Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

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.

5 Pitfalls of Fast Growth

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

image

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.

Handling Frustrations in Leadership

In Leadership on June 10, 2014 at 10:35 am

christian-frustration

If you are in leadership you will face frustrations.  These come in the form of attempting to unify and separated people or criticisms when not every idea is considered worth acting on to fulfill Kingdom work.  Unifying a separated people can take its toll also.  Often, leaders find themselves in difficult positions as they stand between the plan, purpose, and people of the organization.  How can leaders get a handle on the frustrations?  I believe an episode in the life of Moses gives insight.

1.  Find God’s Plan.  God has a plan for every organization and its leader.  Through prayer and Bible reading you can discover God’s will for your situation.  Moses went to God to discuss the issues.  While spending time with God, it was revealed to Moses what he should do.  Spending time reading Scripture and meditating on God and His Will you will not only find the plan He has but also the peace He can provide.

2.  Keep Calm and Carry On.  When leaders get frustrated to a breaking point it is easy to over-react to something.  Moses was very frustrated with the people, God, and his current assignment.  He went to God and found the plan.  He, however, did not completely follow the plan.  His act of disobedience caused a personal problem with God.  The people were satisfied because they received water, but the method of Moses went against God’s plan.  Leaders must keep emotions in check through the turbulent moments in order to stay in right standing with God.

3.  Follow Orders.  Leaders have a hard time with following orders because they become accustomed to giving orders rather than receiving them.  When God reveals a plan it is critical for the leader to obey in detail.  The end does not justify the means in God’s eyes.  The people wanted water.  Moses, through God, provided water.  Yet, God told Moses to speak to the rock but he struck it instead.  You might be facing the same situation you have faced before, but that does not mean God will give you the same method as before.  Be sure to obey the direction of God

Leadership certainly has its ups and downs.  Sadly, leaders are out of balance in today’s culture being heavy on the down side.  With people playing politics, critics speaking out, and factions rising those moments of joy in leadership can pale in comparison.  Paul relays to Timothy that he is to keep his head down, work hard, and follow the plan of God.  In so doing, you may not win over all the people, but God will be pleased.  With eternity just down the road, choose to make God happy rather than spending all your time and energy trying to make the people happy.

God, Are You Out of Your Mind?

In Authority, Leadership on June 3, 2014 at 7:52 am

Question God

How many of you have asked that question of God?  When we, by faith, accept God’s forgiveness we are also turning over our lives to Him.  He becomes the boss.  Sometimes, He guides us into situations where we just scratch our heads and wonder.  We don’t have the perspective, so we don’t know the outcome.  We can’t see where we are going or how we are going to get to the destination.  All we can see is the immediate.  Our limited perspective causes us to question everything!

Sitting in my dorm room, I prayed for God’s vision for my life.  I had a plan but was ready to exchange mine for His.  Over the course of a few weeks it became clear that I liked my plan better and now had a tough decision to make.  Would I trust God or not?  While that sounds simple, it isn’t.  Going along with God’s plan would mean changing majors, accepting a lesser paying vocation, doing what I swore I would never do, and sucking up my pride.  Anyone still with me?

God led Israel out of Egypt to the edge of the Promised Land.  He sent spies over to investigate the land.  10 returned to say that God must be out of His mind!  The people were big, strong, and some had iron chariots!  While the food and land were good they could not see the desired outcome.  All they could see was hard work, war, and casualty.

Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night.  Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained.  “Why is the  lord  taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?”  Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”

Instead of following the plan, they decided new leadership was in store.  Many of us do this individually as well.  We get frustrated with the current situation and opt to find a new god.  Unfortunately we still go to church and that just complicates matters.  We feign obedience through attendance though our hearts are far from God.  We get caught up in money, work, family, the social scene and more trying to find the satisfaction we desperately want, but never do.  May the words of Caleb and Joshua remind us to stand firm in the presence of God even when it seems that He is out of His mind.

They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land!  And if the lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.  Do not rebel against the lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”

4 Ways to Lead Like a Boss Without Being Bossy

In Leadership, Life and Culture on March 11, 2014 at 9:22 am

Have you seen this video yet?

