Wednesday, July 02, 2008

LMC Accolades

June 20, 2008

Hey LMC Team!

We are doing well...we have used SO much from LMC.

We revised the Life Management Plan so it can be used with our ministry team and had opportunity to test it out on some friends the other night. They loved it! When we have our Team Orientation at the end of July, each person will be required to do a Personal Life Plan.

AND we did the Position Results Descriptions in the LMC manner and have had many people comment about how clear they are.

We talked about Leadership Matters Course so much in various circles that we started getting requests to share the information in a more formal manner.
Just yesterday, we did a training workshop with some managers from another organization - teaching them the Management Skills straight from LMC! We even gave them a set of Management Pocket Prompters. They were so excited because they said they regularly have management trainings, but they are usually about inspiring their staff and never about practical things like delegation and ensuring progress, etc. The managers in the Media & Periodicals Department decided they are going to be teaching the tools to everyone in their teams. (We explained the need for everyone to understand a "Good Delegation" so they can hold the managers accountable.)

We also did a session about Team Building for another non-profit organization. We talked about the power of sharing stories and making intentional space to have people share accomplishments and dreams. It was very good! We can't wait to hear how they use it all.
We just realized yesterday that we have already accomplished everything on our PR Plans of Action from LMC! We literally worked through each from top to bottom without even realizing it - and it is turning out great!

So - be encouraged! What you do is SO helpful - it couldn't have come at a better time for us, that's for sure. We are praying for you as well!

sincerely … (LMC Alumnus)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quick poll

There is a poll on the side-bar of the blog asking

What is the biggest challenge in leading?

If you cannot find an answer that suits your biggest challenge please let us know by posting your thoughts. Just click on comments (below this post) and enter your thoughts.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How to successfully build your leadership with willing followers

For years experts have said that leadership was intangible and not measurable. However there is a basic measure - leaders are determined by their followers. No followers, no leader. Most influential leaders no matter what title they have or role they play are those with willing followers.

The whole point of leadership is to get whole hearted followers for a given course of action. However most potential leaders ignore followership and instead focus on being more engaging, interesting or convincing. At times they may rely on their positional power and end up, not with committed followers but with agreements at best, compliance at worst and marginal results.

The term whole hearted implies leaders have engaged their followers both in the heart and head in other words emotionally and intellectually. It also implies that the follower decides to whether or not to give his or her commitment.

So how do you gain whole hearted commitments and willing followers? The first step starts with the conversation
you have with a potential follower. Here you express your decision goals, and you include three critical decision goal elements:

1) a confident statement of the goal which has value or benefits to the potential followers
2) an invitation for followers to look at or listen to the goal and strategy and
3) an acknowledgement that the potential followers are decision-makers.

Take for example the following interaction: I believe we can reach our target of cost reduction by making a few changes to our process. Let's discuss this approach and you decide if it something that you can support. By putting forth your ideas with the confidence that others can decide on and treating followers as fellow decision makers, you have a greater chance of being heard and with an open mind and gaining credibility.

Planning and logic alone will not guarantee commitment. Commitments are whole hearted decisions and that means engaging the heart and head. Not everyone sees information the same way because emotions shape logic.

Opening a conversation with a well stated decision goal establishes rapport, openness and trust; it also lets followers know they are decision makers and so feel safer talking and revealing their true attitudes toward a plan.

A follower’s potential attitude can be positive, negative or neutral and can vary from moment to moment. Exceptional leaders are able to intuitively recognise intuitively recognize momentary changes in attitudes or points of view in a conversation. They focus more on how something is said, and by that, what is said makes more sense. Recognising and adapting to what is said is what enables leaders to influence others.

Let's look at an example of what this looks like - when you give someone directions to your home, you first determine where the other person is starting from. The directions you then give vary based on where the person is at that moment in time. In the same way if a potential follower considers your goal or strategy difficult to execute then you must simplify it. If a follower sees a plan as being to risky you then reduce the risk. Since followers vary in their attitudes you will need a range of responses that make sense to followers.

