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Dan Rockwell offers this list of the top 12 reasons that leaders fail.  Take a look at the list.  How many fallen leaders do you know that failed because of something on this list?  Also… do some self-inspection  Are there things on this list that you need to watch out for personally?
  1. Neglecting culture. Culture building is job-one for all leaders.
  2. Lack of paranoia. The paranoid think about what could go wrong and make contingency plans.
  3. Bitterness, grudges, and resentment. People fail. Successful leaders allow fresh starts.
  4. Task rather than people focus.
  5. Accepting complexity.
  6. Lack of political awareness. Successful leaders build relationships with powerful players.
  7. Failure to sell successes and accomplishments with humility. If the right people don’t know your value, you aren’t valuable.
  8. Trusting the untested. Talent without a track record is dangerous.
  9. Fearing great talent.
  10. Postponing tough conversations.
  11. People pleasing.
  12. Refusing to adapt. Adaptability is the greatest ability.
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Seth Godin wrote something recently that I think is totally true.
Successful people fail often, and, worth noting, learn more from that failure than everyone else.
I have the opportunity to work with a ton of really healthy churches… and  I can tell you that this is a value in each and everyone one of them. Every one of them fails. And every one of them learns from their failures so that they can do better next time. If you look at failure as a negative in your ministry, you probably won’t fail much. And if you don’t fail much, you probably won’t get much right either. This ‘reaching people’ stuff is important stuff.  We need to be willing to stick our necks out there, risk a little, and see what works.  If we don’t, we’re destined to only more of the same. via Seth’s Blog: How to fail. Thoughts?

Clayton King writes:   I’ve been asking myself lately what failure would look like for me.  Not mistakes.  Not mess-ups.  I’m talking about utter, unquestionable failure.  Because if I don’t actually know what failure would be for me, then it will be most difficult to avoid it.  Here are 10 ways to fail. 1.  Build a great ministry while destroying a great marriage 2.  Compromise my convictions in a moment of fatigue or weakness, and lose my family, my reputation, and my anointing 3.  See thousands of strangers believe the gospel when I preach yet watch my own children reject the gospel when they grow up 4.  Preach on being spiritually healthy and vibrant while neglecting my own health for the sake of the ministry 5.  Be super-productive in my daily work while never working on my own personal relationship with Jesus Read the other five ways here at Clayton’s Blog… What other ways would you add to the list? Have you been guilty of any of the ten during your career?

Thom Rainer had a great post this week on why people get fired.  Take heed… one of these could be your downfall (and soon): 1.  Failure to keep current in your field // I quite frankly don’t see this that much in the church world.  Most people are at least interested enough in their ministry area to keep connected and current.  But if you don’t, you’ll get passed (and possibly fired) quickly 2.  Poor relational skills // This on the other hand, I’ve seen quite often.  Many church staffs as a whole don’t communicate well together, and sometimes you’ll have one person that is just really bad at communicating.  Fight the temptation to shut your office door all the time.  Work hard at communication. 3.  Moral failure // If you’re a baker or a garbage truck driver and you cheat on your wife, you probably won’t lose your job.  If you’re a pastor, you most certainly will.  I’m constantly amazed at the number of pastors who not only sacrifice their families but their careers for 20 seconds of pleasure 4.  Failure to carry out assignments // If you don’t get your work done, termination will (and should) be close. 5.  Failure to take initiative // This is touchy and different in every situation.  But as a staff member, you need to take initiative.  I’m not sure that all that many people are fired for not stepping out and doing more… but it’s like we’ve always told our kids:  “Initiative is the highest form of obedience”. 6.  Negative talk // So easy to do in a church setting.  Let’s face it… there’s always something to complain about… and plenty of willing ears to listen.  But that negative talk comes a cost… usually the person you report to.  And it can and may get you fired. 7. Laziness // I’ve seen a few of these in my day as well.  If you’re lazy, you simply need to move on. 8.  Attitude of entitlement // I’ve seen this firsthand as well.  It will cost your your job.  Employers (and the church is no exception) love to reward and give freely.  But when they’re asked or expected, it’s another story.  It will get you fired. 9.  Failure to demonstrate productivity // This goes hand in hand with #7. 10.  Self-centered attitude. // You have to work as a team.  This is especially valuable in church work.  Sometimes I see this and #2 combined in an individual, but not always.  If you’re always thinking about yourself, you may find that you soon have much more time on your hands to think about yourself (and how you’re going to make a living now that you’ve been fired). What areas do you struggle with? And for those of you who’ve had to fire staff recently…  was it because of one of these things, or something differently? I’d love to hear your input… You can read more of Thom’s thoughts here… Todd

