Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel together

3 OPPORTUNITIES to hear Andy and Craig this fall! Plus Rick Warren and Bill Hybels. 1. HOUSTON- Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel will be in Houston next Thursday, August 25, 2011, at The MET Church, for our Catalyst One Day Houston event. You don't want to miss this full day of leadership training around "Creating a Healthy Organizational Culture."

A few seats are still left for Houston so register now.

2. ORANGE COUNTY, CA- If you live in the Southern California area, Catalyst One Day will be in Orange County at Saddleback Church on Thursday, October 27.

Rick Warren will be joining Andy and Craig. Register by this Thursday, August 18, to get the lowest tickets rates available.

3. CHICAGO- And on Thursday, November 17, Catalyst One Day will be in Chicago at Willow Creek Community Church.

Bill Hybels will be joining Andy and Craig. Make plans now to attend! You can register here.


Are you suffering from Sideways Energy?

I posted about SIDEWAYS ENERGY over a year ago, but I wanted to bring this topic back up. Are you busy but not intentional? Do you feel like you are just spinning your wheels and not getting any traction? Does there seem to be a lack of any kind of momentum in your organization? Could be you are dealing with way too much “sideways energy.” There is good energy and bad energy- and bad energy usually shows up as sideways… not because it is necessarily bad, but because it is usually a distraction.

So what is Sideways Energy?

- Sideways energy is showing up to work but spending two hours talking about what you should have done an hour and a half ago.

- Sideways energy is gossiping about your boss or co-workers.

- Sideways energy is procrastinating.

- Sideways energy is the same meeting eight times in a row regarding the same idea that still has yet to be implemented.

- Sideways energy is having three sales to close and not calling them back because you are asked to help clean up the office for the Christmas party .

- Sideways energy is a staff handbook that collects dust but took hours to create.

- Sideways energy is an organizational system that takes 4 weeks to move a sale through the process because there is too much bureaucracy.

- Paper shuffling is sideways energy.

- Dealing with the same problem multiple times is sideways energy.

- Too many cc’ed emails is sideways energy.

- Creating new policies for the company that everyone knows will never be implemented is sideways energy.

- Micromanaging is sideways energy. Lack of trust is sideways energy.

- Brown-nosing is sideways energy. Office politics is sideways energy.

And many times, the reason sideways energy becomes such a regular happening is because there is pressure coming from all sides with an organization- the very top, your boss, and those who you are leading. And the side seems to be the only place to find some relief and maybe focus on something, even if it is not the right thing to be focused on at the time. And growth can cause pressure that facilitates MORE sideways energy. Ultimately, this all leads to a lack of focus, which causes pressure because you choose not to deal with reality and instead want to focus on things that ultimately don’t matter.

How to combat sideways energy? First, realize it exists and will paralyze an organization. Second, identity it and deal with it. Third, measure your productivity and create a system that will help you determine how much sideways energy you are creating, both for yourself as well as for your team. And finally, be clear on your goals and what the right kind of energy looks like for your team- if you model the right kind of energy, your team will follow in the same direction.

Young Influencers List, August edition

Here you go, the August edition of the Young Influencers List. You can see all the past editions here. 1. Brad Jones- works with Passion Conferences, Navigator for Louie, as well as helps lead student ministry at Passion City Church.

2. Kalyn Hemphill- model, singer, actress, and winner of season six of the TV hit Project Runway.

3. Joseph Barkley- pastor of Ecclesia Hollywood in LA.

4. Casey Darnell- worship leader with North Point Music and recently released an album entitled Coming Alive.

5. Anthony Robles- NCAA Wrestling National Champion at 125 pds. And he has one leg! Amazing story.

6. Erin Levin- Community and Social Media Manager, Better World Books.

Have a suggestion for future Young Influencer Lists? Leave a name in the comments below.

A few links of interest

- Latest Catalyst Podcast features interviews with Lecrae, hip hop artist and founder of Reach Records, along with Michael and Lisa Gungor from the Grammy nominated band Gungor. Listen here or better yet, subscribe for FREE via itunes. - Check out the Present: Hope Bike Tour that will be happening during the two weeks leading up to Catalyst in Atlanta. Created to raise money for tornado victims in Joplin, MO and Tuscaloosa, AL. We want to demonstrate "being present" in communities by showing up and bringing funds and awareness to those who are still suffering now several months removed from the devastating storms. You can give or be part of the ride. The BIKE ride will culminate at Catalyst in Atlanta. PLEASE GET INVOLVED!

