Posts Tagged ‘How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK’

Day 93 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Keep Up Your Guard!

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Yesterday, Saturday, I received an email from my publisher. They’ve decided that, in addition to bringing out How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK in a paperback edition to coincide with the release of How to Lead by THE BOOK, they would like the following enhancements made:

1. A new introduction including the feedback I’ve received from those using and applying the book’s principles.

2. 500 additional words of new and expanded material at the end of each chapter.

3. A 2500 word final chapter on a new topic rooted in biblical principles.

I’m very excited to do this. And while I don’t know the deadline yet, I’m aware that I’ll need to focus even more to complete How to Lead by THE BOOK on time and also make the additions to How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK. In essence, in the course of a week, I’ve gone from writing one book to two.

As I work harder to tune out distractions and focus on the task at hand, I’m reminded of Christ’s command to Peter, John and James in the Garden of Gethsemane the night He was betrayed. Here’s how Matthew reports the incident as Christ addresses the disciples in the Garden.

“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed… v. 38-39.

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” v. 40-41.

The word “watch” in this instance is from the Greek word gregoreuo, which means to keep awake with the idea of being vigilant. In this instance, Christ was using it not so much in the physical sense as in the moral sense. Jesus knew that even though the disciples had verbally stated their allegiance and willingness to follow Him, this resolve would soon be tested.

The advice to “watch” is just as important to leaders today. Whether in your family, church, community, or business, you must keep your guard up against the moral drowsiness that can cause you to fall into traps of unproductive distractions and devastating temptations. As Jesus suggested, watching must be coupled with praying in order to stay on track.

Being watchful means that you are also alert to spiritual dangers that may affect your family, friends and employees. It is a conscious alertness of mind that keeps you and others from spiritual lethargy and slackening of your faith and Godly conduct.

Paul reminds us: Therefore do not sleep, as others do, but let us watch, and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:6.

Peter is even more poignant with: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8.

Perhaps there are areas of your life, the lives of your children, or the lives of your employees that demand you do more watching.  Keep your spiritual guard up, stay more alert. Watch what they’re watching: on television and on the Internet. Listen to whom they’re listening to and being influenced by. Their spirit may indeed be willing, but the flesh is inherently weak.

Day 90 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Are You Just Making Money or are You Making a Difference?

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

I can’t speak for all authors, but one of my greatest rewards for writing books is the feedback I receive from readers explaining how a book I wrote has impacted their lives. Making money is nice, making a difference is far more important.

I have been fortunate to receive a steady stream of these uplifting letters and emails since How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK was published last August. In fact, an email I read just moments ago from a reader of the book was so powerful and moving that I shared it with my publisher and my team. I told them, “Sometimes it’s important to be reminded of why we do what we do. Here’s why.” To protect the privacy of the email’s author I cannot share its contents here except to say that it didn’t only make my day, it made my month!

As I continue to write How to Lead by THE BOOK, I maintain an awareness that this is not a book designed to help leaders make more money per se. Instead, it is a guide to help them make a difference. After all, if you learn to make a difference in the lives of your followers, results will skyrocket and the money will be there. But money should not be the primary motive–making the difference should be! I tell my audiences, “Don’t chase the money! Chase making a difference and the money will chase you!”

Perhaps it is time to reevaluate your personal motives and your daily leadership activities and consider the impact–or not–you’re having in the lives of your teammates. Are you just making money or are you making a difference? Are you consumed with becoming more personally successful, or are you striving towards significance by elevating others and taking them with you on your journey?

Here are two quick reminders to help you make a difference:

1. You can’t do it at a distance. While you can impress people with your title, power and knowledge, in order to impact them you must get up close and spend time with them. Don’t expect to become significant by sending out more emails, memos and voice mails! Roll up your sleeves and become more engaged with the people-work part of your job!

2. You cannot impact people by maintaining them. A leader’s job is to stretch others out of their comfort zone with high expectations, honest feedback, increased latitude and discretion, and by providing the training they need to become more successful. If you’re not stretching, you’re not leading!

Day 89 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Three Keys to Knowing What to Do in Any Situation!