Some of Seth Godin’s posts are the shortest. This one had me thinking this morning. Here’s the concept:  We all say that we’re ok to fail.  It’s ok if we try something new and it doesn’t work out ok… we’ll just try something else. But very few of us are willing to risk anything in the process, other than a little bit of time or money. Here’s a quote Seth shares from David Chang:
“We’re hoping to succeed; we’re okay with failure. We just don’t want to land in between.”
Seth’s response: He’s serious. Lots of people say this, but few are willing to put themselves at risk, which destroys the likelihood of success and dramatically increases the chance of in between. Ouch. I don’t want to be ‘in between’. Kind of reminds me of New Testament “luke-warm”. And we know what happens if we’re luke-warm. Thoughts? Read more here…  

Failure at some point is inevitable. It will waste money, damage or destroy careers, deflate morale, and harm customers, clients and patients. Fortunately, given the right mind-set and culture, failure can also lead to great improvements within an organization. Learning from failure has the potential to improve our safety, efficiency, and chance at future success. While we don’t necessarily need to invite failure, we should embrace the opportunity to learn from failure when it comes to visit. Duke University Professor of Management Sim Sitkin, would consider the multitude of ways that Thomas Edison discovered how not to make a light bulb before he actually became successful, “intelligent failures”. Organizations which are uncomfortable with the idea of failure or are limited in their failure analyses to superficiality such as “policies were ignored” or “our competitors had more start-up funding” will not be able to take advantage of failure. Does your church take advantage of failure?  If so, how?  Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” How quickly does your church shut down when something fails? What was the last thing your church learned when something failed? Please… do tell (via a comment). My guess is that most churches don’t fail enough, even while most churches are consistently failing.  (Does that make sense?!) Todd read more here:  The Organizational Blame Game | Psychology Today.

So… what do you do when your first plan doesn’t work out?  OK… let’s say it fails miserably.  Well, you have no other choice but to go with Plan B.  I’m very excited this morning that today is the day that my friend Pete Wilson’s new book (coincidentally called “Plan B”) is officially released. What is somewhat remarkable as well, is that today, Pete finds himself in the middle of a giant “Plan B”.  Last week, Pete thought that today would be a day of celebration of his book release.  Instead, he finds himself leading a major flood relief effort in his home town of Nashville.  (Pete’s still excited about the book, but he never had conceived or planned for the flood (literally) that would take up his primary attention today. Here’s the premise of the book:  How do you handle a shattered dream? Or an unmet expectation? What do you do when your life isn’t turning out the way you thought it would? What do you do when you have to turn to Plan B? In Plan B Pete uses real life stories of disappointments and hurts along with the biblical stories of men and women like David, Joseph, and Ruth to help readers come to grips with the truth that they will face situations that in themselves they are completely unable to handle but that in them God is simply trying to get them to surrender their plans so that they can receive His. He identifies our common responses to difficulties and offers hope, helping us to
  • Understand what God might be up to
  • See how surrender helps us to receive God’s plan
  • Embrace the community of believers
  • Reconcile a God of love with a life of tragedy and suffering
Pete says “God wants to live inside the questions” and then reminds us that “the cross is proof that He does not always change the circumstance but that He always has a purpose in every circumstance. He will never let go of us. He will hold us and His cross will be an anchor for you. I encourage you to get your copy today:  Plan B You can also check out the book website here…

Pastor Mark Beeson writes:  Maybe past successes challenge future success, but isn’t it also true that past successes give you a foundation of experience and skills often demanded by future success?  Isn’t it also true that past success often positions you for future success? And isn’t it true past victories often inform future strategies? Read that again. There’s a lot in there. What’s your take.  Have any past successes you’ve had in ministry helped spur you on to more future success, or actually caused you to retreat in a way that future success weren’t possible? You can read more thoughts from Mark here… Share your stories, if you would… Todd