But no one drifts upstream or toward holiness.   Going upstream takes work.  So, to stay the course, to help guide our culture lost in the seas of right and wrong, we must establish a true north. A map changes but a compass always points to a true north. North never changes.   Just like the the word of God, our true North, even while culture is changing.

Our culture would say there are many maps (or ways) to find God but we are the ones with the only map that leads to freedom.  To salvation.  So what do we do?  How to we reach out and guide a wayward culture?

Here are four responses to change in our culture seen today:

#1 Accommodate
People begin to accommodate the “drift.” They may, over time, change their stance on issues pushed to the forefront of society - gay marriage, gun control, immigration - and try to be politically correct instead of taking the time to judge the fruit.

#2 Oppose
Some only listen to people who reinforce their fears and fuel their anger.

#3 Withdraw
Some feel as if their voice means nothing so they would rather stay out of the conversation and the line of fire. But those who withdraw too quickly lose the opportunity to have the impact God has called us to.

#4 Engage
This is the right response. We must engage our culture. Jesus stood up to the religious people who focused on their positions instead of loving well. If we are the salt and light of a world walking in darkness, we have a responsibility to bring the salt and light to the table. The only reason evil has prevailed is because the good has been absent. The church must be present when there is evil in our cities and communities because evil is simply the absence of good. This is the time to engage our culture, not to retreat.

So how to do you keep yourself from drifting?

#1 Know who you are.
You’re the church. Don’t be defined by Hollywood or culture. Our identity is in Christ (Acts 20:24).

#2 Watch the undercurrent.
This includes anything that opposes the will of God.

#3 Keep coming back.
We need to stay to the flight plan God has for us. An airplane makes hundreds of adjustments to stay on course.

#4 Repent when we’ve deviated from his plan.
The Titanic was warned four times but did not heed the warnings, but a scared world needs a fearless church.

Creating an Organization of Excellence & Efficiency - Global Leadership Summit, Session 7B

What is the difference between leadership and management?  The whole goal of a business is to be more efficient to the market you serve than the competition. This requires leaders, not just managers, who care deeply about the mission, people and product.  Horst Schulze outlines three ways you can make sure you're more than just a manager:

Hospitality matters. A customer wants three things: (1) a perfect product that (2) arrives on-time from (3) someone who cares.  But how good are we at hospitality, really?  The Bible tells us all guests who arrive should be received as if they are Jesus Christ themselves, with all honor and complete humility.  How do we measure against that standard?  True leadership cares about and involves people. It implies a destination, then aligns people to come along.  Is your preferred future the best for all concerned?  Our leadership should be measured against God’s values.

Hiring the right people.  Get the people on the bus that will align to the destination you have been called to go.  Spell the destination and vision out for new employees and show them how they fit and will benefit from it from day one. Remember, behavior for new employees is set on their very first day.  Make sure employees know and repeat these expectations and values until engrained in their mind and behavior.  Don't just tell employees what to do.  Connecting them to the solution and show them how to be a part of it.  This means you can't simply hire people for function.  Instead, hire those who will be a part of the purpose and mission, making sure they understand the "why".  

Efficiency is not about cutting costs, which often leads to a watered down customer experience and brand.   Instead, manage every input. If you can negotiate a small savings in inputs, you can begin differentiating from your competition. Eliminate work that is not important and analyze every input for efficiency.  Eliminate the defects, which is a large opportunity for improving client experience and lowering costs.  These defects are often several steps away from the problem presenting itself.  Get down on the ground floor and trace your problems back to the true root.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 – Global Leadership Summit, Session 3B

Dr.  Travis Blackberry observes that while our Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is generally fixed, our Emotional Quotient (EQ) can be developed.

IQ is how fast you can learn information.  This number stays fixed.  Everything we experience comes through the base of our brain and Limbic system before being routed to the rational part. EQ combines the two.  It is not personality, nor does it affect introversion or extroversion (which are also generally fixed), but it can change as you increase the flow of information between the emotional and rational parts of the brain.

Though his IQ seemed unchanged, Phineas Gage was a remarkably different person emotionally after surviving a tamping iron shot through his brain.  The damage to that portion of his brain radically changed his behavior.  So while IQ is a small predictor of your success in life, EQ is the primary driver behind our behavior.

