Friday, July 31, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Managing Yourself First

Having good intentions is admirable. It is your behavior that will have impact. If you want to maximize your impact, first manage your behavior while purifying your intentions.

Proverbs 31:4-5 (MSG) Leaders can't afford to make fools of themselves, gulping wine and swilling beer, lest, hung over, they don't know right from wrong, and the people who depend on them are hurt.

Behavior always speaks more loudly than words. Just as golf is the game of commerce and is often used to judge the character of potential clients and people with whom one does business, so the “19th” hole also is a visual book of behavior. Words spoken, without the normal constraints of the business setting, cannot be recaptured in the air once their sound is out. Leaders know their drinking limits and stick within them

Leaders who know their limits can be trusted. It was Peter Drucker, in his 1999 HBR article on Managing Oneself, who pointed out that "history's great achievers - Napoleon, da Vinci, Mozart - have always managed themselves....[and later in the same article]…Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves - their strengths, their values and how they best perform."

And remember, as Polonius admonished Laertes, “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Are you managing well the most important person you must lead - yourself?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Leaders Learn to Pause Before Speaking

“Letting it all come out” is acting stupidly. It is a weakness in character, especially for a leader, to be so open that one spews anger or even just tells everything one knows about a subject. It was La Rochefoucauld (17th century French epigrammatist) who commented that “conceit causes more conversation than wit” and this verse supports that contention.

Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV) A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back. Often we tell what we know, or vent how we feel about someone or a group, to feed our ego, not to help the questioner or listener.

The wise practice a different kind of communication: unlike people whose mouths are instantly filled with whatever is in their minds, the wise have learned one of the fundamentals of leadership and that is “…. silence is one great art of conversation…”

Remember the wise words of Montesquieu: “The less men think, the more they talk.” The wise take a second for thought. Sometimes, they tuck away what they want to say for a time better suited to express a thought. The pause that catches the thought before it’s expression is a sign of maturity.

Leadership is always a heart issue first. The thought quickly expressed is often a sign of what is in a person’s heart (Matt 12:34 “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”).

Does your speech reflect a foolish or wise heart?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Monday, July 27, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Finding Satisfaction

Proverbs 27:20 (NLT) Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied.

What do you desire? Secretly.

Whether your secret desire for satisfaction is expressed in the pursuit of money, power, influence, sex, sports, food or rampant hedonism (just feel’n good, man), one outcome is certain: you will never be satisfied.

Let’s make it simpler: self-satisfaction is an oxymoron. Only when our desire is to satisfy what justice demands; only when we put the needs of others first; only when we are driven to pursue God’s Righteousness; only then, will we be satisfied.

For business leaders, servant-leadership provides a significant reward: true satisfaction results from looking for and meeting the needs of those in your organization. Not every need. Needs specific to the development of the person as a contributing member of the team and society. Removing obstacles so they can contribute more to the organization. Modeling behavior so they, too, serve the needs of those with whom they work.

For the Believer. who leads with serving in mind, Jesus points the way to real satisfaction.: Matt 5:6 (KJV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they shall be satisfied.

Are you satisfied?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Friday, July 24, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: The Power of Envy

Second post in a row on envy. Some of you may be thinking that this admonition may seem casual, or even a bit off-handed – perhaps, not even very insightful - because we know the end and the One who holds the end in His hands.

Proverbs 24:19-20 (NIV) Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.

Christian leaders have hope and should live without envy; however, secular literature supports this Biblical observation that envy and leadership are intermixed in many complex ways.

Conceptual psychoanalytic research suggests that envy is often so painful an emotion for leaders that it is driven to the unconscious resulting in behaviors that undermine a leader’s ability to attract and maintain followers.

Biblical Leadership is a “heart” issue – one that takes a power higher than us to expose the hidden drivers that capture our thought-life. Leaders will succeed by “filling [their] minds and meditating on things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” [Phil. 4:4-6 (MSG)]

It’s a heart issue: so just what are you thinking about?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Thursday, July 23, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Focused on the Right Things

How easy it is to envy – even a little bit – even for leaders.