Regardless of a potential follower’s response, you must treat followers seriously so they talk openly and consider your goals and strategies. Acknowledging their point of view and taking them seriously are easier to do with the following:

1. Give them your total attention: Prove you care by suspending all other activities, suspend your point of view and show interest in what the other person is saying.

2. Respond: Responses can be verbal or nonverbal (nods, expressing interest). the key is to show that the message was received and had an impact.

3. Prove understanding: Saying I understand is not enough. You need to prove understanding by occasionally restating the gist of the idea or asking questions which prove you know the main idea. This is different from proving that you are listening and transmits a different message when people are communicating.

4. Prove respect: Take others’ views seriously. Telling someone, I appreciate your position, or I know how you feel, does not help. Such responses are usually followed by the word “but” and your viewpoint. Instead, show respect for the other person’s view by communicating at their level of understanding and attitude. An adjustment in tone of voice, rate of speech, and choice of words shows you are imagining being where the other person is at the moment.

When others sense they are being taken seriously; they in turn will take you seriously as their leader. Understanding that successful leaders are great followers first will assist you in becoming a better, more effective leader.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Does your leadership facilitate?

What does my life mean? What am I doing here? Do I matter? Is there more to existence than consumption? Are we called to improve the lives of our fellow human beings? Are we called to take care of the earth? Is it really possible for one person to make a difference?

This “higher purpose” mentality sounds lofty, but it is actually the kind of thinking that is now driving some of the best human efforts on the planet, whether in business, science, the social sector, or entertainment. Make no mistake: meaning can be commoditised, just like toothpaste and cars. We would be amiss to imagine that the significance movement is altruistic at its core. But we would also be amiss to imagine that it is altogether insincere. More than ever, humans are waking up to the fact that they have the power to affect life, for better or worse. We’ve had several centuries of mostly worse. Now, many are choosing to do what they can for the better.

But do we really believe this? Do we really have faith that people want to build better workplaces, better neighbourhoods, better mousetraps, or better ministries? One manager of a Fortune 100 company described his dilemma as a leader:
“I know in my heart that when people are driving in to work that they’re not thinking, ‘How can I mess things up today? How can I give my boss a hard time?’ No one is driving here with that intent, but we (as leaders) then act as if we believed that. We’re afraid to give them any slack.”

Margaret Wheatley put it best when she said, “Most of us know that as people drive to work they’re wondering how they can get something done for the organisation despite the organisation—despite political craziness, the bureaucratic nightmares, the mindless procedures piled up in the way.”

Ben Zander, in his book, The Art of Possibility, claims that leaders often operate with the assumption that people don’t want to contribute; that they want us to do everything for them. Yet, from Bono’s One campaign to Arts for Aids to the Sustainable Energy Network, there is a new level of participation and individual commitment. Perhaps people are tired of being told there is nothing they can do. Perhaps they are tired of clogged bureaucracies. Instead, they are persistently and quietly organizing themselves—over the Internet, over coffee, over anything—because they want to make a difference. They are rolling up their sleeves and doing what they can because, well, they finally know that they can—without the help their employers or the institutions they attend.

There is no question that good-old fashioned narcissism still abounds. But the rising tide of activism is getting hard to ignore, and this time around, it seems to be more grassroots than ever and embracing several generations, not just one. What assumptions have you made as a leader about the people in your church, your ministry, and your community? Are people really just out for themselves? Do they really want us to do it all for them? How do we know? Have we tested that assumption lately? And if it’s true that many people really do want to make a difference, how will our leadership facilitate rather than exterminate that desire?

Great leadership believes great things about people and releases them to do the impossible.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

What Makes For A Unique Training Experience?

It has been a challenge to describe the unique distinctive of the Leadership Matters Course. With so many courses being advertised as leadership training, as graduates of LMC, we need to be able to describe what is different.

