Look at me when You’re Talking to Me

in leadership,Leadership Rules,Misc. 1 Comment

Because of my role with Catalyst and other organizations, I get the chance quite often to hang with leaders who I really admire. Folks who are high profile and well established. At the top of their industry. Influencers in the truest sense. I’m always honored to be in the room with folks who are well-known and considered experts.

One thing I’ve noticed about those who have “arrived” in terms of influence, and stature, and credibility, is that they are usually the kind of leader who authentically takes an interest in you when you first meet them. They ask good questions, and are genuinely interested in talking with you and learning more about you. They look you in the eyes. They don’t gaze around the room looking for someone else to talk to- they truly engage in conversation with you. Very authentic. Very real. Interested and eye to eye.

Then there’s the “posers.” John Maxwell categorizes these kind of folks as “climbers.” You’ve met them before. So have I. They arrive at any gathering, party, function, or event, and immediately want to see who else is in the room. Especially those who aren’t as “well known.” They are way more interested in climbing than connecting. Talking to you is just simply a step in the right direction to someone else who is way more important.

That really bothers me. And I know I’ve been guilty of doing this before. And that bothers me even more.

So let’s all commit to truly being present in conversations, especially with new folks. Let’s look each other in the eyes. I am reminded today of how important it is to focus on who and what is in front of you. Being present. Whatever environment you are in, it’s way more important to be a concerned connector rather than a conceited climber.

20 Keys for Leading 20-somethings on your Team

Young leaders are the future. They actually are the present as well. Lots of leaders ask me how best to lead the millennial generation, basically those born after 1980. We gather thousands of leaders who fit this category on an annual basis, and most of the Catalyst staff are under the age of 30. I have the privilege to get to hang out with 20-somethings a lot, and I’ve noticed some things very particular to this generation.

I have to admit- I don’t always get this right. As a 100% Gen X’er, my tendency is to lean away from several of these points, and lead how I’ve been led over the years by Boomer and Busters. But I’m working on it….

So with that said, here you go, 20 keys for leading 20-somethings on your team 

1. Give them freedom with their schedule. I’ll admit, this one is tough for me.

2. Provide them projects, not a career. Career is just not the same anymore. They desire options. Just like free agents.

3. Create a family environment. Work, family and social are all intertwined, so make sure the work environment is experiential and family oriented. Everything is connected.

4. Cause is important. Tie in compassion and justice to the “normal.” Causes and opportunities to give back are important.

5. Embrace social media. it’s here to stay.

6. They are more tech savvy than any other generation ever. Technology is the norm. XBOX, iPhones, laptops, iPads are just normal. If you want a response, text first, then call. Or DM first. Or send a Facebook message. Not anti calls though.

7. Lead each person uniquely. Don’t create standards or rules that apply to everyone. Customize your approach. (I’ll admit, this one is difficult too!)

8. Make authenticity and honesty the standard for your corporate culture. Millenials are cynical at their core, and don’t trust someone just because they are in charge.

9. Millenials are not as interested in “climbing the corporate ladder.” But instead more concerned about making a difference and leaving their mark.

10. Give them opportunities early with major responsibility. They don’t want to wait their turn. Want to make a difference now. And will find an outlet for influence and responsibility somewhere else if you don’t give it to them. Empower them early and often.

11. All about the larger win, not the personal small gain. Young leaders in general have an abundance mentality instead of scarcity mentality.

12. Partnering and collaboration are important. Not interested in drawing lines. Collaboration is the new currency, along with generosity.

13. Not about working for a personality. Not interested in laboring long hours to build a temporal kingdom for one person. But will work their guts out for a cause and vision bigger than themselves.

14. Deeply desire mentoring, learning and discipleship. Many older leaders think millenials aren’t interested in generational wisdom transfer. Not true at all. Younger leaders are hungry for mentoring and discipleship, so build it into your organizational environment.

15. Coach them and encourage them. They want to gain wisdom through experience. Come alongside them don’t just tell them what to do.

16. Create opportunities for quality time- individually and corporately. They want to be led by example, and not just by words.

17. Hold them accountable. They want to be held accountable by those who are living it out. Measure them and give them constant feedback.

18. They’ve been exposed to just about everything, so the sky is the limit in their minds. Older leaders have to understand younger leaders have a much broader and global perspective, which makes wowing Millenials much more difficult.

19. Recognize their values, not just their strengths. It ain’t just about the skillz baby. Don’t use them without truly knowing them.

20. Provide a system that creates stability. Clear expectations with the freedom to succeed, and providing stability on the emotional, financial, and organizational side.

 

Young Influencers List, May edition

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

1. Rhett Lashlee- offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the Auburn Tigers.

2. Ben Houston- recent Australian transplant to the city of angels as lead pastor of Hillsong LA.

3. Bethany Haley- co-founder and executive director of Exile International, working in Uganda to transform former child soldiers into community leaders.

4. Greg Jennings- pro bowl wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, formerly with the Green Bay Packers (and Super Bowl Champion).

