An update on me, and why this Catalyst theme of KNOWN is so personal

I am pumped about this theme of “KNOWN” we just concluded at Catalyst in Atlanta last week. And we’ll be carrying this theme of KNOWN through the spring of 2014 with Catalyst West and Catalyst Dallas. If you weren’t at the event, you can still plug in to post event stuff here.

What do we mean by Known? Well, the simple idea is that to lead well, you have to wrestle with 3 key areas of your leadership- Identity, Calling, and Legacy. 

Identity is focusing on who you are, Calling is focusing on what you do, and Legacy is focusing on what you will be known for. 

Your identity starts with the understanding that you are radically loved by Jesus. That the God who KNOWS all truly KNOWS me. Being truly KNOWN means being truly loved by Jesus. Period. Such an unbelievable but radically incredible concept.

And getting to the heart of being known means you understand as a leader that Being comes before Doing. What we do is always determined by who we are. Your significance and security is founded solely on the idea that your identity is found in Jesus. And ultimately, I can truly Know myself, because I am truly Known by God. Remember: Who you are determines what you Do. We need Leaders who are leading from who they are.

Over the last 14 years, every Catalyst theme we’ve ever had has been personal. Mainly because these themes always flow out of felt needs for our team. They are personal to us. Every time. And this year is no exception. It’s personal to me.

This theme of KNOWN is rocking my world. So much that I’m intentionally stopping. Taking a timeout.

Stopping at this point in my life to intentionally answer these questions:

1. Who am I? Really? Truly?

2. What has God called me to do for this season of vocational life, and even into the next season?

3. What do I want to be KNOWN for?

For the last 12 years, my own personal identity and calling has been wrapped up in being “the Catalyst guy,” which is amazing and has always been a huge honor. But again, I think it’s imperative for leaders, and I mean every leader, to stop. Take a pause. Evaluate. Rest. Recover. Refresh your mind, heart and soul. And reimagine.

So what does that mean for me? Well, I’m taking a 3 month sabbatical starting this week. In my 12 years of being a part of Catalyst, I’ve never really taken an extended vacation. I will basically be non available through the end of the year. On sabbatical.

The sabbatical will be a time for me to rest, recharge, connect with some of the key people in my life, spend some time doing a major leadership intensive and 360 feedback evaluation, and creating space in my life to think, dream and pray about what’s next for me. This is something I’m incredibly grateful for. Everyone I’ve talked to says that taking a sabbatical gives fresh vision and perspective, and you return better than when you left. Leaders- we all have to step away at some point to get fresh perspective and vision. I’ve noticed in my own leadership the need to pause. Even this summer, I had several conversations and moments where I just realized that my own personal leadership was getting stale, I was in a rut, and needed to step away for an extended time just to refresh.

After the sabbatical my plans are to return to Catalyst, but not be in the same role that I’ve been in the last 12 years. Not sure what a new role will/should look like, but part of the strategy of this sabbatical is for me to step out of the day to day running of Catalyst, and let someone else step up. The plan is for Tyler Reagin to step up and be the Catalyst team leader, and really run the day to day of Catalyst, and we’ll figure out how I fit in going forward. Again, part of the goal of the 3 month sabbatical will be to gain clarity on what the next season looks like for me, through study, prayer, reflection, conversations, and rest.

So why do I even share this with you?

Well, I want you to be in the know, but I also think there is a powerful leadership lesson here that I am getting the chance to live out. WhatI I’ve realized is that in many ways I am a case study for this theme of KNOWN. And I want my journey and current season to be of value and hopefully pass on lessons to other leaders.

Handing something off that you love is not easy. Stepping into a different role even though you feel like you are just starting to settle into something is not easy. Allowing those around you to take on more leadership and stewardship and make decisions differently than you, and go potentially in a different direction is not easy.

But it’s time for me to pass the baton and move into a different role. This is a requirement of leadership. If we are going to do our job well as leaders, part of our responsibility is to pass the torch. To create a proper trail of succession. To realize that you are not the reason for the success, and the organization doesn’t revolve around you, and life will go on once you’ve stepped into a different role, and that younger leaders on your team will step up and replace you.

