Questions to ask for reviewing 2012

I posted this last year, but wanted to go back to it as a very practical resource/application for the end of the year. It's important we take time as leaders to reflect and look back over the last 12 months, as well as looking forward to the next 12 months and beyond. Year End Review Questions:

1. What are the 2-3 themes that personally defined 2012 for me?

2. What people, books, accomplishments, or special moments created highlights in 2012?

3. Give yourself a grade from 1-10 in the following areas of focus for 2012: vocationally, spiritually, family, relationally, emotionally, financially, physically, recreationally.

4. What am i working on that is BIG for 2013 and beyond?

5. As I move into 2013, is a majority of my energy being spent on things that drain me or things that energize me?

6. How am I preparing for 10 years from now? 20 years from now?

7. What 2-3 things have I been putting off that I need to execute on before the end of the year?

8. Is my family closer at the end of this year? Am I a better friend at the end of this year? If not, what needs to change immediately?

A sit down exclusive conversation with Mark Driscoll

My friend Mark Driscoll has a new book out entitled Who Do You Think You Are?   I recommend you check it out. It's practical, real, challenging, and helpful. The new book officially releases on January 8, but you can actually purchase now.

Plus, you can win a copy of the book by tweeting quotes from the website here.

You can also enter to win a signed copy here.

Watch my interview with Mark regarding the new book Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in Christ below


Be a Finisher

I love leaders who execute. Leaders who get it done.

Leaders who can take a project across the finish line.

When it comes to hiring new employees, no other characteristic is more important than someone who can finish. It is the #1 trait related to work ethic that I look for in a new hire.

Anyone can come up with a new idea, a new concept, a new pithy word, a new organization, or a new perspective. What ultimately matters is whether you can take an idea from concept to completion. And to do that, you have to have finishers on your team. The folks who are intrinsically wired to make things happen, and bulldog their way to the finish line. They find joy in checking things off the list. But not just a task machine. Anyone can take an order and then go complete it. What matters is whether you can carry the ball all the way down the field and cross the finish line.

Take a moment and think about who that is on your team. If you don't have someone in this role, go find them immediately. This is incredibly important if you are the leader- you have to have someone on your team in whom you have ultimate confidence that if you hand them a project, they will get it done... and without your constant management of them. The answer can't constantly be "we're still working on it....". That is an excuse for either being lazy or unfocused. You're either moving forward or backwards.

For our team here at Catalyst, it is imperative that everyone plays the finisher role. Now some have to more than others, but no one can only be the "idea" person. Everyone is required to execute and own projects from start to finish. It's a non-negotiable. We take incredible pride in being able to take a concept and turn it into a finished project. This is a distinctive part of our culture here. We're serious about it. It's part of our DNA.

Be a finisher.

Create a Great Experience

It's been a while since I last read Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore's book The Experience Economy. If you haven't read this book, trust me. Go buy it and start reading it right now. If you have a product or service that you offer (we all do, whether in business, church, entrepreneur, or the non profit arena), it is imperative that you grasp the context of the Experience Economy. I am reminded of it because in a conversation recently someone asked me how I would recommend they keep their product from becoming a commodity. From just being lumped in with all the other similar products in their space, and being seen as just an option instead of the only option, the best option, and the option that is always recommended. Where price determines what the consumer chooses vs. other factors like emotionconnection, and memories.

In the book, Pine and Gilmore lay out the four levels of economic value : commoditiesgoodsservices, and experiences. Progression happens by moving from commodity to experience. Think about coffee. Coffee beans are a commodity, ground coffee is a good, a cup of coffee at dinner is a service, and a latte at a trendy cafe in Manhattan is an experience.

Or about birthday parties for kids- a cake is a commodity, a customized cake is a good, a birthday party with friends is a service, and a full fledged laser tag birthday celebration is an experience. Think about Apple stores. Disney World. You get the point.

The question is how are you creating an experience with the product or service that you offer? How are you allowing your customer to be so engaged with your product that they connect emotionally? Does your product or service creates memories for your customer? Do they want to tell their friends? Is your tribe willing to purchase or buy from you above all others?

There is also a fifth level of economic value, which is transformation. Incredibly hard to reach this level, but our goal should be to get there. Which correlates to our personal and spiritual lives, where transformation and being conformed to the image of Christ should be our goal.

Why Risk it Now?

Stepping out. Risking. Taking a chance. It's what we do as leaders. So why risk? Why do we as leaders step out and move into places of the "unknown" when we are in a comfortable niche and established as the dominant force?

Why change if things are going great for you?

