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With A Piece Of Chalk

There can be multiple take-a-ways from this piece. What do you think?

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7 Mistakes Church Leaders Make

Often times leaders are not always measured on their wins or successes, but rather their mistakes and failures. A leader is supposed to have wins, therefore they are often times overlooked; however those mistakes stick out like a sore thumb.

I have had the opportunity to both work in leadership positions and provide leadership consulting for publicly traded corporations, political entities, correctional organizations and ministries. In recent years I’ve had the opportunity to speak at conferences and consult with churches all around the world. Over these years, I have made and witnessed many leadership mistakes. As I look at mistakes in the the context of ministry leadership, there are 7 common mistakes that seem to be prevalent among ministry leaders:

7 Mistakes Church Leaders Make

  • 1. Blame It On Ministry- Ministry leaders will blame their unwillingness to make tough decisions on the fact that “It’s Ministry” or “I know they are not doing so and so, but we are a church.” Yes it might be a church or a ministry role; however that’s no excuse for not holding people accountable, expecting excellence and demanding a high level of performance. If secular leaders are expected to perform, shouldn’t ministry leaders be held to even a higher standard… Not only perform, but perform w/ integrity! Don’t Blame It On Ministry!
  • 2. Copy Cat- Often times ministry leaders try to replicate what they see popular churches, ministries or pastors doing. Don’t get me wrong it’s important for ministry leaders to learn from what other successful ministries are doing and apply those ideas, concepts, practices, systems and theories contextually to their ministry. The problem with Copy Cat’s is they listen to a pastor at a conference or see something another ministry is doing and try to 100% replicate it, without understanding the history, context and DNA behind those decisions, practices or systems. Don’t be a Copy Cat!
  • 3. Only Learn From Within Christian/Ministry Circles- Ministry leaders make the mistake of limiting their learning circles; they only learn from other christian leaders, christian books, other pastors, church leaders etc. Ministry leaders should open up their arsenal to learn from what industry and major corporations as well.  Specifically, as it relates to leveraging technology, leadership principles, HR practices, talent search and understanding customer service.  In most cases, industry is normally 10+ years ahead of the strategies/practices that ministries are implementing.  Industry, including the sports industry can teach ministry leaders a lot of valuable information; ministry leaders must be willing to seek and learn.  If we open our eyes, we can find those God moments an learning all around us. Don’t Exclusively Learn From Within Christian/Ministry Circles!
  • 4. Hire The Wrong People- Just because Johnny was successful at so and so church and has so and so seminary degree; doesn’t mean he or she is the person that is going to take your ministry to the next level.  Don’t limit your hires to individuals that only have ministry experience. Don’t hire someone simply because they have a good heart or because they were a good volunteer. Every hire is of extreme importance to the success of the ministry, take your time and give each hire the time and effort they deserve!  Don’t Hire The Wrong People!
  • 6. Think They Own Their Staff – Just because your staff members have signed on the dotted line and accepted their calling to work for your ministry doesn’t mean they can’t leave and go somewhere else. Often times ministry leaders can get bent out of shape because a team member decides to leave their ministry for another ministry. The reality is this – the staff are not yours in the first place, you must learn to live with an abundance mentality and God will send you more than enough great team leaders. If someone wants to move on, create an environment where they can come to you openly about their decision without repercussion. If God is the one doing the “calling,” He can pick up the phone and call a team member to a different ministry at any time. The staff are not yours, they’re God’s, your ministry is not yours, it’s God’s. Don’t think that you own your staff!
  • 6. Trade Success For Learning – Success can be the greatest impediment to future success. Success overshadows failures and covers up blind-spots. As ministry leaders have more success, they tend to have the attitude of: “What can I learn from so and so? What can so and so teach us, look at where we are?” Ministry leaders must be lifelong learners and not allow their success to be a substitute for learning, development and growth. Don’t trade your success for learning!
  • 7. Don’t Seek God- This one should be common sense; however many times a leader will make a huge decision without taking any time to seek God.  Seeking God Should Always Be Part Of The Equation!

