Monday, December 15, 2014

Attracting and Keeping Good People: in Business or the Church

 Attracting and keeping good people is a common problem in industry and in the local church. Businesses need hard workers who contribute their ideas and effort to improve the business. Churches need strong members who participate and volunteer in ministry to others. They are the ones who serve rather than waiting to be served. 
How do we attract such people to our business and our church? How then do we keep them?

Several years ago I started the West Coast Division of a company headquartered in Northern Virginia. After several successful years things began to change - slowly at first, then more abruptly. The changes began on one of my trips to headquarters.

It was snowing outside the windows of the dark paneled boardroom, on the top floor of a high rise office building outside the Washington DC beltway. Our professional services company had just merged with a larger corporation and the new CEO was making his first presentation to the new team. My position as Director of Western Operations was not going to change, but my worldview was about to take a hit. Our company had been run as a family. Now, it was explained, we would be run as a corporation. Change is inevitable, but at the time I had no idea how much it would impact my personal life.

In his book the “Outliers, The Story of Success,” author Malcolm Gladwell writes that to make any job satisfying requires autonomy, complexity, and a connection between reward and effort. Before the merger my employees were given considerable autonomy, their tasks were considerably complex, and we had a bonus system which was available to every employee. Our division maintained the lowest turnover rate, lowest overhead and highest profitability of all divisions.

After the merger things changed; corporate headquarters put little value on individual employees; emphasis was placed on immediate return, and bonuses would be restricted to executive level only. While my personal bonus increased substantially, my team lost the relationship between reward and effort. Salaries could not change as they were set contractually by our customer.  Our team lost much of its autonomy as a result of more oversight. For a time, I was able to be a buffer between the corporate attitudes in Washington and our west coast team. But as people realized the changes our turnover rate increased.
At the time I was becoming more involved with our church and Christian ministry. Still we considered it a part-time gig while keeping my secular position. It didn’t take long for ministry to become more satisfying than business. It was then we walked away from our high income, and started to move into full time ministry.

The means to attracting and keeping great people is to provide great satisfaction. Satisfaction in the church resembles satisfaction in the workplace and can be accomplished by providing autonomy, complexity, and a relationship between reward and effort. 

1.     Autonomy: Autonomy means independence or freedom. Whether on the job or in the pew, people need to feel that they are important. Leaders who are overbearing and controlling may get away with it for a while but the workers or parishioners will leave if given the opportunity. Old line factory workers, migrant farm workers, and members of the more legalistic churches have very little autonomy. A good leader delegates responsibly and gives freedom to those he leads. An orbital model of relationship held together by mutual attraction provides autonomy as opposed to a hierarchal model.

2.     Complexity: To be satisfied in our job, it must have a challenge. Just putting widgets into gadgets does not keep us motivated. In the church, we must also be challenged. Simplistic, homilies which entertain but do not inspire, do not challenge. Churches which teach the deeper things of the God’s Word and life will continue to attract and keep members. A more complex teaching in the church will attract and keep stronger members.

3.     Connection between reward and effort: Do not consider only monetary rewards for effort in business or in a church. An employee needs to feel his effort is appreciated. Complimentary and encouraging words are even more important. An early boss of mine would give out titles rather than increase pay. A church member needs positive affirmation as well for a task well done, but also needs to be accountable for negative behavior.

Whether you are a business leader or a pastor, you will be able to attract and keep great people by considering these three; Autonomy, Complexity, and Relationship between reward and effort.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Seven Reasons to Start Your Own Business Now

Why should I start my own business now?

When I was a child, my father started several businesses. It was a roller coaster ride, sometimes successful but mostly not. As a result of this early experience, I chose the safe road and became employed in corporate America, pretending a lack of desire to be my own boss, Steadfastly toeing the corporate line and receiving my bi-monthly pay check, I enjoyed a comfortable life. But something was missing. There had to be more than the routine. So while still employed, I began to prepare myself for a future in a different field entirely - so as to not be disloyal to my employer. When all was ready, I resigned my position and dove into the unknown. After starting my first business I discovered the thrill and excitement of starting a business. Now after starting several businesses, I can give you four reasons why I believe you should start your own business.

The first reason to start your own business now is: Your life has become too routine, too predictable. It is time for a little excitement. It is time step out and take a chance.

The second reason to start your own business now is to overcome fear, Fear had kept me from realizing the need that lives within most of us, the need to become the person God created us to become - or at least to try. There is a risk to starting a business. Small businesses can start on the proverbial shoestring - which means there is little financial risk - but there is an investment in time and emotions. Any time you start something there is the risk of failure. However, if there were no risk, life would be boring. Everyone needs a certain amount of risk to get the juices boiling. Taking a risk is healthy for your body, soul and spirit.

The third reason to start your own business is economic. As our nation has been in economic recovery for the past eight years, the unemployment figures are improving, but family income has not risen with the increase in employment due to an decrease in working hours and a loss of the middle class. With more time on our hands we can start a business while remaining employed. The income from your new business could replace all that was lost due to additional costs of living and less income.

