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Day 101 How to Lead by THE BOOK: An Interview Mistake You Must Avoid!

Monday, October 18th, 2010

In How to Lead by THE BOOK, I will have three chapters on the various aspects of hiring:

1. Recruiting.

2. Interview strategy.

3. The best interview questions to determine strength of character.

I will also have a variety of other hiring tips to improve your chances of hiring a great employee. In addition, I’ve decided to remind readers of two key hiring tips I presented in How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK, since they are easily forgotten. Here’s one of them. It’s one of the most common mistakes made when hiring:

  1. Don’t get blown away by personal appearance! Making emotional decisions during interviews based on your own prejudices, stereotypes, and personal appearance is one of the most common hiring errors. Remember the words of God to Samuel as he was evaluating Jesse’s eight sons in his quest to discover who to anoint as king. Samuel was blown away by the “king-like” appearance of Eliab:

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.

History goes on to show that Eliab was far too petty and selfish to have been a great king.

It also helps to remember that one chapter before Samuel’s encounter with Eliab, he anointed Saul as Israel’s first king. Saul was an abject failure as king. But take a look at how his physical appearance is described: And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people. 1 Samuel 9:2.

How many “Saul’s” have you seen during your career—or perhaps even hired—only to discover later that their style disguised the sad fact that they lacked substance?  Endeavor to see job candidates during an interview as God sees them: from the inside out. Look at their heart and hire with your head!

Day 100 How to Lead by the BOOK: The Most Effective Interview Strategy!

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Time has flown. It’s hard to believe that this is the 100th day of writing my blog for How to Lead by THE BOOK. I researched and wrote for several hours today. I’ve divided recruiting and interviewing into two separate challenges that I’ll present separately and in-depth in my book. I want to stress that there is zero margin for hiring errors, especially in the tough economy when you must maximize every day and each opportunity.

In Galatians 5:9 the Apostle Paul warns: A little leaven leavens the whole lump. He was speaking of how just one smattering of false teaching can negatively affect the entire church. It also is meant to demonstrate the potential that one corrupt member of a church has to taint an entire body. 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns, Do not be deceived, evil company corrupts good habits.

In light of numerous scriptures like the two listed warning of wrong influences and associations, it is essential that interviews be rigorous. There is too much at stake to hire quickly or recklessly: culture, morale, momentum, production, and your own credibility. In addition, the easier you make it for someone to get a job, the less they appreciate it. This is human nature: whatever we gain too easily we esteem too lightly. On the other hand, you have greater appreciation for what you must work hard for, and will do more to protect it once you secure it. For this reason, you are wise to follow this one strategy as the framework for interviews:

Use interviews as an elimination process!

Once you recruit a promising job candidate, your work has only just begun! Your interview should be used as an attempt to eliminate the person and not as an exercise in “inclusivity”. To that end, you should not do the following during an interview:

A. Talk too much.

B. Use the forum as a time-wasting “good old boy get acquainted session.”

C. Conduct it as though it were a casual conversation.

D. Turn it into a sales pitch.

During an interview, you should seek to determine a combination of character and competence traits that portend that the job candidate can contribute greatly to your organization. To determine these qualities it is most important to evaluate someone’s past accomplishments. This is because past performance is a greater indicator of future performance than past experience. By digging deeply into someone’s life you can better determine if they have key traits like character, talent, attitude, energy and drive. Critical success factors like these will show up in someone’s life, and so will the lack of them! In other words, success leaves clues, and so does failure!

Day 98-99 How to Lead by THE BOOK: A Key to Effective Recruiting!

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

I don’t mean to sound unkind, but you’re very unlikely to build a team of eagles in your organization if you endeavor to staff your team from amongst the ranks of the unemployed. While there is always talent in the available pool of unemployed people, you are advised to first focus on recruiting people who are already working! While there are normally exceptions to every rule, here’s a rule you must remember: You cannot build a great team around exceptions! Focus on the rule!

In How to Lead by THE BOOK, I will provide in-depth recruiting and interviewing strategies. Here’s a start: Consider that the following biblical giants were all busy, working, or otherwise engaged with productive activities when they were called into service or promoted to greater opportunities. There is not room to include all examples in The BOOK, but this group offers a convincing case to recruit the currently employed and/or productive!

  1. Joseph’s talents and performance preceded his promotion by Pharaoh.
  2. Moses was a shepherd.
  3. Joshua was Moses’ right hand man and succeeded him as leader of Israel.
  4. Caleb’s track record prompted Joshua to honor his request and grant him Hebron.
  5. Job was a successful farmer and rancher.
  6. Ruth was working in the fields when discovered by Boaz.
  7. David was tending sheep in the field when Samuel came to anoint him. The only one of eight brothers engaged with tasks when Samuel came to call.
  8. Elisha was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him when discovered by Elijah.
  9. Gideon was threshing wheat when the angel called him.
  10. Nehemiah was working as the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes when commissioned with his assignment.
  11. Amos was a sheep rancher when called to be God’s prophet.
  12. Daniel had previously served other kings with excellence when Darius promoted him.
  13. Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, was a priest.
  14. Joseph, the earthly father chosen to raise Jesus, was a carpenter.
  15. Andrew, Peter, James and John were all working as fishermen when called by Jesus.
  16. Matthew was working in a tax office when called by Jesus.
  17. Stephen and Phillip (the evangelist) were working as waiters in the new church when called to greater assignments.
  18. Luke, the author of the gospel bearing his name and Acts, was a doctor.
  19. Paul was tirelessly and zealously working to persecute Christians when called to serve Christ.

