Now is the Time to Reach Out

Okay, this next week is the last full week before Christmas. Time to wrap up those projects, finalize year end plans, and mark some items off the to-do list. While at it, take some time this week to reach out. Make a call or send an email. Text someone. Send a note.

Here are a few ideas:

- call a close friend who lives in another state that you haven't talked to in several months

- send an email to a former employee or work peer who might need some encouragement

- get in touch with an "unreachable" (out of your league) mentor or hero who has greatly inspired or impacted you from afar. Just to say thanks.

- write a note to a coach, teacher or pastor who greatly influenced you during your childhood or teen years.

- call or email your current pastor and tell them how grateful you are for their leadership.

- share with your team a story of impact that happened this past year that will inspire and motivate.

- take a gift to or leave a gift for your neighbor

- reach out to an aunt, uncle, cousin or relative who you haven't talked with in a while. Invite them to your house for Christmas.

- encourage a local civil servant or military member by saying hi and how you are grateful for their service.

Margaret Feinberg new book and special offer

Many of you are probably familiar with my friend Margaret Feinberg. She's a writer, speaker, blogger and author of multiple books. Margaret isn’t just my friend, but she’s a friend of Catalyst.

Plus she's a really good skier, and makes me look lame on the ski slopes!!

Margaret has a new book releasing that I had to share because it’s just too good to keep to myself. It’s called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God  and it releases Christmas Day. In 12 days folks!

If you’ve never read Margaret before, she’s a gifted wordsmith and has a way of painting truths in memorable and beautiful ways. Wonderstruck is no exception.

To date, I believe it’s the best writing she has ever done.

Just listen to this:

“I have a hunch that I’m not the only one who has misplaced the marvel of a life lived with God. Faith invites us into an enchanting journey—one marked by mysteries of divine beauty, holy courage, irrepressible hope, unending love. But in my life, any sense of the splendor of God had faded. I knew I needed God to reveal himself once again to awaken me from my sleep, to disturb me from my slumber. And so I prayed for wonder.”

Well, she has this killer offer going on right now. Currently the book only costs $7.57 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and if you order before Christmas Day, she’s giving 6 EXCLUSIVE GIFTS (worth over $300) to anyone who pre-orders Wonderstruck from their favorite retailer.

Here’s what you get:

1.   Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Presence of God as an eBook  ($9.99 available on Kindle, Nook, iPad and other formats)

2.     Fourteen Days of Wonder Journal eBook ($19.99 as a download)

3.     How to Hold an Unforgettable Retreat eBook (a $29.99 download)

4.     Pursuing God 14-Day Devotional ($12.99 download)

5.     You will be automatically entered to win a brand new Kindle Fire pre-loaded with a suggested retail value of more than $100 worth of books from Worthy ($259.00)

6.     Ten people will randomly be selected to receive a free audio version of Wonderstruck ($9.99)

So purchase the book between now and December 25, and send her team the receipt at wonderstruck@margaretfeinberg.com and they’ll send you access to the gifts. This offer is only valid through the end of the day, December 25th. At that point, this offer is gone.

A great deal, and a great book. This is a book you don’t want to miss!

Weekend wrap up and a few things to know

1. Download FREE song from Johnny Swim. Johnny Swim created a theme song for Catalyst Atlanta 2 weeks ago entitled "MAKE." You can download the free song and watch the video of the "Making of" the song. 2. Purchase the Catalyst Experience Kit. Get all the sessions from Catalyst, including main sessions AND all of the LAB sessions. Plus a myriad of new resources from folks like Andy Stanley, Matt Chandler, Christine Caine, Francis Chan, and others. Also includes the new Catalyst GroupZine curriculum as well as Catalyst Filter. Over $800 in value for $249. Purchase here.

3. We have 3 Catalyst One Days coming up in the next 5 weeks: One Day Seattle this week on Thursday, October 25 (plus Calibrate on Wednesday, October 24); One Day Pennsylvania on Thursday, November 15 (it is sold out, but creating a waiting list for overflow); and One Day Sacramento on Thursday, November 29. You can register here.

4. Watch some great interviews from Catalyst at Catalyst Backstage.

5. New Catalyst podcast features interviews with Andy Stanley and Simon Sinek. Download for FREE here.

6. Check out all the great artists from Catalyst Atlanta here. Including all the worship leaders as well as special guests.

7. Two good leadership articles from Fast Company: How to Make Your Employees Feel Like SuperHeroes, and How Nascar Uses Access to Build the Most Loyal Brand Fans Anywhere.

