Beware of a Shortcut Leadership strategy

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I admit, I get a bit impatient at times….. Okay, maybe that is a slight exaggeration…..I get very impatient at times!

Lately, I’ve noticed a ton of impatience in my driving. Now it’s not road rage (not yet!), but getting close. It’s not just that slow drivers get in the left lane, but more that I seem to think I now know every shortcut in the greater metro Atlanta area. So my solution for impatience on the roads is that I get frustrated and try to find shortcuts or alternate routes to get somewhere. Only to find that these shortcuts end up taking longer and actually don’t get me to my destination at all.

We’re all like this at certain times in life. We look for shortcuts, for alternate routes, for the easy road, the road less traveled but quicker to the destination. Or so we think.

So here are a few thoughts on Shortcuts that hopefully are helpful.

1. Shortcuts aren’t bad. Most shortcuts are valuable and helpful. But beware of constantly looking for them.

2. Little (or at least less) strategy goes into shortcuts. as so many times shortcuts haven’t been planned out, and actually lead you to a different destination, or worse off, just get you lost and late to your final destination.

3. Being impatient is not a good thing. Patience is a virtue. Shortcuts are usually due to impatience and frustration, vs. relying on a system that has proved worthwhile over time.

4. There’s value in the journey. the longer route may be better for you in the end. You’ll see or hear or learn things that you wouldn’t have otherwise. And maybe see more scenery, and find that it’s intentional and on purpose.

5. The quality may suffer. In organizational life, shortcuts may end up leading to a lack of excellence.

6. Short term gain vs long term rewards. Shortcuts are usually tied to short term gain. Again, not bad, but long term perspective and long term goals are what vision and legacy are built on.

7. Staying in your lane. Be committed to the lane and current assignment you have. Switching lanes and switching roads and switching routes leads to anxiety and lack of contentment. Be diligent and faithful to the road you’re on.

So next time you think you see a shortcut, and you’re convinced it’s the better road to take, beware.

10 Keys for a Great Team

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What actually makes a great team? We’ve all been on teams, whether in school, in athletics, in our churches, organizations, and communities. We’ve watched great teams win championships, we’ve marveled at their ability to create amazing resources, new technology, and jaw-dropping experiences.

There are lots of qualities that make up a great team, but thought I would point out ten that seem to be consistently evident across the board.

1. Humble yet confident leader- Humility and authenticity starts at the top. Confidence and courage starts at the top. Everyone wants to assume that team culture is created bottom up, but at the end of the day, great teams look to a confident leader.

2. Skilled linchpin (s)- Most of the time this is the quarterback for a football team. Or the point guard for a basketball team. Or the project manager on a new technology being released. Or the producer releasing a new movie. Peyton Manning, Magic Johnson, John Lasseter at Pixar. Every great team has to have at least one linchpin who is crucial to the success of the team. Most great teams have several.

3. Clear Vision and Clear Goal- think about it. Pretty much every sports team we’ve ever played on had a clear goal- win the game, win the division, win the championship. Great teams have vision that inspires and goals that are attainable.

4. A cause greater than themselves- We all desire to be part of something way bigger than us. For the New Orleans Saints, they played several years ago for the city of New Orleans during the aftermath of a hurricane. The 1980 USA Hockey team played in the Olympics for an entire nation.

5. Constantly getting better- great teams continue to improve on a daily basis. Great teams don’t allow for mediocrity to set in. They push themselves on a daily basis, and that accountability is held by the team, not necessarily just by the leader.

6. Get it done oriented- all about action. Great teams don’t just talk about it. They make it happen. They are relentless in pushing projects across the finish line.

7. Willing to fight- Great teams fight consistently. About ideas. About direction. About strategy. And the best ideas win. Trust is crucial. And everyone on the team trusts each other enough to fight for their ideas, and argue, and debate. And leave it at that. Great teams are competitive, but equally collaborative.