There is no pattern in the Scriptures of God using unproductive, lazy, or otherwise disengaged men or women in worthy endeavors. Miss this lesson at your own peril!

Day 97 How to Lead by THE BOOK: A Real Life Servant Leader

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Yesterday I taught my new Simply the Best Customer Service Workshop to a client’s team of 40+ managers in Huntsville, Alabama. It was a one day version of the full two day workshop I’ll give in January at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The audience was made up of professionals from the hotel, restaurant, and automotive industries. The class was a great success and my hosts presented me with a special gift after the presentation: a new IPAD with all the accessories! What a great surprise and display of generosity!

As I’ve been writing the chapter on servant leadership this week, I was challenged to decide who I would use as an example of a contemporary servant leader in the book. My goal is to include as many real life examples and scenarios of leadership in How to Lead by THE BOOK as possible. Of the many great servant leaders I’ve become acquainted with over the years, I decided to use my friend John Maxwell as the example of a servant leader.  Here is an excerpt from the book that explains why. It will also give you a portrait of what an effective servant leader is and does:

John Maxwell the leader, the celebrity, the servant

My wife, daughter and I traveled to Israel with members of the Christ Fellowship Church located in West Palm Gardens, Florida. My long time friend, leadership guru, and best-selling author, John Maxwell and his wife Margaret, co-hosted the trip with the Mullins family who do an outstanding job of leading Christ Fellowship Church.

John was one of the leaders of the tour, he was the celebrity, but he was also the servant. Everywhere we visited, John gave a mini-lesson to add insight and value to our experience. On the Mount of the Beatitudes, he preached a moving sermon about the Sermon on the Mount. As we boated across the Sea of Galilee, John shared insight that placed us in the boat with the disciples the night Jesus walked to them on the water. On the Mount of Olives, John shared scripture that put us in Jesus’ sandals as He wept over Jerusalem. While on the Mt. of Olives, John even performed a hilarious rap and dance, “Baal Busters”, reenergizing the tired tour group and making him even more approachable. He then led us down a path to the Garden of Gethsemane where we partook of a communion that brought tears to the eyes of many.

At Caesarea, John gathered us in the ancient Roman Theater and brought to life Paul’s bold defense there before King Agrippa. After this lesson, he invited anyone who wanted to talk more about Jesus and faith, to visit with him. Following a rain shower at Beth Shen, it was John with his hankie drying off the chairs the group would use for lunch. Even with a non-stop schedule, John took the time to meet personal needs. He prayed one-on-one with whoever asked. Many times, despite the frantic pace and bustling crowds, I saw him, arm wrapped around the shoulder of another, walking, listening, conversing, and encouraging. He tirelessly posed for hundreds of photographs with group members at each stop. John even bought ice cream and other goodies for the entire bus, adding life, love, and laughter as we sojourned for nine days across Israel.

John was one of the tour’s leaders, its biggest celebrity, and most noble servant. Of the many priceless memories and lessons my family and I took away from our pilgrimage to Israel, John Maxwell’s real life lessons on how to be a servant leader was the most valuable, and remains the most memorable.

Day 94 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Defeat Fear and its Friends!

Monday, October 11th, 2010

There are multiple inside enemies a leader faces each day: fear, worry, doubt, indifference, procrastination and others. These inner issues can exacerbate the negative impact that “outside conditions” have on your organization. Outside conditions are factors like: aggressive competition, a down economy, bad weather, and the like. In order to overcome fear and its friends, you’ve got to daily renew your mind.

Your mind will come under siege from enemies real and make believe, inside and outside, and if you fail to fortify your mind and simply let it fend for itself it will be defeated. Romans 12:2 offers powerful advice and insight into this challenge:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. The Greek word used for “renewing” is given in a tense that means to continually renew. How do you continually renew your mind in a manner that does  not conform it to the worries and concerns of this world?

First, here’s how not to renew it:

A. Countless hours watching violence and sex on television, reality TV, and dwelling on negative news stories.

B. Using your spare moments to absorb meaningless and trivial gossip and celebrity news online, in publications, or on TV.

C. Engaging in “worst case” scenario conversations with your associates at work. Speculating about what a tough month it is going to be, and how the economy is taking forever to turn around.

D. Associating with small-minded people. These are the folks who gossip, judge, whine, complain, and criticize everything and everyone. Nothing is ever good enough and no one makes them happy.

To separate yourself from the world’s thinking, you’ve got to stop spending so much time looking at, and listening to, what the world produces!

You renew your mind with quiet time; not in busyness. You renew your mind with prayer. You renew your mind when you read and memorize key scripture passages that apply to your situation and your life. You renew your mind when you engage with like-minded, positive, and uplifting people. You renew your mind when you make a conscious effort to find and celebrate what is right about a situation, a person, and the world. You renew your mind when you try to see things as God sees them. This includes people, problems, and opportunities.

