Aaron Summers

Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Numbers and Noses? Is there another way?

In Church, Leadership on October 5, 2017 at 8:53 am

Evaluations.

We all must do them and have them done to us.  In church life, this tends to be tricky…and messy.  We have borrowed so many terms from the business world that we are fuzzy on the real issues before us.  We use terms such as personnel, finance, human resources, etc.  It is no wonder we have easily shifted into a cultural version of evaluative measures.

Every year, churches come to this point and feel they must do an evaluation on those who receive a salary.  I certainly understand and accept accountability.  We SHOULD be holding one another accountable.  However, the criteria of the accountability are shifting toward cultural norms more than spiritual ones.

  • One pastor I know put so much emphasis on numbers that if their ministry area did not double in attendance in 6 months they were going to be let go. While many of us shriek and shirk back from such audacious criteria, most of us are not far from it.
  • Consider EVERY state convention’s reporting system…numbers and stats. The questions “How many?” and “How much?” are asked more than anything else.
  • Consider every time you run into a ministry friend. “How many are you running?”, is a common question.
  • Some states award those who baptize more than anyone else.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know these things are important.  However, we put too much emphasis on them.  When it comes to evaluating the staff in your church, what do you ask?  I have served 5 churches.  In each of them, this was an arduous process for all involved!  I have been asked about goals and vision.  I have been evaluated on preaching style, length, and topic.  I have been evaluated on communication and leadership.  On one occasion, the question was posed to the evaluating group “What is there about the pastor you don’t like?”  That was an interesting discussion!

Consider this:

  • When I was ordained, the biblical qualifications were considered.
  • Every church I have interviewed with has used the biblical qualifications as one point of the review.
  • I have never been asked about the biblical qualifications during an evaluation.

Why?  Once we have a person on staff we shift into management roles.  We look at job descriptions.  We search human resource materials for options.   We talk about vision, mission, and purpose.  We set numerical goals.  We chastise if we don’t reach them and challenge them to do more if they do.

Is there another way?  I believe there is.  Don Cousins, the author of Experiencing Leadershift, suggests 4 questions as we evaluate.  I will share my thoughts with each.

  1. Is <staff member> faithful?

Just as it was discussed in the interview process.  I believe those in ministry positions ought to be examined for their faithfulness to the biblical qualifications. (See 1 Tim 3, Titus 1:7 and Acts 20:28)  If the search team saw it as important, why don’t we later?  Is the staff member faithful to what God has called them to be?  These qualities cover character, family, spouse, scripture, and morality.  If there is a fidelity problem then address it.  If there is not a fidelity issue then move forward.

  1. Is <staff member> fruitful?

Paul wrote to Galatia expressing that the follower of Jesus will have certain qualities naturally expressed.  These include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  In your evaluation of the staff member in question, do they have these characteristics?  Do they show love?  Do they have patience?  Are they kind and gentle?  Each of us has strengths and weaknesses in this list.  Take the time to share with them how you have seen the strengths.  Help them to see how to support the weaker areas.  These 9 items build character in us as we follow Christ.

  1. Is <staff member> fulfilled?

Here is the moment the staff member can share their heart with you.  It is my prayer that every staff member would have the peace of mind and feeling of safety to openly share if they are fulfilled in ministry here.  I confess, over the years I have not always felt those moments to be a safe space.  I strongly suggest that as we bring on this next generation of ministry staff we are going to have to give constant feedback in a safe environment.  They demand it.  It doesn’t matter if you like it or not, that is where we are going.  Further, every staff member has the right to be respected enough to be given that safe space.  It is the church’s responsibility to honor those who work hard among you.

  1. Is <staff member> making God famous?

Too many ministers build their own little kingdoms.  It is never more evident than when they leave.  You know what happens?  Their people leave too.  That ministry falls apart.  If a minister is seeking to personal honor, trouble soon follows.  In this moment of evaluation, you can provide feedback as to what you have witnessed. (Please do not act on hearsay.)  A minister of God seeks to reflect God’s glory rather than their own.  Help them to see how they are doing this.  Support them through the difficult times of adjustment if this isn’t happening.

