Give Up and Co-operate

Give Up and Co-operate

Most leaders believe they’re quite capable of working with others. Of co-operating. When they have to. But what really needs to happen for a leader to move from control —> to co-operation? The value of co-operation means Working together for a common purpose; or collaboration. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, cooperation doesn’t come naturally. It requires practice. It’s a skill which needs to be learned. Give Up It’s time to give up. Give up your agenda. —> Think about the bossy kid who arranges how everything should go at their birthday party. Who sits where. What is served. Which present gets opened first. What kind of enjoyment are the other kids feeling? Give up your stand. —> Just think about a young kid playing on the floor with their toys. And another child arrives for a play-date. The second child picks up a toy. What happens next? Screaming. Crying. Yelling. Hitting. Give up your opinions. —> Imagine the playing field. And all the kids are gathered around as they’re chosen for the teams… Yeah. Ever been chosen last? You know how that feels… Maybe it’s time to move away from the kid’s stuff. Effective leaders are truly interested in the welfare of others. But you are interested in the welfare of everyone else! Right? You care that your team has everything they need, including resources and instruction; you’ve been advocating and fighting on their behalf for years. Just look at all they have to work with… You care that your direct reports are working where you think their talents are best suited; you’ve read their personality profiles and fit them in perfectly so every need is met. And boy-oh-boy do...
Where Do You Start?

Where Do You Start?

Where do you start? The obvious answer is: At the beginning. What if it’s way past the beginning? What if where you’re starting is much further than the beginning? What if this entity you’ve signed onto, signed up for, signed your life away for, has been on the journey longer than you’ve been alive – (or at least it feels like that!) – and you want to start? What then? We could be talking about your marriage; you’re into it for more than 45 years, or 10 or 2 years. It’s not the beginning, it’s weathered some storms… and you want to start over. Or we could be talking about your congregation or church. It’s existed for your grandparents, your parents and now you. It’s definitely not at the beginning. But you’ve been called to pioneer a new start… a brand new start with an old guard. You’re starting again. It’s possible we’re talking about your new position in a family-owned business, or established non-profit. You’re new, your spot is new. The market is new. But you’ve still got the history behind you… How do you start – new? You want to start. Start new. Start over. Start yet again. Where do you start? Start with what’s the same. Which things are the same in these 3 places to start: New, Over, and Again? You are not alone. In marriage, in ministry, and in business, whether you’re starting new, over or again, you are not alone. People surround you. They’re going to support you or they’re going to hinder your efforts. Or they’re going to sit back and just watch. Bottom line?  You’ve...
5 Truths To Help You Move Forward

5 Truths To Help You Move Forward

Leaders look forward. Moving forward is the secret many people and companies use to remain motivated… because it’s impossible to go back to what was before. If you’re not moving forward – you’re dying. Leaders know this. (Even if it’s a little scary to admit.) Here are some thoughts to ponder about the details on moving forward from the mouths of those who have experience. Curiosity Sometimes you just need to harness your curiosity to look forward. “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ~ Walt Disney Company Unity Move forward together. Together with your spouse. Together with your family. Together with your team. Together with your congregation. Together with your employees. Move forward to the next success. “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” ~ Henry Ford Patience Move forward, knowing it takes time for the fruit of your labor to grow and ripen. “Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.” ~ Anton Chekhov Vision Stating what we look forward to – being clear on what we are expecting… “In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in...

Are You Ready To Embrace Your Uniqueness?

People who make a difference are different. They think different. They see things others don’t see. Their actions often surprise people (in a good way). They’re not like other people. They’re unique. But let’s be clear here. We’re not talking about people who act strange or are classified as ‘weird’. We’re talking about people who are making a positive impact on the world around them. Such individuals who take action are often viewed as leaders, especially when they’re blazing a new trail, navigating through unchartered waters, or breaking ground where no one has gone before. This is also true for leadership couples. From Ordinary to Extraordinary Surprisingly, most married couples don’t strive to be different. In fact, they often endeavor to be perceived as ordinary. For example, in the first years of marriage many couples follow the trend of what others are doing. Each weekday they both go to work, then come home and have dinner in front of the TV. On Friday night they stay home and watch a movie, or maybe go out for dinner. On the weekends, they may get together with other couples for a ‘party’ (a carryover from their days of being single). They might even go to church together on Sunday morning. And then they do it all over again the next week. They want to be perceived as a normal couple, with ordinary goals. Get a nice house. Have a few children. Take a vacation each year with the family. Save some money for retirement. Live a happy life. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this. But leadership couples are different. They’re...

