Finding Center

“Somebody has said that what an actor has to do is be clear, and in order to be clear as an actor, you have to be clear to yourself. I don’t think it’s possible to be a good actor without some very distinct center. I think a good actor has got to be, in a way, almost like a priest. That there is a purity of spirit involved which makes it possible for ideas to be conveyed through that person to the audience, that the actor becomes a kind of conductor or a medium, or a way of transferring something abstract and indefinable to an audience.”— Christopher Walken

When I was in college I thought the weirder you were, the more creative you’d be.

And the more creative you were, the better art you’d make. Oh, how I wish it were that easy!

If only I simply needed to be weird, out there, and different in order to make good art.

To be honest, I wouldn’t have to do much work, I already feel that way, and I imagine you do, too. However, eccentricity is not necessarily the mark of a true artist. In fact, it can often mean the exact opposite. Being eccentric isn’t nearly enough to make good work and is too often a distraction for the professional creator as the word quite literally means being “off center.”

Artists are rebels and so they should be.

We exist to offer a different point of view. We are prophets who often go against the mainstream. But sometimes artists get so carried away with their rebellion they begin to wage war with their own center of gravity. They lose this “purity of spirit” in exchange for mere difference. Again, rarely is it mere eccentricity or fringe living that makes for a good piece of art, or a good life, for that matter.

I remember one of the last shows I did before taking my sabbatical. I was the youngest person in the cast surrounded by a truckload of incredible older actors all in their 50′s and 60′s. Between shows and rehearsals, we’d chat about different parts of the business and their lives. I’d always be asking for advice. They were amazing actors and I wanted to be just like them. But after about five weeks together I noticed an unsettling trend. All but two of the ten actors were divorced and in every case the divorces were directly related to their lives as actors.

One actor in particular, when asked to reveal a little more of his story, began to tell me that as a young artist he simply didn’t believe the rules applied to him. For him to have the freedom to create, he needed to be different, which meant doing whatever he pleased, whenever he felt like it. I heard story after story of sadness and ruin all in the name of art.

These men had spent their lives being so eccentric and living on the fringe for the sake of their craft that they lost bits of their souls, and in some cases, their entire families along the way.

I’m all for fringe exploration. I’m all for rebellion. I’m all for slashing through the empire. But not if it costs me my center.

I’m very protective of this place because I know what it feels like to try and make from a place that is in pieces. In fact, much of my art up until the last five years was created from a broken center.

My actor friends are good artists, but I imagine the great artists they could be if they were to create from a center that was distinct and whole.

Thanks only to grace, my center is now becoming as such and it is from this place where I now create. I must know it well and I must not hide from it, even if being eccentric makes me appear more artistic or on the edge.

When we live off-center, we run the risk of jamming the conductor that is meant to be clear, whole, and ready to reveal to our audience what has been revealed to us. As artists we must work to find our center and keep it both holy and wholly.

– Blaine Hogan, Creative Director at Willow Creek
For more on becoming a better human and a better artist, check out Make Better, a brand new 8-week online course taught by Blaine.

Focusing on Fit

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What do you do when you get that familiar pit in your stomach, as you’re about to meet with someone you’ve been working with integrating into your team because you just know it’s not going to work out? You’ve probably even known it for a while.

Most leaders have been there; the question is how do you avoid it?

Here’s what I mean; let me tell you about Bob, a client of mine. Bob was an excellent director of sales. He was detail-oriented, knew how to get things done for customers within the organization, and had the respect of his team.  But then the CEO promoted him to the vice president of sales role. The VP spot required evangelizing new solutions in front of clients, something Bob had real trouble with.

The CEO was so committed to making him successful that she worked with Bob month after month, often doing the job herself or relying on other executive team members to do it. She spent time and money training Bob; she even hired the Table Group to do some organizational health work with Bob and his team. Bob still wasn’t a great fit – both the smart and the healthy sides were misaligned. Eventually, Bob lost so much credibility within the organization that it was impossible to move him into another position, and the CEO let him go. It was painful for the CEO and hard on Bob, who was blindsided by the move.

Hindsight provides so much clarity.  Today, the CEO says that she knew within a few months that Bob was not in the right role, but Bob was loyal to the company and the CEO wanted to make him successful. This was a mix of hubris and optimism. She thought time would help solve the issue. In fact, time hurt.  Bob could have recovered if he had been moved to a role that took advantage of his unique talents before his long, slow decline undermined the trust the team had in him. Instead, he agonized, the team withered, and the company suffered.

Consider this more desirable outcome from another client. The CEO of a 100-year-old business thought that he had identified his successor in an internal, long-term operations executive who embodied the values of the company. He and the operations guy, Dennis, met weekly to discuss the needs of the role. They focused on Dennis’ progress from operational to strategic thinking, an area that they had both agreed was a potential trouble spot in his ability to lead the company through imminent international expansion. The CEO and Dennis had difficult discussions over several months about poorly defined strategies and, after some time, the CEO and Dennis agreed that he was more valuable (and happy) becoming COO and they needed to find an altogether different CEO.

The company has since hired a CEO who is successfully leading it into new markets, with Dennis playing a critical role in setting up state-of-the-art operations abroad.  While there were many difficult discussions along the way, the outcome couldn’t be better.

The point here is that while letting our existing employees off easy might seem like the respectful thing to do, it actually reduces the probability of a good fit. Keep the memory of that pit in your stomach and the blind-sided employee in your mind as you have those important, early conversations.

Here are a few things to focus on as you transition and integrate employees:

  • When hiring, interview for cultural fit. This will allow you to reinforce your core values as well as to ensure that the employee is emotionally on board as they climb the ladder.
  • Make your promotion and transition process as rigorous as your hiring process.
  • Understand the unique strengths and weaknesses of your people.
  • Be clear about the skill requirements and key responsibilities and discuss areas for development before the promotion.
  • Continuously monitor goals and the plan for success.

Helping employees find roles for their true talents might be the most rewarding role of leaders.  You just have to be brave enough to have the tough conversations to reap the rewards.

By Patrick Lencioni, Originally posted at TableGroup.com.

More Than Doing Less

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I am not naturally inclined to lead a simple life. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to the calling God has entrusted to me—not just at work, but also with my family, the relationships I invest in, the recreation I need for my mental health, and the travel my work requires.

Can you relate?

Simplified living is about more than doing less. It’s about being who God called us to be, with a wholehearted, single-minded focus. It’s walking away from innumerable lesser opportunities in favor of the few to which we’ve been called and for which we’ve been created. It’s a lifestyle that allows us, when our heads hit the pillow at night, to reflect with gratitude that our day was well invested and the varied responsibilities of our lives are in order.

If we don’t change how we live, our overcomplicated world will begin to feel frighteningly normal. We will become accustomed to life at a frantic pace, no longer able to discriminate between the important and the unessential. And that’s the danger: When we fritter away our one and only life doing things that don’t really matter, we sacrifice the things that do matter. Through more misses than hits, I have experienced the high cost of allowing my life to get out of control. My desire is to spare you some of the pain of learning these lessons the hard way.

In my experience, a handful of key practices are vital to keeping my soul clutter-free. These practices help me overcome the barriers that keep me from living the life “to the full” that Jesus promises in John 10:10. But there are no shortcuts to simplified living. Untangling yourself from the overscheduled, overwhelming web of your current life is not for the faint of heart. It’s honest, rigorous work. Action is required. That’s why you need to answer those nagging questions about what keeps you in bondage to such frenetic, cluttered patterns; and that’s why you need some hands-on practices for eradicating clutter from your soul and moving toward a simplified life. Don’t let an intellectual nod to the concept of simplified living inoculate you against making actual changes in your life. Rather, apply real solutions with courage and grit.

I can tell you from my own experience that simplifying your life will produce immediate rewards. Each day will have a clear purpose, and each relationship will receive the investment it’s due. And without the needless clutter clanging around in your soul, you’ll be able to hear—and respond to—each whisper from God.

Change is possible. Whether you’re teetering on the edge of a cluttered collapse or you’re just starting to realize that some minor life adjustments are in order, you can simplify. You may well have to simplify to live the life God invites you to live. As you begin to implement certain key practices, they will become habits that create simplified days, months, years, and eventually a lifetime that brings satisfaction and fulfillment.

This is an excerpt from Simplify by Bill Hybels. Read more at http://www.simplifybook.com

Sacrifice for Leadership Training in Zambia

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The GLS provides accessible and affordable leadership development tools to leaders in Zambia who face immense challenges and complexities. Churches are growing in Zambia, but leaders carry the responsibility not only of fostering spiritual growth within the church, but also face the challenges of providing resources to combat the reality of poverty and HIV/ AIDS. When we see the intense sacrifices these leaders make to at­tend the GLS and receive training and encouragement, we feel the deep need for lead­ership. Some leaders even traveled long distances from Malawi and Angola to attend. One of the leaders who traveled from Angola hopes to bring the GLS to his country some day.

“We thank God for the opportunity to host the 2014 GLS. I was touched by four young people who traveled 314km to come to the Summit, that is why we ended up paying for their accommodations due to the sacrifice they made. Another leader took leadership initiative, and worked hard to raise the funds for his participation.” – George, GLS Leader, Zambia

The GLS in Ndola Zambia encouraged and trained 370 leaders in attendance. The ses­sions provoked passionate discussions, that inspired “grander visions” for leaders’ communities.

“Church leaders need to do more to challenge our faith community [so] that they learn to feel the pain and get angry enough to do something about corruption, and gender based violence.” – Leornado, GLS attendee, Zambia
Hunger and Thankfulness in Namibia

The experience of the GLS in Ongwediva, Namibia can be summarized in two words—Hunger and Thankfulness.

Hunger: The people in the far North are spiritually hungry, and an event like the GLS is such a blessing to them. One pastor begged to bring the GLS to his church on the bor­­der of Angola. He explained that he has not missed one of the GLS events in the past four years, but his people are desperate to be trained as well. Who knows, maybe we can take it to their community one day!

Thankfulness: One woman who attended is completely blind, in fact, she doesn’t even have eyeballs. People led her around, and she sat through the entire GLS. How that must feel—not to see the lights, the stage, the worship team, or the speakers on the screen. But she had this amazing smile on her face. Friends, we should be more thank­ful for ALL the spiritual growth opportunities we have.

God is doing great things through the GLS in Namibia. Strategically, the GLS is also helping to train and encourage government officials. Pray for each leader—that they take what they have learned to build the nation God has imagined for this region.

Sacrifice for Leadership Training in Zambia

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The GLS provides accessible and affordable leadership development tools to leaders in Zambia who face immense challenges and complexities. Churches are growing in Zambia, but leaders carry the responsibility not only of fostering spiritual growth within the church, but also face the challenges of providing resources to combat the reality of poverty and HIV/ AIDS. When we see the intense sacrifices these leaders make to at­tend the GLS and receive training and encouragement, we feel the deep need for lead­ership. Some leaders even traveled long distances from Malawi and Angola to attend. One of the leaders who traveled from Angola hopes to bring the GLS to his country some day.

“We thank God for the opportunity to host the 2014 GLS. I was touched by four young people who traveled 314km to come to the Summit, that is why we ended up paying for their accommodations due to the sacrifice they made. Another leader took leadership initiative, and worked hard to raise the funds for his participation.” – George, GLS Leader, Zambia

The GLS in Ndola Zambia encouraged and trained 370 leaders in attendance. The ses­sions provoked passionate discussions, that inspired “grander visions” for leaders’ communities.

“Church leaders need to do more to challenge our faith community [so] that they learn to feel the pain and get angry enough to do something about corruption, and gender based violence.” – Leornado, GLS attendee, Zambia

Visit FollowtheGLS.com to learn more about the work of the GLS around the globe.

2014 Session Notes and Application

Review and apply learnings to your leadership from The Global Leadership Summit 2014 session notes and application questions.

GLS 14 Session 1 | Bill Hybels

Application Question:

1) Have you given thought to what your legacy will be? How will you overcome the inevitable barriers that you will encounter while pursuing your legacy?

GLS 14 Session 2 | Carly Fiorina

Application Question:

1) In the end, our actions speak louder than our words. Are you always congruent in what you say and what you do? If not, why not? What can you do to better align your words with your actions?

GLS 14 Session 2 | Jeffrey Immelt

Application Question:

We have never seen a time when leadership has been valued more. In what ways are you putting increased focus on your leadership development to answer the call?

GLS 14 Session 3 | Susan Cain

Application Question:

We need to rethink the way we define a “natural leader” so that is does not exclude introverts. What specifically can you do to ensure that you are identifying and grooming unlikely leaders in your organization?

GLS 14 Session 3 | Bryan Loritts

Application Question:

“God loves us but never leaves us as is.” This is a powerful statement that speaks to the way God works in us to help us learn and grow throughout our lives. In what ways are you embracing change in your leadership?

GLS 14 Session 4 | Patrick Lencioni

Application Question:

Consider your reasons for becoming a leader. Are you more interested in leading so that you can be known for having an impact os so that you can make an impact?

GLS 14 Session 5 | Joseph Grenny

Application Question:

According to Joseph Grenny, “Any time you find your self stuck there are crucial conversations you are not holding or not holding well.” In what areas of your life are you stuck? What conversations do you need to be holding that you are not?

GLS 14 Session 5 | Erica Ariel Fox

Application Question:

As a leader you need to negotiate with yourself. What elements of your life have you failed to negotiate properly? What sill you do differently going forward?

GLS 14 Session 6 | Don Flow, Allen Catherine Kagina, Wilfredo De Jesus

GLS 14 Session 7 | Ivan Satyavrata

Application Question:

Great leaders create an environment of safety for their followers to achieve greatness. What are you doing to ensure that your team members have a safe environment in which to take risks and learn?

GLS 14 Session 7 | Tyler Perry

Application Question:

As a leader, what can you do to clear the noise for your team in order to inspire creativity?

GLS 14 Session 8 | Louie Giglio

 

17 Quotes on Leadership and Power from Ivan Satyavrata

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Ivan Satyavrata challenged us to rethink the paradox between power and leadership  at the 2014 Global Leadership Summit. Ivan is the pastor of Assembly of God Church in Kolkata, India which reaches 4,000 attendees in eight language sections each week and runs an outreach that provides education and basic nutrition to thousands of children in the city slums.

Here are 17 quotes from his talk about the paradox of leadership that challenged us:

There is no institution as a planet as vitally connected like the church.

The whisper of God will grow into a crescendo so everyone in the world can hear God’s voice.

Power is the potential or ability to move reality.

There is no such thing as leadership without power.

A leader must be able to wield power in order to lead effectively.

The knowledge of Christ is the ultimate power.

Those who know Christ’s power are obligated to share it with others.

Absolute power must sit along side absolute vulnerability.

How am I stewarding my knowledge power as a leader?

A leader’s power is in their ability to influence others.

For Jesus, love was a costly commitment for the good and well-being of the others.

Great leaders create a safe place from which followers can rise to great heights of achievement and fulfillment.

If you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that for you is evil.

Great leaders hold the scepter of power in one hand and a bowl and towel in the other.

The true secret of any great leader’s power is that when you feel that weakest is when you are the strongest!

The power we possess as leaders resides in jars of clay.

Leaders, is the world becoming a better place because of your power?

Be sure to follow Ivan on Twitter at @IvanSatyavrata for more!

The Key to Unlocking Exponential Growth in India

With more than 20 officially recognized languages in India, GLS leaders took a signifi­cant step forward this week in being able to serve these groups by launching the first 2 non-English speaking GLS sites. This year, close to 1,000 new leaders are expected to experience the GLS in their native language and plans are in place to expand this num­ber exponentially. In addition to having world-class leadership training easily accessible to them in their own language, the highlight for many was being able to discuss in groups how they were going to apply what they learned to transform their organizations and communities.

The GLS vision for India is to grow to 49 cities over the next three years, reaching more than 15,000 Christian leaders. Thank you for your prayers for this grand vision!

Please pray for our friends as they hold their GLS events this week.

· NigeriaPray that the GLS would be used as a tool to encourage, strengthen, and unify the church.

· South Africa—Pray that the GLS would create a platform for unity and peace in the midst of diversi­ty as they seek strategies to address the issues of their country.

· Northern Ireland—Pray that each leader that attends the GLS would be encouraged, inspired, and blessed.

· United Kingdom—Pray that leadership skills in every sector of society would be sharpened in ef­fort to create a future God has imaged  in this region.

· AustraliaPray that leaders would come out of the GLS with a sense of God’s blessing on their work and ministries as they seek to impact their communities.

· New ZealandPray that leaders would leave en­couraged and energized to continue lead the change they wish to see in their communities.

· CameroonPray for unity in the church as they reach their country for Christ and seek to address issues of poverty and corruption.

· Kenya—Pray for each leader attending from differ­ent backgrounds, that they would be able to take what they have learned and see God move mighti­ly in their country.

· NamibiaPray that leaders would be blessed with fresh ideas and perspectives on how to share the true Gospel in their communities while continuing to address the needs of the people.

Visit FollowtheGLS.com to learn more about the work of the WCA around the globe.

20 Leadership Quotes from Louie Giglio

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We were honored to have Louie Giglio with us at The 2014 Global Leadership Summit. He challenged us to identify the mountains in front of us and courageously begin the journey that God is calling us to take with our leadership. Here are some of the quotes from his session that inspired us; we know they will inspire you, too.

God will not only give you the strength to make it to the summit, but for you take many other people with you.

You don’t have to know everything about the mountain in front of you to take the next step.

None of us have a guarantee beyond this moment.

Life is short but God is good.

Most people don’t feel a great sense of urgency about the great things of life.

The stakes are too high for us to die with a small vision.

Life is short but God is big.

God is able to do anything.

The biggest idea of my life is that Jesus’ fame is the biggest fame in time and eternity.

Take the next step.

God’s power is sufficient enough to take the next step He is calling us to take.

Embrace the darkness because God is preparing you for a greater role in His unfolding story.

Sometimes you’ve got to take a step into the unknown.

We rest because what we do depends on God, not on us!

Humility is what makes great leaders.

Humility is not a character trait we develop, it’s a byproduct of spending time with Jesus.

It is a luxury to do certain things but it is a calling to do God’s work and making Jesus the focal point of our lives.

The goal isn’t for us to lead great things, it’s to get into the arms of Jesus.

A leader can’t have a Plan B, they have to be committed to the finish line.

Don’t stop walking in the confidence that Christ is enough to fulfill everything He is calling you to do.

Be sure to follow @LouieGiglio for more.

Nigeria Kicks Off and Full Hearts in Myanmar

Nigeria Kicks Off the Summit at the First 5 of 40 Sites!

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The GLS in Nigeria kicked off last week at five of the forty events they plan to hold this season. More than 2,000 leaders were richly blessed by the fresh ideas and train­ing they received. As the GLS continues to grow in Nigeria, encouraged leaders desire to share it with even more people. As a result, people are catching a vision and taking on additional ownership of the event. In their communities, they reflect the belief that when a leader gets better, everyone wins. 

The GLS has changed my leadership journey. Best of all, I became a servant leader through the impact of the GLS. Thanks so much for making the GLS a global move­ment. The Lord’s bless­ings be upon you. – GLS leader, Nigeria

Leaders are encouraged by the high impact of the Summit in my country. The GLS team has given my church and my family a platform to fulfill God’s mandate upon our lives by being part of the leadership mentors in my country. The media and technical department of my church got a lift from the experience that the GLS brought to us. Thanks for being there. May the Lord bless you richly. – GLS leader, Nigeria.

Full Hearts in Myitkyina, Myanmar

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Myitkyina, Myanmar is not a modern city. In fact, it is just the opposite. A battle for inde­pendence has resulted in a civil war with the government, which has left Myitkyina’s economy unstable. While there are no modern amenities, nice restaurants, air condi­tioning, or fancy cars, the Kachin people of Myitkyina are rich in spirit, reflecting God’s presence. Their sense of longing, devotion, gratitude, and faith in God is a powerful witness.

More than 450 leaders attended the GLS in Myitkyina this year. Their hearts are soft and open to learning and understanding new ways to improve their leadership skills. They have no other access to the kind of training offered by the GLS and engaged with the sessions with rapt attention. Keep these leaders in your prayers as they seek to transform their communities.

View more pictures and stories at followthegls.com