Tuesday, September 29, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Purpose Vision and Impact

A fundamental of authentic, transformational leadership (servant-leadership) is that the leader has a clear understanding of his/her purpose. The platform for personal purpose is undergirded by a person answering essential questions like:
  • Where did you come from?
  • Why are you here?
  • What is your destiny?
  • What role does God have in your life?
  • Are you aligned with a purpose outside of self?

If one believes that we are a product of mindless, random chance it is difficult, if not impossible, to be aligned to a purpose outside of self. Self-centeredness is destructive. People perish.

Proverbs 29:18 (AMP) Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]--blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.

For others, who believe we are a result of a purposeful, redemptive Creator (known by revelation), that belief should shape both personal and corporate visions (or purpose statements) that recognize the power of the law as:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt 28:37-30
What a powerful incentive for biblical-based business leaders. Who is better equipped to express God-breathed behavior in the workplace? Who is better equipped to express the “redemptive revelation of God” to the marketplace? When individuals are focused on obeying God, they are used for a purpose greater than just work. Companies are transformed. Lives are changed. People prosper.

Does the expression of your purpose yield prospering?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Monday, September 28, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Hate Covetousness

The terms “emotional fluency” or “EQ” (the ability to use emotions effectively) are sometimes used when describing the process of developing positive corporate culture by practicing integrity.

Proverbs 28:16 (MSG) Among leaders who lack insight [or judgment], abuse abounds, but for one who hates corruption [covetousness], the future is bright.

The juxtaposition of covetousness and the lack of insight drive us to look inward to understand motivation and behavior.

Examples of corrupt leadership include:
  • those who coerce staff to fudge on the inventory; or
  • book phantom orders in response to quarterly scrutiny; or
  • the abusive manager, who sucks the very life out of the team.
Leaders must resist behaviors that is “all about them and their success” by utilizing an equally powerful emotion – hate. That’s right – righteous hate: we must hate corruption and covetousness! It takes that emotional commitment to turn from self-serving behavior to practice integrity.

Integrity built on an understanding of our purpose – a purpose given us by our Creator. Sometimes those insights about our motivations and lack of purpose come from transparent communication with friends who are wise – the kind of insight that helps us lead others into a “bright future.”

Do you have the kind of friends that help you hate your self-serving behavior?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Thursday, September 24, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series :Self Control

A common characteristic of failed leadership is a lack of self-control - a lack manifested in many ways: but most important among them is the blame game.

Taking full responsibility for our actions, learning from mistakes and using what you have been given to its full advantage are “walls” that will protect the leader.

Learn self-control by:
  • Curbing curiosity – everything is permitted, but not beneficial – explore carefully also evaluating impact
  • Checking pride and vanity – it’s not about you – it is always about them (customers, staff, suppliers, stakeholder of any kind!)
  • Containing anger and revenge – these drain you; and equally important, expressing them will not draw others to you
  • Confining personal ambition – When yours is palatable, it pushes people away – they will not follow.
Proverbs 25:28 (NLT) A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

Emptying yourself of destructive curiosity, vanity, revenge and self-centered ambition creates a void that is crying out to be filled: fill it with the God who created you. He will build strong walls to protect you. It is his indwelling that will grant you peace and safety as you learn to control self by giving control to their Creator.

Which of those four “Cs” do you need to work on?

Copyright © 2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Focusing on Foresight

Foresight is one of the characteristics of leadership, and is especially focused upon in the literature about servant-leaders.

Beyond the simple thought of seeing “trouble coming” and avoiding it, is the deeper realization that developing the awareness to integrate information that is flowing toward and around you into knowledge is a product of maturing wisdom.

Proverbs 22:3 (MSG) A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.

Information alone is not a building block of “prudence;” rather, it is a clear understanding of past events, the objective look at current reality and an educated estimation of the intended and unintended consequences of what one “sees…coming” that are the hallmarks of prudent leadership.

Leaders are constantly moving between time states and it is the prudent (wise) leader that understands the past, respects the present and practices humility to face the future – especially a future over which the leader has no personal control.

The authentic leader is comfortable with that ambiguity – the servant who is a leader (the real power of servant-leadership) has the ability to make sense of the chaos of the “trouble coming” and the personal character and breadth of vision to respond appropriately for the benefit of the organization and the team. Forecasts are important: foresight adds insight and is vital.

Leadership awareness: are you taking the time to develop the skill of foresight?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Monday, September 21, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: What You Pursue has Consequences

Plato taught that moral thoughts are universal and that “the Good” can be attained through reason not through submission to revelation. Unlike Plato, Scripture (revelation) teaches that pursuing godliness is an act of submission.

Submitting or reasoning? We like the second: appeals to our ego.

Proverbs 21:21 (NLT) Whoever pursues godliness and unfailing love will find life, godliness, and honor.

Pursuing godliness (righteous living) and love (focus on others) in the workplace results in the kind of life that is attractive. The “work of the Lord” is always about love; therefore, we must speak the truth seasoned with grace.

Even when dealing with an under-performing employee, speaking brutal truth is about us: our reasoning ability to see what is “right and true.” Authentic leadership drives us to use compassion in exploration of the drivers of behaviors that result in negative impact on productivity (what Will Tuttle calls “ethical intelligence”). Honor results when we focus on the impact that truth will have on the hearer for the benefit of the Kingdom.

Pursuing godliness fuels personal outcomes that are attractive to God and others.

What fuels you?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Friday, September 18, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Be Aware of the Power of Your Words

Speech is the mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so he is. --Publilius Syrus

Our words, written or spoken, have power. More power than we often realize. Beyond the obvious meaning of choosing words that feed and nurture a person, as opposed to words that destroy a person, there is a subtly that is sometimes missed.

The leader who is full of jest, quick wit, “in-your-face” retorts or even IYF humor must develop the discipline to know when that kind of confident, carefree speech is appropriate. It would be well to remember what Plato said: Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.

Especially in this day of 140 character “speech” on social networking sites, something written with jest -- not because one has something to say, but because one can say something -- can easily be misunderstood because of the law of unintended consequences.

Proverbs 18:21 (MSG) Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit—you choose.

Developing the proficiency to speak in such a way that one limits the unintended consequences is a skill leaders must continually develop. I know how easy it is to quickly say what I’m thinking instead of thinking before I say.

For the Christian leader, your words have eternal consequences: “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” –Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:36-38)

Remember, that the words we say will teach if we practice what we preach.

What do you “preach” by your life and your language?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Thursday, September 17, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: The Discipline of Discourse.

"Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly." (Proverbs 17:12)

Does this seem like a hyperbole? A bit melodramatic? A stretch? A human who spreads his/her folly more deadly than a 500 pound Syrian Brown Bear, with bared teeth, menacing growl, towering height and long claws, diving down and running at us?

Fear the deadly, angry mother bear vs. a person wise in their own eyes: doesn’t seem like a choice? A person, who having no need for God, with whom we seek out for advice, listen to and admire is more deadly than that mother bear!

Why is that? Is it because the folly of fools fills us with false hope. Or is it because that folly is seductive: it appeals to our self-centered natures. It makes us feel good -- feeling good is paramount today.

Perhaps it is because the world’s words, having wormed their way into our willing hearts and minds, seem somehow filled with wisdom. And, after all, if “everybody” is thinking “that” way, it takes courage to provide a different perspective.

We have become a timid lot, we followers of the Way. It seems that takes more courage to stand up to a passionate person, wise in their own eyes, having no need for God and seducing the world to idolatry (worshiping anything other than God - a fool in his folly)than the deadly, angry mother bear. Sharing God’s Word with grace and truth demands of us a discipline of active listening and attractive communication. It demands asking good, thought-provoking questions, not vicious verbal attacks are passionate disagreement.

Committed Christian leaders must be always learning not only when to “stand up” – to discern the seduction of words and thoughts that have their genesis in Hell – but also what and how to say what honors God.

Who are you afraid of most: the bear or the fool?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Is God All in All?

A Christian Worldview recognizes that the source for maintaining truth and justice in affairs of commerce is God.

Proverbs 16:11 (AMP) A just balance and scales are the Lord's; all the weights of the bag are His work [established on His eternal principles].

A secularist sees the weights and scale as simply man’s manufacturing ability – man’s ingenuity. The philosophical two-story worldview in which we live (faith, feelings, etc. are in the private, upper story; science, math, commerce etc. are in the public, lower story) is blind to not only the source of the materials upon which creativity is applied, it also denies the Source of all: the Creator God who became man forever broke that false barrier. It is He – our creator - who put the concepts of “just scales” in man’s heart “so that no man can alter them without violating God's rights and authority.” (Wesley)

“God cares about honesty in the workplace; your business is his business.” (MSG)

The righteous leader knows God is all and in all – even at work. Do you honor your Creator – there?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Purpose and Pursuits

Purpose is the foundation of leadership. Knowing who you are, why you are here and where you are ultimately headed (the eternal) drives decisions directing your life and your leading.

God seeks leaders who have learned to integrate the sacred and the secular to impact the world for Him. The supposed division between the two got its start with Greek thinkers and through the centuries has become the dominant worldview.

Unfortunately, many believers have succumbed, living a Sunday life only Sunday: but that “way” – the way that denies God his rightful position in all of his creation – really does upset God. “A life frittered away disgusts God; he loves those who run straight for the finish line.” (Proverbs 15:9 - MSG)

Frittering away your life away or pursuing a Godly purpose: the choice is yours.

Which will you choose?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Friday, September 11, 2009

LEADRSHIP Series: Combining Direction and Counsel

Leaders practice foresight – remembering the past, objectively looking at the present, and ascertaining known consequences of decisions in the future.

Servant-leaders not only provide good direction, they also seek wise counsel. This is not “either/or” thinking; rather, it is “both/and.” The event we honor today, September 11, 2001, is a horrific example of the results of either/or.

Silo thinking is not part of servant-leadership culture and there is an absence of hierarchical vocabulary within the culture and its effect -- lack of collaboration. However, when humility is not regarded as vital, and arrogance is not only tolerated, but also often rewarded, people “lose their way” and become well known for offering answers, not solutions. The people running these kinds of organizations often don't ask for advice from the team despite the admonitions above that are certainly plain enough: get advice - Godly advice (wise counsel).

Proverbs 11:14 (MSG) Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.

God has called Believers to adopt a different attitude - one that seamlessly integrates the scared with the secular. God's word - God's people - and You. That's a team that improves “your chances.”

Have a Godly team surrounding you?

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

LEADERSHIP Series: Ethical Training for Leaders

A recent study from the IABC found that over 65% of their membership had no training on ethics – and it is this group that advices senior management on ethical decision-making!

It has also been my experience that, for the most cases, those who ran their business with the application of ethics were people who had grounding in the Word. Interestingly, many have rejected Christianity, per se – but all had experienced religious training in school.

Proverbs 9:10 (NIV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Today, ethics training that focuses on company values, internal and external relationships is certainly needed; however, the rules, regulations and process that often flow from that training are generally “head” issues.

For example, how people are treated is an ethical issue. It was Will Tuttle (Ph.D – composer, musician, author) who mused: “Compassion is ethical intelligence.”

Consistent application of ethics is based on a clear understanding of a human's purpose: the verse above points out that our purpose (to be in reverential awe - a healthy fear - of God) - or wisdom - and our understanding (the foundation of ethics) is a heart issue – if the heart is right with God, then the ethics will follow.

Is your heart “right?”

Copyright ©2009 by P. Griffith Lindell

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Leadership Series: On a Working Vacation

The run is rising over the Alabama Hills and reflects dramatically off the
Sierra's to the west.

I'm writing this a a buddy's home awaiting breakfast before we tackle the building of a set of new cabinets for his new house. I tell you this as a way of understanding why I have not written from Proverbs this week.

Mornings start early and at day's end, reading and meditating are not given any priority. Sleep works. Having a blast, however, using muscles long forgotten that have all reminded me of their importance to the functioning of the body.

There's a scriptural truth in there. Maybe someday soon I write about it.