Words like “pushy”, “stubborn”, and “bossy” are legitimate terms and should not be banned because they are used poorly or with negative connotations.  If words that are used in different, or worse, ways than intended are to be banned, then why not also ban the following:

  • Grass
  • Weed
  • Gay
  • Coke
  • Christian
  • Passion
  • Sex
  • Epic

Every one of these words are used differently than intended.  Some are used in immoral and/or illegal ways as well.  The point is that we should not “ban” a word, but rather, engage in better speech.  In the above video, good-minded people want to make an adjustment to how the word “bossy” is applied.  The problem is that bossy is a good word at times.  Bossy connotes a particular attitude more than aptitude.  Regardless of gender, I believe there are humans created to lead and those who are not.  Those who can lead need to be enriched with aptitude without engaging in poor attitudinal habits.  Here are 4 ways to lead like a boss without being bossy.

Communicate

The Bible uses the term shepherd when it speaks of leadership.  A shepherd will make decisions at times the sheep may not like.  Changing pastures and drinking holes will be met with opposition at times.  Keeping a dumb sheep from jumping off the cliff might require physical captivity. Each of these are for the betterment of the group.  In leadership today, the same is often needed.  However, the failure to communicate the need for change or denial of discussion about the need for change can be viewed as pushy, stubborn, or downright bossy.  Learning to communicate is indeed critical to successful leadership.

Collaborate

There are definite differences between leader and follower.  Someone has to be in charge and others need to be instructed.  Leading without being bossy can be stemmed by finding those moments of common ground and working together to accomplish a project.  Some projects are best left to the team to handle while the leader is involved in other necessary ventures.  However, when the paths cross lock arms and shoulder the load together.  Additionally, finding ways to serve others under your leadership lessens the attitude and inflates the aptitude to lead.

Cultivate

Developing relationships among the ranks is critical.  If a leader is only seen in the “ivory tower” and never among the people it will be understood much like the Princess who said, “Let them eat cake”, which refers to the oblivious nature of leadership at times.  Learn the names and needs of your people to best of your ability.  Undercover Boss is always entertaining because the boss sees and feels the people and their needs in a new way.

Calm Down

Leaders tend to be highly driven and internally motivated to succeed.  Leaders often have a vision that is years down the road but want it today.  Learning to calm down and work within the construct given gives longevity to the position and to the person.  Those who drive too hard will kill those being driven and possibly stress out themselves.  Many things might get accomplished in the short-run, but the wake of dead left behind tells the real tale.  Good leaders will cast the vision and then provide achievable goals along the way.

Conclusion

Teaching our boys, and girls, the aptitude for leadership while leaving the negative attitudes behind will dramatically change the future of every community and our own country.  If someone, regardless of gender, is behaving in a way that does not care for the needs of others or the best interest of the group then “bossy” still applies.  Besides, if we remove “bossy”, our culture might start using another word we don’t like either.  Teach our kids who have ambition, strength, and leadership qualities to be the boss without being “bossy”.

Unlocking Potential

In Leadership on November 18, 2013 at 9:39 am

Unlocking_Potential-300x510

My son has a funny habit whenever we get home.  He jumps out of the car and goes to the back door only to find it locked. I try to stop him, though that desire has lessened lately, from doing this because his mother and I really shouldn’t laugh at him.  Yet, he continues to do it.  I asked the other day if he had ever found the house unlocked.  He just looked at me in that 12-year-old way.  The other day he did it again.  He went to the door, turned the knob, and his head dropped.  That disappointment of trying the same thing over and over only to have negative effects is how many of us feel in our organizations.

Every organization needs leaders.  This is simple.  However, what we often fail to realize is that every organization needs leaders-in-training also.  Effective leadership is not only having the ability to guide the ship, but also training others to guide the ship.  Whether your ship is small or large is irrelevant.  EVERY organization needs leaders and those training to be leaders.  Some day the leader will no longer be available.  What happens then?  Organizations that weather this storm are those who have trained people.

How do we do this?  How do we unlock the potential that lies in those “could-be” leaders?  Look at John 2:1-5 :

1The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. 3The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”

4“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

5But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

1.  Recognize the ability – Mary knew the ability of her Son.  She had pondered all the things of his birth and life in her heart.  She knew he was capable of handling any situation.  She had watched Him grow and interact with other people.  She noticed His leadership, grace, compassion, and communication skills.  She recognized the potential within Him.  Are we recognizing the abilities of those around us?  Do we know what they are capable of doing?  Do we know the skill sets, the personality traits, their expertise and education?  Have we done the homework to know what we have within the organization?

