The Importance of Leadership Development In Your Organization

7 Reasons Why EVERY Organization Should Focus On Developing Leaders

As I interact with potential clients, I have discovered a recurring need to explain why leadership development is important to their organization.  Those of us in the leadership field easily understand the impact that it can have on the individual and the organization.  Take Bob, for example.  Bob is not his real name, but this is his story.

After beginning a leadership training program, Bob began to notice things in his organization were getting a bit, well, strange!  Bob leads an organization that is primarily volunteer based.  In other words, Bob implemented the mission of his organization through leading volunteers and casting the vision of the organization.  Previously, Bob had to approach people to get them involved in projects.  Now, people were coming to him and asking him how they could help him.  Bob didn’t understand what was happening.  No one had ever come up before and asked what they could do.  In fact, at times, projects were not completed because there weren’t enough volunteers to start or complete all the things that needed done in the organization.

Bob came to one of my Mastermind groups and explained his dilemma.  I explained to him that what he was experiencing was the result of his developing as a leader.  It was what John Maxwell describes as The Law of Magnetism – “who you are is who you get.”  Bob was becoming a leader and people were being drawn to him because leaders attract leaders.  His organization grew by 25% in a 6-month period and Bob was presented with a prestigious award in his field later that year.

Why did that happen?

Because Bob decided that leadership development was going to be an important part of his life and the life of his organization.

Recently, I read an article in CareerMinds entitled “The Importance of Leadership Development:  7 Facts HR Needs To Know” by Ramond Lee.  I am summarizing the main points of the article here.  I would recommend taking some time today to read the entire article.  It is well-written and clearly explains why leadership development should be a priority of every organization.

  • Having a culture of leadership development provides a positive long-term impact on an organization.
  • Leadership has been the second-most important reason givien for employee satisfaction at work.
  • With 56% of employees disengaged at work, a leadership development program engages teams and employees, making the bottom line more profitable.
  • In a recent study, leadership development has been shown to make a bigger impact on the success of an organization than even a “culture of innovation.”
  • With the importance of leadership development coming to the forefront of research, organizations are developing leaders at ALL levels in the organization instead of just the senior leadership level.
  • Another recent study found that the more a company focuses on internal leadership development, the better it performs at meeting is objectives.
  • Effective leaders within an organization are able to address BOTH efficiency AND human needs, thereby creating a better and more effective environment within the organization.

For more information on the importance of leadership development and links to the studies referenced above, refer to Raymond Lee’s article.

So, what is keeping you from developing the leaders in your organization?

The benefits are real and the success stories are numerous.  If you are interested in developing leaders within your organization, or if you are simply interested in developing yourself as a leader, contact me.  I’d love to have a conversation!

3 Leadership Mistakes of the NFL This Past Weekend

This past weekend many players throughout the National Football League decided to respond to President Donald Trump’s tweet regarding his opinion of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem at NFL games.  This post is not a political statement, nor is it to be considered an approval or disapproval of our President’s tweet, or the response of the NFL.  Rather, it is simply a look at the response from the NFL players and leaders, viewed from a leadership perspective.  My desire is that everyone will take a moment to reflect on their own leadership style and learn how to really lead during times of conflict instead of reacting in like manner to those who have hurt us.

Their Response Did Not Address the Source of the Conflict

As I understand it, the problem was a criticism directed at the NFL owners and players by President Trump.  One leadership principle that we would do well to remember is that we need to address the problem directly in order to bring about a resolution.  The taking of a knee during the national anthem does nothing to address the source of the problem – President Trump’s comment.  As leaders, our response should always be in proportion to the problem.  If the NFL players, team owners, and league representatives felt attacked by the comments, they should address President Trump directly.  Instead, they chose to make the issue a bigger problem, which leads to the second mistake…

Their Response Brought Others Into the Conflict

Had the NFL responded appropriately to the President’s comments by talking with him directly regarding their concerns about what he said, others would not have been brought into this controversy and our nation and social media would not be in an uproar today.  The protests of the President’s comment brought the entire nation into the controversy which should have remained between the parties concerned.  Instead, the NFL’s response attacked our nation’s flag and all those who have served and/or given their lives to protect the freedom that we enjoy today.