Conclusion

Annual reviews do not have to be dreaded.  They can be fulfilling and encouraging.  This year, take a different approach.  If your staff member is found to be faithful, fruitful, fulfilled, and making God famous then what more would you want?  God will work out everything else.  I would suggest to you that you will prefer this method over what you might be doing now.

 

 

Is Your Church At-Risk?

In Leadership on September 26, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Nominating Committees everywhere are starting to work hard to fill church positions.  I have worked on both the local and state level in trying to uncover and discover and recover people to serve on various boards, agencies, team, committees, and teaching slots.  I have seen the good and bad side of filling positions.  Often, we cherry pick the best people for certain positions and scramble to just fill the page.

Tragic.

Somewhere in the deep recesses, we know there should be more involved but who has the time?  In most cases in church, there are 2 positions for every committee plus trustees, clerks, moderators, and more.  Whatever your policies are, here are a few reminders as you go about the work of ministry.

Saved

Is Joe a believer?  You might think this is a no-brainer, but it isn’t.  I have seen good and God-fearing people bring to the table names of those who have yet to decide for Christ but have the vocational skill in the area of need.  Until a person has placed faith in Jesus and received the forgiveness of sin, they are not prepared to make spiritual decisions in the church.  I realize that which paper towel holders are needed in the bathroom, or what color the toilets need to be, seem to be irrelevant to this moment.  I tell you it is relevant!  There will come a time that, even though they can add and read a P&L sheet, spiritual direction will be necessary.  In those moments, we need faith not just facts!

Settled

No matter where your church stands on membership or fellowship or covenants, the person being suggested needs to be settled in their attendance in your church.  Your church needs to decide what the requirements are going to be.  For example, how can someone really advise and guide personnel who attends 25% of the time?  How can someone really give input to practices and policies if they are not around often enough to speak well on these matters?  How can they lead a group when they are in other churches because of family, invites, events, and such?

Supportive

This has to do with their mouth and their money.  You want people in leadership to be vocally supportive of the staff and the church mission and vision.  Naysayers create problems.  Gossips create integrity issues.  Those who refuse to follow Matthew 18 will create hazards and splits.  Those in leadership have a higher accountability and must be held to it.

Only the treasurer/bookkeeper will know how much someone gives.  In our situation, we have set a low limit of $200/month in giving.  If someone is giving more than that they are considered available to serve.  If someone is not meeting that need, but I am aware of low-income status in their home, I will seek to discover if their giving is regular.

We all need to row in the same direction otherwise we go in circles.

Secure

Background checks are difficult for our older generations to grasp.  Having grown up in radically different social times it is often a church hurdle.  However, we MUST be doing these.  The obvious areas are in youth and

Background checks are difficult for our older generations to grasp.  Having grown up in radically different social times it is often a church hurdle.  However, we MUST be doing these.  The obvious areas are in youth and childhood ministries.  However, I would encourage committee members too.  Another option would be that committee members sign an agreement of confidentiality.  While much of what is done in committee life is open for membership to hear, there are those times when sensitive items need to be discussed.  Our church family is not always prepared to hear all that is discussed.

For example, My wife and I discuss a LOT at the dinner table with our kids.  However, when we moved to Texas 3 years ago they were not at an age to handle that information until they HAD to handle it.  They didn’t know about the interviews and discussions of housing and schools.  Our church members are at all levels of maturity.  We must have the mature lead and, at times, do so confidentially.

Spiritual

God has equipped your church with people. Within them lies the spirit of God.  Do you see the fruit of the Spirit revealed in their actions and speech?  Do you sense they are being led by the Spirit or by other causes?  Sometimes, everything can seem right and the pressure is on to finish the task.  However, we must pause and ensure the Spirit’s guidance and gifting.  Someone who is gifted with mercy or helps will have a difficult time serving in an administrative role.  Also, if the finance/stewardship committee is filled with those who are strong in faith run the risk of presenting a budget too large for the congregation.  There needs to be a balance.

I pray for our nominating committees as they seek to serve the Lord and His church.  May you be wise, righteous, and godly in your choices this Fall.

The More You Know

In Leadership on July 10, 2017 at 8:24 am

The “More You Know” series of PSA’s were produced for NBC beginning in 1989.  Tom Brokaw did the first one.  Celebrities soon followed.  I grew up with Schoolhouse Rocks on ABC in between my cartoons on Saturday mornings.  The purpose was to educate while also grabbing your attention.  The series on NBC was designed around educational awareness.