Young Influencers List, September edition

Here you go, the September edition of the Young Influencers List. You can see all the past episodes and lists here. 1. Nicole Reyes- pastor, teacher, and director of ministries at Oasis Church in LA.

2. Harris III- sought after performer and master illusionist.

3. Matt Maher- songwriter extraordinaire, worship leader, and artist of most recent album The Love in Between (releasing tomorrow!).

4. Annie Downs- Nashville based author, speaker, blogger, and freelance writer.

5. Mali Music- Savannah based Jamaal Pollard, gospel recording artist and musician.

6. Becky Straw- chief adventurist and co-founder of The Adventure Project, helping support social enterprises around the world.

7. Losiah Whittaker- Los Whit Jr. He's really young. Only 6 yrs old, but more influence than most of us.....If you haven't seen this video, you've been hiding under a rock....!


20 Social entrepreneurs you need to know

Check out the work of these social entrepreneurs and innovators. This is NOT a top 20 list, but just 20 friends who I recommend you check out and learn more about their stories and the work of their organizations. They each inspire me! Scott Harrisonfounder of charity: water.

Eugene Chofounder of One Days Wages.

Laura Waters Hinson- director of the movie As We Forgive.

Mike Foster- founder of People of the Second Chance

Jamie Tworkowskifounder of To Write Love on Her Arms.

Tad Agogliafounder of First Response Team of America.

Matt Chambersfounder of Safe World Nexus.

Jonathan Olingerfounder of Discovery the Journey.

Rani Hong- founder of the Tronie Foundation.

Tyler Merrick- founder of Project 7.

Jeff Shinabarger- founder of Plywood People.

Jonathan Golden- founder of Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee.

Hannah Song- president of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK).

Neil Blumenthal- c0-founder of Warby Parker.

Peter Greer- president of Hope International.

Shannon Sedgwick Davis- president of the Bridgeway Foundation.

Blake Mycoskie- founder of TOMS Shoes.

Charles Lee- founder of the Ideation Conference.

Jena Lee Nardella- ex director of Blood:Water Mission.

Kohl Crecelius- co-founder of Krochet Kids Intl.




Transparency is king

Heard a great presentation a couple of weeks ago at Plywood Presents from Neil Blumenthal, one of the co-founders and co-CEO's of Warby Parker. If you're not familiar with Warby Parker, get to know them. They are on the cutting edge of innovation, social entrepreneurship, and the new era of corporate responsibility and culture. They sell designer glasses at an affordable price, mainly online. They adopted a "buy a pair, give a pair" model from the beginning of their company. And they allow you to try glasses on at home, no strings attached, by shipping you up to 5 pairs of glasses, and then you choosing which frames work best. But the thing I love most about Warby Parker is their honesty, transparency and authenticity as an organization.

And one of the main points Neil made in his talk was how important Authenticity is in today's corporate environment. Authenticity is not only expected, it is required. Authenticity rules.

Transparency is king.

Customers expect a great product, but in today's corporate environment, they also expect an honest and transparent company. It's not about hiding stats or trying to bury the numbers in an annual report where no one can find them. As an organization, you are better off to let your customers, your tribe, your fans get to know you, including the things you do well and the areas where you are still learning and growing.

Warby Parker has taken a different approach. Putting transparency and authenticity at the top of the most important list.

They even created a "Making of" their annual report that provides substantial information about the company. Check out the video below.



7 important roles of a Board of Directors

Many of us deal with a board of directors, especially in the non profit arena. I serve on a couple of boards for ministries I am involved with. Being on a board can be a great experience, both for the board member and for the executive director/president. It can also be incredibly frustrating and taxing, especially to the leader in charge of the organization. So thought I would provide a few points here on the role of a board member and overall the role and responsibility of a Board of Directors, specifically as it relates to non profit charities or ministries:

1. Give, get, or get off- give money, go get some money, or get off the bus. You have to help the organization thrive financially.

2. One employee, one customer- sole focus of the board is the role and responsibility of the executive director/president of the organization. Don't mess with the rest of the team. It's not the role of  the board.

3. Health and stability- take care of your executive director and make sure they are healthy and stable. Their sense of well being is your responsibility.

4. Carry the vision-  own the vision of the organization. It can't just be owned by the visionary or founder.

5. Stay in your strengths- make sure the board members are operating in their areas of strength. In their areas of interest and focus. Not just serving on a committee just for the committee's sake.

