Leadership Perception Survey Results, Part 1

Over the next few days I will share some of the results of the Leadership Perception Survey I posted recently on my blog. Just so you know, there is no hidden agenda here. Several have asked. I simply believe perception of a situation matters, sometimes as much as reality. In leadership, we must always be aware of another person’s perception and realize that not everyone thinks as we do. That doesn’t mean perception has to alter what we do, certainly not if we are doing the right thing, but perception can play a factor in success and may alter the strategy we use to accomplish our vision. Have you ever heard of marketing? Successful marketing revolves around perception. Understanding other people’s perception is a part of successful leadership also.

Without commentary, here are the first few graphics.

Question: Are you currently a leader?

  • Yes 76%
  • No 24%

How many total people report to you:

  • 0  22%
  • 1-10 52%
  • 11-25  9%
  • 26-100 15%
  • 100+  2%

Should the leader be entitled to more vacation or other benefits that the people he or she leads, just because of position?

  • Yes  27%
  • No  73%

Should a leader have a bigger office than the people he or she leads?

  • Yes   30%
  • No   70%

Stay tuned for more results.

Preaching to the Preacher (I Was Encouraged Today)

DSCF8439Sometimes I need to get away from the usual crowds, take over my pastor hat, and sit in the audience and glean. Today was one of those days and I am thankful for the blessing.

Cheryl and I are on vacation in the Southwest. First stop was Albuquerque, NM for the annual balloon festival. We spent Saturday looking at hundreds of beautiful hot air balloons and returned this morning for another look. We left in time to catch the middle service of a great church, Sagebrush Community Church. Pastor Todd Cook was ending a series called “Heart” and shared a message that encouraged us to be encouragers. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

I have to be honest. When I first sat and looked at the program for the day and saw that the speaker was going to talk about encouragement, I wasn’t too excited. I’m a strategy guy, not a touchy feely guy. I like purpose, drive, and conviction. I wouldn’t be the first person one would think of when it came to the topic of encouragement. (In my family that would be Cheryl or Jeremy.)

As I sat and listened to Todd, who is a gifted speaker and storyteller, I was personally convicted. You see, I’ve been so busy with my strategy and purpose-driven, stress-filled life lately, that I am afraid I have often forgotten my first calling. I am a pastor. I am to help people move from death to life, from heartache and despair to trust and obedience. That process often doesn’t begin with a strategy. It begins when one person befriends another person, invests in them, and ENCOURAGES him or her to walk in a new way. Lately I am not sure that has been as much of my focus as leading and managing a church. I received “encouragement” today to take a fresh look at how I approach my days.

I am not saying I am giving up my strategy. I am not wired that way and frankly God uses me in that setting. I will never be a Barnabas. I will never be as considerate and caring as my wife. She balances me that way, but I do need to slow down more. I do need to take more time with the smallest needs. I need to be more people-centered. After all, that is the ultimate purpose of my calling.

Thanks Todd for encouraging me today to be a better encourager. God used you greatly in this season of my life.

(By the way, I met Todd after the service, and even though he is pastor of a large church and preaches 5 services each weekend, he treated me so warmly. He certainly did not make me feel I was an interruption. In this too, he gave me a wonderful reminder and encouragement.  You can here his message from today HERE.)

What I’m Dreaming About These Days…

iStock_000009167921XSmallEarlier this week I was looking for an old file and ran across some notes from a “Dream Big” planning retreat we did as a staff at Grace Community Church in August of 2007.  We were almost 2 years old at that time and the assignment was to brainstorm about “the sky is the limit” and “money is not an obstacle” dreams the staff at the time had.  It was amazing to look at the list today and realize that much of the list is being accomplished or could be in a short amount of time. I realized it is time for us to dream big again!

To lead by example, here is what I’m currently dreaming and praying about:

Coaching network – I have long been interested in mentoring. The new “buzz” term appears to be coaching.  Call it what you want, but I am praying about ways that I can invest in others, both in our church and outside our church.  Look for something next year.