The truth is that the more you know, the more responsibility you have.

“I told him that I am gong to judge his family forever because of the iniquity he knows about: his sons are cursing God, and he has not stopped them.” 1 Samuel 3:13 

Eli is the prophet in charge at this time.  He knows his sons are doing wrong.  God certainly knows as well.  The problem is that Eli is doing nothing about the situation.  He has grown older and his sons are doing most of the work at this time.  However, that does remove the responsibility that Eli has.  He is supposed to rein them in and enforce the boundaries God established.  He is not doing this and God is going to render judgment on him and his family.

Knowledge is power.  At least, that is what I learned from Schoolhouse Rock! on Saturday mornings.  However, with that power comes great responsibility.

Whether you are in charge of a project, a people, or just one person, here are a few reminders:

  1.  You likely have an awareness of issues.  As I manage the group I do, there are many things I am aware of that others are not.  So do you.  From your perch, you can see the inner workings of people and the group dynamics of your organization.  Eli knew what his sons were doing.  Either because EVERYONE told him or he saw it himself.  Regardless, he knew.  He was aware.
  2. Your awareness is a call to action.  Years ago, a couple was struggling in their relationship.  I asked the husband to step out of his volunteer role for a brief time so they could focus on their marriage.  In the moment, he was very frustrated with me.  Later, he understood.  Eli chose not to do anything.  God judged him for it.  If you know, then act.
  3. Your action will cause a reaction.  Over the years, I have noticed that Newton’s law operates within the scope of human personality too.  Jim was in a position for which he was not qualified.  I asked him to step down until such a time as he was better suited for the task at hand.  He did, but others just could not understand.  The Bible is clear, but our minds are not.

For those in leadership, we must hold fast to what we have in Scripture.  We use our education and experience to navigate, but our north star must be the scriptures.

Your guidance, O Lord, is true and straight.  May we not look to the left or right but keep our eyes on Jesus, our minds on scripture, and hearts filled with love.  Amen.

Committee Member Dies; M.E. Sites Boring Meeting as Cause

In Leadership on October 18, 2016 at 7:45 am

boring-meeting-small

After years of sitting in staff meetings, board meetings, committee meetings, and ministry meetings it dawned on me that it would be great if there were a tool to help these things move along.  Those that carry no agenda are killing the corporate and religious world.  To gather people together with no direction is like drinking from a fire hose!  Many meetings I have attended over the years have an agenda, but it still seems disjointed at times.  Aren’t there a few basic tenets for every meeting that help everyone know what’s going on without getting derailed so easily?

Here are 6 steps to a better staff meeting:

Check-In

Building a sense of friendship among your staff/employees is critical to the health and strength of your organization.  During this time, you as the leader create an atmosphere of checking the pulse of everyone present.  Asking questions about family, life, and leisure activities builds relationships.  One morning I discovered during check-in, that one staff member was having a really rough morning.  While they were not excused from the meeting, I paid attention to not call them out or attempt to draw too much from them during the meeting.  Another time, I realized a great joy had happened in their life and was able to bring that to light for all to enjoy together.  If we rush to our seats and dive right in we miss the social needs we all have.

Calendar

This is a time that we can begin to warm-up.  Whomever is in charge of the calendar requests will present them to the group for approval.  Your structure may delegate this responsibility solely to one person.  However, if time has taught me anything, it is that awareness of events is valuable.  How many times have you seen things double up?  How many times have you witnessed the light bulb moment when a staff member forgot to add an item and now is reminded?  These moments are regular for many.  When attendees discuss the requests it helps maintain focus on the direction.  Having your team warm-up through this will generate better discussion later in the meeting when it really counts.

Communicate

There is a theory of communication called the Rule of Seven.  With all the noise in our lives, it takes several communications before anyone hears what is going on.  This begins with the leadership.  I have said many times that when we are sick of saying it the people are just catching on.  We must continue to communicate in different ways while keeping the basic message the same.  This is a time when we, as a church staff,

  • Go over the publicly addressed announcements because not everything will be heard
  • Decide what is to be prepped for video announcements
  • Share what needs to be on social media
  • Discuss anything that is organization-wide.

