Posts Tagged ‘Dave Anderson’

Day 144-146 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Your Three Biggest Threats!

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

As the December 15th deadline looms for How to Lead by THE BOOK, I’m on track to finish right on time. I’ve got less than two full chapters to write, and my proofers and formatters are nearly caught up with what’ I’ve written thus far. The book will present a total of fifteen key organizational challenges, along with in-depth biblical remedies. Here is a preview of chapter 14:  What are the three biggest threats to my success?

Man’s Wisdom and Way

The business landscape is filled with mine fields: aggressive competition, government regulation, economic meltdowns and the like. These persistent threats are always circling like vultures, looking for an opportunity to devour your organization. To make matters worse, you remain vulnerable to the defection of big clients or top performers. And, in case that’s not enough, you’ll really discover what stress is all about the day the bank or your vendors  decides to withdraw your credit line! The combination of these forces and others like them is what should keep you on your toes and prevent you from ever becoming too comfortable. They loom as the biggest, most persistent threats to your success.

The BOOK’s Wisdom and Way

The threats triggered by adverse outside conditions mentioned above in “Man’s Wisdom and Way” are genuine. But the biggest threats to your organization do not come from the outside; they come from within. Often, they manifest from within the character of the leaders in charge of the organization. While the impact of adverse outside conditions is important and cannot be ignored, a leader can marginalize the effects of such factors by making the right “inside decisions” and character choices. On the other hand, poor character decisions by a leader can “train wreck” their organizations despite how robust and favorable outside conditions happen to be.

While there is a seemingly endless menu of possible poor character choices a leader can make that cause personal and organizational self-destruction, this chapter will focus on three of the “majors:” greed, sexual immorality, and following false teachers and their ungodly counsel.

Day 138-140: How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Key to Making the Right Decisions!

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, was a great time to combine spending time with my family, and making progress on the final three chapters of How to Lead by THE BOOK. We smoked a turkey for ten hours–and it turned out great! I also prepared my somewhat famous eggs benedict, served exclusively to special family members on holiday occasions. Many readers don’t realize that I have a bit of a cooking and baking background that began long before I got into sales. I worked in several restaurants right out of school, and can still whip up a mean batch of from-scratch cinnamon rolls! However, nothing compares to the homemade yeast rolls Rhonda makes! She uses her grandma’s recipe, lets the dough rise three times by the fireplace, and cranks out mouthwatering dinner rolls the size of hamburger buns! Thus, it was a great challenge to write last night as my bloated belly made it difficult to focus on work.

The title of chapter 13, which I made some progress on yesterday despite the culinary distractions is: How do I know God’s will as I make decisions in my business and life?

Of all the chapters, I believe this one has the potential to add the most value to readers, as there is so much confusion on this important topic. While I touched on this topic here a couple of months ago, I want to include an exact excerpt from the beginning of chapter 13 here:

Man’s Wisdom and Way

“If your intentions are good and you don’t violate God’s principles, He will bless your decisions because He wants you to prosper. Besides, what sort of testimony does a “failure” of a Christian have in the business world? Use the gifts and talents that God gives you for moral purposes and God will stay on your side. Make a decision, and if you don’t feel any inner conflict, God is with you. That’s a sign to move forward in faith. At that point, ask God to bless your decision and then move in that direction.”

The BOOK’s Wisdom and Way

Christians commonly take missteps as they mistake faith for presumption. You cannot make godly decisions, and nor will you know God’s will for anything until you give up control of your life to God. Most Christians make decisions about what they want to do and then ask God to bless those decisions. Instead, you must commit to what God wants for you, and then ask Him to reveal it. The commitment comes before the understanding because God doesn’t share His will for contemplation but for participation.

You’ll have a far easier time making godly decisions if you know what’s in God’s word. This is because His will for you won’t contradict His word.  God’s word acts as a filter for decision-making. The more you understand it the easier it is for you to know what to do, and what not to do in a given situation.

