Archive for category community
I am working with a group of young leaders in the area of high-performance teams and groups. One of the best resources I have come across for this is Extraordinary Groups by Bellman and Ryan.
In my opinion this is one of the most comprehensive resources in this arena because:
- it combines author experience with very practical ideas and approaches
- has a sound working model easily adapted to your situation
- has transferable concepts and processes for any team, for-and-non-profit
- walks you through the model in very practical ways
- focuses on outcomes and how to engage robust discussions for your team
- is well written with a language and style that is engaging, accessible and not too complex
Geoff Bellman’s approach is based on research and experience – you can watch a 40-minute presentation here that your team would get a lot out of! Very solid work.
Kathy Ryan and Geoff are a competent people who have built teams, led high-capacity groups, worked in complex organizations, understand the non-profit sector, and are advocates for relational transformation while honoring the need for great results
I like Kathy’s bio where you find this
Through The Orion Partnership, a consulting firm based near Seattle, Washington, she has been known for her work in turning fear-based organizations into ones where collaboration and trust are the keys to high performance.
There are many organizations that could really use her help!
Here are a few of my big takeaways from their work and this book.
First, get the book. It really is solid. And work the model with your team – the exercise is worth the effort.
Second, the 8 Characteristics of a an Extraordinary Group make for a solid framework and assessment (the work and book have been so well received that they just developed a team assessment and resources for the process.
Here are the 8 Characteristics
- Compelling Purpose
- Shared Leadership
- Just-enough Structure
- Full Engagement
- Embracing Differences
- Unexpected Learning
- Strengthened Relationships
- Great Results
Take your team through a discussion and reality check on this list alone, and you will be glad you did.
And third, the Group Needs Model they use is fresh, coherent and very applicable for creating a high-performance culture with a strong emphasis on personal growth not simply team results. The model addresses 3 major aspects of a team with 2 components in each, with an overall focus on personal and organizational change:
SELF = Self Acceptance and Potential
GROUP = Team Purpose and Relational Bonds
WORLD = Current Reality and Desired Impact
How is your team doing with respect to building people who connect deeply and together achieve great results? Where are the gaps? What is your process and model for evaluating and guiding a team?
I plan to utilize more of this work in my work with church and leadership groups – outstanding tool!
Creating a Culture for Coaching
Dr. Bill Donahue explains the difference between a strategy for developing leaders and a relational culture. In order to effectively implement the first an organization must have the second.
My Daughter Kinsley
Last night I watched my daughter Kinsley play her last home basketball game on the Westminster Christian School court. These seniors have been together since 4th grade and probably have a 9-year cumulative record of 140-20 or something like that – this year they finished 20-4 as they head to the playoffs.
So this is the end.
I’ve got mixed emotions about it. I love watching her play… she is joy in motion. And I love the way she does that crossover dribble that leaves the competition in the dust wondering what just flew past them as they stumble back to their feet. Brings a smile to my face. They came up 3 points short last night, but what a run!
Regardless of how far they go in the playoffs, the ending of an era has come. Soon she will move on, joining my son who headed off to college in 2008, and leaving us with an empty nest.
It is hard for some people to move on. But not these kids. While they realize some friendships may never be the same, they look forward with hope and back with joy. They are young, restless, talented, adventurous and free. The world is now their basketball court and they are calling the plays
Not so for too many adults – business people, educators, parents, athletes and church leaders. They cannot – or will not – step aside or move on. They have not learned to trade position for passion, power for influence, playing the game for coaching the players. They cling to worn out strategies, crusty habits, tired theologies, and weary game plans. It is time to enter a new season.
It is time for a new season in life for Kinsley…and for me and for Gail. I have stepped into a coaching role, shaping leaders, teaching, mentoring, creating new expressions of influence, research and exploration. And it is wonderful.
Gail has launched SACRED, and place where the soul can rest. You can see what she does at www.mylifeissacred.com. Son Ryan is heading off to graduate school. It is a time for us to create, embrace and thrive into the new.
Maybe this is the time for you as well. Whether you are 25, 55, or 75, before you lies something that God has been preparing, and it is time for you to walk into it. It is the end of one era…and the start of something new.
