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!

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!


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!

Leading a Culture Shift in Your Organization

Part 3: Influence the Change

Leading Culture Change

One of the keys to making a permanent culture shift in your organization is, simply put, INFLUENCE!

As the leader of your organization, you have the most direct impact in making a change in the culture of your organization.  Author, speaker, and leadership guru, John Maxwell states, “Leadership is influence.  Nothing more, nothing less.”  The success of the culture shift in your organization is directly related to the influence that you bring to that culture shift.

In my two previous posts on culture shift, you were asked to make a list of what your current culture is like, and what the new culture would be like that you will create in your organization.  Now, it is time to influence the change.

In the book Influencer:  The New Science of Leading Change, the authors suggest that influencing change can be brought about by the following three things:

  • A clear understanding of the result you are looking for AND meticulous measuring of what leads to that result.  Leaders who influence change know exactly what they are looking for and they constantly and consistently measure the factors that lead to those results.
  • A focus on high leverage behaviors that will provide those results.  In a world that is so full of information and distraction, it is easy to get lost in a long list of behaviors that will produce results.  However, it is important to focus on just the 2-3 vital behaviors that will produce the results you desire from the new culture.
  • Engagement of all six sources of influence.  While most leaders and speakers resort to one or two types of influence, successful culture shift leaders engage their organization with all six sources of influence.

What, then, are the six sources of influence that are described in the book Influencer?  The six sources are found within the 2 by 3 grid diagram that the authors suggest.  They include both a motivation aspect and an ability aspect within three areas of life:  personal, social, and structural.  The authors diagram found throughout their book gives the following statements about the six sources of influence.

  • “Make the Undesirable Desirable.”  Successful change influencers motivate at the personal level by helping the individual members of the organization to “love what they hate.”  Culture shift happens at the personal level when individuals begin to love a new behavior.
  • “Surpass Your Limits.”  Successful change influencers help to develop new skill sets at the personal level by helping the individual members of the organization to “do what they can’t.”  In other words, provide training that develops the new desired skill set.  This builds confidence in the individual so that they realize they CAN do what is required of them in the culture shift.
  • “Harness Peer Pressure.”  Successful change influencers motivate at the group, or social, level by providing encouragement and utilizing peer pressure to help further motivate the culture shift.  There is nothing more motivating that hearing from your peers that you are doing a great job in this new endeavor.  As people are encouraged, they also become encouragers – and peer pressure helps to drive the culture shift.
  • “Find Strength in Numbers.”  Successful change influencers provide assistance to the individual members of the organization.  They begin to find strength in the team and realize that they are not alone in this culture shift.
  • “Design Rewards and Demand Accountability.”  Successful change influencers motivate at the structural level by developing a new set of rewards and accountability based upon the new behaviors that will provide the new desirable result.  A new structure that is designed to provide the new desired results is implemented and a new accountability structure is set in place.  These organizational structures provide a motivation to the individuals in the organization to live out the new behaviors that lead to the desired results.
  • “Change the Environment.”  Finally, successful change influencers recognize that the physical environment of the organization needs to model the new behaviors needed to get the new results.  Signs need changed, bulletin board announcements need changed, and perhaps a new logo, slogan, or even physical facility changes need to happen to support the new culture.  Creativity is used in visually reminding the members of the organization what the new result is you are creating.

To quote another famous phrase from John Maxwell, “everything rises and falls on leadership.”  You are the leader.  It is up to you to influence the necessary changes within your organization.  Get started right now and lead your organization to a new and better future by changing its culture through a culture shift!

ACTION POINT:  Influence Exercise

  • Using the two worksheets from my previous posts in this series (part one, part two), write out another list of ways to influence the needed change.  On a new sheet of paper, list the result that you are looking to achieve with your culture shift, how you are going to measure the factors (actions) that lead to that result, and the 2-3 key behaviors that will bring about that result.
  • Write out actions steps for each of the six sources of influence within your organization.  Then, take action at ALL six levels.  You will find you have a tenfold result as opposed to utilizing just one source of influence.
  • Finally, consider hiring a coach to help guide you through the process.  A coach can help you to become more focused by providing an outside look into your organization and the changes that you want to create through your culture shift.  I would love to be a resource to help you in creating a culture shift within your organization.  Contact me and we can discuss a customized approach for your organization while working within your budget.

To order a copy of the book referenced in this article, click the link below:

Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, Second Edition

Leading a Culture Shift in Your Organization

Part 2: Define Your New Culture

Leading Culture Change

In the first article in this series, I stated that the culture of your organization is either propelling you forward or holding you back.  As we explore and evaluate the culture of your organization, you will begin to see a pattern emerge which leads to one of those destinations – forward toward your vision, mission, and goals; or, the inability to accomplish those goals no matter how great the vision and mission.  Your organizational culture is what makes the difference in which direction you are heading!

(If you haven’t read my first article, click here.  Then, complete the Culture Exercise listed in the action point section of the article.)

After you have evaluated your current culture, you will need to ask Am I getting the results that I need to get in order to fulfill the vision, mission, and goals of my organization?  As you look at the list that you created in the Culture Exercise, you need to ask that question first.  If the answer to that question is a resounding “yes,” then your focus needs to be on strengthening the culture that currently exists.  If your answer is “no,” then you need to define the new culture that will help your organization reach those results.

