When you’re trying to figure out your right structure

Questions and Answers signpost

I received the following email, with a few key points disguised for anonymity, and thought it could be a question others are asking. Do you ever wonder the right structure for your church? If so, this post is for you.

“Pastor Steve” wrote (not his real name):

Hi Ron,

We are a small town church about 100. I have one full time and one part-time staff besides me. I would like to reorganize for better efficiency. We have a deacon board leadership and would like to come up with different titles and job descriptions for the leadership. Right now we have assignments for building, music, finance, missions, education and chairman. Pretty standard, traditional titles.

I lead the board and, thankfully, they are open to change. I’ve pastored here for over a dozen years, so they trust me.

Any suggestions on structure, purpose and job descriptions?

Thanks,

Steve

My reply (Slightly expanded from the original):

Steve,

I applaud you for thinking about how to be more efficient as a church. Frankly, that almost seems unusual for pastors, churches and church leadership.

I’d probably start, however, by asking bigger questions. Not magical questions. Just bigger.

Start with questions like these:

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What is our vision?
  • Who has God uniquely called and equipped us as a church to be to our community and world?
  • What are my unique passions as a pastor?
  • What do we want to be known for above everything else as a church?
  • What are three or four activities or programs we would do if we had to quit everything else?

Once you (And I’d invite others) have spent sufficient time brainstorming and summarizing some those questions, (feel free to add your own) then you can ask:

  • Considering our answers above, what are vital steps needed to accomplish each of these listed?
  • What’s an appropriate timeframe to expect to be doing these?
  • What are action steps, with timelines, for the future goals we have as a church?
  • How can I and/or the staff or leadership improve so we can lead these new initiatives?
  • What are things we are currently doing that simply aren’t needed anymore or don’t work?

And finally, ask yourself or as a group:

  • Who do we have on the team to accomplish this list?
  • Who is gifted best to serve where?
  • What can I do and what will others need to do?
  • What can other staff members do?
  • Are there key leaders in the church we’ve not tapped for leadership who could fill some of these roles?
  • Where are the biggest holes in people and leader resources we need to fill?

Keep in mind these are broad, general questions designed to get you and your team brainstorming. You’ll need to choose the questions best for you and adapt them accordingly.

After you’ve gone through the questions, which is not a quick process, you can then begin to organize the new structure around tasks and people. This type process gives you a more realistic and effective structure. Keep in mind, the more you keep the list of things you are trying to do to a minimum, the more you will increase your effectiveness.

To summarize:

I always try to start with the biggest vision and work backwards. We want to reach people. We want to disciple people. Etc. Always start with what you MUST complete and do well.

Then, I lead us to ask, how are we going to accomplish that? Finally, we need to know who the people on the team are to help us do that.

If you spend time working through that process you’ll be close to having your new structure. Also, you’ll need to review this process again over time as people and times change. Your broad answers of what you’re trying to answer will likely stay the same, but it is always good for review. Your more specific answers will change depending on who the people are in the church at the time and how things need to be done now.

Quick response, but hope that helps some.

Ron

3 Basic Needs of Every Organization or Church

Learn & Lead

Several years ago I read an article by Raymond P. Rood’s entitled “How Then Should Organizations Live”. (http://www.humantechnologies.com) Rood makes the point that every organization has three basic needs. This philosophy resonated with me and, based on my experience, I can see how it relates to the churches, businesses, and non-profits I have led.

Here are 3 things Rood says every organization needs to thrive:

Growth – Rood says “growth needs focus on productivity and expansion.” The growth of any organization is vibrant and fast-paced and requires lots of energy and attention. It’s a world of numbers and percentages of increases. Without growth, the organization will eventually die, but if an organization only grows and never matures, that growth will not sustain itself for long.

