Young Influencers List, August edition

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

1. Britt Nilsson- former bachelorette, aspiring actress, and World Vision sponsor advocate and spokesperson.

2. Todd Adkins- director of Leadership at LifeWay, co-host of the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and keeper of Ministry Grid.

3. Drew Bodine- worship leader at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas.

4. Eric Brown and Taylor Jones- co-founders of Whiteboard, an interactive branding agency in Chattanooga.

5. Annie Brooks- Colorado based photog, artist and creative designer, and the other part of the duo of Brumley and Wells wedding photography.

6. Lance Villio- Nashville based executive director of Q Ideas.

7. Rich Perezpastor of Christ Crucified Fellowship in NYC.

20 Dumb Things Organizations do

in leadership,Leadership Rules,Next Generation Leadership. No Comments

As leaders, we always are trying our best to create momentum, good morale, team spirit, vision and an overall spirit of enthusiasm on our teams and in our offices.

Here are a few small things that have the potential to kill the company morale quickly:

1. bad tissue in the bathrooms- no one wants the equivalent of sandpaper at the office. invest in the good stuff.

2. charging for coffee- seriously. a bad decision all the way around. and while I’m at it, most companies should quit charging for snacks. Spend a couple hundred bucks to create a free snack bin.

3. standardized approach to your office or cube- let your team add some flare to their area. please.

4. Bad art (or no art) on the walls- I love Successories, but come on, let’s shoot for some actual real art on the walls, not just cheesy leadership posters made for the dentist waiting room or elementary school principal’s offices.

5. a faulty copier or printer- I think there is an international conspiracy to make all copiers bad.

6. Bad furniture- especially uncomfortable chairs. or desks that belong in a junkyard. And please get rid of the fake trees!!

7. technology issues- computer issues, incompetent IT people, and slow responses will cripple your team. Invest here or else.

8. public recognition that is incorrect- make sure you know who actually did a great job before handing out the kudos at the company picnic or staff meeting to the wrong person. this is a total demotivator.

9. a new policy every week- whether it is expense reports, insurance, office furniture, parking, kitchen etiquette, IT, pets, pranks, profits, spouses, travel, meals, hiring, firing, vacation, talking, sleeping, phones, dating, child care, meetings, conference rooms, dish policy, management, health care, reporting, new forms, recycling, etc., etc. etc. Change is good, but can quickly overwhelm the system. Constant change can be incredibly draining.

10. fun Police- there is one in every company, and their entire reason for living is to make you feel guilty for any kind of fun in the office. Punch them directly in the throat. Just kidding, sort of. And of course the IT/Tech guy who blocks every helpful internet download or interesting website is a real joy to have around.

11. Reserved parking spaces- my thoughts here always lead back to the movie Office Space. Reserve spaces for guests and customers, but give up on the reserved spot for the employee of the month.

12. Reality Deprivation- especially by those in charge. Lack of objectivity and proper perspective can lead to really bad decisions, and ultimately, keeping really bad policies and bad objectives in place because of complete unawareness of reality. Many times ignoring reality can lead to drastic issues, and potentially a sharp decline in a thriving core business because of lack of self awareness.

13. too many meetings- if you are an executive or team leader, this is usually your fault, because you feel like you need to schedule meetings in order to seem busy. Stop it. When in doubt, don’t meet. Just execute. Don’t talk more about it. Just get it done. No one needs more meetings. No one.

14. unmet promises- i’m guilty of this one. I admit it. and it is a morale killer. Leaders- don’t throw out promises you can’t keep because you feel like the leadership moment demands it. Hold your tongue, or be prepared to deliver.

15. Unnecessary Dress codes- This one creates more water cooler talk than maybe anything else. If you can be casual, then just be casual.

16. Punishing all for the sake of one- another one I’ve been guilty of before. Instead of confronting one person regarding an issue, a whole new company policy or nasty email is created or sent geared towards the whole team but everyone on the team knows its meant for only one person.