If we were to simply give an outline of the materials covered in the LMC curriculum, there may seem to be little that is different to other leadership training courses. The question needs to be answered "What is unique about LMC?"

Many courses that are advertised as training are, in reality, lectures that are given in a teaching mode, rather than a training mode. ‘Teaching’, while very significant, tends to focus on the delivery of prescribed content in a lecture format. But in our context ‘training’ is focused on developing the participant’s skills and doing it in such a practiced way that they will remember the principles.

Participants will remember far more because they have had the opportunity to actually practice the new skill, or apply the new insight, than if they only have a record of it in a handbook.

There are a number of things in the presentation of LMC that make it unique. Four very significant aspects are:

1) The amount of time the participant is actually ‘doing’ and ‘practicing’ the material rather than passively ‘listening’. Each of the trainers is motivated by the phrase ‘Participants will not remember so much what WE say, but they will remember what THEY do’.

2) Participants are asked to practice a new skill only after the trainer has first modeled it.

3) While the trainers do introduce new material, they are committed wherever possible to help the participant discover the answers themselves. Participants do this by sharing their combined knowledge in a very interactive environment.

4) There is a carefully planned structure to the progression of the training which follows a Biblical emphasis.
a. Firstly, we help the trainees recognize their own worth and gifting in God’s eyes as the essential reality for them.
b. This is followed by developing an understanding of Gods concern for them to be loving and caring for other people.
c. With these two in their rightful place we then focus on the situations that as leaders they will need to address.
Being able to guide the discussions and insights from the participants; and balancing the introduction of new content with that, is what necessitates the specialized training given to all the trainers.

Given this background, another helpful way to show the differences between LMC and the many other training courses is to state the outcomes that the graduates can expect when they actively apply the training. The ongoing relevance of the course will be directly related to the ability of the participant to apply it to their own situation.

Warmly in Him,
David Cummings

What Happens If Nothing Changes In The Way We Lead?

Perhaps like me you go through a similar routine at the start of a new year. We start by admonishing ourselves for the mistakes of the past year - projects left undone, opportunites not seized. We grit our teeth and resolve to make changes in the way we do things in the coming year, only to find ourselves making the same resolutions: I've got to get organised, I'll set priorities this year, I promise to delegate more etc.

While they are worthy goals - the truth is we will more likely than not find ourselves at the same spot next year. But what would happen if we were to make a determined and real change in the way we lead our organisations? Better still - what will happen in our organisations this year if nothing changes in the way we lead?

Here are seven leadership resolutions you might consider that will make a real difference in your organisation in the coming year. Which ones will provide the biggest payoffs? Do all seven, and chances are you will have the most rewarding year of your leadership career!

1. Craft a big, bold, breath-taking story and tell it every day.
What is the most exciting, rewarding, and scariest future you can imagine? What great battles will be won, treasures found and people freed? Paint the story in full colour. What does the future look like? How are we going to get there? How is tomorrow going to be much better than today? People want to be part of an important story. Tell it to them and help them find their own starring role.

2. Multiply the strength of your leadership connections.
Consider for a moment the 8-10 individuals with whom you share management and leadership responsibilities. What would change if your relationships with those on the leadership team remained as is?
How much more effective would your leadership team become if you dramatically strengthened your personal connection with every one of these people? You have probably created a mutually acceptable status quo with these individuals so change will not be easy. Are there some difficult conversations that you need to have? Try this: honour their uniqueness; share more of yourself; learn about them; ask how you can serve them. Be careful, this is very potent.

3. Act with exceptional compassion and kindness.
You are not the only one feeling a bit beaten up these days. The members of your organisation are faced with many of the same challenges that you face…imperfect products and processes, unpredictable environments, insatiable customers, disappointing staff performance. Seek out ways to show your humanity every day. Treat everyone in the organisation with dignity and respect, especially those who are struggling. They will walk through walls for you, but do not do it for that reason. Do it because it is the right thing to do. We spend much of our waking lives inside organisations and you have the power to make these places where the human spirit can thrive or die. Use this power well.