The fourth reason  to start your own business is to develop autonomy, and begin to move toward your God-given destiny. Deep in my heart there was a desire to be more autonomous and implement my goals and ideas. Abraham Maslov called this autonomy, "a fully functioning person" or “self-actualization.” 
The fifth reason to start your own business is to fulfil your creative urges. The Lord created all of heaven and earth and we were created in His image. He gave us the desire and ability to create. Each of us has different talents and gifts which we can use to create. Some paint beautiful pictures, some create fine music, some create poetry and tell stories, but all of us have great ideas. When we develop our ideas into a means of earning money we have created our own business.
The sixth reason to start your own business now is that the time is right. It is right for you. If you have read this far, you have been thinking about starting a business. It is time to take the first step and trust the Lord to lead you in the right direction.

The seventh reason to start your own business now is it is the right time in the state of the nation and its economy. We are in the slowest recovery from recession in our economic history, but things are moving forward. Winners are the ones that jump on a rising wave. 

Whatever your ideas may be, it is time to turn them into something tangible that you can build on.
There is a sign on the wall of an Anglican Church in Suffolk England that has been there for since 1730.

A vision without a task is but a dream
A task without a vision is a drudgery
A vision with a task can change the world.

A great tool for finding your specific business can be found at:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Supernatural Solutions to Your Problems

The Lord God can and will lead you to solutions to your most pressing problems for your business, your health, or your relationships. Just cry out for His help. 

Psalm 34:17 (MSG) Is anyone crying for help? GOD is listening, ready to rescue you. 
As the hatch opened we stepped into the large dark compartment. The noise of electrical and electronics systems was so loud we had to shout to be heard over the buzzing. Radar Room #1 on the USS Tarawa was an amazing and daunting sight. Mounted against each wall were racks of  electronic equipment with other racks providing an equipment island in the middle of the room. Cables, cooling water pipes, and aluminum wave guides filled the overhead and every space between racks.The contents of each rack was totally new to me. This was my first visit aboard a Navy combat ship. My experience was more with aircraft and missiles.

Fear grabbed at my heart. I was there to solve a major problem which had plagued the technicians and engineers for months. And I did not have a clue of what to do or where even to start. It was time to pray. 

I had learned this prayer only weeks before, “Help!!!!!!”

As a child my family did not attend church and as a result the Bible was not an influence in my early life. We called ourselves Christian, believed in God, and tried to live a life worthy of the name. In the midst of the Jesus Movement of the 1970’s, the gospel of Jesus Christ became real to me and I began to read and study the Bible. While reading The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, I noticed that God was still active in the lives of believers as they struggled through difficulties. God was there to give them wisdom, knowledge and direction to resolve all kinds of issues. Without a history of church attendance I had missed the part about God not doing those things today. So I just accepted miracles as a normal occurrence and began to devour C.S. Lewis and other Christian books.

As an electronics engineer my work provided a variety of interesting and intriguing problems and the
opportunity to work with aircraft, missiles, and now large Navy ships. It was then a friend handed me a little paperback book, titled, “How to Live Like a King’s Kid.” The author, Harold Hill, had been an engineer at the Glen L Martin Aircraft Company in Baltimore. (Now part of Lockheed-Martin, a major defense contractor.)  Hill and I shared a few things in common – we were both engineers and both worked for military contractors. As a result his writings were of great interest to me.

In one of his books he described an event that changed my world view instantly. Hill was a passenger
on an airliner heading back to Baltimore when he noticed the aircraft circling in a holding pattern. He asked what the problem might be, but none of the crew responded. So Hill began to pray. As he prayed the Lord showed him a hose on the hydraulic system which lowers the landing gear was leaking badly. This meant someone would have to crawl down into the baggage compartment and lower the gear manually. Sure enough that solution was attempted, but did not work.

Hill began to pray for God to stop the leak, and while watching in his vision he saw the leak slow to a drip and then completely stop. The Lord had fixed the airplane, and saved the passengers and crew from danger. Ever since I read that account I believed that God could and would act on our behalf - not only in spiritual things, but in the office, out in the field, and where ever problems needed solutions.

Standing in Radar Room #1, my desperate prayer changed my attitude from panic to confidence. God was with me. As the technicians explained about the equipment and the issues, a solution came to me which could only come from God. It wasn’t an easy solution, it would cost millions of dollars but it was the only solution which would work. The hard part came in convincing management that they must implement the solution. The Lord’s solution came almost instantly, but others spent years trying to find another way only to fail. God’s solution was finally implemented and my reputation as a problem solver began.

This single incident is representative of literally hundreds of problems resolved by the Lord’s revelation and intervention in my career in engineering, business, and ministry.

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Who Am I?

I blog, but I am not a blogger.
I teach, but I am not a teacher.
I lead, but I am not a leader.
I minister, but I am not a minister.

So who am I?
That question has plagued me most of my life. A few years ago, I finally got the point. Now I knew who I was. But over the years the question comes back for some unknown reason. I know who I am intellectually but that realization had left my heart. That deep down knowing had escaped with the years and was replaced by the inevitable question. Who am I?
Our identity, or how we see ourselves, will often determine our destiny. How we see ourselves is mostly determined by how others see and respond to us. It is as if everyone we encounter has a mirror on their forehead. As we look at them we see ourselves reflected back. The image we see is what that person thinks of us. So everyone we meet provides some input to our identity. And the more significant that person is to me the more of an impact he has on who I am.

