My personal G.P.S.

One of the traits that I admire in others and, with His help, practice in my life, is being a life-long learner.  This is especially true as it relates to my character.  In I Timothy 3 and Titus 1, two key chapters in the New Testament on leadership, most of the listed qualities have more to do with character and relationships than with skills.

I read Joshua 13:1 a few months ago, “Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, ‘You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess.’ ”  As I memorized, and have been meditating on that verse, I understood that, application-wise, it impacts both my work for the Lord, and my walk with the Lord. At first I was thinking of remaining land to possess mostly being my workdreams to dreamgoals to reachpeople to influence.  Then I was led to consider that “land to possess” could apply to my character and my relationships.

In some extended time with Jesus, which I try to have once a month, I was led to develop my personal GPS (Global Positioning Satellite).  I wrote three thoughts in my prayer book that I have been praying about daily.

Gracious words - It is so easy to be everything but gracious with the words that flow out of my mouth. I can be judgmental, cutting, unkind, uncompassionate, critical.  I am asking Jesus to help me be gracious in my speech.

Patient spirit - If there is one sin that has caused more trouble in my life than any other it is being impatientbeing in too much of a hurry and not waiting for God’s timing. I tend to rush ahead and take things into my own hands, not trusting the Lord.  Luke 8: 15 mentions “bearing fruit with patience.” That is the first time I connected the dots between being fruitful and being patient. I confess that I hate to wait. I am grateful for His patience in dealing with my impatience. Even at my old age (that is why I can identify with Joshuaold and advanced in years), I am trusting the Lord for personal transformation in this area of my life

Servant’s heart - Just today I read Luke 22 and focused on verses 25-28, “The kings of the gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” I am asking Jesus to show me what true servant leadership looks like.  How can I humbly serve others in ways that don’t draw attention and praise to myself?

As a life-long learner and leader, what has He been showing you?  Can you identify remaining land yet to possess?


Joyfully Inefficient

Now that is a novel thought if I ever heard one.  Joyful at being inefficient?

How is that possible when all our life we have been  admonished to be efficient, hurry up, don’t forget to take your lunch, don’t be late, use your time and money wisely, don’t leave home without it (whatever “it” may be)?

Can creative leadership and inefficient leadership work well side by side in the same group, church or business?  Can you pursue innovation and creativity and, at the same time, be excellently efficient? Maybe not.

Creativity is often not neat, tidy and “efficient.”  Being efficient, in the traditional sense of the word, can kill creativity. It seems like an oxymoron, joyfully inefficient; being a happy slob at work…seriously?

Do you have to choose here…to either be creative and inefficient, or be non-creative and efficient?

Being efficient, it seems, mandates that we not let our creative passions run too wild. Put a lid on it. Be in control. Be predictable.

Maybe we can go down the road of not asking creative types to be overly efficient nor efficient types to be overly creative. On the other hand, can’t we wed the two instead of making them enemies?

How many creative people have walked away from “efficient organizations” because they felt suffocated by all the “bureaucratic rules;” or been fired for not being organized enough? Can we embrace pockets of intentional inefficiency in an otherwise efficient culture, or is that asking for too much?

What do you think about being joyfully inefficient? It would be great to have your comments posted here. Weigh in…whether you are the efficient type or the creative type.


General Tommy Franks Lessons in Leadership

In June 2000, Tommy Franks was promoted to four-star General and assigned as Commander-in-Chief, United States Central Command. It’s in this position that the world knows Tommy Franks best – the culmination of an almost four-decade military career that saw him lead American and Coalition troops in two strategically unprecedented campaigns in two years – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.

The General’s awards include five Distinguished Service Medals, four Legions of Merit, four Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts, in addition to numerous foreign awards. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by order of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on May 25, 2004. And President George W. Bush awarded him the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom on December 14, 2004.

Michael Hyatt (CEO of Thomas Nelson, Inc.) heard General Franks speak and shared the following on his blog:

Tommy flunked out of the University of Texas in 1967. Rather than wait to be drafted to fight in Vietnam, he enlisted in the Army. When we got on the bus to leave for boot camp, his father said, “Son, I have one piece of advice. Be feisty.”

Tommy replied, “But Dad, I am feisty.”

My dad said, “Son, I know you’re feisty, but I mean it as an acronym.

F-E-I-S-T-Y.” His Father then went onto spell it out:

“F” is for focus. You need to get focused on what is important and stay focused.

“E” is for energy. Bring all the energy you can muster to every situation.

“I” is for integrity. This is your most important possession. Don’t ever compromise it.

“S” is for solve the problem. Don’t argue. Don’t make excuses. Just solve the problem and get on with it.

“T” is for take the blame when no one else will. Accept responsibility and be accountable.

“Y” is for “Yes, I do windows.” Don’t ever say, “That’s not my job.” Do whatever the boss asks you to do and do it with enthusiasm.




Do-Attitudes Part 3-Integrity

Whatever you do, do it with excellence, with enthusiasm.  Today we cover the last of the three do-attitudes, integrity.

We have heard a lot lately from political and religious circles about a lack of financial and sexual integrity. Chuck Colson, when asked at a speaking engagement in Chicago what he thought were the three most important characteristics of a successful leader responded: “Integrity, integrity, integrity.”

Integrity means, among other things, doing what you said you would do when you said you would do it. There are only two responses to an assigned task or responsibility: performance or excuses. Personally, I have seen a lot more excuses than performances.  The landscape of promise is strewn with “yes, buts!” Don't promise more than you can deliver; then deliver without excuses! Better to under promise and over deliver than to over promise and under deliver. Personally, I place a very high value on dependability and faithfulness in those who work for/with me. Character counts; and, in light of what we read and watch on TV, it counts more than ever.

God places a higher value on our character than on our comfort or our convenience.  There is a phrase in Psalm 15 that bears this out and speaks well to the issue of being good for your word; a person of integrity.  It is found in verse four, "...who swears to his own hurt and does not change."  The person who promises and carries through, even when it costs him something.
So, join me in a renewed commitment to practice the DO-ATTITUDES of excellence, enthusiasm and integrity.  Along with Nike, I say to all of us, JUST DO IT!


Do-attitudes Part 2-Enthusiasm

Last week we started a three-week series on Do-attitudes that go hand in glove with the beatitudes.

We started with excellence; this week, enthusiasm; next week integrity.

Whatever you DO, do it with ENTHUSIASM.  Dr. John Maxwell tells the story of being in a small plane with a pilot friend and noticing the attitude indicator. Not understanding how an aircraft could have an attitude, he questioned the pilot and got an education in life. Yes, a plane does have an attitude; it is the aircraft’s position in relation to the horizon.  When the nose is pointed up it is called a nose up attitude and when the nose is pointed down it is called a nose down attitude. The attitude of the plane directly affects the performance of the plane.  So it is in life.  Nose down: negative, critical, pessimistic; nose up: positive, encouraging, enthusiastic.

DL Moody was once asked how he had become the engaging, enthusiastic communicator that he was.  He responded by saying that before he was to speak, he would go out into a field by himself and ask God to set him on fire. On fire with God-given enthusiasm;amen and amen!
Do what you do with a nose up enthusiastic attitude and the performance of whatever you do will be dramatically affected for the better. Those you are teamed with and lead will also be affected. Leaders who do their best and accomplish the most in life invariably possess this contagious characteristic of enthusiasm. Paul's advice to the Colossian believers is as relevant and essential today as it was when he first wrote it, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men" Col 3:23.