Which is More Important: Efficiency or Effectiveness?

In business, efficiency and effectiveness are treated like twins, or at least kissing cousins. It’s not uncommon to here the following statements:  “We need to be more efficient and effect.” “If we don’t improve on our efficiency and effectiveness, then the future doesn’t look good.” But these are two very different animals. Consider the meaning of each: Efficiency – skillfulness in avoiding wasted time and effort; or careful use of resources. Effectiveness – producing an intended result; or able to accomplish a purpose. While they both relate to human talent, they should never be confused with each other. You may become very efficient – wasting very little time or effort – and yet never produce an intended result. Or you can become very effective – accomplishing your stated purpose – and yet be extremely careless with your limited resources. Different Strokes for Different Folks Some people excel at efficiency. Their internal compass drives them to reduce waste with existing resources. They make things happen faster, and cheaper. They make significant improvements to existing processes. They find ways to deliver the same result at a reduced cost. They live by the mantra, “Time is money”. But others naturally excel at effectiveness. They have a keen sense on how to produce results. They make the right stuff happen. They always make quota. They deliver the goods. They are often referred to as “high achievers”. It’s very rare to find the same qualities in the same person. Why? Because it requires two different types of mental wiring. It’s part of what makes each of us unique. So imagine the impact if they...
5 Maneuvers for Success in Business and Marriage

5 Maneuvers for Success in Business and Marriage

If we had only 5 minutes with you and your spouse to share what we’ve learned about having a strong marriage and a successful business, we would share these 5 maneuvers… 5 Minutes – 5 Maneuvers Robert and I have been deliberately talking with and searching to learn from couples in leadership (plus reading and researching) for more than two years. Many times what is shared from one couple in ministry, to another couple in their own business, to a third couple in a non-profit organization, is eerily similar. That’s where this list of leadership success maneuvers starts: the commonalities. It doesn’t matter if you are leading your family, running a small business, or leading congregants in a ministry in your church. These 5 maneuvers apply: 1. Your spouse has precedence. Always. Your spouse comes before the business, before the ministry, before any goals. For those who are goal oriented, it’s so easy to only focus on achievement, and forget that the relationship is more important. 2. Roles and responsibilities must be defined. It’s about respect. When one spouse has a defined role, the other doesn’t step into that sphere (unless specifically invited). 3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Keep challenges in perspective. Take a step back from the emotion, and ask yourself whether this will have an impact five months from now. Be honest. Most of what we kvetch about will not matter in five days. Not really. 4. Defined space. Decide to keep discussions about your leadership responsibilities in a specific area. Be deliberate. Be disciplined. Choose to solve issues, and brainstorm options in an area that is different than...
A Green Door with a Husband and Wife Team: Lunch in Wiarton

A Green Door with a Husband and Wife Team: Lunch in Wiarton

As Robert and I travel, we’re delighted to find husbands and wives in business together. Today we had lunch in Wiarton, Ontario at the Green Door Cafe. It’s a tiny spot on the main street in the town at the beginning of the Bruce Peninsula. It wasn’t till we sat down to read the menu that the email listed gave us a clue to the fact that the 38-seat restaurant was run by a husband and wife team: Sarah & Tim. Our server, a tall, slim woman with a pleasant manner and dark hair plaited into a side-braid quickly brought us water and took our order. Robert asked if she was the owner. Sure enough, it was Sarah. She was kind enough to answer a few questions and then brought us our food. Robert, being a soup aficionado, had the basil tomato soup and a quiche.   I was intrigued by the option of shepherds pie – a combination of beef and lamb, shredded carrots and mashed potatoes, smothered with gravy, and a caesar salad. Delicious! The portions were just the right size for lunch! Though the place was almost filled, we could still hear a quiet jazz playing the background, and enjoyed the simple decor.   Sarah and Tim This husband and wife team have been in business for about 9 years. They first met when she was a restaurant manager, and he was the chef. Obviously, they’re a great team, because they’re running this restaurant (which was full when we arrived), do a thriving catering business with a mobile kitchen truck, and have now bought a facility in Chesley, Ontario...
Set Up Your Last Quarter: A free gift for you!