Maintenance – According to Rood, “maintenance needs focus on order and the reduction of problems.” The more an organization grows the more it needs a structure in place to manage the growth; that’s maintenance. Systems. Some people love the maintenance world. Maintenance is extremely necessary for the organization to remain healthy. Still, if all an organization does is maintenance it will become dull, boring, legalistic, and uninspiring. (Did I paint that well enough?) Some organizations, and even churches, die because they live in the maintenance world. They become one large bureaucracy of rules and regulations, designed with good intentions, to sustain the organization’s growth. That leads to the third basic need of organizations.

Development – Rood writes that “development needs focus on organizational quality.” The development needs of an organization are designed to take it to the “next level” of success. This is where an organization really matures, develops lasting principles and values, and prepares itself for years of growth and success. Without developing an organization it will eventually wither and die.

(A common mistake is to confuse development with growth. Growth is always growth. It is focused primarily on things getting bigger. We need that focus. Development is focused on things getting better, which may or may not lead to growth. It may be completely internal. As a development person, I always hope this leads to growth, but quality is my main objective. An example here would be developing or improving the internal accounting or paperwork systems…the maintenance function. It’s more difficult to tie these directly to growth sometimes, but they can always be tied to development.)

For an organization to thrive it must do all three well. Using this information, I have expanded my thinking around these areas.

I’ve discovered, for example…

  • Everyone in the organization tends to prefer one of these three, even though all of us need all three to be successful in our role.
  • For a position to be most successful, it should have a primary focus on one of these three, although, again, all of them are necessary, for every position.
  • If a person is mismatched in one of these they will more quickly burnout. A person with a preference for growth, for example, will burnout sooner when they are function in the maintenance function.
  • We have to discipline ourselves as leaders and team members to make sure all three of these are a part of our work and the organization.
  • I have heard some people say they love all of these…or really “confident” people say they are good at all of them. I question this. In my experience, they may enjoy elements of all of them, and may even be good at all of them to some degree, but there will be one preference in the bunch (and weaknesses they can’t see in one of them.) For years, I thought I would be good at maintenance need, because I like organizational efficiency. When I was put in that position exclusively, I bombed at it.
  • When shaping a team, we need to make sure people specializing in all three are represented, and allowed to lead in their area of strength.

With these understandings, I have frequently walked our staff through each of these in a retreat setting. We expand our thoughts on these three needs as they relate to the life of our church and each individual area in which we serve. The discussion always leads to ways we can improve in each of these areas. As a pastor/leader, knowing the importance of each of these, I want to make sure we are excelling in all of them. That’s a healthy church.

For disclosure, I’m a development guy. My lesser strength is in the maintenance area, but I have seen what happens when we are weak in this area. I love the growth area, being a starter and entrepreneurial, but in an established organization, I always drift towards development…which usually involves starting something new in the same organization. If that’s all I had to do, I’d be happy. To be an effective leader, however, I must discipline my time to focus on all three needs. I can specialize in one, but I must be committed to playing a part in each area.

Some questions to ask, considering these three basic needs:

  • Which of these are missing most in your organization or church?
  • Which of these do you prefer doing most? (If you say all, let me encourage you to reconsider your answer.)
  • Should you discipline yourself in the other areas so you can be a healthier organization?

7 Steps When You Are Frustrated Enough To Quit…But Can’t

failure

I was talking to a staff member of a church recently who is ready to quit. But, he can’t.

What he’s experiencing is not depression, in my opinion. It could turn into that at some point, if he’s not careful, but today it’s frustration. Severe frustration. The kind that keeps you up at night. The problems appear to be more external than internal. They are work related, but they are impacting every other aspect of his life. (They always do.)

It’s a poor work environment. He is frustrated because he has given everything he knows to give, but nothing seems to matter. He feels under appreciated, under utilized, and unfulfilled. He’s treated lousy by a controlling leader who never acknowledges his accomplishments. He’s tried confronting gently, firmly and directly. Nothing he does or says makes things better. This staff person is going home every night wishing he didn’t have to return the next day. It’s a miserable life, and so far nothing is changing. And, he’s miserable. More miserable everyday. And he’s ready to quit, but so far he has sensed no release from God in this position and believes he is supposed to stay for now. So what does he do?

