Beware of a Shortcut Leadership strategy

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I admit, I get a bit impatient at times….. Okay, maybe that is a slight exaggeration…..I get very impatient at times!

Lately, I’ve noticed a ton of impatience in my driving. Now it’s not road rage (not yet!), but getting close. It’s not just that slow drivers get in the left lane, but more that I seem to think I now know every shortcut in the greater metro Atlanta area. So my solution for impatience on the roads is that I get frustrated and try to find shortcuts or alternate routes to get somewhere. Only to find that these shortcuts end up taking longer and actually don’t get me to my destination at all.

We’re all like this at certain times in life. We look for shortcuts, for alternate routes, for the easy road, the road less traveled but quicker to the destination. Or so we think.

So here are a few thoughts on Shortcuts that hopefully are helpful.

1. Shortcuts aren’t bad. Most shortcuts are valuable and helpful. But beware of constantly looking for them.

2. Little (or at least less) strategy goes into shortcuts. as so many times shortcuts haven’t been planned out, and actually lead you to a different destination, or worse off, just get you lost and late to your final destination.

3. Being impatient is not a good thing. Patience is a virtue. Shortcuts are usually due to impatience and frustration, vs. relying on a system that has proved worthwhile over time.

4. There’s value in the journey. the longer route may be better for you in the end. You’ll see or hear or learn things that you wouldn’t have otherwise. And maybe see more scenery, and find that it’s intentional and on purpose.

5. The quality may suffer. In organizational life, shortcuts may end up leading to a lack of excellence.

6. Short term gain vs long term rewards. Shortcuts are usually tied to short term gain. Again, not bad, but long term perspective and long term goals are what vision and legacy are built on.

7. Staying in your lane. Be committed to the lane and current assignment you have. Switching lanes and switching roads and switching routes leads to anxiety and lack of contentment. Be diligent and faithful to the road you’re on.

So next time you think you see a shortcut, and you’re convinced it’s the better road to take, beware.

10 Keys for a Great Team

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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 confident leader.

2. Skilled linchpin (s)- 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 New Orleans Saints, they played several years ago for the city of New Orleans during the aftermath of a hurricane. 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?

Young Influencers List, February Edition

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

1. Shane Farmer- senior pastor of Cherry Hills Community Church in Denver.

2. Pete Holmes- NYC based comedian, actor, writer, producer, host of the Pete Holmes Show, and popular podcaster.

3. Peace Ike- Pittsburgh based Nigerian-American songwriter, percussionist, artist, and performer. Listen to her new EP Walk Worthy.

4. Jesse Carey- contributing editor to Relevant Magazine and a mainstay on the Relevant Podcast, along with recently completing the uber popular Nickelback Challenge, raising over $33,000 for charity: water.

5. Kristi Griem- blogger, justice advocate, COO of Work of Worth, and formerly president of FreeSet.

6. Matt Wertz- Nashville based singer, songwriter, funny guy, and creative.

7. Benjamin Watson- NFL tight end for the New Orleans Saints, popular speaker, and voted one of CNN’s most Extraordinary People in 2014.

12 Keys for Attracting Young Leaders to Your Team

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Let’s face it- young leaders are the future of your organization. Whether you like it or not, they will soon take over and be running the show. Your show. My show. If you aren’t attracting young talent, then the days are numbered for your influence and the legacy of your organization.

So why are there certain organizations and certain leaders who always seem to attract younger leaders to their team? Whether a pastor, entrepreneur, CEO or non-profit Executive Director, there are certain leaders, certain teams and certain organizations that EVERY young and ambitious leader wants to be a part of.

What is it about THIS leader and the organization they lead that attracts young leaders? Such a draw that young guns are willing to jump on board with them and storm the castle. Regardless of pay, structure, environment, city, setting, or future opportunities, young leaders want to be around these types of leaders and be a part of what they are doing.

You want young leaders on your team? Here are a few KEYS I think young leaders are drawn to:

1. Humility, combined with incredible passion and skill. Realizing it’s not about you. Jim Collins writes about this as the key characteristic of a level 5 leader.

2. Unwavering commitment to reaching their desired audience and accomplishing the mission. Know the hill they are climbing and willing to fight to get to the top.

3. The IT factor- hard to explain, but easy to spot. Young leaders can sense it and want to be tied to leaders with IT.

4. Collaboration and not competition. A leader who celebrates others’ victories along with their own.

5. Willing to give over responsibility and authority, vs. a “wait your turn” mentality. This kind of perspective and organizational culture will allow young leaders to lead – given they are qualified and can handle it.

