Restart Your Vocation

This weekend Bill Hybels talked about how to Restart Your Vocation. To start your week, think through these points and reflect on how you can apply these to your week. You can view Bill’s full message here:

Restart Your Vocation

One of the greatest blessings from God is to love our jobs.

According to Gallop. The following is what people need to experience at work in order for them to love their jobs:

Clear and reasonable expectations
Equipments and materials to do their job
The opportunity to do what they do best every day
Regular recognition and praise for doing good work
Their supervisor to care about them as a person
Someone at work who encourages their development
To know their opinions matter to someone
To feel that the mission of their organization matters, as does their role in helping achieve that mission
To know that their colleagues are committed to doing quality work
To have a best friend at work
Someone to talk honestly with them about their progress
A new opportunity at least once a year to stretch, learn and grow

For performance evaluations. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a dialog tool over the long arch of their careers?

Are you glorifying God with your quantity of work?
Are you glorifying God with your quality of work?
Are your glorifying God with your timeliness of work?
Are your glorifying God with your resourcefulness?
Are your glorifying God by growing in self-reliance?
Are you glorifying God by adding skills to your talent portfolio?
Are you glorifying God by developing increasingly productive work habits?
Are you glorifying God by helping everyone win?
Are you glorifying God by having staff and congregational impact?
Are you glorifying God by having Christ-like conduct?

How can you apply these thoughts to your week?

Why Your Team Needs Rookies

Post by Liz Wiseman, original post on Harvard Business Review

Hiring managers often view newcomers to their organizations as not only long-term assets but also short-term burdens:  people who need to be inducted, trained, and given lighter loads as they get up to speed, inevitably slowing everyone else down.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. In my research studying how inexperienced people tackle tough challenges, I’ve consistently found that rookies (whether they are freshly minted university graduates or experienced professionals coming from other organizations or functions) are surprisingly strong performers.

Because they face significant knowledge or skill gaps, they are alert, move fast, and work smart. While they’re not well-suited for tasks that require technical mastery or where a single mistake is game-ending, they are particularly adept at knowledge work that is innovative in nature, when speed matters and the environment is quickly changing. Consider science and technology, fields in which information is doubling every nine months and decaying at a rate of 30% a year, thereby rendering as much as 85% of a person’s technical knowledge irrelevant in five years’ time. For many professionals today, the ability to learn is more valuable than accumulated knowledge.

Our study found three things rookies are especially good at:

1. Tapping networks of experts.  Having little knowledge and insight themselves, newcomers have no qualms about seeking guidance from others. Our study found that rookies are four times more likely to ask for help and 50% more likely to listen. They seek expertise 40% more than their experienced peers, and when they do, they connect with five times as many people.

Take Jeff, an IT manager at the financial services firm Vanguard. When he was abruptly put in charge of vendor management, an area in which he had no experience, he felt completely out of his element. But his response was to systematically reach out to 25 people with deep experience in the field, and within a few weeks, he had built a big network of experts to tap for advice.

If you want access to more knowledge, consider putting a rookie on the job and telling her it’s OK not to have all the answers herself. With one expert, you’ll get one expert; with a newcomer, you get access to many more.

2. Forging new territory. Clueless about whether a new idea or opportunity is impossible (or just plain hard) to achieve, rookies readily explore new frontiers. With added pressure to succeed and nowhere to retreat to, they are also more likely to improvise, get resourceful, and focus on meeting basic needs to push their long-shot projects through.

For example, at, CEO Michael Fertik never tells new business development staff how to start the sales process or size deals. “In absence of knowing, they often just start the conversation at the top of the organization [and] many of them end up bringing in far greater-sized deals than the experienced staff does,” he explains.

If you want someone to tackle a tough challenge or seize an unheard of opportunity, a rookie might be your best bet.

3. Accelerating innovation. Newcomers face a steeper learning curve, but, because they’re mindful of the gap and want to gain ground, they often deliver results faster. In our comparative study, rookies scored 60% higher than experienced colleagues on the timeliness of their output. They’re cautious at first as they gather data and study a situation, but once they jump in, they move quickly, making them perfectly suited for lean and agile development projects.

When eBay revamped its induction program to ensure that new hires weren’t just learning about the company but also immediately contributing to it, the results were impressive. Once directed to jump in and share their ideas without holding back, the 2013 college recruits submitted an average of 25% more ideas for patents, and more that led to formal submissions, in their first few months of work than the rest of the company.

Use your rookie talent to generate fresh ideas, experiment, deliver quick functionality, and get rapid feedback from your customers.

Rookies are far more capable than most people expect. Instead of putting them through basic training, ask them to make a difference right away. They don’t necessarily need more management; they need to be put in the game, pointed in the right direction, and given permission to play.

