Category: saltJournal

Bob’s daily blog of leadership points.

The Beginning…

Is the beginning of a thing better than the end? There are good arguments supporting both ideas. There is a great deal of excitement in beginning something new. As well, the victory celebration is enjoyed at the end.

A leader sees the goal and communicates it to the group. A leader is instrumental in developing the plans to reach the goal.

The reputation of a successful leader is often measured by the victories achieved, or goals reached.

However, a leader has an important task when striving to reach any goal. What must be done to create buy-in? How can we create excitement in reaching the goal? Will others be willing to work the plan?

The answers to these questions all unfold in the beginning. Victories are enjoyed by those who have earned them. To earn them, there needs to be a great beginning.

We must believe it first.
We must paint the picture and set it before others.
We must examine every possible detail.
We must pursue the course with enthusiasm.

Is the beginning of a thing better than the end? It can be!

Leadership Thought Of The Day…

“You can’t find the right answer if you are asking the wrong question.” John Maxwell

At first, I thought how simplistic, yet how true. How often do we work at finding the right answer, yet we spend our time asking the wrong questions?

Several ideas will help us in developing the right questions.

1) Think before speaking. It is easy to say the first thing that comes to mind. However, without thinking first we generally ask unrelated questions.

2) Questions must be clear and direct. Vagueness breeds vagueness. To get the right answer, our questions must be understood.

3) Be genuine. Questions are commonly used defensively. When someone speaks and is questioned, they  tend to feel challenged and react on their perception.

4) Do not assume anything. Assumptions will leave us with more questions than before.

5) Learn what should “not” be asked. To ask the right questions, we should learn this point. Questions that remove opportunities and do not allow for clarification should be avoided.

There are answers, but we must learn to ask the right question to find the right answer.

Rock Or Sand?

One provides a solid foundation and the other is shaky. Jesus spoke of a wise and a foolish man. The difference between the two was the foundation upon which they were building.

People build on one or the other based upon leadership. When the bedrock of our leadership is based on spiritual qualities and characteristics of Scripture, then people have a solid foundation to build upon.

A few ideas will help us in developing this foundation.

First, we must know who we are following. A great leader is a follower. When we are following the leadership of Christ, we are moving in the right direction.

Second, we must develop consistency between our words and actions. More than one leader has lost credibility because their actions contradicted the words they proclaimed.

Third, we cannot allow ourselves to get in the way. It is easy to begin believing the hype and think too highly of ourselves.We are leading people to Jesus. We cannot fulfill the task if “we” get in the way.

The eternal success of our leadership is determined by the foundation upon which we build and help others stand upon.

A Wing And A Prayer…

The idea emphasizes “a poor condition, but just managing to get the job done. This phrase originated with the WWII patriotic song Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer, 1942, by Harold Adamson and Jimmie McHugh, which tells of a damaged warplane, barely able to limp back to base.” Later, it became the title of a 1944 film.

Prayer is a vital part of our spiritual leadership, but our approach to leadership cannot succeed by barely limping along.

Our leadership is about the hope Christ provided at the cross. Through His willingness to be the forerunner, He has entered into the very presence of God for us. No one will barely get into heaven. No one will get in by accident.

We have prepared ourselves through trust and obedience to a gracious God who provided a plan to save us from the eternal condemnation of sin.

When we understand our leadership is focused on this kind of hope, we are not leading on a wing and a prayer. We are leading by faith!

A Matter Of Growth…

God desires growth. He commands us to grow, expects us to grow and designed the church to grow.

Growth involves change and change is never easy. We tend to be resistant to change. We like the status quo and change makes us uncomfortable.

However, change is Biblical. Imagine the challenge before the Jews on Pentecost. For more than 1,500 years they followed the Law and now Peter instructs them to change.

As Christians we must continue to change. This change occurs with growth.

I am not one who likes learning areas of Biblical teaching requiring me to act differently. I am a routine kind of guy. I love getting up at the same time, participating in the same activities, and going to bed at the same time.

Talking to non-Christian family, neighbors or strangers about Jesus, preaching lessons on financial giving, marriage, divorce and remarriage, or reaching out to Christians who leave the church makes me uncomfortable.