Great question. So why do we risk and take courage as leaders? Had to think about my answer. Six things stood out to me on the whole issue of taking a risk:

1. Entrepreneurs and Type A Leaders are never satisfied with the status quo and the "comfortable" niche. They can't stand to sit still. Their DNA won't allow it.

2. Stewardship- because what you are running or leading is temporary, and your responsibility is to steward it correctly because others are counting on you. If this requires changing or risking, then you need to step out and continue to push the envelope with what God has given you.

3. Adventure and the power of the pioneer- many of us are wired to be pioneers. To go on an adventure. Pure and simple. The journey into the unknown actually beckons us.

4. Due diligence suggests it's actually time to move- do your homework, research, talk to people, and take very seriously the idea that you are risking. It's dumb to step out and change/take a risk if you haven't properly prepared and surveyed the landscape. But once you've done your homework and prepared, then go for it. Many people stifle the actual desire to step out because they spent too much time on due diligence. Risking and stepping out can be calculated, planned and strategic.

5. The power of purpose and calling- it God has called you to something in a new season, then you have to be willing to chase after it. Because of the internal pull of God's call. It's a responsibility and an imperative.

6. Leaders are out in front. Being at the head of the pack means you many times end up in the unknown. Where there's no handbook, no guide, no roadmap. But being out in front is where leaders are comfortable, and out front is where leaders separate themselves from the rest.

3 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." I had to think about that one. Tough question.

My answer: passion, excellence, execute.

Obviously there is no right answer to that question, but those were the first three words that came to mind. I've seen this style manifested in all the different places over the last several years where I've had a leadership role.

A phrase that would describe our culture here at Catalyst that we use all the time: "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 our office, we strive to be the best at everything we do. We 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. Not sure if it is "in style" or not, but that's my style.

Try three words for yourself- it's tough, but will help in identifying the areas of your leadership that matter the most and show up most often.

7 Keys I've learned about Calling

I'm sharing today at the Identity Conference in Orange County CA at Saddleback Church on the topic of identity and calling. So thought I would share my points from the talk here as well. Hope it's helpful!

1. The essence of calling is "Where my greatest strengths and deepest passions intersect."

- Talent and passion, that is the core.

- Calling today is more seasonal, projects instead of a career.

- Two callings on your life- salvation and vocation- no excuses in today's culture for doing something you hate or you are not good at.

2. Discovering your calling may be right in front of you.

- We tend to make vocational calling mysterious and spooky. It shouldn't be.

- Look at your childhood.

- Write it down. My own calling- influence influencers, connect equip and inspire. Saw it early and embraced it.

- Find someone who embodies your calling and learn from them. Your calling SAGE, your calling CLONE.

- take tests to discover your strengths and passions.

3. Very Business, very Bible- V2

- we are ALL called to this.

- as Kingdom entrepreneurs, as corporate leaders, as social innovators, as those who love Jesus and find ourselves on Monday in an office, or a cube, or a boardroom, we have a responsibility.

- we must see ourselves as Pastors. as Kingdom ambassadors in the corporate arena.

4. Excellence- pursue it in every area, starting now. 

- Be GREAT at what you do in your work and vocation.

- Excellence is not just expected, it's required. It's an obligation.

- Excellence starts with you. As the leader you have to model this.

- We serve a God who is great. We should be too.

- Hold yourself to a standard of excellence in every area of life. He who is faithful with little will be faithful with much.

5. Become an expert now. 

- Live and lead and act and create based on the job or role you want next. This is way more demanding!!

- Become an expert NOW, even before you need to be. That way when it's your turn to come off the bench you are ready. When you are asked for your opinion or involvement, give it or do it.

- Demand perfection from yourself before anyone ever demands it of you. You should reach for perfection without being asked. Don't wait for an organization to expect if from you. Expect the best from yourself.

- Experience creates expertise. Obvious, but we too often forget. See yourself as the expert.

- Kill it in the Now. Hustle!!! Humble and Hungry, not arrogant and entitled.

6. Own a vision bigger than what is in front of you. 

- Have a vision and hunger for something bigger. Have a global vision for what's next.

- See where you want to be next. Act like you are already there.

- Managers work on things that are right in front of them. Leaders work on things that are bigger than that. Leaders see further than just what is right in front of them. Looking over the next hill and responding to the work in front of them, but also inventing the future.

- Leaders invent the future, and don't just respond to the present. Leaders initiate.

- Our sense of calling should be like an unfolding epic adventure. Have an expectation for the amazing. For what's next.

7. Ultimately, and always, more like Jesus.

- this is our ultimate call and goal- to be more like Christ. Our identity is rooted in Him.