(By the way, I don’t think God always leaves us in situations like this. These times always serve a purpose in our life, but many times God releases us to pursue a healthier environment. Don’t confuse loyalty to a bad leader with obedience to God. They aren’t always the same. That requires walking close enough to God to discern His will.)

There will be times when, apart from any God-calling, the economics, timing or other personal or family situations dictate you stay for now. What do you do then?

Here’s the reality I had to share with him: The truth is we can’t control our environment. We can’t control other people and their reactions to us. We can only control how we respond to life.

Here are a 7 things I encouraged him to do:

Pray – That’s an obvious answer, but it’s the most powerful answer. The question I had for him is have you really prayed? Have you prayed for God to change the circumstances or for Him to change you? There’s a huge difference in those two prayers.

Remember the good times – I keep a file of memories. Notes I’ve received of encouragement. Emails that came at “just the right time”. I store them in a special file and, on especially difficult days, I pull out this file and review better days. My life has been filled with seasons. Some good and some bad. I want to remember the good times when I’m experiencing the bad. And, I’m always encouraged looking back that better days are ahead. Again.

Share your burdens – Now is not the time to be proud. You need some people with whom you can share your burdens. Be honest. Listen pastor, don’t believe the lie that pastors have to live life alone. You don’t. Find someone in another church. Find a trusted leader in the church. Don’t share with a motive to stir trouble and don’t gossip, but be honest. Share your side, not anyone else’s. The goal is to get the support of a listening ear you need. (Don’t be afraid to get professional help if needed.)

Rest – Many times, in my experience, these days come most when we are tired. Feelings. Would it be better to disappear for a short time or disappear altogether? You can’t sustain your best work long when you are experiences these emotions and that will only make your life more miserable. Get away and rest. NOW.

Renew your heart – Remind yourself of the vision to which you were called. You weren’t called to an environment, or the pastor of a church, or even to a church. You were called to a person. Jesus. He loves you. He wants to invest in you. He has a plan for your life. Lean into Him again and allow Him to restore your passion for Him that is bigger than the place where He has you now.

Do what you can – Do the best work you can within the ministry context you are called to do them. You may not be able to impact the entire church, but you can impact your individual ministry, even if it’s only by impacting the people within your ministry. You’ll need to find your fulfillment in smaller wins right now, but allow those moments in ministry to fuel you and keep you going.

Learn all you can – We learn most in the hardest days. Those aren’t necessarily helpful words to hear in times like this, but they are so incredibly true. Keep a journal of your experiences; what happens and how you feel about them. You will use these insights in the days to come and look back on this as a significant growth experience personally and professionally. If you learn things that make you better later, this won’t be a wasted period of your life and ministry, but may even prove to be a valuable period.

That was my advice. Have you ever been in that kind of situation?

What would you add?

7 Most Exciting Things a Pastor Experiences

Winning young man

Yesterday I shared the post 7 Most Frustrating Things Pastors Experience. I promised then that a post was due on the most exciting things a pastor experiences. There are many. Pastors get to see the best and worst of life it seems, but there are many positives.

Obviously, seeing someone become a follower of Christ or baptism of a believer, has to rank as a highlight of the pastor’s experience. That’s what we are called to do. But, that experience isn’t unique to pastors. Every believer, hopefully, gets excited about seeing people’s entry into faith. That’s the call of the church; not only pastors.

So, my list is beyond those experiences to things that may be somewhat unique to pastors. I’m not saying only pastors get excited about these experiences, but to pastors, these are especially exciting. Also, different pastors will have different answers. That’s where the comments section makes this post even better.

Here are 7 most exciting things pastors experience:

A child who loves church – They are our future. And, we know it. Jesus loves the little children. And so do we. I love when a little child leads “them” to church. When a child loves church, I know the parent is sure to be excited also.