It’s about relationship

While speaking at a conference, a businessman asked me, “How do I hear God’s voice in my daily business walk?” I answered as follows:

The key to hearing God’s voice in anything is your relationship with Him. The closer your relationship to God, the easier it is to know what He wants and expects. Frankly, you cannot develop an intimate relationship with anyone unless you send time with them. God is no different. Sending up a flare prayer every once in a while when you need something is not going to build a relationship with God. You’ll remain little more than a casual acquaintance.

Day 136-137: How to Lead by THE BOOK: When Drastic Action is Required!

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

As I completed my chapter on how culture changes behaviors within organizations for How to Lead by THE BOOK, I included examples of when drastic action is required to change a culture. I also outlined the importance of leaders becoming students of behaviors rather than students of “the numbers”. Here are the excerpts to explain:

Drastic action is sometimes required

Occasionally, a culture has devolved to the point where the organization cannot, or shouldn’t, be saved. In other words, it has reached the point of no return where no leader; set of values, mission, standards, competencies or group of people can turn things around. In these cases, it’s better to fold up the tents, clean house, and start over with a new leader. Or, if you’re God, you send a flood.

One of the saddest passages in THE BOOK is found in Genesis 6:5-7. No new vision here, a new culture was needed:

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man, and beast, creeping thing, and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

Twelve chapters later, God decided that the grave sin of Sodom and Gomorrah warranted obliteration. As Jude described centuries later:

But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode. He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Jude 5-7.

Be a student of behaviors

You cannot change a culture by changing the “numbers.” Yet many leaders pride themselves as great students of the numbers. Instead, they should become a student of behaviors, because the behaviors portend where the numbers are headed.

The “numbers” in your organization are a result of the culture. This is because culture dictates behaviors and behaviors determine results. By carefully watching the daily behaviors of your people, you can intervene and strengthen the culture and subsequent behaviors before the numbers show up. On the other hand, if you’re watching only for the numbers, all you’re seeing are the lagging indicators. Numbers show up too late to change anything! It’s like confusing the scoreboard for the game. If all you’re doing is gazing at the scoreboard, you’re missing the game—and the opportunity to influence the behaviors within the game that determine what goes up on the scoreboard.

When you study behaviors within your organization, you can effectively predict the future. The daily behaviors of your people will tell you exactly where the numbers are headed. In fact, your organization’s past culture-induced behaviors have brought you to where you are today.

Day 132-135 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Avoid These Two Dangerous Leadership Mistakes!

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

I’ve now completed 35,000 of the 50,000 words needed to finish How to Lead by THE BOOK. I’ve covered eleven major business challenges thus far making for short, to-the-point chapters.

Last night I put the finishing touches on the chapter, “What are two of the most dangerous mistakes I must avoid to become a more effective leader?” Obviously, there were lots to choose from! However, I decided to include the following two major blunders in the book:

1. The tendency to prioritize “stuff” over people.

2. The tendency to become too dependent on yourself.

Here’s an excerpt of how I opened the chapter:

Man’s Wisdom and Way

“Leadership brings pressures that will cause you to make mistakes. No one expects you to be perfect. If you fall short, ask forgiveness. When you commit leadership errors, learn from them.  The bottom line is that, since everyone makes their own share of blunders, yours are none of their business.”

If you believe the veracity of Man’s Wisdom and Way, please re-read chapter two, and pay more attention this time! As a leader, your mistakes are everyone’s business because your actions have a greater impact on the culture, morale, momentum and organizational results than any one else’s. You also have the responsibility of setting a righteous example for followers. To appreciate your influence on their behavior, you must grasp that the positive actions you take in excess followers will emulate in moderation. However, the negative actions you initiate in moderation, your followers will imitate in excess. You also accrue a bad reputation and encourage further cultural corruption when your own words and deeds are inconsistent. Sir Francis Bacon explained it well: “He that gives good admonition and bad example builds with one hand and pulls down with the other.”

THE BOOK’s wisdom and way

You are not expected to become perfect. But you should strive towards imitating a perfect Lord and Savior as you are instructed in Ephesians 5:1: “Therefore be imitators of God.”  Many leaders use the fact that they cannot become perfect human beings as license to stop striving.