6. Make connections- leverage your relationship network and folks you know for the good of the organization. Connect your friends, family and business associates.

7. Replace yourself- find other potential board members who can take your place. Succession and legacy are critical.

No to Good, and Yes to Best

"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.

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.

Take the first step

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.

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.

10 Churches under the Radar

Here are a few churches with lots of influence in their communities, and definitely worth checking out in terms of the way they are doing ministry and reaching their cities. But may not be as well known to other leaders around the country. 1. Transformation Church- Indian Land, SC; Derwin Gray

2. Cross Church- Springdale, AR; Ronnie Floyd

3. Renovation Church- Atlanta; Leonce Crump

4. Kingdom Church- Ewing, New Jersey; Dharius Daniels

5. Soul City Church- Chicago; Jarrett and Jeanne Stevens

6. Moment Church- Orange County, CA; Tony Wood

7. The Summit Church- Durham, NC; JD Greear

8. Fellowship Bible Church of Northwest Arkansas- Rogers, AR

9. Higher Dimension Church- Houston; Terrance Johnson

10. Grace Community Church- Clarksville, TN; Chad Rowland

Your Circle(s) of Influence

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.

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?

A Few tips for Catalyst Dallas week

Catalyst Dallas is here! Starting today (Wednesday) through Friday. We're excited to be in Dallas for the 2nd year! A few tips for those of you attending Catalyst Dallas for the first time this year, or maybe it's your 2nd time. Hopefully these are helpful and allow your Catalyst Dallas experience to be the best ever!

1. Arrive early. Especially on Thursday morning. The pre-show starts up at 7 am, so we'll try our best to entertain you while you wait for the doors to open around 8 am.

2. Attend LABS. LAB sessions occur on Wednesday, May 9, and are a great way to dive deeper into practical topics. It is a different ticket and is NOT included in your Main sessions registration, but you can buy a ticket onsite. All of the LAB sessions will be great, and I recommend every session that we've created. But just want to give you a few names of some of the LAB speakers you may not know but we'll want to hear:

Jonathan Merritt; Esther Havens; Jen and Brandon Hatmaker; Herbert Cooper; leadership panel with Jenny White, Jennie Allen and Lauren Chandler; 

3. Bring food with you. Because parking is free, and there is plenty of it at Bent Tree, you'll be able to get to your vehicle no problem at lunch and dinner. So with that in mind, plan to tailgate! Bring the grill, or just an ice chest and some extra food. It's really a pain to drive somewhere for lunch or dinner, so just hang out and soak up the sun! We will also have Chick-fil-A for sale onsite outside, so that is also an option.

4. Attend the evening session on Thursday night. Do not miss Thursday night. Matt Chandler, plus Gungor. It will be a great time. You'll be tempted to go back to the hotel room and turn on the baseball game or Thursday night American Idol results, but stick around.

5. Bring a White Elephant gift! We are asking everyone to bring a White elephant gift (something really cheap) for Friday morning. It will require your "presence" for sure.

6. Meet other leaders. There is an incredible amount of wisdom and influence gathered in one place at one time, so take advantage of the other leaders who are present.

7. No reserved seating. Because there is no reserved seating, you'll want to arrive early. And if you are attending Catalyst with a big group, make sure you bring some 5 x 7 cards or paper (and tape) to be able to tape on the seat so that you'll remember where you are sitting!

8. Sing loud. 3,200 voices of leaders who are passionately worshipping God together is epic. Don't stand (or sit) idly by with arms crossed and lips closed. Join in.

9. Catalyst Backstage- if you can't attend, no worries. Join us on CatalystBackstage starting on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 pm CST, and then on Thursday and Friday mornings at 8:30 am CST. We'll have interviews with speakers, behind the scenes footage, and several live look-ins on some of the sessions.

10. Purchase t-shirts and jackets early at the resource centers. If you plan on buying a t-shirt or jacket, purchase them at the first break. They sell out fast, so don't wait.

11. Bring items to give back and help others. In partnership with CitySquare, we want to serve those less fortunate in the community. We are asking EVERY Catalyst Dallas attendee to bring at least one or two items from the list below.