- Identity and calling is ultimately more about who you are, than necessarily what you do.

- The making of a leader is about the process. The process of living out your calling takes time. It's the mundane and ordinary and insignificant where your calling is rooted.

A Job vs a Responsibility. Which do you have?

I recently re-read Jim Collin's book How the Mighty Fall. A must read for any leader. A must read for any employee. I highly recommend it. Collins lays out five principles for why the mighty fall, based on research done by his amazing team in their Boulder, CO research "bunker." His second principle on why the mighty fall is "the undisciplined pursuit of more." In this chapter, he talks at length about making sure you have the right people on your team, which is crucial to making sure you are staying on track and disciplined as an organization.

As he writes, "any exceptional enterprise depends first and foremost upon having self-managed and self-motivated people- the #1 ingredient for a culture of discipline.... If you have the right people, who accept responsibility, you don't need to have a lot of senseless rules and mindless bureaucracy..... When bureaucratic roles erode an ethic of freedom and responsibility within a framework of core values and demanding standards, you've become infected with the disease of mediocrity."

Wow. The right people on the team vs. the wrong people on the team. And as Collins states, a notable distinction between the wrong person and the right person is the way they view their role in the organization. The wrong person sees their role as a "job," while the right person sees their role as a set of "responsibilities." It is not about your job title, but more about your personal sense of ownership, buy in, discipline, and stewardship of responsibility.

What you hope that your team members are saying is "I'm the one person ultimately responsible for X and Y. When I look to the left, to the right, to the front, and to the back, there is no one ultimately responsible but me. And I accept that responsibility."

This is what you want your key people saying. A crucial ingredient to creating a culture of discipline within your organization.

Leaders must Slow Down when things Speed Up

I've watched the great athletes over the years in times of great intensity go to their "zone" where everything seems to be in slow motion. In watching interviews and hearing them speak about these great moments, whether it's a 9th inning home run, or 50 yard touchdown pass as time expires, or game winning goal in the last seconds of game 7 of the Stanley Cup, they talk about things slowing down in their mind. Even though there may be chaos and bedlam going on around them, they are, as Stuart Scott says, "cool as the other side of the pillow." Same thing with Golfers- Everyone from Phil Mickelson to Tiger Woods always seem more precise and take much more time when the pressure is on, vs the natural tendency to want to speed everything up and get through it.

Heroes like first responders or Emergency Room doctors would probably attest to the same thing. When things are chaotic and out of control, their response is to slow things down.

So what do we do as leaders during times of great intensity, pressure, or the final hour? A couple of thoughts:

1. always over-communicate, and make sure things are clear. 

2. speak clearly, breathe deeply, and move purposefully. 

3. be methodical and calm, not intense and short.

4. list out the priorities so as to not be overwhelmed by the small things that seem to be incredibly urgent, but really aren't.

5. Seek out quiet moments for prayer, reflection and thinking. During times of pressure, that is when we need those quiet moments the most.

6. stay focusedresist the urge to let things slip or just settle for something average because of the pressure to get it done. Keep your standards and levels of excellence at their highest- don't compromise.

We vs. Me

As leaders, we naturally have a tendency to make it about "me." As the leader, you're probably putting in the most time, the most resources, the most energy, and risking way more than anyone else. But, ultimately, it's not about you. It's about the mission. It's about the impact. And it's about your team.

It's not just you on your team. There's a team. Besides you. Other incredibly important staff crucial to the success of you accomplishing your mission and vision as an organization.

So next time someone says "How have you all accomplished all of this?..." or "What do you plan to accomplish the rest of this year?...." or "Who is involved in making things happen within your organization?..." "Or talk about the keys to success for you?...." Or "Man you all are killing it. Congratulations on all the success." Make sure you start your answer with "WE" or "US" or "OUR."

Not "ME" or "I" or "MY."

It's easy for us to get comfortable with the notion that "I'm" the reason for the success, or because of "my" willingness to stay late, or that new business deal is because of "me."

But even if it is, honor your team by choosing WE vs. ME, and US vs I.

You can do more together than on your own.

Leaders are defined by the insignificant

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." Be faithful to the small things.

Perseverance is crucial to being a disciplined leader. Staying true to the process. There is beauty in the process, and we are shaped by the journey. The process defines us. No overnight transformation. No shortcuts. It takes years to be shaped into the leader God has called you to be. The nitty gritty daily grind of walking steadfastly in the mundane and ordinary that shapes the extraordinary. Great leaders are always growing, learning & moving forward. It's a journey, not a destination.

