Get Your Mojo Back

The Big Mo. Momentum. Mojo. You've either got it or you don't. Most of the time you can't really see it, but you can definitely feel it. Hard to explain, but easy to identify the teams or organizations that have it on their side. In sports, momentum or lack of momentum is easy to spot. Minnesota Vikings- had it, now seemingly have lost it. LA Lakers- seems to have carried over from last year. Alabama- feeling it. Kentucky basketball- got it back.

But organizations and business teams also thrive on momentum. Many times it can be the difference between a good year and a great year.

So as we all prepare to start 2010, here are a few thoughts on how to get the Big MO back:

1. Fearlessly go after ONE big thing this year. Don't get lost trying to be all things to all people. One Big Idea. And be better at it than anyone else.

2. Keep your mission as a team crystal clear. It shouldn't change. But try sharing it with the team differently. Mix up how you communicate.

3. Shift. Even if it means moving where people sit in the office, or when meetings are "usually" held, or shaking up the typical dress code. Start fresh this year with a cultural change. It's amazing what small things like this can do to build momentum.

4. Build energy with small wins. Literally set daily goals, weekly goals, and monthly goals. Incentivize your team with small victories. Crossing the finish line and hitting a goal always is a good thing, even if it's just a small victory. Don't just rely on the one big year end goal that everyone seems to think is unreachable.

5. Celebrate early and often. Even if it's just a quick gathering in the hall to cheer for someone who hit a goal, this is incredibly important.

Year End Start Campaign

I posted a couple of weeks ago regarding the Year End Start Campaign currently happening to help Soul City Church. Jarrett and Jeanne Stevens put together a video to give us a quick update, and provide us a final challenge as we move into the New Year. Asking all of us to consider a $25 gift TODAY, on December 29.


Please consider giving a $25 gift today. Thanks!

The Most unproductive time of the year

This is it. We are here. The most unproductive week of the year. In between Christmas and New Years, pretty much nothing gets done. Some of us have to show up to work. But really, is there any point? Unless you're an airline pilot or run a retail store, most of us are just going through the motions this week. At least that's what we are supposed to think.

But maybe this is a week for you to find yourself being really productive, but in different ways than usual. How about reflecting, reading, resting, writing, and recharging this week. A change of pace. Mixing up your usual routine. Finding time to just stop and be quiet.

That may not be what we had planned, but it might be the most productive thing we can do.

Christmas Eve Links

MERRY CHRISTMAS! A few things worth checking out:

- Great post on Mashable regarding the top news trends predicted for 2010

- Seth reminds us of the difference between hiring and recruiting

- TrendsSpotting releases its 2010 predictions for social media trends. Definitely worth the read. And each point in 140 characters or less..... of course.

- Cool article on Fast Company regarding the graphic designer who changed the way music was marketed back in the 1930's.

- Wanting to track Santa this Christmas Eve? NORAD can help you here.

- I LOVE this video. Worth another watch. The power of the flash mob....


Passion Conference 2010

Are you a college student or college pastor or leader? If so, you should definitely be attending Passion 2010 coming up on January 2-5 in Atlanta. This is one of the most amazing gatherings I have ever experienced. 20,000 plus college students gathered. Featuring Louie Giglio, John Piper, Andy Stanley, Beth Moore, and powerful music from Chris Tomlin, Hillsong United, David Crowder Band, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, FEE, Charlie Hall, Matt Redman, and others.

There's still seats left, and again, if you are a college student, you should do everything possible to make sure you are there.

College Pastors/Leaders- bring your students!


You on the way up or the way down?

I'm a big fan of Jim Collins, and read everything he writes. In his latest book, How the Mighty Fall, Collins outlines the characteristics of organizations who are either on the rise or on the decline. Great reminders for all of us. Do any of these resonate with you, and remind you of your team?

On the Decline (the way down): 1. people shield those in power from sheer facts, 2. people assert strong opinions without providing relevant data, 3. the team leader has a very low questions to statement ratio, avoiding critical input, 4. team members agree to a decision but do not unify to make the decision successful, 5. team members seek as much credit as possible for themselves but do not enjoy the admiration of their peers, 6. team members argue to look smart or to improve their interests rather than trying to find the best solution, 7. the team conducts "autopsies with blame" seeking culprits rather than wisdom, 8. the team consistently fails to deliver exceptional results, and blame other people or outside factors for setbacks and failures.

On the Way Up (improving teams): 1. people eagerly bring forth unpleasant facts and leaders embrace the feedback, 2. people bring solid data and logic to any team discussion, 3. the team leader employs a Socratic style, asking way more questions than giving answers, 4. team members unify behind a decision once the decision has been made, even if they adamantly opposed the decision, 5. team members credit other people for success yet enjoy the admiration of his or her peers internally, 6. team members argue and debate fearlessly, not to improve their personal position, but to find the best answers to the issue. 7. the team conducts "autopsies without blame," finding wisdom from painful experiences, 8. team members consistently deliver exceptional results.

Again, where does your team currently reside, on the way up or the way down?

