How's your modeling career?

As a leader have you established a firm standard around the vision of your team? Reality check: You are modeling the standard.

Model - a standard or example for imitation or comparison. (

Do you consider yourself a model? The word is loaded with negative connotations but you need to know leadership is a modeling career.

Why does your team exist? If you can answer that than you know what you have to model. Don't make things more complicated than they have to be, leadership is modeling. Want change? Model the change.

How to coach cheerleaders

The Cheerleader - The role in which most volunteers begin.

Photo credit to: prc1333

If you have recruited, trained, and deployed volunteers you have experienced a lot of cheerleaders. Many organizations and businesses cling to Jim Collin's principal in Good to Great: get the right people on the bus and get them in the right seats. As leaders we nod our heads like a three year old asked if they want a piece of candy, "Yesssss," we say. The principle sounds right to us. It's all about the RIGHT PEOPLE, RIGHT SEATS.

So you go on the recruitment trail, you find talented people, and you invite them on the bus. You train them, you have them sign a commitment or job description, and then you assign them to their seat. All right, everyone is on the bus, in the right seats. You hammer down the gas pedal, the bus starts to move but then you see them. The volunteers you just recruited are all on the street. When did they get off the bus!? They are cheering. They are holding up signs that read, "You're awesome, we believe in you, go you!" In your confusion you run over the curb, jerk the wheel back swerving across traffic and run the bus into a car full of nuns. Now it's crises mode and there is no one on the bus and the cheerleaders have left because you already drove by and they did their assumed job.

Dramatic? Maybe. Has it happened to you? Probably. (Okay, you might not have driven a bus into a car full of nuns but I know you've felt confused on the actions of volunteers after you thought you had been clear)

So what happened? Ninety percent of the time people assume a good volunteer is a good cheerleader. They say things like, "I love what you guys do, it's so important. If I can help please let me know." Or they might say, "What you're doing impacted me and I want to support this." Is anything wrong with this? No, if you feel that way it's a good thing but what most leaders need are workers and less cheerleaders.

How do we coach cheerleaders into hard workers?

1. Pray for workers with your cheerleaders - Jesus was spending time in large crowds when he tells his friends

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

As a leader I can read that and see an assignment, which is to pray for people I don't know yet to come and work in the harvest field. Is that what Jesus is saying? Could I suggest he is saying, "Hey! Numbskulls! Do you see the opportunity here or are you going to sit, watch, and cheer me on? Pray that God makes a worker out of you!" You have to bring cheerleaders right into the thick of whatever it is you are called to do. Stand them right in the middle of it and ask them to pray for workers. They might have a light bulb moment and realize they can work.

2. 90 Days - Be laser focused on training for the first 90 days. Do the basics of training: 1. Watch me do it. 2. Come with me and do it. 3. You go do it. 4. Teach me how to do it. At the end of 90 days if the volunteer can do step four you've done excellent training.

3. Delegate results - When delegation is used properly the other person is set up to use their gifts, grow as a leader, and increase in ownership. Leaders stump this growth when they delegate actions and micromanage. Speak belief into a person and allow them to use their own creativity to produce the result, they will begin to take on the role of a worker.

4. Say well done! - If you don't tell people good job you deserve a kick in the pants. Catching people doing things right is critical in the transformation from cheerleader to worker. What you affirm in people says more to them about what you're asking them to do than a job description.

If you do these things you will create a culture of workers. A culture of workers will gather a great harvest.

Please leave a comment on how you coach cheerleaders to become workers or what helped you make the transition yourself?

The key to developing lots of leaders

I remember being 18 years old sitting in the car of someone that I respected and he spoke vision into my life about being a leader. The moment was so important I still remember what intersection we were at (The stoplight at Faron and Woodbine), how many cars were in front of us, and even what the sky looked like that day. I can remember every detail from this life changing moment 16 years ago. bullseye

Photo credit to Tim Snell

There is a difference between a leader who produces lots of leaders and a leader who doesn't. The leader who produces lots of leaders has the ability to speak vision into the personal life of another person.

How do you speak vision into someone else's life?

1. Choose a private moment - It's hard for people to take the seriousness of what you're saying in a social situation instead of a private moment. If the receiver can't hear you clearly the message will always be lost.

2. Name the place - "I think you would be a good ________________ ." A key to speaking into the life of a person is to give them a destination. People will think to themselves, "Maybe I could do that?" As leaders we get to be the people who say, "You can do that."

3. Ask for their thoughts - You may have dropped a bomb on someone, it's important to allow them to process. Insecure leaders will want to back up their vision in order to convince the person they are right. Don't do this, allow processing time. Say, "What do you think about when I say that?" Shut up and listen.

4. Now the "Why" - Why you believe in this person is SO important! Make sure you have prepared in advance for this moment. Now speak into their gifts and how those gifts will equip them to be successful at the vision you put out there.

5. Say it one more time - Don't drag out the conversation but end it with, "I just wanted you to know that I think you would be an amazing ___________"

In leadership we can screw up and assume the people we lead know what we think they are capable of. The bad news is we make the wrong assumption. The good news is that we can speak vision into the lives of people we care about.

Please leave a comment about how someone spoke a vision into your life that stuck!


A lady I could arm wrestle reminded me of Jesus

Last summer it was HOT!  I didn't know this could happen in the midwest but my lawn got scorched.  That's right, like your brain on drugs my grass got fried (the pun in that sentence just made your head explode). [youtube nl5gBJGnaXs]

In you reader click here to see the video

I drove to the local lawn and garden store and asked for advice on how to treat the problem because the scorched grass has been replaced by weeds.  When I told the store associate my problem she told me to plant new grass in the midst of the weeds.  She also told me not to put weed and feed or any other treatment on the spot until the grass has the chance to fully grow.  

As soon as she made the suggestion my mind went here...

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

Matthew 13:24-43

New International Version (NIV)

Really?  I'm talking to a woman who looks like she could be a great arm wrestling challenge about my scorched lawn and her advice triggers a teaching by Jesus?  Wouldn't it be awesome if you and I could coach and teach like that, in a way where people would encounter the same teaching over and over again?  

Jesus made a teaching stick by:

1.  He knew his audience socially, emotionally, and spiritually - Who they are spiritually determines the material and who they are otherwise determines the method.

2.  He put content to repeatable practices - By speaking to an agricultural community about planting seeds they would constantly re-encounter his story and remember his words.  Even 2000 years later, it came to my mind when I was working on my lawn.

3.  He kept it simple - His point was simple, one will be harvested for good the other will be harvested to be burned.  Sometimes we make application too complicated.  When it doubt go simple.  

As a leader we have to sharpen our ability to provide application to our teaching or coaching.  I think Jesus was pretty good at it, what do you think?

Please leave a comment about what you think made this teaching stick?