8. A standard of excellence always- great teams set amazingly high standards and goals. And they aren’t wiling to settle for second best. They never coast. And are always great at the little things, which makes them great at the big things.

9. Nimble yet mature- regardless of how big or complex teams get, they always stay nimble enough to make decisions quickly and change directions on a moments notice if needed.

10. Actually like each other- team chemistry is incredibly crucial. They want to serve each other. They believe in each other. There is a cohesive spirit and a sense of unity that others take notice of immediately.

What else would you say makes a great team?

Top 50 Leadership Books to Read

I love leadership. And I read a lot. So I wanted to provide you with a list of some of the best leadership books I recommend.

These are not the only leadership books you should read. There are hundreds of others that are great. But these are just simply 50 of my favorite leadership books.

So here you go. And please share this leadership list with your friends, team, and other leaders who might benefit.

50 leadership books I recommend you read:

1. Good to Great- Jim Collins

2. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership- John Maxwell

3. Courageous Leadership- Bill Hybels

4. The Next Generation Leader- Andy Stanley

5. The Catalyst Leader- Brad Lomenick (***obvious bias on this one!!!)

6. Love is the Killer App- Tim Sanders

7. The Tipping Point- Malcolm Gladwell

8. Tribes- Seth Godin

9. It: How Churches and Leaders can Get it and Keep it- Craig Groeschel

10. Integrity- Henry Cloud

11. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership- Henri Nouwen

12. Axiom- Bill Hybels

13. EntreLeadership- Dave Ramsey

14. Five Dysfunctions of a Team- Patrick Lencioni

15. Visioneering- Andy Stanley

16. Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us- Daniel Pink

17. Creativity, Inc- Ed Catmull

18. Linchpin- Seth Godin

19. How to Win Friends and Influence People- Dale Carnegie

20. Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization- John Wooden

21. Start with Why- Simon Sinek

22. The Leadership Challenge- Barry Posner and Jim Kouzes

23. Leading with the Heart- Coach Mike Krzyzewski

24. unChristian- Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman

25. True North- Bill George

26. Undaunted- Christine Caine

27. Execution- Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy

28. Daring Greatly- Brene Brown

29. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People- Stephen Covey

30. The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork- John Maxwell

31. What the CEO Wants You to Know- Ram Charan

32. Rework- Jason Fried and David Hansson

33. The Experience Economy- Joseph Pine and James Gilmore

34. Made to Stick- Chip and Dan Heath

35. Blink- Malcolm Gladwell

36. Making Ideas Happen- Scott Belsky

37. The Effective Executive- Peter Drucker

38. Emotional Intelligence- Daniel Goleman

39. On Becoming a Leader- Warren Bennis

40. Leading Change- John Kotter

41. Now, Discover Your Strengths- Marcus Buckingham

42. Leaders Eat Last- Simon Sinek

43. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook- Gary Vaynerchuk

44. The Advantage- Patrick Lencioni

45. Leadership is an Art- Max Dupree

46. In Search of Excellence- Tom Peters

47. Start- Jon Acuff

48. Built to Last- Jim Collins

49. The Power of Habit- Charles Duhigg

50. Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands- Nancy Ortberg

bonus:

51. Silos, Politics and Turf Wars- Patrick Lencioni

52. Boundaries- Henry Cloud

53. In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day- Mark Batterson

54. The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership- John Wooden

55. The Spark- John Bacon and Lyn Heward

56. The Starfish and the Spider- Ori Brafman

57. The Fred Factor- Mark Sanborn

58. Onward- Howard Schultz

 

What would you add?

Young Influencers List, February Edition

Here you go, the February edition of the Young Influencers List. You can see all the past month’s lists here.

1. Shane Farmer- senior pastor of Cherry Hills Community Church in Denver.

2. Pete Holmes- NYC based comedian, actor, writer, producer, host of the Pete Holmes Show, and popular podcaster.

3. Peace Ike- Pittsburgh based Nigerian-American songwriter, percussionist, artist, and performer. Listen to her new EP Walk Worthy.