I choose not to dive into individual areas during this time because it isolates the one and alienates everyone else.  We all lead busy lives as we lead our teams.  If checking email and catching up on Clash of Clans or Words with Friends is an option during this time then something needs to change.

Consider

There is a vision.  The leader has been charged to set it but not forget it.  Gaining response from your attendees will give priceless breadth to your decision-making.  Every person in the room will have a different background and perspective.  Drawing on the collective nature, the leader can present ideas and thoughts for the next quarter, year, or decade.  Considering these things together provides buy-in and unity.  Too often, leaders believe they have to make every decision without input.  We have been taught, at times modelled, that to ask for help is a sign of weakness, ignorance, and insufficiency.  I completely disagree.  I do not have all the answers.  The Bible speaks of 3 cords are not easily broken.  We can refer to this in relation to group discussion.  While the responsibility rests in the leader, there is no shame in garnering the strength of many.

Collaborate

In our meetings, we are always reviewing what the people are doing together.  I would ask, “What are we doing together?”  Building strength by working together builds longevity. These times of collaboration should, over time, involve the following:

  • Projects related to church vision and organization
  • Projects related to community ministry
  • Book Studies
  • Video Teachings
  • Something fun

The point is that the staff need to work together on projects and learning opportunities for the benefit of the church and themselves.

Close

At the end of the meeting, there should be a time of sharing and prayer.  This is not to spiritualize what just happened, but to pray for one another.  Learning to share our needs, hurts, and joys with each other echoes what Scripture teaches.  Meetings do not have to be “of the devil”.  They can be times of joy, laughter, efficiency, and vision!

The Dilemma of Divorce

In Leadership on May 2, 2016 at 3:44 pm

torn piece of paper with divorce text and paper couple figures

As Baptists we have, over the years, taken a firm stance on divorce.  We have, in effect, treated it like the unforgivable sin.  We have run from men who have divorced when it comes to them serving as a Deacon.  The traditional position has been absolutely negative to them serving.  The passage cited is 1 Timothy 3:12.   Some versions read “husband of one wife” while others read “faithful to his wife”.  Thus, we have had a conflict of praxis concerning deacons and their service if a divorce is in the past.

Whenever we have one verse on which we place an entire position we find ourselves on narrow footing.  In order to give it proper review there are a few things to consider:

  1. Original Language – the Greek text is the original in this case at it strictly reads, “one woman man”. From this alone we cannot determine exactly what was meant without regarding the next 2 parts or infusing personal opinion.
  2. Original Context – The culture and morality of the day lent itself to polygamy and multiplicity. The Christians of that time struggled with false teaching and wayward living as they tried to mature.  Paul encouraged Timothy to remind those he led that leadership needs to show stability.  They were to be focused on the one to whom they were married.
  3. The Whole of Scripture – The very character and Word of God comes into question if we are not careful. By saying that a divorced man cannot serve we hold a certain grudge.  We hang a scarlet letter on him and say “not forgiven”.  How can we do what God does not?  He forgives.  He casts sin to unreachable places.  He moves forward.  The character of God in light of scripture informs us that God forgives and so should we.  Further, God’s choosing of men with questionable backgrounds is many.  One does not look far to see Him forgiving and using flawed people with difficult pasts.

In light of these 3 basic positions, divorce, with remorse, does not preclude a man from service.  There are those in your church right now with such history.  May we not hold against them what God has already relieved.

3 Questions to Ask in Your Group

In Leadership, Volunteers on March 3, 2015 at 8:36 am

3Questions

Joel was called upon to teach his class and he struggled with what to say.  He had a lesson provided by the book but he had never taught before.  He didn’t want to just read it because he knew he would hate that if he was in the class when someone else did it.  He didn’t want to say something wrong.  He didn’t want to make a mistake.  What he was feeling is a normal amount of pressure. The Bible tells us that teachers will be judged more harshly than others.

The next time you get in a bind ask these 3 questions.  The next time someone wants to bring up a Scripture passage ask these 3 questions.  These 3 questions get at the root of any Bible story.  The next time you are asked to teach a class and there is no lesson book or guide ask these 3 questions.

