Archive for August, 2010

Day 34 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Money is the Root of All Good!

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

A misinformed friend once remarked to me, “The Bible says that money is the root of all evil.” He was wrong. The Bible never says such a thing, and the verse from 1 Timothy 6:10 is one of the most-often misquotes passages in the Scriptures. What the verse does say is this: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

In other words it’s what money can do to you, rather than the money itself, that poses the problem. Without a heart that puts God first, money can hurt you in the following ways, piercing you with sorrows:

  1. It can make you proud and cause you to look down on others.
  2. You can become too dependent upon your “stuff” and less dependent upon God.
  3. Riches can create a sense of complacency so that you lose your need for, and connection to, God.
  4. Money can malign your priorities so that you focus more on temporal things than eternal matters.
  5. Great amounts of money can weaken your prayer life since your needs are on longer as pressing.
  6. Money can cause you to lose your sense of contentment, since when money becomes your god getting more of it never completely satisfies you; it creates a craving for even more.
  7. An obsession with money can more readily bring upon worry, envy, greed, and covetousness than a lack of financial resources.

The list goes on.

In, How to Lead by THE BOOK, I’ll present a series of daily and weekly disciplines that help you to keep your priorities in check, and that prevent you from becoming possessed by your possessions.

Contrary to my friend’s misquote of the scripture,  money can be the root of all good if your heart, motives, and purpose are aligned with what is most important to God.

Day 33 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Truth is Not an Opinion, nor is it Hate Speech!

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Is all of the Bible relevant? How about the smaller, obscure books that few people can even remember or pronounce properly? The answer is, “of course”! In fact, I’ve decided to include insights from all sixty-six biblical books and sprinkle them throughout the seventy strategies. I can think of no better way to demonstrate that all of the Bible is useful for application in life and business.

I’ve already begun preparing for questions, concerns, objections and criticisms I’ll receive from what I present in, How to Lead by THE BOOK: Proverbs, Parables & Principles to Tackle Your Toughest Business Challenges. These factors normally arise during radio or print interviews, and especially when callers phone in to ask questions concerning their individual situations.

After writing, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK, I discovered that the vast majority of these interactions were pleasant and productive. However, occasionally someone will call with an axe to grind. They don’t like the Bible, don’t believe in the Bible, they claim that the Bible is filled with myths, inconsistencies, contradictions and the like. While I try to stay on topic and discuss the applicability of the strategies I present and demonstrate how they can work in one’s business, the conversation sometimes strays to the theological, despite my efforts to avoid it. After all, I write business books based on biblical principles. As such, I try to avoid getting bogged down into denominational disputes and religious diatribes with critics who are more interested in attacking the Bible on which my books are based, than discussing the strategies I present in my book itself.

Some calls are from those hostile to Christianity itself. Christians are often accused of being judgmental, bigoted, or fanatical, especially when discussing issues like integrity and character. The mainstream media does little to dispel these notions. Here are six thoughts I’ll share with the critical, curious or belligerent:

1. I believe the Bible is 100% accurate, that it is the inspired and infallible word of God. My strategies are presented with this belief underscoring their effectiveness and authority.

2. Truth is not an opinion.

3. Truth is not hate speech.

4. Morality is not bigotry.

5. Being “loving” as Christ commands does not mean that sin is celebrated, legitimized, sanctioned, or validated.

6. If one does not approve of or agree with a principle, truth, or strategy that I present their argument is with the Bible and its Author, and not with me.

Day 32 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Importance & Blessings of Flexibility!

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

One of my persistent weaknesses is the inability to avoid frustration when things don’t go as planned. Being a structured person, I can get a bit neurotic when unforeseen obstacles or delays interfere with my agenda. I believe that many “A”-type personalities in leadership positions are wired the same way. Because of this, I’ll address the importance of staying focused on your objective while you remain flexible in your approach in, How to Lead by THE BOOK.

You may be familiar with the story in Mark 15, detailing how a certain man from Cyrene, Simon, was on a pilgrimage from his home in North Africa to take part in a religious festival. As he was passing through Jerusalem, he was drafted into service by the Romans and ordered to help Jesus carry His cross. My guess is that this interruption in his plans probably frustrated Simon. Keep in mind, he had come a long way to worship in Jerusalem and an interruption that involved carrying a cross, an instrument of death, could make him ritually unclean and unable to take part in the service.