2.  See an opportunity – At the wedding, the host ran out of wine which was a disgraceful thing to have happen.  This might have been a family wedding.  Mary could have been something of a wedding planner in this instance.  Either way, Mary was passionate about this problem.  This was an opportunity for Jesus.   Many leaders are too busy getting stuff done that others are not brought along in the process.  We had one particular group that needed a leader.  I was capable of doing this and shifted my responsibilities around to support them for a while.  I sought out those who would be good in this position.  I could have done this alone.  However, it is far better to train others if you want a stronger future.

3.  Employ for service – Mary tells Jesus there is no more wine.  He shrugs it off in a culturally allowable fashion.  However, this is Jesus.  He was also waiting for her faith to kick in.  He does that… A LOT.  Mary never missed a beat.  She simply plodded right through this moment and  told the servants to do whatever Jesus asked of them.  She knew he could handle this moment.  She simply put He and the situation together.  People have a natural tendency today to opt out.  It is the job of leadership to help them find the joy of using their skills.  We had a man in our organization we recognized had an ability and when the opportunity arose we asked for his help.  He was unsure at first.  However, through encouragement and coaching he fulfilled the position wonderfully!  Now, he is ready to be employed for service whenever needed and without hesitation.

4.  Watch what happens – Mary left.  She put it all together and then left.  Jesus’ first miracle happened that day.  God the Father, through Mary, was initiating Jesus’ moment.  You see, God did to Mary exactly what she was doing to Jesus.  The water was turned to wine.  The chief servant, without knowledge, was ecstatic at the quality.  The groom received honor.  Mary had peace.  The people had joy.

Your organization could possibly use an emotional boost.  Unlock the potential and watch what happens.

5 Actions That Will Lengthen Your Career

In Leadership on September 9, 2013 at 5:30 am

leadbyexample1

The first few days of a child’s life for the parent can be absolutely draining.  I have been there twice!  The overnight feedings, diaper changes, and seemingly incessant crying can drive any normal God-fearing person to insanity.  The sleepless nights incur the chronic fatigue after the second day home.  In those moments we beg God for relief.  We ask for mercy on our souls.  When grandma shows up the Hallelujah chorus erupts out of sheer excitement from within our hearts.  The help is greatly needed and appreciated.

Moses had been chosen by God to lead the people out of Egypt.  The people hated being slaves.  Yet they were not too happy about how things were going even before leaving Egypt.  After the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, one would wonder what their problem is.  If God can do all that, then He can handle their needs.  How easy it is for us to talk smack about a people unable to defend themselves.  Let us not forget that for an entire year they had the same thing to eat 3 meals a day.  It is no wonder that frustration and aggravation came.

10 Moses heard the people, family after family, crying at the entrance of their tents. The Lord was very angry; Moses was also provoked. 11 So Moses asked the Lord, “Why have You brought such trouble on Your servant? Why are You angry with me, and why do You burden me with all these people? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth so You should tell me, ‘Carry them at your breast, as a nursing woman carries a baby,’ to the land that You swore to [give] their fathers? 13 Where can I get meat to give all these people? For they crying to me: ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I can’t carry all these people by myself. They are too much for me. 15 If You are going to treat me like this, please kill me right now. If You are pleased with me, don’t let me see my misery [anymore].”

Number 11

The Lord was angry and Moses was provoked.  Did you notice?  The families were whining that they had it better in Egypt.  They craved the fish and other delights. The aggravation is heavy on Moses.  He cannot carry the burden.  He needs help.  Leadership can be rewarding.  Leadership can also be aggravating.  The principle we learn from this passage is that we are not designed to do this alone.  Moses was instructed to find 70 people who are well-known as leaders and officers.  They would be set apart and put in charge.

24 Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. He brought 70 men from the elders of the people and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord descended in the cloud and spoke to him. He took some of the Spirit that was on Moses and placed [the Spirit] on the 70 elders. As the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they never did it again.

Number 11

The fact that some of the Spirit would be passed to them reveals the importance God was placing on them in their assistance.  We can learn an incredible lesson here:  We cannot bear the burden alone.  Leadership can be a lonely experience.  Lack of delegation leads to insanity.  Constantly keeping the plates spinning is a game that cannot be maintained.  What God did is exactly what we are to do no matter the size of company or church: get help.  God provided 70 extra people to do what Moses was doing.  Let’s not forget that Moses already had an organized hierarchy of those who listened to 1000, 100, or 10 depending on skill.  Here are 5 actions that will extend your career and keep you happy in the process.

1.  Evaluate – always be on the lookout for the next person who can help.  Both the young and old have so much to offer if you are looking for it.  The young have the energy and technology.  The older have time and wisdom.  Evaluate their sphere of interest in relation to your  needs.