As a leader, you are expected to do more than grow old; you are presumed to grow up and minimize your errors, correct your mistakes, and respond to missteps backwards with a steady gait forward.

Leaders face many temptations and often fall into common traps that affect their character and performance. Loose morals, lousy judgment, outright ignorance, and blatant stupidity are the culprits beyond most failures. However, there is one primary perpetrator that underlines each of these causes: pride.  In How to Rum Your Business by THE BOOK (Wiley, 2009), I devoted an entire chapter explaining how pride is the number one cause of leadership failure. Suffice to say, that if you struggle with either of these common leadership mistakes I mention in this chapter, pride is at the root of your problem. And if you suddenly became defensive or defiant in the face of my accusation that you may have a problem with pride, it is certain evidence that you are guilty as charged!

Day 129-131 How to Lead by THE BOOK: How do You Hold People Accountable?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Yesterday I spoke at a Leader’s Forum in Cincinnati with my friend and best-selling author, John Maxwell. There were 150 leaders in attendance and the topic of how to hold others accountable was one of the issues we addressed.

The first chapter of How to Lead by THE BOOK will tackle this challenge. Below is an excerpt that opens the chapter. It helps create perspective on the basis for accountability. In a future post, I’ll list some of the seven steps for accountability that I present in the book.

Man’s wisdom & way

“Get in their face with tough talk. Intimidate, threaten, and bully. If they don’t like it, they should either step up or opt out!”

In the one thousand leadership presentations I give each decade, I’ve discovered that this old school palaver is still the strategy of choice for many misguided leaders. While trying to find the right word to describe this tendency herein I couldn’t decide whether to use hopeless, futile, or stupid. Thus, I’ve decided to define this method for accountability as: hopelessly futile stupidity.

The BOOK’s wisdom & way

While visiting the Mount of the Beatitudes in Israel, I was struck by its prominence in height and stature compared to its surroundings. Thus, it is fitting that Jesus chose this spot to teach on the topic of elevated values and expectations. In Matthew chapters 5-7, Jesus outlined the revolutionary values of the Christian faith with His Sermon on the Mount. He presented clear behavioral standards, along with appropriate rewards or penalties contingent upon one’s obedience. Whereas the Old Testament ended in Malachi 4:6 with a curse, Jesus began His ministry teaching on the Mount with a blessing: Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. You are able to bless your people in a like manner when you clearly define what you expect from them. You simultaneously strengthen your organization as doing so provides an essential benchmark for accountability.   

Why did Jesus set forth expectations and values so early in His ministry? For the same reasons you must do so within your organization: You cannot possibly hold anyone accountable until you define what you expect in the first place! But even more importantly, it gave Him a chance to model what He expected with His own life. Even when Jesus’ mouth was closed, He taught by His example. You must do likewise. After all, you cannot credibly hold others accountable for the behaviors you’ve defined as non-negotiable unless you personally live them.

There is no record in Matthew of Jesus offering feedback to anyone, much less holding them accountable, until He had clearly defined what He expected from his followers. Using THE BOOK as a guide, consider the seven subsequent thoughts and rules to help you create a higher accountability culture in your organization. (Coming in a future post).

Day 122-123 How to Lead by THE BOOK: How to Change Behaviors in Your Organization!

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

A common misconception is that you can change your team’s behaviors strictly by changing your organization’s vision. This is only true if your culture aligns with your vision. For instance, if you have a culture of entitlement, where there is little accountability, casting a stretch-vision isn’t going to change a thing. In fact, it can make you look foolish because the culture and vision are an obvious mismatch. Thus, the key to changing behaviors is to first change your culture. After the culture is firmly established in the image you desire, you can credibly create a vision that will evoke emotion from within the culture and cause the people there to behave accordingly and rise to the occasion of reaching the vision.

In How to Lead by THE BOOK, I will include a chapter on what comprises culture and how to change it. Here’s a sneak preview:

Culture Components:

1. Core values.

2. Mission.

3. Core competencies.

4. People

The leader is the primary architect and chief-influencer of the culture. The culture components aren’t likely to change much unless the leader changes, or is changed.