Their Response Attacked Others Not Involved in the Conflict

The new phenomenon of NFL players and others taking a knee does not serve to protest a point.  Rather, it attacks a portion of our nation’s citizens who were never involved in the original conflict to begin with.  In essence, the taking of a knee really does nothing more than attack an innocent party in the original conflict.  It serves to continue the hurting of others in our nation.  This is a great time to be reminded of the quote “Hurting people hurt people!”  Instead of attacking innocent parties in the conflict, why not express leadership and address the problem head on?

The truth of the matter is that every day conflicts occur in our lives.  People say things, or post things on social media they would never say to the person’s face.  That serves no other purpose than to bring hurt and condemnation on others.  The pain is real and real emotions rise to the surface.  It is at those times that real leaders show their true strength!  So, how should we respond when others hurt us?  In my favorite book, Jesus gives us quite a few instructions for what to do when others hurt us.  Here are a few of them:

  • Look past the pain to see the real problem at hand (turn the other cheek).  Insults cannot hurt us unless we allow them to, and hurting others back is not the answer.  Real leaders need to learn to look past the conflict and discern the real issue at hand.  What an example that could have been set to the younger generation if they saw their NFL idols overlook the comments and not retaliate, rather than continue to add gas to the fire of the conflict.
  • Forgive others who hurt us.  Taking a knee only continues to remind others that we have been hurt and we’re upset about it.  Forgiving others shows that love can overcome even the deepest hurts in our lives.  What an example could be shown to all those who have been hurt in life if they had seen that forgiveness is more important than “rights.”
  • Talk to the person who hurt you first.  Do your best to work things out without bringing others into the conflict.
  • If you cannot work it out between you, then bring a neutral party along to help mediate the conflict.
  • If no resolution is possible, agree to disagree and move on beyond the conflict.  Refer again to the second point above – forgive!  Then, move past it.

I’ve always wondered what could happen if we didn’t give an audience to our problems.  How long would they go on?  Would the person causing the conflict just give up because no one would be listening to them?  In Charlottesville, VA, would violence have erupted if there we no anti-protesters or any media coverage?  Would the tweets continue if we just ignored them instead of making them the headline news each day?  Would you move past your problems quicker and without as much damage if we followed the principles listed above?

I am constantly reminding myself and others that the choices I make today will determine the results that I get tomorrow.  When I choose to follow the principles of leadership today, my tomorrow is so much brighter.  So, the next time you find yourself in a conflict choose how you will respond – but, CHOOSE WISELY!

Two Sides of the Leadership Coin

I remember doing a math project in high school on the probability of a coin landing heads or tails.  The hypothesis was that if the same coin was flipped enough times, it should land heads 50% of the time and tails 50% of the time.  So, the project was simple.  Flip a coin 100 times and bring the results back to class the next day.  Not a single person in the class had 50/50 results.  Instead, everyone had either heads or tails as the outcome more often.  There was never a balance between the two.  I have since learned that the heads side of a coin weighs slightly more and skews the probability of a 50/50 result.  So, no matter how often we tossed the coin, one side always was higher than the other.  (I wonder if my teacher knew that?!?)

I believe that leadership is a lot like that coin.  There are two sides to the leadership coin.  Left to chance, one side will always be developed and used more than the other side.  Without being intentional about a balance between the two sides of leadership, we will naturally default one way or the other.  Our organizations will suffer and our lives will not be what they could be without utilizing BOTH sides of the leadership coin.

So, you are probably wondering what the two sides of the leadership coin actually are.  The answer is rather simple.  They are…leading ourselves and leading others.  All of leadership development can be broken down into these two areas of self-leadership and others-leadership.

SELF-LEADERSHIP is the place we should begin, but it is also the area most overlooked.

Let’s face it.  We’re busy and our schedules are full.  We want and need quick results in our organizations.  So, we assume that the best path to quick results is to develop the people in our organizations.  So we put what little time and effort we can afford into teaching others at the expense of developing ourselves as leaders.  The problems with this type of approach are numerous.  Let’s touch briefly on just two.

