Archive for July, 2010

Day 14 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Age of No Shame!

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I have a morning routine that begins when I arise a little after 5:00 a.m. and take my two German Shepherds, Indy and Ellie Mae, for a walk around the neighborhood. Our house is in an area north of Los Angeles that is surrounded by hills, filled with wildlife. It’s common to see coyotes, raccoons and rabbits. Today, we saw a couple of deer, and it reminded me of Psalms 42:1, which says, “As a deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

Our soul is made up of the mind, will and emotions: what we think, want and feel. Many people know about God, but few truly experience Him until they develop the thirst described in the Psalm. One way to develop this thirst is to learn more about God. As you learn more, you want to know even more, and the thirst cycle begins. My hope is that by presenting biblical leadership strategies in How to Lead by THE BOOK, readers will have their interest piqued and be encouraged to seek out more about what the Bible has to say concerning various issues that concern all aspects of their lives. As they do, they’ll begin to develop the thirst described by the psalmist and see their priorities and results begin to change for the better at work and at home.

While writing the book’s introduction yesterday, I stated that one of the saddest indictments of modern times is that we’ve lost our sense of shame: Anything goes, nearly any sinful act is rationalized, there are no moral absolutes, and the only thing not tolerated is intolerance! What a great time to return to timeless, unshakable, biblical leadership principles that remain impeachable irrespective of the age we live in, the circumstances we face, and despite the efforts of those hostile to the Bible to scrub every evidence of God from the public square.

There’s more work to do today on the introduction. Since it sets the tone for the entire book, it’s got to sizzle!

Day 13 How to Lead by THE BOOK: People before Profits!

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Research. Research. Research. It’s tedious, but necessary in a book like, “How to Lead by THE BOOK.” After all, I have 74 business challenges to find supporting scriptures, quotes, analogies, and real-world examples for.

I’m still committed to paring the number of strategies down to an even 70,  so I will  combine some of them.

How do you do research for 74 different topics? It’s simple. I log each strategy under its own heading in a document on my computer. Then I begin to file what I know about each strategy under the appropriate heading. I include quotes, scriptures, personal experiences, and the like. The strategy headings without much, or anything, filed under them require the most research. As I read, listen, study, and research, certain points will stand out as being a good fit for this or that strategy. Once the research is done, I begin writing and tie it all together. Fortunately, I’ve already assembled very good information for nearly half the strategies. The quality of the examples, supporting scriptures, and real world application ideas will greatly influence the quality of the message that shows up in the book.  It’s either garbage in, garbage out, or insightful material in, high-impact writing out!

Here’s a common dilemma: Large companies are often accused of putting profits ahead of their people. What happens when the leaders value money, perks and possessions more than employees and/or customers? Matthew 8 and 9 shed some insight. Jesus had just left Capernaum for the Gadarenes district, across the Sea of Galilee. Upon arriving, He’s met by two exceedingly fierce, demon-possessed men. Jesus casts out their demons who, enter into a herd of pigs, run into the sea and drown. The local people, not at all pleased about what has happened, despite the fact that two tormented souls had been freed, ask Jesus to leave them. They were far more concerned with their pigs, than with what Jesus had to offer people. Jesus obliged and returned back across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, where He got on a roll and performed six consecutive miracles: healing a paralytic and a woman who had been afflicted for 12 years, restoring life a dead girl to life, restoring sight to two blind men, and curing a man who was mute and demon-possessed.

The moral of the story? Wherever people place profits (pigs) ahead of people, Jesus will not be welcome there. And when He is not welcome, He will leave–and take his blessings and miracles elsewhere! I’ll elaborate on this concept and the strategy for remaining “bless-able” in your business, in the book.

Day 12 How to Lead by THE BOOK: What Integrity Means!

Monday, July 19th, 2010

One of the challenges of applying biblical principles in the workplace is that modern society seeks to use its culture to shape the Scriptures, rather than allow the Scriptures to shape modern culture. The progress culture has made in shaping Scripture to its liking and “putting God in its place” has, unfortunately, made remarkable progress over the past few decades. There are laws now, and legislation pending in many states, that would have never even been considered as reasonable in a moral society earlier in our lifetimes. This pressure to “conform your Scripture-based beliefs” to culture, rather than to stand on and up for your Scripture-based beliefs causes many Christians in the workplace, families, and in society, to stumble. Some take their beliefs underground, fearful of ridicule and being ostracized, while others go to another extreme and use their beliefs as a license to judge and hate. My goal in, How to Lead by THE BOOK, is to create a blueprint for applying biblical principles in a manner that would please Christ.

In yesterday’s post I promised to share one of our corporate values and to explain how we use it to strengthen our culture. This is a topic I’ll cover in the book. We have five values that are the centerpiece for how we do business. My favorite, is “integrity.” We define integrity as, “Always doing what is right, and not what is easy, cheap, popular, or convenient. And doing so without excuse, and regardless of the cost.” It’s not enough just to list a value. You must describe what it looks like in practice. This provides a powerful visual for each employee, and they can use it as a filter for their decisions and behavior when faced with challenges, opportunities, and in their daily interactions with co-workers and customers.