- Still time to register for the Catalyst One Day event in Houston, TX on Thursday, August 25 featuring Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel. Hope to see you there!

- Great new music service called Rdio, you can stream anywhere and listen to your friends playlist from your computer, your phone, or iPad.

- My great friends Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson just released their brand new book Rumors of God. You can read the first 2 chapters for free here.

- If you haven't purchased Matt Redman's latest CD, 10,000 Reasons, then do yourself a favor and go buy it right now. Powerful.

- Two great articles to check out on the Catalyst website: Bob Goff writes about Secretly Incredible Leadership, and Priscilla Shirer shares about the Heart of the Matter.

- Check out the world's largest stop motion animation video ever, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. This is amazing:



10 Characteristics of Great Teams

I recently talked about A Few Keys for Being a Great Teammate. Focusing on how you should approach being on a team. But what about actually the team itself? 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 leader.

2. Skilled linchpin- 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 Saints, they played 2 years ago for the city of New Orleans. 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?

A "Used to" Leader

Don't be a "used to" leader. Heard a great sermon from Kevin Myers at 12 Stone Church this past Sunday on the idea of Gumption.

Kevin defined Gumption as "the character to commit and complete." And ultimately, that being consistent is the key to completing what you've committed to.

The opposite of Gumption is inconsistency, and being a "used to" leader.

A "used to" leader is someone who lives in the past, and has drifted away from commitments you once made.

"Used to" Leaders are always talking about how.....

I "used to" workout.

I "used to" have a regular prayer time.

I "used to" be a hard worker.

I "used to" date my wife/husband on a regular basis.

I "used to" be a learner and read consistently.

I "used to" read the Scriptures daily.

I "used to" have fun with my kids.

I want to be a "I am" leader. Making it happen today. Focused on today. Being present.

Turn the rocks over

When's the last time you "turned the rocks over" regarding your leadership? How about your organization? Your church? Your ministry? Your family? Your team? Turning the rocks over means you're willing to confront all the nastiness that might be collecting on the bottom, that is hidden from plain view. The "other" side of the rocks is many times where the dirt, grime, bugs, and creepy things exist. We are aware of them, yet at our core don't really want to acknowledge them, and definitely don't want to deal with them.

This might mean a person on your team needs to be let go, or you need to have a really hard conversation with someone, or you've fallen into a pattern that is now a habit and is tearing you apart. It might mean that you have to move yourself out of a role, or out of leadership all together. It could be a culture issue with your organization that everyone is talking about behind closed doors but no one is willing to bring up in your staff meeting. It could be gossip that is running rampant on your team, a dispute between two team members that hasn't been resolved, a decision that wasn't handled correctly, or just simply a systems problem that has become standard operating procedure yet makes no sense at all.

Whatever the issue is "under the rock," you need to deal with it.

As a leader, it's your responsibility to challenge the status quo, and look for areas in your organization, on your team, in your family, and in your own life that need to be turned over, exposed, and dealt with.

Ultimately, it's about being proactive instead of reactive, about being intentional and aggressive in confronting reality and the brutal facts that no one wants to discuss.

So this next week, be willing to turn a couple of rocks over, see what's growing underneath, and then take action in cleaning up and getting rid of the nastiness that exists.

Where Have all the Interns Gone?

You can't be president until you are 35. You can't run a company until you are 40. You can't be a Senior Pastor of a large church until you are at least 45.... You may have talent, but you have to wait your turn.... You have to earn the right to lead.Agree or disagree?

Like it or not, it's a whole new reality when it comes to who is leading who. The entire landscape of leadership has changed in the last 15 years, and continues to do so at a fast pace. The X generation is quickly being replaced by the Y generation as the growing force within the Church and our culture. And the P Generation (producer) is right on their heels. They WILL NOT wait to make a difference. They've grown up with the understanding that I can make a difference now- just write a blog, send a facebook message, create an online community, and boom- you have an audience and a tribe. So it's time you wake up and face the realities of the next generation of leaders. Hierarchy is out; flat organizational structure is in. Wait your turn is out; make a difference NOW is in. Larger than life personalities are out; collaboration is in.