As children we get our identity from their parents or those who take care of our needs. If there is love and acceptance their identity is positive and they are free to risk failure. If that love is conditional and the parent is critical, their identity will be negative and they will fear failure so they will often under achieve. As the child grows up, the parent’s expectations will influence their identity, because that is how they perceive their child. Later in life friends and associates form our identity as they may become more significant than our parents.

Is the answer to the question, “I am who others see in me?” It is when we allow that to happen. It is if they are the most significant ones in our life.
There is an alternative. When other people are most significant to you, they control who you think you are and who you will become. But when you make God first in your life, you are who The Lord sees in you. Your identity comes not from human sources with imperfect eyesight, but from the one who created you in the first place. He created you for a purpose. Many years ago, I realized that I was a son of the almighty God and that was my identity. When I dedicated my life to serving Him, the question persisted, “How do I best serve Him.”
When our identity comes from how others perceive us, we spend our time trying to please them. When our identity comes from God, we want to please Him.
I am a child of the living God and a follower of Jesus Christ. My role is to follow Him where ever He leads – whatever that is and wherever that may lead. I no longer live to please men.
Galatians 1:10 (NIV) Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What Scares You?

Fear is a natural reaction to unsafe situations. Normally it is reasonable and it alerts us to be careful. In our nation today we fear an e-bola outbreak, terrorism, the economy, and other things over which we have little or no control.
But fears often border on the hysteric and keep us from achieving our destiny. My the fear of heights (acrophobia), is accompanied by the fear of gravity, (barophobia). I once climbed the 897 steps inside the Washington Monument only to be too scared to look out the window to see the beautiful view of DC through the tiny windows. On my first ride in a glass enclosed elevator, I immediately assumed the lotus position on the floor in the dead center of the cage. We won’t even discuss riding the cable car to the top of Masada in Israel. But one day I had to face and defeat this fear head on. 
Interstate Highway H-3 opened on December 12, 1997 after twenty years of technical, environmental, and political problems. The highway begins at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, climbs the foot hills, tunnels through the Ko'olau Mountains, exits the tunnel, crosses a viaduct several hundred feet above the Haiku Valley, descends down to the Likelike Highway, and ends at the military facilities in Kaneohe.
One of the technical and political problems encountered was the electromagnetic radiation from the high powered Coast Guard navigational antenna. The transmitter was at the bottom of the valley with antenna wires stretched around the mountain ridge. In 1991 it became my task to investigate the contractor’s claims that radiation was affecting workers and equipment resulting in construction delays. My task was to evaluate the electromagnetic environment and the contractor’s claims and provide an analysis and a report.
Arriving at the site in late afternoon after a long flight from Seattle, we received a tour of the work area. The construction superintendent drove me in his pickup truck along a dirt road and up a sharp embankment to the mouth of the mountain tunnels. The divided highway was under construction with precast concrete forms cantilevered out over the valley and no guard rails. At the end there was nothing but empty space. It looked like a pair of giant diving boards. Then, horror of all horrors we drove out to the end of the road. When my escort began to turn the truck around to go back, I realized how narrow two lanes can be with no shoulder or guard rails. I excused myself, got out of the truck and watched as it took several maneuvers   to turn completely around. Laying in my hotel bed that night, I could not sleep worrying about spending the entire next day at the end of the diving board, a hundred feet above the jungle, testing and taking measurements. Oh and did I mention my fear of bridges. (Gephyrophobia) My fear of heights and
On my way back to the site the next morning I just kept praying for God’s help. Nearing the construction zone, I heard a voice within me say. “Keep your eyes focused on your work and not the danger around you.”
Going out to the end of the viaduct and returning to the mountain was scary; but, all day long, as I focused on my work, my fears totally disappeared. I even took a break and could enjoy the view of Kaneohe Bay in the distance and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Down below was the lush jungle greenery of the Haiku Valley. The contractor was in fact correct. The electromagnetic radiation was electrifying equipment and dangerously shocking personnel and was potentially harmful to vehicles crossing through the area. They even shielded a portion of the highway for a time until the antenna itself became obsolete.

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt."  (Willlam Shakespeare) 

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale wrote, "This is one of the greatest laws of the universe…my greatest discovery outside of my relationship with God; if you think in negative terms you will get negative results, if you think in positive terms you will get positive results. Believe and succeed."
When fear begins to paralyse you and keep your from achieving your goal in life, do these three things:
1.     Do think about where you are heading;
2.     Do not think about the things you fear;
3.     Do the things that will move you forward towards your destiny.
Then you will be well on the road to living up to your potential and becoming the person God created you to be.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Set Yourself on Fire

In an organization or in your personal life you come to times when you have to make a choice. Sometimes it feels like you are in a cold, dark cave. You know that you need to do something, but you are too tired, too cold, and really do not know what to do. St John of the Cross called it the Dark Night of the Soul. Organizations such as businesses and churches can also have a "Dark Night  of the Soul"

What you do next with your situation will determine your future. Your choices are: 1) You can curse your circumstances and give up, believing there is no escape; 2) You can wrap yourself in a blanket, get comfortable, and wait to be rescued; or 3) You can light a fire, make a torch, explore the cave, and find your way out.