When you see those, who consider God irrelevant, achieving success in business and life, the natural inclination is to consider, at least, “what do they have going for them!” Remember, their plenty is both their portion and their poison.

When your business is faltering despite your hard works and others are gaming the system and moving forward, you may pause and “look.” Understandable. It’s our nature. God knows. That’s why He give us these verses.

Proverbs 23:17-18 (NKJV) Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.

How we react, how we conduct ourselves at work and how we engage life will demonstrate if we are really subject to His precepts, submissive to His direction and subordinating self to first please Him in all we do, say and think.

It is not what is happening around you that matters, it is what is inside you that makes the difference. To be fully present is the predicate to our commitment to be zealous for the fear of the Lord – all the day.

Where’s your focus: the “here-and now” or the “here-after?” The later helps make the former meaningful and relevant. It doesn’t work the other way.

Copyright© 2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Attractive Leadership

Leadership that is attractive…motivates.

Pureness of heart will attract both followers and other leaders. Christian business leaders should have an advantage because we can lead from a pure heart and our speech can be seasoned with graciousness. Both are a result not of who we are naturally, but of Christ in us.

Do you want to make a change in your workplace? Work on your heart and leave the rest up to God. His love for you will cover the consequences of your stand for righteousness - your expression of a pure heart.

Proverbs 22: 11 (MSG) GOD loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken; good leaders also delight in their friendship.

Will you share your heart? God did.

Copyright© 2009 P. Griffith Lindell

Monday, July 20, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Managing Fraud

Finding and keeping good people is a journey small business owners take often with disastrous results. Desperation and greed can cause those with hidden character issues a “reason” to rationalize behavior they may never have thought of pursuing previously.

Small business people face yet another impediment to sustainability in a tough economy - employee fraud. Tough financial times often give some employees (and according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, an increasing number in companies with less than 100 employees) a rationale to relieve their personal financial pressure with petty cash theft, check forgery, and skimming from cash register.

Why small business? They are especially vulnerable because of the lack of tough internal controls and often too much trust in their staff despite signals that the staff member is falling into desperate straights – and desperate people can do desperate things.

If you do not have internal controls, this economy may be a great time to begin to exercise that financial discipline, starting with a daily/weekly cash flow analysis. Your local SCORE chapter ( will have people that can help with financial controls and training in cash management.

For 5 tips that will help control fraud, click HERE.

Proverbs 20:6 (NASB) Many a man [person] proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man [person]?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Thursday, July 9, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Leaders Must Shape the Culture

Today’s culture demands that this verse is a personal, subjective value but has nothing to do with objective reality - including how you lead and manage: it may be OK for you but certainly not for everybody else.

However, if the Incarnation and Resurrection are historical facts, then the dichotomy that defines our culture is false (“values” relegated to personal and private issues, and science, math etc. as held as the only objective reality). To believe both is a contradiction.

Proverbs 9:10 (AMP) The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding.

God-fearing leaders hold that the Creation, Incarnation and Resurrection are objective Truth that speaks to our purpose and destiny including how we work, live and lead. Christian leaders must begin to shape our culture – not succumb to it. Christianity offers a “unified, integrated truth” whose source is Wisdom.

Who are you going to believe: Our culture or our Creator?

Copyright ©2006, 2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

LEADERSHIP SERIES: The Disciple of Memorization

I’m reminded of a recent article in the July 2009 SMITHSONIAN titled “Salami, Mr. Holcomb?” memorializing, in a Lucian Perkins' photo, the grueling “plebe” experience. Parts of that experience are intense memorization drills, including, for example, the lunch menu. Holcomb (the plebe) received the blistering verbal pounding of the senior midshipman, Sandee Irwin (one of the first women at the Academy) for forgetting salami in his recitation. Memorization drills help build the knowledge base upon which plebes grow into midshipmen.

