Posts Tagged ‘www.learntolead.com blog’

Day 74 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Build a Bench!

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I’m writing, How to Lead by THE BOOK with a dual purpose in mind: (1). Equip the reader to develop himself as a better leader. (2). Provide a blueprint for the reader to also develop others into better leaders. While most leaders grasp the importance of point 1, many fall short when it comes to building a bench of other leaders within their organization. There are four primary benefits to building a bench of leaders in your organization:

1. A bench creates the conditions for the organization’s success to continue in the leader’s absence. This is because the talent pool has more depth. As a result, the organization’s future is more secure and  sustainable.

2. A bench lightens the primary leader’s load as responsibilities are shared amongst several capable people.

3. A bench allows the primary leader to remain in his or her own strength zone, maximizing her productivity.

4. A culture that nurtures and develops others to increase its bench strength attracts and retains the best people in its industry; people who want to be trained, stretched, and challenged to reach their potential.

Jesus is the ultimate example of a leader who successfully built a bench to carry on and expand His work after His departure. Moses did the same by developing Joshua. However, Joshua failed to develop a successor and hundreds of years of chaos ensued after his death.

After completing the Jerusalem Wall, Nehemiah, an outstanding leader in his own right, failed to create bench strength amongst his people to rule well in his absence. Upon returning to inspect the progress of his people, Nehemiah was shocked and angered to discover how far things had drifted while he was gone. To his credit, he quickly whipped his people back into shape.

What does your organization’s bench look like? Are your leaders responsible for mentoring high potential people in each of their departments? One of our clients sends its managers to our leadership workshops in pairs. The departmental leader brings with him or her a high potential individual they are mentoring and grooming for bigger and better things. The results speak for themselves as this company continues to grow exponentially despite challenging economic times.

Frankly, you can judge a leader’s effectiveness and value to your organization based on his ability and willingness to build a bench. I’ll lay out a step-by-step mentoring plan for accomplishing this in, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK.

Day 73 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Pull No Punches!

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

It’s important for a leader to let followers know where he or she stands on an issue. In fact, an effective leader does not allow people to live in a gray area. This is because gray areas promote confusion over priorities, makes holding others accountable nearly impossible, and slows people down as it is tough to be aggressive when you’re confused.

Three key tenets in, How to Lead by THE BOOK will be to: (1) Create clarity. (2) Offer fast, honest feedback on performance. (3). Hold others accountable for results. And yes, this means that consequences for failing to perform are imposed.

I am following the mandate for clarity in the preface of my new book by letting readers know what they can, and shouldn’t, expect in terms of content. In fact, I make this very clear in the first paragraph. Here’s a preview of what you’ll see on the opening page of, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK:

Every so often, someone comes along and claims that for contemporary times, we need a fresh way to express the Bible’s message. Usually that “new” way deemphasizes Jesus, denies His deity, doubts His death and resurrection, dangles multiple paths to heaven, disregards biblical inerrancy, disputes the Bible’s relevance, and defines grace as license to sin. If you bought this book in hopes of reading any of this nonsense herein, then you’ve made a $25.00 mistake! And to exact an adequate penalty for such foolishness, we’re keeping your money!

Are your expectations clear enough? As you approach the fourth quarter of this year, it may be time to redefine what you expect from followers in terms of both performance and behavioral expectations. Doing so brings three immediate benefits:

1. Focus.

2. A positive pressure to perform.

3. Higher morale as people are always more motivated and energized when their purpose is clarified.

Day 72: How to Lead by THE BOOK: Don’t Run a Corporate Welfare State!

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Last night Rhonda and I enjoyed dinner at Pastor Shawn Thornton’s house along with four other couples from Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, California. The pastor shared his vision for the church and enlisted financial support for its benevolence fund. This fund helps church members going through difficult financial times and provides food, shelter, assistance for utility payments and medical needs and the like. Because of the difficult economy, the benevolence fund has paid out more in assistance the last two years than in the ten years prior! We look forward to supporting this fund and helping members and neighbors in need.

Benevolence funds are necessary and helpful in society, but many businesses have corrupted the concept of helping those with genuine needs, and instead funnel resources into those who fail to perform. In their minds they’re being compassionate, but in reality they are enabling lethargy, laziness, and the inability to execute. In business, you cannot afford to weaken the strong in order to strengthen the weak. Rather, a leader has an obligation to weed out weak performers, and give more substantial support to those who get the job done. While I’ll go into greater detail on this matter in, How to Lead by THE BOOK following are five general thoughts and rules concerning this matter:

1. It is easier to get an already-good performer to become great with training and support than it is to elevate a miserable performer up to mediocrity because the already-good performer has a foundation of talent, discipline, and attitude on which to build.

2. When you ignore your top performers in an attempt to rescue the weak ones–many of whom shouldn’t even be on your payroll in the first place–you weaken the strong in order to strengthen the weak. This creates a corporate welfare state that diminishes your culture and results in mediocrity.

3. The Story of the Talents in Matthew 25 makes very clear that the people who don’t use the opportunities they’ve been given should have them taken away and redistributed to those who get results. This practice is essential in order to become a good steward of your corporate resources.