What he carried was actually the patibulum, or cross bar, that weighed only 30 or 40 pounds. It was nothing for a strong man to bear. However, Christ had been weakened by loss of blood from his floggings and beatings and needed help. Simon’s plans were disrupted as he was thrown into the middle of a bloody melee to help a man he may have known little or nothing about. His first impression of Jesus and the situation overall couldn’t have been favorable. After all this man had been condemned to death! He was a bloody, pathetic mess! The crowds jeered and mocked Him, and now Simon was, in effect, yoked to this “undesirable” and conscripted to give Him a hand.

Yet later how thankful Simon must have been. For the mention of his two sons, included most likely because those sons were known by the Roman church for whom Mark wrote in Romans 16:13, suggests that later Simon became a Christian, and had the privilege of knowing that he alone, of all mankind, had ministered to Christ on the way to Calvary. When our plans are interrupted, we often feel frustration and anger. But when these feelings come, we’re wise to remember Simon and to look around for someone whose burden we may be able to lighten: at home, in the workplace, in an airport, restaurant, anywhere. As the saying goes, “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.”

Day 31 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Don’t Cave to the Malcontents!

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

So much of the world is suffering through a heat wave at the moment that I’m slightly ashamed to admit that when we drove to our beach retreat in the Monterey area of California last night the temperature was 57 degrees! This morning, as I gaze out the living room window and watch a pod of dolphins swim by, the fireplace is raging. Soon, I’ll don a hoodie and take a long walk on the beach. What a great environment to work on, How to Lead by THE BOOK: Proverbs, Parables & Principles to Tackle Your Toughest Business Challenges.

Here’s a business challenge I’ll cover with no-nonsense advice in How to Lead by THE BOOK: how far should you go to please the malcontents in your organization? You know, the folks that are rarely happy and whine the loudest. The tendency is to compromise and give them an inordinate amount of attention, while you ignore the productive employees. For a biblical example of how not to deal with malcontents, you need to look no further than Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor over Judea during Jesus’ time. Larry Richards, in his 365 Day Devotional Commentary sets the stage:

In most things the Romans were content to let subject peoples govern themselves. In Judea and several other provinces, the Romans at this time reserved the power of capital punishment for themselves. This caused a problem for the chief priests. Claiming to be the Son of God might be blasphemy and a capital offense to the Jews. But not to the Romans! So while they condemned Jesus for one crime, they had to manipulate Pilate into condemning Him for some other crime! They desperately tried to invent a capital crime—and when they could not, they relied on the threat of a riot to force Pilate’s hand.

History tells us Pilate had no regard for the Jews he governed. But why ask for trouble at a time when Jerusalem was filled with fanatically religious pilgrims from all over the world?

Pilate’s concern was simple. Not, is it right? But, is it expedient? Will it get me off the hook now? Whenever we face any moral choice we weigh factors very much like those Pilate considered. He knew the priests were simply envious of Jesus . But it was easier to give in to them than to have to report another bloody riot in a city he governed.

If we are repelled by Pilate, the man who ordered the crucifixion of our Lord, let us abhor his way of reaching a decision just as much. Let’s commit ourselves to do what is right, whatever the cost may be.
Leaders with integrity cannot compromise what is right for what is temporarily comfortable or expedient. In fact, those in leadership positions that surrender the integrity of their culture to appease a vocal minority of malcontents are no longer leaders; they are a base grade of politician.

Day 30 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Don’t go “Hollywood”!

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Last night my wife, daughter and I attended a Hillsong Concert at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. They were great! I’ve enjoyed their upbeat Christian music for years. It’s not often when you can go to a concert that opens with a prayer, takes time for a Scripture reading, and gives an invitation to accept Christ.

Yesterday I wrote about a strategy for responding to and dealing with dishonest, unethical, or otherwise God-mocking people who prosper. I’ve longed believed that God allows these people to prosper materially so that they will discover how empty life is without God, despite their wealth or fame and turn to God in search of true life. Many dishonest business people along with the “Hollywood” types who promote and live sinful lifestyles, and that so much of the world admires, are filled with insecurity, bitterness, and envy. They lack peace, suffer broken relationships, and have few true friends. Isaiah 57:21 says it well: “There is no peace for the wicked.” They are to be pitied rather than envied.