One can't follow advice if one does not choose to remember it and remembering is a result of an attitude adjustment. Our military academies think this adjustment is important – beginning with memorizing a lunch menu. They had a model from which to work: the Old Testament. God commanded consistently to “remember,” even providing visual metaphors and reminders (altars, clothing, adornments, feasts, festivals etc.)

Proverbs 7:1 [Lindell] My son, keep [remember] my words [follow my advice] [do what I tell you] and store [treasure] up my commands within you [stick to it]….

Our learning to "treasure" the commands and deciding to pay attention to the instruction that flows from Wisdom should become part of our life-long learning. The opposite way of living is called foolishness. In the first nine chapters of Proverbs, both Wisdom and foolishness are presented in the feminine and the latter as a seductive, but “religious,” adulteress (see verse 14).

She is attractive: provocative; stimulating; enticing; full of energy, and, she even smells good. How easy it is to be sucked into the “way of the world.” Just as in all good counterfeits, the distinctions are subtle. The seduction mimics the real. Do you know what is real? Can you discern the distinctions?

Are you remembering to remember to do business God's way?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Monday, July 6, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Lesson from the Ant

Leaders must have the capacity to observe all that life offers: to learn and then apply that knowledge wisely in the work place. This is a process of life-long learning - antithesis of laziness.

This kind of diligence, especially if you are running a business, is vital to healthy companies and a healthy personal growth. Leaders must have the capacity to observe, to learn and then apply wisdom in the work place – a process of life-long learning, which is antithesis of laziness. Much may be learned from the study of ant behavior.

Proverbs 6:6-11 (MSG) You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions. So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy--do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent houseguest!

The ant society has no leader, no guide, no management team, but follows only the instinct of nature living out the patterns set forth by its Creator. They are future-focused. They don’t just consume, they save - storing what they need for the future.

Reminds me of our future - our work is not just “the job;” a believer’s work is to “make disciples” no matter what job we are doing. One attribute we can learn from the ant is that we are to “redeem the time” in following the Great Commission. It is our responsibility – not the pastor’s our some other spiritual leader’s. Ours.

Are your redeeming your time here on earth?

Much may be learned from the study of ant behavior. (Link here for more.)

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Friday, July 3, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Sunday thru Saturday Leaders

The measure of a Christian leader is how well that leader weaves his/her faith into the fabric of living both at home and at work.

Listening to God’s voice in everything we do takes intentionality, discipline and a determination to be humble, even in business problem-solving. We are often too caught up in the myth of Hollywood that we are autonomous, independent leaders and find ourselves just responding and reacting, that we forget about relying.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG) Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track.

This verse is devoid of meaning if we relegate God to Sunday and forget Him Monday to Saturday. In the world of business, finding a 7-day committed Believer is a breath of fresh air. Are you one of them? Are you a person whose faith means something to them and how you run the business - intentionality, discipline and determination in action.

Who do you trust and listen to: mythmakers or your Maker?

Copyright © 2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Leadership without Anxiety

Chapter one of Proverbs says there is a simple method that will provide what you need to learn to relax.

Proverbs 1: 33 MSG "First pay attention to me, and then relax. Now you can take it easy--you're in good hands

Doing life right. Right living - you know, be righteous. Practicing righteousness.

Practicing righteousness is not a mystery - it is a discipline of being absorbed with God - hearing the Word, retaining it and preserving it. The result. Living a relaxed life.

Being God-absorbed - seems like it should be very simple, doesn't it? Just how do we listen to God? It is a process of reading, meditating, praying and being aware that God does speak to us in our thoughts, in images He brings to our mind, and in verses of Scripture that suddenly arise in our thinking.

The result is not more money, more power, and more prestige. It is relaxation. Taking it easy. Resting in the good hands that only God - not Allstate - provides.

Self-absorbed equals anxiety. God-absorbed equals relaxation. The choice should be clear.

Have you chosen to relax?

Copyright (c) 2009 by P. Griffith Lindell