Both individuals and organizations can find themselves in difficult circumstances that feel cold and dark with no apparent way to escape. Your business may floundering, you service organizations may have lost its way, or your church continues with rituals but is without the manifest presence of God.

We have witnessed many who made their choice; they curse the darkness and give up, they wait for someone to come and rescue them, or they light the fire. There is no "Book" answer that guarantees escape. But, to me there is only one reasonable response to the dilemma we face in the dark, “Light the fire.”  
Light the Fire

Fire is dangerous, just look at the wildfires in the West during the dry season. Fires in homes and businesses destroy lives and careers. But in the time of darkness and cold, a warm fire is a place of peace and joy.In the Boy Scouts we learned start a fire with simple things. All we needed was tinder, kindling, fuel, and a means to ignite the tinder.

Find the tinder

The first step to lighting your fire is to find some tinder. The Boy Scout will use, dry pine needles, pine cones or dried grass, all items which are easy to light.

The first thing you must do is find the most flammable issues in your life or your organization. What is your passion? These very sensitive places and things evoke the most discussion and emotions. Many of us are fearful of opening old wounds lest they destroy the organization. But when old wounds are not opened they cannot be cleaned and cauterized so healing can occur. Unopened wounds will just fester and hurt causing division and discontent.

Tinder also includes unmet dreams and desires, and unused or underused gifts. We need to find out where we have fallen short of our personal or corporate goals and dreams. These unmet dreams make for the tinder needed to start the fire.

John Wesley the 18th Century reformer was asked how he attracted such crowds to hear him preach. Wesley responded, "I just set myself on fire and people come to see me burn."

By setting ourselves on fire, others will not only watch, they will be drawn in to follow.

We have Ignition

Since tinder is easily ignited it doesn't take a lot of fire to get it going. As a Boy Scout we learned to ignite the tinder by rubbing two sticks together – friction causes heat. The easiest way to create friction is to begin to do something that has not been done before. Any time you have movement the friction between two objects results in heat. You must do something to cause friction resulting in heat.

Again, managers are afraid of heat because it disrupts the process, but our purpose is to escape the dark, cold cave, by lighting the fire. The leader is not afraid to start a fire to transform the organization.

Another trick I learned as a Boy Scout was to use a magnifying glass to focus the light of the sun on a dried leaf and watch it burst into flame. Solar plants have used mirrors to focus the sun’s rays on a target to generate electricity. We can easily ignite the tinder by focusing attention on a particular tinder, bringing it under the light of inspection. With much scrutiny, the tinder will ignite.

Feed the Flame
Most tinder ignitions fail because there is insufficient fuel to sustain the fire. Even before ignition we must gather enough fuel to keep the fire going. An organizational fire must be fuelled by increasing the number of people who care that the fire needs to continue and grow. Some however will yell, “Fire” and run for the extinguishers. Unfortunately there are many who feel they are firemen and their responsibility is to put the fire out.

As the fire begins to burn, more and more fuel is required to take it over the top.

Bill Johnson

Monday, October 13, 2014

What makes a great leader?

Who was the greatest leader you have ever known - living or dead?
Fill in the leaders name: __________________________

What was the single, most significant characteristic that made them a great leader?
Fill in that characteristic:___________________________

Please answer the above questions before reading further.

We have asked these two questions for several years at leadership training events throughout this country and overseas. In the answers, we are attempting to demonstrate what it takes to become a great leader. As you might expect, individual answers to both questions will vary considerably in a group of fifty to a hundred participants. A consistent pattern emerges when we list the responses. This pattern further reveals answers about how people become great leaders.

Over ninety percent of the responses to the question of leadership characteristics have been attitudinal rather than a learned or inherited skill. People have responded with answers like:

Loving                 Helpful          Visionary            Purpose             Empathy
Empowering        Unselfish       Integrity              Humility           Passionate
Approachable      Honest           Godly                  Consistent        Respect For Others
What makes a great leader? The answer is attitude! All of these responses point to attitude as the critical characteristic of the person that makes them a great leader.
Phillipians 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!
1.     Our attitude as we begin a job directly affects the outcome.
1 Kings 11:11 So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.
The San Francisco School Board selected three teachers for an experiment. They were told them they were selected because they were the very best teachers in the system and would each have thirty of the best students to teach. They were told to remove all restrictions and pour themselves into the kids to see how far these students can advance. These students scored 28% higher than any other group of students. But the students selected were just average students, chosen by drawing names. The teachers thought, they really were great teachers, but the teachers were just average and their names had been drawn randomly like the students.

When you begin a new project, what is your usual attitude, Excited - "I can hardly wait." Cautious - "I'll wait and see." Or Negative - "I don't want to do this." Are there certain new experiences that cause me to feel negative?