One final note: Anyone can display what I call “rookie smarts.” The real game-changer is ensuring that your entire team is able and willing to adopt the newcomer’s mindset when necessary—mobilizing experts, forging new territory and accelerating innovation – no matter their age or career stage.

This article was originally posted on Harvard Business Review. Click HERE to view the original post.

Disciplined People: “Who” before “What”

Written by Summit Alumni, Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great

You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you.
Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.

In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances. Take David Maxwell’s bus ride. When he became CEO of Fannie Mae in 1981, the company was losing $1 million every business day, with $56 billion worth of mortgage loans underwater. The board desperately wanted to know what Maxwell was going to do to rescue the company.

Maxwell responded to the “what” question the same way that all good-to-great leaders do: He told them, That’s the wrong first question. To decide where to drive the bus before you have the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus, is absolutely the wrong approach.

Maxwell told his management team that there would only be seats on the bus for A-level people who were willing to put out A-plus effort. He interviewed every member of the team. He told them all the same thing: It was going to be a tough ride, a very demanding trip. If they didn’t want to go, fine; just say so. Now’s the time to get off the bus, he said. No questions asked, no recriminations. In all, 14 of 26 executives got off the bus. They were replaced by some of the best, smartest, and hardest-working executives in the world of finance.

With the right people on the bus, in the right seats, Maxwell then turned his full attention to the “what” question. He and his team took Fannie Mae from losing $1 million a day at the start of his tenure to earning $4 million a day at the end. Even after Maxwell left in 1991, his great team continued to drive the flywheel—turn upon turn—and Fannie Mae generated cumulative stock returns nearly eight times better than the general market from 1984 to 1999.

When it comes to getting started, good-to-great leaders understand three simple truths. First, if you begin with “who,” you can more easily adapt to a fast-changing world. If people get on your bus because of where they think it’s going, you’ll be in trouble when you get 10 miles down the road and discover that you need to change direction because the world has changed. But if people board the bus principally because of all the other great people on the bus, you’ll be much faster and smarter in responding to changing conditions. Second, if you have the right people on your bus, you don’t need to worry about motivating them. The right people are self-motivated: Nothing beats being part of a team that is expected to produce great results. And third, if you have the wrong people on the bus, nothing else matters. You may be headed in the right direction, but you still won’t achieve greatness. Great vision with mediocre people still produces mediocre results.

View the original post HERE.

Don’t Make Your People Pay

Every Monday, we hope to write a post that motivates you to think throughout the week. Today’s post is focused on Vision.

“Don’t make your people pay because you’re so fired up about the vision.” – Bill Hybels

Do you ever get fired up about a vision? Most leaders do and there is nothing wrong with getting fired up. But you cannot forget the people around you when you do.

Vision doesn’t go anywhere without your team. It takes a team that loves, prays and supports you to get the vision “from here to there.” So, how do you make sure you are aware of your team when you get fired up about the vision? Here are three ways that can help you:

Stop and Listen. When we get fired up, we tend to only hear our own voice. How do you know that your vision is pure or right for the organization? Be intentional about stopping and listening. If you do this, you are now opening your ears to hear how your team really feels. Are they on board with you? Do they get it? You may find that you need to start vision casting vs. driving decisions. Don’t make your team work towards your own vision, make sure its a team driven vision.

Your ideas are not the only ideas. Ouch. You may fall into this a lot more than you think. If you are so fired up about your vision, you’ll get ideas of how to get there. Just remember, you can’t get there alone. Others ideas may be the right ideas.

Be willing to try, but also be willing to fail. Once your team is on board with the vision and ideas, build a culture where trying and failing is accepted. This start with the senior leader. Lead by example and try something new. Give it a shot and learn from it. If you are willing to do this, your team will follow suit. The more willingness there is to try, the more likely your team will passionately find the path to pursuing the vision.

Be passionate for a vision, but don’t destroy your team pursuing it.

What do you think? How else can you protect yourself from getting fired up about the vision and hurting your team? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

10 Ways to Rise Up After Screwing Up

Post from Leadership Freak.

Everyone who tries fails.

Growth happens when you fail and own it, not until. Everyone who blames stays the same.

The price of greatness is responsibility.

Taking responsibility sets leaders apart from the pack. Don’t be a martyr or a blamer. Just own it.