Book publishing – I have a few ideas floating around, but more importantly I have an edited Word document with 365 of my devotionals from Mustard Seed Ministry ready to publish.  I am weighing my options.

Grace Community Church– I cannot list all the big dreams here, mostly because they involve other people, but let me just say God is blowing my mind with possibilities.

What are you dreaming big about these days?

5 Things Non-Profits and For-Profits Can Learn From Each Other

This Way That Way Which way to turnI spent most of my career in the business world. I was always extremely active and in leadership roles in church and other civic activities, but I earned my living in a for-profit environment. During those years, as an outsider looking in, I believed non-profits had so much to learn from the world of business.

Having spent the last 7 years in full-time ministry, I realize my perception wasn’t completely accurate. I still agree most churches and other non-profits can learn business principles from the corporate world, but now I realize the for-profit world can equally learn from the world of non-profits.

From my experience in the two worlds, here are a few examples where we can learn from each other:

Non-profits can learn from for-profits:

  • Business management
  • Structure and systems
  • Strategy
  • Performance evaluation
  • Marketing

When it comes to making a profit and producing results, the for-profit world has mastered the task…or at least attempts to do so. Survival and success in this world depends on balancing everything from cash flow to employee performance results in an effort to show a profit to the bottom line.

For-profits can learn from non-profits:

  • Purpose
  • Mission
  • Values
  • People-building
  • Social responsibility

In the non-profit world, the emphasis is on achieving the purpose of the organization. The focus of attention is not necessarily (actually not usually) on business principles as much as human principles. Success is determined more in accomplishing a mission than on realizing a financial gain. Non-profits advance people over profit.

I see a win/win situation when these two worlds collide. For-profits can be even more profitable when they invest in people and work towards the vision, even sometimes at the expense of immediate profits. Non-profits can continue their mission more effectively when they practice healthy business principles.

My questions is: How do we get these two worlds together more?

Are you currently in the non-profit or the for-profit world? Have you experienced both? Do you see other ways we can learn from each other?

3 Reasons To Never Respond To Criticism In Anger

iStock_000003032282XSmallI have grown accustomed to criticism.  When I was in business, it could come from employees, former employees, customers, suppliers, or the public.  When I served in political office, every vote seemed to bring critics from the opposing side.  Now that I am in ministry, I have learned that criticism comes from outside and inside the church.  I suppose it is a part of culture.

Our first reaction to criticism is to lash out in anger towards it.  It is normal to want to defend ourselves, correct inaccuracies and promote the truth.  While I believe we should always speak truth in love and correcting false statements against us may have a place, I do not believe responding to criticism with anger is ever appropriate.

Here are three reasons why:

It’s not right.

I always hear the example of Jesus in the temple, but Jesus wasn’t dealing with their criticism of Him, but their misuse of the temple.  (And He apparently took time to think through His response according to John 2:15…He made a whip…how long does that take?)

It may be true.

The fact is that as hard and untrue as criticism may be, often there are things in the criticism for us to learn, which we may not have noticed without the criticism.  (See a similar post HERE.)

It doesn’t work.

It backs people into a corner and ultimately produces more criticism.

Jesus had the best remedy for handling criticism:

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28)

What do you think? Is this something hard for you to do?

I Recommend The Change Group

banner350X250I love big vision. I love those who help accomplish big vision.  Recently I’ve been inspired by the energies of The Change Group.  They are true Kingdom builders.

If your organization needs help with financial management or with bookkeeping services, consider talking about outsourcing those needs with my friends at The Change Group.

For one monthly fee organizations can receive:

  • Quarterly CFO Consulting
  • Monthly Financial Dashboard
  • Weekly Bookkeeping

I posted HERE about two things every organization must have.  The Change Group can completely take care of one of these two needs, allowing you to concentrate on accomplishing your vision without stressing over details that must be done.   This is not only a cost saving, but also an efficient way of handling your church, small business or non-profit’s financial needs.

