Young Life

Are you a leader who is too scared?

Is it possible to reach a position so high on a team or organization that you can no longer push for change? Is it possible to reach a place where risk is no longer an option?

I've been reading this great little book by Seth Godin called Poke the Box (You can purchase on Amazon through my reading suggestions by holding your cursor bar over Poke the Box and then use the order button). Godin challenges the reader to press back against fear and to take initiative and be creative, poking the box is to text the system.  There are so many great quotes like,

Imagine that the world had no middlemen, no publishers, no bosses, no HR folks, no one telling you what you couldn't do.

If you lived in that world, what would you do?

Go. Do that.

But what is it about leaders rising to a certain position where the only bet to make is the safe one? A lot of leaders feel stuck in a place where they have to wait out the their authority to retire or die, which ever comes first. What can these leaders do? Godin lays out a formula to measure wether the risk is worth it, he calls it the poke the box formula.

When the cost of poking the box (ptb) is less than the cost of doing nothing (Ø), then you should poke! [ptb poke]

ptb < Ø --> poke

We are now a culture of free trade on ideas yet the value of those ideas has never been stronger. The strength comes from the globalization and the simplicity to ship something new across the internet.  The fearful leader believes that change will only come from replacing the old parts with new parts.  But now we can change the system through getting ideas out there and letting them drip down on to every part like oil in an engine, the spreading of ideas begins to makes the entire system run at higher level.  We are moving from a time where sharing an idea and suggesting something new was strange thing to do to authority to a time where if you haven't shared an idea we won't trust you.

What do you see that's keeping leaders from poking the box?

IT'S ELECTRIC - spiritual leadership

I've been having a conversation with peers of mine around this question: 

Why does it feel like the spiritual depth of current high school people is not as deep as high school people 10 years ago?

 For those of us leading this generation spiritually I don't think we have embraced the opportunity to lead them electronically.  If we could go back ten years ago a high school kid had the space in their life outside of activities and school work to further their relationship with God.  They might see a Max Lucado book on your shelf and they follow your lead so they asked to borrow it and they begin to read it.  A dialogue was formed around content of the book and spiritual growth was a result.

But what about now?  Where is that space for high school kid today?  That space is lost to catching up on the last five episodes of the Jersey Shore and last nights episode of the Bachelor because of DVR.  Have you stopped to consider the affect DVR has had on the space that a kid used to have for spiritual exploration that led to growth?  Now add Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, Netflix, Skype, and YouTube to the mix.  

Any leader knows that complaining about this new life style is not going to change anything, plus IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT!  But what about if a leader spent a part of his/her day finding online spiritual content to place them on social networks from 5pm to 10pm.  Some people will say, "I've worked all day, I don't want to sit at a computer all night."  Just another reason why every leader should be using a social media dashboard like www.hootsuite.com.  HootSuite allows you to schedule posts to all your social media channels!  If you took the time to find the content you also can take five minutes to schedule them to post on Twitter and Facebook!  We have a new opportunity to put great spiritual content out there for kids to see, digest, and grow as a result.

Who else has experienced this and what are you doing about it?

Ship it good

Top three things I learned about leadership in 2011

#1: Leaders Ship

You're probably thinking this is a joke but it's not a joke. I know, obviously leaders ship because the word is leadership. Seth Godin has forever influenced me through his book Linchpin (which you can order through my sidebar by placing your cursor over the book) because he talks about the importance of shipping an idea. Yes, everyday people package things in a box and hand them off to UPS or some shipping company to be delivered but this is different. This shipping means you stop having an idea and you start sharing your idea. This shipping means you stop thinking about an invention and you create the invention. You've got to ship it, ship it good (I mean come on, you had to see that coming). Whatever you think would make the world better for people you have to ship it!

The desire to ship is to lead where no one else has been. In a time that isn't yet defined and without a standard, which I think is now, Godin would define creation in this span as art. I want to be an artist that ships. I don't want to be a good factory worker that is always on time and just does what their told. I want to look on the horizon to see what's coming and create art for future success. This was my best leadership lesson in 2011, to be a leader who chooses to ship.

No system is sacred but people are

Top three things I learned about leadership in 2011

#2: No system is sacred but people are

Systems are created to serve people, not the other other way around.  An organization or team is in big trouble when its' people serve the system.  A created system should focus on minimizing: minimal steps, minimal minutes, and minimal resources.  If your team or organization creates a system that only serves some who have the right ______________ then there is an issue.  As a leader if you introduce a new system you know you don't have the right one if it takes more than five sentences to explain how the system works.  Also, when you create a system create it knowing that at some point you need to put it up on the alter and let go of it because it's not sacred, people are.