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Yesterday was filled with great news: How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK was the #20 bestseller in fiction/non-fiction hardcover book categories in airport bookstores for the month of September (according to the HMS Host Sales Report). Also, because of its success, my publisher has decided that I should produce a revised and expanded version of the book that will come out in paperback to coincide with the release of, How to Lead by THE BOOK in June!

I spoke at a gathering of business leaders only four miles from my offices yesterday. Any day I don’t have to get on an airplane to speak with an audience is a particular blessing! There were leaders from real estate, investments, banking, and law enforcement gathered to hear my speech: Four Decisions that Create Growth in Any Market! The wonderful thing about leadership principles is that they transcend all industries. They are applicable and effective regardless of what you do. Fortunately, the audience felt the same way and several attendees have already emailed to indicate they are applying the strategies I presented.

A question that came up while I was speaking in Turkey last week was: “How do I know God’s will for my life or my business?” This topic is so important and deep that I devoted an entire section to it in, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK. It’s essential that Christians understand the process for knowing what to do in any situation. Here are three tips for doing so:

1. The key to hearing God’s voice is found in having a close relationship with Him. As your relationship with God is strengthened it is easier to hear His voice and discern His will. Stay close enough to Him that all He has to do is whisper, rather than shout in order to get your attention.

2. The key to having a strong relationship with God is obedience. Obeying takes you from “knowing” about God to experiencing Him. Jesus said in John 14:15, If you love me, keep My commandments.

3. Proverbs 3:5-6 says that if you acknowledge God in all your ways He will direct your paths. This means that when you surrender and put under His control all areas of your life: finances, relationships, personal and corporate values, and the like, that He will reveal His will to you. By committing first to God, you begin to understand His will. However, most people want to know God’s will and then decide whether or not they want to commit to it! It doesn’t work that way!

You can rest assured that it’s not God’s desire to keep His will for you a secret! He wants you to know it so that you can serve Him. But He is not anxious to reveal it to the rebellious, selfish, independent, willful, prideful or uncommitted.

Day 64 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Temper Tip, Sales Tips, Newton Quote!

Friday, September 10th, 2010

When I wrote, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK I named “controlling your emotions” as a key character trait and people-skill. In fact, I included one the Bible’s best verses on the subject from James 1:17: So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. This, perhaps, is one of the best pieces of communication advice ever written!

Many of the leaders who read my upcoming book, How to Lead by THE BOOK: Proverbs, Parables & Principles to Tackle Your Toughest Business Challenges manage sales teams, and other personnel who routinely interact with customers. Just as with the verse from James concerning controlling your tongue and temper, the Book of Proverbs is rich with advice for communicating with co-workers and customers. Consider the following helpful advice for salespeople, especially for those that tend to talk too much, or finish a customer’s sentences for him:

He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is considered wise when he holds his peace. When he shuts his lips he is considered perceptive. Proverbs 17:27-28.

He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him. Proverbs 18:13.

Proverbs has thirty-one chapters. A helpful discipline I began years ago was to read one chapter per day. By doing so, I was able to get through the entire book once each month, and internalize much of the wisdom found in its pages. I highly recommend this simple discipline to anyone looking to increase in wisdom and stature at home or on the job.

Today, my publisher sent three prospective cover designs for, How to Lead by THE BOOK. They are excellent! After an adjustment or two, we should have a cover that builds the brand of the by THE BOOK series, without looking too similar to my last work.  I’ll include the finalized cover in the October editions of How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK and, Leading at the Next Level newsletters.

I’ll end today’s post with a quote from John Newton. You’ve probably heard of him. He was the slave trader in England, who became a follower of Christ during a crisis at sea, renounced his abusive lifestyle, worked as a prominent abolitionist, and wrote the song, Amazing Grace.

What will it profit a man if he gains his cause, and silences his adversary, if at the same time he loses that humble tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of His presence is made.

Keep his words in mind the next time you feel the insatiable need to prove yourself as “right”, and put someone else in their place.

Day 62 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Show People What Good Performance Looks Like!

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

My publisher, Wiley, contacted me yesterday to solicit ideas for, How to Lead by THE BOOK’s cover. The cover design is VERY important to the success of the book! The work Wiley has done on my past books has been excellent. They will normally submit 2-3 designs to choose from, and from there the fun and debate begins!