You’ll see more of what I am doing, new areas of teaching and training for community life, and development strategies for leaders. It will all be part of a new website in a month or so.
Early this morning I received a very sad email. I sat wondering, “Where is God in all this mess. Why? Why now? Why this man? Hasn’t he suffered enough with his cancer and his many trials?”
It has been said, “All true community begins at the edge of suffering”
Before me sits a Bible, filled with stories of pain and suffering and redemption. These stories unnerve us, encourage us, and then remind us of things eternal. We become sober to the realities of life in a broken world. Still I ask, “Where is God when it hurts?” The answer should not surprise us. It is embedded in this email.
Here it is, edited and with names changed, but you will get the idea. This man is suffering with cancer that is rare and hard to treat. And then this email from his wife…
Yesterday, at about 4:45 p.m., Mike was rear ended, spun into oncoming traffic and then T-boned. He was in a small rental car that was totaled. He was taken to the hospital and into surgery just after 7. He remained conscious and calm. He was very cold – not in much pain, not scared. He kept telling me he wasn’t scared, that he was ready, that he knew he was forgiven, saved by grace, and loved by his Father. We prayed a lot. He was mostly calm, always conscious, very well aware of what had happened.
The nurses were crying and rushing and more and more doctors and machines and nurses came. He had some deep lacerations to his head; he was bleeding. He was on a backboard, coughing, having difficulty breathing, frustrated with being strapped down and held in place. His spleen needed to come out and he had many breaks and fractures. His heart rate was too fast and his blood pressure too low. They gave him several units of blood.
They took him into surgery. He was brave! Our family and close friends joined us.
Tony, Sarah, Matt, Rachael, Mike’s family, Ashton, Tammy, and Susan came and joined the wait. (His Pain Partners.) We were all able to go in, briefly, and see him last night. He was somewhat conscious and on a respirator to help with his breathing and had some staples on the back of his head. His color was good; he rested.
It is likely that his cancer treatment will be suspended while they address these issues. It’s a lot to take in. He needs a whole lot of prayer and love and hope. His long road seems mighty long right now. Blessings and love, Karen.
Here is my edited reply to my friend who forwarded “Karen’s” email to me.
Ug …this is very hard to hear at this point, Dave, but his life is being a witness to so many who are serving him right now in the hospitals – they are seeing Jesus in him and that is remarkable…Mike’s broken life, and the community that surround him, is being used in powerful ways … I know that does not feel good to you and me right now, or especially to him or Karen, but it is true. A hard but real truth.
I lost my best friend at age 15 after he suffered for 3 years and died of spinal cancer. He was a Philadelphia Phillies fan so players would come visit him, as did others who, at the time, would never go to a church or read a Bible. But he had a strong faith for just a young teen. He talked to them about Christ, his future, salvation, etc. When he died, many remembered his short life but also his great faith. We were devastated, but I know it started me on a journey toward God, and helped others to strengthen their faith.
A young man in a class I teach has Cystic Fibrosis. He is being hospitalized (again) this weekend to treat lung infections with IV antibiotics. He is the same age as my son, and is aware of the degenerative nature of his disease. I could not imagine my son in that condition knowing his life will be a short one filled with suffering. It punches me in the gut every time I walk into the room.
But it has also driven me to prayer. And I have wept over this student, remembering that sin has broken this world and it took the death of Jesus himself to defeat its misery. So I have hope, and I am humbled, and I sit at God’s feet and find strength. But I do not do it alone. In community we share the pain.
I am at a loss for answers as to why these things happen. I can only cling to what I know to be true. And that is what Mike and my student are doing. And I think I can guarantee that their many sufferings (which I would never wish on anyone) are being transformed into something beautiful for God’s glory. So I pray and I weep. But I also hope… for a new world one day when all the “Mikes” of this world are dancing and singing. It is what I cling to in the brokenness.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” - Revelation 21: 1-5
Yes, make it new! For all of us. So that our partnership in pain will be transformed into a reunion of joy and gladness with the One who brings us home.
I recommend Phil Yancey’s book, Where is God When it Hurts?
Today my focus is the integration of Faith-Work-Culture as a central part of life.