4. Jesse Carey- contributing editor to Relevant Magazine and a mainstay on the Relevant Podcast, along with recently completing the uber popular Nickelback Challenge, raising over $33,000 for charity: water.

5. Kristi Griem- blogger, justice advocate, COO of Work of Worth, and formerly president of FreeSet.

6. Matt Wertz- Nashville based singer, songwriter, funny guy, and creative.

7. Benjamin Watson- NFL tight end for the New Orleans Saints, popular speaker, and voted one of CNN’s most Extraordinary People in 2014.

12 Keys for Attracting Young Leaders to Your Team

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Let’s face it- young leaders are the future of your organization. Whether you like it or not, they will soon take over and be running the show. Your show. My show. If you aren’t attracting young talent, then the days are numbered for your influence and the legacy of your organization.

So why are there certain organizations and certain leaders who always seem to attract younger leaders to their team? Whether a pastor, entrepreneur, CEO or non-profit Executive Director, there are certain leaders, certain teams and certain organizations that EVERY young and ambitious leader wants to be a part of.

What is it about THIS leader and the organization they lead that attracts young leaders? Such a draw that young guns are willing to jump on board with them and storm the castle. Regardless of pay, structure, environment, city, setting, or future opportunities, young leaders want to be around these types of leaders and be a part of what they are doing.

You want young leaders on your team? Here are a few KEYS I think young leaders are drawn to:

1. Humility, combined with incredible passion and skill. Realizing it’s not about you. Jim Collins writes about this as the key characteristic of a level 5 leader.

2. Unwavering commitment to reaching their desired audience and accomplishing the mission. Know the hill they are climbing and willing to fight to get to the top.

3. The IT factor- hard to explain, but easy to spot. Young leaders can sense it and want to be tied to leaders with IT.

4. Collaboration and not competition. A leader who celebrates others’ victories along with their own.

5. Willing to give over responsibility and authority, vs. a “wait your turn” mentality. This kind of perspective and organizational culture will allow young leaders to lead – given they are qualified and can handle it.

6. Authenticity. They keep it real. Young leaders clamor towards authentic and honest leaders.

7. Open to change. This is a big deal. If you as a leader are not open to change, no one worth their salt will probably be willing to follow you, especially younger leaders. (thanks to Shinabarger on this one)

8. Can have at least a little fun. Like attracts like. It’s a reality= regardless of age, demographic, and style. The next generation wants a family environment that is fun and experiential.

9. Confident risk taking. Passionately create a culture that takes risks, allows for failure, and thinks outside the box.

10. BIG vision. Young leaders want to change the world, and want to follow leaders who think BIG and dream big.

11. Hustle and Hungry. The next generation expects you to be beside them in the trenches, not in the corner office sipping on Spritzers. Hustle and hungry, not arrogant and entitled. Besides your team, not out in front of them.

12. BEST at what they do. Regardless of industry or profession or organization, young leaders want to be part of a culture and organization built on excellence with a desire to be great. This is why Google and Facebook and Apple have hundreds of thousands of college graduates clamoring for a chance to be on the team.

What else would you add to the list of those leaders who are drawing young leaders to be part of their teams?

Are you a follower or a fan?

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Follower vs. Fan. Is there a difference?

1. Followers are committed. Fans can be fickle.

2. Followers trust their leader. Fans trust in their leader only when it benefits them.

3. Followers want a vision. Fans want a show.

4. Followers ask “what have i done for you lately?” Fans ask “what have you done for me lately?”

5. Followers are in for the long term. Fans are in for the short term.

6. Followers have an intrinsic connection; it’s not about wearing a t-shirt. Fans have an extrinsic connection; it’s ALL about wearing a t-shirt.

7. Followers don’t care who gets the credit. Fans draw attention to themselves.

8. Followers want connection and community. Fans want an autograph and a selfie.

9. Followers believe that what they are part of is truly making a difference. Fans believe that what they are part of is simply making a memory.

Are you a follower or a fan?