4. Tell the absolute truth.
Stop spinning, sugar-coating and avoiding. You’ll be amazed at how many people start listening to you. How much more effective would your organisation be if the half-truths, positioning and face-saving were eradicated? The tough part is that you cannot make this happen by mandating it. You must go first. You must model it.

5. Hold everyone accountable.
Accountability is not tyranny. It is a very good thing. A caring leader insists that people do what they say they will do. When you hold people accountable, you are saying that their work is important. You are saying that they are important. Every time you let a deadline slip or a deliverable go incomplete, you are discounting the person whose job it is to deliver on these commitments. Make it a habit to ensure that every piece of work is accompanied by a personal commitment. Measure. Give feedback. Initiate consequences. Celebrate being part of an organisation that keeps its promises.

6. Confront underperformance.
You know in your heart-of-hearts who in your organisation is under-performing. Commit to seeing that this performance changes early this year. Now here’s the caveat. Before you take any action, ask yourself these questions – “What is my part in this situation? How have my actions or lack thereof contributed to this situation? What do I need to do differently?” Approach the individuals in question and describe your responsibilities and personal commitments to change. Then, and only then, it’s their turn.

7. Be distinctively you.
What would you get if you could put all of the leadership qualities of Bill Gates, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, George Washington, Jack Welch and Winston Churchill into one individual? Probably a bland, non-descript person indistinguishable in the crowd. These men and women made a difference because they had the courage to be themselves. Have you forgotten who you really are? What excites you these days? What are your passions? Where do you want to make your mark? When you are at your best, what are you doing? Maybe it’s time to figure out what is most important to you, tell everyone around you, and let this fuel your leadership.

Why not make this your best year ever as a leader. What will happen if nothing really changes?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Resources to Engage

Born out of a rich life experience in senior management, this company seeks to enable leaders to develop their own networking style and thus enrich their own careers. "How to build a lifelong community of colleagues, contacts, friends and mentors" is the sub-line of the title of "Never Eat Alone" the CEO's first book on networking.

An excellent example of a truly comprehensive equipping programme for those working overseas. One of the key area of focus is preparing senior managers in international companies for their posts overseas. A professional and highly relevant project.

Enriching and encouraging those who work in governments around the world, is indeed a high and noble vision. This is the desire of FOCIG which is a fellowship of Christians in government in the
Philippines. Serving the nation in the heart of the nation.

We have a Marketplace Faith: The Christian faith started outside the temple. Jesus grew up as a carpenter. When it was time for public
ministry he worked in the marketplace with fishermen and a tax collector. His parables were marketplace stories and his healings
happened often in marketplace situations. Why is the marketplace important as a place of ministry? Our work is important because that is where we earn our living, provide for our families and spend some 67% of our waking time Monday to Friday. It is also the place where we meet non-Christians the most.

by Global Nomad

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Resources to Engage

Links to help provide resources and to engage with others of similar mindset:

CABE: A initiative among Business Executives. Well worth exploring:

BE THINKING: This website keeps our minds alert and in-gear:

2SIGNIFICANCE: Businessmen with a flair for influencing others for the Kingdom:

ETHICAL LEADERS: The Don Soderquist Business Centre is well worth checking out:

By Global Nomad

4 Leadership Secrets Revealed

I was browsing through a bookshop the other day and found a couple of books including a recent edition of Fortune irresistible. I simply couldn’t walk away from a magazine and books that promised to share the secrets of leaders from companies such as GE and P&G. The articles were well written and interesting, but as I read, I was struck by the fact that I have seen these same ideas in dozens of books over the years.

The truth is that there are no secrets to leadership. We know what it takes to successfully lead organisations. It is however just simply put - tough, and we'd like to find an easier way to do it. Perhaps Ken Chenault of American Express has the answer.

Leading today's organisation is not for the faint-hearted, but the elements of what it takes to be successful at the craft are well-known.

1. Be the kind of person to whom others attribute the qualities of leadership. Words like authenticity, integrity, trust, and respect are often used, but it boils down to having the requisite personal stature, as measured by organisation members, to earn the right to lead. (Bonus points: create an organisation of stature.)

2. Determine where the organization is going and how it is going to get there. (Bonus points: create an organisation that can effectively respond to the inevitable changing winds and tides that will surely throw it off course.)

3. Craft innovative business models, systems, processes, and structures which unleash the natural talents and capabilities of people, while harnessing the inevitable chaos associated with organisation life. (Bonus points: create teams and organisations that re-design themselves as they encounter obstacles and opportunities.)

4. Build a purpose-driven community where all members get to contribute, learn and earn in a big way. (Bonus points: create the environment and processes that will supply an endless supply of leaders that are even better than you.)

Great leadership is not a secret; it's just hard work on four well-known fronts.

Give Us Trainers With Credibilty

The following is a quote from Bill Hybels book 'Courageous Leadership' page 132. It captures what we desire to see in trainers for the Leadership Matters Course.

"I usually hesitate when people ask me to participate in leadership development programs. 'How is it going to work? ' I ask. If they respond in the typical fashion: 'We are going to get Jo Shmo (with a Ph.D. in this or that) to teach on leadership' I tell them the same thing I tell everybody else. 'Most good leaders are not going to want to participate in that program because Jo Shmo is not a leader. He's a classroom teacher. He might even be a great teacher, but he never really led anything. True leaders want more than theory from teacher types. They want to be around other leaders who have actually been in the game, leaders with a few bloodstains on their uniforms. "

This powerfully illustrates the point of why we are intentional in recruiting key trainers for the Leadership Matters Course. We are looking for individuals who have a lot of experience. For each LMC, a team of three experienced leaders, who are good trainers, should be able to lead a successful course. They work together with others on their team who have a little less experience.

That's why we desperately need people with ample life and ministry experience to be the key trainers in each LMC. Our focus is to train leaders in pastoral and mission work. We need people who are leaders in their ministries; who have field experience. They have "a few bloodstains on their uniforms". We have often recognized this. In fact this has been an issue where some have disagreed with us. They say: 'Anyone can teach LMC, because it's about principles and the philosophy of training'. But we said 'No' to this, for the very reason that Bill Hybels so clearly points out to us.

The tendency may be to become somewhat lenient on this point, due to the pressure of our great need for trainers. At the moment, this is not so much an issue, since we have many who want to help out. A few years ago, we recognized that if experienced leaders, with this stature of giftedness and experience, have the desire to do training, they will prove to be the ones that can successfully carry several courses in a given year. We knew that if we worked almost entirely with people with less leadership experience, we would soon find out that the reputation and effectiveness of the LMC would suffer and eventually die a quiet death.

The ongoing involvement of David Cummings for example has been an enormous significance and has been widely appreciated.

In this sense we can't over estimate the value of people like David in the process of making the course as successful and popular as it is right now. We need people with much respect, a clear maturity, obvious skill, and with plenty of ministry background. We want to grow; we want to keep a good reputation and we want to gain admittance into more organizations.

As you read this you can pray that God will give us more of these experienced trainers. We also need them in the French and Spanish language world, as we are purposefully trying to get the course going in those languages. Depending on the level of an individual’s giftedness we can train people in the skills of being a good trainer. We can't train people, however, to have the credibility that comes from a rich life and ministry experience. Only God can bring about that growth. He also needs to call them to be involved in training other leaders. They need to see that with all their experience, the best investment they can make with their life and ministry is to pass on some of the lessons they have learned to others. That is investing in the future!

In Bill Hybel's words: The 'Jo Shmo's’ won't do it because leaders want to learn from leaders!' That is for the 'pillars' in the team.

by Joop Strietman