5. Beth Schmidt- founder and executive director of Wishbone, allowing at risk inner city students to crowd source donors for funding their education; recently on Forbes 30 under 30 list.

6. Lou Yeoh- director of FrogAsia.working to improve education in Malaysia.

7. Jonas Myrin- Grammy winning songwriter and artist from Sweden.

How Wide is Your Circle of Influence?

in leadership,Leadership Rules. 1 Comment

The impact of our influence many times is determined by the circles or spheres of our influence. Our circles of influence can be intentional or unintentional; they can be private or public, and they always have a unique and very specific engagement model.

Not sure how scientific my different levels are below, but at least they get the conversation started. And give us a context for how to think and plan regarding our different levels of influence. In Greek, the word for sphere of influence is “oikos.” So think about your Oikos and how you are being strategic in influencing those around you.

One thing is for sure- don’t live in Influence Fantasy Land. If you think you have a much wider circle of influence than you really do, it will create problems for you, your team, and those closest around you. I call this “Influence Imagination.” I know many leaders who have this symptom. They think they are a way bigger deal than they really are, and believe they have way more influence than they really do.

Another thing- wherever you reside, that is your assignment. Don’t feel like you have to move up the ladder of bigger circles in order to be more influential. Be faithful to the circle you’ve been given to steward.

Family, Personal and Social levels of influence exist for most of us. The other levels take intentionality, focus, and determination.

1-10: Family Level: immediate family and/or those you live with.

10-100: Personal Level: friends and c0-workers; those you see on a regular basis- weekly if not daily.

100-500: Social Level: neighbors, business partners, church friends, sports parents, vendors,

500-1000: Influence Level: intentional influence really starts here. you now have followers and those who are listening, reading, or paying attention to what you are saying and doing. This level usually involves a local context. And you still know most of these people, if not all of them, on a personal level.

1000-10,000: Public Level: your influence has gone public at this level. You have a blog, you are a writer, you are influencing people outside of your ability to know them all personally. Most leaders who have aspirations of being a Major influencer end up cresting out at this level.

10,000-50,000: Popular Level: your influence has gone “popular” at this level. Maybe you are the mayor of a city, or you have a widely read blog, or you are a public speaker, or you are a CEO of a well-known organization, or you coach a popular sports team, or the pastor of a megachurch. Leaders at this level of influence get invited to gatherings, move the needle in culture, and have established and built in systems that continue to push their levels of influence up.

50,000-250,000: National Level: at this level, your influence is established. You have the ability to make things happen in a way that most only hope to reach.

250,000- up: International Level: Your influence has a broad appeal and helps shape conversations, moves industry, and is global in reach.

What circle of influence are you currently residing in?

5 Keys to engaging your 20′s somethings on your Team

1. Flexibility with accountability. Every 20 something I know wants to have flexible hours and work schedules, but you can only create this effectively if you have true accountability in place. Results have to accompany convenience, otherwise you’re just creating a perk with no tie back to moving the organization forward.

2. Responsibility with authority. Most of the time we just give responsibility to young leaders, without the authority. Try at all intersections to provide both at the same time. Be smart on this, but make efforts to give the project completely to them with as much authority and decision making power as possible.

3. Family environment. Make your office feel like a home, complete with as close to a living room, kitchen, and den as possible. Community and connectivity is vital for younger leaders, and a great place to provide that is in the office and work environment.

4. Customized Leadership strucutre. Creating a cookie cutter organizational structure and team dynamic tends to turn away younger leaders. All rules don’t apply to all team members, so don’t let an easier approach of blanket rules and staff handbooks that everyone has to follow even though it doesn’t make sense be the foundation of your culture. Every employee and team member wants to be seen as important and crucial to the success of the organization, and small things that seem small to you as the leader will be a big deal to team members.

5. Compelling vision with clear sense of target and win. Make the vision significant and epic. While also defining very clearly what the wins look like. Create a vision that everyone on the team can rally around.

15 Quick Leadership Reminders

1. Be responsible. If you say you are going to take care of it, then take care of it.

2. Be professional. Arrive on time. Actually be early. And be organized.

3. Be the best. Get better every day at what you do.

4. Be humble. Talk less. Listen more.

5. Be proactive. Not reactive. Respond and initiate before being told to or asked to by your boss or peers.

6. Be focused. When it’s time to make it happen, have the discipline to take it across the finish line.

7. Be trustworthy. Your word is your bond. And your reputation. Honesty always trumps. Always.

8. Be optimistic. See the best in people and opportunities.

9. Be curious. Learn constantly. Read everything you can. Ask questions. Add to your information quotient daily.

10. Be passionate. Love what you do. Do what you love.

11. Be present. Wherever you are, be all there. Look people in the eye. Listen. Have empathy.

12. Be hopeful. Create a vision that tomorrow can (and will) be better than today.

13. Be courageous. Step out and take a risk right now. Face fear and lean into it.

14. Be a hustler. Get it done. Work your guts out.

15. Be vulnerable. Authenticity. Let people see the real you. Open up.

New Stuff Wednesday

Here are some new things you need to know about and go get!