Four Skills We Need:

  • Self Awareness.  The ability to understand your own tendencies. We often put blinders on our eyes about ourselves, but if you spot it, you got it.
  • Self Management.  This is what you do with your self-awareness.
  • Social Awareness.  Recognizing and understanding the emotions and perspectives of others.
  • Relationship Management.  The ability to use the first three in concert, identifying what’s going on with me, what’s going on in the other person and how can I create a common good.  Often we lose the war because we’re so focused on winning the battle in our relationships.  Sometimes we need to change our speed, pause, and consider how our behavior is going to impact other people. Respond, don’t react.

Why EQ is Needed for Leadership
EQ is the foundation for critical skills. Although CEO’s often have the lowest EQ in the workplace, those that have the highest EQ are 90% of top performers.

How to Increase EQ
Start by building neural pathways: make behavior habitual and understand that self-awareness comes first.  Pursue feedback and knowledge of “mistakes.”  Stress may actually help:  It is shown mild stress actually creates highest performance, while no stress or severe stress decreases performance. So, (1) bring stress under control.  Use breathing exercises, turn phone your off, take a walk, or think about something you’re grateful for. (2) Sleep enough in high quality and quantity - it impacts performance. The negative effects of poor sleep include a long list of health issues. Don’t take sleep aids, which can disrupt your normal sleep patterns and stay away from blue light (computer, phones, tablets) which halts natural melatonin production.  An added benefit of sleep:  not getting high quality sleep makes you fat!  And, finally, (3) get your caffeine intake under control. Too much caffeine can put the fight/flight trigger in overdrive.  It takes 24 hours for the effects of caffeine to get out of your system.

Leadership Illusions - Global Leadership Summit, Session 6B

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There is a universal blind spot (particularly in type-A leaders): Self Reflection. Pushing the pause button long enough to know what’s happening in my life and heart.  And there is an illusion that leaders believe: you can increase speed while keeping your soul line headed the same direction.  But at some point, increased speed begins to cause a disconnect with our soul. We go too fast for our soul - for the people in our life.

Bill Hybels references a conversation with his daughter.  He asked her if she could quickly explain her point.  Her response was, "No, I’ll come back when you’re able to listen really slow.”  So what do you do? Do you need to flatten out your speed and spend a season refueling the soul to bring the two lines together?  What do you need to do to bring the soul line closer to the speed line in your life?

Much of the speed issue is related to connection.  Who are you connected to? Often a leader’s world consists of these four corners:

Corner #1: No Connection.
Like your phone trying to find a connection, your brain is not going to work if it is isolated.  

Corner #2:  The Bad Connection.
This is to be in relationship with people but not connected. This often rears its head by a feeling of "In some way, I’m bad.  I can’t meet their expectations." Sometimes this bad connection is just the voices in your own head.

Corner #3: Good Connection.
This is where you want to feel good, but it’s a fake good. A substance, an illicit relationship, an addiction, drive to greater numbers.  Dig deep and ask yourself, "What is masking what is good?"

Corner #4: Real Connection.
The power of the other. This is the only real driver:  to make my needs known and let someone else help with those needs.  Come home to Corner #4.

So what corner do you find yourself in most often?  Why?  What prohibits you from to going to Corner #4?

There is a second illusion:  The Illusion of Achievement.  The idea of if I hit “x”, then I’ll be satisfied.  Many believers believe the myth, "You are what you do. You are what other people think of you."  Have you gotten to the point where you are simply buried in tasks, to-do lists, and worry constantly of slipping into failure?  Is productivity and efficiency running your life instead of your identity, your core, your purpose?  The love you are looking for is not found in the hustle.

Create spaces of margin to find it in the relationships around you, in prayer, in solitude. It is in the music, people, and stories of our lives.  It is not in the numbers, the report cards, or scales. It is not in what you can calculate.  It is found in being exactly who you are, from Love himself, our Creator.  Run a "Satisfaction Audit" on yourself using a scale of one to ten. Is the hustle worth it? Are you chasing something that is simply going to leave you unsatisfied?

Try spending 10 - 15 minutes a day reflecting on what you’re doing, where you’re going, and whether or not you're on the right path. Quiet yourself and self-reflect. I guarantee this will change your life.  God will speak into those quiet moments and refuel your soul.

The One Thing to Get Right - Global Leadership Summit, Session 5C

John Maxwell's session focused on the value leaders can add to people.  Everything rises and falls on leadership.  Leaders truly have the ability to help or curse people.

But a leader must be very intentional, beginning with intentionally adding value to people. This is the core of leadership. It is very important to ask yourself, "Do you want to add value to people or for them to add value to you?" There is a thin line between adding value to and manipulating people.

Everything worthwhile is uphill. If you have a great marriage, it’s uphill all the way. A business...a church…great health...significance.  The only way to break a downhill battle is to make an intentional habit. No one has ever talked about accidental achievement.  So how do we intentionally add value to people?

#1 Value People.
Christ values people: from the thief on the cross to children.  From the parable about the lost sheep to the prodigal son.  God values people I don’t know. People I don’t like.  And Christ followers have to make a choice:  Are we going to spend our life connecting with people or correcting them?

#2 Specifically Think of Ways to Add Value to People.
Prepare for the day by asking, "Who am I going to see today and how can I add value to them?" Especially instill this in kids.

#3 Specifically Look for Ways to Add Value to People.
Live looking for the opportunities.

#4 Everyday, Resolve to Add Value to People.
Evaluate at the end of a day asking, "Did I add value to people today?"

#5 Everyday, Encourage Others to Add Value to People.
Will you rise up to make a difference?

The Culture Map - Global Leadership Summit, Session 5B

In this session, Erin Meyer explored how cultural differences impact our organizational effectiveness.  She explored various categories which research has found to vary greatly from culture to culture.


Communicating: Low vs. High Context
Cultures that participate in low context communications assume a low level of shared reference points.  They think of communication as explicit, simple, clear.  The U.S. is actually the lowest scoring country on the scale.  On the other hand, cultures with a high context communication style assume a much larger body of reference points.  They think of good communication as more sophisticated, more subtle and believe they understand intent versus what is actually said in a conversation.

In these low context cultures, people tend to "nail things down" in writing.  Low context people tend to think high context people are hiding something, not being transparent.  Leaders dealing in a an atmosphere of low context people should be as explicit as possible, put everything in writing, and recap the key notes as often as possible.

High context cultures assume everyone “got it” and high context people feel mistrusted when a low context person sends follow-up notes on what was decided.  When working with high context people, leaders should ask clarifying questions, repeat themselves less, and work on increasing their ability to “read the atmosphere”.  Although, when working with a multi-cultural team, it is better to use a low context processes.


Evaluating: Direct Negative Feedback vs. Indirect Negative Feedback
What is considered "constructive feedback" also varies greatly from one country to another.  There are typically two categories people fall into when evaluating: upgraders and downgraders.  The upgraders use words like, "definitely", "very", "certainly", but the downgraders think more in lines of "sort of", "kind of", and "may want to think about..."  The U.S. culture teaches to start with positives, then some negatives and generally falls generally toward to middle of the scale.


Further examples of traits that often vary from culture to culture include:  Silence (Uncomfortable After 2 vs. 6-7 Seconds of Silence), Leading (Egalitarian vs. Hierarchical), Deciding (Consensual vs. Top-Down), Trusting (Task vs. Relationship Based), Disagreeing (Confrontational vs. Avoids Confrontation), Scheduling (Linear vs. Flexible), and Persuading (Principles vs. Applications First).

All in all it is important to remember countries are mapped generally (from research), but there is obviously variance from one situation/person to another.  Often, though, the perspective from one culture to the next can be completely different, which is why leaders must take these differences into account throughout their interactions.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution - Global Leadership Summit, Session 5A

Typically leaders are educated in strategy, but not much in execution. Our day to day responsibilities, interruptions, emails, and general management tasks fill our days.  In fact, that's the definition of "the whirlwind". So how do we prioritize and carve out time for our key strategic initiatives?  Chris McChesney's session outlined the four main components of execution.

The hardest thing a leader will do is drive a strategy to change human behavior—even when it’s in their best interest!  The technical stuff can be figured out, but a change in behavior is the tough nut.  Several leaders complain about team members, instead of proactively working with them to improve execution. We tend to blame the people.  Edwards Deming said, “Anytime the majority of the people behave in a particular way the majority of the time, the people are not the problem…the problem is in the system.”  Just as an airplane flies because it follows natural laws, fixing the system is just a part of the rules and principles leaders have to follow.  


#1 Focus
Focus on the wildly important in addition to the whirlwind of day to day operations.  There is a law of diminishing return on initiatives.  Have you ever noticed it?  The more goals you have, the less gets done.  Typically, two to three goals is doable.  Chasing eight to ten means less actually gets done.  Eleven or more goals on your plate means nothing gets done.  Although most goals are based on good ideas, we must narrow the focus and prioritize.  There will always be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute.  So let's pair down our goals:

What lives at the corner of "Really Important" and "Not Going to Happen on Its Own"?  This is your W.I.G.—Wildly Important Goal.  Unfortunately, all the subgoals create a sprawl, a lack of focus.  Here are four ways to stay focused on you W.I.G.:

  1. What are the fewest battles necessary to win the war? Eliminate sub-goals!
  2. One W.I.G. per team at a time.
  3. You can veto goals, but don’t dictate them. Let the teams have ownership so their skin is in the game.
  4. Define a gap (from X to Y, by when) and move the goal with a target and timeline.

One of the greatest examples of the motivation a solid goal provides is when NASA put a man on the moon.  They were immediately held accountable when President Kennedy said, "We’re going." Morale and engagement went up. His definitive statement flipped a switch in their minds and it was game on.  The goal was no longer the safe and vague, “Lead the World in Space Exploration” but the very specific “We’re Putting a Man on the Moon”.


#2 Leverage
Act on the lead measures.  Lead measures are predictive of the success of reaching the goal. We need to know the data behind the lead measure.  Think, “how many calories have I consumed?” vs. “I need to eat less.”  A shoe store implemented the lead activity of measuring the feet of the kids coming into the store. This led to faster check-out, clarity on what to buy, etc.


#3 Engagement
Keep a compelling scoreboard and have the players, not the managers, keep score. Make it simple, highly visible to the players, and include the right lead/lag measures.  This could be as simple as the lag measure on top and lead activity on the bottom of a one-page report.  The number one driver of someone’s morale and engagement is when they feel like they are winning.


#4 Accountability
Ask, “What are the one to three things I can do that will have the most impact on lead measures?”  Determine which is the most urgent and act on that first.  Continue this exercise in a “W.I.G. Meeting”:  Report on last week’s commitments, update the scoreboard, and make commitments for next week.  Have the players come up with their own commitments instead of being handed them from leadership. This creates a high stakes, winnable game and the natural laws for execution turned out to be the same laws for engagement.

The Ideal Team Player – Global Leadership Summit, Session 4

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Are some people simply better at being part of a team? This is the questions Patrick Lencioni posed in Session 4 of the Global Leadership Summit.  He goes on to describe the different values that create a team player, what can be done to grow them, and how to recognize them.

Most team players with possess at least one of the following three core values, but it is the combination of all three values that makes a true team player.

#1 Humility.  Team Players are more interested in others than themselves; never ego driven. A lack of self-confidence can be a false read of humility, but this trait is not about thinking less of yourself, but simply more of others.  When a team member is just humble, though, not hungry or smart, they are The Pawn.  This person is not very effective on a team. They need our prayers, but should not be invited to join the leadership team.

#2 Hunger.  Team Players do whatever is necessary to get something done.  If this person lacks humility and smarts, they quickly become The Bulldozer, leaving a trail of broken people behind them as they “get stuff done”. They are easy to identify, but hang around an organization for a while.

#3 Smarts. Team Players are people smart, not just intellectually smart. They are able to adjust their behavior to adapt and have common sense around people. In fact, those that appear intelligent but treat people poorly are simply smart at all.  The Charmer has smarts but lacks humility and hunger.  This is typically the office comedian who doesn’t get much done and fairly easy to spot.

Things get really difficult when working with people who possess more than one of these three virtues.  They are harder to spot, but two out of three is still not enough.

Humble + Hungry (but not Smart) = The Accidental Mess Maker
This is the person you make excuses for.  They are well-intentioned but you often have to come behind them and cover up their messes.

Humble + Smart (but not Hungry) = The Lovable Slacker
They are well-liked and typically do “just enough” to stay around.

Smart + Hungry (but not Humble) = The Skillful Politician
This is the most dangerous and hardest to spot.  This person knows how to make themselves look humble.

So how does this help you be a better leader?

Step One: Use this tool to develop your people. Have everyone rank themselves with each criteria, best through worst.  Group them by their weakness and have them brainstorm ideas to improve. Bring the whole team back together to discuss next steps, with the leader sharing first.

Step Two: Help them get better. When leaders develop people, they have to have the courage to actually talk to them and help them.  Currently, you might avoid talking to them about this issue or challenge, but when you have that open and honest conversation, there are two possible outcomes: the person in question will get better or simply opt out on their own. Both these options are better and more dignified then letting them stay in the condition they are in and be miserable.  When not called out on their “stuff”, bad things continue to happen.

How to Make Better Hires
First, change the hiring process. We over-emphasize technical skills. We need to be looking for hungry, humble, and smart.  Just look at the NFL:  They hired Johnny Manziel over Teddy Bridgewater. If the NFL gets it wrong focused on technical skills versus behavior, we certainly do in our environments.

Get potential candidates out of the office so that you can see them in a normal environment:  a mall, a baseball game.  Observe how they act.  And adopt the “Law and Order” method of interviewing, asking candidates the same great question multiple times: “So how do you deal with conflict?”

Ask what other people might say about them, and, if you have a hunch, keep digging.  Straight out stop the silo interviews and instead do a group interview so you can evaluate multiple candidates with the same data. Keep looking for humble, hungry, and smart.  Be sure to tell your team and the candidates what you’re looking for, letting them know they will hate it here if they are not wired that way.

Why Should Leadership Matter to Christians
A lot has changed in Lencioni's 13 years of being part of the Summit. Persecution has come to the Western church the last thing we need is weak leaders who shrink back, it’s a time for great leaders.  Leaders full of humility, hunger, and smarts.  May all of us leaders work to develop these traits and be willing to suffer for the cause of Christ.

Interview with TD Jakes – Global Leadership Summit, Session 6

Bishop TD Jakes is engaged in the worlds of church, film, TV, publishing and more. He is leveraging a TV show to speak to those outside the church in an environment that’s not wrapped in “religousosity” (#TDJakesShow).  Jakes leads a congregation of 30,000 and actively speaks on leadership and healing—both in the spiritual and racial sense.

He compares racism in America to a sickness:  when we get a fever, our body is telling us there is something wrong. As difficult as the issues in our current society are, the blessing in it is that it’s exposing something that needs to be addressed.  Visible through a series of issues, we have pockets of illness and it forces us to ask: “Are we including all people in our strategy for success?” We had a strategy for “us” but did not include all people, and when people can’t eat, get a job, or have equal opportunities, they swell to a point where the larger issue cannot be ignored.

There is success within the black community, but just because there are some successes, doesn’t mean it is the case for all.  The successes are merely exceptions who didn’t fall into some of the potholes many experience.  Jakes summarizes their situation: “I could get on my feet if you didn’t cut off my legs.”  But this is not just a black/white issue. Hatred and ethnic strife is found every corner of the world and anarchy erupts whenever someone in power leaves another people group out of their strategy. 

Sadly, the church has done one of the worst jobs at this. It is one of the most segregated places on Sunday mornings.  This is a situation in which we have the faith but not the works.  The church, and nation, needs great leaders to rise up and challenge the system, bring true leadership back to the table and pioneer the next movement. When we understand the brotherhood of men and include all men, we can bring the Hope of Christ and, with it, unity.  Love is hard. Jakes challenges leaders, “If you’re not doing something that scares you, you’re not growing yourself. We need to be challenged every day.”  Love well.

In our quest to love well, lead better, sometimes we get trapped by titles and stop seeking. Stop pushing.  Stop growing.  People can put a “period” on our identity, but God sees commas.  Jakes challenges leaders to find the commas, the common denominators in your giftedness—its manifestation can come out in many ways and you’ll find various opportunities to utilize your gifts when you’re on the lookout.

But figuring out where we want to go is usually not the challenging thing. It’s what you need to let go of to get there that seems to give us the most trouble.  Your dream should be bigger than you.  If you are capable of fulfilling it yourself, then it’s too small.  Just like the Israelites wandering through the wilderness relying on daily manna:  quit trying to save the bread, only to watch it spoil. You can’t hold on to old vision, yesterday’s bread. Sometimes the “worms” that appear are a blessing to help us let go.  Unity and equality in our nation is not an easy goal.  And half the battle is releasing our petty, but more attainable goals, to reach for the big one.

There is not one thing on this Earth that God did not put a seed within. You are gifted with multiple gifts. The ultimate question for your life is what are you going to do with what God gave you? How are you going to increase it? Stop looking at other people and their gifts, and instead look inward to the gifts God has given you. Be fruitful. Get out of the box. You are more than what people pay, say, or think about you. God has given you the opportunity to rediscover yourself.  Rethink what God has given you.  Rethink your goals.  Go do something hard.

Unquestionable Ways to Expand Your Leadership Reach - Global Leadership Session, Session 3

Jossy Chacko is the Founder and President of Empart, Inc.  He has wrestled with his faith, dreams, and experiences and, during Session 3 of the Global Leadership Summit, shared the truth he has found in the Parable of the Talents.

At the end of the parable, Jesus concludes that everyone has been trusted with something.  The next question, though, is can you be trusted with more? Are you burying your talents or putting them to optimal use?  Maintaining is not God’s plan and mission.  Faithfulness is multiplying what you have been given; God expects us to enlarge whatever he has trusted us with.  This DNA of multiplication has been put into us from creation and our legacy will be determined by what we have done with what has been entrusted to us.

 

3 Principles to Expand Your Leadership Reach:

Enlarge Your Vision
Are your conversations in our meetings around maintaining or multiplication?  We must be willing to take risks.  Our vision should reflect the size and scale of our God. It should keep us awake at night and energized by day.  There, of course, will be people that will tell you what can’t be done but don’t let popularity determine your vision.  Listen to the vision God has placed in your heart. A vision statement on a wall is not going to change things.  You need to have a “living” vision.  By the way, if your vision is to simply keep what you have, you are thinking too small and will miss most opportunities.

Empower Your People
The master gave his team the money to multiply.  Then he left.  Take wise chances and give people opportunities.  Don’t let past hurts stop you from continuing to hand off opportunities to your team.  Future leaders are all around, the current leadership just needs to find and empower them.  Your reach as a leader will be determined by your ability to empower those around you. If you can’t take a long vacation without the mission moving forward, you are likely not empowering your team.

Most entrepreneurs get stuck in the details of what they launched rather than continuing to expand the vision and team. First, develop character in your team.  Then, empowerment them to continue and own the vision. This empowerment must be through relationship alongside team members, creating shared ownership of your win(s) and controlling predetermined outcomes rather than people.

Embrace Risk
Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Without risk, it is impossible to please God.  Our society is often focused on eliminating risk and creating an environment of maintaining, but as Christ-followers, we should be taking the biggest risks.  God has not given us a spirit of fear.  Give the fear back to the enemy and go after the vision God has for you.

Paradigm Shift #1: See risk as a friend to be loved rather than an enemy to be feared.  We often stop taking risks when we have more to lose, but vision should always be hinged to the door of risk.  Don’t let your business card say lazy and unfaithful.

Paradigm Shift #2: See comfort and safety as your enemies. You can’t let that mindset creep into your leadership.  Think of all the blessings in life that might be missed because you are not stepping out in faith.

Paradigm Shift #3: Increase your pain threshold. You cannot expand your leadership reach without enlarging your pain threshold.

 

Moving Forward:

  • Make a list of all your dreams and visions.
  • Set a date of when you’re going to take action.
  • Name the person that will hold you accountable.

And don’t have regrets when you enter eternity.