UNLEASHING POTENTIAL IN STORYCENTRIC COMMUNITIES

Leadership Resources

The Leader’s Disproportionate Leverage

Leaders possess disproportionate leverage to advance a positive agenda or to impede progress in their corporations, communities, churches, and nations. For Good or for Bad President Bashar al-Assad, an egomaniacal leader with access to chemical weapons – wields far more power than a volunteer group that works tirelessly to lift up oppressed Syrian women. Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s reckless chairman who inherited his father’s unbridled power, holds nations in anxious limbo while a faith-based team in Pyongyang seeks peace without much notice. Nelson Mandela’s singular influence released a nation from oppression. And Steve Jobs’ foresight. changed the way the whole world listens to music. Histories of human societies chronicle consistent narratives of a few leaders whose disproportionate leverage brought either harm or healing to the masses. Today billions of people’s lives and futures are in peril because of a few tyrants. And billions of others have hope because of a few influential visionaries.

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The Leader’s Illusion

Instinct, a 2014 film about the interactions of a young, ambitious psychiatrist (played by Cuba Gooding) with a convicted killer (brilliantly enacted by Anthony Hopkins), highlights many leaders’ common illusion.1

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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?

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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.

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Church Leaders: Leading Change in the Church

Pragmatism in Practice “It doesn’t matter if it’s right; it only matters if it works.” This motto for leading change dominates 21st century corporations. It’s pragmatism in practice. Pick up any popular book on leading change. The odds are that you’ll find several underlying themes:

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Shipwreck Leadership

Recently I was reading the New Testament book of Acts. I wondered, Why would Luke the author devote such a long chapter of his book (27) to describe a voyage and shipwreck? Surely he could have spared us all the detail! But skilled as a writer and inspired by God, Luke presented important facts about Paul the courageous leader in a time of great crisis. Paul was prisoner aboard a ship bound for Rome. The ship had already encountered adverse winds, and November storms were looming. Speaking from experience – he had already been through three other shipwrecks – Paul warned the crew of impending danger. But as men in charge often do, they ignored him.

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The Dark Side of Literacy

Literacy is an extraordinary gift to people and societies. In 1439, Johann Gutenberg was tinkering around with an old winepress and adapted it to become the first movable-type printing press. His invention lit the fuse on a reading revolution. The wide distribution of ideas became possible for the first time in human history, and the mass production of books made it harder to suppress the flow of thought among common people. Printing led to a higher degree of accuracy and standardization of texts. The decrease in the cost of books made it possible for people to learn outside the traditional educational system. In short, reading and writing came within the reach of the masses, thus fueling unprecedented intellectual development, distributing political influence beyond the privileged elite, an improving overall economic security. Literacy is an extraordinary gift to people and societies.

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Prudent Leadership

Prudence has been an essential leadership virtue historically, but the word has largely fallen out of use. Prudence was considered one of the greatest of virtues two thousand years ago. A hundred years ago it was part of moral philosophy, and today it is the punchline of a joke. For people of a certain generation it will forever conjure up the memory of Dana Carvey impersonating George H. W. Bush saying, “Wouldn’t be wise; wouldn’t be prudent.”

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Are Good Leaders Born or Made?

Nineteen years ago “Marcell” was living in Thailand when he started an international ministry to rescue young girls and boys caught in human trafficking. For nearly two decades he has travelled the globe with tireless passion. He has built a respected ministry with a combination of hard work and charisma. As the ministry has grown, his staff has come to expect his presence and personal involvement in nearly every new initiative. But Marcell is getting older, and is visibly worn with the grind. He worries about the future of the ministry. But when asked about his plans for leadership succession, he comments, “That’s God’s job, not mine. Just as God anointed me, so He will raise up another to take my place.”

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Measuring Leadership Effectiveness

Leaders craft the cultures of their organizations – consciously or not – by what they consistently measure.  If leaders want something to become important – or remain important – in the minds and hearts of organizational stakeholders, they must figure out a way to measure it.  On the other hand, if leaders do not highlight a particular value or provide a means to measure it, that stated value will not likely be an actual value in the organization – especially in times of stress and pressure.

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Leadership Matters

We believe that leaders make a huge difference in people's lives.