I’m going to spend the next several days at a beach retreat where Rhonda and I enjoy relaxing and preparing for the busy fall and winter schedules. It’s also my favorite place to write. There are 52 of the 70 strategies I’ll include in, How to Lead by THE BOOK, that require greater depth and research. Being within a stones throw of the ocean’s peace and power will help accelerate the writing process for me. I feel strongly that I should expand the financial strategies in the book, especially those that involve debt and what the Bible has to say about it. This is a touchy subject for business people, but God is clear about His feelings about debt: it’s a curse, it should be avoided, and it is often incurred in the name of  “faith”, when in fact it is motivated by presumption. We put ourselves in a financial jam and then plead with God to bail us out of it, rather than seek His will first and trust Him to provide the resources in advance of our need. This topic has come up in nearly every radio interview I’ve done for How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK, and requires further attention in my new book. I always encourage readers to pay notice to the parts of a book or course that create the most discomfort, because they usually have the most to teach them.

Day 29 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Life isn’t Supposed to be Fair!

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Life and business are often unfair. This is why an unwavering faith in God’s principles, and the conviction to implement and stand upon those principles, is your best lifeline when it seems like the “bad guys” are getting ahead. One of the strategies I’ll discuss in, How to Lead by THE BOOK is how to respond productively when cheaters prosper, or if a crooked competitor steals your customers, or when those mock God with their sinful lifestyles win victories over Christians who haven’t lost their awe of God. The fact is, life isn’t fair, has never been fair, and the scales often go unbalanced until the day we each stand before God. Take Jesus for example. Was life fair to Him? Consider just a few examples from his trial, to say nothing of His crucifixion:

1. One of his closest friends betrayed Him.

2. Those responsible for administering the Law in His time, plotted to seize Him secretly and drag him off to an illegal nighttime trial.

3. The same court charged with hearing evidence, sought to manufacture it and even recruited false testimony.

4. When Jesus affirmed His deity He was immediately condemned, even though the Law required for a full day to pass in a capital case between a finding of guilt and sentencing.

5. He came, taught of God’s love, healed, saved, and after the mockery of His trial, His enemies took delight in spitting on him and beating Him with their fists. Then they tortured him on a Roman cross.

When unfair things happen to you, or to God’s people, this doesn’t change the fact that God is still in charge and will have the final word. In a sin-warped world, there will always be injustice, just as there was for the Son of God. It’s how you respond to injustice that defines your faith and character. I’ll present several productive responses to life’s injustices, as prescribed by the Bible, in How to Lead by THE BOOK. Here’s a head start: Proverbs 24:19-20.

Day 28 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The #1 Way to Help Your People!

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

In How to Lead by THE BOOK I’ll cover strategies for training, coaching, motivating, and mentoring your employees. There are outstanding examples in the Bible for how to perform all of these essential leadership tasks. However, none of these is what I will present as the #1 way to help your people to develop and improve. The developmental strategy that I believe is the most helpful is often overlooked because it is so simple and obvious. Even Christian leaders give me a “deer in the headlights” look when I ask them if they perform this task for their people. What makes this strategy even better is that it doesn’t cost money! You don’t have to invest in resources or send your employees across the country to a seminar in order for them to benefit from it.

The people-development tool I’m referring to will be one of the 70 strategies I include in How to Lead by THE BOOK. If you can’t wait until the June release date, here’s where you’ll find a preview: John 17: 6-19 and  Luke 22:31-32.

Day 27 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Greatest Hindrance to Future Success!

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

One of the 70 challenges I’ll cover in, How to Lead by THE BOOK: Proverbs, Parables & Principles to Tackle Your Toughest Business Challenges is: “What is my greatest hindrance to future success”? The answer: today’s success!

The reasons are clear and compelling and I’ll give biblical examples for why this is true, but for now here’s the condensed version: Success can make you too dependent upon yourself and cause you to forget about God. You can lose your humility and begin to operate more in your own wisdom and strength. You are also likely to become a know-it-all, who stops learning and listening to others. Successful people can become arrogant, aloof and stuck in their ways. Success for the spiritually unprepared or immature is a trap that shallow leaders fall into it every day!

If you have a chance today, read Mark 10:15-22. Notice how Mark contrasts the humility of the little children to the attachment to possessions of the rich, young ruler. As we lose the humble spirit, sense of dependency, and expectant faith of the little children and become like the rich  ruler we, too, are prone to walk away from God.