When they designed How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK they hit a home run, so we want to keep some of the concepts the same with the new book, without making it too similar. For instance, we will retain THE BOOK with the same all caps distinctive look. In fact, since I will continue to write books in the “by THE BOOK” series, branding those two words will be essential. I should have some designs to look at within a couple of weeks. Now, let’s get on with today’s lesson.

In Matthew 10, Jesus commissions his disciples to go out in pairs and begin to preach, heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead in His name. He gave them His authority to execute all these things, which brings me to the leadership lesson I want to convey in this posting. Jesus didn’t send his team out to do these things until He had first done all of these and more in the prior nine chapters. In other words, Jesus didn’t tell His team what to do before He had showed them how to do it!

Unfortunately, this is where many managers today miss the mark. They are addicted to “should be’s”. “You should be doing this or that”, etc. However, it doesn’t take much leadership to sit in a chair and bark out what people should do. Effective leaders get in the trenches, roll up their sleeves, and show people what good performance looks like. They lead with deeds, not just with words.  This is because followers would rather see a sermon than hear one.  This being said, how much time do you and your managers spend actually showing people what to do? For instance, consider the following:

1. Do you tell them they should be closing more deals, or do you show them how to close them, in front of the customer with the employee at your side?

2. Do you criticize them for not setting enough appointments, or do you take the phone and show them how to do it?

3. Do you admonish them to get more referrals, or do you demonstrate the proper way to ask for a referral? This list of questions could go on for a while, but you get the point.

Recommit to following the example set by Jesus. Don’t just give pep talks and empower your team to do their job until you’ve first shown them how it should be done.

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 52 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Time Management Mandate!

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

I included an entire chapter on time management principles in, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK. In, How to Lead by THE BOOK I will offer a time management mandate that builds upon those principles.

The time management principle most business people never learn is this: you cannot expect to prioritize your work day and manage time with any degree of proficiency until you first learn to live within the discipline of priorities in your personal life! In other words, if you live life away from the job without clear boundaries, values, and priorities, you won’t have the discipline to structure your day effectively in the workplace.

A Christian’s first and foremost priority in life is to follow the greatest commandment as Jesus spelled it out in Matthew 22:37. This is THE Time management mandate! Jeremiah 29:13 underscores and supports the importance of this focus. The reward for this diligence is spelled out in 2 Chronicles 26:5.

The benefits at work for putting God first in your personal life are many. Here is a sample:

1. You’ll value people more, and spend more time developing them as a result.

2. You’ll develop and live within the parameters of core values within your organization.

3. You’ll serve employees and customers at a higher level.

4. You will do what is right, rather than what is temporarily convenient.

An obstacle to making God a priority: The problem with most Christian business people is that they make little time for God in their daily routine. It is the halfhearted, casual interest most people have in God that makes them very vulnerable to the temptations, distractions and worries of the world around them. Jesus addressed this when he offered the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4. He referred to His word as seed that fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. He explained to His disciples that in this instance He was referring to people who hear the word, but the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things chokes out their love for God, their thirst for His word, their desire to prioritize their lives in a manner that would cause them to want to seek and place Him first in their lives.

Frankly, if one cannot organize his life around the priority of knowing, loving, and seeking God first then they have little chance of being able to decide what is most important on the job. As a result, they will major in minor things, and spend minor time on the majors. By immersing themselves in a swirl of activity they will attempt to disguise the fact that they are unfocused, undisciplined, uncommitted, and unable to put first things first.

Do you want to get your act together on the job and work with more focus, efficiency, and effectiveness? You can start by getting your life together away from work by moving your walk with God from sideshow status to the main event.

Day 50 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Your 100% Success Guarantee!

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Common questions I heard during press interviews after writing How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK were:

“Do the biblical principles you place in your book still work today?”

“Are the Bible’s promises relevant in this age? So much has changed since they were written.”

“Weren’t the miraculous workings of God and Jesus focused on a certain period of time in order to help launch the church? Is that same power really available for me today in my life and in my business?”

I’m sure I’ll hear similar questions as I am interviewed on radio and in print after How to Lead by THE BOOK is published in June. I did over 100 interviews in the months following my last book and I would expect no less amount of activity this time around.