Share your experiences or thoughts on any of these 7 mistakes! Feel free to add more to the list.

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11 Attributes Of Great Leadership

There are many attributes that various leaders possess, many of them positive and unfortunately some not so positive. People are looking for particular attributes in leaders they want to work for. Leaders that possess these attributes generally have a positive, healthy work environment with minimal turnover.

Below are 11 Attributes People Are Looking For In a Leader. We will creatively title them:

11 Attributes Of Great Leadership

  • 1. Honesty – Tell the truth; even if lying is easier — tell the truth. || “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson
  • 2. Integrity – Do what’s right; even if nobody is watching — do what’s right. || “There are seven things that will destroy us: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Religion without sacrifice; Politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics.” ~Mahatma Gandhi and I will add an 8th “Leadership without integrity.”
  • 3. Visionary – Have some vision for where you’re going; empower your team to get you there and if you don’t do anything else — have some vision for where you are going. || “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson
  • 4. Self Awareness – Know who you are; the good, the bad and the ugly, know who you are. ||  “He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” ~Lao Tzu
  • 5. Risk Taker – Be willing to try new things, new strategies and embrace new ideas; even if the ideas aren’t yours — be willing to try new things, new strategies and embrace new ideas. || “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~Harold R. McAlindon
  • 6. Caring – Truly care about those you lead; people can care less about how much you know until they know how much you care — truly care about those you lead. || “Our love is like the misty rain that falls softly, but floods the river…” ~African Proverb
  • 7. Stand For Something – Lead by convictions; know why you do what you do and why you think what you think — lead by convictions. || “You must stick to your conviction, but be ready to abandon your assumptions.” ~Denis Waitley
  • 8. Spirit Of Development – Develop other leaders; without leadership development, the pipeline of leadership is halted — develop other leaders. || “My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too.” ~Jack Welch
  • 9. Good Listener – Be willing to listen; if you’re always talking, there is a good chance you are not listening — be willing to listen. || “To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation” ~Chinese Proverb
  • 10. Lifetime Leaner – Learn from anything and everything; no matter how many degrees or titles you have, you always have the capacity to learn — learn from anything and everything.  || “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” ~John F. Kennedy
  • 11. Humility –  Stay level-headed and don’t think that you’re better than others; no matter how much success, praise or fortune you receive, stay level-headed and don’t think that you’re better than others. || “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” ~St. Augustine

What do you think about these 11 attributes? Share your thoughts and experiences. 

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Top 10 Most Searched Words In 2012

Words, Words, Words… According to Google, here are the most searched words or terms in 2012.

  • 1. Whitney Houston
  • 2. Hurricane Sandy
  • 3. Election 2012
  • 4. Hunger Games
  • 5. Jeremy Lin
  • 6. Olympics 2012
  • 7. Amanda Todd
  • 8. Gangnam Style
  • 9. Michael Clarke Duncan
  • 10. Kony 2012

Thoughts? Any surprises on or off the list for you?

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Top 5 Reasons Your New Business Will Succeed

As a start-up guy, serial entrepreneur and business owner 10 times over, I have come to the conclusion that there are 5 simple reasons why a new business will be successful. No matter the arena (business or life), these 5 reasons for success are consistent.

Awareness of these reasons is critical to understanding why your new business is failing or thriving. It also allows you the opportunity to ask the question “Are We doing the basics?”