Some current leadership thoughts

Was on a conference call last night with a number of leaders part of Backstage Leadership. A few leadership thoughts from the call: - The Global Church is vibrant, colorful and alive. As a leader, you need to see it up close outside of the US to gain a proper perspective.

- When it comes to leaders I admire, the most common trait among them is courage. And a close runner-up is humility.

- Seasons of calling are just as important as life-long callings. And maybe more. Not everyone will necessarily have a true and specific life calling. You might have seasons of calling. That is okay.

- As a leader, you have to scale your vision appropriately. And especially those of us who are idea creators. We think every idea we have has a global reach. Not true.

- Choose one or two ideas and execute on them fearlessly. If you try to execute on all of your ideas, you'll probably not accomplish much. We each have to be focused on the execution of ideas, not just the creation of ideas.

- Every great organization has a few areas where they are incredibly picky and their standards are so high it becomes annoying. This is a good thing. Know the areas you are so passionate about that you are willing to be obnoxious and annoying on.

- Being remarkable and doing things with excellence is about being intentional. Being remarkable isn't about being big. Or about things that are expensive. It's about a mindset and a standard. It's not about lots of money and a huge staff. In fact, many times as you grow, you lose the intensity required to be remarkable.

A few things you need to know

- Seth Godin is doing a live presentation on January 15 in New York City to launch his new book Linchpin. You can get tickets here. And they are only $25 for a general seat. That's a STEAL. - The Catalyst West website is now LIVE. Check out the unusual design, the Speaker Lineup, and sign up to win a Free iPod Video NANO. Plus you can submit your website to be featured on the homepage of the Catalyst West site. The event is April 21-23 in Orange County, CA.

- You can still get 50% off of Catalyst gear and apparel on the Catalyst store. Limited supplies. Great deals.

- Our friends at charity: water had an incredible banquet/party on Monday night in New York City, and because of generous donations given that evening, have now given clean water to ONE MILLION people around the world in just three short years. Grateful and amazed at the incredible work by Scott Harrison and the entire charity: water team.

- Great article in the USA Today yesterday on multi-site churches and how they are impacting communities in a positive way.

Questions to ask for Reviewing 2009

I posted this last year, but wanted to go back to it as a very practical resource for the end of the year. It's important we take time as leaders to reflect and look back over the last 12 months, as well as looking forward to the next 12 months and beyond. Year End Review Questions:

1. What are the 2-3 themes that personally defined 2009 for me?

2. What people, books, accomplishments, or special moments created highlights in 2009?

3. Give yourself a grade from 1-10 in the following areas of focus for 2009: vocationally, spiritually, family, relationally, emotionally, financially, physically, recreationally.

4. What am i working on that is BIG?

5. As I move into 2010, is a majority of my energy being spent on things that drain me or things that energize me?

6. How am I preparing for 10 years from now? 20 years from now?

7. What 2-3 things have I been putting off that I need to execute on before the end of the year?

North Point releases latest LIVE album today

North Point is releasing their brand new LIVE worship album today- AWAKE. You can buy it here. You can also download a FREE song from the album- It is Well from Todd Fields right here. This is a GREAT album. Featuring Steve Fee, Todd Fields, Eddie Kirkland, Seth Condrey, Cori Moon and others.

Read an article from Andy Stanley on Why Music Matters.


What Matters Now, free e-book from Seth Godin and others

. Check this out. You can download What Matters Now, the free e-book here. What Matters Now features over 70 thought leaders giving insight on one-word specific topics.

The What Matters Now free e-book includes thoughts from Kevin Kelley, Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin, Bill Taylor, Tom Peters, Michael Hyatt, Chris Anderson, Guy Kawasaki, Arianna Huffington, Daniel Pink, Chip and Dan Heath, Tim Sanders, Anne Jackson, Dan Roam, Jason Fried, and many others.

Thanks to Seth for putting this together. A great resource for anyone. Download it, blog about it, tweet it up, and spread the word.

Interview with Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes

Had the chance to recently ask my good friend Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes, a few questions. Make sure to check out the Choose Shoes Christmas Video here.
  1. Talk about the Choose Shoes campaign going on right now leading up to ChristmasWe looked back at the year, which was a tough year for many, and realized how thankful we all were to be doing what we're doing, and maybe that telling people about the impact of shoes in a child's life might make them reconsider their gift choices this year.  Choosing shoes is a statement against the same old presents and demands our gifts work harder. It's about giving, then and giving again to brighten the holidays for others. We knew we wanted to translate that "Choose Shoes" message into a cool viral video and the ideas just started flowing.
  2. Looking back over the last year, what stands out for you in terms of impact and influence? Since the launch of the AT&T commercial earlier this year, we have noticed a heightened awareness of the One for One movement and attribute the opportunity with more people getting involved. Having a nationally run commercial has reached an incredibly diverse and extensive group of people, attracting countless new supporters of One for One. We will be forever grateful to AT&T for the opportunity!
  3. What are you excited about coming up in the near future? We have a lot of really cool stuff for 2010, including exciting new collections, a big giving effort in Ethiopia to help with the prevention of Podo, and a huge plan around One Day Without Shoes on April 8th.
  4. Fill us in on the award you received recently from the US State Department. I was just in DC earlier this week accepting the 2009 Award for Corporate Excellence (for small to medium enterprises) on behalf of TOMS. The award, established by the State Department in 1999, celebrates companies’ commitment to corporate social responsibility, innovation, exemplary practices, and democratic values worldwide. It was such a humbling and surreal experience (still is!). Receiving the award just gives us more reason to continue with our work and get more shoes on children's feet!
  5. How can our Catalyst community get more involved with TOMS? Share our Choose Shoes video; Buy TOMS Shoes and share the TOMS story; Go Barefoot on One Day Without Shoes on April 8th, 2010; Share the TOMS Documentary; Host a "Style Your Sole" party and invite your friends, family and community to customize their TOMS Shoes; Stay connected and share the One for One movement.