2.     My attitude toward others, often determines their attitude toward me.

At work a person's success is 13 % product knowledge and 87 % people knowledge. The four “R’s” of successful relationships, Remember their name, Request their help (ask directions), Recognize their potential, and reward their efforts.

3.  My attitude can turn a problem into a blessing or a curse.

There are three phases of a problem, realizing there is a problem, analysing what happened to cause the problem, and a choice of what to do next. Attitude comes in in making a choice, do we build or do we blame?

4.     My attitude can be my best friend or my worst enemy.

When hiring new people for any job, attitude should be the most important quality to look for. It should account for seventy percent of the decision. In psychological ratings for executive promotion the following factors are considered paramount: ambition, attitudes toward policy; attitudes towards colleagues; skills; and attitudes towards demands on time and energy. 

In surveys of why customers quit the following is critical. 1 % die, 3 % move away, 5% find other friendships, 9% leave for competitive reasons, 14% for product dissatisfaction, and a whopping 68% leave because of the attitude or indifference of an employee.

5.     My attitude, not my achievements bring happiness.

The thoughts in your mind are more important than the things in your life. Enjoy the process. Some of us have a destination disease - If only I could live there, I'd be happy. If only I could go there or blame themselves  - If I had not done that, I could be happy today.

6.     My attitude will change when I want it to change.

We can control our attitudes if we understand its importance. It is not what happens to me, it’s how we react to what happened.   We must quit blaming someone or something for our situation.

7.     My Attitude needs continual adjustment.

There is no such thing as a consistent, perfect attitude. There are several clues to the fact that our attitude needs to change; Lack of Time for self and for God, Strained relationships with co-workers, your mate tells you, if you begin to view of other people in a lesser light, and you become more cynical about life in general.

You can make adjustments to your attitude by: Saying the right words (I am Sorry - Will you forgive me?); Reading the right books; Seeing the right   people; and doing the right things

8.     My attitude is contagious.

People catch our attitudes just like they catch our colds - by sitting close to us. What positive attitudes do people catch from you? 

What negative attitudes do people catch from you?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Leader versus The Manager

Today we are reaping the results of a switch from leading to a rise in the influence of managing. 

In our politically correct society leadership has become immoral. Without leaders progress ceases and we begin to stagnate. Leadership and management are synonymous in the minds of many and there is a belief that a good manager is a good leader. This is a false assumption. We need leaders today more than ever in our history. 

I am currently reading the book, "Killing Patton" by Bill O' Reilly and note that while leaders may be hard to put up with, they are needed when the stakes are high and there is a difficult job to be accomplished.

Several years ago I attended a US Military program review held at the iconic Hotel Del Coronado outside the gates of North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego. The room was filled with brass from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. We had all gathered to review program activities which shared a common technology but were run differently by the three services. Speaker after speaker described their service’s methodology, resources, encountered difficulties, and progress. The Army and Navy used teams of presenters - civilian managers and engineers and uniformed military, each a specialist in a particular discipline.

The final presenter of the meeting was the lone Marine in attendance - a major with a chest full of medals. His presentation was brief, complete, and described a succession of victories over the technological issues plaguing the other services. Despite limited budgets and minimal contractor support they were demonstrating great strides.  When the Marine finished, the Navy Captain leading the review arose and made a terse statement,

“What we have here is the difference between management and leadership. The Army and Navy both have great managers on this program and are showing little progress. The Marines are demonstrating that leadership can resolve even complex technical issues. They have succeeded while we still struggle.”
Author, Virginia Postrel[i] in her 1998 book, “The Future and its Enemies” warned us of the coming battle between managers and leaders, who she identified respectively as “stasists” and “dynamists.” The stasists want to control all things so that mistakes do not happen, while dynamists want to be free to learn and grow by trial and error. Postrel claims the internet would never have developed if stasists were in charge.
Organizational consultant and author, Warren Bennis,[ii] widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of Leadership studies, lists twelve characteristics which distinguish a leader from a manager.

1.     The leader innovates - The manager administers;
2.   The leader is an original - The manager is a copy;
3.     The leader develops. - The manager maintains;–
4.     The leader focuses on people -The manager focuses on systems and structure–
5.     The leader inspires trust -The manager relies on control;
6.     The leader has a long-range perspective.-The manager has a short-range view;
7.     The leader asks what and why -The manager asks how and when;
8.     The leader’s eye is on the horizon -The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line;
9.     The leader originates -The manager imitates
10.  The leader challenges it -The manager accepts the status quo;
11.  The leader is his or her own person -The manager is the classic good soldier;
12.  The leader does the right thing - The manager does things right;

While it may not be politically correct to strive to become a leader, our nation’s political system, religious communities, and industries need leaders who are not afraid to take the reins and lead us to a better future. In politics, the attitude has changed from what is right for the nation to what is right for my party. In the church pastors have devolved from leaders to managers, giving in to church factions rather than stand for the word of God. And in business and industry we have given up the future for immediate rewards, the bottom line has replaced innovation and progress. 