Top 5 Reasons Your New Business Will Succeed

  • 1. Good Idea – The idea for the business has to be a good idea. It doesn’t have to be great, simply good enough, founded upon a need or identifiable market space, an overall sound idea and concept. It will be up to you to move it from good to great. The movement of an idea from good to a great has less to do with the idea and more with how the idea is implemented.
  • 2. Quality Product – Quality product is something that’s overlooked in this quick, fast, marketing, viral, social media day and age. Businesses and individuals will take a good idea and couple it with a mediocre product, service delivery and experience. The result of that combination will be a failing, mediocre, run of the mill business on the verge of closing its doors. A Superb product is part of the process of moving an idea and business from good to great.
  • 3. Word Of Mouth – The number one lasting source of customers for any business is referrals. Advertising will get the ball rolling, referrals and word of mouth will make sure that it maintains momentum. The number one reason people will try a new business is because someone told them to. Think about the last “new business” that you tried, checked out, visited or experienced… my guess would be you tried it because someone told you about it. The majority of my business in every business venture I’ve been a part of, including my current situation with Nxt Level Solutions has been the results of word of mouth. People telling people.
  • 4. Change and Adjust — Change is crucial. Change doesn’t mean “being all things to all people.” Change is more about adjusting to your market, your environment, your situation, the trends etc. A successful life and a successful business are a result of change and adjustments. You can willingly change and adjust or you will be forced to change and adjust. Change is not about compromising, some of the most successful non-compromising people are willing to change.“Life is change, growth is optional… choose wisely.” ~Karen Clark
  • 5. Hard Work — There is no substitute for hard work. In life and in business elevators and shortcuts are helpful; however sometimes you have to take the stairs. Good idea, good product, word of mouth, adjust and work hard.

If you want your new business, church plant or start-up to succeed, it will boil down to these 5 things.

Thoughts?

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Understanding Success

Success is such a much sought after thing. We learn about success from a very early age. As a matter of fact, most of us can remember the days of receiving smiley faces, stars, A’s on report card and various atta’ boys equating to success. Later in life success happens with various achievements in High School, a college degree and ultimate success is that professional job or successful career.

Over the years I have come to learn that success is not a destination, it’s a journey and successes are mile-markers on the journey. To understand success, one must understand their journey, celebrate the mile-markers and keep pressing on.

For those that are sitting on the side of the road a bit hesitant or fearful of jumping on the road of success, you must begin to think and believe that success is going to happen.

Thought is the seed, speaking prepares the soil, believing nourishes the seed and action produces the fruit.

Begin with the truth that God truly believes in you and begin to believe in yourself. Surround yourself with the right people, those that will encourage you and believe in you. Encouragement is the fuel that propels you down the road of success. Don’t get side-tracked by the problems or settle for the exits of defeat. Think it, Believe it, Receive it, Know it, Do it and watch the success mile-markers from your rear view mirror.

Do you understand success?

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10 Reasons Why I Prefer The iPad Mini Over The iPad 2

Let me start this post off by saying, “I’ve had every version of iPad and iPhone that has ever existed.” My last iPad was the White iPad 2 which I rocked with a portfolio type Skinny Case. My iPad has always been my Technology Swiss Army Utility Knife of choice. I use it for web surfing, speaking, researching, reading books, music, videos…

Recently I left my iPad 2 in my rental car at Thrifty in Tampa, FL. (That’s crazy because I travel a lot and this has never happened.) Unfortunately it was not recovered and that’s an entirely different blog post. I’m still believing that it will be recovered, according to Find My iPhone it hasn’t been logged into wifi yet.

Prior to the incident of leaving my iPad in Tampa, I had purchased 5 iPad mini’s. Honestly, I was just a little excited that The Apple Store in #OKC happened to have them in stock while I was shopping. I thought they would make great Christmas gifts. 🙂

One of those 5 Mini’s ended up being an early Christmas gift to myself. Fortunately, I was able to restore my new iPad Mini from the last iCloud back up of my now “lost” iPad 2. I began browsing around my new little apple device before I headed out of town. My family and I were headed to Hawaii the day after I began using my iPad Mini. This trip is a combo speaking and vacationing trip. (I’m actually typing this post from my 19th floor balcony on Waikiki Beach.)

I have been using the Black iPad mini wifi only for a few days now and have come to the conclusion that I prefer it over the iPad 2. Below are 10 Reasons Why.