Question #1       What do we learn about God in this passage?

You can actually ask three versions of this questions.  I believe in a triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  So, you could ask what you learn about God, or Jesus, or the Spirit.  The heart of this question is to get the group thinking about God.  We all enter class thinking about a LOT of things unrelated to God.  Once the discussion gets going during study time this is a great opening question after the story/scripture is taught.  Move the hearts of your people toward God.

Question #2       What do we learn about ourselves in the passage?

Scripture has an uncanny way of piercing the internal areas of our lives, those private thoughts and actions.  Because God wants an intimate relationship with us, His Word lays us open so that all can be seen.  This type of intimacy breeds integrity, authenticity, and honesty.  Asking your group to share what this reveals about humanity, namely, themselves, creates bonds of friendship and family in your group.  However, it also helps us remember that reading and studying scripture is not solely academic.  We need to allow scripture to penetrate our mood swings, our anxieties, and our pride.

Question #3       What are we going to do about what we have learned?

If we just learn about God and His Word if fall short.  If we just have a support group feel where everyone shares we fall short.  Putting what we learn into practice is a vital component of any lesson.  Allow time in your group for this important question.  We must take God’s Word and put it into action.  Encourage your people to think personally.  Of course, there are those moments when the passage speaks to the group.  The group as a unit needs to act.  Yet, that group has individuals and each need to take responsible action.

These 3 questions are not the only things you can ask your group, but they do create a stir of discussion.  Some may wonder if this is “deep” enough for a group setting.  If your people walked away from class or study group with the knowledge of God and His Word, a greater awareness of themselves from God’s view, and the encouragement to act, they would be equipped for their walk with Christ.

4 Steps To A Better Crew

In Leadership on February 10, 2015 at 9:01 am

inspection1

During graduate school I worked at a Chick-fil-A in Arlington, TX.  Because of my school schedule I normally worked the night shift which meant I was the leader for mostly teenagers.  The day shift was the “adult” shift and the night shift was the “kid” shift.  At first, I wasn’t sure if that would be a blessing or not.  It was!  As with any job, adults or teens, those in management have responsibilities to keep order and focus.  It did not take long for them to learn my style.  They had grown accustomed to “doing” their task and then going home.

I remembered my first job.  I worked at Wendy’s on Lake Road in Dyersburg, TN.  My view of management at the time was like animal planet where they are on the Serengeti watching the Lion sit while everyone else buzzes around trying not to disturb his pondering.  Periodically they would emerge from the office only to call out everything we had done wrong and then scurry off to the back.  There seemed to never be interaction, instruction, or involvement.

I wanted this team to be better.  I wanted this location to be the best job they ever had.  While I am fully aware that a high school job is hardly a life changing experience please don’t kill the dream.  I worked alongside them.  I talked with the crew.  I laughed with the crew.  I also inspected the crew.  Every place has standards and it was a part of my job to make sure that those standards were being met.  I told them, especially on Friday nights, the more we work together and do it right the earlier we can leave.  With a job well done I blessed them with early exit.  We read in Exodus:

So the people of Israel followed all of the lord’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the lord had commanded him, he blessed them.

God had given Moses a job to and told him who needed to do it.  Once the job was done, Moses inspected the work.  When he found it was done right he blessed them. Our culture likes to skip and/or dismiss a step in this process. Often I find those who want to be blessed for showing up, tipped for doing inadequate work, or given a raise for time served.  Accountability is difficult, but necessary, work. Holding someone accountable requires that management and worker run in tandem to accomplish the necessary tasks of life, work, and home chores.  A few thoughts for those who lead others:

  1. Have well-defined roles through job descriptions. The easiest way to help a person understand your expectations is to express them in a job description.  This description is to be written clearly and with the ability to evaluate using it as a guide and tool.
  2. Clearly define tasks and responsibilities with measurable aspects. The tabernacle and its pieces had specific measurements and products to be used.  It was not hard for Moses to inspect.  Defining the tasks for your crew helps everyone know the expectations.
  3. Inspect regularly. At the end of every shift, we had a checklist.  After a week at camp, we have a checklist of cleaning duties.  My staff has quarterly evaluations.  This allows for focus to be maintained.  If we waited to check it every year things could get really skewed.  Course corrections are made along the way.
  4. Bless based on job performance. I am tired of the notion that simply because you clocked in that we should somehow praise you.  Those servers who want a tip forget that it means “to insure promptness” and was given ahead of the need.  Now we give a tip after the job.  I tip if they are deserving.  Give raises and bonuses to those who have earned the blessing by a job well done.  It was only after inspection that Moses blessed.