I am passionate about raising up the next generation of leaders, and I want to make sure I am passing on the torch of Catalyst to the “next generation” way before I need to. I think this is a demonstration of proper stewardship and generational transfer. I’ve watched way too many organizations, and type A “founder” type leaders, hold on for way too long and continue to lead even when everyone around them and on their team were hoping they would step to the side. That is unacceptable.

There is no story behind the story in this case for me. No performance questions, no moral or personal failure, no personality conflicts, nothing besides just the continual pursuit of what is best for Catalyst, and what I feel like my role should be and what God is truly calling me to do. All of this started with me talking with a good friend Steve Cockram (some of you know him) and us having a conversation about Catalyst and my role and what the next 5-10 years look like. And I just realized that I want to make sure I hand off the running of things before I really need to, and also make sure I’m in a role that continues to challenge me and fits my skills and gifting. And positions me best to live out my calling for this next season, and ultimately leave a legacy.

I’ll still continue to blog during my sabbatical over the next 3 months. And I’m also working on a 2nd book, so will be spending significant time writing, and will share some of those learnings and discoveries on the blog over the next couple of months.
Thanks for being part of the journey with me!

Headed to Catalyst this week? Here are 16 things You need to Know

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A few tips for those of you attending Catalyst for the first time this year, or maybe it’s your 2nd or 3rd time, or maybe 14th in a row!!. Hopefully these are helpful and allow your Catalyst experience to be the best ever!

1. Arrive early. Especially on Thursday morning Oct 3. The pre-show starts up around 6:55 am, so we’ll try our best to entertain you while you wait for the doors to open around 7:50 am.

2. Attend LABS. LAB sessions occur on Wednesday, October 2nd, and are a great way to dive deeper into practical topics. We still have a few tickets left for LABS (and pre-lab with Reggie Joiner on Wednesday morning), so you can register online or walk up. Labs officially start at 11:30 am on Wednesday with the opening session featuring Henry Cloud. Can’t wait!

All of the LAB sessions will be great, and I recommend every session that we’ve created. But just want to give you a few names of some of the LAB speakers you may not know but will definitely want to hear:

** Bryan Loritts, Shelley Giglio, Jenni Catron and Sherry Surratt, Rebekah Lyons and Bianca Olthoff, Tyler Wigg-Stevenson/Bethany Hoang/Peter Greer, Leonce Crump, Dr. Raj Shah, Eugene Cho.

3. Listen to the Catalyst Podcast Roadtrip Edition on your way to the event. The episode includes clips with Andy Stanley, Judah Smith and Priscilla Shirer, as well as helpful tips, entertainment, and even recommendations on how to get to KNOW your team on your drive in. Download here.

4. Bring food with you. Because parking is free, and there is now plenty of it because of a new parking deck, you’ll be able to get to your vehicle no problem at lunch and dinner. So with that in mind, plan to tailgate! Bring the grill, or just an ice chest and some extra food. It’s really a pain to drive somewhere for lunch or dinner, so just hang out and soak up the sun! We will also have food for sale onsite outside, so that is also an option.

5. Attend the evening session on Thursday night. Do not miss Thursday night! Judah Smith, plus the Passion band. It will be a great time. You’ll be tempted to go back to the hotel room and turn on the baseball game or Thursday night college football, but stick around!

6. No reserved seating. Because there is no reserved seating, you’ll want to arrive early. And if you are attending Catalyst with a big group, make sure you bring some 5 x 7 cards or paper (and tape) to be able to tape on the seat so that you’ll remember where you are sitting!

7. Sing loud. 12,000 voices together worshipping our God is epic. Don’t stand (or sit) idly by with arms crossed and lips closed. Join in. Stand up, Hands held high and voices raised.

8. Catalyst Backstage- if you can’t attend, no worries. Join us on CatalystBackstage starting on Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 pm EST, and then on Thursday and Friday mornings at 8:30 am EST, all day long on both days. We’ll have interviews with speakers, behind the scenes footage, and several LIVE look-ins for some of the sessions.