Tomorrow, I’ll discuss my tips for researching. I’ll also present what happens when you put profits ahead of people, referencing Matthew 8 and 9.

Day 11 How to Lead by THE BOOK: No “Bad” Days!

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

My trip to Florida was canceled at the last minute yesterday. Sadly, the chairman of the company I was to speak for passed away. To conduct a series of training events during the week of his funeral, amidst widespread mourning, would have been unproductive and inappropriate.

Statistics show that on average, 155,000 people die each day in the world. Another 110,00 are aborted. These somber numbers should give us renewed appreciation for the day we have before us, even the “bad” days. Actually, when you consider the possible alternative, there aren’t really any “bad” days, are there?

I read yesterday where a group of American atheists conducted a ceremony to “de-baptize” their members with hair dryers. The leader used the words, “come forward now and receive the spirit of hot air that taketh away the stigma and taketh away the remnants of the stain of baptismal water.” It is one thing to be an unbeliever, it is quite another to be hostile to the Gospel. God is not mocked. Learning to lead by biblical principles and applying them in the workplace is not always easy in today’s secular culture. But just because it isn’t always easy or popular is no reason not to do it.

I read Matthew 5, 6 and 7 this morning. Each time I study these chapters I’m reminded of how important it is to outline clear core values for one’s organization. Jesus established His values early in His ministry, so that He could demonstrate how to live them and put them into practice. I’ll discuss core values in, “How to Lead by THE BOOK.” I’ll also explain the differences between values, vision, and mission. They are often confused, but have separate and essential roles in every organization. The Bible offers excellent examples of each of the three components of clarity and demonstrates how they will create a culture that influences the behaviors you want to see from your employees. Environment dictates behavior, and behavior determines results. Thus, improved results are deeply rooted in the environment you create for your people. Your core values become a centerpiece of your environment. Every organization has a set of values. The questions are: “Are they spoken or unspoken and do they elevate or devastate?”

In “How to Lead by THE BOOK”, I’ll present the five core values we have in our company, how they benefit us, and how we bring them to life. I’ll share one example in tomorrow’s posting.

Day 10 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Be Good to Your Spouse!

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Each morning I read the daily Bible study provided by LivingChristian.net software. During the course of a year, it takes me through the entire Bible with commentary, explanations, and incredible insights. The software also has a place to journal and record ideas, answers to prayers and insights throughout the journey. Since it’s downloaded onto my computer, I have this remarkable tool with me wherever I travel in the world. What I’ve learned from this course over the past many years has been instrumental in refining and deepening my knowledge of the Scriptures, and has proven to be an essential resource when writing my books. Check it out for yourself. You can try it for free by going to their website. It might just change your life!

In my “How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK” workshop, that I teach each spring in Atlanta, an attendee recently asked me, “What are some reasons prayers for my business are not being answered?” The Bible speaks to this issue, and I’m going to address this challenging and frustrating situation for Christian business people in, “How to Lead by THE BOOK.” It will be one of the 70 primary strategies that I cover. The Bible offers several possibilities in answer to this question. Here’s a hint: for you guys out there who aren’t having your prayers answered, if you’re dealing unfaithfully with your spouse…the Bible has a special warning for you regarding unanswered prayer. Incidentally, dealing faithfully–or not–with one’s spouse covers far more ground than marital fidelity.

I’m leaving LA on a red-eye flight tonight for Florida, where I’ll teach nine seminars in five days. It’ll be a fast week, but I aim to complete the book’s introduction and continue research for the 70 strategies I’m including in the book. I’d like to have my research finished by the end of August, so that I can devote the rest of my time to transforming research notes into book pages by my 12-15 deadline.

I plan on reading and writing a bit on the plane tonight. It’s always interesting to see the reaction of flight attendants and my seat mate, as I read my Bible and write. Some people use it as an opening to strike up a conversation with me, while others become visibly uncomfortable! They stop ordering liquor, shut down the porn on their computers, and look for another seat to move to!  I’ll report back in tomorrow’s posting.

Day 9 How to Lead by THE BOOK: How to Lead through Crisis!

Friday, July 16th, 2010

For the past several years I’ve used two Bible study programs to broaden my knowledge of biblical principles. I block a couple of hours early each morning for study and research. One of the courses is produced by the Institute of Basic Life Principles. See their website at www.iblp.org. It is called, “Daily Success” and is a 49-week course. Each week covers one specific command of Christ (there were 49), with insights and application strategies for weaving it into your life. The lessons come via email.  This course is a powerful tool and I encourage you to enroll at their website if you’d like to learn more about how to apply the Bible’s principles into your personal and business life. Incredibly, there is no cost for this service!