10 ways to rise up after screwing up:

  1. Own it or you’ll repeat it. Any failure you fail to own returns like a nagging pimple.
  2. Be proactive. Take charge of your failure before someone else does.
  3. Look at your performance through the eyes of a high-performer. How did you do?
  4. Explore how your failure impacts others. People trusted you.
  5. Evaluate expectations. How was success defined? Was there clarity?
  6. Focus on performance. Don’t make it personal. Lift yourself up. Don’t beat yourself down.
  7. Say three sentences after failure:
    • I learned to …
    • I learned not to …
    • Next time I’ll …
  8. Answer the temptation to make excuses with accountability.
  9. Address recurring failure with systems. Create a checklist, for example.
  10. Delegate your weakness to someone else’s strength. Stay in your sweetspot as much as possible.

Bonus: Create a win quickly. Elevate your status and fuel positive energy by setting new goals and reaching them, publicly.

Strong leaders take responsibility; weak blame.

Excuse me:

No excuses. No blaming.

  1. Excuse making validates a disappointing past.
  2. Excuse making drags failure into the present.
  3. Excuse making is another way of saying don’t change anything.

Hiding behind the failure of others makes you smaller than the people you hide behind.

Fear of failure:

The right amount of fear contributes to success. You don’t want to be embarrassed, disappoint yourself or others.

Fear of failure is concern for reputation.

Show me someone who doesn’t fear failure, at least a little, and I’ll show you a failure.

How can leaders rise up after screwing up?

How do you maximize mistakes?

View original post HERE.

Your Choices Really Do Matter

Every Monday, we hope to write a post that motivates you to think throughout the week. Today’s post is by Scott Williams. He gives great thought on how we should think about our choices.

“Every choice that you make has significance.

Every decision that you make will lead you to a different crossroads.

Don’t take your ability to choose for granted.

Don’t overlook the beauty of being able to breathe.

Don’t put your dreams on the back-burner.

Don’t give your loved ones second best.

Your choices really do matter.

Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself this question:

Do I really like the choices that I’m making.

Your Choices Really Do Matter.”

View original post HERE.

Time Management God’s Way: What’s on Your To-Don’t List?

Post by Craig Groeschel from the Huffington Post

I was in a restaurant recently when I glanced over and noticed a family of four at another table, each person’s head bowed. I thought, “Oh, they’re praying together before their meal.” But when I happened to look back later, they were still looking down. Suddenly I realized: They weren’t praying. They were all typing into their phones! They were oblivious to one another, each person connecting with people who weren’t even there. Maybe you’ve seen the same thing, perhaps even in your own family.

With always-on access to global news, information and even to other people, it’s normal (even easy) for us to lose focus on the world right in front of us. When we’re constantly flipping channels, we start treating our attention like currency, careful not to spend it all in one place. Just as a look in your checkbook can reveal what you truly value, honestly assessing your daily activities and interactions can show you which things (and people) you really care about.

My wife Amy helped me see this in my own life. For years it was normal for me to only half-listen at home. Occasionally she would ask, “Are you listening to me?” I’d respond with a relationship survival skill I had adapted: I’d repeat back to her the last several words she had just said. But we both knew I wasn’t giving my undivided attention.

Then one day she asked me a very different question. She calmly explained, “You have a lot going on with the church. I’ll always support you. But when you’re with our family, can you be all here?” Her request was perfectly fair and reasonable.

Wherever you are, be all there.

That one tiny idea radically transformed the way I now conduct my everyday life. It immediately strengthened my relationships and, over time, even improved my capacity to make tough decisions. In the cloud of endless to-dos where most of us live, our minds are so cluttered that we overlook the joy just in being alive today. Be honest: Even as you’re reading this article, do your thoughts keep trying to wander to everything else happening in your life?

In our culture, that’s normal. Normal people are distracted, rarely fully present. We all have to fight getting pulled into the orbit of that constant gravity of busyness. Urgent tasks and priorities desperately cry out for our attention. Maybe it’s a chicken-or-egg situation, but I believe all that noise harms our well-being more than the legitimate stress of all the things we actually “have to do.” If you want to be different, you have to live differently. Weird people learn to silence distractions and remain fully in the moment.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:15-16). To leverage that advice when we make decisions, we need to answer: What is the wise thing to do in this situation? And what would it mean to “make the most” of this particular opportunity?

Christ had to make difficult decisions about how he would spend his limited time on earth. His example has a lot to teach us. But we have to take the time to discover what things are important to God by reading the words he gave us. We must also invest time meditating on what those things mean in our everyday lives. Then, the next time the chaos of urgency tries to dictate your next action, you can press pause. Having already thought about which things are most important, you’ll be able to make intentional decisions. (Urgent does not necessarily equal important.) Even if a decision carries you another step forward, it’s not progress if it leads you away from where you actually want to go.

