Archive for September, 2010

Day 58 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Step Up, the Bar has been Raised!

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

A common mistake new leaders make is to believe that once they get their leadership title, life gets easier; that it is filled with perks and privileges. To dispel that notion, consider the following four facts about leadership:

1. A title doesn’t make you a leader. It merely gives you an opportunity to become one. This is because leadership is about performance and not position.

2. Once you are in a leadership position there are more demands on your time and talents, not less. This can actually restrict, rather than broaden, your freedom.

3. You must be more intentional with what you say, how you say it, and in controlling your emotions publicly. This is because you are on display and everything you say or do will be magnified many times over.

4. Since leaders have increased authority, power, and discretion, more is expected in terms of performance. The additional clout and resources you’re given when you become a leader strip away the excuses for failing to deliver results.

As you can see, leadership is a lot more about responsibilities than it is “rights”. Once you become a leader, the bar is raised and you are expected to step up, not let up!

When people read the Bible and learn how Christ came to replace the Old Testament’s legalism with love and grace, they often falsely believe that graduating from the Old Testament to the New Testament broadens one’s boundaries to behave sinfully. After all, Christ obviated the ritualistic rules and regulations that restricted God’s earlier people, so this added grace can be used as a license to sin and carry on recklessly, right? Wrong. Just as moving from a subordinate to leadership position raises the bar for your behavior, so does becoming a believer of Christ. Many Christians are surprised to discover that Christ’s behavioral commands were stricter than those in the Old Testament. Here are three examples.

1. Old standard: Exodus 20:13: Thou shall not murder. Jesus’ standard: You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder’, and whoever murders will be in danger of judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” Matthew 5:21.

2. Old standard: Thou shall not commit adultery. Jesus’ standard: You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28.

3. Old standard: Thou shall love they neighbor as yourself. Jesus’ standard: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34

In How to Lead by THE BOOK, I will offer strategies for leading by personal example rather than by personal convenience; to commit oneself to a cause, rather than selfishly commit a cause to oneself. I’ll make the case for leaders to raise their own bar for behaviors and results. But Luke 12:48 certainly says it much better than I will and in far fewer words: To whom much is given, much is required.

Day 57 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Real Problem Behind Relationship Failures!

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Here are five symptoms that you have relational problems with people:

1. You spend more time with “stuff” than you do with people.

2. You look at people as an expense rather than an asset.

3. You don’t easily trust others, and they in turn are skeptical of your own actions and motives.

4. You don’t feel a love for the people you work with or serve as customers.

5. You routinely judge, keep score, and condemn others rather than look for the good and build them up.

If you don’t consider yourself as a “people person”, and use that as an excuse to justify any of these five attitudes towards people, you’re hiding from the truth. The fact is that you’ll never become a people person until you value people! And you cannot truly value and love people until you fully love God. Thus, if you have relationship problems, they are symptomatic of a bigger issue: your relationship with God isn’t what it should be!

Watch carefully the sequence of Jesus’ words as found in Matthew 22:37-39 as He replied to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?”: Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second commandment is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Jesus knew that the second commandment wasn’t going to happen until his hearers embraced the first one!

In, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK I included an entire chapter on developing people skills. But the first step to developing people skills is to love and care for people! In, How to Lead by THE BOOK I’ll include strategies for developing a greater love for God, and for people. Here’s a hint: While you won’t have to think less of yourself to pull this off, you will need to think of yourself less.

Day 56 How to Lead by THE BOOK: How to Handle Your Opposition!

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

One of the most common laments I hear from successful people is that the individuals they thought would be happy for them when they became successful were not! In fact, the success they earned often resulted in resentment, envy, and bitterness that strained their relationships. One would hope that their success would inspire others to dig deeper and try harder. But human beings are odd creatures in this regard. Not only are they not likely to rejoice for you when you do well, they decide that rather than try to “keep up with the Jones'”,  it’s easier on them to talk you out of your success, or diminish what you did in an effort to reduce you to their level. After all, they don’t want you to make them look bad! And rather than work to build their own foundation, it’s more appealing to them to tear yours down!

There are even occasions when your accomplishments will actually stiffen your opposition and strengthen the coalitions against you. In fact, this is exactly what happened to Jesus after He raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus had been dead for four days. When Jesus called him from his tomb and he walked out of it alive and well, it was clearly a miracle. But John 11 relates how, while many believed in Him after this miracle, the religious leaders most threatened by Jesus’ success and popularity circled the wagons and began to plot how to kill Him. If it happened to Jesus, it can happen to you.

What can you do when others plot or rally against you because of your success? I’ll cover strategies for this in, How to Lead by THE BOOK. While I don’t have the space to delve too deeply into the topic here, let me present the “short answer”. You can’t do much about it,  so don’t! You cannot control the whims or plots of others. What you can control is your own behavior, attitude, and character choices. Continue to do what is right and let God handle the rest. Claim Psalms 62:6 as your defense: He only is my rock and salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.

Day 55 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Power of Doing!

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Oftentimes an attendee to a workshop I teach will tell me afterward, “I really didn’t hear anything new today, but it was good to be reminded of what I already know.” I normally reply:

“It’s great that you know these things. How often do you do them?”

That’s when they break off eye contact and begin making excuses!

As I write, How to Lead by THE BOOK: Proverbs, Parables & Principles to Tackle Your Toughest Business Challenges, there is no question in my mind that many readers will beat themselves up a bit as they read strategies they’ve heard before but haven’t applied. The pain of their neglect results in performance plateaus and mediocre outcomes. And that’s a good thing, because frustration and disgust can be terrific motivators! When you realize that you know better, the next step is to do better! In fact, knowing is nothing! Life rewards action! Life doesn’t reward your wisdom, experience, credentials, or knowledge. If you want to get greater results in your business or life, you’ve got to get up off your knowledge and do something!

Biblical principles espousing the importance of doing what you know are many. Jesus said in John 13:17: If you know these things blessed are you if you do them.

In John 14:21 He declared, He that knows my commandments and does them, it is he who loves me. Isn’t that an interesting comment?  Many Christians think that loving God is enough and that their works don’t really matter. But Jesus teaches that you can’t choose between loving and actions, you must do both! He makes clear that to really love Him you must do what He says! In other words, knowing is never enough! There is only power as you do!

One of your most persistent challenges as a leader will be to close the gap between knowing and doing. You normally don’t fail to reach your potential because you lack knowledge. Rather, you fall short because you fail to do more of what you already know. In, How to Lead by THE BOOK, I’ll offer a series of steps to help you do more of what you know, and to do so with a consistency and degree of excellence that significantly impacts your personal and corporate growth.