Set Up Your Last Quarter: A free gift for you!

To commemorate the last quarter of the year- and to start September off well – we have a gift for you today! (Keep reading – we’ll get there.) Are you getting back to things? September seems to be a time to revive our focus. Sometimes it’s about kids getting back to school, sometimes it’s businesses re-evaluating their last quarter and getting back on track, sometimes it’s about re-grouping in ministry and congregation activities and getting organized. Robert and I are finishing up our weeks in Canada. It’s time to begin our (official) tour… and get back to the United States at the beginning of September. For us, this summer sojourn in Ontario has been a time to reflect on the past, celebrate relationships, finish projects and set-up the future. Setting UP  As a leader, do you spend time preparing for the future? I’m sure you do. But where do you start? Sometimes we begin by looking at our partners, or our financials, other times we look at goals (financial included). Sometimes we look at what we haven’t done (yet), and other times we find a new plan, app, organizer, optimizer, etc. What do we often overlook? Ourselves. (Whoops.  Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?) Set Up The Future by Looking at Yourself As husband and wife teams in a leadership role, what you take with you into every endeavor is YOU. (Yeah.  Sorry.) Teams change. Employees change. Environments change. Task, titles, campaigns, opportunities, financial markets, and communities change, but YOU remain constant. Yes, constantly growing, but you accompany yourself into the future. Doesn’t it make sense to learn more about how YOU think, you behave,...
Being Proactive About the Health of Those You Lead

Being Proactive About the Health of Those You Lead

Look at those you lead.  Look closely. Notice. Is someone you’re leading exhibiting these behaviors? Poor concentration: difficulty following the thread of a story, or inability to make simple decisions. Changes in sleep patterns: do they talk about difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping excessively? Hopelessness: the belief that nothing will ever improve. Lack of interest in usual activities; the inability to experience simple pleasures. Movement changes:  slowed down in mental activity and even physical ability; responding to everything more slowly Dwelling on losses and failures, guilt and helplessness, the belief that they are “losers”… As a leader, you can make a difference. The above behaviors are all a sign of depression.  Severe depression distorts rational thinking and can lead to the fixed idea that hopelessness and pain are to be your experience forever. I have heard this from patients who have lived after suicide attempts. They told me they had lost all perspective and simply wanted to end their pain. They often reported simply losing a sense that they mattered to other people and forgot that they too were loved. – from “What We Can Do about Depression” by Ken Duckworth, NAMI medical director As a leader – in a church, in your business, in a non-profit –  you can make a difference in someone’s life simply by taking notice, and then taking action.  What actions can you take to combat depression in those you lead? There’s a lot of talk about depression and suicide this week. The death of Robin Williams has created a swelling tide of feelings – yet, as couples in leadership, have you...
Traveling as a Couple – 5 Tips to Travel Well

Traveling as a Couple – 5 Tips to Travel Well

Traveling as a couple can be tricky – but with a little planning your experience can be terrific. Robert and I met 34 years ago on a bus trip to St. Louis, MO. Since then we’ve traveled coast to coast in Canada and the United States. Traveling together is a joy – an activity which has enriched our marriage relationship and been a way to learn from other leaders. Right now, as you might already know, we’re traveling full time with our F150 pickup and Open Range Light Fifth Wheel. We’ve learned a few things along the way. You can read about our challenges in communication here. And about our overall plan as we travel. How to include “bucket-list” items along the way as we travel. 5 Tips to Travel Well as a Couple In a general way, there are tips that’ll make travel for every couple more effective. Every so often I write for Fawn Weaver at The Happy Wives Club site. I’ve detailed these 5 Tips in a post there – take a look! (just click on the link below) 5 Tips To Travel Well as A Couple – at The Happy Wives Club here’s the direct link:  http://www.happywivesclub.com/5-tips-to-travel-well-as-a-couple/ Are there any tips you’d...