Recently, I made an early morning phone call to one of my direct reports to own a blunder on my part. Not a great way to start the day. If you’ve ever blown it as a leader you know that these conversations are never fun. It’s humbling.
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Great leaders hold those they lead accountable. But those we lead must see us as holding ourselves accountable as well. If we expect them to “own it” when they make mistakes, we need to first model this for them.
I started my first mentoring group in January 2010 after being inspired by Regi Campbell, author of Mentor Like Jesus. His organization, Radical Mentoring, guided me through the process and enabled me to do something I had always dreamed of doing.
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Mentoring has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The first year went so well, I decided to do it again in 2011. We just wrapped up our second season. I am doing it again in 2012.
Unity is the state of many acting as one. It is an attribute of highly effective teams, whether in marriage, business, church, or government. Without it, progress stops.
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That’s why creating it—and preserving it—is so important. It is one of the most fundamental functions of leadership. But too often leaders are unclear in their understanding of unity.
Think you have big goals? Think again. Several years ago, I read an article in Wired magazine about a long-distance runner named Dean Karnazes.
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- He ran fifty marathons in fifty states on fifty consecutive days.
- He once ran 350 miles in three days—without stopping and with no sleep.
The great acting teacher Sanford Meisner defined acting as “living truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” But for many of us who communicate before an audience, whether as pastors, executives, educators, or lawyers, the temptation is to do the opposite, to act imaginarily under truthful circumstances.
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Fueled by a legitimate desire to deliver a powerful message, we craft our words, our presentation, and our delivery to such an extent that the drive to do our best can actually rob us of sharing a genuine moment with an audience.
It’s easy to underestimate the power of one person’s influence. We think, What can I do? I am only one person. Even when I was the CEO of a company I often felt this way.
The truth is that each of us wields far more power than we could possibly imagine. However, most of us have never discovered this—or we have forgotten it.
How important is winning to you? I know I like to win. What’s even more important is how I play the game. The process is key to me.
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For many leaders today, life is moving really fast. Contemplating the process of life is not on the top of many leaders “to do” lists. Yet, process is vital in order to do life well and to finish well. To me finishing well implies much more than just a successful career or ministry. How important is life’s process to you?
Several years ago, I wrote out a list of “100 Things I Want to Do Before I Die.” It’s really an amazing, audacious list. Whenever I review it, I am both inspired and stunned by how many of the items I have already accomplished. And yet, there is so much more. The list keeps growing.
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I’ll bet you have a list, too. Perhaps you’ve written it down; perhaps not. Regardless, you doubtless want to accomplish things—probably a lot of things. Really important things. Unfortunately, life is short. I have more to accomplish than I could probably do in seven lifetimes.
By nature I am a planner. I plan everything. And then I re-plan. I probably spend 90 percent of my time thinking about the future and planning for it. I consider my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. I anticipate problems and consider contingencies. I have a Plan A.
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But, unfortunately, Plan A rarely happens. When it does, it is awesome. But for me, Plan B is usually the norm. Like an old friend of mine used to say, “Do-do occurs.”
There’s an instructive scene in the Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda is instructing Luke Skywalker in how to use the Force. He asks Luke to retrieve his disabled spaceship out of a bog where it has sunk, using only his mind.
Luke, of course, thinks this is impossible. Sure, he has been able to move stones around this way. But a spaceship? That’s completely different. Or is it.
I lamented that I’d let weeds take over my flowerbeds. I didn’t have garbage can space, and my composter died in a windstorm, so I was left with a pile of uprooted weeds. They screamed failure to me.
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That is, until God whispered, “You can compost them right there. They can mulch the dry soil. Provide natural fertilizer.”