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Leadership, Leadership, Start Here
Seth Godin:  Make a decision.  It doesn’t have to be a wise or perfect one.  Just make one. Here’s what Seth writes:

It doesn’t have to be a wise decision or a perfect one. Just make one.

In fact, make several. Make more decisions could be your three word mantra.

No decision is a decision as well, the decision not to decide. Not deciding is usually the wrong decision. If you are the go-to person, the one who can decide, you’ll make more of a difference. It doesn’t matter so much that you’re right, it matters that you decided.

Of course it’s risky and painful. That’s why it’s a rare and valuable skill.

Seriously, Pastor.  Make a decision.  Don’t be stupid, but do make a decision.  Stop your teetering.  Pick a side.  Be decisive. Seriously, Church leader.  Make a call.  The facts will never ALL be in.  The situation will never be perfect to make the perfect decision. And most decisions have some inherent risk involved.  That’s ok.  Risk is a good thing. So… you’ve got five minutes.  Just make the decision. And you know exactly which decision I’m talking about.  The one that’s been dogging you for days, even weeks or months.  Should I do this, or should I do that? Most decisions do not take weeks or months. If you need to… start out slow.  Small decision.  Any decision.  Just make one. I’d love to hear what decision you’ve made, or what decision you’ve been putting off.  Anyone transparent enough to share?  (You can do so confidentially if you like on this post). todd PS — You can read more of Seth Godin’s stuff here.  It’s all excellent!
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Carey Nieuwhof shares some valuable advice when decisions are really hard to make? Ever been there? Well… it turns out you only have three real possibilities when it comes to your decision… this should help you get a good start.  Carey writes: Option 1.  Make no decision. Sadly, this is what many leaders do. Faced with competing voices and competing visions, they refuse to choose one over another because it would mean wading into the inevitable conflict that would follow if they made a choice. They just retreat. When you fail to make a decision, organizational drift and paralysis follow. The whole group gets stuck, and leaders (who are waiting for you to lead) drift away in search of someone who will lead them. Everyone loses. Option 2. Try to please everyone.  This is only a slight variation of option 1. Leaders who try to please everyone will bend their vision until it isn’t a vision anymore, only a compromise. Of course you realize what you end up doing: pleasing no one. But that doesn’t matter. Because people pleasers always choose the short term gain that results in long term pain. Option 3. Separate the competing visions, and choose one.  Essentially, when you have several ‘good visions’ the problem you face is not choosing between the ‘good’ one and the ‘bad’ one. The bad visions were eliminated or disappeared long ago. The reason choosing between good visions is so difficult is that most leaders don’t have the courage to simply pick one and run with it. So you resort to options 1 and 2. The best thing you can do is prayerfully consult with wise counsel and pick a vision. Just decide. And then move on. // Read more here… How do YOU make tough decisions? Have you ever NOT made a decision and have it come back to bite you in the butt? Leave a short comment and tell us YOUR experience in decision-making… Todd
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Warren Bird writes: If Park Community Church in downtown Chicago, IL, was going to achieve its mission of helping transform the surrounding 200-plus micro-neighborhoods, the church’s leadership team had an ego-swallowing hurdle to clear. They had to be willing to give up imprinting their church’s name on what they did. As the young, affluent congregation founded an organization that partners with other churches, community development agencies, schools and non-profits for the common good of the city, they named it simply Renew Chicago. They also renamed one of Renew Chicago’s original components, a city-wide service project started by Park Church from “Park Service Day,” which was named after themselves, to a broader “For One Chicago”—an event that draws hundreds across the city for transformational service projects. “As churches, we can be territorial,” says Jackson Crum, lead pastor of the multisite Park Community Church. “Sadly, we all want something that’s good to be our idea. But to renew our city we had to give that up and see where we could find common ground with other churches and organizations. “We decided if we need the credit in order to be engaged, it’s too much about us,” he explains. “If we need to put our name on it to be engaged, it’s too much ours.” Park Church did more than remove its name from the initiative it founded. It also shares leadership and decision making with others. It’s not afraid to take a back seat—on stage or in the planning stage. As it hosts planning sessions and other summit meetings with Renew Chicago participants, it invites other churches and organizations to take positions of leadership. “It’s an old saying, but you can get a lot done if you don’t care who gets the credit,” Jackson says. “That attitude really resonates with our young crowd. They’re all for getting it done vs. getting the credit. It’s something we graciously backed into, but it’s become part of our language and part of our culture.” While Renew Chicago is funded and staffed by Park Church, they work extensively with other Chicagoland congregations, including The Moody Bible Church and Trinity United Church of Christ(President Barack Obama’s former church) – anybody who has an interest in renewing Chicago. // Read more here…