As I continue writing How to Lead by THE BOOK, I am making a very deliberate effort to include the most relevant proverbs, parables, and principles readers need to detach their minds from the way the world thinks and acts, and elevate themselves to a transformed, renewed, and more effective way of thinking and living. Last night I wrote about holding leaders to a higher standard. Later today I’ll write about the most effective leadership style to apply in any situation. These strategies do not conform to the world’s thinking. They’ll require a new way of thinking, a renewed mind. But the payoff in results will be substantial.

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 88 How to Lead by THE BOOK: How to Correct & Coach Effectively!

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Last week I was in Ephesus, Turkey where Paul spent three years of ministry. The ruins of Ephesus are incredible! When viewing them I could only imagine how magnificent the first century city was in its heyday. The 19th chapter of Acts tells a lot of what went on in Ephesus. Read it and you’ll discover that it was a hot spot: demons, riots, intense preaching and more!

Apollos is described in the Book of Acts as an “eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures.” This talented evangelist came to Ephesus and began preaching. Unfortunately, while his speaking style was dynamic, his knowledge of Jesus was limited. Christians named in Acts as Aquila and Priscilla heard him preaching in the synagogue and noticed his deficit of right knowledge. What they did next was a simple, but highly effective method for correcting and coaching someone who has strayed. It’s a strategy for feedback that I’ll discuss at greater length in, How to Lead by THE BOOK. Here’s what the Bible says about this encounter:

When Aquila and Priscilla heard him (Apollos) they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. Acts 18:26.

Aquila and Priscilla did not rebuke Apollos publicly. They didn’t embarrass him, show him up, or try to elevate their own standing in the synagogue by proving their own superior intellect. Rather, they corrected and coached Apollos in private. They subordinated their own impulses and egos to the more important task of edifying and making more valuable a powerful worker in their cause. We are all wise to do the same.

Day 78-86 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Three Tips to Finish the 4th Quarter Strong!

Friday, September 24th, 2010

You may have noticed by the “Day 78-86” heading on today’s post that I’m going to be out of touch for a while. I’m traveling overseas to continue my work training Iranian pastors in biblically-based leadership principles. I won’t bring my computer with me and will begin to post again once I return the first week of October. The lack of having my computer will crimp the progress of, How to Lead by THE BOOK only marginally as I am well on track for my December 15th deadline.

Recent news events continue to make it clear how desperately the men and women coming to this gathering need support, encouragement, and leadership knowledge so that they can grow their churches in the midst of a hostile climate and brutal government. We have received word over the past week that nine of the scheduled attendees have been arrested in a new crackdown against Christians and are still held in prison as of this writing.  Please pray for their safety, the welfare of those risking so much to attend these meetings, and for my teaching partner and me as we begin our sixth year of work in this region.

Persecution is nothing new for Christians. In fact, it was persecution that dispersed early believers out of Jerusalem and allowed them to carry the message of Christ throughout the world. Whenever the church has been persecuted it has grown faster, and we’re seeing that now in Iran. John 3:20 says, For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds be exposed. This verse explains the antagonism that Christians face at home and abroad–especially as society itself becomes more enamored with darkness. Many people are repelled by the Gospel because the evil within them dreads exposure.

As the fourth quarter will start before I post again, I want to suggest two tips for finishing it, and the year overall, strong:

1. Redefine your vision and performance expectations for the final quarter of the year. Make sure these cultural components are clear enough and high enough to draw out “above and beyond” performances from your people.

2. Carefully reevaluate each team member for their fitness to remain on the team as this year winds down and a new year is ready to begin. You don’t want to go into 2011 carrying forward the same baggage that has inhibited you this year.

3. Intensify your training regimen so that your team is able to maximize every opportunity they encounter in the waning months of this year. Keep them sharp, focused, and accountable.

Have a great finish in September, and watch for a new blog post the first week of October. I should have some inspiring leadership stories to share with you after this journey.

Day 77 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Truly Committed or Lip Service?

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

One of the most Biblically accurate statements ever made about Jesus was this: “You are Christ, the Son of God.” Yet, when Jesus heard it, He rebuked those who stated this truth! Why? They were devils! (Luke 4:41). Peter also identified Jesus as the Christ and was blessed for it. (Matthew 16:16-17).  Why the difference in response to these nearly identical statements? God wants those who worship Him to have hearts that are fully committed to Him. He is  not interested in lip service from those who claim to know Him but refuse to believe or obey Him. Jesus said, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (John 4:23).

In, How to Lead by THE BOOK I’ll address this question: Are the people in your workplace true followers of your vision and leadership, or do they merely offer lip service? One sure way to know is to spend more time watching what they do than listening to what they say. Many people speak “right” and then walk “left.” Their words and deeds are inconsistent. They declare that they want to do well and meet expectations, but then they fail to follow instructions, don’t practice or train, make excuses, and blame others for their lack of greater success. You will do well to embrace what Andrew Carnegie observed long ago: “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say and instead watch what they do.” Watch closely today!