4. The Story of the Talents also demonstrates that not everyone on your team should be given equal opportunities or compensation. Rather, they should be given what they’ve earned based on past performance. Remember this rule: There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatments of unequals.

5. While everyone on the team must be held to the same high standards of integrity, teamwork, customer care, and work ethic, rewards and responsibilities must be allocated in accordance with what someone has earned and not based on what they need.

Day 71 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Power of Getting Started!

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Last night I finished editing the preface for, How to Lead by THE BOOK on a flight from Chicago to LA. It came in at 2400 words, which is right where I had hoped it would be. I laid out eight trends of moral corruption in society that affect your business, and then listed six consequences these trends are having and will continue to have on your business’ culture, people and results. I know I’m biased, but I believe this is the best job I’ve done in the eleven books I’ve written of clearly laying out the book’s purpose. Now, as long as my publisher doesn’t mind the number of politically incorrect observations I’ve made in the preface concerning the downward spiral of society’s morals which evokes the need to apply biblical principles like never before, then we’ll be in business!

While I was in Chicago I had dinner with a family member who has written several books over the years, but has failed to get any of them published. While I understand his frustration, I give him credit for actually writing and finishing the books! Most folks don’t even get that far. Dozens of people have told me over the years, “I’ve got an idea for a book” or, “I’m getting ready to write a book”, but years later it’s still on “the drawing board.” Their #1 excuse is “how busy they’ve been.” But everyone I’ve ever met who has written a book is also busy! They just develop a stronger desire, discipline and commitment to finish. While being a finisher is important, starting is even more vital since one cannot finish until he has begun. To that end, I’ve long been inspired by this quote by Goethe: Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!

I was reminded of a key area of life most people never begin during the seminar I taught in Chicago. While discussing the topic of personal growth, one of the attendees asked me to share more about my own personal growth program. When I explained that my personal growth program had four aspects: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual, the conversation that ensued made evident that many of the attendees had long planned on beginning to develop a spiritual discipline in their life like Bible study or scripture memorization, but life crowded it out and they never “found the time.” I suggested to them the same thing I’m recommending to you if you’re in the same situation: you must schedule your time for spiritual disciplines and work the rest of the day around them, rather than trying to squeeze a spiritual discipline into your schedule. This, I believe, is why Christ is repeatedly reported as rising early to spend time with His Father. Follow His example! It’s time to stop thinking about it and get started!


Day 70 How to Lead by THE BOOK: How to Handle Conflict & Dissent!

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

I’m in Chicago today finishing my Up Your Business Super Leadership Workshop and will fly home to L.A. this evening. One of the topics I’ll cover in this morning’s session is how to handle conflicts and dissent as they arise from followers. A leader’s response to these realities has the potential to quickly elevate or devastate his own credibility and team morale. Deftly handling these matters is crucial and I will cover it in, How to Lead by THE BOOK.

In Acts 6:1-7, a conflict arose amongst the disciples of the newly formed church concerning unequal distribution of food to certain widows. The wisdom the Twelve demonstrated in resolving this conflict offers steps for us to emulate today.

1. Don’t blame. Focus on solutions and not the problem. Don’t shoot the messenger!

2. Allow those who complain to participate in the solution. In this manner they own it and will support it.

3. Remember that conflict brings about clarity and can help you move forward toward the bigger picture when handled properly.

Too often in leadership we treat those who complain or suggest a better way of doing things like they are trouble makers! Sometimes, we even regard dissent as mutiny even though it offers the opportunity to strengthen our organization and remedy its blind spots. I have found in my own leadership career that the worse decisions I’ve ever made were decisions made void of conflict. In other words, everyone was nodding their heads in affirmation, rather than speaking up and asking questions or offering recommendations that would have improved my plan. Through this I’ve learned that too much harmony is cancerous to decision-making. It’s wise to encourage additional points of view by allowing others to “shoot some holes” in what you’re presenting to them. In fact, you should do more than “tolerate” such behavior, you must encourage it!

Naturally, there are some non-negotiable areas of your organization that are not up for debate. These normally relate to issues of values and performance expectations. However, whenever possible it’s wise to engage others in solutions because people support what they help create, and they are more likely to buy-in after they have weighed in.

Day 69 How to Lead by THE BOOK: The Case for Intolerance!

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

In today’s politically correct universe, “tolerance” has become a pervasive buzzword. In fact, much of the world’s morality has sunk to the point that people are willing to tolerate just about anything except intolerance! However, in your business, the strength of your culture will be determined by what you decide you will not tolerate.

In, How to Lead by THE BOOK I will present remedies for setting clear behavioral and performance expectations. This clarity is designed to communicate clearly to your team what you will celebrate on one hand, and not tolerate on the other. Taking a tough stand on holding people accountable for these issues may seem harsh by today’s standards. However, you must stretch your people to meet your expectations and not lower your expectations to accommodate their comfort zone, lackluster work ethic, or diminished ethical behaviors.

