Tuesday, June 30, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Grounded Leadership

Effective leaders are grounded. They believe in something greater than self to be true. Some cling to observed success principles. Some are more direct – they simply believe in karma and operate accordingly. Others, raised in a loose Christian tradition, have shaped God into their own image – it’s a god that works for them and their lives.

Believing leaders face a challenge: Christian’s believe that the concept of ethics (the study of human character) follow the concepts revealed in the study of the character of God (theology). We act ethically when we reflect the revealed character of God.

Proverbs 30:5-6 (NLV) Every word of God has been proven true (pure). He is a safe covering to those who trust in Him. Do not add to His words, or He will speak strong words to you and prove you to be a liar.

Do we really believe this? Our culture demands "tolerance" for behaviors that God called sin: tolerance for life-styles that do not please Him; tolerance for visual stimulation in music videos and movies that only appeal to our prurient natures; tolerance to accept many ways to God when our hope is in one-way, one truth and one life; tolerance that, even in a business setting, truth can be relative.

Our lives do have meaning. To be really Christ-like in this environment takes faith that He is our refuge, our shield, and our protector.

Our personal and business core values must be clear, consistent and courageous – and yet remain contagious, irresistible, inviting.

Does your leadership style reflect what is attractive and pure?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Monday, June 29, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Gossip - Deadly to Business and Leaders

Ron Heifetz, co-founder of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, is quoted as saying, “Purposeful honesty and appropriate transparency at all levels are eventual indicators of your organization’s adaptability and ability to thrive.”

What leaders listen to – i.e. honor - matters. One of your team want to share a juicy morsel? Stop them before they blurt out more. If lies, gossip, spurious chatter of any sort is tolerated at the top (of any size “heap”), that lack of judgment drives the true organizational values of the organization.

Honesty and transparency go hand-in-glove with discernment. You want your leadership to be meaningful in the workplace? Your core values real? Then be known as a discerning leader who won’t participate in any form of gossip.

To what are you willing to listen?

Proverbs 29:12 (MSG) When a leader listens to malicious gossip, all the workers get infected with evil.

Copyright (c) 2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Thursday, June 25, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Timely Advice

One of the important functions of leadership is listening; however, there does come a time for the leader to actually give advice. This advice must be timely advice - not constant chattering advice.

Advice is not the same as Micro-managing. “Timely” is advice given at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way giving consideration to the recipient of that advice (What is their learning style? Their communication style? How much emotional capital is invested?). This advice that is not only “beautiful,” but also valuable.

Timely advice can be seen as the process of asking insightful questions, the answers to which will yield clarity:
  • What does the questioner really want?
  • How do they understand the problem?
  • Do they have a grasp of their options? What are those?
  • Do the alternatives have the same weight of importance?
  • If an ethical issue, what are the legal boundaries first, the moral imperatives and where is Truth (God’s view of the issue)?
  • How do the ethical standards of holiness, justice and love shape your advice?

Proverbs 25:11 (NLT) Timely advice is as lovely as golden apples in a silver basket.

At the end of the day, a Believer’s advice must be a perfect mixture of grace and truth. If a gracious heart rules your mind, then your advice will be both timely and worth its weight in gold.

Is your advice “as lovely as golden apples in a silver basket?”

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Motives are everything – especially for the small businessperson in these economic times.

In his book, Principle Centered Leadership, S. Covey derides our culture’s fixation on wealth - especially wealth without work. He notes a correlation between one’s movement away from the laws of nature and the degree to which one’s judgment is adversely affected.

The law of nature (God’s truth) is this: if it's only money that leaders are after, they'll self-destruct in no time.

Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after. [1Tim.6: 9]

Proverbs 23:4 (NASB) Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it.

Believing leaders beware: the heart is desperately wicked. Focus on your heart and the needs of others -like customers, employees, vendors, etc. Allow profits and wealth to be the consequence of good management and your dependence on the Lord.

Dependence on self = disaster. Dependence on God = blessing.

On whom are you depending?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Monday, June 22, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: The Impact of Humility

In an article written for www.darwinmag.com in June of 2004, leadership author, John Baldoni (www.johnbaldoni.com) writes:
“Humility just might be one of the most overlooked attributes in leadership, but it just might be one of the most important attributes a leader can possess. Humility is a strand between leader and follower that underscores one common element: our humanity.”
If we place God at the core of our thinking – not as some abstract, ancillary association with life in general - but as our Creator, Sustainer and Provider, then the Sunday stuff will drive the Monday stuff. When this kind of consistent living happens, our team, our suppliers or vendors, our customers, and even our competitors will know our humility is genuine. We made the Sunday “stuff” real. We demonstrate that we really do care about our followers. They will see that we follow our Leader so we can better lead.

