The Power of being Remarkable

in leadership,Misc. No Comments

Seth Godin recently reminded me about the idea of Being REMARKABLE.

What really is Remarkable? Webster’s defines remarkable as “notably or conspicuously unusual; extraordinary. Worthy of notice or attention.”

It’s what you remember. What you talk about. What you retweet. What you share.

Normal is normal…. Normal service. Normal restaurant. Normal concert. Normal conference. Normal phone call. Normal delivery. Normal work.

Remarkable is the add on. The extra. “But what really blew me away was _______.” As Seth says, remarkable is “the extra that goes in that blank, the more than what you had to do.”

Being remarkable means others talk about it. They make remarks- the remark on you, a product, a service, an experience. They remember it.

It’s being exceptional. Beyond the norm. Unusual.

Remarkable may cost more, add more work to the plate, require more effort, but it’s worth it.

Is your organization remarkable? Your Church? Your business? Your family? You personally?

What recently “blew you away” or was “extraordinary” or “memorable” beyond the norm? 


8 Ways to Make your Communication Stick

in Catalyst,leadership,Leadership Rules. No Comments

Whether you are a seasoned leader, college student, author, professor, CEO, politician, or pastor, we all have to learn to communicate well. Whether we are speaking to thousands, speaking to our staff, giving a report, making a speech, teaching your kids soccer team, or addressing your company, it’s imperative as leaders we know how to communicate. To make our point. To deliver a message.

And communicating is much easier said than done. Actually it’s the saying part and the doing part that make it difficult.

So here are some tips that might make communicating a bit easier for you and a bit more enjoyable for those listening. To make it stick. 

1. Keep it Simple. Stay focused on a few key points. And use common sense. If it sounds confusing, it probably is. If it sounds cheesy, it probably is.

2. Tell great stories to validate your points. Unless you are just an amazing communicator, your points probably won’t hold me. So sprinkle in some great stories, good analogies, personal connections, and current events.

3. Inspire action. Push me towards doing something, not just hearing something.

4. Know your audience. Seems simple, but many miss this one. Make constant connections to your audience. If you’re talking to a group of high school students, don’t use the same jokes and intro as you did with the local Lions Club mens pancake breakfast the day before.

5. Create hooks, repetitions, and memorable phrases. I won’t remember all you said, but I might remember something you said. Our current culture is now built around soundbytes- status updates, tweets, texts, etc. So keep it simple, but also keep it short.

6. Connect personally. Look people in the eye. Recognize individuals in the audience and mention their name. Find people in the crowd and speak directly to them. Make eye contact with the entire room, from side to side. If your audience thinks you care about them, then they’ll care about what you are saying.

7. Be authentic, vulnerable, and funny. The key is to just simply be you. Allow the audience to get to know you. Make yourself vulnerable by talking about a failure or something that gives you instant connection. Be funny and find ways to keep your content light and humorous.

8. Land the plane on time. Not just ending on time, but actually ending with the right timing. Don’t keep circling above the runway- land it now.

What other tips would you add for communicating well? 

10 Ways to Create Value for Others on Social Media

in Friends and Links,leadership,Misc. 1 Comment

If you haven’t joined Twitter yet, you should. It’s the best way to get the most information in a timely manner that I’ve found. Everyone is on Twitter these days. It’s helpful, quick, informative, and aggregated in a way that is valuable to me.

If you are wondering who to follow, or wondering why I follow who I follow, here are several reasons why I follow some on Twitter and not others. 

If you aren’t on Twitter, I believe these points also translate for the most part to Facebook, Instagram, Google +, Linkedin, and most other social media outlets.

Ultimately, this is 10 Ways to Create Value for others on Social Media: 

 

1. You give me value. Maybe a great link, a quote, a stat, new website, etc.

2. You don’t constantly pimp yourself. Remain humble. Make it about others.

3. You are generous. I see lots of retweets from you and notice you seem to care about otherss and are willing to talk about others and want to help them.

4. You make me think. A link to a timely article on theology, a great quote, a phrase that encourages or challenges, a Scripture verse, etc.

5. You make me laugh. I simply need some humor and you provide it.

6. You keep me informed. I want to be ahead of the crowd when it comes to news and pertinent info.

7. You tweet in moderation. No overtweeting. A nice steady stream of tweets.

8. You provide a personal connection, and because of that, I actually want to meet you in person. Whether as an individual or organization.