Take a moment to right down your thoughts as you answer these questions.  What does that new culture look like?  How do I get from here to there?  Then, begin by working through the following steps:

  • First, define what “there” looks like.  What results does your organization need to accomplish in order to fulfill the vision and mission, and to meet the organization’s goals?  This is where you need to define what a “win” looks like.  Clearly define what results your organization needs to achieve.  If it is a certain number of parts produced on a production line each hour, then define exactly what that number is for your team.  If it is increased customer service, then clearly define what that means for your team (i.e. every customer receives a greeting with a smile).  Whatever your “win” is for your organization, it needs to be clearly defined in this step.
  • Next, what actions do the members of your organization need to take in order to achieve those results?  What actions will each person need to do on a daily basis that will produce the results that your organization needs?  In the case of the customer service example above, you may expect every employee to smile every time they greet a new customer – both in person and on the phone.  You may teach them a certain phrase that you want them to say as they greet the customer.  Whatever the result is that you are looking to achieve in your organization, define the actions that will get you those results.
  • Third, what new beliefs do they need to embrace that will help them act in such a way as to achieve the expected results?  In order to influence the actions that your team needs to do, define what beliefs they would need to hold in order to achieve those actions.  In many ways, this is a difficult part of the culture change process.  Here, you need to define a list of beliefs that will influence the actions that will drive the results.  What beliefs do the members of your organization need to adhere to that will influence them to act in the way that produces the results your organization is looking to accomplish?

Keep in mind that you ALWAYS act out your belief system.  Beliefs always follow actions, but not always words.  You can say that you believe a certain way, but your true beliefs will be shown by what you do.  Many times they are aligned perfectly.  Many times they are not.  In order to understand what a person believes, look at their actions.

  • Finally, what new experiences do you need to bring to your organization that will help define this new belief system?  One of the best ways to develop a new belief system is to take the members of your organization to visit a company that is doing what you want them to do.  Another way is to bring in a coach to train them and expose them to other ways of thinking and doing.  (Check out My Services page to see if I can help you in this area.)  Try to make a list of 3-5 experiences that point them toward what you are attempting to accomplish with your organization.

Culture change is a difficult task.  It takes great thought, preparation, and planning.  Most organizations can benefit from an outside coach, trainer, or speaker to assist in the culture change process.  As a member of the John Maxwell Team, I specialize in leadership development and culture change.  If I can help you in any way, please contact me.


Take the list that you created from the Culture Exercise in my last article.  Lay out a new sheet of paper with the same four headings:  Results, Actions, Beliefs, and Experiences.  Now, underneath each heading fill in your responses for this NEW CULTURE that you want to create.  Take the information in the article above and answer those questions for this new culture.

Next week, we will compare the two lists and begin to learn how to Lead a Culture Shift.

Leading a Culture Shift in Your Organization

Part 1

Leading Culture Change

The CULTURE of your organization is either propelling you forward or holding you back.  A healthy organizational culture will give your organization the momentum and foundation for achieving the vision, mission, and goals of your organization.  However, a toxic organizational culture is like a cancer that destroys you from within, no matter how great your vision, mission, and goals are and no matter how well you communicate them within your organization.

So, how do you determine whether your organization is healthy or toxic?  And, once you’ve answered that question, how do you create a culture shift in your organization so that your vision, mission, and goals drive your organization to success?  In this series of blog posts, we will address some of the various issues of culture change and give practical advice on how to create a culture shift in your organization.

The concept or idea of making a “shift” involves changing from one idea or concept to another.  In this case, a “shift” takes place as you change from your existing, possibly toxic, culture to a more healthy culture.

So, how do you make this shift in your organizational culture so that you can accomplish the vision, mission, and goals of your organization?

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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!


Leading Like Left Shark

Left Shark

This year, Super Bowl XLIX featured a Katy Perry half-time show that has become famous – not necessarily for her great singing or amazing choreography, but for one of her dancers now known as Left Shark.  The Left Shark phenomenon has overshadowed the half-time show and even the football game itself.  A recent Google search for Left Shark returned approximately 122,000,000 results.  The question remains, “was Left Shark a dancing mistake, or the design of a marketing genius?”  Whatever the answer, Left Shark has much to teach us about leadership in the Church.

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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.


Principle #1: Constantly Improve Your Position

While in college at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, I read a book by author Jeremy Rifkin called Entropy:  A New World View.  While I cannot remember anything the book said, I do remember the principle that he was sharing.  Entropy is the tendency to gradually decline into disorder.  This is true in our lives, at our workplaces, and in our churches.  Entropy tells us that our churches, if left alone, will gradually decline into disorder.  This has been stated in other ways, as well.  Proverbs 29:18 reminds us that if there is no vision, the people will perish.  We’ve also been told that if the pastor doesn’t lead, someone will.  The truth is that if there is no sense of vision or direction, entropy will begin to take hold in the church.  Usually, in the church community, entropy is seen in one of two ways: (1) through defaulting back to an inward focus on fellowship (just being together); or (2) division and fighting for control and power.

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