All those young college graduates and 20 somethings that used to show up at your doorstep begging for a chance to be an intern on your staff are harder to find these days. But they haven't just vanished, and there is not a tremendous derth of new fresh leaders rising up ready to lead. All the young talent is still out there, but just not necessarily showing up at your doorstep, waiting in line to be the next version of you. Where have they all gone?

The simple answer- somewhere where they can make a difference and LEAD now.

Take for instance Teach For America, a non-profit organization started by Wendy Kopp that places recent college graduates as teachers into poor performing schools across America, many of them inner-city schools. These are not your bottom of the barrel graduates from Nowhere State U. These are Harvard, Princeton, and MIT grads. And they are lining up in droves to go and make a difference in the lives of at-risk students, all for less money, less fame, but greater impact.

You also might have noticed an unbelievable amount of new Church Plants happening. Most of these current Planters are 20 somethings. Many are leaving well-established and large megachurches to go and start something new. Why? Because the Y generation is not willing to wait. They want to make an impact now, and this entrepreneurial trend will continue to grow.

So what to do? Well, the first step is to understand the reality of the next generation of leaders. You have them on your staff, and if you don't know it yet, they are probably considering planting their own church or going somewhere else where they can lead NOW. If you want to keep them, give them space to run, and allow them to create and innovate within the system you've created. Second, it might be time for some aggressive recruiting. Be as passionate about finding the right talent as you are about reaching your community.

Interns, young leaders, and talent is all around us. It's just not showing up on our doorsteps anymore.

How's your relational equity?

How's your relational equity portfolio? Relational equity is crucial in today's culture. Whether in business, in the Church, in non-profits, or as an entrepreneur, your level of influence many times depends on how much relational capital you have.

A few thoughts on building relational equity:

1. Relational equity is the currency (capital) you have with those around you in your sphere of influence that allow you to make things happen through and with other people. It's all about others, and not about yourself.

2. Your relational equity is directly connected to how much "goodwill" and relational assets you've built up with others.

3. Relational equity and assets are not traded like stocks or bonds or financial assets, with the only goal of being how much you can get back in return for what you've invested. Relational equity is best built by investing in others with nothing expected in return. Period.

4. The more influence you gain, the more relational equity you will need to get things done. You must make sure you are gaining relational equity as fast or faster than you are gaining influence and the opportunity to impact.

5. The higher you go in any organization, the more relational equity you need with your peers, customers, vendors, partners, board members, etc.

6. The more intense or complicated a business deal or transaction, the more relational equity is needed to make sure it actually works and makes it to the finish line.

Nose out over the tips

I'm a snow skier. I love to ski. In Colorado. Especially the moguls.

And I remember the first time I faced the challenge of a mogul run on a black diamond. Steep and overwhelming. It was tough for me to get started down the mountain.

While gazing over the side from the top of the run, my friends advice was this: "Point your skiis down the hill, keep your nose over your tips, and focus on the moguls you are hitting next, not the moguls you are hitting now."

Great advice for skiing the steep stuff, but also good advice for life. And for leaders.

I love the idea of a "nose over your tips" posture as a leader. Someone who is positioned to own the mountain, conquer the mountain, and not just make it down the mountain. NOT someone who is leaning back, coasting, playing it safe, snow plowing your way back and forth across the mountain, afraid to keep your tips pointed down and an aggressive posture of dominating the hill.

Being a leader who lives out and demonstrates courage requires you to push beyond the norm, and be willing to take risks that might seem out of context or not normal. Keeping your nose over the tips and maintaining a posture that embraces risk and courage and the willingness to continue to push yourself.

Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel in Houston

You don't want to miss the Catalyst One Day event in Houston at the MET Church on Thursday, August 25.

Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel will be sharing from 9 am - 5 pm on the Keys to Creating a Healthy Organizational Culture, including a couple of times of Q and A and worship led by North Point Music.

Make sure and REGISTER TODAY (Thursday, July 21st) to get the best registration rates possible. You can still get tickets for as low as $89 to this practical and strategic day of leadership training. To get the $89 rate, use rate code FOB when registering online.