It is no wonder live in a declining society. But when new leaders are allowed to step forward and lead, they can lead us back on the right track. Romans Chapter 12 includes the spiritual gift of leadership. It tells us to lead with diligence. The Greek word translated "lead" is to be ranked above or head and to take charge. This is not a politically correct term but it is what this nation needs today.

Romans 12:8 (NKJV) he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 

[i] Postrel, Virginia, The Future and its enemies, The Free Press, a division of Simon and Shuster, Inc, NY, NY 1998
[ii] Bennis, Warren, On Becoming a Leader, Basic Books; Fourth Edition, Fourth Edition (March 3, 2009)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Leadership and the Ryder Cup

The recent flap over USA's loss of the Ryder Cup matches has brought a spotlight on the philosophy of leading professional golfers to victory. What works, and what does not, seem to point at how the well the captain leads his team. The captain has many duties in the period leading up to the matches including; selecting wardrobes, arranging travel, and picking players who have not otherwise qualified by the point system. All of these activities are management issues which take a lot of time and are open to microscopic analysis by the press, the players and the players' wives.

Once the week of the matches arrives and the players are all assembled it is time for leadership to take its place. The leaders role now becomes that of motivating and empowering the players to do their very best.
Professional golfers today are different than their ancestors. Most own their own jets, run their own business, and hire their own team of couches, fitness gurus, caddies and psychologist. They are used to making their own decisions about where and when to play.

Rent studies on motivation demonstrate that traditional extrinsic motivational techniques do not motivate, but often demotivate.
There are three powerful motivator for persons of this caliber: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.


Traditional leadership is based upon a hierarchal model which works well with routine, mechanical performance. The leader has authority by his position or title. This is not the model of God’s creation. Creation is based upon an orbital or relationship model. The universe consists of galaxies of stars, stars each containing orbiting planets, and planets have orbiting moons. All matter is made up of molecules of atoms with electrons orbiting their nuclei. An orbital or relational model of leadership does not rely on positional authority but recognized authority. While this sounds radical to some traditionalists, it will yield a healthier following. When members of a team feel that they have a degree of autonomy and are able to provide input, they are more willing to participate and contribute.


Mastery is the urge to improve ourselves. It does not matter whether it is playing golf, a musical instrument, teaching a class, or digging a ditch. We have this deep-seated desire to master something. Motivation to work harder comes from the desire to improve our skills. In Abraham Maslow’s “Theory of Needs,”  the author believes that humans strive for an upper level of capabilities. Humans seek the frontiers of creativity, the highest reaches of consciousness and wisdom. This has been labeled "fully functioning person", "healthy personality", or as Maslow calls this level, "self-actualizing person."  The leader’s task is to help the followers to become great. 


The purpose is to be clear, focused, and significant. It is the leaders responsibility to communicate the significance of winning the Cup as opposed to just be selected for the team. He must clearly keep this in focus throughout the matches.

The Future 

Future captains must not only be good managers of the PGA's assets but understand how to motivate the players to give beyond their very best. European captains have understood this. Likewise the captains of recent President Cup matches.That is why they won the cup. The Euros even beat the US team when we had three of the top five golfers in world rankings.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Where have all the leaders gone?
Where have all the leaders gone, long time passing?

Where have all the leaders gone, long time ago?
Where have all the leaders gone?
Young folks pick them, every one
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?
[apologies to Pete Seeger]

Leadership is a lost art today. Where did it go? Our leaders have morphed into managers. Rather than defeat terrorists, we manage them. Rather than lead a nation we manage a nation. Rather than Generals leading their troops, they manage a war.
In ancient days, kings went out in front of their armies as the battle was joined.  In front of their men they got a clear view of the goal and a feel for the cost of victory. In that position, they would be vulnerable to the slings and arrows of the opposing forces. The soldiers loved it because their hero and leader was by their side. They readily followed their leader. Of course there was a huge risk to the king, but a triumphant victory was worth taking the risk. For the leader, the material rewards of gold and land were valuable, but the intrinsic reward of personal achievement was even more important.
As time passed, kings began to believe survival was more important than material rewards and personal satisfaction. So they became managers and sent others in their place. Generals now led the troops into battle and gained self actualization. But soon the generals decided it would be safer to manage and survive. And so it went.
Leadership, throughout history, has been a risky business. Leaders stand out. They have a big target on their back. You do not have to guess who are leaders, they are the ones others are following. You can repeatedly say you are a leader, but if you look behind you and there is no one to be seen, you are not leading. Leading from behind is not leading, it is at best managing, or just following.
While living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we went crabbing on the local pier. A smelly chicken wing in an old crab pot would trap a few crabs in about ten minutes. The catch was put into a bucket as we dropped the baited pot for another load. A lid on the crab bucket was not necessary. When you have more than one crab in the bucket, the crabs won’t escape. If one tries to crawl out of the bucket, the others reach up with their claws and pull him back into the bucket. Crabs will always pull others down to their level. Eventually the brave crabs will forget their desire to climb above the other crabs and settle down and “just get along,” and be ordinary.
Most people give up after the crabs keep pulling them down to their level and we learn to live with mediocrity. We play it safe and try to manage instead of leading. Leadership becomes a bad thing.