17. Catering to the Brown nosers- this happens all the time. And usually everyone is aware of who the brown nosers are except the boss. This drives get it done type leaders crazy.

18. A reward that doesn’t fit the accomplishment- You just brought in a $100,000 client… here’s a $50 gift card to Applebees. Or you save the company $75,000 in expenses… thanks for the new mousepad and 2 free movie tickets.

19. Sending an official printed “memo” to all staff as a reprimand- Really??

20. Inviting feedback but then punishing those who give it- this happens way more often than it should. In an attempt to have an “open door” policy as an organization, a survey is sent or a question is raised in a staff meeting. And of course someone speaks up, but then that person is relegated to the “bad list.” Don’t punish the messenger, or reward them. Just be willing to listen to them.


What would you add to the list?

Avoiding a BIG land mine for Leaders

in leadership,Leadership Rules,Next Generation Leadership. No Comments

Leaders: Who are you accountable to?

1. Who speaks truth into your life? Your spouse? Your best friend? Your boss? Your co-workers? Your small group?

2. Who has the right to honestly tell you when you are wrong, and make sure you stay in touch with reality?

3. Who is asking you the difficult questions that everyone else around you may be thinking but don’t want to bring up?

4. Do you have someone, or a group of people, who will challenge you, tell you when you are wrong, confront you on the tough issues, and make your aware of areas where you might be missing the mark?

If not, figure this out. Quick. If you are surrounded by only yes people, you’re probably unaware of things that could be jeopardizing your leadership. This is a major land mine for leaders.

We all have dysfunctions. Every leader does. But our healthy response to our own dysfunctions depends on how much we let others “in” and give them full access to pushing back and kicking us in the tail if we are off base.

For many leaders, the greatest threat to our influence right now is our tendency to read our own press clippings, and continually put a “wall” up around us that protects us from any kind of honest feedback.

Don’t do this. Avoid the temptation to “remove” yourself from healthy accountability. Refuse the impulse to start surrounding yourself with people who are there only to protect you from reality. Insulation itself is not bad, but too much of it will allow reality deprivation to set in, which can be costly.

We need people around us who will tell us what we don’t want to hear, when we don’t want to hear it. Identify these people in your life, and give them full access to keeping you in check.

So, my question to you…. who is this in your life?

Young Influencers List, July edition

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

1. Allen and Ayaka Lu- San Francisco based founders of social enterprise Lev Made, and also most recently Allen produced the well known documentary Linsanity featuring NBA player Jeremy Lin.

2. d’Artagnan Crockett- RIO bound bronze medalist Olympic athlete, & world champion Judo wrestler, and amazing story of overcoming many obstacles, including losing his sight.

3. Harrison Conley- executive pastor of Cottonwood Church in LA.

4. Chad Cannon- Nashville based strategist and former VP of marketing at Thomas Nelson, and now founder of Chadwick Cannon Agency, a full service digital marketing firm.

5. Jacob Brooks- Colorado based artist and photog, founder of Brumley and Wells, a well respected Wedding Photography brand.

6. Will Bakke- award winning filmmaker, writer and director of Believe Me, and co-founder and managing partner of Riot Studios.

7. Eden Chen- LA based business, finance and investment guru, founder of Fishermen Labs, working on innovative tech and augmented reality futuristic stuff.

13 Key Points on Being an Authentic Leader

Here are 13 points on the importance and practice of being Authentic as a Leader. You might consider these “Authenticity Rules.” And in today’s leadership culture, it’s true that “Authenticity does actually rule.”

Some best practices I’ve found helpful:

1. Be real in all mediums. Digital age makes it easy to be inauthentic. Although we are always “on,” ultimately we can create a fake persona behind a profile on Facebook or a twitter account. It’s easy to live a secondary life and feel like we are someone we aren’t. Have to be authentic across the board.

2. Constantly turn the rocks over in your life and in your leadership. Uncover the areas that need to be made clean. Big things are at stake. It’s exhausting to not be the real you. It’s easier and less work to be who you really are.