Frankly, the Bible is a very intolerant book. There are many aspects of behavior and morality that it describes as wrong, depraved,  sinful, and abominable and prescribes clear penalties for partaking in them. The Bible is also discriminatory and judgmental! Read John 3:18 and Acts 4:12 for two clear examples. But its intolerance is designed to protect you from the consequences of errant actions, not to rob your joy. Clear expectations with corresponding consequences for failure work the same in business. In fact, it can be safely said that your character is defined by what you decide not to tolerate. Perhaps it’s time to strengthen your leadership and culture by redefining those parameters in your business and home.

Day 68 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Increase Your Power & Boldness!

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

In the third chapter of Acts, Peter heals a man in Jesus’ name that had been lame from birth. The buzz surrounding this miracle creates an audience of thousands. Peter capitalizes on the momentum and preaches a sermon that results in 5,000 converts to Christianity. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that the same bitter and jealous religious leaders that helped crucify Christ had Peter and John arrested and brought before them. But rather than cowering down, Peter spoke with boldness and pulled no punches in addressing the religious experts of his day. Notice what is written following his address to these officials:

Now when they say the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13.

This verse is one of the greatest testaments to spending time with God and His word and it applies just as well to us today. The strategies I’ll present in my upcoming book, How to Lead by THE BOOK, have the potential to help leaders from all walks make a bold impact, increase results, and elevate those around them; but certainly not because I’m writing them, but because they are based on biblical truths.

Every so often, an author, TV host, preacher, or professional speaker promotes a fresh way to express the Christian message. Usually that “new” way deemphasizes Jesus, questions His deity, doubts His death and resurrection, and ignores the need for forgiveness of sins.

There is no “new” way to express the Gospel, and you certainly won’t find it in How to Lead by THE BOOK.  The strategies I’ll present are as ancient as they are timeless. The best I can hope to accomplish is to expose readers to the applicability of these principles to their business, and show them practical ways to apply them.

Day 66 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Help Replace Burned Bibles!

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

As I continue to write, How to Lead by the BOOK I occasionally come across a news story that reminds me how grateful I should be to live in a country where I can freely write about applying the Bible’s principles to business and life. This morning, two incidents came to my attention that I want to share with you. Sadly, these happenings are not unusual. It’s just that you rarely hear about persecuted Christians in the world. In comparison, the misguided pastor in Florida who had planned to conduct a Koran burning made worldwide news and fomented widespread outrage.

The first incident concerns Christians attacked in Indonesia on the way to worship in a field after their church was closed by the government. The second relates the burning of Bible’s in Laos and how you can help replace them. As you read about these realities faced by my fellow believers, you may want to consider at least two actions: praying for them and thanking God for your freedom to read the Bible and worship without this degree of abuse:

Christians Attacked in Indonesia:

BEKASI, Indonesia – Assailants stabbed a Christian worshipper in the stomach and pounded a minister in the head with a wooden plank as they headed to morning prayers Sunday outside Indonesia’s capital.

Neither of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

No one claimed responsibility for the attacks. But suspicion immediately fell on Islamic hard-liners who have repeatedly warned members of the Batak Christian Protestant Church against worshipping on a field housing their now-shuttered church.

In recent months, they have thrown shoes and water bottles at the church members, interrupted sermons with chants of “Infidels!” and “Leave Now!” and dumped piles of feces on the land.

Local police Chief Imam Sugianto said Asia Sihombing, a worshipper, was on his way to the field when assailants jumped off a motorcycle and stabbed him in the stomach.

The Rev. Luspida Simanjuntak was smashed in the head as she tried to come to his aid.

“I was trying to help get him onto a motorcycle so we could get him to a hospital,” she told reporters in the industrial city of Bekasi, 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Jakarta.

She said the face of one of the assailants looked familiar.

Indonesia, a secular country of 237 million people, has more Muslims than any other in the world. Though it has a long history of religious tolerance, a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.

Leading the charge against the Batak Christians has been the Islamic Defenders Front, which is pushing for the implementation of Islamic-based laws in Bekasi and other parts of the nation.

They are known for smashing bars, attacking transvestites and going after those considered blasphemous with bamboo clubs and stones. They also pressured the local government early this year to shutter the Batak church.

Perpetrators are rarely punished or even questioned by police.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who relies heavily on Islamic parties in parliament, has been widely criticized in the media for failing to crack down on hard-liners.

But he immediately called on authorities to investigate and to hold accountable those responsible for Sunday’s attack.

“We know who’s behind it,” said Maj. Gen. Timur Pradopo, the police chief in Jakarta, without elaborating. “But I don’t believe this is an inter-religous conflict.”

Bible Burning in Laos:

Somchi” is an outcast in her village in Laos. Even family members have turned against her. And when villagers found a Bible in her home, they proclaimed, “We need to destroy it!” They believed the Bible was causing her mother’s illness.

“My villagers still hate me and mock me, like they mocked Jesus on the cross,” Somchi told VOM. “It is the world’s right to hate us or to love us. But for me, I will follow Jesus.”

In restricted nations around the world, Bibles are burned, shredded or confiscated every day. Those opposed to the gospel can destroy Bibles, but they cannot destroy the faith of those like Somchi.

» Click here to learn more and help replace these Bibles through The Voice of the Martyrs Bibles to Captive Nations Fund.

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.