I am privileged to participate in a panel discussion on Capitol Hill Wednesday with seminary scholars, policy makers and leaders who care deeply about the integration of our work, our faith and our culture. Here is the focus of the discussion:
- Centuries ago St. Augustine wrote City of God to explore what is the rightful and moral duty of Christians engaging in the public square. Today, the questions and tensions that plague public life in our capital city are no less fraught and frustrating than they were in his, ages ago.
- Drawing from the insight and experience of practitioners across the scope of public policy’s reach and application this panel will explore the role Christians have to act justly and walk humbly across partisan lines, in neighborhood communities, and global conflicts, in the committee rooms of capitol hill, and the board rooms of K street.
- While acknowledging the reality of politics and policy native to Capitol Hill, this panel will instead focus on the responsibility Christians have to support and engage the development of flourishing communities in every corner of the earth.
I come as a representative from three spheres.
First, as thinker and change agent in an institution, as a representative from TIU where we are seeking to bring a more robust engagement with “vocational theology” so that faculty, staff and students see the faith-work-culture tension as a central, not tertiary, part of life.
Second, I come as a common worker. Like you, I engage in meaningful labor and have done so since I was 15. I have had a dozen roles in my work history: as a camp counselor, lifeguard, groundskeeper, financial analyst, sales rep, painter, pastor, professor and a leadership consultant.
Third, I sit here as a human being. I know that’s stating the obvious. But it is the one thing we all have in common. We all want to flourish as people living in this 21st century world – economically, spiritually, vocationally, physically, and emotionally.
So I am eager to learn and contribute during these 30 hours.
But I need your help – really.
What questions or thoughts do you have about human flourishing as it relates to the integration and interaction of Faith-Work-Culture?
We need to keep breaking down the clergy-laity division. And we need to see the worlds of work and culture as much more than mission fields on the one hand, or places to avoid “lest we be corrupted” on the other.
What are your thoughts and questions?
I would love to hear them before we engage on the hill tomorrow. Everyone wants to change the world- but not everyone wants to change. I want to change personally as I participate. I hope you can help.
Image credit: catholicsatworkoc.com
I am always intrigued by what is said in commencement speeches. Steve Jobs’ famous 2005 commencement address at Stanford is one of the most Googled. His “stay hungry, stay foolish” theme really resonated with listeners. If you never heard it, it is a real gem. You can watch it here.
This June, at my alma mater’s graduation ceremonies, Princeton’s departing President, Shirley Tilghman, referred to Jeff Bezos’ commencement address to graduates in 2010. Though not as memorable or as well-known as Jobs’ talk, Bezos offered a series of questions for leaders or at least what every leader should be asking.
Bezos is Founder and CEO of Amazon.com and is a Princeton Class of 1986 graduate. His remarks challenged graduating seniors to consider 10 key questions. Here they are for your consumption.
1) Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
2) Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
3) Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
4) Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
5) Will you bluff it out when you are wrong, or will you apologize?
6) Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
7) Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
8) When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
9) Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
10) Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?
I certainly was challenge by almost all of these. I did not feel a sense of guilt or failure so much as new resolve to grow and risk in these areas. Numbers 1, 6, and 9 have particular meaning for me at this moment in life and leadership.
How about you? I suggest you reflect honestly on the list, and choose your top 2-3 questions for further investigation and focus. Leaders – especially those who share leadership or have collaborative styles – will have to take some risks that will cause discomfort and leave you vulnerable to failure or criticism.
But what other options are there? A life filled with woulda-coulda-shoulda regrets and a leadership legacy what-if’s and what-might-have-beens?
Not for me. And I hope not for you.
You do not have to do life alone. But some of you choose to. I cannot imagine why. Oh, I know…you have many relationships; you know lots of people. You have Facebook friends and Twitter peeps. You know some guys at the softball league or some gals at the monthly business leaders luncheon. You trade contacts and share ideas. You talk about the weather, the kids, the job and the economy.
But are you known? To be known is to place the heart-level truth about yourself into the hands of another person. And to trust they will receive it and guard it. And then to do the same for them. Can you really say that you are known deeply and have others whom you know at the heart level?
It starts small. It means doing some life together – a meal, a coffee, a play time with other moms and kids, reading a book, going to a museum, volunteering together to serve the poor. It is not hard, but it takes some effort.