Donated items & gift cards will be collected in bins just outside the entrance. All Catalyst attendees are asked to bring the following items for donation (new and unopened):     
  •     Jump ropes & balls
  •     Bubbles & side walk chalk
  •     Baby Wipes
  •     Water activity toys--water guns, water balloons, etc.
  •     Mens' and womens' underwear (size: large)
Catalyst attendees are also encouraged to donate a new pair of kids shoes to be distributed at the Convey of Hope outreach in Dallas this Saturday, May 12. Donated shoes can be placed in the collection bins at the main entrance doors of the church. For more information visit dallas.convoyofhope.org

12. Dress casual- jeans or shorts are great, and t-shirts work as well. The key is- Dress comfortable. High's in the lower 80's the rest of the week in Dallas.

13. Bring an extra bag for all the Catalyst swag. There are lots of great partners at Catalyst all around the lobby and outside on the grass. Bring an extra bag to collect all the goodies.

14. Hang out in the Reflective Worship area- allow yourself some time to hang out in the reflective worship area in the Family theatre on Thursday and Friday. Some of us just need a fresh dose of God's provision and goodness, so take advantage of this area.

15. If u tweet, use the hashtag #CATALYST.

16. Purchase the Catalyst Experience Kit. Every year we try and put together the best of the best so you can take the Catalyst Dallas experience home with you. This year is no exception. You can purchase it before you get to the event and then pick it up onsite without having to mess with the lines. I highly recommend this! Includes all kinds of great stuff, including the talks from this event, plus the talks from this past October at Catalyst Atlanta.

17. Engage. Many of us tend to go to leadership gatherings and conferences and never really connect. We get distracted by things going on around us. This year we want you to truly Be Present. Laugh. Listen. Sing. Pray. Engage. Be Present.

A few gadgets every leader needs

We're not necessarily talking know-how, or values, or character traits on this post. This is more about things that are tangible, and help you make ideas happen, and get things done, and manage the chaos and tension of being a leader. So here you go, a few things all leaders should have:

1. a moleskine notebook (or other types, but some type of notebook) to write down your thoughts

2. a Google Reader account that lets you track/read tons of blogs and content feeds

3. Subscriptions to magazines, industry newsletters, newspapers, etc. Fast Company, Neue, Relevant, Leadership, GOOD and Fortune are a few of my favorites.

4. A simple system for getting things done. Recommend you check out Scott Belsky's book Making Ideas Happen and also The Action Method. You can also check out my system for getting things done. Homemade and customized for me, but it works pretty well.

5. Evernote for capturing ideas either on your phone or on your computer. Any time an idea comes up, wherever I am I can capture it on Evernote.

6. A Smart Phone that has camera and video capability for capturing moments, whether a pic or video.

7. A good set of headphones for cranking up the music or blocking out sound. I'm a big fan of Bose headphones. But there are lots out there that are great.

8. Consistent exercise regiment. Work out, run, lift, hike, etc on a regular basis. You have to have energy to lead.

9. A place to think, dream, get away, and refresh. This might be a condo on the beach, or a cabin in the mountains, or a lake close by for water skiing, or a duck blind in the marsh of Arkansas (that's me!). But have somewhere that you can intentionally get away and think/dream without distractions. You don't need to own these places.... Leaders always have friends and connections with folks who are more than willing to let you use them.

10. Contact management system- whether it's Microsoft Outlook, or Salesforce, or your Google account, or an excel spreadsheet, every leader needs a great way to keep up with all their relationships and contacts. My favorite is Outlook.

Faithful to the small things

As Leaders, we live for the moment. The Big moments that are memory makers. The home runs. The winning "touchdown." The deal that launches our organizations or business to the next level. The significant benchmarks in life that define us and shape us. The times that people will talk about for years to come. When the adrenaline is dialed up and we step in. But ultimately, faithfulness looks most like being disciplined and faithful to the small things in life and leadership. The making of a leader takes time, and I believe is revealed and refined through the continual steadfastness in the small things.

Our character, our sense of who we are, is defined by the insignificant points in life when no one is watching, when no one really cares. The times when it doesn't seem to matter. The points where it is difficult to actually finish the project. The pain points when we wonder is this what God has actually called me to do. The moments when it would be okay to cut corners but we stay committed to excellence. This is where the foundation of faithfulness and our character as leaders is created and solidified.

Jesus describes this in Luke 16:10 "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much."

Today, be faithful to the small things.

Back when you were 10 years old....

When you were 10 years old, what were you dreaming about? What did you want to be? What consumed your thoughts? For me, a few things:

1. I wanted to be able to do a cherry picker on a bmx bike.

2. I wanted to beat Seminole in elementary football.

3. I wanted to marry Robyn Repass when we both turned 18.

4. I wanted to fly in an airplane for the first time.

5. I hoped to meet the Fat Boys and get to be in their rap group and sing Human Beat Box and Stick Em with them.

6. I wanted to get over 100K points on Pitfall on Atari. Remember you had to send a picture in of the TV screen showing your point total to become part of the Pitfall Club? That was epic.