3. The more successful you become, the less accessible you are. It’s reality. More people clamor for time with you, but it’s not possible to be available to everyone. Be wise and discerning, but also open to helping where you can. As Andy Stanley says “do for one what you wish you could do for many.”

4. Learn to open up. You can impress people more easily from a distance, so many leaders keep others at arms length. For example, we often prefer digital interaction to life-on-life exchanges. This insulates us and prevents others from uncovering our weaknesses and flaws. But it also reduces our ability to influence others.

5. Ask great questions. Great leaders I know solve problems and create solutions through the questions they ask. Questions many times reflect your values, and give value and dignity to the person you’re asking the question of.

6. Invite direct reports to do a 360 degree review of you on a regular basis. It’s uncomfortable, but also helpful. As Rick Warren has said, “You can’t love people and influence them unless you are close to them. Up close means you can see my warts.”

7. Accept a better standard. The goal of every Christian is to become more like Christ, but often our standard becomes some “great” leader who we admire. When we exalt fellow influencers, we try to dress like them, talk like them, pray like them, tell jokes like them, and achieve like them, it’s dangerous. By emulating them we hope to someday become like them. This never works, and a painful side effect is that deep down we end up feeling like a cheap knock-off.

8. Be interested over interesting. Start with leaning into others and caring about them vs. only worrying about yourself.

9. Be accountable to those who know you best. Know your blind spots in your leadership. We all have areas of weakness. Know what they are and give your team, your family and your friends permission to call you on them. Are you comfortable enough in your leadership that those around you have the freedom to tell you the truth without repercussions?

10. Make more of those around you, and less about yourself. Make others the center of the story. Authentic leaders are servant leaders, and willing to be less in order for others to be more. Authentic leaders seek to serve and understand the power of putting others first. And great leaders attract great people to their team. Like attracts like.

11. Actively build a Support Network. 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 ever think you’ve arrived. 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.

12. Give others permission. Allow your team, your friends, your family and your community to continually have permission for pushing more towards the true you. Asking questions, pushing for clarity, pushing back, disagreeing, confronting, bringing new and different ideas to the table, and ultimately the ability and the freedom to push and pull.

13. Give yourself permission to be who you are. Authenticity requires true honesty, self awareness and a selfless approach to leading. One of the challenges in organizations today is actually creating space for leaders to admit and share their challenges. We need to create community where you can talk about the things you are dealing with without getting arrows in the back. Be willing to share your struggles. Create and find environments where we can deal with things and be honest and real.

Do you have 3 key words to describe your Leadership style?

There are lots of tests, assessments, seminars, conferences, training centers, and workbooks available today that are supposed to help you accurately identify and determine your leadership style. Many of these are very helpful, and very accurate. I’ve taken lots of them.

But someone asked me the other day, “With only three words, describe your leadership style.” And with no hesitation, I immediately knew.

My answer: Hustle, Hungry, Humble.

Those three words have defined my leadership style for the last 20 years. I’ve seen this style manifested in all the different titles, roles, and leadership moments over the last several years.

In fact, those 3 words are so important to me, that my next leadership book is entitled H3 Leadership: Be Humble, Stay Hungry, Always Hustle. Releases on September 22, in about 2 months!

Obviously there is no right answer to the question, but we all must be diligent in defining, refining and living out our leadership style. A phrase that would describe my leadership style over the years: “work hard and play hard.” Whatever we are doing, we give 110% and always want to deliver- an excellent result. Whether working on a brochure, programming, curriculum, or playing basketball or kickball at the office, the goal is to strive to be the best at everything we do. You must have tremendous passion for the work. Another phrase I think describes my style is “calm but intensely focused.” Especially in environments like producing an event where things can be chaotic and multiple decisions have to be made instantly.

I believe this naturally flows out of my leadership style of Humble, Hungry, Hustle. Secondarily, I think the honorable mention runner-up words would be Passion, Excellence, and Execution.

Try three words for yourself- it’s tough, but will help in identifying the areas of your leadership that matter the most, show up most often, and should be put into practice with the most focus and intentionality.