9. Purchase t-shirts and jackets early at the resource centers. If you plan on buying a t-shirt or jacket, purchase them at the first break. They sell out fast, so don’t wait. And it will be a bit chilly in the mornings this week, so you’ll need a new tee or jacket anyway!

10. Bring items to give back and help others. In partnership with ATLANTA MISSION and CONVOY OF HOPE, we are asking EVERY Catalyst attendee to bring PAPER PRODUCTS, including TOILET PAPER, PAPER PLATES and NAPKINS, and PAPER TOWELS, along with GIFT CARDS, to give back to those in need in the city of Atlanta. Please stop on your way into Atlanta and the Gwinnett Arena and pick up these items. We want the collection bins to OVERFLOW! There is a Kroger right across the street from Gwinnett Arena if you forget!

11. Bring an extra bag for all the Catalyst swag. There are lots of great partners at Catalyst all around the lobby and concourse. Bring an extra bag to collect all the goodies.

12. Hang out in the Reflective Prayer Tent- allow yourself some time to hang out in the reflective worship tent. And, we’ll have a prayer team available the entire conference that will pray with you, for you, and over you. Some of us just need a fresh dose of God’s provision and goodness, so take advantage of this area.

13. Hang out in the upper concourse Lounge area. Thanks to our partners at NIV Bible Live!, we have an upstairs Lounge area (upstairs on concourse level opposite of front doors) where you can chill out, have conversations, charge your phone or computer, and just relax on some comfortable furniture!

14. If u tweet, use the hashtag #CATALYST. And follow Catalyst on Twitter @CatalystLeader. 

15. Purchase the Catalyst Experience Kit. Every year we try and put together the best of the best so you can take the Catalyst experience home with you. This year is no exception.You can purchase it before you get to the event and then pick it up onsite without having to mess with the lines. I highly recommend this! Includes all kinds of great stuff, including the talks from this event, plus brand new resources, and my book The Catalyst Leader and the accompanying DVD curriculum.

16. EngageMeet other leaders. There is an incredible amount of wisdom and influence gathered in one place at one time, so take advantage of the other leaders who are present. Many of us go to leadership gatherings and conferences and never really connect. We get distracted by things going on around us. This year we want you to truly Laugh. Listen. Sing. Pray. Engage. Connect.

Can’t wait to see you there!

Last chance for Best rates on Catalyst Atlanta

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Today is your last chance to get the best discounted rates on tickets for Catalyst Conference in Atlanta!

Make plans to join us for the Catalyst Conference October 2-4, 2013 in Atlanta, GA, where 12,000 young leaders from across the United States and around the world will converge for the leadership experience of the year. See below on how you can register today and save $!

This year’s event will focus on the theme of KNOWN: leading from who you are. Identity, Calling, and Legacy as a leader. A leader worth following.

Hear from leadership authorities including Andy Stanley, John Piper, Lecrae, Priscilla Shirer, Jud Wilhite, Reggie Joiner, and Judah Smith, along with several innovative thinkers and practitioners like best-selling author of The Tipping Point and Award Winning Journalist Malcolm Gladwell, Newark, NJ Mayor and TIME 2011 Most Influential People Cory Booker, Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women and CEO of Burberry Angela Ahrendts, NYT Bestselling author and blogger Jon Acuff, Filmmaker and co-founder of Invisible Children Jason Russell, and music from the Passion Band, among others.

Plus, Catalyst Labs will feature innovative thought leaders like Mark Batterson, Ann Voskamp, Henry Cloud, Shelley Giglio, Claire Diaz Ortiz, Propaganda, Tim Elmore, Bob Goff, Lysa Terkeurst, Carlos Whittaker, Rebekah Lyons, Bianca Olthoff, Andy Crouch, Kara Powell, David Kinnaman, Rachel Cruze, Eugene Cho, Bryan Loritts, Amena Brown Owen, Jo Saxton, Leonce Crump, Jen Hatmaker, Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, Peter Greer, Bethany Hoang, Hannah Song, Leroy Barber, Jeff Shinabarger, Jenni Catron, Sherry Surratt, and more. Gonna be epic!

