UNLEASHING POTENTIAL IN STORYCENTRIC COMMUNITIES

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Wise Leaders Rarely Opine

Wise Leaders Rarely Opine

Retired Air Force General Jerry White shared a leadership principle that he practiced over the course of his decorated career: wise leaders seldom express their personal opinions. In light of the post-election unrest in America, our political leaders could have benefited everyone by heeding this advice. Dr. Jerry White is a retired Air Force general, President Emeritus of the Navigators, and a noted author. Once Jerry shared with me an essential lesson from his years of noteworthy leadership: the inherent danger of leaders expressing their personal opinions. He maintains that opining is a privilege that wise leaders use very sparingly in order to better serve all the people they represent. Unfortunately, the presidential candidates and President and Mrs. Obama chose not to spare the public from their personal pontifications about the future potential leaders of the free world. Since the election both President Obama and President-elect Trump have taken on

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Save the Founder’s Mentality

Save the Founder’s Mentality

Founder’s Syndrome If this musing by an organization’s founder on the value of organizational founders seems self-serving, indeed it is. But with the conventional avalanche of driveling complaints I hear and read about “founder’s syndrome,” it’s high time to speak up about the invaluable asset that many organizations forfeit when the founder walks out the door. Examples abound of founders who become a liability to the organizations they labored hard to birth and nurture. They hang on too long. Or they don’t know how to keep their noses out of the successor’s business. Founders whose tenures are long and whose track records are stellar can be particularly annoying when it’s time for a leadership change. Boards, stockholders, and staff are regularly warned of the dangers associated with transitioning founders. We get the message: founders can be a pain! Another angle on Exiting Founders But there’s another angle on exiting founders that

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A Vote For Virtuous Leadership

A Vote For Virtuous Leadership

The pending election for the leader of the free world has been hotly debated. The results will determine directions for our nation and planet in years to come. But this time around, millions of us are more deeply skeptical of our choices. Perhaps it’s because “virtuous leadership” needs more attention in our public discourse. The term “virtues” does not carry much credibility because it sounds like a throwback to the Victorian era. In generations past, leaders spoke of virtues, those beliefs and practices that provided common rules of engagement both in public and private life. These virtues included honesty, humility, fairness, justice, and individual dignity. Although our leaders did not always live up to these benchmarks, at least we agreed on what they were. However, more recently the term “virtues” has been replaced by “values.” Now most leaders prefer to identify values that are distinctive to their particular brand. Behind

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Ordinary Leaders – Extraordinary Leadership

Ordinary Leaders – Extraordinary Leadership

Leadership Practices Inventory Assessment One of the requirements for my post-grad program in organizational leadership was to take an inventory to evaluate my own leadership practices. The results were predictable for an ordinary leader; I scored pretty well in some areas and not as well in others. But in one category my scores tanked! What do I do? I’ll try harder, but odds are not so high that I’ll ever excel in this area when leading others. Is there any hope for those who are led by ordinary leaders to experience extraordinary leadership? The Leadership Practices Inventory Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have developed an evaluative tool called The Leadership Practices Inventory. This Inventory is arguably the most trusted instrument available to evaluate exemplary leadership practices. It measures a leader’s behavior in five categories: challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modeling the way, and encouraging

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Challenge Your Tribe

Challenge Your Tribe

Over the past forty years Americans have increasingly sorted themselves into communities of closely like-minded people: churches, volunteer groups, clubs, lobbies, and political parties. The result is a polarization that has transformed our historic preference for civil discourse into a vast echo chamber of hostile assault. We desperately need leaders who are persuadable, and can help challenge others in their own tribe. As far back as we know, people have belonged to tribes. This is how the human race survived; our tribes protect us, provide stability and predictability within community, and help us interpret reality.  It’s why we tend to be a part of tribes today. We didn’t consciously choose many of our tribe’s beliefs and positions. We adopted those beliefs, not through careful analysis, but mainly because it was normal and acceptable within our tribe. To illustrate, I grew up in North Carolina where collegiate basketball stars like Larry

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Much Practice Does Not Make a Perfect Leader

Much Practice Does Not Make a Perfect Leader

What does it take to become an expert? A popular writer cites the “10,000-hour rule.” According to this rule, if you practice for 10,000 hours, you will become an expert. But this rule is an oversimplification of important research: in fields as diverse as music, math, and leadership, deliberate practice is the only kind of practice that promises to produce excellence. 10,000 Hour Rule In his best-selling book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell cited studies on expert violinists to promote the “10,000-hour rule.” He used Mozart as a prime example. Mozart learned to play at the age of four. Despite his musical genius – both as a performer and a composer – he practiced for thousands of hours to cultivate his art while other boys played with toy soldiers. So Gladwell does get the general concept correctly. To become an expert in any discipline – even for those with latent talent –