The transition from leading to managing has impacted our entire society. In business managers today's bottom line becomes an idol, reducing long term planning and research and development. As a result our nations creativity has fallen victim to the managers. Quality has been replaced by quantity and shoddy products. Just do enough to get by. In our schools grades become less important because someone might try to lead and get a higher rank over another. In kids sports, everyone gets a trophy whether they were deserving or not. 

Mediocrity has taken over and is greatly over-rated. In giving everyone extrinsic rewards, we have done away with the intrinsic motivators of autonomy, mastering a skill, and/or getting a hard earned  victory. 

In the political arena the emphasis is no longer on individual leadership but on keeping the party in power. Leaders are pulled down to the common level by the rest of the crabs in the bucket. We become Borglike and as we are assimilated.

Presidents and kings today, sitting in their war rooms push a button and a drone attacks. How can the highest official do anything but manage. He cannot feel the heat of battle, he no longer knows his troops, he no longer takes personal risks. And at the end of the battle, he can not take any pride at personal accomplishment.

I do not propose that presidents pick up rifles and lead the troops into battle. What I do propose is that we begin to encourage individual initiative, creative leadership, and a purpose beyond ourselves. Encourage people to take risks. The rewards are still out there.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What will be your legacy?

          In the political world we often hear the term legacy overused. As Obama's term moves to its end, everyone is speculating about his legacy. Each of us leaves something behind after we are gone. It may be good or otherwise. Have you considered what your legacy will be. I have to admit, I have been too busy trying to keep up with God's plans for me to even consider what my legacy would be. But a member of a former church left a great legacy 
Bessie, at age seventy five, was one of the happiest people alive. Each Sunday morning she would stand up in front of the church and gives thanks to God for all He is doing in her life. Each morning she opened her eyes and praised God for another day. When you met her on the street she seemed to bubble with joy and excitement. It seemed totally out of place for someone dying of an incurable cancer. She had accepted her condition and knew it was only a matter of time when her eyes would be closed forever and she would greet Jesus in heaven.
Bessie was regularly taking Chemo-Therapy which left her tired and it was difficult for her to get about. On a morning after her treatment at the local hospital, Bessie came into my office and literally flopped into the visitor’s chair. There was something different today. This was the first time I had ever seen her sad. She seemed almost depressed. My mind began to race with thoughts of bad news from her doctor, “Would we be planning a funeral in the next few days?”
Heaving a deep sigh of resignation, Bessie spoke very subdued, “I have just come from the cancer ward. There are so many patients and their families who are confused, worried, and desperate. It is so sad. My heart is breaking for them and I don’t know what I can do about it. I feel the Lord is calling me to pray for them, to cheer them up and to minister to them. But I don’t know how or what to do.”
“It sounds as if the Lord is calling you to your life purpose. And who knows, maybe you have come to this position for a time such as this.[Esther 4:14] Maybe I can help. The chaplain at the hospital is a friend. Let me make a few calls.”
The chaplain was very helpful but told me we would have to get further permission.
“Bessie, the first thing you need is the permission of the hospital. The hospital has strict rules about who can approach patients in treatment rooms. They have had some bad experiences with well-meaning people. You need to go see the chaplain and he will take you to see the Director of Patient Services who is the only one with the authority to give permission.”
A couple of days later Bessie burst into my office with a big grin on her face. “They told me I could do it.” She paused and looked confused, “But, what do I do now? Where do I start?”
I had not given it a lot of thought but the Spirit gave me the plan. “Here is the plan. You want to follow God’s lead. Go and sit in the chemo room. Just relax and look around. Soon the Holy Spirit will point out the one to whom you are to minister first. When you approach them He will give you words to say or maybe your presence will be enough. Continue to do this as long as you feel strong.”

Bessie began to see God work through her as she ministered to hundreds of people over the next couple of years. The patients and their families would look forward to seeing her. After two years of powerful, spirit-led ministry Bessie succumbed to her own cancer leaving behind a legacy of, cancer survivors, thankful families, amazed doctors and nurses, and a treatment room that had been transformed from a deathly cell into a place of hope, joy and thanksgiving even in the midst of sorrow and uncertainty.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

8 Steps to a Joyful Ministry.

  • 1500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • 50% of pastors' marriages will end in divorce. 
  • 80% of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
  • 50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living. 
Ministry is not for the faint of heart, but it is satisfying to lead people to physical, spiritual, and relational wholeness. There are 8 specific things pastors can do to keep from being a statistic.

1.  Maintain Your Sabbath.

Exodus 20:8-10a (NKJV) 8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work:

Highly driven people try to make every minute count. For them there is no Sabbath rest. Ministers, healthcare workers and our first responders are not able to take off on their normal Sabbath day. As a result many forego a day of rest. God created us to be cyclical in our work. It is important that we rest one day for every six that we work. If we forego out weekly day of rest, we become vulnerable to all types of physical relational and spiritual issues.  When we take on more than what God has called us to we loose our sense of balance and with it our ability to think, reason, and take care of ourselves.
People will call and say "I will die if you can't see me today."
You need to ask them "How long have you had this problem?"

