8 Thoughts on Creating Great Partnerships

Collaboration is crucial in today's culture. Great organizations seem to always have a strong ability to partner well. Partnerships are not always easy though. Teaming up with one another can result in true synergy. Or many times can result in ultimate failure.

Here are a few thoughts on why creating Great Partnerships is a must for you and your organization:

1. Partnerships allows you to share risk and reward. Creating less downside, and potentially way more upside always make sense.

2. Partnerships create innovation, breakthrough and discovery. Working with others allows for input from outside your "normal" circle of staff or key team members.

3. Ministries and Churches have to work harder to create partnerships. Partnerships are very common in the business world, but for some reason in the not-for-profit world it's difficult to work together. Ministries and churches don't partner well, but when they do, it can be revolutionary.

4. Kingdom building. If we truly wish to reach our mission with the greatest velocity possible, we have to work with others. Achieving our vision and mission is much more possible when working together.

5. Good partnerships start with a deep knowledge of the other. Know your partners well before entering into one.

6. Transparency is crucial. Authenticity and honesty make for long term impact.

7. Strength/Strength. Build partnerships on each other's strengths, not necessarily on trying to improve a weakness.

8. Good fences make for good partnerships. Many times we don't take time to spell out all the details of a partnership in full disclosure. It is crucial to put everything on paper, in an agreement, and make sure all the details are spelled out.

7 Ways to Create 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 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 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. And if you don't remember, just ask them. Knowing someone's name and using their name is a form of honor. 

3. Let your actions speak way louder than your words. Don't just talk about it. Make it happen. Without flare and fanfare. Your work can be a great example of your attitude and commitment to service. Love people through serving people. 

4. Anticipate. Stay a step ahead of your clients or guests. Don't wait for them to ask for something. Figure it out before they even need it. You're smart and you're people are smart, so give them the runway to meet the needs of guests. 

5. Make small things big things. In terms of your commitment to excellence. Be great at the insignificant. Put effort and energy into the normal and mundane, and this will set you apart. 

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.

7. Interact with purpose. Look people in the eye when saying hi. Don't walk by a guest without engaging in eye contact, regardless of where you are. Speak with honor and dignity. Go first- go first with smiling, with interacting, with saying hello, with engaging them in a conversation.

8 Signs You're too Big for Your Britches

This post ties in directly to the issue of Accountability. Having someone in our lives who will shoot straight with us is incredibly important.

Many times as leaders we start losing a sense of reality and get "too big for your britches," as my grandmother used to say when I was growing up. When that happened as a youngster, my grandmother would go grab a switch from the tree outside and I would quickly shape up. Or at least start paying more attention. 

Here are a few warning signs of this potentially occurring for leaders. The pitfalls of becoming too much of a prima donna.

1. You feel like you need an entourage. Everywhere you go.

2. You're unreachable. You have so many systems and handlers in place to shield you from the outside world that not even your closest friends can get in touch with you.

3. The only people who get any time with you are those who you need something from or who you see as further up the ladder of success. Anyone "below" you gets pushed off to someone else. Along with the only people you want to interact with are peers at your level. 

4. You speak and give advice WAY more than you listen and ask questions.

5. You quit laughing consistently, especially at yourself.

6. There are certain jobs or projects that you feel are simply "below" you. You would be offended if someone asked you to do some of these tasks.

7. Nothing is ever good enough or done well enough. A standard of excellence is one thing. But when nothing ever meets your approval or is good enough for you, you've crossed the line to being way too wrapped up in your own world and in your own sense of hero status.

8. You quit learning, growing and innovating. You focus on being the expert, the hero, the speaker and the teacher, instead of being the learner, the guide, the platform, the shepherd,  and the aggregator. Your posture becomes the arrogant loud 1st instead of the confidently quiet and humble 2nd. 

Any of these consistently showing up in your world? If so, I recommend you take a chill pill, make some adjustments, and lighten up!

7 Thoughts on Taking a Risk 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? Why shift when you're in a place of comfort, convenience and familiarity? 

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. They must create change. 

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. The mountaintop draws 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.

7. Your response to risk opens up a spot- A willingness to step out allows other on your team to step up. A seat is opened up for someone else to step in and build a legacy of leadership.