Note takers – Seeing someone following a message closely. Hearing pages of the Bible turn. Priceless. Seeing people actually live the truths taught…don’t even get me started.

Sacrificial givers – The church is built on people willing to invest in her work. The generous giver…who gives with no strings attached…way to make a pastor smile. Maybe even dance.

Visitors and people who invite them – Visitors. Could we grow the church and sustain it long-term without them? Of course not. Every person in the church today, unless they were born into it, started as a visitor. Every new church member and every knew opportunity to add someone to our discipleship efforts starts with a visit. I love people who invite. I love those who come when invited. I just want to hug them all. (But, I promise not to hug you on your first visit…or ever if you prefer, because I want you to visit. Visit. Visit. Visit.)

Servant hearts – When I see a man or woman in the parking lot or a baby rocker in preschool, or someone who says “Pastor, I’m here to help you any way I can”, I am encouraged to keep going. Their enthusiasm for serving others encourages me.

New people joining the church – The church is a family and every pastor loves when the family grows. When people who have been visiting start coming more often, and eventually decide this is the church family…WOW! Exciting! I may try to look like it’s a normal day, because I don’t want you to think we are desperate for new members, or scare you as I shout real loud, but inside, I’m bursting with joy.

When the church is the church – I am encouraged when I hear someone is in the hospital and a church member has already made a visit. I get excited when I hear of needs…that have already been met. When the church behaves like we were called to behave, without a staff member or me having to lead the effort, I’m energized. Elated. Blessed.

There is my list.

Pastors, what would you add?

7 Most Frustrating Things Pastors Experience

Frustrated office manager overloaded with work.

I received this question on my blog recently.

Ron – What do you think are some of the most frustrating things that pastors experience?

Great question. I’m sure, like most jobs, there are frustrating things that happen while doing the best you know to do. Leadership deals with people. Different people. There can always be frustrations dealing with people different from us. Even people who love each other can be frustrated by each other.

But, the question was “most frustrating”. I had to think about that question.

I should first mention that I love the local church. (I shouldn’t have to mention it, but I do.) I believe the church is the hope for the world. I am a proponent of the local, Bible-believing church. We are filled with imperfect people, but our mission is God-inspired, God-given and to be God-glorifying.

Here’s my reply:

People who abuse power or position – It always bothers me, but even more so when it happens in the church. That includes, of course, the pastor. Ultimately, we are to follow Christ, but sometimes we can let positions and power get in the way of humility and obedience.

People who live dual lives – Hypocrisy. One church face and one community face. Frustrating. It gives the church a bad name. Many of my unchurched friends won’t come to church because they know someone who comes to church already. And, they aren’t impressed.

Rumors that spread with no basis of truth. (And, yes, it happens…often)

Selfishness – People who want what they want, even at the expense and inconvenience of others. Who will allow their personal preference to interfere with carrying out the ultimate mission of the church. Doesn’t sound very Biblical to me.

Tradition – I’m not against tradition per se. I like meeting at a set time every week, for example. I love getting gifts at Christmas. I get frustrated with tradition that is adhered to only because of tradition even thought it gets in the way of making disciples.

Time wasters – I’m on a mission. I have a keen sense that time is short and moves faster than I can fathom. I don’t want to waste precious Kingdom time debating issues that simply don’t matter.

Half-heartedness – Perhaps I got this one from Jesus. He called it lukewarm. I sense it when the Spirit of God is obviously active in the room, but so many look at me as if it’s a typical Sunday. I realize sometimes this is cultural or worship style preference. I’m okay when it’s that. It is frustrating when it’s a matter of immaturity of heart, especially when someone has been in the church for many years, but hasn’t grown deeper and more passionately in love with Christ. Some days I wish we were a ballgame. With bleachers. And a favorite team. Then they’d get excited.