9. You have a picture. Without out, no follow. Your account looks fake.

10. You are a friend. I still follow many friends who are not necessarily the greatest at Twitter. But I still follow them. That’s what friends are for!

Young Influencers List, September edition

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

1. Journey Smollett-Bell- LA based actress, best known for playing Jess on the hit show Friday Night Lights.

2. Brian Carpenter- founder of Refuge Foundation in Billings, MT, an incredible fishing and hunting leadership ministry.

3. Trevor Knight- current quarterback of my beloved Oklahoma Sooners!

4. Jessica Honneger- founder and chief dreamer of Austin based Noonday Collection, a clothing and jewelry org that is creating economic impact for the vulnerable around the world

5. Jeremy Walls- SVP and Chief Revenue Officer for the Miami Dolphins of the NFL.

6. Noah Gundersen- Seattle based singer/songwriter.

7. Anna Carroll- abolitionist and executive director of Lightforce International, restoring hope to men and women removed from the commercial sex industry.

5 Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah

in leadership,Leadership Rules. 1 Comment

One of my favorite Old Testament leaders is Nehemiah. He was a government worker in the employment of a foreign administration. A high ranking worker no doubt. A leader. A cupbearer to the King. Trusted and respected.

Then he became a building contractor, called in to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Through the story of the Old Testament book, we can discover a few of the leadership qualities that he possessed.

1. Compassion- when learning of the condition of the wall and of his people, Nehemiah wept.

2. Conviction- he understood that loyalty to his country and to his people in Jerusalem was paramount. He was deeply bought in and moved to action.

3. Courage- he stood alongside the builders of the wall to fight off enemies who wanted to bring them down. A shovel in one hand and a spear in the other.

4. Confrontation- Nehemiah called out those who were stealing from their brothers, and doling out debt without reason. He held them accountable, and directed them towards living right. Those whom he loved and admired he pushed towards righteous living.

5. Calling- he understood his role as the one who had been called to lead in rebuilding the wall, and correctly responded to that assignment when God prompted.

4 Ways Leaders Can Release Control, and Ultimately Thrive :: Guest Post

(from Cole NeSmith)
I love control. We love control. Control and leadership are actually very fine lines. I started writing my new book, Spiritual Innovation, in 2013 and very quickly I discovered that control is at the root of so much of what I do on a daily basis in my life and leadership. I suspect the same is true for you.
At the heart of Spiritual Innovation is the reality that God is infinite, and throughout history, He has revealed more of Himself and His activity to and through His people. God (being the same today, yesterday and forever) is still up to revealing Himself in the most unexpected ways. But the greatest enemy to joining God in what He’s doing is our own desire for control : controlling ourselves, our circumstances, those around us, and – ultimately – controlling God.
In chapter two of Spiritual Innovation, I tell this story about how the desire to control manifested in my life as a leader.
As a kid, I did chores—cleaned the toilet, mowed the yard, dusted my bedroom. The payment for chores was allowance. Each time I did a chore, I ran up to my parent’s bedroom, opened the bedside table and pulled out a white pad of paper with a long running ledger of plus and minuses, earnings and payouts. Most Sundays, I would run up to that ledger, pull it out, move the decimal point one place to the left and determine the 10% tithe I was to put in the pink envelope with my church’s logo printed on it.
So, 15 years later in life, as I was preparing to give a message about “generosity” at my church, naturally I started researching the tithe. The tithe was mentioned in the books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It was an agricultural offering of one tenth of one’s grain, wine, and oil harvests. But continuing on in my preparation, it became obvious: tithe was only one example of sacrificial giving in the Bible.
In Luke 19, Zacceaus, as a result of his encounter with Jesus, gave away half of his possessions and returned four times the amount he had stolen from individuals. When Jesus encounters the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19, Jesus instructs him to give away everything he has and come follow him. In Acts, we see members of the Church giving away all they had and giving to others as they had need. Even Ananias and Sapphira—after selling their field—were told the money they had received was at their disposal.
So why the ten percent? I think it’s because we like control and formulas give us the illusion of control. Encouraging people into a place of freedom takes control away. As individuals, we feel at ease when we know the expectation and can, without thought, meet that expectation. We ask, “what will make God happy with me?” and work to meet the minimum requirement so we can feel at ease. Then, as leaders, if we reinforce ten percent, that gives us a common, consistent message and a sense of peace that we will receive at least that much. But no one needs to be in relationship with God to understand this ten percent rule. The tither need not listen to God for instruction on giving, and the leader need not listen for how to lead his or her people or trust in God for provision.
So here are 4 ways I explore in the book that we as leaders can release control, and become the leaders we are created to be.