My friend John Maxwell returned from a three week teaching trip to Nigeria, Ukraine and China and notified me yesterday that he’d be delighted to provide a cover quote for, How to Lead by THE BOOK. I also got word from my friend, Small Business Advocate Radio Show Host and author Jim Blasingame, that he’s in as well. Jim has a great show for business people that is syndicated across the country. I’ve been his guest several times over the years, and he’s the best! Some of the interviews I’ve done with him are in the Online Press Room section of our website at www.learntolead.com. Listen and enjoy!

I’m having lunch with a pastor today in L.A. who does extensive ministry in the L.A. area, with the persecuted church in Iran, in Armenia, and Russia. I want to learn more about how we can work together and help his ministry. I’ll also be in our office studios to record material for our subscribers. It’s going to be a great day!

Day 26 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Whom are You Discipling?

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

One of the many definitions of  “disciple” is to teach or train. To disciple another is a key leadership responsibility. Training, teaching, impacting and stretching others is also one of the greatest rewards of leadership. In fact, if you don’t get a high degree of satisfaction watching those around you grow and become more competent and confident, then you are probably not cut out for leadership. You might be a good manager, but you won’t become an effective leader until you are committed to bringing people across the finish line with you.

The Bible is filled with stories and principles of mentors who disciple their pupils. Jesus and the Twelve, Paul and Timothy, Elija and Elisha, Deborah and Barak just to name a few. In fact, the entire book of 1 Timothy is an incredible training manual. More than a dozen of the 70 strategies I present in, How to Lead by THE BOOK will cover techniques for training, coaching, and mentoring others. I will strongly encourage readers to share the information with those closest to them. By passing on knowledge, you shift  your role from reservoir to river. In other words, you’re not merely gathering and holding knowledge for your own edification, you’re letting it flow through to others.

Whom will you disciple today? What principles can you teach or share that can uplift someones ability or attitude? And if you’re too busy with paperwork, that you don’t have time for people-work, then you need a serious priority adjustment.

Just this morning, I received an email from a friend of mine in the UK. His name is Michael Bates; Lord Michael Bates of Great Britain’s House of Lords. I met him while teaching seminars in the UK two years ago and he became fast friends with my wife, Rhonda and me.  He told me today that he’s working on a project to personally mentor hard-to-reach young people in the UK and teach them a course of seven success principles. His program is called, Aspire to Be. Lord Bates is a busy guy, but he’s making it a priority to pass on knowledge and inspiration to under-privileged young people who have been to prison. These young adults aren’t short of dreams; they just don’t believe there is any feasible way for them to achieve them, and have no idea how to go about doing it. Michael is going to show them despite his schedule, his business, his growing family, his governmental duties–which includes an upcoming trip to the United Nations.  Now, what are you going to do today to positively impact another human being?

Day 25 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Hire with Your Head, not Your Heart!

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Experts say that the number one cause of hiring errors comes from making emotional hiring decisions that are triggered by an applicant’s personality and appearance. In other words we tend to focus more on the external; the “sizzle”, than we focus on the internal; the character. Perhaps this is because the outward is easier to determine than the internal qualities. Thus, you need a strategy for uncovering character issues during an interview. You must hire with your head, not with your heart!

Even biblical leaders made the mistake of focusing too much on the external. Look at what happened when Samuel was sent to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint the future king of Israel from among Jesse’s eight sons:

So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:6-7.

To make a long story short, Samuel anointed the youngest son, David, and biblical history demonstrated that a spiteful and bitter Eliab would have made a terrible king. Incidentally, the right candidate doesn’t necessarily have to be the ugly one either! Scripture describes David as, “ruddy, with bright eyes, and good looking.”

One of Jesus’ greatest frustrations with the religious experts of His day, the Pharisees, was their obsession with outward appearances and traditions, while their inner character was selfish, greedy, hypocritical, and covetous.

In, How to Lead by THE BOOK, I will present a biblically-based hiring strategy that helps you to determine the character traits of a candidate as a priority. In fact, character should trump competence, because you can teach skills and knowledge, but you cannot teach character. I will provide specific, character-determining questions to ask during an interview that will help flush out the existence, or lack of, the nonnegotiable qualities of integrity essential to have in all of your employees. I believe this will be one of the most widely applicable and practical of the 70 strategies I provide in the book.