On the airplane coming back home to Los Angeles last night I spent time writing about how to lead during a crisis. This will be one of the challenges I cover in, “How to Lead by THE BOOK.” I will use Nehemiah as a prime example. He cast clear vision, unified his team, stayed focused despite obstacles and antagonists, and pulled off one of the greatest building projects of all time–and in record time!

As a leader, you’re not made in crisis, you’re revealed in it! It’s wise to be ready!

I’ll discuss the second Bible study resource I’ve used for years in tomorrow’s post.

Day 8 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Vision, Mission & Values!

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I taught a seminar yesterday in northern Alabama for a business that conducts voluntary Bible studies for its employees, and concludes sales meetings with a prayer! Is it any wonder that 2009 was their best year ever?

What is the difference between vision, mission, values and performance expectations?

I’ve decided to present answers to this common question, in How to Lead by THE BOOK. These four components of clarity are often confused. However, each has a distinct purpose that strengthens the culture of any organization. There are ample examples throughout the Bible of how to create these aspects, cast them, hold others accountable for living up to them, as well as evidence of the benefits they produce. Of the 70 primary challenges I present in the book, this should be one of the most helpful.

Today, I’m still in Alabama and will do consulting work for a client with whom we have an ongoing training relationship. This company is committed to process and is reaping the results of their consistent follow through. They understand that while training events may create adrenaline, it is follow through and process that brings about change!

Day 7 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Most Effective Leadership Style!

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

What is the most effective leadership style?

In the 1,000 presentations I give each decade, I hear this question often. Leaders struggle with the best way to lead. While it’s often necessary to adjust one’s leadership approach to better connect with individual people, or to address crisis situations, a servant-leadership mindset should always be at the foundation of one’s leadership style.

In, How to Lead by THE BOOK, I will discuss several strategies for demonstrating servant leadership. The steps will surprise many readers because a common assumption is that “servant leadership” is weak or timid. However, the opposite is true, because it takes strength to serve. Servant leadership does not reflect weakness but meekness. Meekness means, “strength under control”.

Jesus was the ultimate servant leader, yet He was no pushover or door mat. To lead by THE BOOK, we’ll be wise to study His life and emulate His example.

Today, I’m teaching a seminar in Alabama entitled, How to Build a High Performance Culture in Your Organization. I’ll present several key strategies for aligning your culture to support your vision in, How to Lead by THE BOOK. After all, you can create big, bold visions all day long, but if your culture doesn’t align with that vision, your “dream” can turn into a nightmare!

Day 6 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Four Key Points!

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

We got good news yesterday. “How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK” has stayed on the Hudson Airport Bestseller list for ten consecutive weeks. It was at #16 last week. After nearly one year following publication, it is still selling steadily, which bodes well for, “How to Lead by THE BOOK.”

Yesterday, I made sure that we had secured the domain name for “How to Lead by THE BOOK.” We’ll have the web address forwarded to our learntolead.com website. I’ll keep the domain for at least two years after publication.

I’ve decided not to have a foreword for this book. I want to get right down to business. I’ll have an introduction and preface. I’ll aim to accomplish four primary goals in the introduction:

1. Ask readers to keep an open mind concerning the relevance and applicability biblical strategies can have in their business today.

2. Caution readers that they not allow their intellect to judge God’s word, and instead allow God’s word to judge their own motives and actions as leaders.

3. Try to get across that, while one can become successful without applying God’s word to their leadership they will never become as successful as they might have been had they followed God’s instruction and used His wisdom. In other words, whatever success they’ve gained without following God’s principles has been attained in spite of not following those principles and not because they didn’t follow them.

4. Remind readers that God’s word is not intended to sap the joy out of our personal or work lives. Rather, it is there to protect us from harmful traps that have the potential to sabotage our health, career, finances, marriage and other relationships.

I’ll build my introduction around these four points in hopes it will create the right mindset and expectations, so that readers are more likely to absorb and apply the strategies presented.

I’m on my way from LA to Alabama, via Dallas. I’ve got two seminars over the next two days. I’m delighted that my partner in business and in life, my wife Rhonda, is coming with me to help out. She makes it fun and the customers love her! She’s also a great sounding board for the book’s content and has stopped me from making more writing mistakes than I care to remember.

Tomorrow, I’ll address one of the key challenges in the book: What is THE most effective leadership style?

Day 5 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Grudges, Keeping Score & More!

Monday, July 12th, 2010

What is a major distraction that keeps me from staying focused and productive on the job?” This is a key business challenge and I’ll address it in my book. Most people don’t realize that holding grudges, rehearsing offenses, waiting for a chance to get even, keeping score, and living in the past are major obstacles to being productive in the present. I’ll offer biblical principles for letting go and moving on so that you can move up! At the same time, I’ll present some scary consequences for failing to do so!

Tomorrow, I fly to Alabama for two workshops. I treasure the time on airplanes and in hotel rooms when I’m writing a book. They provide a great opportunity to do something productive and make use of possible down time.

Soon, I’ll discuss one of the more controversial topics I’ll include in my book. However, it’s a significant business challenge that must be addressed!