Entries by Dave Kraft (1077)


Five things to keep in mind in making leadership decisions

Leaders make decisions. That's what all leaders (voluteers or paid staff) do. The more they are paid, the more is probably riding on those decisions . If you don't like to make decisions or are hampered by fear in make certain kinds of decisions maybe you should rethink your calling to lead.

Brad Lomenick shares five things to keep in mind in making decisions.

Leaders are decision makers. Period. Whatever the time of year and season of life, lots of decisions are probably on your desk or in your to do list waiting to be pushed forward. It’s something we must do. Constantly.

So here a few thoughts on making decisions:

1. Understand that it’s part of your job. Making decisions as a leader is normal and ordinary and required. It’s why you are a leader. Embrace it.

2. Sleep on the big ones. For big decisions, always sleep on them. The extra time will allow your decision to be made without the spontaneous emotion that comes with a spontaneous response.

3. Know your values. As Roy Disney stated, “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Many times indecision occurs because of lack of clarity on vision and values. Values are foundational and must be in place in order to move the organization forward.

4. Understand the context. Do your homework and make sure you are informed. Plus be aware of the situation- in the case of a good/bad decision, those are pretty easy. In the case of a better/best decision, those take a bit more time to push forward and get to a final decision. Different decisions require different levels of involvement, awareness, and information.

5. Just do it. Create a culture of action in your organization. Many leaders quickly become overwhelmed with several decisions in front of them and then unintentionally paralyze the organization by avoiding them all. Create a system of action that demands completion and execution, and ultimately your system/culture will demand decisions from you.


Learning leadership from Mickey Mouse and Disney!

You probably know by now that I am a leadership freak. I am fascinated and drawn to anything (movies, books, articles and music) that teaches me something about leadership.

I believe that.  “Everything stands or falls on leadership,” to quote John Maxwell. That’s why, by his grace, I have for many years, and will continue, to give my energy, time and life in helping to equip and empower the next generation of leaders in local churches.

I read a very interesting article in the LA Times Saturday, July 29th, 2017 edition about Marty Sklar. Marty worked for 54 years for the Disney Corporation and retired in 2006. He died on Thursday July 27 at 83 years of age.  

Quoting from The Times, “He embodied the very best of Disney, from his:

  •  Bold originality
  • Joyful optimism
  • Relentless drive for excellence

I love these three marks of leadership: Originality, optimism and excellence. There are too many carbon copies today and two few originals. There is too much pessimism today (with good reason perhaps) and not enough optimism. There is too much mediocrity today and not enough excellence. I want (by his grace) to embody these traits and motivate others to do the same.

Marty Sklar distilled what he learned during his time at Disney into what was called, “Mickey’s Ten Commandments” which according to the LA times became  “A widely circulated creed that remains a touchstone in the theme park industry and which became a cornerstone of Marty’s 54 year career at Disney.”

Here are “Mickey’s 10 commandments; lots of wisdom here on leadership for your group, company, organization or church.

Mickey's 10 Commandments

1.  Know your audience - Don't bore people, talk down to them or lose them by assuming that they know what you know.

2.  Wear your guest's shoes - Insist that designers, staff and your board members experience your facility as visitors as often as possible.

3.  Organize the flow of people and ideas - Use good story telling techniques, tell good stories not lectures, lay out your exhibit with a clear logic.

4.  Create a weenie - Lead visitors from one area to another by creating visual magnets and giving visitors rewards for making the journey

5.  Communicate with visual literacy - Make good use of all the non-verbal ways of communication - color, shape, form, texture.

6.  Avoid overload - Resist the temptation to tell too much, to have too many objects, don't force people to swallow more than they can digest, try to stimulate and provide guidance to those who want more.

7.  Tell one story at a time - If you have a lot of information divide it into distinct, logical, organized stories, people can absorb and retain information more clearly if the path to the next concept is clear and logical.

8.  Avoid contradiction - Clear institutional identity helps give you the competitive edge. Public needs to know who you are and what differentiates you from other institutions they may have seen.

9.  For every ounce of treatment , provide a ton of fun - How do you woo people from all other temptations? Give people plenty of opportunity to enjoy themselves by emphasizing ways that let people participate in the experience and by making your environment rich and appealing to all senses.

10.  Keep it up - Never underestimate the importance of cleanliness and routine maintenance, people expect to get a good show every time, people will comment more on broken and dirty stuff.





Ten things that can cause church conflicts to get out of hand!

Conflict is not necessarily bad, but the way it’s handled can be bad. Where there are no conflicts there probably aren’t real deep relationships either.

Chuck Lawless shares ten things that contribute to conflict in churches getting out of hand.

Originally posted by Chuck Lawless

Some years ago, I was a volunteer firefighter. It was amazing to see what could happen when a tiny spark ignited a small blaze that could quickly become a roaring fire. Given the right conditions, a spark could lead to absolute destruction. 

That happens in church conflict, too. Here are 10 “right conditions” for escalating conflict in a church. 

1.  The church is made up of sinners. That’s the case, of course, and that fact won’t change. Sinful people are naturally selfish and divisive. Sanctification sometimes takes a while to correct these tendencies.

2.  Members care about something. This “condition” might seem strange, so hear my point. Some conflict in the church heats up in direct proportion to how much people care about some issue in the church. Their care may be misdirected, and their sense of ownership may be problematic – but they fight for something precisely because they care about it that much. 

3.  The church has no “up front” relational expectations. The churches I know that deal well with conflict are usually those who teach how to deal with relational conflict as early as their membership class. The church that ignores these potential issues invites problems.

4.  Nobody’s praying for unity.  Jesus prayed this way in John 17:21 – “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.” If Jesus prayed that prayer for His followers, we, too, should be praying for this unity.

5.  Church leaders have not taught biblical principles for conflict resolution. Matthew 18:15-20 is a starting point. Putting others before self (Phil. 2:3) obviously matters. Believers who don’t know what the Bible teaches about reconciliation will follow the ways of the world – and the way of the world is often, “I want to win.” 

6.  Leaders do not address legitimate concerns.  At times, the concerns that church members raise are legitimate. When church leaders blatantly ignore those concerns, nonchalantly hear them, or superficially address them, the conflict is not resolved. Its resolution is only delayed.

7.  Conflict is not separated from emotion. I think, for example, of battles over worship styles. These preferences are so connected with emotions that it’s often difficult to separate the two. Conflict escalates because emotions heat up.

8.  People operate in secret. You know the scenarios. Anonymous complaints. Unsigned letters. Behind the scenes meetings. Opposition rallies cloaked as “prayer meetings.” It’s all secretive – and it’s often demonic.

9.  People listen to gossip. Once conflict begins, it’s often fueled by rumor and innuendo. Those who spread the rumors are acting in sin, but so are those folks who stoke the coals by listening. As long as anyone listens, the fire spreads.

10.  Nobody carries out church discipline. It would be ideal if all conflict were resolved before discipline became necessary. The Bible, though, assumes that churches will take necessary steps to deal with troublesome members. If the church doesn’t do so (or, if they do so, but in an unbiblical or uncharitable way), they prolong the conflict. 





Much of it boils down to just one thing!

It all basically comes down to one thing…in many cases:


I had a coaching call with one of my clients recently and the entire call was pretty much a discussion about some bad habits he had gotten into and what he needed to do to break the vicious cycle and build some good habits.

Much of life, in general, and of the life of a leader, in particular, is all about breaking bad habits and forming good habits; as we are led by him, empowered by him and seek to honor Him.

Habits in how we are:

1) Using time

2) Spending money

3) Making decisions

4) Dealing with Conflict

5) Reading

6) Leading meetings

7) Hiring the right people

8) Letting the wrong people go

9) Continuing to grow ourselves and our leadership potential

10) Sleeping

11) Exercising

12) Eating

Using the above list what bad habits, over time, have you allowed yourself to get into?

There is something commendable about, by his grace, trying to stop doing things which are hurting you and the ministry and to, instead, start doing thing which will help you and the ministry. In a sense, we are all creatures of habit to one degree or another, for better or worse.

Let’s stop over-spiritualizing what’s wrong and look at our habits which are getting us into trouble…maybe even lots of trouble.

Oh, it’s the devil, or it’s this town, or it’s the people in my church or organization.  Maybe it’s YOU!  Maybe it’s some bad habits you have allowed to creep in, start with yourself. I have the habit of (fill in the blank).

By way of application, ask yourself these two questions:

1) What is one habit I have gotten into which is hurting me and the work I’m called to do?

2) What can I, will I, do to stop that habit and start building the habit of doing things differently which could make all the difference in the world?



Critiquing without crushing


Constructive critique is an absolute skill set every effective leader needs to acquaire. Eric Geiger share five ways to critique without crushing! Good stuff!

Originally posted by Eric Geiger

 Five Ways to Critique Without Crushing

As a leader, you owe it to those you lead to offer them feedback. Without feedback, development is hampered, as people don’t know what actions to repeat and what actions to tweak. Giving encouragement and accolades is not something leaders dread, but offering feedback that could be perceived as critical is something many leaders struggle with. Yet wise and loving leaders critique because they love those on their teams and long to help them develop.

The goal of a leader’s critique must be to equip and prepare, not crush and demoralize. A leader who critiques haphazardly is likely to harm team members and not help them. Here are five ways to critique without crushing those you lead:

1.  Check your own motivations.

Before you have a feedback conversation, check your own motivations. Do you want to prove that you are right, that you are smarter? Or do you really want to help the person? Do you want to unload on someone or do you want to develop a person on your team? If you want to blow someone up, just know that you are really offering critique for your sake and not those you lead.

2.  Affirm what is affirmable.

When giving difficult feedback, be sure to affirm what is affirmable. Be sincere. Don’t affirm something that you don’t really appreciate or value. But if you do not offer any affirmation, you risk crushing the person with the belief that they are doing nothing right at all. If the person is not doing anything well, then just move the person off the team. It is cruel and unloving to leave the person in the role and continually crush him in hopes that he just leaves.

3.  Be immediate.

A quick way to erode trust on your team is to keep a long list of wrongs. If you store up critical feedback for one long session, you will crush the person, and the team member will always wonder if a new list is being formed. Delayed feedback hampers development, as people are unable to adjust and learn. Real-time feedback helps the person develop and simultaneously builds trust.

4.  Be specific.

If you just say, “Get better,” “Lead stronger,” or “Here is what I am sensing,” without offering specificity, you crush the person with lack of clarity. Without specificity in a critique, there is no way for the person to adjust. If you only speak in generalities, you crush people with expectations they cannot meet because they don’t even know what the expectations are.

5.  Dialog on action steps.

A critique should not be a monologue but a dialogue. Work with the person to discuss action items and next steps. Without action steps, the team member leaves your office crushed with uncertainty about what is next. Actions steps provide a sense of closure to the issue and a path forward.