Make sure and Register TODAY, THURSDAY, August 22nd. A special registration rate of $219 is being made available to you (over $100 savings). Enter or mention rate code FOB to take advantage of this exclusive offer for you and your team. Call 888.334.6569 to speak with the Catalyst Concierge team, or register online and use RATE CODE FOB to secure your spot today!

Again, this rate expires Today on Thursday, August 22nd, so make sure and register now. Hope to see you there!

Make plans to attend Catalyst Atlanta- register today and Save

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You are invited!

Join us for the Catalyst Conference October 2-4, 2013 in Atlanta, GA, where 13,000 young leaders from across the United States and around the world will converge for the leadership experience of the year. See below on how you can register today and save $!

This year’s event will focus on the theme of KNOWN: leading from who you are. Identity, Calling, and Legacy as a leader. When you lead authentically, with an inner confidence birthed by your Creator, when you are willing to be true and vulnerable before God and others, you become a leader without pretense. A leader worth following.

Hear from leadership authorities including Andy Stanley, John Piper, Lecrae, Priscilla Shirer, Jud Wilhite, Reggie Joiner, and Judah Smith, along with several innovative thinkers and practitioners like best-selling author of The Tipping Point and Award Winning Journalist Malcolm Gladwell, Newark, NJ Mayor and TIME 2011 Most Influential People Cory Booker, Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women and CEO of Burberry Angela Ahrendts, NYT Bestselling author and blogger Jon Acuff, Filmmaker and co-founder of Invisible Children Jason Russell, and music from the Passion Band, among others.

Plus, Catalyst Labs will feature innovative thought leaders like Mark Batterson, Ann Voskamp, Henry Cloud, Shelley Giglio, Claire Diaz Ortiz, Propaganda, Tim Elmore, Bob Goff, Lysa Terkeurst, Carlos Whittaker, Rebekah Lyons, Bianca Olthoff, Andy Crouch, Kara Powell, David Kinnaman, Rachel Cruze, Eugene Cho, Bryan Loritts, Amena Brown Owen, Jo Saxton, Leonce Crump, Jen Hatmaker, Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, Peter Greer, Bethany Hoang, Hannah Song, Leroy Barber, Jeff Shinabarger, Jenni Catron, Sherry Surratt, and more. Gonna be epic!

Make sure and Register TODAY, THURSDAY, June 27th.special registration rate of $209 is being made available to you (over $120 savings). Enter or mention rate code FOB to take advantage of this exclusive offer for you and your team. Call 888.334.6569 to speak with the Catalyst Concierge team, or register online and use RATE CODE FOB to secure your spot today!

Again, this rate expires Today on Thursday, June 27th, so make sure and register now.

 

Learn from Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel – Catalyst One Day

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Catalyst One Day is coming to Southern California, and you are invited!

Make plans to attend Catalyst One Day on Thursday, August 22, at Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA. Join Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel for a one day leadership event focused on the topic of Leadership Essentials. This practical leadership experience includes Q and A, dynamic music, and a full day of practical insight up close with two of the principal leadership voices in the Church today. Plus a few surprises!

One Day is a different type of Catalyst gathering designed to focus on answering the practical “how-to” and “what-about” questions and tackle the nuts and bolts of leadership.

Visit the Catalyst One Day website to register to attend. Tickets as low as $89. The special discounted rate ends this Thursday, June 20, so register now online or call 888.334.6569!

A few reasons to attend Catalyst Dallas May 1-3

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I’m so excited about Catalyst Dallas coming up May 1-3, 2013 in Dallas, TX at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship.

If you are considering attending, you’ll want to go ahead and REGISTER TODAY to get the BEST RATES on tickets.

TOMORROW, THURSDAY, April 4,  is the early registration deadline, so go ahead and get your team or staff signed up at the lower prices. And when you register, use Rate Code FOB for an additional 10% off. Just for being a part of this blog community.

Here are 11 reasons why I am excited about Catalyst Dallas, and why you should attend:

1. The speaker lineupAndy Stanley, Dave Ramsey, Emmitt Smith, Louie Giglio, Erwin McManus, Brene Brown (TED talk sensation), Craig Groeschel, Lysa TerKeurst, Mark Driscoll, Amena Brown Owen, Reggie Joiner, Jon Acuff and more. This lineup has me jacked. Seriously. I’m pumped!