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Retired Brigadier General Tom Kolditz wrote a great piece over at FastCompany.com.  He explores warning signs before a fall and how to recognize them.  He also gives some insight into how many leaders (and I think this fits really well with church leaders specifically) put themselves in a position where a fall is more likely. NOTE:  This article brings no mention of faith to the discussion… it talks merely from a human standpoint, but I still think it is something that every church leader should read today… read and head the warnings: Most explanations for bad personal decisions among top-tier leaders involve unchecked egos, and the expansion of a leader’s personal staff in organizations with otherwise austere personnel practices is a clear indication that the individual is taking precedence over the organization. In the military, tradition holds that flag officers have a small personal staff that includes an Aide-de-Camp. In the past 20 years, however, new follower roles have emerged around these military leaders–tiger teams, special initiatives groups, strategic communications advisors, protocol hostesses and social liaisons (a la Jill Kelley), special historians, biographers, videographers, all arguably focused more on the leaders themselves than on the organization broadly. Little wonder that egos expand to the breaking point. While regulations focus on the appropriate use of official aides, these sketchier positions have no such limitations. A general or admiral can literally surround themselves with buffers of personal staff, pulling advice and decision making closer to themselves and away from more formal organizational staff structures that are less likely to produce protective, fawning sycophants who are more tolerant of (or willing participants in) ethical transgression. The result is over-fed leader egos and limited access by others in the organization. This organizational phenomenon is worthy of scrutiny in all large organizations with powerful leaders, not just our military. There are clear lessons here for those who can clear their heads and hearts of the schadenfreude that accompanies public scandal. Think of integrity as an organizational quality to be nurtured daily. Avoid hero worship and the false perception that integrity is a heroic personal characteristic. The best organizations hold leaders accountable, and the best leaders are quick to hold themselves accountable. Great leaders have already made themselves expendable. And if egos are at the core of senior leader transgression, be highly cautious of buffers that grow between the leader and the greater organization. Perhaps the most important lesson is that the ongoing and passing scandals are not a requiem for heroes, but a rare glimpse into the simple human frailty of some of our finest leaders. // read more here… Thoughts? Todd
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Leadership
Leaders are called to make decisions. It’s just part of their role. Sometimes the decisions are greeted with enthusiasm (“We’ve decided to provide everyone with free coffee every day!”); sometimes the decision is greeted with disdain (“Our coffee tastes worse than transmission fluid and we’ll be charging you $5 a cup.”). If all decisions were only as difficult as whether or not to offer employees or attenders free coffee! Church leaders are especially faced with difficulties when decisions need to be made. Depending upon the leader’s church polity, a decision may have to be made by a committee, or a majority of the congregation in a formal vote. Sometimes, an elder or governing board is called upon to make the call.  Seldom does the pastor or leader make a decision in a vacuum. How then, in a variety of settings, can a leader help people make good and effective decisions? I think a large part of the answer comes in asking the right questions. Here are a few questions that I trust will prove helpful to you, your church, or your organization, the next time an important decision looms: -  Instead of asking, “What did we do last year?” ask, “How will this help us reach our goals and fulfill our vision?” Good decisions are seldom made when we only look to the past. Dream big! D. L. Moody said, “If God be your partner, make your plans large.” - Instead of asking, “How much will it cost?” ask, “How will the leaders here in 2025 evaluate our response to this issue?” Will they think we were only concerned with numbers and budgets? Or will it be readily apparent that those who went before them never embraced small dreams and safe living? - Instead of asking, “Are we sure a majority of the people will support this?” ask, “What do we sense God telling us to do?” The majority are not always correct. Sometimes the right answer lies within the vision of one person. While it is important to listen to many voices, a good leader will not allow the loud voice of the majority to equate to a slam-dunk, no-brainer. - Instead of asking, “Will that be asking too much of our people?” ask, “Will that really challenge the commitment level of our people?” I am convinced that most of the time, people are under-challenged.  We all want to be a part of something larger than ourselves, to play a role in doing something far greater than we could ever do alone. Good leaders will help people reach those heights by large challenges. - Instead of asking, “What happens if people don’t come on-board with this potential decision?” ask, “Which change should introduce first and which should come later?” Most of the time, major decisions bring about change. And although people give lip service to it, most are not big fans of change – especially if it affects them. When possible, introduce change in bite-size chunks. A little over a period of time becomes much more manageable for all involved…and eventually the decision will be implemented. – Jeff Cranston Jeff is the lead pastor of LowCountry Community Church with two campuses in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. He has recently published Happily Ever After: Studies in the Beatitudes. email: jcranston@lowcountrycc.org Twitter: @jsc61
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Leadership
Can’t is defeat. Won’t is a decision. Can’t stops you before you even begin. Won’t focuses you so you can be better. Vision dies with can’t. Vision thrives with won’t. Strong leaders never say they can’t but frequently say they won’t. They won’t do many things, good things, because it would distract them and their team from the vision. What is something you purposefully won’t do today?Alex Baez leads the business and helps lead the small group ministries at The Bridge Fellowship in Sugar Land, TX.  Alex is passionate about Jesus Christ and His church. Prior to becoming a “professional” Christian, he worked in marketing for Coca-Cola, Listerine Mouthwash, and Roundup Weed & Grass Killer. You can follow Alex on his blog, Leadership Unfiltered.
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