And it means a conversation – about life and love and hope and fear and truth and the world. Pick a topic and tell a story – your story. How did you get here from there? What makes you smile? What stirs your passions? What gets you really mad? What kind of injustice is so intolerable that you cannot stand it anymore? What about your work gives you a rush; what part of it gives you a headache?
Just talk and listen – really well and real carefully.
But whatever you do make a commitment to never stand alone. Never.
I met a good friend today, someone who has championed the cause of community with me for years, and has helped build it with others around the world. We have been partners, co-workers, and fellow employees. I love him. I think the world of him.
But more important than that, we are good friends. We know the pain and the darkness of one another’s lives; the scary parts and beautiful parts; we laugh until we cry; we spur one another on; we provide counsel and feedback for decisions; we solve problems; and much of the time we simply share a slice or two of life – the good, bad and ugly. We know the gore and the glory. And we still do life together.
We made a commitment a long time ago to never do life alone – never again.
How about you? When will you move beyond the glossy surface of superficial relationships and break through into the depth of relational integrity.
Life matters. And it is VERY short. What are you waiting for?
We are smack in the middle of baseball season heading to the July All-Star break. Despite this we are in the middle of the ice hockey finals. Still! Normally my interest for this drops by May because the season is too long, baseball is up and running and it is just too warm outside to think about ice hockey.
But my interest this year goes well past May because the Chicago Blackhawks are in the finals. Last night they played the Bruins in one of the longest playoff games in NHL history. At the start of the 3rd overtime period it was still 3-3.
Whether it’s baseball, hockey, or just the local beer softball league, everyone expects to play a normal game. But sometimes it’s tie at the end of regulation and the teams play overtime. In the playoffs you compete until someone wins or everyone dies from exhaustion. (Of course, in the guys-over-40 softball league it’s just as intense– but if you run out of beer, the game is called and everyone heads to the bar.)
Playing extra innings is hard enough. Weariness sets in and sheer intensity of competition takes its toll on the body and the mind. Emotions run thin and a single mistake can cost you the game. Everyone has to take it up a notch at the time when they are least capable of doing so.
But leading in extra innings is even harder.
It is especially difficult for the player-coach, the guy or gal who has to perform at the top of their game while motivating and guiding the rest of the team. Overtime will test your leadership ability in ways that other challenges cannot for the sheer fact that so much more energy, stamina, and focus are required.
Here are a few tips on how to lead when there is more game left on the clock than there is in the players.
1) Acknowledge the reality of the challenge. This is no time for fake, rah-rah cheerleading that basically communicates, “C’mon guys, this isn’t any big deal.” It IS a big deal. Getting the project done, preparing the presentation, or solving the crisis really matters. Let your team know that YOU know this is not just really important – it is also going to be hard.
2) Discern what is “doable hard” versus “destructive hard.” Working harder in overtime does not mean everyone becomes a crazy workaholic and winds up quitting when the project is over. People have to juggle the extra work in a way that considers family commitments and personal health. If every week at work is another overtime crisis it will ultimately crush morale, deplete leadership resources and produce an inferior product or service.
Some organizations use abusive work practices to force “extra innings” for employees. Famously, it is Wall Street financial companies, urban hospitals and top-end law firms who create insane work hours to weed out the “weak” and get more bang for their buck. It is illegal in some cases and demeaning in at best. Organizations that pay “part-time” people for 32 hours (to avoid paying for health benefits) but “allow” them to work well past that are ethically bankrupt.
3) Focus the energy. In sports you have to coach tired players and create a winning game plan. You cannot use all the resources in the first few minutes hoping for the quick kill. If you fail, you are in big trouble because you might have another 30, 60 or even 90 minutes of game time ahead. So get your team members focused on what they do best, and help them draft a long-term approach. Doing what they do best will leverage the energy they have. Don’t ask everyone to help with everything. It gets chaotic, and wastes time you do not have.
4) Deal directly with complainers. When the going gets tough the complainers get grumpy. You and the team cannot tolerate this – it saps energy, wastes time, and damages morale. Pull the offenders aside, look ‘em in the eye and let them know that attitude is everything, especially in overtime.