The culture builds a foundation to create a vision based on the strengths of your culture-foundation. Once the vision has been cast, you are then able to devise the strategy that builds on the assets of your culture and will take you to your vision.

The lesson here? Don’t try to take shortcuts by launching a bold, fancy vision until you’ve laid the ground work for its success through the deliberate and intentional creation of a supporting culture. Remember: culture dictates behavior and behaviors determine results. If you want greater results, go to work on your culture!

Day 119-121 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Fight Against the Cultural Current!

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

The preface of How to Lead by THE BOOK will be the most compelling front matter I’ve ever included in a book. It will clearly explain why it is so important to return to Biblical principles in all aspects of one’s life. To make this point, I will open the preface with eight evidences of a trending cultural decline–along with their accompanying consequences–designed to create an urgency to reposition our lives and organizations on a firmer Biblical foundation. Here’s an excerpt. It’s point six of the eight:

6. To exacerbate the moral confusion, high profile God mockers and false teachers run rampant among the ranks of bestselling authors, acclaimed comics, entertainment celebrities, church leaders, and business tycoons. For instance:

*A high profile media mogul claims that Christianity is a “religion for losers,” and labeled his employees as “Jesus freaks” for observing Ash Wednesday.

*A pastor disgraces Christianity by leading purveyors of hate in nationwide protests brandishing signs declaring: “God hates homosexuals” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.”

*A mega bestselling book succeeds at duping millions—including Christians—into thinking that the Law of Attraction can deliver to them what God can’t or won’t.

*A well respected talk show host conducted a  year-long “course in miracles” that promoted the opposite of what the Bible calls truth, leading millions astray and into potential destruction with blasphemies like: “there is no sin”, “my salvation comes from me,” and that “a slain Christ has no meaning.”

This pervasiveness of nefarious New Age nonsense has swayed throngs to embrace hellish notions in order to attain success and personal fulfillment. The Apostle Paul’s 2,000 year old warning seems designed acutely for our age:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…1 Timothy 4:1.

There will be seven additional disconcerting trends listed in the preface designed to urge leaders to get serious about bucking downward spiraling  cultural current and more wholeheartedly embrace leading themselves, their families, and their organizations by THE BOOK.

Day 117-118 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Six Benefits of Right Values!

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

I’ve just completed my chapter on core values for How to Lead by THE BOOK. As with all the chapters, I’ll start off by describing “Man’s wisdom and way” and then getting into “The BOOK’s wisdom and way.” In this excerpt I’m including six benefits to affirm the importance of having meaningful, visible, core values as a cornerstone of your culture:

Man’s wisdom & way

Core values are little more than a load of Pollyanna happy hot tub talk. Consultants promote their creation so you hire them to help you with them! In challenging times we need to stay focused, and the last thing we need is another exercise in academic nonsense. Business schools dream up this core value stuff to make our lives more complicated. In the real world, we need to focus on production. We can’t afford to become distracted from our pursuit of hard numbers by a bunch of touchy feely nonsense like core values. Creating core values ranks right up there with trivial pursuits like meaningless mission and vision statements. While we’re at it, how about gathering together every morning in the lobby to join hands, and sing Kumbaya?”

The paragraph you’ve just read is a near-verbatim statement I personally made in my first management job. This was long ago when I was under the illusion that my new title attested that I was a leader, and that my promotion had miraculously made me smarter. I know that I am not yet what I should be, but I thank God that I’m not what I used to be!

The BOOK’s wisdom and way

The Bible abounds with examples of God creating and communicating the non-negotiable behaviors that He expected His people to live by. The Ten Commandments and Christ’s Sermon on the Mount are prime examples. Creating, living, and holding others accountable for core values are essential leadership responsibilities. Core values serve multiple purposes;

1. Core values create the DNA of your organization. They differentiate you from competitors.

2. Core values make it easier for employees to know what to do in situations where they cannot check with authorities or ask for permission.

3. Core values provide a filter to help you hire the right people.

4. Core values provide a filter to help you fire the wrong people.

5. Core values help create a culture that supports your vision.

6. Core values provide a benchmark for behavioral accountability.

Day 115-116 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Don’t Cheat Your Champions!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

More great news yesterday! Fifteen months after its publication, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK is still making best-seller lists. It placed #20 in the Hudson Bookstore/Newsstand Airport Bestseller List in locations nationwide!