  • We cannot effectively teach what we do not value ourselves – the people in our organizations learn from our example.  If they do not see us living out the values that we attempt to teach them, they will not adopt those values themselves.
  • Our organization could outgrow us – if the people we are attempting to develop are able to learn and apply the principles they are taught, then the organization will outgrow it’s leader.  The Law of the Lid* reminds us that when the individual working for you is a more effective leader than you are, problems develop.  They either leave the organization or naturally attempt to assume a higher leadership role than the position that they hold.

SELF-LEADERSHIP naturally drips down throughout the organization.

In working with a group of pastors recently, one of the leaders shared that people had been coming to him over the past couple of months and volunteering to help him in specific areas within the church.  He noted that it started happening when he began working in our Leadership Training group, but didn’t understand WHAT was happening.  I shared with him that what he noticed, what others noticed, and what none of them could explain, was a natural byproduct of self-leadership.  He was changing.  He was learning how to lead and the people were unconsciously noticing a change – a change that they wanted to be a part of.  So, they began coming around him as a leader.  You see, when you focus on Self-Leadership, others naturally gravitate toward you.  It was the Law of Respect* and the Law of Magnetism* coming together as people were naturally drawn to a leader they had a growing respect for and a leader than was stronger than they were.  Self-leadership naturally drips down through the organization.

SELF-LEADERSHIP is the beginning point, but OTHERS-LEADERSHIP is the other side of the coin.

While I believe that self-leadership is where you begin in the leadership development process within your organization, it is not enough to effectively change your organization.  You MUST develop the leadership potential of others.  Those within your organization must grow as leaders and it is the leader’s responsibility to chart the course for this to happen.  If you do not develop others, you will find yourself becoming increasingly frustrated and eventually leave your organization because you are effectively outgrowing the people within your organization.  That’s the second side to the coin.  It is a BOTH/AND not an either/or scenario.

Here is a simple plan to develop both sides of the leadership coin within your organization:

  • Develop yourself as a leader.  Set a plan right now for growing as a leader.  Develop your own personal growth plan.  For one example of how to do this, check out my post called “Growth is NOT Automatic.”
  • Choose people in your organization to develop as leaders.  They should be the people whom you believe have the best potential to develop as leaders and who can best help your organization accomplish it vision and goals.
  • Finally, teach them what you have learned.  That’s right.  It’s really that simple.  If you have a plan for personal growth, teach what you are learning to those inside your organization.  That’s a great place to start developing a leadership culture within your organization.  Eventually, you will find the need to hire an outside coach, but you can begin right now by teaching others what you are learning.

Don’t forget that the leadership coin has two sides.  Use them both to effectively lead yourself and your organization!

 

*The three laws referenced are from John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  You can order a copy of his book here.

Follow Your Passion

Intentional Living Day 7

August 7, 2017 is the day I decided to follow my passion – here’s my story…

For quite some time, I had been asking myself “why I am I doing what I am doing?”  I had been serving in pastoral ministry for nearly 3 decades and it had been very fulfilling.  I’ve always enjoyed helping people find a relationship with Jesus Christ and watching them grow in that relationship.  I had been a student of church growth and church health and fully enjoyed helping the churches that I served grow and develop, take risks and see rewards, and follow God’s leading into new experiences of what it means to be a church that is relevant to today’s culture.

But, all the while, I had a sense that God was asking something different of me for the future.  Throughout my ministry, I had always been involved in developing leaders within the church – both churches that I pastored, and other churches through teaching, speaking, and training.  For sometime now, I have had a growing sense of the urgency for the development of leaders.  Then, on June 5, 2016, I posted an article on identifying what makes you sing.  In that post, I stated the following…

“What makes me sing is helping someone to live up to their God-given potential – whether it is someone stepping across the line of faith and giving their lives to Christ, or someone who learns a new principle or teaching that opens up the door of potential in their lives. Adding value to others and helping them achieve success in their lives is a very fulfilling experience.”

I, then, applied that statement to four areas of my life:  (1) Martial arts – helping that under-performing student discover and live up to their full potential; (2) Pastor – helping someone discover how God created them for a relationship with Him and for a purpose in this world.  As they discover that purpose in this world, they begin to live up to their full potential; (3) Coach – helping a church and its leaders discover how they can change a few simple things about their organizational systems and get great results in living up to their full potential in God’s Kingdom; and (4) Business – helping a business owner or manager discover a few simple changes that make all the difference in how they relate to their customers and employees.  Then, the business begins to find it full potential in the community.

