3 Lies That Can Shipwreck A Leader

Post by Scott Cochrane

“The water should be deep enough here.”

Many a ship’s captain has believed that lie, and many of their ships have ended up stranded on a sandbar or dashed against a reef. In the same way, there are lies that leaders are tempted to tell themselves every day. And some of these can shipwreck their leadership too.

In my experience these are some of the most dangerous lies a leader can ever tell themselves. Start believing these and you could easily find your leadership dashed on the shore.

“I got away with it last time. I can get away with it this time.”

There might be nothing worse for a leader than to have once cut a corner and gotten away with it. Because the next time an opportunity presents itself to shave the truth or to take a financial short cut, the temptation can be almost irresistible.

“After all,” a leader can think, “Borrowing that money from petty cash last time was ok. I returned it before getting caught. I can get away with it again this time.”

Eventually, this will shipwreck a leader’s integrity.

“It’s just a one-time thing.”

The idea that an off-side action can be justified “just this once” is one of the worst lies of all.

Because leaders who believe this once can begin to believe it repeatedly.

And when that happens, a leadership shipwreck isn’t far behind.

“It’s okay. No one will notice.”

This lie is a doozy.

It happens when a leader has dropped a leadership ball and, rather than coming clean and owning up, the leader instead pins hope against hope that no one was watching.

Instead of accountability, this leader is counting on being able to fly below the radar. “After all,” they’ll reason, “If no one picked up on the financial blunders, I’m in the clear.”

No leader ever starts out wanting to abandon their impeccable character. Leadership shipwrecks happen one little lie at a time.

So keep your radar on full alert for lies like these.

Because if you can identify and resist these kinds of lies, your leadership can sail strong for years to come.

What are some other lies leaders are tempted to believe?

– See Scott’s Original Post HERE.

Unbroken: The Power of Forgiveness

Have you read Unbroken or seen the film? Help inspire #UnbrokenForgiveness, by watching and sharing this 6-minute video accompanying the DVD release of the award-winning film Unbroken. The short film, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, in partnership with NBC Universal, and created by an Oscar®-winning documentarian, amplifies Unbroken’s inspiring themes of faith, resilience, and the power of forgiveness. How forgiving are you?

Unbroken: The Power of Forgiveness 


A Letter From the President

U1_GaryA letter to our WCA family from Gary Schwammlein, Willow Creek Association President.

To Our WCA Family,

What a year this has been! One of incredible highs and unbelievable lows and yet God triumphed in all of this. We want to give thanks and praise to him for his protection and favor upon this ministry. Reviewing the numeric results for 2014 we can only be in awe of the outcomes of so many things.

GLS attendance growth globally is expected to reach about 45,000 people, growing from 189,000 in 2013 to an estimated 235,000 for the 2014 GLS year. (There are still 50 more events to go before we close the 2014 season.) This is an amazing number! We know from the research we have carried out that the impact of the Summit is tremendous. It was interesting to hear the project leader of this research tell us the following:

When we accepted the project we were very skeptical about the impact and the effects of the Summit. I personally did not believe that people would, or could change their leadership by attending an event. I could not have been more wrong. The survey results are most impressive, verifying behaviors and outcomes that have long reaching impact.

What we have known all along through anecdotal stories and impressions has been verified through a scientific research project, increasing our resolve to reach ever more people through the Summit and year-round support efforts we are carrying out and strengthening.

Financially, one can only be amazed at some of the results we celebrate. The financial support WCA has received allows us to build up operating reserves and fund a challenging growth goal for 2015 and beyond.

While we have great reason to celebrate and rejoice in these outcomes, we also have great pain. The Bible says that when one member of the body suffers, all members suffer. One of our staff members, Laura Schoolcraft, suffered a stroke right after Christmas and is fighting for her life. There is hardly a moment when I don’t think of her and pray for her, as do most of our staff. Medically it will take a miracle and we know that our God is more than capable of performing miracles, but at the same time, we acknowledge the sovereignty of our God and we entrust her into his hands.

We give all praise and glory to God for what he has enabled us to do in 2014, and we commit ourselves to continue giving our best to move this ministry ahead in line with his will and our abilities.

I want to thank all of you for your support of this ministry in so many ways.

Finally, I want to extend and record my and our deep appreciation and thankfulness to Bill, whose idea it was to offer the Summit, and who still shapes it and makes it what it is, and will become.

Gary Schwammlein

20 Mile March

Post from Summit Alumi Jim Collins

Imagine you’re standing with your feet in the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, looking inland. You’re about to embark on a 3,000-mile walk, from San Diego to the tip of Maine. On the first day you march 20 miles, making it out of town.

On the second day you march 20 miles. And again, on the third day you march 20 miles, heading into the heat of the desert. It’s hot, more than 100˚F, and you want to rest in the cool of your tent. But you don’t. You get up and you march 20 miles.

You keep the pace, 20 miles a day.

Then the weather cools, and you’re in comfortable conditions with the wind at your back, and you could go much farther. But you hold back, modulating your effort. You stick with your 20 miles.
Then you reach the Colorado high mountains and get hit by snow, wind, and temperatures below zero — and all you want to do is stay in your tent. But you get up. You get dressed. You march your 20 miles.