Effective leaders never stop growing and getting better. They are curious, committed, and coachable. Always a student and desperate to learn. And committed to making the small things, the seemingly insignificant projects and assignments that no one seems to care about, the best they can possibly be. Stay committed to the insignificant!

10 New Books worth buying

1. Deep and Wide- by Andy Stanley 2. Unleash!- Perry Noble

3. Undaunted- Christine Caine

4. Glorious Ruin- Tullian Tchividjian

5. The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth- John Maxwell

6. Unglued- Lysa TerKeurst

7. Multiply- Francis Chan (not available until November 1)

8. Greater- Steven Furtick

9. Creature of the Word: The Jesus Centered Church- Matt Chandler

10. Soul Detox- Craig Groeschel

Bonus: The White Umbrella: Walking with Survivors of Sex Trafficking by Mary Frances Bowley

7 Ways to Empower Your Team

Leaders: one of the key things you must ALWAYS do is empower your team. As I've learned over the years, most leaders at their core are control freaks, which is part of the reason they are successful. But we all must learn and recognize the need to empower those around us to succeed and do what they do well. Most leaders think they can do it all on their own, and many try, but ultimately in order to grow a successful organization that outlives you, as the leader, you have to empower those around you. Here are a few thoughts on Empowering your Team:

1. Give them the opportunity to make decisions, and don't second guess them. A lot of us as leaders are willing to allow our team members to make decisions, but want to step in as soon as we see something done differently than we would do. Don't make that mistake. It is totally demoralizing to your team. I know from experience!!

2. Assign them responsibility by them owning key projects from START to FINISH. So once we allow team members to make key decisions, now we have to allow them to own projects and feel the responsibility of completion.

3. Fight for them. Whether it's standing up for them to your boss, or standing beside them and supporting them in a disagreement with a vendor, always take the stance of fighting for them and being willing to go to battle for them.

4. Encourage them. This is the one we so often forget. I know I do. I tend to keep pushing without stopping to say thanks. But encouragement can go the furthest in creating team chemistry, longevity, and commitment. Reward them with small gifts, extra unexpected bonuses, cards, etc.

5. Counsel, coach and instruct. Not necessarily the same as encouragement. Great coaches do this well. They scream at you and make you better, while also putting their arm around you and giving you "ego biscuits" when needed. Two different parts of empowering, but both equally important. Instruction is key for releasing again and again, and assigning more responsibility.

6. Overwhelm them. Not on a continual basis, but ultimately your team members should constantly feel a bit overwhelmed by the projects or assignments they are working on, not underwhelmed. Many of their projects should cause them to feel like they are not prepared or ready. If they feel underwhelmed, they will probably end up looking elsewhere for greater assignments and more responsibility.

7. Give them permission. Permission to take risks, represent your organization to others, take on responsibility and stewardship, and many other things. But ultimately give them permission to push back. Give them permission to call you out as the leader (appropriately, of course). Give them permission to argue and fight for their idea, even when it looks like it's directly competing with your idea as the leader. Permission to push back. This does wonders.

New Interview with John Maxwell & FREE webcast

Listen to my recent interview with John Maxwell, best selling author and leadership guru, on the latest edition of the Catalyst Podcast. We talk about his latest book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential. You can listen HERE. You can also enter to win a copy of John's new book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by leaving a comment below with your name and address and a short explanation on why you should receive the book. I'll pick the winners TODAY, so leave a comment by 7 pm EST.

Also, don't miss the FREE webcast tomorrow. John will be teaching on the 15 Laws of Growth Tomorrow (Tuesday), October 9th. It's a free webcast from 7:30 - 9:00 pm EST and you can register here. You will also be able to access the webcast for 30 days on demand, so go ahead and register for FREE to participate even if you can't watch LIVE.

If you live in the Atlanta area, you can attend the webcast LIVE tomorrow at 12 Stone Church in Lawrenceville from 10 am - 11:30 am. More info here.

Will someone PLEASE LEAD us?

Our United States Senate and House of Representatives adjourned on Friday of last week for what many are saying is the least effective congressional session ever. Not really something for our elected officials to write home about and be proud of. They are taking the next 7 weeks "off" to go and hit the campaign trail, instead of dealing with pressing issues waiting to be resolved and decisions that need to be made right now.

The recent approval rating for this Congressional session was the lowest EVER recorded. Not something to write home about or be proud of.

I don't know about you, but I'm fed up with this. I've lost total confidence in our elected officials to actually LEAD. It's frustrating. I'm trying to maintain a positive outlook and provide solutions rather than just gripe about the problems, but I'm not sure what the answer is. Everyone is dug in deep to their trench of political persuasion and not willing to compromise or collaborate. The 112th Congress seems to be best known for monumental procrastination.

