Archives For Leadership

The good-to-great companies are more like hedgehogs – simple, dowdy creatures that know “one big thing” and stick to it. The comparison companies are more like foxes – crafty, cunning creatures that know many things yet lack consistency.

Jim Collins, Good to Great, p. 119

The picture to the left is of an intricate castle. However, it is different from many castles in that it is made of sand. The little figurines that look like people are actually sand. So are the trees surrounding the castle. What looks like a legitimate kingdom, though, is actually an imitation kingdom. It’s an imitation of a true reality: kings and kingdoms. But it’s a minute imitation nonetheless.

This contrast of kingdoms is one that Paul Tripp notes in his book, A Quest For More: Living for something bigger than you. Now, before you dismiss the book because of its familiar rhetoric in the church today (“You were made to live for something greater”), listen to Tripp’s analysis below. Paul Tripp has a way of analyzing and articulating truth as it relates to the human heart that is unparalleled. His words are colorful and insightful as well as piercing and refining. On page 16-17 he writes,

We were meant to do more than make sure that all of our needs are fulfilled and all our desires are satisfied. We were never meant to be self-focused little kings ruling miniscule little kingdoms with a population of one. Sure, it’s right for you to care about your health, your job, your house, your investments, your family, and your friends. It would be irresponsible to act as if none of those things mattered. Yet it is a functional human tragedy to live only for those things. It is a fundamental denial of your humanity to narrow the size of your life to the size of your own existence, because you were created to be an “above and more” being. You were made to be transcendent.

What we’ll learn, as Tripp reveals, is that we must tie the transcendent way we are created to glory. To fail to do so will only lead to shallowness and despair, narrowing our lives to the “size of [our own] existence.” We’ll discuss four types of glories that ground our desire for transcendence next post.

If you’re interested in Tripp’s book, you can get it below from Amazon or here from WTS.

The Harvard Business Review listed a great post on failure on Monday. Scott Edinger, a consultant and the author of the article, principles for how to respond to failure well. I particularly enjoyed his first point: “Acknowledge the failure and put it in perspective.” This is much easier said and understood than obeyed. Edinger explains his point well,

You can’t begin to bounce back from a mistake if you don’t admit you’ve made it. As obvious as it sounds, it’s clearly not always easy to do. Research shows that owning up to their mistakes is the key factor separating those who handle failure well from those who don’t. Those who were derailed perseverated and didn’t talk to others about it. They made little attempt to rectify the consequences. Those who weren’t derailed did the opposite: They admitted their mistakes, accepted responsibility, and then took steps to fix the problem. And afterwards, they proceeded to forget about it and move on.

Edinger’s four other points are as follows:

Look for causes, not blame.

Before you wrack your brain to think up an appropriate response, take a break.

Get some help.

Refocus your efforts and take action.

Read the whole post here.

Forbes recently released an article that addresses what is dubbed “hero leader syndrome.” The syndrome typically affects the do-it-alls, type-A personalities and the self-starters. Though Forbes is writing to a business/workplace audience, no sphere of life is exempt from the mindset and behavior they describe. The article begins strong:

Are you a what I refer to as a “hero leader?” Do you like to swoop-in and save the day? Do you see yourself as the white knight who can solve any problem or challenge? If you do, you have what I refer to as ”hero leader syndrome.” Any leader’s belief that he or she can do everything better than anyone else is a root cause of inhibiting workforce productivity. Creating unnecessary dependencies between leaders and team members, while often unintentional and/or well-intended, is nonetheless a far too common practice for the “hero leader.” In today’s column we’ll take a look at the myth of the hero leader…

So what do you do if you feel pinned after reading this? Thankfully, contributor Mike Myatt gives leaders like me some hope:

  1. Be Sincere. Forget about what’s in it for you, and think about how you can help the person you’re communicating with…
  2. Be Effective. Don’t ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no…
  3. Be Challenging. Use questions to stimulate and challenge. Ask questions that are insightful such that they require thought to be answered…
  4. Be Personal. Get personal in your questioning. Use questions that encourage the other person to reveal their thoughts and emotions…
  5. Be Competent. Demonstrate your competency without giving the answer away. Ask questions that reveal your subject matter expertise, and that demonstrate your ability to provide meaningful solutions without actually doing so…

Read the whole article here.