What I didn’t realize as I wrote that blog post was the dramatic change I would be making in my life in the next year.  A few months after that post, I became an Independent Certified, Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker with The John Maxwell Team.  My original plan was to expand my leadership development training within our church and my other circles of influence.  Then, in March of 2017, following a 3-day training in Orlando, I returned home and my wife and I made a major, life-changing decision.  That decision was to resign as a pastor and go into leadership development full-time.  That meant leaving behind friendships and a church family that we dearly loved.  It meant taking a risk for greater reward.  It meant following my passion.

So, on August 7, 2017, we packed up the moving van and relocated to Middletown, PA, just outside of Harrisburg.  My wife is beginning a teaching position at a local school and I am writing from my office in our new home.  I am now following my passion as a leadership development coach, speaker, and trainer.  (Now you understand my lack of posts during this transition time.)  I am excited and challenged by the great need for leadership development both in the lives of individuals and organizations, and in the lives of pastors and churches.  I still have a heart for serving in ministry and I am passionate about serving God and the church in this greater capacity.

That’s MY story.  What’s yours?  You see, we all have something about which we are passionate.  It might not be what we are doing right now.  It might be something totally different and in a different location, but we all have a story.  What are YOU passionate about?  What makes YOU sing?  Once you find it, follow it and give yourself to it.  You might just be surprised by where it leads you! 

 

3 Leadership Lessons Learned from Super Bowl LI

More than 111 million people gathered around tv sets in restaurants, bars, and homes and at the stadium to watch the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons battle it out in Super Bowl LI.  New NFL records were set as the Patriots came back from the biggest deficit in Super Bowl history to beat the Falcons in overtime.  Even though my team didn’t make it past the championship round, I found this year’s Super Bowl to be one of the most exciting games I’ve watched in recent history.

As I reflected on the game I could not help but see the leadership lessons that were emerging from how the two teams played.  So, here are a few Leadership Lessons Learned from Super Bowl LI:

Are you playing to win, or playing not to lose?  There is a big difference in the outcome based upon which approach you take.  For the entire first half of the game, the Falcons dominated the Patriots.  They were playing to win the game.  The Patriots, although playing to win, were being overpowered by the Falcons offense, while being stopped by the defense.  It appeared by half time that the game was over.

The second half of the game told a much different story.  The Falcons began playing to hold their lead (playing not to lose), instead of coming out of the locker room with the same intensity that they showed in the first half.  You could see it in their faces and in how they related to each other on the field.  By the middle of the fourth quarter, the Falcons defense was frustrated and scrambling to regain their ferocity with which they played the first half, but it was too late.  The Patriots, on the other hand, played the second half to win.  They had nothing to lose and everything to gain.  And, win they did – setting Super Bowl records along the way.

How are you positioning yourself or your organization on the playing field of your business?  Are you making every decision, every day, from the perspective of playing to win?  Or, are you playing not to lose, to just stay ahead of the competition?  If you play not to lose, you might just wake up one day and find the competition has edged you out at the last minute and you’ve lost the game.

Don’t wait until half time to make adjustments.  The Patriots comeback actually began late in the second quarter.  Coach Belichick was taking notes all throughout the first half.  He began making adjustments to the offense and defense as needed until he finally found the right combination by the middle of the third quarter.  From that point on, he worked the plan and the rest is history.

Too often we go through life just following the same game plan that has worked in the past.  Our profit margins decline, we’re not as effective as we used to be, or our marketing and sales departments aren’t as productive as they used to be.  So, we continue working the same plan over and over with the same results.  At some point, we need to evaluate our systems to see if they are still valid in a changing economy.  Those who evaluate and make adjustments early, are the ones who are most successful in life.  Those who delay, or worse, don’t see that any change is needed, find that they are so far behind they can never catch up.

No matter how bad things look, don’t ever, ever, ever give up!  During the second quarter, with the Patriots down 25 points, the cameras zoomed in on the face of Tom Brady.  What the viewers saw was a man who was discouraged and without hope.  I even texted a friend after that camera shot and said “the game’s over – Brady is defeated.”  I was wrong!