So, that’s my honest list.

Pastor, share yours?

And, you don’t have to be a pastor to share. What frustrates you most in the church?

You can now read my list 7 Most Exciting Things a Pastor Experiences.

7 Vital Steps Prior to Implementing Major Change

Chalkboard with text Changes

As a pastor and leader, I am continually dealing with change. Everyday. Change is a part of life. For all of us.

Some change occurs without us doing anything. Some change is so routine it requires little thought or preparation by the leader. But, when making major change…change that impacts everyone…change the may be controversial…there are some steps to take before you begin implementation. Failing to do most or all of these, in my experience, could derail the effectiveness of the change. Keep in mind, these are steps I take. You may have a better system in place. If so, please help me learn from you.

Here are 7 steps before implementing major change:

Establish trust authority – I wrote about this principle HERE. Leaders shouldn’t attempt to implement change until they have enough trust of the people to solicit the support necessary for the change. You will need people to follow your leadership and that requires an established relationship of trust. Leaders need to be careful to not move until enough trust is in place for the size of the change. This doesn’t mean people will trust, or even like, the change, but it does mean they have trust in the leader.

Personal confidence and conviction – Check your heart. Have you prayed about it? Do you sense any reason you shouldn’t do it? In my experience, God gives tremendous freedom to us in how we carry out the mission. That’s why there are hundreds of styles and structures of churches all carrying out the same Great Commission. But, before you do anything else, make sure you are in this enough to see it through. Would you be willing to fight the naysayers on this one? Are you willing to lose people over it? I’m not saying it will come to that, but that’s the level of commitment you need to have before you introduce major change.

Leadership – Make sure you get buy in from those who will most likely end up implementing the change. Personally, I’m seldom willing to move forward if the staff I’ve surrounded myself with doesn’t believe in the change. There may be times I need to vision cast better and help them see the need, but their support is critical if major change is going to be successful.

Focus group – On major changes, I like to bring in a group of people who are generally supportive of my leadership, but represent all the major groups within the church. I cast the vision for the change, get their feedback and answer questions. Again, they may or may not immediately agree with the change, but I know they will be a respectful audience. I always tell them that as a leader, I will have to follow the direction I feel God is leading me, but I value their input in the process of discernment. (And, I genuinely do. Make sure you are open to this as a leader.) This step always makes the change better by their input and helps build a base of support for the change.

Stakeholder analysis – I wrote about this concept HERE. I try to know the most interested and influential people in the particular change. We attempt to reach out to them first. Again, this step builds support among influencers and usually further enhances the change with their input and hopefully their support. Many times this group become supporters of the change, or at least they don’t work against it, because they feel included in the process. (Again, leader, make sure you are open to this input. You need people to make any change effective. The more buy-in you get early the more effective you will be.)

Major questions answered – (Or a plan to get them.) One of my goals is getting as many answers to questions as possible on the table before the change is implemented. We can never anticipate all the questions or scenarios that will arise, but the more we can address in advance the better prepared we will be to handle them when they do. In each of the groups listed here, I always ask what questions are in the room and what questions they may sense others will have.

Timetable – It is impossible to do this perfectly, but having a planned approach to implementing the change makes the change more successful. This needs to be planned, as much as possible, before the change implementation begins. People WILL ask this question. Be realistic with your timetable, but don’t be afraid to let it stretch you either. The best change requires an element of faith.

Those are some of the steps I think through before making major change. As a pastor, I know God has called me to lead a church that will always need to be changing as the people we try to reach our changing. Refusing to change simply diminishes our effectiveness and shortens our lifespan as a local church. The more I can do to prepare people for change, the more effective that change can be.

Any steps you would add?

5 Ways to Hear from People Different from You

Leadership Ahead

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen leaders make is:

Forgetting that everyone doesn’t think like the leader.

People are different. They think differently. They have different desires. Thankfully, they have different ideas. The way they process and share those ideas are different from the leader.