7. I wanted to go on long vacation road trips with my family in our brown pimped out customized Scooby Doo like Van. Complete with the paneling on the walls and a refrigerator. I'm not kidding! BAM!

8. I wanted our high school football team to win the State Championship because my dad coached and I knew all the players. We made it to the state finals that year.

9. I wanted to someday be as cool as Ricky Schroeder on Silver Spoons. In the meantime I would just dress like him and have my hair cut like him.

10. I wanted to not be scared of storms. I was petrified of storms- if there were storm clouds in the sky, I would freak. It was horrible. True story.

11. I wanted to be a weatherman. So I could know exactly what was going on with storms and tornadoes. Just like Don Woods. The most famous weatherman ever in Tulsa, OK.

12. I wanted the Cold War between the US and Russia to end. There always seemed to be the threat of Russia invading, just like they did in the movie Red Dawn. Wolverines!

13. I wanted to win the 4th grade free throw shooting contest and the 4th grade spelling bee. Which I did. Proving my well-roundedness.....

14. I wanted to win the Bible Bowl Student competition at the Church of God in Bristow, OK.

The simplicity of being 10.....How about you?

"It's Not Yours" Leadership....You Don't Really Own It anyway

I get asked all the time by young leaders "how do you handle the responsibility of leading something like Catalyst?" Good question. Reality is, anyone who leads a Church, leads a company, leads a community, leads a non-profit ministry, leads a team, or even a family feels and knows the pressure of responsibility. And Responsibility is part of Leadership. Always. You've heard this before....."You're responsible for what happens.....Don't screw up!" Right!!! We hear this all the time from our parents, from our boss, from our boards, from our friends, from our spouses.

So how do I correctly live with the pressure of Responsibility and Leadership? For me it always begins and ends around the issue of stewardship. The whole idea of stewardship relates back to the concept of watching over something for someone else. Taking care of something you don't own. Ultimately, stewardship begins and ends with a very clear understanding of how you view your role, and who owns it.

Are you the owner, or simply the steward for the owner? Is this mine, or am I just taking care of it while the owner is gone? This will help you shape the framework for what correct Biblical stewardship looks like. Whether it's your role in managing your time, your role in cultivating a dream, your role in leading an organization, your role in managing your money, and more.

So here are a few thoughts on Stewardship, and how it relates to leading whatever movement or organization or community or tribe or initiative or project that you've been currently given.

1. Hold things with an open hand, palms down. Picture that one in your mind. Versus the mindset of holding things with a closed fist, palms up.

2. You don't really own it. God does. All of it. This is incredibly freeing, but also dauntingly important.

3. You don't deserve the credit. It's not you. God deserves the credit. All of it.

4. Don't be naive. You are NOT the reason for the mission and vision of the organization or community you are leading. Those who you are serving are. Embrace that one.

5. Be others focused. Always. And not just when it helps you. Creating wins for others is more fun, and ultimately very strategic.

6. Building a movement is not your job. That's the work of God. Your role is to be prepared to lead one if God sees fit. Thanks to my friend Perry Noble for this nugget.

7. You are not the first. And you won't be the last. Others have done this before, and there will be others after you. Understand your role in the generational impact chain.

8. Be an includer, not an excluder. It's more fun to win when others are involved. Collaboration and partnership are crucial to proper stewardship. You want both your staff and those outside of the organization constantly saying "our" not "your." You as the leader must always be saying "we" and not "I."

2nd Level Influence

Had a great conversation the other day about "what really is influence?" Ultimately, what is TRUE Influence? Many folks talk about influence and feel like they have influence because they have followers. Which in essence is true. If people read your blog, listen to you speak, follow you on Twitter, friend you on Facebook, and buy your book, then in essence you are influencing them.

But true influence is about more than just someone listening or reading. It's about action. And it's about change. If I simply buy your book and read a few chapters, but don't put anything into action, are you really influencing me? If I listen to you speak, but make no changes in my life or the way I lead, are you really influencing me? If I follow you on Twitter, but it doesn't change anything for me, are you really influencing me?

True leadership, in my opinion, has to include action. 2nd Level Influence. That notion that I am making a change, am taking action, am putting something into practice, and I will be different because of what you've said to me or what I've read from you. Plus the idea that your influence has exponential impact- through my networks, through all of their networks, and so on. Passed on much farther and wider than just to me. That's true leadership.