2.  Engage – after the analysis of needs and evaluation of those around, spend some time building a relationship with them.  Caution must be employed at this point to make sure that people don’t get used and abused.  God’s blessing is dispensed in accordance to service.  We engage them because we see God’s potential with them and wish to see God’s Kingdom develop.  Love, beyond measure, must be involved authentically.

3.  Express – the needs of your organization must be publicized.  The analysis has been done so share the results.

4.  Enlist – there will be a few who will step out and desire to provide their skill to fulfill the needs.  More often I find that people need to have personal invitations.  Go to those whom who have evaluated and share with them how they can help to fulfill God’s desires for them and for the organization.

5.  Rinse and Repeat.

Leadership is a lot like parenting.  The beginning is quite stressful and tiring, but you learn to manage.  Once they start developing skills you can channel those skills to the entire household’s benefit.  Leadership does not have to be a short-lived, stressful experience.  Just because you are a leader does not mean you have to lose your mind!

 

3 Steps to Showing Appreciation

In Leadership, Volunteers on August 21, 2013 at 8:48 am

k11158664

How are you motivated?

For years I was motivated by money.  I would do any kind of odd job to earn money!  I applied for a job as soon as I could because I wanted money.  Even though the money was adequate, I was not happy in this job because of the environment.  As I look back on that experience I realize that I really cared about something more than money, appreciation.  While I did not mind the raises, I wanted something more.  I soon left that job and took another one in the same industry.  The difference was that in the new job I felt appreciated and only tolerated as a means to an end in the other one.  It made all the difference.  I have had a job in one form or another now for over 25 years.  I am responsible for my wife and 2 children now and money is still a motivating factor, but the jobs that gripped my heart were the ones in which I felt appreciated.  I do wonder if George’s rant, while proper, needed a bit of this book sprinkled in also.  Are we facing those issues in our organizations because we are not loving them as they need love?  Jesus said that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  But does that mean to love them in the way you need to be loved or just make sure they feel loved like you want to feel loved, supported, and appreciated?  I think it is the latter.

Appreciation is a human need that often goes bankrupt.  Human resources scramble to make sure people are feeling affirmed and appreciated.  Personnel Committees can learn from this in most churches today.  I have been in scant few churches and organiztions that do this well.  How can we say thanks in ways that impact the person without breaking the budget?  That is the problem isn’t it?  We want to say “Well done!” but we want to cut costs too.

Step #1  Determine the value of the person being appreciated.  How valuable is this person to the organization?  This question does not have to be concerned with rank and position.  Like sports, the value of the position raises the stakes.  Michael Lewis in The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, takes the reader on a 50 year journey of how football began to value a player higher than anyone ever thought possible because of the protection the blind side lineman brought to the quarterback, who many still believe is the most valuable player on any team.  If the person is of high value then thank them with value.  Before you tell me that all members are of the same value, please take a breath.  All have value.  Some are more valuable than others.

Step# 2  Examine the length of service.  The longer a person has been committed to your organization the greater the appreciation ought to be.  Many companies took a beating in the last 2 decades for “letting go” employees close to retirement to cut budget needs.  Others just fired them to hire cheaper, younger labor.  Proverbs tells us that there is honor that accompanies grey hair.  We should honor the one who has served long.  While it would be cheaper to go young, it might cost you more in the long run.  Honor those long-time employees well.  Make it a big occasion.  Build into your policy manuals incrementally better incentives for staying committed to the organization longer.

Step# 3  Discover their sweet spot.  My son is learning to play golf.  We are teaching him that there is a certain space on the face of the club called the sweet spot.  When that spot hits the ball it is like hitting a home run in baseball.  The ball will have the proper loft and longer distance.  If you do not hit the sweet spot, the ball will still fly but not as well or long.  The same is true in your organizational appreciation model.  You may have standardized the concept without taking into consideration of what the sweet spot of the person is.  Fear not!  Gary Chapman and Paul White have written a book just for you titled The Five Languages of Appreciation. Even you do not read this book, it only makes sense that what makes one feel appreciated may not work for another.

Jesus shares a parable of servants given sums of money from their boss.  To the ones who use it wisely and with gain the owner says, “Well done!”  To the one who mismanaged what he had been given the owner throws them out.  Each of us have those whom we manage.  Like the parable of the talents, what are you doing with them?  Are you showing them appreciation?  Are showing them love?  Every organization I know struggles with dedication and commitment.  The answer might simply be that our employees, volunteers, and members leave because someone else shows them love and appreciation tailored to them rather than tied to a policy manual.

