A few weeks ago, a business acquaintance called to discuss a challenge he was facing at work. As usual, I began with a few questions, trying to understand the context and the issues involved.
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It quickly became apparent that he didn’t want to change. In fact, the entire conversation was about why he couldn’t change, why he didn’t need to change, and why he wasn’t responsible for the results he was getting.
On Sunday night at the NRB Convention, I was on a panel discussion led by Phil Cooke. Our topic was “How to Change Organizational Culture.” This is something every leader eventually faces.
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Phil began the session by stating, “culture triumphs vision.” I agree completely.
It’s easy to lose perspective if you immerse yourself in the river of daily news. Things appear to be bad—and they are getting worse! The end of the world as we know it is right around the corner.
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But things are not always what they seem.
If we could predict the twists and turns in life, we’d never be confronted with the unknown. But things like cancer, death, or a sudden job loss are often beyond our control—they thrust us into an unknown world with little or no warning.
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Whether we land on our feet, however, is something we can control.
Have you ever noticed that people become more of who they are as they get older? Over the years adversity chips away the exterior facade, leaving our true selves exposed.
I witnessed this first-hand with my maternal grandfather. As he got older, he always seemed to be complaining. He shuffled through life with a frown on his face, grumbling about this or that. He appeared irritated at everyone and everything.
The side lights dim in the auditorium and the speaker walks on stage. As they are introduced you notice something different about them. The way they are dressed commands your attention. They start to speak and you are quickly drawn into a powerful story. There is drama, tension, and intrigue.
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Soon you are tracking with them. You can relate to their struggles and you marvel at their tenacity. Soon they share how they overcame obstacles and found a way to prosper. And then they do something amazing. They offer to share their secret with you.
In 1986 I started my own publishing company with Robert Wolgemuth. We had worked together at Word, Inc. and then at Thomas Nelson. Like a lot of young entrepreneurs, we had a big dream, a business plan, but few resources.
We raised enough money from investors to launch the company, but we were still strapped for cash. Regardless, we soldiered on, believing that God would bless our creativity, hard work, and commitment to excellence.
I have written previously about how to go further, faster. One of the best ways is to hire a personal coach. I have used coaches for more than a decade. I credit much of my success to this strategy.
The problem is coaches can be expensive—especially for those in ministry. That’s why I am especially excited about Ministry Coaching International (MCI). It was started by my good friends at Building Champions, the coaching company I use and recommend. MCI has the same philosophy as Building Champions, but it is specifically focused on—and priced for—ministry professionals.
I love my complicated situation. I lead an Internet company based in Poland (Central Europe). Most of our team is located there, with one person in Germany, collaborators in the USA and Japan—and me in Spain. And our customers are all over the world. Leading a company like this is complex but rewarding.
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We all work from home. It’s our lifestyle choice. Everyone works the way they want, at the time they want. It gives us all lots of freedom, but it also requires a tremendous amount of focus—and great leadership skills from me. I’m learning as I go, reading this blog every day as well as every leadership book I can find. I’m also a GTD (Getting Things Done) aficionado and this helps, too.
A few weeks ago, I had to speak five times in one day. I knew it would require a lot of me mentally and emotionally. My goal is always to give 110 percent. I want nothing left on the table when I finish.
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But, for some reason, I woke up that morning in a funk. I don’t know why. It was one of those things I couldn’t explain. But I didn’t like it and knew I needed to get myself in a better place if I was going to deliver on my goal.
This past weekend, I took the eight young men in my mentoring group on a retreat. It was the kickoff to our 2012 season.
We went to Deer Run, a beautiful retreat center in the hills of middle Tennessee. The weather was absolutely gorgeous—mid-40s and plenty of sunshine.