Seth Godin has 2nd Level influence with me.

Andy Stanley has 2nd Level influence with me.

Scott Harrison from charity: water has 2nd Level influence with me.

Jeff Shinabarger has 2nd Level influence with me.

Michael Hyatt has 2nd Level influence with me.

Craig Groeschel has 2nd Level influence with me.

Christine Caine has 2nd Level influence with me.

Louie Giglio has 2nd Level influence with me.

There are lots of examples of people who I listen to, but they don't truly influence me. Katie Couric, all Sportscenter anchors, Charles Barkley, most politicians, many pastors, and numerous other "voices" in our culture. There's lots of noise being created, but not alot of action or change. It doesn't mean any of these folks don't have influence, they just aren't influencing me at a 2nd level.

The question is how can you make sure you are a "2nd Level" Influencer with those around you?

Are you a Wiki Leader?

This is a GUEST POST from Tim Elmore, founder and President of Growing Leaders, frequent Catalyst speaker, and the author of numerous books, including Habitudes and Generation iY. 


Imagine it’s 1995 again. Two digital encyclopedias are about to be created. The first is from Microsoft, a stellar company full of smart people and money. They are on top of the world, as they have just launched Windows 95. Their digital encyclopedia will be sold on CD-­‐ROMs and later online. Everyone expects this product to be a hit.

The second will launch in a few years, driven not by a company but by thousands of ordinary people who write and edit articles for fun. The question is: Which of these two products will survive? No one in their right mind would have predicted the second one—but that’s actually what happened. In 2009, Microsoft pulled the plug on Encarta, but Wikipedia continues on as motivated people engage in what they love doing. It continues to last because so many have ownership of the content. Anyone can have a say and everyone is important.

This is a picture of the shift that’s taken place in our culture today. If you don’t get it, you and your leadership will become antiquated and eventually will be irrelevant. When leaders understand this picture I’ve given you, they begin to shift their style of leadership, not their substance, and remain valuable.

The effective leader today isn’t seeking control but connection. They facilitate the best ideas, instead of merely furnish ideas themselves. It isn’t about telling the right answer to those following, but to asking the right question, so that growth can be fostered, but still owned by the follower. Relevant, healthy, effective leaders today are Wiki-­‐Leaders. They understand they’re leading in a whole new world. Let me summarize this Wiki-­‐leader:


YESTERDAY’S LEADER: It’s about control. THE WIKI-LEADER: It's about connection.

YESTERDAY'S LEADER: The leader tells, and the people listen. THE WIKI-LEADER: The people speak, and the leader listens.

YESTERDAY'S LEADER: Power on the part of the leader. THE WIKI-LEADER: Participation on the part of everyone.

YESTERDAY's LEADER: Only the leader owns the vision. THE WIKI-LEADER: Every person owns the vision.

YESTERDAY'S LEADER: The leader commands the information. THE WIKI-LEADER: They're a clearinghouse of information.

YESTERDAY'S LEADER: The leader is a boss. THE WIKI-LEADER: The leader is a broker.

Don’t get me wrong. Today, leaders remain vital to the organization. But they simply guide the ship differently than they did before. As they run point, they continue to maintain the respect of their team—but it’s partially because they don’t demand it. They are secure enough to be a “guide” not a “god.” They hold their leadership with open palms. And when they do, the people often want to give them more influence.

Are you a Wiki-­‐Leader?

One Key to "Social Media" Success

It's pretty simple. Be Generous. We were all taught to share when we were young (many of us never learned), but now it's imperative that we are willing to share in the social influence space.

Influence through sharing. The art of influence through "giving more than receiving".... hmmm. Seems like that has a Biblical ring to it, right??! How about 1 Timothy Chapter 6. How about the Golden Rule. How about Jesus commanding and teaching us that it is better to give than to receive. Obviously, there are differences between being generous and willing to share your money, and being generous and willing to share your influence and platform, but the point is still the same.

The greatest currency within the social media marketplace is generosity. This is undeniable. Those who have the greatest influence within social media channels are the ones willing to put others above yourself.

Remember: Constantly provide value to your tribe. Constantly figure out ways to give resources, purpose, and inspiration to your network. Be willing to share and pass on items of interest from someone else. Give credit to whoever first said it. Not focused on what you're doing, but instead focused on bringing attention to what others are doing.

It's pretty simple. Be Generous.