As I think about what is happening right now, there are several things going on in Congress that seem to be a mirror of consistent momentum killers in any kind of organization or team environment, across all industries.

So here you go, examples of NOT LEADING and killing momentum would be the following:

1. Pointing fingers.

2. Blaming others.

3. Wrong priorities. Sideways energy on this one.

4. Making decisions based on whoever pays you the most.

5. Making decisions based on whoever screams the loudest.

6. Counting on someone else to make a decision, other than yourself.

7. Allowing bureaucracy to be an excuse for getting nothing done.

8. Putting your own personal goals ahead of the team, or the greater cause at play. In this case, the good of the country takes a backseat to you keeping your Senate or House seat.

9. Putting things off so that someone else will have to fix them later. Congress did convene last week to basically put a short term plan in place to avoid a complete government shutdown. Ridiculous.

10. Arguing constantly, vs listening and looking to create collaboration and areas of common ground.

What other things have you seen being acted out that remind you of how NOT to LEAD? 

8 Key Leadership Qualities of Joseph

Joseph is one of my favorite personalities in the Old Testament. The story of Joseph in Genesis is one worth reading again and again. In regards to Joseph, here are some leadership qualities I admire in him:

1. Principled- he had character and integrity. He was honest. He was tempted at multiple times, and he resisted.

2. Humble- the power and prestige of his position working for Pharaoh never changed him.

3. Disciplined- Joseph had the proper long term perspective, even while in jail for a crime he didn't commit.

4. Faithfulness- while in jail and throughout all of the turmoil, Joseph remained faithful to God and never wavered from his commitment to follow Him.

5. Grace- Joseph showed grace and mercy to his brothers, even though they had sold him into slavery.

6. Competence- he did his job with excellence. Whether as a servant, or the interpreter of Pharaoh's dream, or as the manager of the family sheep flock.

7. Wise- Joseph was wise beyond his years. He was 30 when he stepped in to help set up Egypt for the famine, and demonstrated a seasoned perspective with decision after decision.

8. Strategic- Joseph was a planner. He instructed the officials to prepare for a famine, even though it was years away, gathering up food to store up, even during the seven years of "plenty."


12 Keys to Authentic Leadership

Here are 12 points on the importance and practice of being Authentic as a leader. Authenticity rules. 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.

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. Authentic leaders make more of those around them, and less about themselves. They 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. Be who you are. Authenticity requires true honesty, self awareness and a selfless approach to leadingOne 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.


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.

8 Points on great Customer Service

I've worked on some great teams over the past several years, and seen great customer service in action. One of the places I learned the most about great customer service was Lost Valley Ranch, an incredible 4 diamond guest ranch in Colorado. Serving the guests was part of the DNA of the staff. We took great pride in our ability to create a great experience for our guests through unmatched excellent customer service. Here are a few of the ways we did that: 1. Treat someone like you would want to be treated- the Golden Rule. It really does work. And it makes sense. Common sense. Use it.

2. Remember someone's name. Always. Especially when you've met them before or talked with them before.

3. Let your actions speak way louder than your words. Don't just talk about it. Make it happen. Your work can be a great example of your attitude and commitment to service.

4. Anticipate. Stay a step ahead of your clients or guests. Don't wait for them to ask for something. Be proactive. Figure it out before they even need it.

5. Go the extra step. Have a "+1" type of attitude and demeanor. Not just anticipating, but actually doing more than what is expected or required of you. Make memories for your client or guest by wowing them with the "above and beyond."

6. Engage in meaningful conversation. Serving creates opportunity for impact- it builds a bridge. So make sure to connect with your guests or clients through conversation when it's appropriate. Understand who they are by understanding what they read, what they watch, where they travel and what their interests are. If you deal with families, learn their kids names and hobbies. And look them in the eye when talking. Little things add up.

7. Give permission. Make sure your entire staff and everyone in the organization feels empowered to respond immediately to a customer service issue. Empower your employees at every level in the organization to respond and resolve.

8. Own the relationship, and the result. Your answer should never be "that's not my job." Take initiative to see the problem or the issue through to the very end. IF you have to hand the relationship off to someone else, make sure you literally walk them to that other person, introduce them, and hand them off well. If over the phone or through email, the same applies. Constantly make sure you are "walking" with that person through the process.

A big land mine for Leaders

Leaders: Who are you accountable to? Who speaks truth into your life? Your spouse? Your best friend? Your boss? Your co-workers?

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

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

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, 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?