The Tom Brady who came out of the locker room to start the second half had a stern look of determination.  The game wasn’t over, the score wasn’t decided, and not matter the outcome, he wasn’t giving up.  His determination ultimately led his team  to victory.

What was the difference?  Tom Brady never gave up – no matter how bad it looked.  Brady may be one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time, but he also showed a great leadership ability as he led his team to victory.  His determination reminds us that no matter how bad things may look in our lives or in our businesses, we should never, never, never give up!  The game isn’t over and the final score isn’t in.

As you look at your personal life and your business, remember these three leadership lessons from Super Bowl LI:

  • Play to win – never play not to lose!
  • Constantly seek to improve yourself or your organization – don’t wait until half time to make adjustments!
  • Don’t ever give up – no matter how bad things look, the final score isn’t in, yet!

BONUS LESSON:

All of life is an opportunity to learn.  There are leadership lessons all around you every day.  Don’t just go through life – take a moment to reflect on your experiences and you might just learn how to be a better leader!

I’ve joined the John Maxwell Team

JMT Logo

You may have noticed that it has been a little while since I last posted.  That’s because I’ve been working hard behind the scenes on a new personal project.  In late September, I became an official member of the John Maxwell Team.  I am now qualified as a coach, teacher, and speaker with the John Maxwell Team.

What this means for you is that I will now be expanding my leadership teachings on my blog.  Also, if you would like to talk with me about coming to your business or church to work with your leaders in the area of leadership, I would love to have that discussion with you.  Check out my JMT website to see what I have to offer.

Look for more blog posts soon!

Principle #4: The Power of Repetition

Take me up on my challenge!

Repetition is key to learning!  Have you every read a good book or listened to a good podcast for the second or third time?  Or, read through your favorite chapter in the Bible again?  With each repetition you learn something new that you missed the first time around.  That is the Power of Repetition.

Last fall I  started a journey of working through John Maxwell’s 30-Day Journey of Intentional Living.  At the time I started the journey, I was just using his online resources and had not yet received my companion book for the course.  I have decided to retake the entire 30-day journey using both the online resources and his book.  And, here is my challenge to you:

Join me in taking John Maxwell’s 30-day Journey of Intentional Living!

Here are the details:

  • Go to John Maxwell’s website and register for his 30-day journey.  Click this link to be directed to his website.  The cost is only $39 + shipping and the time investment is only 10 minutes a day for 30 days – a total of only 5 hours of your time.  (BTW – I do not receive any financial gain from your purchase of John’s material)
  • Read my posts each day and add your comments below my posts.  Let’s have a discussion about intentional living.
  • It all begins on Monday, May 23rd.  I’ll post my first day’s learning that morning, and another post each day for the 30 days.  Let’s dialogue about we can learn together.

So, sign up today and meet me back here on Monday!

 

Online Giving – It’s No Longer an Option

Part 1 in a series of posts regarding online giving and the church

Online Giving picture

Online giving is no longer an option for churches!  There…I’ve said it.  In an increasingly mobile and cashless society, online giving is no longer an option for the local church – it is a NECESSITY!

Consider this scenario.  The pastor announces on Easter Sunday that the church is receiving a special offering to support missionaries in some part of the world.  The offering is going to be received that morning during the service.  You forgot that today was the day for that offering, you have no cash on you and you left your checkbook at home since your rarely ever write a check anymore thanks to online bill pay.  The offering plate is passed and you are unable to contribute.  Thus, the church did not receive your offering and the missionary’s children have nothing to eat for a week – all because they did not get your gift of money in the offering.  (Okay, that might be a little over the top, but it could happen!)

Consider this second scenario.  The same situation I described above happens.  Only this time your church has an online giving option.  You take out your smartphone (you never go anywhere without it) and are able to contribute $500 in the offering.  The missionary receives your gift and is able to put that new set of tires on the Jeep and can now drive miles into the jungle to tell people about the love of Christ – all because your church utilized online giving (that could happen, too!).