This “important attribute” of leadership begins when we submit to heart surgery – in this case, a transplant. People who are "me-centered" will not only fail at leading, but also fail at living. The other-centered journey begins for us, as leaders, when a new God-fearing heart begins to yield a life worth living.

Proverbs 22:4 (NASB) The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, honor and life.

“Plenty and honor” are not goals of this leader: they are the consequence of his/her humble spirit and this includes experiencing a satisfying life during our journey. People are willing to follow this kind of leader.

Are you leading by making the Sunday stuff real on Monday?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Thursday, June 18, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Leaders are Open-minded

Leaders listen. Well, authentic leaders listen.

Effective leaders have learned that art. In a January 2001 article in Harvard Business Review, Jim Collins introduced the world to the “Level 5 Leadership” wherein HBR observed that is was “The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve.”

Those who practice humility listen actively. And active listening is a skill that is not easily developed. The goal must always be mutual understanding. The key to effective listening comes alive in the verse below: this listening gives birth to asking good questions.

Proverbs 18:17 (NASB) The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.

Effective, probing questions are not simply a matter of casual asking of top-of-mind questions. These questions take forethought. It takes skill to develop a conversation that achieves an understanding of many facets of any issues involved in a dispute. It takes discipline to not jump to conclusions.

Are you disciplined to listen first and then ask good questions?

Copyright (c)2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Learn “to be” Not Just “to be doing.”

Just as money cannot buy happiness, it cannot buy wisdom.

The purchase of wisdom is a heart thing. The heart must first be changed since God's ways are not the ways of the world.

What are leaders at work to do? Stop funding all educational incentives? Disparage the educational system? NO! That MBA will help do stuff: a heart for God will help you be.

Proverbs 17:16 (NLT) It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool who has no heart for wisdom.

Believers are called to a different world: to a different way of living: we are called to learn God’s ways and apply them. It matters little whether we are a butcher, baker or candlestick maker: we are each models of applied wisdom.

What are you working on: being or doing?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Planning

It was D.D. Eisenhower who said: "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."

For business leaders, planning that goes into strategy is essential. You must know what is happening in the environment. You have a duty to understand the business sector. Understanding market share and profitability helps determine strategy. These are tools, when given to God, become quite useful for humans. Mintzberg & Quinn in their text The Strategy Process observed: "Strategy deals with the unknowable, not the uncertain."

Business leaders work hard at looking at patterns, factors, trends, research, known and unknown needs - elements, among others that go into planning; but they do not know the future. God does.

Proverbs 16:9 (NLT) We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.

The process is ongoing. The market changes. Internal factors change. People come and go. New dynamics emerge. The Christian business leader should use good planning and management techniques to control the business: but s/he does this with the absolute certainty that the LORD determines the outcome. This fact in no way excuses people from planning, thinking, strategizing.

Are you planning with God in mind?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Monday, June 15, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Get Advice. Godly Advice.

We live in a world of uncertainty – magnified by the political, socio-economic and military events of 2009. Jobs lost. Families in stress. For many leaders, the streams of their revenue have dried up. The lake of their reserves now lies with its old, rotten stumps exposes in pools of mud. No water there. Not a pretty picture.

Google “business advice” and you’ll find over 98,000,000 entries. Lot of advice out there. Small and large business leaders have many sources from which to choose. Many are living a life of frustration with their unrealized plans. Frustration with the wide variety of choices for advice. Frustrated with movement or lack thereof. Who do you choose and why?

For the Christian leader, this verse offers very explicit advice. Solomon directs the reader to seek those who know us well – small (by implication) intimate group with whom we have been transparent. A team proven to be trustworthy with our secrets.

These are the ones with whom we can share the interrelated nature of what is happening to us. They have a special task: They listen. They deliberate. Then, they offer a plan.

God’s way recognizes that plans sometimes are complex. The counselors chosen must have resources beyond them simple mental capacity to ask important questions – to guide your thinking – to provide legitimate resources to draw upon to help solve business problems. These “counselors” have proven themselves worthy by prayerfully considering the circumstances, and based upon their connection with the Spirit within them, they offer the kind of achieves that achieves results.