1. Platform People
In our desire to control, we often leverage people to achieve our own agenda. But the true role of a leader is not to use others but to platform them into their created purpose. This means that the initiatives of our churches may change over time as the people of our churches grow, mature, come, and go. So often, we create positions and push people into the holes to fill the void. But perhaps we should be creating positions not based on our own agenda but on God’s agenda as He blesses the people of our churches with specific gifts and talents.
2. Celebrate Uniqueness 
In order to platform people into their gifts, we must first begin to value people for their uniqueness. So much of modern, American Evangelicalism is built on the concept of sameness, and often “different” scares us. But as we step into relationship with God, he doesn’t neutralize the personalities and personas of each individual. God makes us each with unique gifts and talents to contribute to the unfolding of His plan of heaven on earth. It’s the role of the leader to help uncover the uniqueness of the people around us and to encourage, challenge, and equip them to step into the fullness of who they are created to be.
3. Embrace Exploration
Too many leaders settle to recreate. Too many of us are okay with trying to replicate what we’ve seen someone else do at some other place or at some other time. But God wants to accomplish something unique to where you are. Here and now. That means we have to become people of risk. We have to be people who are willing to explore the unknown depths of God and ministry, placing our complete trust in Him. It means we have to be willing to try things that may fail. But it’s in the exploration that we discover God in more intimate ways than ever before.
4. Practice Creativity 
If you’ve ever made something, you’ve practiced creativity. If you’ve ever asked, “how could this be different” or “how could we do this better,” you’ve practiced creativity. You see, creativity is central to the Christian life. Everything we are called to involves not only seeing things as they are but as they could be. God calls us to be people of hope who see the world as He sees it. And as we release our need for control, we begin participating in making the world, not what we think it should be, but what God has always intended it to be.
Life seems so much easier when we’re in control. But when things are up to you and me, they are limited to the confines of our human capacity. And God’s dreams for the world are so much bigger than anything we could ever accomplish on our own. So today, release control, step into an expectation of innovation, and see God do things far beyond anything you’ve ever imagined!
Cole NeSmith is the Creative Director and co-pastor of City Beautiful Church in Orlando, FL. His new book, Spiritual Innovation, helps us move from the need for control to a new level of exploration, expectation, discovery, and creativity in our faith and lives. Get it here.

He also creates interactive and reflective art and worship experiences through his company, Uncover The Color.

He blogs at colenesmith.com and is on Twitter @ColeNeSmith.

Say No to the Good, and Yes to the Best

in leadership,Leadership Rules. 4 Comments

“Learn to say no to the good so you can say yes to the best.”  - John C. Maxwell

I love this quote, but I struggle constantly with implementing it. It makes total sense, but as a persuader, my leadership style is to include and to invite more and more into the conversation and the huddle. I have a hard time saying no, because for me that feels like I am excluding someone. I’ve learned how to do this, but it still goes against my natural leadership style.

But as leaders, we have to be willing to say no in order for our time and energy to be spent on the things that only we can do, as well as the few ideas or projects that will end up being the “best.”

Reality is, the more influence you gain, and the more your organization grows, the harder it is to say no to the good. And with more influence, you have more opportunities. With more and more opportunities, the more we have to make decisions on what we will focus on and where we will expend our time, energy and resources.

The key is to know what you do really well. The areas you are great. Spend your time and energy on those things. Be focused. Give up on trying to do everything. On trying to be all things to all people.

Remember, saying no doesn’t mean you don’t like someone or something. It’s not personal. You have to be disciplined and focused on a few things to be great.

11 New Books I Highly Recommend

Here are a few new leadership books from friends that I highly recommend:

1. Yes or No- by Jeff Shinabarger

2. Unstoppable- by Christine Caine

3. Row for Freedom- by Julia Immonen

4. The Best Yes- by Lysa TerKeurst 

5. Overrated- by Eugene Cho

6. Be the Message- by Kerry Shook 

7. Jesus Prom- by Jon Weece

8. Addicted to Busy- by Brady Boyd

9. Life with a Capital L- by Matt Heard

10. The Sticky Faith Guide For Your Family- by Kara Powell

11. Life on Mission- by Aaron Coe