What will you do to keep them?  Step up.

 

Too Many Cooks

In Leadership, Politics on August 20, 2013 at 8:10 am

toomanycooks

Alexander the Great conquered the entire world.  After his death it was divided up among the generals because they could not agree on who should rule.  There is scarcely any series of wars more mind-boggling to follow than those of the successors of Alexander. For twenty years after the death of Alexander his generals fought for control of his empire, and even after the critical Battle of Ipsus, which settled the division of much of the old Persian Empire, wars raged for control of Macedonia and Asia Minor for another generation. The principals involved in these wars were Macedonian Generals who served under Alexander, and their descendents. They were not fought between states or principalities, but between armies, sometimes composed of regional troops or mercenaries, but always led by Greek and Macedonian officers. Also, the regions controlled by the various dynasties changed during the war years, so in several cases one cannot even form a permanent association of a particular dynasty with a fixed sphere of influence.

Herod the Great ruled over Israel and Galilee.  After his death it was divided up among his sons because they could not agree on who should rule.  At his death, all parties appealed to Caesar, who divided the dominions of Herod among his children, giving Archelaus Judea, with the title of Ethnarch. But Archelaus became so unworthy a governor, that the Roman emperor, wearied by the complaints urged against him, deprived him of power, and banished him into Gaul, Judea was now formally made a Roman province, and subjected to taxation. The Jews were very reluctant to submit to taxation, and frequently took up arms against the publicans, or tax-gatherers. ‘Herod is dead. It is safe now’ Well, it wasn’t so safe, really. Herod’s son, Archelaus, was now King and was more hated and more cruel than his father. There’d been riots and disturbances and mass executions.

The church at Corinth faced an almost similar fate.  They were divided over whom they should follow:  Peter, Paul, Apollos, or Jesus.  Now, there was the trouble at Corinth. These were not schisms yet; they had not split off into other congregations, but there were four cliques, or factions within the congregation.  Often, these same divisions are found in organizations like your business, church, and even family today.

1.  The Devotees said, “We are of Paul. He started this church. We came to life in Christ by Paul, and Paul is the one we’re going to listen to above all others.” So undoubtedly there was a big group that followed Paul.  We find these in organizations today, especially those going through adjustments, reductions, or changes at the top.  If someone has been in charge for several years there will be a strong following for that person regardless of the qualifications of the new leader.  Once they are gone or retired, those feelings remain and can cause problems in the future.  The new leader is unfairly compared to the former.  Unrealistic expectations are placed on the new leader based on the personality of the former.

2.  The Fashionistas were attracted by the different kinds of preaching, and they had especially been drawn to Apollos. I am sure there were many in Corinth who were saying, “Oh, I love to hear Apollos! He’s a great preacher, a warm, capable, eloquent man, who can make the Old Testament come alive!”  Paul might have been the better leader, but this group loved Apollos.  You are a stylist if you are attracted by the fad of the day.  You find yourself drawn to those who are electric and funny and cool and hip.  They fill you full of warmth and love.  Who wouldn’t?  However, if the leader/manager God has provided isn’t that person we are still directed to honor, obey and follow.

3.  The Classicists say, “Well, I don’t know about Paul or Apollos. Let’s get back to the beginnings. Let’s go back to Jerusalem. We are of Peter.”   Every organization has a group like the classicists.  They will always think back on the golden years of the organization.  They will desire, and often try to implement methods and processes to get back to those days.  The problem is that those days are in the past.  Developing organizations learn from the past without living in the past.

4.  The Spiritualists were drawing themselves up and saying, “Well, you may be of Paul or of Peter or of Apollos, but we are of Christ! We go back to the Lord alone. What he says we’ll listen to, not Paul or Peter or anyone else — it makes no difference to us.”  This sounds holy but is, in practice, unbiblical.  God has placed us under human authorities in every area: Parent/Child, Manager/Worker, Teacher/Student, Pastor/People, and more.

Greece would soon fall as would Rome.  The church at Corinth remained because of one knowledgable person.  Paul wrote sternly to them and said that there were to be no divisions in the fellowship.  Proverbs teaches the same truth in 28:2, When a land is in rebellion, it has many rulers, but with a discerning and knowledgeable person, it endures.  Many organizations are failing today not because of the economy but because everyone wants to be boss.  Too many bosses leads to chaos and rebellion.

Which group describes you most often?

%d bloggers like this: