Here you go, the November edition of the Young Influencers List. You can see all the past month’s lists here.
Here you go, the November edition of the Young Influencers List. You can see all the past month’s lists here.
All of us should be striving to be experts. To be the leaders in our industries. In our organizations, our churches, our schools, our businesses, our non profits, our networks and associations.
These are a few of the lessons I’ve learned over the years in the pursuit of being a thought leader, an expert, a leader. I haven’t arrived in any way, but thought these might be helpful as we all strive to get better and continue to gain more influence.
1. Actively Build a Support Network- including those who can help you on the journey, and those who will be real with you regardless of what you become. Beware of CEO disease, the temptation to surround yourself with people who only tell you what you want to hear. Keep honest people in your life so that you can stay grounded in the reality of your experiences. Don’t start to suffer from Reality Deprivation Syndrome.
2. Don’t think You’ve Arrived- Banish the phrase, “I’m done” from your vocabulary. The best leaders never stop learning and see every opportunity, success or failure, as a learning opportunity.
3. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You’re not a big deal. Seriously. I don’t care who you are. Humility is way more attractive than arrogance. Humor is way more attractive than hubris.
4. Celebrate Your Rivals- Jealously is natural, but how you respond to it is not. When you find yourself tempted to speak ill about a rival or secretly wrestle with jealousy, flip that emotion on its head. Find ways to celebrate your rivals and when you run into a new one, let the first question you ask yourself be, “How can I help this person win?”
5. Be Generous. Both with your time as well as your expertise and experience. Don’t forget- you were once a greenhorn who didn’t know anything. As soon as you are an expert or a thought leader, it’s time to start passing on what you know to others younger or less experienced than you. It’s NOT the time to become arrogant and protected and sheltered by an assistant or entourage.
6. Bring others with you. Take your team with you. Take your family with you. Bring as many people along on the journey as possible. Going on a trip? Take a co-worker. Traveling international? Bring your child. Business meeting in NYC? Bring your spouse. Community is paramount to longevity as a leader. Isolation is one of the most dangerous habits you can develop. True, authentic, longterm friendships are a game changer.
7. Congruence between your inner and outer worlds. Work on character as much as competency. Don’t let your outer world start to outdistance and outpace and overtake the intentionality of your inner world. Heart and character and conviction and moral fiber must be maintained and developed and grown as you continue to build your competency, expertise, relational equity, networks, influence and ambition.
8. Flow between the five stages of creative development. Don’t get stuck in one. Taken in concert, these five stages can be healthy, important parts of growing any creative endeavor. Isolated and obsessed on, any one of these stages can cripple your best intentions. Focus on moving between them. The key is to not just hang out in the “caretaker” stage, where you protect and defend everything you’ve developed, but instead keep returning to the “craft” stage, constantly creating new ideas, projects, organizations and impact.
STAGE #1- Craft – You create something out of passion for the art of it.
STAGE #2- Crowd – An audience discovers you’re good at your passion.
STAGE #3- Commission – You earn money for the thing you love to do.
STAGE #4- Career – You turn a passion into your profession.
STAGE #5- Caretaker – You protect and nurture the thing you’ve created, and do everything you can to “defend” your turf. A dangerous phase.
So someone asked me recently to talk about the keys to being a great interviewer. I’m by no means an expert, but I’ll try and provide some thoughts.
Here you go:
1. Do your homework. You would be amazed how many people show up to do an interview and have no clue about who they are interviewing, and just try to wing it. It shows. Believe me.
2. Ask the question behind the question. Get under the surface. Dig deeper. Not to uncover gossip or something that is not relevant, but because someone has probably already asked the question you are thinking about asking. So ask a better one.
3. Shutup. No one wants to hear your answer to the question, otherwise the tables would be turned. Your job is to pull great content out of the interviewee, not to give your opinion.
4. Create a conversation, not just a serve and volley. When appropriate, give the sense to your listeners that you are sitting in a living room having coffee and catching up. Creating conversation is different than just giving your opinion or an answer to your question. Conversations require context, which means you have to have 20 or 30 questions ready to go for an interview that would usually be around 10 questions.
5. Don’t interrupt unless you need to, keep your hands off the table, and save your “ums” and “uh-huhs” and “oh-yeahs” for after you’re done. For audio or video purposes, your agreeing by saying something just muddies the water. It seems like the thing to do in person- giving your interviewee verbal feedback, but just stick with non-verbal. Sounds better when you don’t respond. And hitting or tapping the table is picked up by microphones- seems obvious, but everyone forgets…..
6. Listen. Seems obvious, but great interviewers actually listen to an answer being given, instead of preparing for the next question and not actually hearing what the person is saying. Listening creates great follow up questions. And creates trust with the interviewee.
7. Provide your questions beforehand. Send your questions to the person you are interviewing before the interview so they can prepare.
8. Make your interviewee the hero. Your job is to bring out the best in them. To uncover greatness. To reveal the good, true and beautiful. You also want to make them relatable, personable, and human. Which means you need to be those as well. If you’re relatable, it will give them permission to be.