1. Take it All – brand new worship album from Passion

2. Diamonds- brand new music album from JohnnySwim

3. Crimson Cord- brand new hip hop/spoken word/rap album from Propaganda

4. You Make Me Brave- brand new worship album from Bethel Music

5. All Sons and Daughters- new worship album from All Sons and Daughters 

6. Home Behind the Sun- brand new book from Jason Locy and Tim Willard

7. Moment Maker- new book from Carlos Whittaker 

8. The Art of Celebration- fairly new worship album from Rend Collective

9. The Worship Initiative, Vol 1- brand new worship album from Shane and Shane

 

Interview with Jason Locy and Tim Willard about Home Behind the Sun

 

I’m excited today to post an interview with two friends, Jason Locy and Tim Willard. Both guys have been involved in the Catalyst community for over 10 years now working on our Catalyst Leadership Groupzine project along with other initiatives.

In 2011 they wrote a book entitled Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society that I said, “every leader needs to read.”

They have a new book out this past week, Home Behind the Sun: Connect with God in the Brilliance of the Everyday, in which they weave personal narrative and experiences into a wonderful topic: beauty in the everyday.

Jason and Tim are long-time and life-long friends and I can’t wait for leaders to read this book and to share it with others.

 

Brad: How should leaders interact with this book?

Jason: We intentionally wrote the book to be an introspective read and then added a discussion guide so that growing and learning could happen first individually and then in community. That way the applications are contextualized based on your environment and past experiences.

We think leaders grow by being around other people in deep conversations. So what we wanted to do was to give you, the leader-reader, deep conversation rather than a book of “how-tos” and bullet points.

Tim: We wanted to give the leader a book that didn’t explain how to do something, like confront unforgiveness in their heart, but a resource that would actually speak to that specific felt need. Our good friend Adam pastors a church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and he is going through the book with his staff. His comment was: “This book doesn’t tell me how to grow closer to God, it actually helps me do that.”

That blew us away, but we’re finding that’s how leaders are using it.

Click here for a sample of the Discussion Guide

 

Brad: Home Behind The Sun seems like a book that would be great for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to sit down and read an entire book. They could just pick it up and read any given chapter and still receive a timely message. Was this intentional?

Tim: Absolutely. Our favorite books are the ones we return to often. And that’s what we wanted this one to be. Much of the book is broken up into personal narratives regarding the brilliance in the everyday grind of work, relationships, parenting–even in despair and tragedy. We know time is precious to folks and we thought offering a book that didn’t carry the pressure of working through the entire thing would be a welcome change for readers, especially ministry leaders who are inundated with books they’re told to read.

Jason: Yeah, Tim and I get it. I have a 9-to-5 job and Tim’s studying for his doctorate. We understand that time slips away easily. With Home Behind the Sun, you can pick it up with a morning cup of coffee or evening tea and read a bit, and think on it using the discussion guide in the back of the book.

 

Brad: In the book, you talk a lot about your roles as fathers and husbands. How will this book impact men of faith like yourselves?

Jason: Hopefully it will hit them over the head and knock them down. Ha. I guess I’m only half-kidding. But seriously, we’re passionate for men to come away a good challenge. After reading they might say, “Wow, my view of masculinity is based on sitcom realities. But these guys (Tim and I) are presenting manhood in a different way.”

Because of the way its written, because its written by two guys, because it peppers in experiences with our own sons and daughters, we think it will start to reclaim men’s imaginations on what it looks like to be a dad, a husband, a friend, and a man.

Tim: But even though it’s written by two men, and men will learn from it by our experiences, it wasn’t written specifically for men at all. In fact, we look into the beauty of innocence, the complexity and need for deep relationships and universal topics like that that aren’t specific to men. So we think there’s something for men and women to wrestle with and even enjoy.

 

Brad: What do you hope leaders will get out the book?

Tim: I really hope leaders will find this book to be an aid to their spiritual refreshment. I think so often the “leader type books” are the ones that explain how to do something. I hope the leader will see this book as one he or she can sit with in the quiet of their homes or apartments and allow the thoughts to minister to their hearts.

So often we don’t know we’ve been running a hundred miles an hour until we sit and listen. Sometimes it’s a song, other times it’s a friend speaking truth to us. I hope this book can be kind of both–a song of encouragement and encouragement from to brothers-in-Christ.

Jason: I would agree with Tim, but also add that I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and ministry leaders and so often I hear about burnout and tiredness and priorities out of whack. We’ve all been there, and for me, this book is a pause and a reminder, that we are leaders who possess the glory of Christ within us. And when we come to terms with that truth, it will affect our spiritual lives for sure, but it will also impact the way we lead others. At the end of the day I hope leaders receive refreshment as they flip the pages and plenty of great conversation with friends as they work through what they are reading.