Category: Big Picture

Lessons from the Farm: Same Destination, Different Paths

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Welcome to my series called “Lessons from the Farm”. You can read the other posts here.

Just a little background: I grew up working on my Dad’s farm. As I’ve grown older and spent more time away, there are few leadership principles I have realized along the way.

When I got into high school, my dad started raising more cattle. Part of raising cattle is moving them from one place to another. Over the years, we moved countless herds.

A lesson I had to quickly learn was to find the balance between knowing the destination and not getting stuck on having to stay on one single path. Map quest will not map out a path for a cattle drive.

When moving cattle you have to know your destination and push the herd in the general direction, understanding sometimes you’re not going to move in a straight line.

The same is true in leadership. Knowing our destination is vitally important, but we have to be careful about being completely tied to the path we’ve laid out. If we are unwilling or unable to adjust to the unexpected detours or slight course alterations, we become too rigid and no one wants to follow us.

Learning how to lead includes learning how to accommodate the unexpected and use the forward momentum to move toward the destination.

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Trust the Process

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18 months ago I ran a Half Marathon, and then basically stopped running. So, last week I did something I never expected to do again and started a Couch to 5K program.

When I started running, the C25K app introduced me to running. Now, as I start over, I have to remind myself of one simple thing: trust the process.

I have the benefit of knowing the C25K app will help me build up my endurance. In leadership, we don’t always have that assurance.

This is why learning from our past becomes one of the most important things we can do. If we refuse to sit down and evaluate the things we have done, how can we expect to get better?

Have you made mistakes? Everyone does. But how have you recovered from the mistakes you made? What have you learned? What would you do differently? What processes have you built into your leadership to help you succeed?

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Check It Out – Rows vs. Round Tables

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A few summers ago I took a group of student leaders to a conference in the metroplex. While there, instead of sitting in rows, we sat around tables. We came home and within a few months we made the switch in our youth room to round tables.

The discussion, warmth, and intentionality we have seen from the use of tables has been fascinating. Today, many of the kids in the youth ministry here don’t know anything but sitting at round tables on a Wednesday night.

I found this article very interesting and thought provoking. We do not have the ability in our sanctuary to pull this off, but I am intrigued nevertheless. I do not know if round tables are the final answer, but for our youth ministry, they have made a noticeable difference in engagement and relationship.

Here’s a short clip:

Sunday church services had become just another spectator event. Attendees came, sat, stared, spoke to no one, and went home. It wasn’t a community of believers. It was just another passive audience of disconnected strangers.

But then somebody rearranged the furniture. And things started to change.

Click here to read Breaking out of Sunday Spectator Status at the Holy Soup Blog.

 

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Learning to Step Up

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Today we are continuing to dive a little deeper into the “3 Questions”. You can read Monday’s exploration of the first question here.

Just for a refresher, when you walk into a room, ask yourself:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. What can I do?
  3. Who can I get to help?

(Click herehere and here if you haven’t read the original posts yet)

Today, we are going to examine the second question a little more.

We Cannot Accomplish Anything We Are Unwilling to Do Something to Change

As we learn to answer the 3 Questions, it helps to come to terms with our own ability to make a difference. You have influence on many of the situations you find yourself facing. (more…)

Fresh Eyes Change the Room

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This week is going to be spent writing a little more about the “3 Questions”. I’ll take one at a time.

Just for a refresher, when you walk into a room, ask yourself:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. What can I do?
  3. Who can I get to help?

(Click here if you haven’t read the original posts yet)

Today, we are going to explore a little more of the first question, specifically the benefit of seeing a situation with fresh eyes.

Fresh eyes change the room

Think about your life. When have you walked into a situation and been able to see right away what needs to change? Think of a time when you walked into a situation or a room and had a difficult time discerning what needs to happen.

There is something powerful and invigorating about walking into a new situation and assessing what is happening. My personality may fit this better than most. I am not a “walk into the room and take charge” kind of guy. In fact, one time in college I was in a class of about 15 people and six weeks into the semester one of my classmates made the statement “I forgot you were in the class with us!” I love analyzing issues and situations before speaking.

You may not be wired that way. I have friends who are wired to speak first and think later, but the principle is still there. We all, in one way or another, have learned to walk into a room and evaluate what is happening, and do so naturally in many situations.

When you turn on a sporting event, you are becoming aware of things: who is playing, what is the score, who is winning, who is announcing, who is having a good game, who just made a big play, etc. Can you imagine the days of the cavemen when the score on TV only flashed periodically? How did anyone ever survive? Now, we evaluate instantaneously.

When we walk into a room for the first time, either literally or metaphorically, our fresh eyes allow us to see things other people naturally do not see.

The goal in developing our leadership ability is to  learn to develop fresh eyes on a regular basis. If we can walk into a room and realize what needs to be done, then we are ready to ask and answer the second question.

Today, try looking at the situations around you with fresh eyes. What needs to be done? What is something that, if you were new, you would see as an area that needs changing?

Wednesday, we will dig a little deeper into the second question: What can I do to help?

 

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