10 Reasons Why I Prefer The iPad Mini Over The iPad 2

  • 1. Size Matters : The iPad Mini is actually the perfect size for a device of its type. The challenge I would have with my iPad 2 is the size with the case wasn’t a great deal smaller than a 13 inch MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. I would find myself getting my computer out instead of using my iPad.
  • 2. The Palm Of My Hand : Being that I use my iPad Mini primarily for speaking and web browsing, I love the fact that I can grip it in my hand and easily walk around, read, maneuver and have total freedom without any fumbling, need for special hand grip cases or the need for two hands. I can easily grip the Mini with one hand.
  • 3. Screen Display : I’m not a super technical Apple snob and I’m not even totally sure of the exact difference in display size. From the eye test I’ll say that the Mini is stellar and you can widen the margins and increase the font just a bit for perfect viewing. That observation is from a near 40 year-old who wears glasses.
  • 4. The Look : The iPad Mini just looks great. The black one is super sleek and has a black matte back.
  • 5. The Case : For the 1st time, I don’t feel like I need a fully enclosed case. I got the dark grey Smart Cover and I must say for the 1st time I think this case really is smart. Not smart because it wakes up the iPad Mini when you open it, I’m saying that because of the practical nature of it. I have the smart cover on front and the matte Ghost Armor on the back. The iPad Mini keeps it’s original sleek look, with full protection.
  • 6. The Weight : The Mini feels like it doesn’t weigh much more than the iPhone 4s. The actual specs are (iPad Mini = 0.68 pounds and iPad 2 = 1.33 pounds). It basically weighs half as much. It’s so light that if you drop it, the damage will probably be minimal.
  • 7. My Pocket : My pocket, the 16gig wifi is only $329. That’s great for my pocket and your pocket.
  • 8. My Pocket Again : This is one of my favorite things about the mini. I can put it in my pack pocket. Yes, I’m serious it can go in my back pocket. Let me give the disclaimer that I don’t wear big pocket, old school, cargo, Fubu, South Pole, extra big pants. It can fit in my back pocket if I’m wearing a regular pair of skinny jeans, with the smart cover still on I might add. What’s key to this feature is having the smart cover and the Ghost Armor. You slide it in your back pocket with the smooth ghost armor side on your bottom and the smart cover facing outwards. I was able to walk on stage last night with my mini in my back pocket, pull it out, preach, put it back in my pocket and leave the stage. It’s not something that you are going to want to sit down on; however you can have it in your pocket until you get ready to sit down, prior to getting your car or whatever. If it can fit in my pocket I’m sure it can fit in the smallest of small lady’s purse. Did I mention, “I Love The Fact That The iPad Mini Can Fit In My Back Pocket.”
  • 9. The Cameras : The front and back cameras on the Mini are definitely superior to the iPad 2. The front or Facetime camera is now a 1.2 mp HD camera, additionally it has added face detection and backside illumination. The regular camera has added: face detection, backside illumination, five-elements lens, hybrid IR filter and ƒ/2.4 aperture. These additions have also made the video recording much better.
  • 10. Better and Smaller : The 1st reason was the fact that Size Matters… the bottom line is the iPad Mini is Smaller and it’s Better than the iPad 2. It’s distinctly the perfect size for a tablet device.

In no way am I saying I’m happy that I lost my iPad 2 in Tampa, FL.  I do feel a little better that losing it forced me to dive in to using my new favorite Apple device.

Have you bought one? Are you thinking about buying one? Share your thoughts, experiences, observations and comparisons of the iPad Mini.

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Aloha – 10 Reasons Greetings Matter

It’s been said that “You never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.” That’s a very true statement; however you can still make a great 2nd impression if for some reason you botched the 1st one. Impressions matter and 1st impressions really matter.