Check out my friends at The Change Group today by clicking HERE.

What Are You Contributing To Your Organization?










Are you bringing new ideas to your organization, church, or the place where you work?

You see things no one else sees…

You have experiences and connections no one else has…

You have a unique perspective on life…

You surely have opinions…

Don’t keep them to yourself…

Use them for the good of the team…

What could you be contributing that you’ve been holding back because of fear or lack of self-confidence?

Start sharing today…

8 Most Stressful Careers

iStock_000000053566XSmallI love Southwest’s magazine.  I always find interesting articles to kill time during flights.  This month was no exception.  I am glad that let you bring these magazines home. (They do, don’t they?)

Do you feel like you have a stressful career?

According to a survey by careercast.com highlighted in Spirit Magazine, here are the jobs that send workers home most exhausted:

  1. Firefighter
  2. Surgeon
  3. Senior corporate executive
  4. Police officer
  5. Roustabout
  6. Sailor
  7. General practice physician
  8. Psychiatrist

I don’t know that I qualify, but if I can be considered a “Senior Corporate Executive” with our church, then the article helps explain why I seem to have so much stress in my work these days.  I realize I am a pastor, but lately, with the growth of our church, I seem to do play administrative roles than spiritual roles.  Read posts about that change in my role HERE and HERE.

I know a few careers I was surprised were not on the list.  These jobs would stress me:

  • Homemaker
  • School teacher
  • Lion trainer
  • Daycare worker
  • Soldier
  • Small business owner
  • Professional chess (or poker) player
  • Santa Claus

Is your career on the list?  If not, do you think it should be?  I guess at any given time it could be our career on the list.   What do you think?

Are You Taking Advantage of Human Capital?

iStock_000006413523XSmallDo you harness the greatest power in your organization?  The best assets of your church, business or non-profit never appear on your balance sheet.

The truth is that any organization is only as good as the people within it.  Take the greatest idea and put the wrong people behind it and little progress will be realized.   With the right people, even average ideas can achieve tremendous results.

Are you taking the advantages of human capital?

Are you relying on the knowledge, insight and experience of everyone on your team to make the organization better?

Here are a few quick ways to capitalize on the people value of your team:

Brainstorm – Have assigned times periodically where everyone on the team gets to give input into the organization’s future.

Allow mistakes – Create an environment where team members are willing to take risks without fear of repercussion if things go wrong.

Ask questions – Genuinely seek help from those around you.  Recognize the fact that others may know more than you know about a particular subject.

Don’t pre-define – If you want help solving a problem or planning for the future, start with a clean slate.  If the leader always has the answer, team members are less likely to share their input.

Be open to change/new ideas – The leader must genuinely desire the involvement of others.  If team member’s suggestions are never implemented, they eventually will stop sharing them.

How are you currently taking advantage of human capital?

For more ideas on creating an environment of innovation click HERE.

One Incredibly Important Characteristic Of Successful Organizations


There is one incredibly important characteristic of a successful team or organization. It is inherent and cannot be trained or programmed. With this trait a team can weather the storms of life together. When this is an attribute of an organization, regardless of the struggles it encounters, the vision can be accomplished.

Leaders need to understand the importance of SHARED VALUES…

It could be spiritual belief…it could be a cause…it could be a sense of well-doing…it could be an organizational philosophy or structure or simply the joy of belonging to a certain team, but there is a power of the heart connection among employees that cannot be overlooked as a reason for success in an organization. There is strength in believing in what you do and your role in accomplishing the vision that is more powerful than talent, skills, or sometimes, even product.

Identifying the people who can share the values of your organizational structure is a critical part in hiring and retaining team members. For those wishing to join an organization, an important consideration should be if you share the same values with the people on your team.

Do you recognize the shared values within your organization?