Sages and Mentors

Here's the top ten list of sages and wise mentors in my life. No particular order. Most of these men I don't know well, but they've had a huge impact on me. Whether their teaching, or writing, or leading, all of them have impacted me. Part of wanting to write them down was to help me realize all of the great leaders who have come before me, and really come before all of us.

Everyone on the list is over 60. That is part of the requirement.

1. My Dad

2. Chuck Swindoll

3. John Maxwell

4. Charles Stanley

5. Bob Foster, Sr.

6. Philip Yancey

7. John Wooden

8. Howard Hendricks

9. Truett Cathy

10. Chuck Colson

Interview with Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson

Check out the new episode of the Catalyst Podcast, featuring an interview with Jon Tyson and Darren Whitehead. Both originally from Australia, Darren is a teaching pastor at Willow Creek in Chicago, and Jon is lead pastor at Trinity Grace Church in downtown New York City.

Also in this episode we discuss some of the Holiday traditions of the Catalyst team.

You can stream live from here or download from itunes.

Soul City Church Needs You!

Skyline Logo I believe in Jarrett and Jeanne Stevens. I love their heart, passion for the Church, connection to reaching the city, and willingness to step out and launch something new. They've been at Willow Creek, North Point, and now launching something brand new.

Soul City Church. A brand new church community in downtown Chicago. I wholeheartedly believe in this Church community.

No, I'm not moving to Chicago to help out (Carlos is). But even though I won't be attending, I'll still be a part.

And my part right now is helping them launch.

And the best way I can help right now is to ask my friends and our community here to give.

As the year comes to an end, I want to ask you to help. You may not know Jarrett and Jeanne, or have a connection to the city of Chicago, but I believe so much in the impact that they are going to have on the city of Chicago and beyond that I am willing to make a big request of everyone.


Specifically, Soul City Church is looking to secure an inexpensive lease space where they can do a low budget renovation. This space would provide an inviting environment for weekend gatherings, as well as a creative space for anyone to use throughout the week. Your gift can help fund the makeover of this space so that Soul City Church can have a church home.

Let's all help Soul City Church START right. Give a one-time gift right now at YEAR END START.

Extreme Church Makeover: $50,000

It's the end of the year. But it's the START for Soul City Church.

I believe in Church Planters. I believe in Jarrett and Jeanne Stevens. Soul City Church is going to impact Chicago. Be a part right now.

New New Philanthropy

Leadership is Influence. That's what Maxwell says. And I believe that to be true. And influence can show up in a variety of ways. Influencing a team, a friend, a family, and sometimes a network.

In the past, when it came to influencing through giving, most of us kept that part of our lives to ourselves. Giving, and being charitable, was a private matter. But times have changed.

Today, a new style of giving and being charitable has emerged. Philanthropy has changed. A new form of influence for good through bloggers and twitterers, and the amazing social networks that have been created.

- Seth Godin just challenged his blog community last week to provide a small donation in exchange for receiving his new book a few weeks before it releases next year, and quickly raised over $100,000 in 48 hours for the Acumen Fund.

Jon Acuff just raised $60,000 to build two kindergarden schools in Vietnam through challenging his blog readers to give.

Alyssa Milano just raised $25,000 for clean water in 5 new communities through charity: water and the Mycharity project in conjunction with her 37th birthday. And Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, just recently raised $15,000 through Mycharity as well.

- The Causes function on Facebook is constantly being used to create giving opportunities for Facebook friend groups.

Philanthropy has changed. Changed for good. And for those of us who have social networks, let's consider how we are using our influence as well.

PUSH Yourself

As leaders, sometimes we become so focused on pushing others, that we forget to push ourselves. Being self-disciplined and willing to push yourself is a key attribute of successful leaders. And especially successful entrepreneurs.

Don't be like a wheelbarrow, that only goes as far as it is pushed. If you are relying on someone else around you or above you to push you to get things done or to grow as a leader, it's time to step up and push yourself.

Someone once said: "There are three kinds of people in this world. Those who MAKE things happen. Those who WATCH things happen. And those who say 'WHAT HAPPENED?"

Which kind of leader are you?