2.  Stick to God’s Call.

We often will try to take on more responsibilities than God has assigned to us. We do this for many reasons; we want to be accommodating, we want others to like us, we want to feel important, or we feel that if we do not do them they will not be done. There are always many good things that need to be done that do not have our name on them. If we take on someone else’s task we run the risk of overloading ourselves and robbing them of the blessing they would receive in serving.

3.  Get Physical Exercise

Physically exercise is one of the greatest relievers of stress we have available to us. According to the famous Mayo Clinic,
“Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.”[i]
We all know that exercise is good for our bodies, but we are often too busy and stressed to fit it into your routine. Virtually any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever. If you're not an athlete or if you are out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Physical activity helps to increase the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Regular exercise can increase your self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression, and anxiety.

4.  Take Time to Laugh

“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.”[ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.][ii]
One thing that will be important to all who are in ministry is to take time to laugh. Go see a funny movie. Do not be afraid to laugh at yourself. Be among people who have a good sense of humor.
Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your spirit, soul, and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. 
  • Laughter boosts the immune system.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins.
  • Laughter protects the heart. It improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow.

5.  Take Time for Yourself.

My wife Rita tells me that painting gives her such satisfaction. "I can move the paint around and if it doesn't look quite right I can scrape it off.  Knowing it's going to be there.    
Whatever it is that satisfies you, let God bless you through it. The Lord is equipping you that will be a part of your protection.

6.  Maintain Healthy Relationships. 

Broken or damaged relationships suck the very heart out of you. Some relationships may not be restorable and in those cases we need to forgive. Sometimes forgiveness has to be a regular thing.
Peter asked Jesus, “How many times are we to forgive?” Jesus responded with a number far beyond what anyone could have imagined. Our relationships with those we encounter on a regular basis must be kept healthy. As mentioned in an earlier chapter, “If you do not have it together at home, you should seriously consider getting out of the ministry until you get it together.” Our relationships with fellow workers and other staff must be kept healthy our ministry and our personal life will suffer.

7.  Maintain Your Devotional Life,

Our relationship with God must be intimate and healthy. How else will we be able to respond to His direction and call on our lives? How else will we know our assignment? We need to stop and listen and wait upon the Lord. He will speak to us and guide our life.
We must also be honest with Him about our desires and our feelings. Our prayers may not always terribly courteously to God. But they should be honest.  Tell Him exactly how you feel. He knows your heart anyway.   
Jeremiah 20:7 (NKJV) 7  O LORD, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me.
When I graduated from seminary, they gave me a gift of a little red book with Psalms and Proverbs. The book is arranged for a daily devotion covering an entire month. On the first day of the month you are to read Psalms, 1, 31, 61, 91, 121, and Proverbs 1. Then day 2 you read Psalms 2, 32, 62, 92, 122, and Proverbs 2. It continues in that way through the month.

8. Thank God

Thank God for all He has given you. Doctors say the healthiest emotion you can have is gratitude. In fact the more you work on this attitude of being grateful, the healthier you will be. Be thankful for everything you receive. Each day find five things you that you are thankful for and express your gratitude to God.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Do you really want to get well?

[Excerpt from new Bill Johnson's soon to be released book, "Physician, Heal Thyself"]

John 5:6 (NKJV)  When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?"

Neil was the pastor of a small church back in the mountains east of San Diego. Recently divorced, Neil had a long series of physical, emotional, and spiritual problems for several years. He was seeing professionals for his condition, but Rita and I had been providing prayer, counsel, and emotional support through much of this time. With all this, Neil was not getting any better and in fact it appeared he was falling deeper into depression and failing physically.

On a Friday evening in late fall we were joined by another couple as we drove up to Neil’s for another ministry session. His house was in a densely wooded area behind his church. Our meeting went like all other meetings with Neil; a few small breakthroughs, prayers for forgiveness, healing, and deliverance prayer. We sensed no real change until I stopped and asked Neil a question we had never before considered. “Neil, do you want to be healed?” The question was not asked in desperation or anger, but it was simply put, 

“Do you really want to be healed?” 

The question caught us all, including me, by surprise. We could tell that Neil was giving it serious thought. After what seemed like ten minutes, but was probably only one or two, Neil gave us his answer.

“I am not sure that I do want to be well. If I was well, then people would expect more out of me. If I was not sick I would have nothing to hide behind. If I was well, there would be more that I would be required to do.”

As a result, Neil decided that it would be better for him to be healed of all his infirmities and return to an effective life and ministry than to continue on the downward spiral. We all agreed that we would help him follow up on his decision. Neil is now remarried, living a healthy life, with a flourishing ministry. He has been healed of all those infirmities.   

As we walked out Neil's front door that evening many years ago, we walked down the three wooden steps to the pathway, I heard something crunch under my foot. The single light bulb above the door gave me enough light to see what I had stepped on. A now dead scorpion had been lying in wait for us as we left the house.

Luke 10:19 (NKJV) 19  Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

The question we asked Neil is one to ask ourselves. Do I really want to be well?