9. Study the best. Watch Charlie Rose, Bob Costas, Barbara Walters, Oprah, etc. Learn from their style.
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?
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!
Here are a few new leadership books from friends that I highly recommend:
Reach out First. Take the first step.
Most of us aren’t “experts” at relationships. Whether dealing with family, friends, co-workers, new acquaintances, or team members, we are all guilty of coming up short. It seems like every day I goof up in the way I relate, communicate, and lead.
I’m sure this scenario applies to you right now, or will soon. A business deal gone bad. A conversation that was really tense. A mis-spoken word or hurtful phrase- either directed towards you or from you. Gossip behind your back that you know about, and so does the person who said it. Disagreements turned into frustration and now no communication. A confrontational conversation with a close friend that leaves both hesitant to talk.
Are there folks in your life right now who you are at odds with? Here are two thoughts on how to “restore” healthy and harmonious relationships with those around us.
1. Reach out first- don’t wait on someone else to move toward you. Go ahead and confess, apologize, bring it up, or start the conversation. Even if you are not at fault. You need to lean in and reach out and move across the “center aisle” and intentionally make amends.
2. Move on- Don’t hang on to something just so you can hold it over someone’s head. Let it go. Restore the relationship, and restart the relationship immediately.
3. Get better- continue to work on living and leading at peace with those around you. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Establish a healthy routine of daily reaching out and daily vulnerability. Make sure you are progressing and improving and not allowing relationships to get to points where you have to be intentional about mending them.
Succession Planning- a key area that smart leaders are thinking about and planning for.
One day your church will need a new pastor. One day your organization will need a new president. One day your charity will need a new executive director. Are you ready?
Whether you are a pastor, church staff, CEO or volunteer, you need to be thinking about the most important turning point your church or organization will have to face…who will lead when our current pastor/leader isn’t around anymore?
Many church leaders equate succession planning to retirement planning. However, smart church leaders realize that succession planning is much more than that.
I visited with my friend William Vanderbloemen who just wrote a book on the subject called Next: Pastoral Succession That Works, which is a church leader’s comprehensive guidebook to understanding what you can do now to prepare for the day your church faces a leadership transition.
Brad: Why is pastoral succession such an important issue for churches right now?
William: The big idea that drove writing this book was a single sentence I realized a few years ago: Every pastor is an interim pastor. Few pastors consider this truth, but unless they plan on leading their church after Jesus’ return, everyone in ministry will face the day when a successor takes over their church. But once you consider the inevitability of transition, and the chance a leader has to secure a legacy through a good succession, it quickly becomes the issue that smart leaders obsess over, no matter their age or stage of career.
Brad: I know many people equate succession planning with retirement planning. Is that really what succession planning is?
William: Not at all. Retirement is often only a final step in a series of pastoral successions. We found in our study that the average pastor will transition about three times in their career. Each of those transitions warrants a plan. Succession is when one senior leader intentionally transitions and hands over leadership to another. It is creating a plan for what will happen within the organization once you need a new leader, which every organization will face. Smart leaders realize that succession planning should start with pastors early in their tenure at their church. While retirement planning should be part of a healthy succession plan, a true succession plan encompasses a plan for any leadership transition reason, whether it is the pastor’s own decision, the board’s, or an unfortunate emergency situation.
Brad: What should young leaders, early on in their tenure, be thinking about now to start planning a successful succession?
William: When I was a young pastor, John Maxwell told me, “William, spend your younger years creating options for your later years.” I believe that more now than ever. The sooner you start laying out a succession plan, the more options you create for your future.
I’d particularly point young leaders to Chapter 2 of Next. It lays out “The Ten Commandments of Succession Planning,” which is a checklist of steps that young leaders need to be doing now to prepare themselves and their church for a successful leadership transition.
One of those steps is setting a healthy pace for the long run by establishing regular sabbaticals and being part of an accountability group. Too many successions happen on the heels of a moral or financial failure because the pastors were tired and didn’t have anyone to talk to about their personal fatigue.
Another step is that church leaders need to prepare an emergency envelope for what would happen if an emergency happened and the pastor couldn’t fill the pulpit on Sunday.
Check out chapter 2 of the book for all ten steps of what you should be doing now to prepare your succession plan.
Brad: Tell me more about the hundreds of interviews you and your co-author Warren Bird from Leadership Network did for research on the book. What was the most surprising trend you found?
William: Great question, Brad. It’s one that I’m asked quite a bit. There are a whole lot of surprises that we found, but two trends come to mind. First, I never realized how much of a good succession rises and falls on the outgoing pastor’s spouse. There are a number of great stories in the book that highlight this. Smart churches will pay attention to that dynamic and find ways to address it as they face transitions.
Secondly, I was shocked to see the average ages of the pastors of the largest churches in the country. There are some great infographics and tables in the book with that sort of information. Seeing it laid out in one spot convinced me that succession planning is a looming crisis for the church.
Thanks, William! This is a topic that every leader needs to start thinking, talking, even obsessing about. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.
Order Next: Pastoral Succession That Works now at NextPastor.com for you, your church staff, and your church board.