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.Read more
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!Read more
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.Read more
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?Read more
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.Read more
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 – takes tons of practice. But not all practice is equal.Read more
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.Read more
Here is an example of how the use of songs in The Garden Project cultivates competent Christ-centered leaders.
This song comes from the Oriya people of Orissa, India where Freedom to Lead’s Song Development Team will be working in September. You can hear the clear rhythmic groove and the refined vocal inflection of this chant-like song in Oriya “classical style.” The instruments include the nal (local double-headed drum) and dara (tambourine).
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.Read more
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. After weeks of the wildflower seeds being burrowed with no visible fruit I was getting rather discouraged. Just as I was about to throw it away, this teeny tiny sliver of green gave me hope. Still, patience has never been something I’ve been good at. Perhaps the blooms will come yet. This time though, I decided to pack my planters with dirt, go to the nursery to pick out already blooming plants, and start from there. This time, I am determined to see them stay healthy. So far they have not died on me. Then I went to the craft store.Read more