If interested in bringing a large group of your team/staff of 20 or more, give Stan Johnson a call at 888.334.6569 and he'll get you set up with a great discount.

And for those from the West Coast and the Chicago area, the Catalyst One Day tour continues later this fall in Orange County, CA at Saddleback Church on October 27 and in Chicago at Willow Creek Community Church on November 17.

Are you all in?

Are you a leader who is "ALL IN?" I want leaders on my team who are "all in." Coaches want players who are "all in" on their teams. Every organization out there wants employees and team members who are "all in."

Being ALL IN as a leader means:

1. You don't look at the clock, and you're not punching a time card. Your role is not defined by 9 - 5.

2. You get it done no matter how long it takes. You are "managerless," meaning no one else has to worry about whether you are getting it done.

3. You realize you are part of something bigger than yourself, and humbly accomplish the goals because of a larger motivation than just you.

4. Giving just the "minimum" amount of effort required to get by without "getting in trouble" doesn't even cross your mind.

5. Your hard work and excellence is done with pure motives. You are not worried about climbing the ladder or impressing anyone.

6. We is much more important than me. If I win, the team wins. If the team wins, I win.

7. You are willing and motivated to improve daily. Getting better at what you do is not a choice, it's a requirement.

8. You maintain a high standard of excellence because the team/organization/brand demands it. You don't want to let anyone else down on the team.

9. The vision compels you to greatness. Not the opposite- "your greatness compelling the vision." Many leaders get this backwards.

10. Your intentions and goals are clear. I know what I'm getting, and I'm never concerned about any alterior motives.

What else would you say are characteristics of an "all in" team player and leader?

What do you stink at?

We are all gifted in certain areas. Our areas of strength. Things we are good at. That we excel in. That bring us joy when working on. How about the things you stink at? That drain you. Your areas of weakness. That take you hours and hours to work on. That you dread at all costs.

Have you figured out What you stink at? Better yet, have you figured out what to do once you've figured out what you stink at?

My suggestion is that once you know your areas of weakness, and things you aren't good at, then start to fill in around those. Hire people or outsource to those who have strengths in your areas of weakness. Assign others on your team responsibility for the areas you don't excel in.

Many of us think that we should spend time working to improve our areas of weakness. Not true. As Maxwell says, if you are a 3 or 4 out of 10 in an area, the best you'll ever be is probably a 5 or 6. However, if you are a 7 or 8 out of 10, then you can be a 9 or 10 with more work and dedication.

Focus on the areas where you are a 7 or higher, not the areas where you are 5 or lower.

Don't try and become great at what you are not good at. Focus on your strengths and hire others to be great in areas you aren't.

10 Blogs I Read Every Day

1. Michael Hyatt 2. Seth Godin

3. Mashable

4. Fast Company

5. Perry Noble

6. TechCrunch

7. Pete Wilson

8. TED

9. Catalyst

10. Swerve

THESE ARE NOT THE ONLY BLOGS I READ EVERY DAY. I read way more than 10 a day, but only including these 10 this time. Just to clarify.

Also, wanted to mention a couple of blogs I would love to read every day but unfortunately they don't currently exist:

- Andy Stanley blog.... come on Andy!!! It's time!

- Bill Hybels blog.... come on Bill!!!

- Tim Keller blog....

- Jim Collins blog.... yes, please.

Young Influencers List, July Edition

Here you go, the July edition of the Young Influencers List. You can see all the past lists here. 1. Jumaine Jones- pastor of the The Bridge in Silver Springs, MD.

2. Sean Curran- front man and lead vocalist for the band Bellarive out of Orlando.

3. Tara Makarechi- project manager at Brand Apart, and business development for the Beck Group. Plus a host of other things.

4. Prashan De Visser- President and Founder, Sri Lanka Unites, which is committed to reconciliation and youth empowerment in Sri Lanka.

5. Sanga Samways- great communicator, funny host, youth pastor at Hillsong Church in Australia, and director of Youth Alive NSW.

6. Johnnie Moore- Campus pastor and Vice President of Liberty University. Author of new book Honestly.

7. Brandi Wilson- blogger, mother, wife and leader at Cross Point in Nashville, along with Leading and Loving It.

Be a Finisher

I love people who get things done. Who execute. Who make it happen. Who finish. Of all the traits of people on my team and of people I work with, for, alongside and in partnership with, the "finisher" trait always is one of the top at the list. When it comes to hiring new employees, I want a finisher. It is the #1 trait related to work ethic that I look for in a new hire.