If we do not do it…who will? If we do not lead by example…how will others know how to follow? If we do not change…how will the church grow?

Dealing With Failure…

What or who determines failure? Why is failure seen as negative in our society? How can leaders deal with failure, learn and benefit in ways to improve their leadership?

The first step is to recognize failure is inevitable. No matter who you are or where you are, failure takes place.

Second, acknowledge and take responsibility. Do not ignore, deny, or cast blame when failure occurs. Victory goes to the team. Failure falls upon leadership.

Third, failure is not fatal. Winston Churchill is credited with saying; “success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Fourth, do not hesitate to act. Hesitation comes with a high price. Waiting to act creates a perception of apathy.

Fifth, take appropriate steps to learn from failure. Study the strengths and weaknesses of the present circumstances. Determine and implement the changes needed to overcome the circumstances and prevent the same mistakes.

Making the necessary adjustments to move beyond the circumstances will help build confidence in others toward leadership. Work to build a series of successful events or programs to reassure the strength of the leadership.

Leadership Thought Of The Day…

“I have yet to find a man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.” Charles Schwab

I worked for a manager several years back who would say; “if you take care of those who are under you, they will take care of you.”

Our attitude and approach in leadership will determine the type of work accomplished. If our leadership is dictatorial, constantly looking at the negative, and criticizing the efforts of others, there will be consistent challenges to reaching goals.

The results of a positive spirit of approval have been proven over and over. The idea is exactly the same within the spiritual realm.

Our leadership will excel when a spirit of approval is demonstrated, rather than one of criticism. The world has plenty of critics. It seems natural to offer criticism, even when praise is necessary. God intended the church to be a refuge.

If we want success in our leadership, the thought here is worth considering.

Investigating Leadership…

Our culture seems to be enthralled with detective programs, CSI (Miami, New York, LA, etc.), The Mentalist, Law and Order (SVU, Criminal Intent, etc.) and the list goes on.

Our culture also gets wrapped up with court cases, the most recent involving the Casey Anthony trial. How many of you spent time listening to the “evidence” and drew a conclusion in this case?

There is something intriguing about the process of investigating. What are we investigating in our leadership?

Are we investigating the causes behind the problems?
Are we investigating the individuals involved?
Are we investigating every possible solution to the problem?
Are we investigating the consequences and benefits?

There is no doubt problems are going to arise in leadership. How we approach those problems will make a difference. We cannot ignore or deny them. We cannot hope they will go away. We need to deal with problems quickly.

Before making decisions, however, we need to be investigators.

Why Are You Afraid?

I have a fear of large dogs, especially aggressive ones. My list does not end with dogs. Talking to strangers, being unprepared (for anything), being responsible for others, etc., all bring fear.

Fear is common. The apostles demonstrated fear. The parents of a blind man were afraid of the religious leaders. Paul addressed the problem of fear when writing to Timothy.

Fear can cause one of two reactions. It can cause us to do things we would not normally do. It can prevent us from doing the things we should do.

There are a few key areas to help us overcome fear.

Know God. He gave us a spirit of love and power and discipline.
Believe in Christ. If Jesus endured such ill treatment for us, we can overcome our greatest fears for Him.
Study the book. The more we know of God’s word, the greater our confidence in fearful situations.
Fight the good fight. Paul knew the challenges of the work. He also knew he had to fight.

We can overcome fear with a few steps. Let us commit ourselves to overcome and lead with passion.

Just Out For A Drive…

The past month saw much driving. My wife and I have traveled thousands of miles to share news about the work of Extension Training.

This is a great contrast to the proverbial “Sunday afternoon drive.” Our travels have been very purposeful with a specific destination in mind…HOME!

Leaders face the task of casting vision and mapping the direction to reach the goal. Unless leaders know where they are going, it will be impossible to finish the journey. Spiritual leadership needs to be purposeful with a specific destination in mind…HEAVEN!

Here are a few suggestions:

1) Never take your eyes off the goal.
2) Remember the map is found in the greatest atlas. (If you do now know what I mean, write me.)
3) There is nothing wrong with stopping to ask for help if you lose your sense of direction.
4) It is vital to make preparation before starting the journey.

Remember, we are not just out for a drive in leading others. We need to know where we are going and what it will take to get there. The results will be worth it!