Presentation software can be a wonderful tool if used correctly. It can also be a dangerous distraction that interferes with communication rather than facilitating it. The line between the two is thin.
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Over the course of my career, I have sat through hundreds of presentations. Most of them were done with PowerPoint. Most of them are done poorly.
As a leader, the health of your marriage directly affects the impact of your leadership. I have witnessed this time and time again. Being effective at work or in ministry begins by being effective at home.
Early in our marriage, Gail and I attended a church led by a dynamic, thirty-something pastor. He was an extraordinary communicator. He was a wise and empathetic counselor. As a result, the church grew rapidly.
Many people have written on what it means to be a leader. Almost everyone identifies influence as the primary characteristic. By definition, this means that leadership and position are two different things. You can have a title, and a position of power, but this does not mean that you are a leader. Even people without these things can exert influence and thus leadership.
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But leadership is more than influence. It certainly includes influence, but it is more. I believe it includes at least five characteristics. When I speak on this topic, I call these “the five marks of authentic leadership”:
I awoke this morning to the dragon’s hot breath on my face. I was disoriented, not quite knowing where I was. I struggled to open one eye. Then another.
And there he was. A dragon. A very big dragon. With three heads. Sitting in my bedroom, like so many mornings before, he was waiting. His heads swerved back and forth, dancing in the dim light. Each head alternately belching fire and hissing smoke.
There will probably be no more iconic symbol for failure in our lifetime than the picture of the Costa Concordia cruise ship listing while aground off the shore of Italy. At least seventeen people died in the tragedy after the captain of the ship (apparently) intentionally moved closer to the shore than is safe for ships of that size.
It is easy to compare the Costa Concordia with the Titanic, another cruise liner disaster from long ago. But there are some key differences. And it is in those differences that we can learn a few lessons to navigate life.
The more successful you become as a leader, the more other people will demand of your time. As a result, if you are going to maintain margin for your most important priorities, you will have to make some difficult decisions about your accessibility.
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Recently, I was listening to Andy Stanley talk about this very topic. He said,
Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Nothing can stand in the way of the man who focuses his entire self on a problem” (from The Power of Positive Thinking).
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If you have a problem worth solving or a prize worth pursuing, it’s not enough to just put your mind to fulfilling that purpose. It is not just a matter of putting your heart into it either.
Bob Goff is one of the most amazing men I have ever met. I don’t think I know anyone else who is as adventurous as he is. I certainly don’t know anyone who is a better storyteller.
I first read about Bob in Don Miller’s delightful book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Shortly after that, Don introduced me to him. Then, I had the privilege of spending a few days with Bob and his wife, Maria, at their beautiful home in British Columbia.
A while back, I met with a friend who is a blogger. She has been blogging for a few years, but her blog is in desperate need of a facelift. It has grown a little “long in the tooth,” as they say. I have been meaning to speak to her about his, but she brought it up herself.
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“I am redesigning my blog,” she mentioned. She then showed me a prototype. I was flabbergasted. It looked … great! It was a hundred times better than what she currently has.
The quickest and surest way to get fired as an FBI agent is to lie. Proven lack of candor is automatic dismissal—truth is a precious commodity in an organization whose primary purpose is peeling back layers of deceit to expose cold, hard facts.
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Many of us have a love/hate relationship with truth. We tell ourselves we want to know the truth, but we’re very selective about the kind of truth we seek. About others, yes—and usually about world events and situations that impact us directly, but we are less receptive to revelations about ourselves.
Over the course of my career, I have fired off my share of angry letters and e-mail. However, I cannot think of a single time when these communiques had a positive effect. Usually, they only served to escalate the conflict and alienate the recipient.
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Several years ago, I wrote a fourteen-page diatribe to a business associate. I skewered him. I was right. He was wrong. And I had the proof.