Frankly, these are legitimate questions that anyone should contemplate before deciding to put into practice ancient strategies offered by any author. However, my own opinion concerning the power or veracity of the 70 biblically-based strategies I will recommend in my book are irrelevant. A reader should insist on a higher authority than the author to prove the power of what he is suggesting. Because of this, I recoomend reading the following scriptures to reinforce and give credence to every paragraph of advice you will find in How to Lead by THE BOOK. If you have any doubts about the reliability of what God has promised, or the relevance of Jesus Christ today, as compared to long ago, these should clear it up:

Numbers 23:19

1 Samuel 15:29

2 Samuel 7:28

Titus 1:2

Hebrews 6:18

And the best one of all…Hebrews 13:8.

If what God says and promises is true, and if He is the same today as He has always been, then you can rest in the confidence that doing what He instructs brings a 100% guarantee of success for those whose hearts belong to him as commanded in Matthew 22:37! Knowing what to do is clear. Now, go do it!

Day 48 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Rewards of Humility & Obedience!

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

We received great news yesterday that, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK was #16 on the Hudson Airport Stores Bestseller list….a nice 16 week run so far. We’ll celebrate the book’s one year anniversary on August 29th. As I traveled from LAX, through Atlanta, to Columbia, South Carolina, I was delighted to see the book displayed prominently in stores in all three airports. Thank you for your continued support!

People who don’t know much about the Bible often ask where the best place to start reading is. I normally recommend the Book of John. John was the last Gospel written, and includes insights not found in Matthew, Mark or Luke. John was also Jesus’ best friend, so he saw, heard, and absorbed lessons the others missed. Two of my favorite miracles are in the Book of John. They are the healing at Bethesda (John 5), which I wrote about last week on Day 43, and the healing at the Pool of Siloam.

In, How to Lead by THE BOOK, I’ll relate four key lessons from the healing at the Pool of Siloam. You can read about it in John 9. It’s worth your time. In fact, it is unique in that the entire chapter is taken up with this miracle. Read it and see how many leadership lessons you find. Here are three to look for examples of. 1. The importance of humility, immediate obedience, and follow up. When we visited Israel with John Maxwell in March, we stopped by the Pool of Siloam. While it was an unassuming, simple place the truly profound took place there.

As you read the chapter, put yourself in the place of the blind man. Would you have been humble enough to follow the instructions given to you even though they seemed ridiculous, or would you have become insulted or angered? Before you answer, you may want to consider how many of His “crazy sounding” values and instructions that you follow today. It could serve as a wake up call and reminder of the rewards of obedience.

Day 45 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Don’t Confuse Activity for Accomplishment!

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Many leaders immerse themselves in a swirl of activity each day and wind up getting very little done that is meaningful. They confuse activity with accomplishment. They sometimes resemble an octopus on roller skates: there’s a lot of movement, but very little forward motion! I wrote an entire chapter relating biblical principles for time management for, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK and will include additional time management strategies in, How to Lead by THE BOOK. Time is one of God’s most precious gifts. And you cannot help but waste it if you don’t learn to work within the discipline of priorities and put first things first.

There is a church in Florida that, I believe, is also confusing activity with accomplishment. On September 11th, they plan to burn copies of the Koran to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the terror attack against our country by Muslim extremists. Frankly, their time would be better spent reading their own Bibles than destroying the books of another faith. Here’s why:

1. Whenever you act out of vindictiveness, you drain your own energy, resources, and become distracted from what is most important in your life. In short, you lose sight of your true mission and purpose.

2. Burning the book of another religion will not bring one additional person to Christ. In fact, the act is far more likely to repulse people from Christianity–a religion many already perceive as too extreme and judgmental. The best way to draw others to your faith is to live it out according to the principles set forth by Christ–not to derogate or disparage other religions.

3. Whenever you persecute another religion you unify them, make them stronger, and add to their numbers. The same thing happened to the early Christian Church. Read the Book of Acts. As the church was persecuted, it grew exponentially.

Don’t miss the parallel lessons for your own enterprise, because in business we can become as easily misguided as the leaders and members of this church. We want to make a point, so we do something symbolic or dramatic and actually lose ground in the process as we deviate from our primary mission. By investing our God-given resources in low-return activities, we become poor stewards of what God has gifted to us. As a result, we are likely to see fewer opportunities and resources in the future. As Stephen Covey wrote, The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!