5) Outwork your team. In OT great captains and managers rise to a new level of commitment, energy, and focus. You cannot push others to stretch while you operate at the normal pace and level. Let the team see that you are willing to do the extra work to get the job done. It is demoralizing to serve on teams and staffs where you outwork the leaders, and get none of the perks, notoriety, vacation time, or income their leaders receive. It is sad.
6) Finally, play to win, not just survive. Yes, look at the potential for a long overtime. You might need 6 pitchers in extra innings, so be strategic in their deployment. But don’t settle for survival. Get the team together and determine what the goal is, what “victory” looks like and then get after it. If it just drags on, then energy wanes, the team gets distracted, and the victory goes to others.
The captains and coaches of the Blackhawks led well in OT. They rotated players on lines, using shorter shifts, called time outs, worked a clear strategy, and led by example. It was a winning combination. A 4-3 victory well into the 3rd overtime.
Imagine how good that must feel today!
Photo Credit: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=673963
Carving out space for refreshment and renewal is essential for lasting leadership. Here is a great way to monitor your life and create space in your schedule.
Creating Margin in your Leadership – Transcribed
I am a proponent of a flatter leadership culture. I believe in teamwork, shared responsibility, very little hierarchy and a more collaborative approach. Not only does it work – it works better. While a number of leadership “gurus” continue to act and teach like the Big Dog Leader model is a given (most then are well over age 50), a rising groundswell of leaders are opting out of the model. They are dropping like flies from organizations that thrive on hierarchy and the Command and Control model espoused at most Leadership Conferences.
So I am thrilled to see the changes that are coming. But here’s the question…
Are we – are YOU — ready for shared leadership?
Here are a few things that shared leadership implies. And you might have a few more so join the conversation.
1) Shared leadership means shared blame. Ok, I know that you intellectually agree, but are you willing to take your share of the heat when things get hot? Or even more than your share? When I coach organizations building a flatter leadership structure, the “underlings” are thrilled to be handed an oar or two, to row with the crew. But I wonder if they are just as willing to grab a bucket when the boat takes on water in the storm? Are you willing to take the criticism, the blame for the loss or the downturn, or be confronted about the misfire?
2) Shared leadership means deeper communication more often. The more people involved in a process the more talking you need to do. That might mean more emails, more updates, more quick “check-in” meetings like Lencioni advocates in Death by Meeting. You ready for that?
3) Shared Leadership means longer decision-making. I think this is generally good, but it takes some getting used to. I would advocate that, in the long run, you get better decisions and have less “clean up” to do when the solo leader goes rogue and makes a lousy hire or a bad decision “from the gut” (which is often code for “Let’s do it my way because I’m always right and I am in control). But decisions by a team take longer than solo leadership decisions.
4) Shared Leadership means giving in and sometimes giving up. Of course, “real leaders” NEVER give up. Mandela is a great one to speak to this. In his book “Mandela’s Way” he has a chapter entitled, “Leading from the Back.” You need to read it. It comes after “Leading from the Front” so he is not opposed to being our front at times. But a willingness to step back and let other leaders have their way is an art that requires patience, trust and humility – a quality lacking in many “Big Dog” leaders. Are you ready to play second fiddle…or no fiddle at all?
5) Share Leadership means shared success. Are you ready to share the glory, the rewards, the perks, the status symbols, and the “corner” office(s)? Many are not. If you have worked in a place where many people work longer and harder than the “point leader” but they get the special trips, income, organizational resources, power, freedom, vacation time, public recognition, and “benefit of the doubt” when stuff goes wrong, you know how that feels. It is a real demoralizing situation, especially when they pretend to be “a leader among equals” which again is code for “let’s share the problems but I get the goodies.” So are you willing to share the goodies equally among the leadership team? Even bonuses, and other rewards? We’ll see.
Shared leadership is more than an ideal. It is a commitment to becoming a real community of leaders with mutual accountability, vision, goals, trust, responsibility, blame and rewards.
It takes work, but it is really worth it. The team is stronger, the cause is more compelling, the results last longer and the process of “leadership succession” is virtually seamless, because there is no “mega-leader” to replace with another one. Instead, the team grows, changes, and new leaders are added as others move on. It is driven by much more than a person.
Are you ready for that?