In another letter from Paul, in Colossians 3:17, he suggested, “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” When I focus on the things I believe are important to God, I live differently. I don’t make decisions based on my feelings, insecurities or selfish ambitions. Instead, I tend to favor others who have greater need. The conversations I have lend themselves to deeper, intimate connections — not simple, superficial information exchanges. “Did you go by the cleaners?” gives way to genuine care: “So, how was your day?”

Just as important as your to-do list — and perhaps more important — what’s on your to-don’t list? When you focus on the purposes you believe God created you for, you’ll have the stability to say no to some good things. And that will give you the space to be able say yes to the best things when they present themselves. Rather than just reacting to the waves of things that come, you can ride them with deliberate intention.

James 4:14 reminds us, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” We can’t have more time, but we can live with a greater awareness of the limited time we do have. Every opportunity that arrives on your doorstep will require some decision. If you’ve already decided what you value, you can fully enjoy each moment, secure that you’re living the life you want. God gives us an amazing present every day. Normal people leave this gift unwrapped, unrealized, unappreciated, and it’s gone before they know it. Weird people know there’s no time like the present.

View the original post HERE

Summit Breakfast with Chestor Elton

summitbfast_eltonAre you in the Chicago area? Join us for Summit Breakfast with Chestor Elton!

How do leaders make work more rewarding for their employees to accelerate business results? Called the “apostle of appreciation” by The Globe and Mail, and “creative and refreshing” by The New York Times, bestselling leadership author Chester Elton addresses this question and many others in his energetic and information packed talks. Passionate about helping clients build a better workplace, Elton speaks around the world to companies such as Avis, Pepsi, and American Express.

Elton and his writing and business partner Adrian Gostick are the authors of What Motivates Me, All In: How the Best Managers Create a Culture of Belief and Drive Big Results; The Carrot Principle; and The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform An Entire Organization. Their books have been translated into over 30 languages and have sold over a million copies worldwide.

Elton is #12 on the 30 top leadership gurus of 2013, he has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Fast Company magazine, and The New York Times, and has been a guest on CNN, 60 Minutes, MSNBC, FOX News, National Public Radio. He is a LinkedIn Influencer and has a weekly segment on how to build a better workplace on WCBS News Radio in New York.

He has spoken to audiences around the world and was the highest rated speaker at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference. He also serves as a leadership consultant to firms such as American Express, Avis Budget Group, and Cigna. He is most proud, however, to be the father of four exceptional children—all the more exceptional now they have grown and left home.

Sign up for a breakfast presentation with Chester Elton today!

When: January 14, 2015
Time: 7:30 AM
Location: Willow Creek Community Church, Blue Sky 1
Cost: $10

Grabbing the Reigns

The following is an excerpt from Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels. The book is now available wherever books are sold. Visit to learn more, download a free chapter, and purchase your copy!

Often when people describe their too-busy lives, they make it sound as if the over-scheduling happened to them unwittingly, like they had no choice in the matter. “It’s not my fault. It’s my boss’s fault. It’s my family’s fault. It’s my teammate’s fault.” They truly believe they are mere victims of the very responsibilities and commitments they said yes to.

News flash: You are the boss of your schedule. It’s your responsibility to keep command of your calendar—and you must, in order to simplify your life.

Many people I know are doing the best they can to control the mayhem. Yet despite their valiant efforts, their lives show little change. No doubt you, too, have tried to simplify your overscheduled life. You bought a new planner. You installed a new calendar app on your phone. You attended a time-management class or listened to an audiobook about being more organized. You even managed to sync your work calendar with your home calendar, trying to corral everything into one system, hoping this would solve the problem. But reshuffling the same deck of cards will faithfully deal you the same too-busy hand.

What if you could grab the reins of your runaway calendar? What if you could turn your schedule into a powerful tool to help you live out your endgame priorities?

A simplified life begins with well-invested hours each day. You can harness the true power of your calendar by filling in each square holistically, creating room for both the outward activities and inner priorities in your life. Your calendar is more than merely an organizer for what needs to get done; it’s the primary tool for helping you become who you want to become.

Summit Host Site Wins “Give Back Challenge”

Summit Host site New Covenant Church in Clyde NC has won the Ty Pennington Give Back Challenge.

Summit Field Team Member Dave Wright, had a chance to visit with Senior Pastor Nick Honerkamp last week and had a tour of the prison they are turning into a half-way house, soup kitchen and shelter for the homeless. Pastor Nick put together a team of folks from the community including the Sherriff and won $50,000 for the renovation project. In a couple of weeks they will have a few hundred volunteers along with the “Give Back Folks” on site for the rebuild.

Congratulations New Covenant Church!! It is amazing to see Summit leaders impacting their communities and leading where they are.

Here is Pastor Nick’s video presentation to Ty Pennington,