6. Authenticity. They keep it real. Young leaders clamor towards authentic and honest leaders.

7. Open to change. This is a big deal. If you as a leader are not open to change, no one worth their salt will probably be willing to follow you, especially younger leaders. (thanks to Shinabarger on this one)

8. Can have at least a little fun. Like attracts like. It’s a reality= regardless of age, demographic, and style. The next generation wants a family environment that is fun and experiential.

9. Confident risk taking. Passionately create a culture that takes risks, allows for failure, and thinks outside the box.

10. BIG vision. Young leaders want to change the world, and want to follow leaders who think BIG and dream big.

11. Hustle and Hungry. The next generation expects you to be beside them in the trenches, not in the corner office sipping on Spritzers. Hustle and hungry, not arrogant and entitled. Besides your team, not out in front of them.

12. BEST at what they do. Regardless of industry or profession or organization, young leaders want to be part of a culture and organization built on excellence with a desire to be great. This is why Google and Facebook and Apple have hundreds of thousands of college graduates clamoring for a chance to be on the team.

What else would you add to the list of those leaders who are drawing young leaders to be part of their teams?

50 Innovative and Usable phrases for Responding during the Sermon

Whatever your background, most communicators, whether a pastor, preacher, leadership speaker, motivational guru, youth leader, or vision caster, enjoy having people in the audience provide feedback. And not just telling someone after they’re done “good job,” but actual real time feedback. Verbal call and response feedback. Responding in the moment.

Some of you are used to this. Some of you don’t know anything different. And others of you have never experienced it. And probably some of you that are immediately thinking if anyone spoke up during our Sunday services that they would be immediately removed by the “bouncers,” otherwise known as the “ushers” and offering coordinators….!!

So I’m doing a bit more speaking these days, and I can verify that having people in the crowd agreeing with me and cheering me on and making some noise in response is a beautiful thing. It provides energy, inspiration, and definitely creates a connection with the audience/crowd. 

Now in the church I group up in, there were only a few folks who had “permission” to respond to the sermon on a Sunday morning, and they usually went with the traditional  “Amen” or “Hallelujah.” Which still work. Nothing against the traditional phrases. I’m a fan of the traditional phrases. 

Whatever your style, I want to suggest a NEW list of phrases that can be implemented into your church culture. Your leadership conference. Your youth gathering. Your Sunday morning experience.

A little more current, a little more edgy, and a little more innovative than the classics.

So here you go, 50 Innovative Phrases for Responding During the Sermon: 

1. Run that back

2. Hello!

3. Retweet

4. Hashtag it

5. Let em know

6. Jackpot

7. I know you didn’t (said like “I know you diiiiinnntttt”)

8. More of that

9. Go ahead

10. Bring it strong

11. Come on/Come on sir (or ma’am)

12. Bet you won’t

13. Double down

14.There it is

15. Take it

16. Buckets (or Bottoms)

17. Turn it up

18. Boom

19. Yahtzee

20. That’s Butter

21. Bingo

22. Hook. Line. Sinker.

23. So great/So good/That’s great/That’s good

24. Getchya some!

25. Bring it

26. Go ahead

27. Right on

28. That’s good pastor (or “great” inserted for “good”)

29. Hit em with it

30. Money

31. Double tap 

32. Burning/On Fire/Fire Alert/Coming in hot

33. Land that plane

34. Feed me/I’m Hungry

35. Worth a clap

36. Preach

37. Truth

38. Onions

39. Here we go

40. On point

41. Game over

42. You meddlin

43. Swish/Buckets

44. Right swipe that

45. Ride that bus

46. That dog will hunt

47. Put that on a plate and split it

48. Woooooo00

49. Whistle (literally just whistling!)

50. Uh huh or Uh oh 0r ah ha

** and a bonus- “Crickets”

 

How about you? What phrases would you add to the list? 

Young Influencers List, January edition

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

1. Liz Bohannon- Portland based founder of Sseko Designs, an ethical fashion brand that works to educate and empower women.

2. Brady Toops- Nashville based singer, songwriter and worship leader. Check out his Free EP.

3. Sofia Dickens- West coast correspondent for Hollywood Heat on TruTV, and former host of Channel One news.

4. Joshua GagnonNew England based communicator, leader and pastor of Next Level Church.

5. Kathleen ShannonOklahoma City based storyteller, designer, creator, blogger, and founder of Braid Creative.

6. Zakiya JacksonGrand Rapids based speaker, author, board advisor for CCDA, and currently writer with DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative and Collected Young Minds.

7. Chris Hogan- speaker, entrepreneur, thought leader and chief strategist for Retirement, Business and Leadership for Dave Ramsey.