Those under your care and leadership might not always like the accountability and inspection.  I have found that those moments will occur when they know the job wasn’t done right or well enough.  We cannot expect perfection every time, or often.  Yet, we can provide guidance to exceptional.  Moses had a very cranky crew at times, but that was who God wanted him to lead.  You may not have the greatest crew to watch over, but those are who God has for you.  Lead well.

3 Questions You Should Always Ask

In Family, Leadership on January 14, 2015 at 8:36 am

redeeming

Cameron walked home as he did every day, entered the house, and turned on the Xbox One he got for his birthday.  That was a great day!  His friends were all treated to a day at the water park.  Now, the cold of the winter makes it seem like such a long time ago.  Sara, his mom, went back to work ever since the divorce.  Now he comes home to an empty house, except for his sister Kayla who drives him crazy.  He eats a snack while taking out the enemy in the newest Call of Duty.  His Mom was really feeling bad the other day since she had to work another double at the hospital.  He played it just right and now it’s on!

One more day gone.

Tonight was supposed to be ” family supper”, which is something new they were going to try.  Of course, that was 15 minutes ago.  The door flies open and she rushes in with take-out…again!  She is stressed and throws the food on the table and says she needed a bath and candles.  They could feed themselves.  Kayla is sexting. Cameron is wasted.

One more day gone.

How many days do we have?  Only God really knows the exact answer.  The point is that we believe there will always be another day.  Never once have I heard someone say they wish they had spent less time.  My workaholic tendencies have come into controversy as I look at my son, nearly eye to eye, and think where has the time gone?  Wasn’t he just born?  Didn’t he just start school?  13 years down and 6 to go before he is off to college.

One more day gone.

For years, I have attempted to develop my listening skills.  A speaker by nature and a fixer by gender, listening is not always the easiest thing.  Thus, I have tried to ask questions.  Here are 3 questions you should always ask.  Questions open people up.  Questions allow you to hear their heart.  Questions provide opportunities.

1.  What did you love about today?  Ken Blanchard in The One Minute Manager teaches to start with a positive.  Asking someone what they loved about today gets you off to a good start.  There is always something to love about each day, right?  Even if it seems like a negative statement, take what you can get!  Help them see the good in each day; to count their blessings; to consider it all joy when we face trials.  What was good about today?

2.  What did you learn today? With kids this is easy.  Once everyone gets home you can ask this easily.  Hopefully they will give you an educational answer.  As my kids age, I am finding that I get social answers as often as anything!  Susie did this.  Kiah said that.  You will never guess was Joshua did today.  Whichever answer you receive, be glad to receive one.

3.  What needs to be left behind?  God is the great forgiver…and forgetter.  Paul reminds us to press forward, look ahead, and leave behind the past.  Helping our family and friends identify what has hurt, harmed, or offended helps them in this process.  Holding on to grudges does not hurt the other person, it hurts you.

With each tick on the clock, we draw closer to one more day gone.  Let us not waste the time we have with those we love or lead.  Take the time you don’t think you have and ask a few questions.

Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Ephesians 5:16

5 Pitfalls of Fast Growth

In Church, Leadership on December 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm

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I am Southern and realize there are a few things that make me different.  Yet that does not mean we cannot have an agreed upon fashion with which treat one another.  I have been coming to Branson for over 20 years and have noticed that as it had exploded in size it has lost some of its mystique.  In the words of one, “It has been ‘yankified’.” I don’t mean to disrespect, but Southern grace and charm is what is customary in my life.  Branson has become too big for its britches.  They have forgotten from whence they came.

The funny thing is that people and organizations can suffer the same downfalls.  We forget as we climb the corporate ladder we used to be in the mail room.  Or we were handed a business we did not have to earn and forgot the values on which it was built.  The organization that experienced tremendous growth runs the risk of these pitfalls too.  We must exert great effort to maintain the level we once had that got us where we are today.  Here are 5 signs that we have become too big for our britches.