In today's "free agent" culture, almost anyone can be an "idea guy." There is no lack of new ideas, new concepts, a new pithy word, a new organization, a new startup idea, or a new perspective. Ideas are a dime a dozen. And I get pitched constantly on a brand new concept or startup or idea that I know will never make it to the finish line because the person pitching me is not someone who can get it done.

Great teams move ideas from concept to completion. And to do that, you have to have finishers on your team. The folks who are intrinsically wired to make things happen, and bulldog their way to the finish line. The team members who find  joy in checking things off the list. But not just a task machine. Finishing is not just about completing tasks. What matters is whether you can carry the ball all the way down the field and cross the finish line, running over the goal line into the end zone.

How many projects are sitting in "idle" mode for you right now? Are you still "working" on that same idea from a couple of years ago?

Take a moment and think about who that is on your team. If you don't have someone in this role, go find them immediately. This is incredibly important if you are the leader- you have to have someone on your team in whom you have ultimate confidence that if you hand them a project, they will get it done... and without your constant management of them. The answer can't constantly be "we're still working on it....". That is an excuse for either being lazy or unfocused or in the wrong role.

For our team here at Catalyst, it is imperative that everyone ultimately plays the finisher role. Now some have to more than others, but no one can only be the "idea" guy. Everyone is required to execute and own projects from start to finish. It's a non-negotiable, and deep seated part of our culture. We take incredible pride in being able to take a concept and turn it into a finished project. This is a distinctive part of our culture and DNA here. We're serious about it.

10 Books worth a Read

Here are 10 books you should definitely put on your reading list for the summer: 1. Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me, by Ian Cron

2. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

3. Weird, by Craig Groeschel

4. Poke the Box, by Seth Godin

5. Quitter, by Jon Acuff

6. Erasing Hell, by Francis Chan

7. Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, a compilation

8. Through My Eyes, by Tim Tebow

9. Danger Calling: True Adventures of Risk and Faith, by Peb Jackson

10. The Pastor: A Memoir, by Eugene Peterson

Do you need a little credibility?

Credibility- worthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy. Everyone wants to ultimately be incredible, but just as important on your list of t0-do's should be becoming credible.

Credibility is something we should all strive for. But gaining credibility- whether with your peers in the office, new clients, a mentor, your boss, leaders in your community, or just people you look up to- takes time and intentionality.

So here are a few thoughts from my perspective on gaining credibility:

1. Be Self Aware- first, you have to have an accurate understanding of who you are and where you are in life. A very clear and realistic picture of your self identity and current reality. If you are 24, you have to understand that life experiences and job experience probably aren't something you can hang your hat on when it comes to being credible.

2. Listen, Listen, Listen. Ask great questions of those around you, and then LISTEN to the answer. Don't talk until you have something to say. But learn to ask great questions and learn from them. This is especially true in a team environment or with someone you look up to.

3. Experience creates expertise- this is obvious, but sometimes we forget. Credibility comes with action- doing, not just thinking or talking. Jump in and get involved. Do something. A little dirt on your hands and sweat on your brow goes a long ways.

4. A platform takes time- it's just a reality. Most of us aren't patient enough to spend adequate TIME at DOING something until we gain a platform or credibility. We usually lose interest, get bored, or just simply move on to something else. The key- stick with it. Gladwell says it takes at least 10,000 hours.

5. Connect with leading organizations, networks and individuals- connect with companies, teams or individuals who are highly respected, and you'll gain respect. But the key on this- connect with them and ask how you can HELP them, not how you can gain from them.

6. Hungry 2nd, not arrogant 1st. Act like you don't belong. No one enjoys being around someone who thinks they deserve way more credibility than they really do. Stay hungry and motivated, with an attitude and posture like you really don't belong in the conversation.

7. Deliver. Do what you said you would do. Follow through. No matter how significant or insignificant the task or assignment, get it done. He who is faithful with little will be faithful with much. Credibility is built over time because of hundreds and hundreds of small assignments done well.