Setting behavioral standards, and then holding people accountable for those standards, is a key leadership responsibility. When standards aren’t set, employees can behave recklessly and then claim they “didn’t know that’s what you expected.” Here’s an excerpt from the chapter on values from How to Lead by THE BOOK:

The BOOK’s wisdom and way

The Bible abounds with examples of God creating and communicating the non-negotiable behaviors that He expected His people to live by. The Ten Commandments and Christ’s Sermon on the Mount are prime examples. Creating, living, and holding others accountable for core values are essential leadership responsibilities. Core values serve multiple purposes;

1. Core values create the DNA of your organization. They differentiate you from competitors.

2. Core values make it easier for employees to know what to do in situations where they cannot check with authorities or ask for permission.

3. Core values provide a filter to help you hire and promote the right people.

4. Core values provide a filter to help you fire the wrong people.

5. Core values help create a culture that supports your vision.

6. Core values provide a benchmark for behavioral accountability.

Years ago, the team member that violated values and possessed a dearth of character was the pariah. A sad indictment of our times often proves opposite. The contemporary outcast is the soul refusing to cede his principles, who forgoes what is easy or popular for what is right. In some circles, these principled Daniels and Ruth’s are rewarded with mockery, ostracizing, and vindictiveness. By failing to create and enforce core values that champion these heroes and weed out offenders, you aid the offenders and cheat your champions

Day 112-114: How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Importance of Confrontation!

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

During my early morning walks around the neighborhood this week, I couldn’t help but notice that each year the Halloween decorations the neighbors put out become just a bit more horrific: headless corpses, witches in trees, characters in “Scream” masks stabbing one another. All of this is accepted as “harmless fun.” However, place a nativity scene in your yard during the Christmas season and you’re ostracized as a “freak”! This is quite an interesting age we live in, isn’t it?

I worked on How to Lead by THE BOOK for six hours yesterday–very productive hours, interrupted only by an occasional bite to eat and a workout. I’m including an excerpt in today’s post about the importance of forcefully confronting followers for values violations; especially the leaders. So many top leaders and business owners falter here. They fear upsetting a highly placed individual within their company over values violations, choosing to allow the violators to devour their culture instead. You may recall that I will begin each chapter with a “Man’s Way” versus “God’s Way” comparison for handling an issue. Here’s a sneak peak at the chapter on confrontational feedback:

Man’s wisdom & way

There’s really no middle ground with confrontational feedback. Either you’re a leadership wimp who avoids it altogether, or you step up and let people have it; and if they don’t like it and leave, good riddance! You really don’t need the hyper-sensitive types on your team anyway. After all, you’re running an organization for adults, not a daycare! Besides, Galatians 1 says that my job is to please God and not to worry about pleasing men. And what pleases God is that you’re truthful with people.”

Galatians 1:10 has been hijacked by mean-spirited leaders throughout the ages who value rules over relationships, and who look to justify their unloving manner of dealing with people. Here is what it says:

For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

God’s wisdom and way

Demonstrating love for others is what truly pleases God. Thus, we must confront, for to fail in this discipline is to evince apathy and indifference towards an individual’s welfare and potential. But we must confront in love, doing so for the right reasons and with just motives. We confront to improve the character or competence of an individual, to preserve our culture, and protect the organization’s future overall. Confronting with feedback does not mean that you do so primarily with the intent to punish, humiliate, expound your personal power, or in attempt to establish superiority over another.

When Jesus, Peter, Paul and others confronted individuals, they customized their approach to fit the person and the offense. Their harshest words were reserved for leaders of whom more was expected and to whom more had been given. They came down harder on heart failure—character shortfalls—than on production issues. Despite the importance in organizations to “hit the numbers”, we are wise to follow the Biblical examples to take an even tougher stance against those who violate values, embrace selfishness, create division, and place their personal welfare ahead of the team’s well being. These are cancers that must be neutralized or removed, lest they devour the entire entity.