In that same line of thinking, I have come to understand that “Greetings Really Matter.” When my family and I arrived at the airport in Hawaii yesterday, we were greeted with beautiful fresh flower lei’s. A couple of the pastors from Hope Chapel greeted us with warm “aloha’s” and lei’s as a symbol of love and welcome to Hawaii. Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, peace, compassion, mercy and love. Hawaii has been very welcoming: Hotel, restaurant, people etc.

This really got me thinking about the importance of greetings and how they can make a world of difference. Here are 10 Reasons Greetings Matter

  • If you greet your family when you come home with hugs, kisses and kind words instead of walking through the door with your phone attached to your ear… You will communicate love, warmth and the fact that “they matter.” Greetings Matter.
  • If you greet people with a smile, hello, and how is your day? You may be the only smile they see and the only person to ask how their day is. It’s a simple way to make a difference. Greetings Matter.
  • If you greet people with a firm handshake, you are communicating hello, strength, passion, respect and remember me… Even if you crush their hand, they will remember. You never remember limp handshakes, but you will generally remember the firm one’s. A firm handshake always makes the non firm handshake person get a tighter grip – a subliminal message to say “Step up your game!” 🙂  Greetings Matter.
  • Greet those you love with “I Love You’s!” Unfortunately we always save the “I Love You’s” as parting words or words of remembrance. Flip it around and greet with I love You! You can still close with another “I Love You!” Greetings Matter.
  • Have an over-the-top greeting. Make your greeting was as memorable as Chick-fil-A’s “My Pleasure.” If you operate a place of business, understand that your welcome, greeting and reception go a very long way. Think of those restaurants that have an over-the-top greeting. Those greetings create great first impressions and opportunities for memorable experiences. Greetings Matter.
  • Phone etiquette and Phone greetings matter. Don’t get me started on “Main Menu, Automated Greeting type stuff.” Greet someone well over the phone. Greetings Matter.
  • Online Greeting – Sometimes the only greeting that people will ever get from you or your business is your website. Make sure your online appearance is communicating a warm welcome, unless of course your business is not warm and welcoming. Greetings Matter.
  • The Church should have the warmest welcome of any public establishment – Is the welcome at your church communicating affection, peace, compassion, mercy and love for everyone? Or is it communicating welcome to those that look like, dress like and act like we do. Your greeting matters, not just the greeting that you say, rather the welcome that you do. Greetings Matter.
  • Give someone a #FistBump. A FistBump is the Swiss Army Knife of greetings and gestures. I greet those in my online community with a #FistBump and good morning (every morning), no matter where I am, what time zone, what part of the world… It’s become my morning greeting and my morning gesture. As soon as I don’t think that this little gesture matters, those that are a part of my online community let me know if I ever forget to send out that top of the morning #FistBump Tweet. The #FistBump is really a Big Deal, as a matter of fact the New York Times recently featured an article about it in print and online, you can check it out here.
  • Your greetings matter because people matter.

Remember greetings really do matter. When you greet strangers, friends and family – make sure you communicate your own version of Aloha. Communicate affection, peace, compassion, mercy and love.

Thoughts? Share your thoughts on the importance of greetings.

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It’s What’s On The Inside That Matters

I’ve heard some iteration of the phrase, “It’s what’s on the inside the matters” for as long as I can remember. The older I get the more that statement has been revealed as straight-up TRUTH. A car can look nice on the outside, but if the motor is weak… you have a problem. A house can look good on the outside, if the walls are made of something weak and there’s no furniture inside… you have a problem. Why? – It’s What’s On The Inside That Matters!

Often times I hear Christians question what they can do, doubt themselves and never truly reach their God-Given potential. Even worse, some never step off the sidelines to find out what their potential may be. The same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you – It’s what’s on the inside that matters. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Believe it, understand it and step into it.

We may not be born with courage; however we are born with potential. Find that courage on the inside and reach your potential on the outside. It’s What’s On The Inside That Matters! Dig Deep!

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Mark’s Birthday – A Powerful Christmas Story

Watch this, marinate on it and share your thoughts.

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