2. Matt Redman, David Crowder, North Point band, Johnny Swim, Ryan O’Neal and Propaganda - all will be leading us musically. Epic.

3. Tripp and Tyler- funny guys. funny videos. they will be funny. And our emcee Chris Seay representing the state of Texas and specifically the great city of Houston. Go Rockets!

4. 5 Free Talks- there are 5 FREE talks available to you for FREE on the Catalyst Dallas Website. Go and open your free present NOW!

5. MAKE- this is our theme. And I love it.

6. LABS- wow, the wisdom and know-how that will be presenting on LABS day is humbling. Come a day early on Wednesday May 1 and hear from thought leaders like Bob Goff, Carl Lentz, Jon Acuff, Matt and Beth Redman, David Kinnaman, Tim Elmore, Stasi Eldredge, Matt Carter, Herbert Cooper, Charles Lee, Lynne Hybels, Charles Jenkins, Rachel Cruze, Jeremy Cowart, Stacy Spencer, Bianca Olthoff, Propaganda, Ryan O’Neal, Jo Saxton, Jennie Allen, Angie Smith, Jeff Shinabarger, Carlos Whittaker, Promise Tangeman, Ryan Leak and others!

7. Opening and Closing Session at LABS- Carl Lentz will be presenting in the opening session of Labs, and Bob Goff will be presenting in the closing session on Wednesday. Carl is the lead pastor of Hillsong Church New York City, and Bob is the best-selling author of Love Does and founder of Restore International.

8. 3300 Leaders- Catalyst attracts the doers, the influencers, the cultural architects, and change agents. And when you get 3300 leaders and influencers who are intent on making a difference together, great things happen.

9. Bent Tree Bible Fellowship- a great campus in Carrolton, TX (North Dallas). Top notch facilities, wireless, and a staff that is incredible to work with. The Bent Tree team is family, and we love working with them!

10. Our key partners and causes - at Catalyst we are always intentional about highlighting great organizations and leaders who are making a difference and impacting communities all over the world. Once again we’ll have a number of organizations present that you can talk with and get involved with, including Plywood People, Convoy of Hope, The Giving Keys, Gift Card Giver, Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee (free coffee!!), Compassion International, and many more!

 11. The Unexpected- Our prayer is always that God would move in the hearts of the leaders who are part of Catalyst in ways we don’t expect or plan for. We love creating what we consider to be a great event, but we trust and know that God shows up in unexpected ways and meets each leader in specific ways. We love hearing stories of life change, of moments of clarity, of great conversations, of powerful times of renewal, of leader’s walk with Jesus becoming stronger, etc. The experience of Catalyst is what we all look forward to.

Make sure and Register TODAY. Again, best rates end TOMORROW, so go ahead and register now. You can also call 888.334.6569 to speak to a Catalyst Concierge. And use Rate Code FOB when you register to save some additional $ off your registrations.

Can’t wait to see you in Dallas May 1-3!

5 Stages for Making Creative Ideas Happen at Catalyst

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We get asked all the time about how we come up with new and fresh ideas for Catalyst. It’s a pretty simple process that has proven to be effective. This can be useful in any organization or scenario, whether you are launching ideas, or just looking to make sound decisions. Here you go:

1. Create- we spend a ton of time just brainstorming, which is obviously a very important part of the process. The more ideas on the board, the more opportunities for one of those to make it through the process. All ideas matter at this stage. For example, we have probably 300-350 programming ideas every year for our October conference. And creative meetings are “yes and” meetings, not “no but.” Incredibly important!

2. Criticize - every idea, in order to stay in the process, has to be critiqued and criticized significantly. This is key in order to make sure you don’t spend tons of time chasing too many rabbits and driving everyone crazy with lots of good ideas but nothing ever happening. And make sure everyone doesn’t take things personal- criticizing an idea is much different than criticizing the person who came up with the idea. It’s not personal. This stage is a filter, and weeds out lots of possible ideas that just don’t have the legs to keep moving up the grid.