Proverbs 15:22 (AMP) Where there is no counsel, purposes are frustrated, but with many counselors they are accomplished.

Look at the promise: the plans are established. Can’t beat that. Ah, but it’s conditional. Get counsel from those who get counsel themselves. God has shaped them with life experiences from which they have learned practical and spiritual lessons.

Advice from people who have “been there - done that” is important. Advice from those who have learned spiritual lessons in addition is vital to the Believer. Consider Kingdom Point consultants - they provide both attributes.

Got those kind of people around you?

For Further Study

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Friday, June 12, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Leader’s Language Heals or Hurts

In his book, Leadership Without Easy Answers, Harvard professor Ronald Heifetz posits that the role of leadership is changing: the new role is “to help people face reality and to mobilize them to make change.”

Change has been a hot topic recently and change is at least painful and at worst potentially destructive. Positive change in our relationship takes intentionality. People are sometimes “destroyed” by what is said and how it is said as they spontaneously react negatively to the change.

Crosby, in his book The Absolutes of Leadership, posits that there exist five leadership personalities:
o “Destructor – see things only from their own perspective;”
o “Procrastinators – waste people’s time and energy;”
o “Caretaker – who is frozen in time”;
o Preparer – plan well but are inflexible; and,
o “Accomplisher”– who through words and deeds inspire, motivate all stakeholders to move the organization ahead.

What is interesting is that the communication styles move along a continuum that is similar to this verse – the “Destructor” will use rash language that cuts and maims, while the “Accomplisher” is a wise communicator, healing customers, suppliers and employees so that all are building positive relationship with the business.

Business strategy is virtually meaningless until the leader successfully motivates the team to change. Motivation is the predicate of healing words, words that build and do not destroy; words that inspire personal change in behavior for the benefit of the individual and the organization.

Proverbs 12:18 (MSG) Rash language cuts and maims, but there is healing in the words of the wise.

The wise leader recognizes the various impacts of change on the team and carefully chooses language and speaks words that heal by creating value and meaning for each person experiencing the change.

Are you leading with words that heal or maim?

Copyright ©2009 P. Griffith Lindell

Thursday, June 11, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Leader’s Immediate Stop Busybodies and Gossips

An anonymous person has been quoted as saying, “Samson slew 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. You and I may have destroyed as many relationships with the same weapon.”

Words are powerful and workplace gossip has become almost like air: it's everywhere. So pervasive that management literature not only recognizes gossip as a force in the workplace, but also has studied how it starts, how to use it, how to make it work for you and how to stop it.

Writers in the field of organizational development, human resources and management seem to recognize that gossip "is a universal human behavior that we all engage in, and which serves a functional purpose for employees and organizations.”(Summerhurst & Talbott)

I don’t know that I agree that is has a functional purpose, but the literature seems to posit gossip as an outgrowth of our supposed evolutionary journey allowing “us to exchange information about other people, so short-circuiting the laborious process of finding out how they behave.” (Dunbar, 1996)

How do you stop it? Research has discovered that if the gossip is immediately challenged or redirected, the gossip will stop; however, if a second person joins, it grows. Business etiquette and Scripture agree - stop it before it starts.

Remember what my Dad told me years ago: Small people talk about other people. Ordinary people talk about things. Wise people talk about ideas.

Are you wise and trustworthy?

Proverbs 11:13 (NLT) A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: A Challange

Rich Leadership. Truly rich.
Proverbs 10:22 (AMP) The blessing of the Lord--it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].
Quite a promise when you think about it: riches with no sorrow; wealth without anxiety. No worrying about who might take it away; or how you might loose it; or the tax burden because of it; or the misunderstandings about you because you have it.

Blessings from the Lord do not come with continuing lust or passion or focus on “toiling” for more riches. Blessings from the Lord are freeing, not enslaving.

So, just whom does the Lord bless? Those who are diligent to know Him; diligent to be like Him; committed to bless others as He did; and – here’s the kicker - to obey Him.

Without a scent of self-centeredness; without a hint of disputing His law; obeying wholeheartedly.

I’m challenged. Are you?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Choosing the Right Walk

Whether it's Business School or the school of life, any learning that leaves out God, is foolish – it's the simple (think simpleton) way.