1.  Less Friendly.  Growing organizations have a friendly, welcoming aspect to them.  The hazard is to become more corporate as growth occurs.  Greetings and time to laugh and connect are replaced with getting the next sale, or finishing the day or project.  Friendliness is what made you attractive. Don’t lose it.

2.  Less Quality.  The higher up one becomes can cause a chain reaction of quality control losses.  They are small at first.  I have noticed an annual decline in food quality at Branson.  Maybe you have noticed a decline in effort at your organization.  The “get-by” attitude can take effect.  One becomes so large in their property or in their mind that makes you believe people will keep coming back regardless.  I don’t.  I bet you don’t either.

3.  Less Personal Space.  In the south we like our space.  In the southwest we really like our space.  As I have traveled other places I recognize that personal space becomes optional.  The one who has become the leader too quickly can become enamored and begin to infringe on personal respect.  Organizations, though, can have that feel of a cattle yard moving the product through for shots! 

4.  Less Courteous.  This is related to number 3.  As more people dump into Branson it has become less courteous than it once was.  The same can be true of you as you grow in your position.  Leaders can start demanding rather than asking.  Leaders can lose the politeness for more corporate language.  Organization that succeed keep the courtesy top to bottom.  Customer service is demanded these days.  Those who keep it quality stay in business.

5.  Less Accommodating.  Remember when the quaint locale bent over backwards to make you happy?  Where has that gone?  Organizations that grew did so because they made their clients happy.  We cannot always have everything a customer wants at all times, but we can be resourceful and attempt to help or find the store/church/person that can.  Helping a person find the answer to their question or need even if it means losing this sale or week’s attendance will create a feeling of warmth.  They will be back because you cared enough to help them.

These pitfalls are avoidable with focus and attention.  Never lose sight of what helped you grow or be promoted.  The Bible states that we are to treat others in the way we want to be treated.  Consider this with your mission, vision, and front door.

The Midas Touch

In Leadership on December 4, 2014 at 8:21 am

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Our staff recently watched a 4 part series by John Maxwell about ethics.  In it he captures the essence of the Golden Rule: Do to others as you would have it done to you.  In the last session he talks about the Midas touch.

One day, Dionyssus, the god of wine and revelry, passed through the kingdom of Midas. One of his companions, a satyr named Silenus, got delayed along the way. Silenus got tired and decided to take a nap in the famous rose gardens surrounding the palace of king Midas. There, he was found by the king, who recognized him instantly and invited him to spend a few days at his palace. After that, Midas took him to Dionyssus. The god of celebration, very grateful to Midas for his kindness, promised Midas to satisfy any wish of him. Midas though for a while and then he said: I hope that everything I touch becomes gold. Dionyssus warned the king to think well about his wish, but Midas was positive. Dionyssus could do nothing else and promised the king that from that following day everything he touched would turn into gold. Source: www.greeka.com.

While Midas found this to be a curse, in your organization creating an atmosphere where everyone benefits is vital to high retention rates.  How do we have the Midas touch?

1.  Do your job and then some.  Often we just do the bare minimum to get by and wonder why we do not have glowing reviews as evaluation time. Work more than others think may be necessary, just don’t sacrifice family to do so.

2.  Go the 2nd mile.  Roman law required a person to walk 1 mile to assist someone.  Going the 2nd mile means to volunteer the rest of the way.  Go further than you want in the treatment of others in your office or under your supervision.

3.  Think about others more than yourself.  We often seek out those who can help us, upgrade our position, or promote our product.  How often do we help those who can’t help us?  We assist just because it is the right thing to do.  We help even though there is no immediate return.

4.  Choose right when wrong is easier.  There are those moments when telling a lie is far easier than the truth.  The lie will seemingly get you out of trouble.  Often it is easier to avoid than to address, neglect than nurture, and regulate than relate.  Choose the right.

Having the Midas touch was a curse for the king but is critical for the atmosphere that surrounds you.  Make a connection.  Develop that assistant.  Discuss the issue.  Lead from a loving heart.

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