My point is this…people are going to give their money to some cause that they believe is worthy.  The local church is missing out on a significant amount of giving that could be put into use for God’s kingdom – all because we do not offer an online giving option for those in our congregations who do not carry cash or a checkbook any longer.

With the vast majority of people owning smartphones, an online giving option in your church is a necessity.  A recent Pew Research Center Survey indicated that approximately 64% of Americans currently own a smartphone.  (For the details of that survey, click here).  At my previous church, approximately 40% of our income came in through online giving.  At the church I currently pastor, we introduced online giving just a couple of months ago.  The result is that already 17% of our income is coming in through online giving AND our overall giving has increased.  Based upon previous experience, I expect that both the % of income coming in online AND the overall giving to the church will continue to increase.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could experience a similar increase in giving at your church?  It could happen with online giving.

4 Reasons why you need to implement online giving in your local church:

  • You are missing out on income that people want to give to the local church, but aren’t because they give in an online and mobile environment that your church is not a part of.
  • Your giving will increase and the church will receive funds it would not otherwise receive.
  • The increased giving far exceeds the fees that you will pay for an online giving service.  If I would offer you $1,000 free money, but in return, you had to pay me $29 back…would you take the deal?  Of course, you would!  That would mean you would have $971 that you otherwise would not have received.
  • Stewardship is not just about Sunday mornings!  Stewardship is 24/7 in the life of the Christ-follower.  That means that I can worship God with my giving when I give online at my home computer or phone, just as I can if I actually place a check or envelope in the offering plate on Sunday.

With all the options available to the consumer on a daily basis, it is time that the church catches up.  By utilizing online giving, the local church begins to speak the language of the community and shows that it is seeking to remain relevant to the world it is called to reach.

Look for my second post in this series as I discuss what to look for in an online giving provider.  Then, my final post in this series will discuss what I believe are some of the best options for the local church.

Until then…

Discuss:  What is keeping you from launching an online giving option in your church?

Discovering God’s Vision for Your Church

Vision Profile

The topic of discovering God’s vision for your church has been discussed time and again in numerous books, blog posts, and verbal conversations.  So, why bring it up again in yet another blog post?  I believe it is important because, even with the vast supply of resources on the topic, very few pastors and/or churches have a vision for their future.

I believe that many have been taught that vision is a mystical revelation from God.  So, we pray and wait.  We pray some more and wait some more.  The result is that most pastors have no vision for their church.  Add to this the truth of the scripture in Proverbs 29:18 regarding the lack of vision and we are hounded by the fact that if we can’t find a vision for our church, then the people will perish.   So, we pray some more and wait some more and most times come up empty, without a clear vision for the future of our church.

Is there a simpler way to discover God’s vision for your church that you can begin to implement right now?  The good news is…THERE IS!   

Continue Reading »

Principle #3: The Power of 90%

The Power of 90%

Have you ever had a ministry opportunity become available to you that you couldn’t take advantage of because you lacked the money to fund the opportunity?  If your church is like most churches, the answer is probably “yes.”  Most churches spend all the money they receive each year.  Most budgets are set to spend 100% of the income that comes in during that year.  But, what if there was a better way?  What is there was a way to actually have funds available for those ministry opportunities that come along unexpectedly?

There is:  it’s THE POWER OF 90% and it’s a simple principle to remember.  When creating your church budget for the new fiscal year, most churches will either base it upon what they received last year, or add a little increase as “faith” for what God might do this coming year.  Instead, THE POWER OF 90% says:  base your new church budget on 90% of last year’s income (assuming you expect the income to remain the same or increase this year).  Then, place the remaining 10% in an “Opportunity Fund.”  This fund is money that is kept in the account and is available when those unknown ministry opportunities come about throughout the church year.

No budgeting process, however accurate and well thought through, can accurately predict every possible expenditure throughout the year.  Creating an Opportunity Fund enables you to be ready for the unknown opportunities that God may bring your way that year.  So, implement THE POWER OF 90% principle and see how it frees your church up to take advantage of opportunities throughout the year.

Note:  if your budget is too tight to start right at 90%, then make a plan to get to 90% over a period of time.  For example, in 5 years you could fully implement the 90% plan by just increasing it 2% each year.  Thus, the first year you are using the power of 98%, then 96% the second year, and so on.