If you want to lead people who are different from you…and you should…you’ll often have to lead differently from how you wish to be led. Frankly, I’d be comfortable leading by email, but how healthy would that environment be?

When you fail to remember this principle of leadership, that people are different, you frustrate those you are trying to lead. You get poor performance from the best leaders on your team and your team fails to live up to its potential.

Here are some thoughts to warrant against this:

(Please understand, I am using the word “I” a lot here. I don’t really like that term much, because I’m a leader in training too, but I want you to see how I being intentional in this area and provide a few practical examples.)

Intentionally surrounding yourself with diverse personalities. One intentional thing I do is try to have good friends who stretch me as a person, even outside or my work. I have some extremely extroverted friends, for example. They remind me that everyone isn’t introverted like me. On any church staff I lead, I know I want some different personalities to compliment mine. Building my comfort with this in my personal life helps me welcome it even more in my professional life. We will all share a common vision, but we should have some unique approaches to implementing it. Ask yourself, “Have I surrounded myself with people who think just like me?”

Asking questions. Lots of them. Personally, I ask lots of questions. I give plenty of opportunity for input into major decisions before a decision is final. We do assessments as a team. I have quarterly meetings with direct reports. We have frequent all staff meetings. I periodically set up focus groups of people for input on various issues. I want to hear from as wide a range of people as possible. I try to consistently surround myself with different voices so I receive diversity of thought. I place a personal value on hearing from people who I know respect me, but are not afraid to be honest with me.

Never assuming agreement by silence. I want to know, as best as I can, not only what people are saying, but what people are really thinking. To accomplish this, I periodically allow and welcome anonymous feedback. I realize, just because of position, and partly because of personalities, that some are not going to be totally transparent with me. I try to provide multiple ways for feedback. Even during meetings I welcome texting or emailing me (depending on the size and structure of the meeting) during the meeting. I’ve found that approach works better for some who may not provide their voice otherwise.

Welcoming input. This probably should have come first, but this is a personal attitude. I have to actually want to hear from people on my team. Even the kind of information that hurts to hear initially. I personally want any team I lead to feel comfortable walking into my office, at any time, and challenging my decisions. (I keep candy in my office knowing it attracts them for frequent returns.) Granted, I want to receive respect, but I expect to equally give respect. Knowing what my team really thinks empowers me to lead them better.

Structuring for expression of thought. Here I am referring to the DNA…the culture…for the entire team. And, it is very important. There has to be an environment with all leaders that encourages people to think for themselves. That kind of culture doesn’t happen without intentionality. As a leader, I try to surround myself with people sharper than me, but I want all of us to have the same attitude towards this principle of hearing from others. I believe in the power of “WE”. If we want to take advantage of the experience and talents in our church, we have to get out of the way, listen, and follow others lead when appropriate.

It’s not easy being a leader, but it is more manageable when you discipline yourself to allow others to help you lead.

How do you structure yourself to hear from people different from you? What are some ways you have seen this done by other leaders?

7 Benefits of Being a Controlling Leader

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Oh, the joy of controlling leadership. It’s highly under appreciated.

Oh, I know, this appears to be a change of tune for me. This blog has been critical of controlling leadership as a very poor leadership style. I apologize. I should have recognized the benefits in controlling leadership before now. Thankfully, there’s still time in my leadership career. Hopefully I caught you in time too.

Controlling leadership, if done well, offers some powerful contributions to the organization.

Here are 7 benefits of being a controlling leader:

You keep things small. Small is so easy to manage. Growing is so overrated.

New ideas are stifled. New always translates to different…you know…how we’ve done things before now. Different can be messy. Keep things neat and tidy and life is more comfortable.

Change is minimal. Change is hard. Unpopular. Challenging. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

There are fewer misunderstandings. Everything is clear. You’re the boss and no one questions your authority. There. Take that.