3. Optimize- anything that makes it pass the criticize phase has to be built on. In some ways, this is a second and third wave of innovation. Most of the time the original idea will turn into something that looks totally different. And that is okay, and actually important and needed. This is really the essence of putting icing on the cake. A bit of time will usually bring clarity and renewed energy to an idea, so we have to usually let good ideas cook a bit in order to make them great.

4. Validate- every idea has to be validated- financially, operationally, personnel wise, and direction/vision related. Lots of big ideas appropriately get held up in this phase, either to be released later or put on the shelf for good. Conversely, in many organizations, lots of bad ideas make it through this phase because of bad systems and/or leaders who aren’t willing to say no, or a team that can’t say no to the leader. Leaders- if you are using your position and power to push the wrong ideas through the validation phase, this is a major red flag!

5. Execute- it all comes down to getting things done. Hard work is time consuming and tiring. We take tremendous pride in execution on ideas. If it has gone through the entire process and made it to this point, the idea deserves the attention and focus to make sure it happens. And if every level of the Idea process grid was correctly put in motion, the idea is probably going to be good when turned into reality!

10 Reasons to attend Catalyst West 2013

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I’m so excited about Catalyst West coming up April 17-19, 2013 in Orange County (Irvine) CA at Mariners Church.

If you are considering attending, you’ll want to go ahead and REGISTER TODAY to get the BEST RATES on tickets.

TODAY, February 14th,  is the early registration deadline, so go ahead and get your team or staff signed up at the lower prices. And when you register, use Rate Code FOB for an additional 10% off. Just for being a part of this blog community.

Here are 10 reasons why I am excited about Catalyst West, and why you should attend:

1. The speaker lineupAndy Stanley, Jim Collins, Louie Giglio, Christine Caine, Chip Heath (author of Made to Stick), Matt Chandler, Jud Wilhite, Dallas Willard, Pranitha Timothy, Manny Ohonme, Tom Shadyac (legendary Hollywood director), and more. This lineup has me jacked. Seriously. I’m pumped!

2. Joel Houston (of Hillsong NYC), David Crowder, and Israel Houghton - all will be leading us musically. Epic.

3. Tripp and Tyler- funny guys. funny videos. they will be funny.

4. 5 Free Talks- there are 5 FREE talks available to you for FREE on the Catalyst West Website. Go and open your free present NOW!

5. MAKE- this is our theme. And I love it.

6. LABS- wow, the wisdom and know-how that will be presenting on LABS day is humbling. Come a day early and hear from thought leaders like Dave Gibbons, Mike Erre, Nancy Ortberg, Carl Lentz, Claire Diaz Ortiz, David Kinnaman, Sergio de la Mora, Jim Daly, Charles Lee, Jeremy Cowart, Bianca Olthoff, Propaganda, Kara Powell, Mark and Jan Foreman, Carlos Whittaker, and many others!

7. Opening and Closing Session at LABS- John Eldredge will be presenting in the opening session of Labs, and Miles McPherson will be presenting in the closing session on Wednesday. John is the author of Wild at Heart and Beautiful Outlaw, and Miles is the author of Do Something! and senior pastor of The Rock Church in San Diego.

8. 3500 Leaders- Catalyst attracts the doers, the influencers, the cultural architects, and change agents. And when you get 3500 leaders and influencers who are intent on making a difference together, great things happen.

9. Mariners Church- a breathtaking campus in Irvine, CA. Lots of green space, and a staff that is incredible to work with. The Mariners team is family, and we love working with them!

10. The Unexpected- Our prayer is always that God would move in the hearts of the leaders who are part of Catalyst in ways we don’t expect or plan for. We love creating what we consider to be a great event, but we trust and know that God shows up in unexpected ways and meets each leader in specific ways. We love hearing stories of life change, of moments of clarity, of great conversations, of powerful times of renewal, of leader’s walk with Jesus becoming stronger, etc. The experience of Catalyst is what we all look forward to.

Make sure and Register TODAY. Again, best rates end TODAY. You can also call 888.334.6569 to speak to a Catalyst Concierge. And use Rate Code FOB when you register to save some additional $ off your registrations.

Can’t wait to see you there!