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Tying It All Together

Tying It All Together

The 2020 Vision Statement of Freedom to Lead: In five years we will see 5000 storycentric leaders in 25 under-resourced countries being transformed into competent Christ-centered leaders. We’ve come to the last of the FTL Summer Blog Series where we have been unpacking FTL’s Vision Statement for the next five years. To recap, FTL is offering under-resourced leaders the opportunity to walk towards freedom, suggesting solutions that go beyond the economic. We have seen how each one of these 5000 targeted leaders has a name and a story. And while we can cultivate, God ultimately does the transforming. Last week we even began exploring the competence issue, though only in part. In conclusion, what is the thread that ties all this together? Competent, Christ-centered leadership. If we tackled all of those other issues with precision but skipped the “competent, Christ-centered” part, we’d miss the entire point. Competent, Christ-centered leadership is the

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Competent Leadership

Competent Leadership

The 2020 Vision Statement of Freedom to Lead: In five years we will see 5000 storycentric leaders in 25 under-resourced countries being transformed into competent Christ-centered leaders. For the FTL Summer Blog Series, we have been unpacking our Vision Statement for the next five years. If you have missed any from this series, feel free to visit each one: Freedom From What? 25 Countries, 5000 Leaders Under Resourced Being Transformed Today we are going to talk about the competency component. When the summer months became too unbearable to continue with my long distance running, I decided to opt for the slightly “cooler” outdoor experience of the woods and the national parks. So, I joined a hiking club, eager to both be in community with other people and to put my boots to the ground and strengthen core muscles. I figured I could just apply the skills I had learned while long

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Being Transformed

Being Transformed

The 2020 Vision Statement of Freedom to Lead: In five years we will see 5000 storycentric leaders in 25 under-resourced countries being transformed into competent Christ-centered leaders. For the FTL Summer Blog Series, we have been unpacking our Vision Statement for the next five years. First, we took a look at the “Freedom to Lead” part. What do we mean by “freedom”? Next, we examined the numbers, 5000 leaders from 25 countries. Last time we looked at the word “under-resourced.” And today we are talking about “being transformed.” I live on the third floor of an apartment building. I do not have access to a yard or a place to grow a garden, though I do have a small balcony. And because I decided my place needed some fresh life to it, I went out and bought a couple of planters not too long ago. First I started with seeds.

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Under Resourced Communities

Under Resourced Communities

The 2020 Vision Statement of Freedom to Lead: In five years we will see 5000 storycentric leaders in 25 under resourced countries being transformed into competent Christ-centered leaders. For the FTL Summer Blog Series, we have been unpacking our Vision Statement for the next five years. First, we took a look at the “Freedom to Lead” part.  What do we mean by “freedom”? Next, we examined the numbers, 5000 leaders from 25 countries. Today we are going to look at the word “under-resourced.” Imagine for a moment – you have sensed a calling to lead others. You sense God wants you to lead in a church, in a business, or in a school. so where do you go to grow in your leadership? Perhaps you visit the local bookstore and pick up a few books about leadership. Or you scroll the Internet and see a vast array of opportunities to

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25 Countries, 5000 Leaders

25 Countries, 5000 Leaders

The 2020 Vision Statement of Freedom to Lead: In five years we will see 5000 storycentric leaders in 25 under-resourced countries being transformed into competent Christ-centered leaders. For the FTL Summer Blog Series, we are unpacking our Vision Statement for the next five years. These past couple of weeks we have been looking at the “Freedom to Lead” part. We examined where we get this idea of “freedom.” Today we are looking at the numbers. 25 Countries. 5000 Leaders. Those sound like pretty lofty numbers. Often times when we see projected numbers like this from a Christian ministry, we can get a little suspicious. It’s not that we don’t believe that God can do big things. He certainly can. But, we want to be sure that this path is really where God is guiding and not just something we’ve conjured up because it sounds impressive. There is a great demand around

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Freedom From What?

For the FTL Summer Blog Series, we are unpacking our Vision Statement for the next five years. Today, we look at the “Freedom to Lead” part. Where do we get this idea? Why do we choose this as the name of our organization? In John 8:36 Jesus said, So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” We believe the freedom he was offering was not just about eternity, but this freedom is a reality in this present lifetime, as lived out in our lives, in our ministries, and in our leadership. This kind of freedom sets leaders free to be all that they can be for Christ. Defining Freedom Usually when we talk about freedom we talk about being free from something. tyranny. sin. slavery. even our own bad attitudes and behaviors. Freedom to Something However, it can also be towards something as well. If we

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