You get all the credit. You can even blame others for mistakes. Because, after all, you’re in control.

Risk and fear is minimized. (Or so it seems at the time.) If you can control things, you can keep things from getting away from you. It’s. safer. (At least it seems.)

People don’t grow. You know what happens when people grow. They start developing their own leadership skills. Pretty soon they start thinking they could do things on their own. Perhaps even better than you can do them. They may even leave searching for another opportunity. They may leave. Stop that. (And that’ll keep ‘em with you forever, right?)

See how cool this is. Right now you’re probably thinking you should’ve thought of this controlling leader deal years ago. You can thank me later.

But, you controlling leaders better quit reading this post. Someone is waiting on you to make a decision. You make all of them around there…don’t you? It’s what you do best.

What other benefits have you seen to controlling leadership?

This is a satirical post. It is intended to be funny. But, if you’ve ever worked for or been a controlling leader…you know it’s not funny. Don’t you?

5 Clever Ways I Find Time to Exercise

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I’ve written before about my discipline of exercise. Honestly, it has to be one of the keys to me being effective in life and leadership. I can tell the difference in productivity when I exercise and when I don’t.

I talk to busy, stressed pastors every week and frequently I ask them how they are staying physically fit. Most have been trained and are more disciplined in their spiritual life, but the reality is their physical life is impacting their health…and…if its not now, it will someday impact every other part of their life.

As much as it depends on me, I think it is important to take care of our health. But, I’ll admit, working 50 or even 70 hour weeks at times makes it difficult to fit exercise into a packed schedule.

I’m purposeful enough though that I’ll find a way.

Here are 5 clever ways I find time to exercise:

Work on the elliptical. A few times a week I go over my notes for Sunday. Why not do it while I exercise? I sometimes write blog posts while dancing, I mean moving, on the elliptical. (Posts like this one.) It takes practice to balance, but now it’s a great way for me to kill two birds. One stone. What do you have to do that is a routine for you, but you could do while exercising? Anything? Be creative.

Exercise on lunch break. One problem for me is eating three full meals a day. I can’t do it these days and maintain my weight. Sometimes my schedule dictates three meals, because many of my meetings are done at these times. I’m bad at resisting food when I have it in front of me. On days I can, I try to grab something light, fast and healthy and hit the road or gym.

Walk to talk. Weather permitting, Cheryl and I take walks together almost daily. It allows us to catch up on the day, debrief the week ahead and enjoy exercising together. I’ve done this with staff members too. If you have an extended talk…walk.

Mental breaks. If I’m stuck in my thoughts, I can almost always spur myself if I exercise. The break in schedule always pays back dividends beyond the apparent loss of time. This is especially true during the most stressful weeks. (By the way, this means I’m always ready with clothes at the office or in my car.)

Prayer time is a sweating opportunity. I can pray when I run. Some can and some can’t. But if you can. Why not?

Again, I realize the value of exercise for my life…for the quality of my life…and so I’ll make time for it. You can find time if you are creative and disciplined with your time.

(By the way. This principle works for anything you value. Prayer. Bible reading. Relationships. We find time for that which we value most.)

Have you found any clever ways to work exercise into your schedule?

I’m open to learning new ones.

Warning: Don’t Be the Senior Leader Unless…

Warning

Here’s a warning:

Don’t Agree to Be the Senior Leader Unless…

You are ready to lead alone at times…or at least feel like you are.

You aren’t striving for popularity, knowing that every decision you make is unpopular to someone.

You can make the hard decisions, even the ones involving people or conflict.

You will try to see all sides of an issue.

You are comfortable with change and thinking outside the box.

You are okay when others receiving credit; even for something you initiated.

You can delegate leadership…and truly empower others, believing things are better when other people help make decisions.

You don’t let criticism derail you for long, but stay committed to the task before you.

You can think beyond today and help others join you by casting an engaging vision.

You highly value people and their contributions.

And _________?

Senior leaders…share yours.