A Christian leader (or any person) must adopt a worldview that is totally integrated – it defines walking in the “way of understanding.” That walk includes unifying our public/private, sacred/secular lives, growing in Truth and gaining spiritual power.

Truth is not subject to man’s rules about discourse and debate. Understanding the principles of Truth is vital since many business decisions are not clearly legal or illegal; rather, they often demand leaders thinking abut which of the ethically right paths that should be followed - and that takes understanding and a clear focus on the Truth.

Another example of the “way of understanding” concerns stewardship – managing the world our Creator has given us. I personally, do not subscribe to the global-warming hysteria since I see that its genesis has no real basis in good science. However, there are simple solutions that demonstrate our care for our resources given the current rise in costs associated with heating and cooling the workplace.

Practical "green" tips

Want to walk the "green path" and show care for our culture and remain in the Truth?
  • Consider simple solutions to hold in the heat and keep out the cold like window treatments especially for south or west-facing windows.
  • For some businesses, windows, open to viewing, are important for crime prevention (the register is out front and can easily be seen); however, for those not critical to crime prevention, consider insulating drapes or blinds.
  • Sealing air leaks is another simple way to help with the cost of heating and cooling.
  • If you can, replace or clean the HVAC system filters a regular basis.
Understanding some simple things you can do may yield dividends that will save you money and demonstrate understanding of the principles of resource management. Green behavior acknowledges our role as stewards - a way of understanding.

Proverbs 9:6; (NIV) Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.

Sometimes we cannot clearly see down the path: following God's lead is a walk of Faith and not sight. This faith walk begins with "knowing God" and that results from feasting at the table of His Word, praying, and having a transparent relationship with Godly people.

You got “walk?”

Copyright © 2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Monday, June 8, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Avoiding the Seductions of Wealth

We have become society that is more concerned about how we look, how much we are liked, and how saying the “right things” rather than behaving with values that reflects Wisdom that comes from the Truth.

Taking a stand in business for The Truth sometimes will yield sneering. To battle that belittling attitude, Christian leaders must remember, "Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth." It is a lie that "he who has the most toys, wins."

The Christian business person must excel at business using principles that honor God and people. Doing business in a way that both people and God are pleased takes supernatural infusion of Wisdom. Because our hearts are “desperately wicked,” we can easily be deceived. We must consistently ask for Wisdom, in faith, not doubting.

Christian business leaders who live in the pursuit of business success and personal significance find the source of strength in their Creator-Lord, not their balance sheet. They may take some "hits" from the "ruler of this world;" but, undaunted, they focus on the goal set before them by their Lord and press on toward a higher calling then personal net worth.

Proverbs 8:11 (MSG) For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.

What do you “wish for?” Wealth or Wisdom?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: The Business of Knowing God

God is meant to be our all in all – in every single thing. If we have not sold out all for God, we have yet to become truly human.

Observe the highlighted words in the verse below.

Proverbs 2: 1-5 (NIV) My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

There is work to do, here. This is not a pretty string of words to light up our spiritual life tree. These are both contemplative and courageous words. They demand action. The result will change your business life - that I can promise.

Of course, business people still need to develop an understanding of markets, of customers, of competitive landscapes, of the process of differentiation, and then clear statements about the benefits their offering provides - all business treasure and important stuff.

No eternal value, per se. What will have value is our realization that all the gifts of business acumen that God has given us must not become the object of our worship. We must worship only of the Giver of those gifts.

That kind of worship will allow one to do business in a way that glorifies God. It will develop your character (heart, soul and mind) so that you will become increasingly Christ-like – that’s where the real value is.

Are you searching for the right treasure?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Monday, June 1, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Leaders Must Become Powerful Magnets

There was a time in our culture when the term “God-fearing man or woman” was used to describe a Christian; however the literature of the last century painted an image of this person as hard, cranky, without compassion, stoic, even brutal – not a pretty picture.

God-fearers at work have disappeared - at least many public voices. The “fear” written of here is not the trembling Lion quaking before the Wizard of Oz; rather, this fear includes the attitude of honoring God as having authority over all things rejecting the attitude of “I don’t need God: I can do just as well on my own.”

This faith is not mere facile declaration. This faith is vigorous, attentive, and “alive.” God-fearers are called to be magnets - attractive people - because they don’t worship self, they value others, and they lead with a moral compass firmly established.

Are you an attractive God-fearer in the workplace?

Proverbs 1:7(NASB) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell