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Don’t Suffocate Your Staff

It always surprises me to see managers who suffocate their staff.   By suffocating their staff, I’m referring to leaders who are unwilling to let their employees out of their grips for fear of losing the employee or losing control.  These types of leaders are actually doing the exact opposite of what they are trying to do.  This tight grip and suffocating behavior will reduce performance, squash creativity and inevitably cause employees to leave.

When I was a young Warden, my mentor and boss would frequently tell me this regarding my staff members. “Scott, hold onto your team loosely, because ultimately they are not yours to hold onto.” That statement has always stuck with me!

If we hold onto our employees loosely, they feel the freedom of the open hands which ultimately increases productivity and develops more leaders.  This philosophy of encouraging your employees to “grow and go” will result in you losing some great ones from time to time.  The great thing about leading with the open-handed mentality, is the fact that those you loose will always be quickly replenished.

On the other hand, the employer who plants a suffocating scarcity seed, won’t reap a scarce harvest.  I have led several teams in which we lost key players to some higher impact roles; however every time they were replenished with some equally amazing team members without the team missing a beat.

Scarcity Mentality – Not enough good to go around vs. Abundance Mentality – There is more than enough great to go around.

If you are in an suffocating staff situation, encourage the leader to open their hands. If that doesn’t work, it may be time “to go and grow.”

Let Go! dream BIG. think BIGGER.

Share your thoughts and experiences with the suffocating approach.

Helping Others Win

Over the years I have found that Helping Others Win is a very important duty.  As leaders, our primary goal is to help those around us win.  As followers, our primary goal is to help those that we follow win.  If those around us are winning, the organization wins and that’s a win win.

As parents it’s important to help our children win. We provide environments, teaching, structure, systems, beliefs and assistance that help create opportunities for success.  As married couples, we must be wholly committed to helping one another win.

Helping Others Win is such a simple concept, but it’s often overlooked in this self-consuming day and age.  It’s much easier for a boss to fire someone, a coach to give up on someone and a spouse to hit the road than it is to commit to winning.

Charlie Sheen may be a little off of his rocker, but the one thing he gets is Winning. He was quoted as saying, “I’m not bi-polar, I’m bi-winning.”

We need to become more focused on being bi-winning…  In other-words, creating situations where everyone wins.  Help Someone Win Today!

Why are people not committed to Helping Others Win?  Share your thoughts on helping others win.

John Ortberg Interview: “The State Of The Church”

Perspectives: John Ortberg and Scott Williams from Monvee Video on Vimeo.

It was great to sit down with one of the great authors and ministry leaders John Ortberg.  John asked me some candid questions about the state of the church and the state of Church Diversity.  I have always appreciated his wisdom, leadership, writing & influence from afar…  It was an honor to sit down and hear his heart and field a few questions.

Share your thoughts about anything we discussed in the interview, or feel free to share ask any additional questions that you may have.

The Measure Of Success

Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded!

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Asking New Questions

Often times our life stories and the various chapters of our life stories are written based upon the questions that we ask ourselves.  Some people may be reading this an wonder what in the world I’m talking about.

The reality for most of us, is that we participate in self-talk and ask ourselves questions all of the time.  Can I Do This?  If I do this, what will happen? Do I have what it takes? Will I ever…?

We have to change the way we think and begin to ask new questions:

Instead of asking: Where will I be in 5 years?

Ask: Where will I be next month or next quarter? The answer to those questions will pave the way for where you will be in 5 years.

Instead of asking: If I do so and so, will I make so and so happy?

Ask: If I do so and so with a great attitude, great effort and with integrity will it make God happy?

Instead of asking: What if I try to stop the sin or break the habit and I’m unsuccessful?

Ask: What if I try to stop the sin or break the habit and I succeed?

Instead of asking: How can I make myself look good?

Ask: How can I make others look good?

Instead of asking: What if I’m wrong?

Ask: What if I’m right?

Instead of asking: Why am I not getting the opportunities and promotions?

Ask: What can I do to get better?

Instead of asking: What does so and so think and say about me?

Ask: What does God think and say about me?

Instead of asking: What if I fail?

Ask: What if I don’t fail?

Do you need to ask some new questions?  Do you think the questions that we ask ourselves, affect our life stories?

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Leader, “It’s All Your Fault!”

The term “Leader” carries a great deal of responsibility.  Once a person obtains the title of Leader, they also get the bonus baggage of “The bucks stops with you!”  No matter how you slice, sugarcoat, twist, manipulate or excuse organizational outcomes; the bottom line is that “It’s All Your Fault!”

Leaders are generally comfortable carrying the “It’s All Your Fault” tag when their team, area or organization is experiencing success.  When things take a turn for the worse, wins are hard to come by and “Big Mo” has left the building; the excuses will begin to roll like Alabama.  Stop with the excuses, stop blaming your team and look in the mirror, because “It’s All Your Fault!”

Sometimes it may not seem fair for the leader to take all of the blame, as they don’t have control over each and every variable.  Leadership is not about fairness, and the responsibility nature is just part of the game.  I once had someone ask me if a particular area under my tootelege was successful because of the particular leader leading it or in spite of that particular leader.  My answer was absolutely because of that particular leader.  If things were failing it wouldn’t be in spite of that particular leader, it’s a two-way street.

DeaLeaders, if your organization is failing, people are leaving, people are not being developed, people are unhappy, leaders are not rising to the top, momentum is long gone and you can’t seem to spell suczcess… “It’s All Your Fault!” If things are great and success is happening, enjoy the season because “It’s All Your Fault!”

There is no need to complain about the outcomes, just embrace the reality.  Next time your boss starts complaining and making excuses, simply look them in the eyes and say “It’s All Your Fault!” Remember, just because it’s their fault doesn’t you mean they won’t pull a Donald Trump on you and look you in the eyes and say, “You’re Fired!”

The person who complains about the way the ball bounces, is likely the one who dropped it. ~Lou Holtz

What do you think?

Get Your Priorities Straight

I went back and forth on the title of this post, I was deciding between “Get Your Priorities Straight” and “Your Family Is More Important Than Your Desire To Take Care Of Your Family.”  Either way, I’m thinking, feeling and writing the same thing.

It seems like I have been a part of at least 4-5 conversations in the last couple of months with individuals who are struggling with getting their priorities straight and somewhat of a “Where do I go from here?” dilemma.  Each and every time the conversations centers around what they are doing professionally, what God has called them to do, the amount of time they are spending with their family, putting people and success over family, putting their job over their marriage and putting their drive for success over their kids etc.

There is always tension in the area of “Getting Our Priorities Straight.”  This past weekend while my wife and I were at our son’s track meet in Texas, I received a short e-mail from someone that I don’t know, that made me think about priorities.  I’m sure the e-mail is a result of me sharing my kids/family business via social media.  The e-mail simply read, “Scott, your care for your children is the bomb! I don’t often see folks so willing to tote their children so many places when they’re involved in in so many extra curricular activities.  You’re a great example.”

The crazy thing is I receive random Twitter, Facebook & email notes from people all of the time with some mention of mine or Lakendria’s interaction with our sons.  It can be the simplest things, even our weekly barbershop and Sonic run that people make mention of.  Those notes always remind me of the simple fact that we have to get our priorities straight.  I’m not saying our priorities involve weekly Sonic runs or being involved in lots of extra curricular activities.  I am saying that our priorities are this simple:

  • 1. God – Love God, Seek God, Worship God, Study God’s Word, Give,  Spend Time, Pray, Serve, Seek, Listen, Love, Read, Striving for our God Potential…
  • 2. Family – Invest in your family, invest in your marriage, invest in your kids, put family above everything else besides God.  Your family is more important than your image, work, status etc.  Your family is more important than your desire to take care of your family.  Don’t put the latter before the former.
  • 3. Everything Else – Work, Works, Will, Wants…  Don’t ever let whatever falls in this category to trump God & Family.  Yes you have to work to take care of your family, but there must be a balance, we must get our priorities straight.  In case you are wondering if your priorities are straight, simply ask your wife, ask your children and ask those who love you dearly.  Make adjustments as necessary.

Everyone has different priorities, it’s important to sit down as a family and figure out what those priorities are.  Some people may think our priorities are jacked up, because we spend so much time toting our kids around as the e-mail read.  I thank God for the freedom to choose and the freedom to prioritize.  My current reality consists of quite a bit of traveling; however those events always run through my priority grid.  My 8yo’s piano recital, family vacation, track meets, date nights etc. are more important to me than speaking to thousands of people at a conference.

Sometimes scheduling conflicts will occur; however when I have the ability to choose…  I will choose to get my priorities straight.

Share Your Thoughts on Getting Our Priorities Straight?

I Can’t Syndrome

When someone is struggling, having limited success or not reaching their potential, more times than not they suffer from the “I Can’t Syndrome.”  This syndrome usually develops when individuals have been exposed to the “You Can’t Virus.”

This virus is highly contagious, especially when the contact is from friends, family, parents, spouses, supervisors, teachers etc.  Often times you will see this virus develop from self inflicted exposure, as individuals begin to buy into the lie of “I Can’t!”

I Can’t Syndrome can be easily cured and it begins with taking a few basic steps and changing a few basic thoughts.

  • I could never do that… I’m looking forward to giving it a try.
  • They expect me to fail… I’m ready to succeed.
  • I don’t have what it takes… I’m gonna make it happen with what I have.

I could go on and on about an individuals need to change the way they think, the need to think positive thoughts, the need to believe in themselves and the need to take what the naysayers have to say with a grain of salt.

The bottom line is this, the “I Can’t Syndrome” has less to do with others and more to do with a self diagnosis.  If you think you can’t, chances are that you are probably right. The same is true about believing that you can.

I’d much rather be an optimist who is sometimes wrong, than a pessimist who is always right.

If you or someone that you know suffers from “I Can’t Syndrome” remember the story and motto of The Little Engine That Could.  As the Little Engine was faced with the difficult and somewhat impossible task of climbing the hill, it said over and over: “I–think–I–can, I–think–I–can.” As it finally reached the top of the hill after shaking off any symptoms of “I Can’t Syndrome” the Little Engine began congratulating itself by saying, “I thought I could, I thought I could.”

I Can’t Syndrome

Do you or someone that you know suffer from this?

Pistol Packin’ Pastors

I was talking with a buddy of mine not long ago who was considering going through the process of obtaining his concealed handgun carry license.  I had informed him that I’ve had my concealed carry license for quite some time… that was the beginning of a pontificatory (I think I just made up a word) conversation about pastors and Christians packin’ and owning guns.

There are a wide range of opinions about whether or not pastors should own guns and definitely on whether or not pastors should carry handguns.  When the concealed carry law came into existence there were several states in which pastors of rural and urban churches lobbied lawmakers to change the law to add clergy to the list of those who could carry guns.  Some pastors were fearful of armed robbers stealing the offering… Wha? that’s an entirely different blog-post within itself.  I know the State of Kentucky was successful in making Pistol Packin’ Pastors a reality.

I personally had my concealed carry license prior to being a pastor (back in my Warden days); however I am totally okay with pastors owning and packin’ pistols.  I don’t make a big deal of it, I pray that I will never have to use it and it simply remains in a safe place.  The right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution does not exclude pastors.

Again, it’s perfectly fine for a pastor to be a Pistol Packin’ Pastor and to own a gun, not only for the purposes of hunting; but for personal and family protection as well.  I know many pastor’s that agree with me and others that totally disagree; it’s simply a matter of personal choice.  I don’t carry my handgun on me concealed anymore; however I’m fully armed at home.  Not in some crazy weird way, I simply just own a handgun that stays in a safe place and I’ve taken my wife to shooting lessons in the past.

Some of you are probably reading this and saying what about Love & Faith and More Love & More Faith.  I love my family and that’s why I own a gun; in case I need to use it to protect my house, my family and my stuff.   “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.” Luke 11:21

Should pastors own or pack guns?  Overall thoughts on Pistol Packin’ Pastors & Christians?

What Used To Work, Is No Longer Working!

I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately, and with traveling comes a lot of learning and people watching.  One thing that I have noticed is that every time I’m in the airport there is a little booth where people are trying to get you to sign up for some credit card associated with frequent flier miles of some sort.  We’ve all seen them, as people walk by they start yelling, “Hey sir or ma’am get your card, earn some miles, get a free flight…”

The problem with their “talking & yelling” approach is that no one is listening, people continue to walk by and avoid the booth like the plague.  Dave Ramsey is probably delighted to see everyone walk swiftly past the airline credit card people.

I personally think they need to STOP Talking, Nobody Is Listening.  They need to try a new approach.   What used to work, is no longer working.

That’s the story of life, leadership, relationships etc.  Sometimes we need to STOP Talking, Nobody is listening.  Try a new approach: “What Used To Work, Is No Longer Working!”

I went back and forth on whether to title this post STOP Talking, Nobody Is Listening because that seemed to make sense.  I decided to take my own advice and titled it,“What Used To Work, Is No Longer Working!”

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