You keep up the effort — 20 miles, 20 miles, 20 miles — then you cross into the plains, and it’s glorious springtime, and you can go 40 or 50 miles in a day. But you don’t. You sustain your pace, marching 20 miles.

And eventually, you get to Maine.

Now, imagine another person who starts out with you on the same day in San Diego. He gets all excited by the journey and logs 40 miles the first day.

Exhausted from his first gigantic day, he wakes up to 100˚ temperatures. He decides to hang out until the weather cools, thinking, “I’ll make it up when conditions improve.” He maintains this pattern — big days with good conditions, whining and waiting in his tent on bad days — as he moves across the western United States.
Just before the Colorado high mountains, he gets a spate of great weather and he goes all out, logging 40- to 50-mile days to make up lost ground. But then he hits a huge winter storm when utterly exhausted. It nearly kills him and he hunkers down in his tent, waiting for spring.

When spring finally comes, he emerges, weakened, and stumbles off toward Maine. By the time he enters Kansas City, you, with your relentless 20-mile march, have already reached the tip of Maine. You win, by a huge margin.

Now, think of medical-equipment maker Stryker as a 20-Mile March company.

When John Brown became CEO of Stryker (SYK) in 1977, he deliberately set a performance benchmark to drive consistent progress: Stryker would achieve 20% net income growth every year. This was more than a mere target, or a wish, or a hope, or a dream, or a vision. It was, to use Brown’s own words, “the law.” He ingrained “the law” into the company’s culture, making it a way of life. (Twenty percent may seem like a high bar, but for a small company in an explosive industry, it was achievable.)

Brown created the “Snorkel Award,” given to those who lagged behind; 20% was the watermark, and if you were below it, you needed a snorkel. Just imagine receiving a mounted snorkel from John Brown to hang on your wall so everyone can see that you’re in danger of drowning. People worked hard to keep the snorkel off their walls.

Stryker’s annual division-review meetings included a chairman’s breakfast. Those who hit their 20-Mile March went to John Brown’s breakfast table. Those who didn’t went to another breakfast. “They are well fed,” said Brown, “but it is not the one where you want to go.”

If your division fell behind for two years in a row, Brown would insert himself to “help,” working around the clock to “help” you get back on track. “We’ll arrive at an agreement as to what has to be done to correct the problem,” said the understated Brown. You get the distinct impression that you really don’t want to need John Brown’s help. According to Investor’s Business Daily, “John Brown doesn’t want to hear excuses. Markets bad? Currency exchange rates are hurting results? Doesn’t matter.” Describing challenges Stryker faced in Europe due partly to currency exchange rates, an analyst noted, “It’s hard to know how much of [the problem] was external. But at Stryker, that’s irrelevant.”

From the time John Brown became CEO in 1977 through 1998 (when its comparison, USSC, disappeared as a public company), and excluding a 1990 extraordinary gain, Stryker hit its 20-Mile March goal more than 90% of the time. Yet for all this self-imposed pressure, Stryker had an equally important self-imposed constraint: to never go too far, to never grow too much in a single year. Just imagine the pressure from Wall Street to increase growth when your direct rival is growing faster than your company. In fact, Stryker grew more slowly than USSC more than half the time. According to the Wall Street Transcript, some observers criticized Brown for not being more aggressive. Brown, however, consciously chose to maintain the 20-Mile March, regardless of criticism urging him to grow Stryker at a faster pace in boom years.

John Brown understood that if you want to achieve consistent performance, you need both parts of a 20-Mile March: a lower bound and an upper bound, a hurdle that you jump over and a ceiling that you will not rise above, the ambition to achieve and the self-control to hold back.

View the original post HERE.

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: https://willowcreek.tv/

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 Reputation.com, 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.

God Is Calling You To Take On The Tough Task

doc“I was down in my spirit. Being a government employee in a government hospital, you just don’t know how or when there will be a transfer letter on your desk. I was told I would be transferred to Thar—a dessert area where children are dying because of stomach diseases and a lack of clean drinking water. As I sat in my office, a nurse came in to call me to an emergency. I rushed out, but could not take the stress as a woman took her last breath and died in my hands. I burst into tears and ran to my office. The nurse who assisted me came to me and said, ‘Doctor, here is a brochure’, and she left. I threw it on my desk and sat in distress. Later I read it. I thought to myself that I have five days leave from tomorrow to get packed and go to Thar. I decided to go to this Summit first. I even invited my two other friends.

It was so refreshing to have fellowship with other Christian leaders. The sessions were wonderful. Dr. Brene Brown’s session stuck in my mind and I started weeping. The person sitting next to me was a Pastor, and asked to pray for me. I said yes, so he just took my hand in his hand and started weeping too. Something was going on in our lives and God was at work.

When the talk was over, the lights came on and the host asked, ‘Are you running from yourself? Do you think injustice has been done to you? Do you feel like grumbling and yelling and saying no to things which are not of your desire? God is calling you to take on the tough task, and He will help you.’ I realized that these words were for me. At once, a heavy load was lifted from my shoulders, and I felt released…

I want to share with you today that since I’ve been in Thar, I have saved 8 new-born babies, and 28 other children’s lives just because I took a bold step of faith in Jesus. Thank you for the GLS in Pakistan. Thank you for strengthening me in my calling.”

 —GLS Attendee, Pakistan

View post on FollowtheGLS.com

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.