Leadership

20Jun

4 Steps When Setting Goals – A Lesson from “Never Say Never”

Last week, my wife Angela and I decided to have an at-home date night.  It was a little impromptu and really was spurred on by the fact that I wanted to just be lazy for a night.  With this in mind, we decided to watch a movie.  We are not big movie watchers, yet sometimes it is nice to wrap up in a blanket, pop some popcorn, and download a movie to watch on AppleTV.

As we scrolled through the new releases on AppleTV we did not find anything we really wanted to watch, but I did keep coming across the movie “Never Say Never.”  Now, I will admit that I have downloaded the My World 2.0 album on iTunes, but I have never ventured to say I am a Justin Bieber fan and to be 100% honest, I knew nothing of his story.  With little options for Angela and I to watch, we pressed “rent” for Justin Bieber’s movie, “Never Say Never.”

As the movie started, I found myself strangely intrigued by the story.  If you are like me then you probably know nothing of Justin Bieber, so let me fill you in in 3 sentences:

Justin Bieber was always interested in music and honestly had an unreal talent at an early age.  In his early teenage years, Justin started performing all over town and recording self-made videos on Youtube and attracted hundreds of thousands of fans.  A music producer found Justin on Youtube, took a huge risk in making Justin famous, got Justin networked with the right people, and the rest will be forever history.

What really impressed me most about the movie is that Justin is a lot wiser than most people will ever give him credit for.  The main storyline of the movie is telling how Justin became famous mixed in with his journey to playing at the nation’s (and possibly the world’s) most famous venue in New Youk City, Madison Square Gardens.  The whole movie, Justin and his team are striving to get things perfect for what would be the biggest performance of his life.  What I learned from Justin within the mix of “Never Say Never” is a lot about setting goals.

From Justin’s goal to sell out and play at Madison Square Gardens, I learned 4 important lessons: Read More »

17May

Get Up and Do Something – A Lesson Learned from DefiantMissions

Over a billion people in the world live off less than $1.00 a day and another billion people in the world live off of less than $2.00 a day.  Many of these people live in areas of extreme poverty, in harsh conditions, and in a place without basic human needs like clean water, sanitation, and basic nutrition.  Many people have worked to try to find solutions to these problems and have all pitched in to make a dent on the issues, but the truth of the matter is that the problems are going to take all of us working on a solution.

Two guys that Angela and I have gotten to know a little over the past two years have decided to help to take some of these issues head-on by creating an organization called DefiantMissions.   The two guys are Matt Turner and Stephen Dupuis, who started an organization right out of college in hopes to address some of the injustice they saw in the world.  With a little knowledge on the science of water filtration and a whole lot of passion, they launched the first component of DefiantMissions, which is DefyThirst.

What has impressed me about Matt and Stephen is not their ability to change the world (which they can do) or even the success stories that we have been able to hear about achievements they have made in the first steps of their total community intervention projects (which are plenty for a infant organization).  Though all they have accomplished is impressive, what has impressed me most about the 2 founders is that they started with a dream and a passion and followed it up with the most important step: they did something about it. Read More »

13May

Consistency is Key

Last weekend I got to go to my favorite city in the southeast, a city that I think is very underrated by most people.  I was able to go to college at a small private school in a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama and while I was there I fell in love with the city of Birmingham and its surrounding areas.  I have tried to figure out why I love Birmingham so much and one of the main reasons is the attention and priority that the community takes towards local business.  Everywhere you turn there is a local restaurant, a small coffee shop, a specialty retail store, or a local bank or business.

One local restaurant that we all love is Davenports Pizza Palace.  Davenports is located in the Mountain Book community and has been around for a long time.  When my in-laws, John and Trudy were at Samford 25 years ago they ate at Davenports Pizza which is how I heard about it in the first place – and the one thing I have learned from Davenports is that Consistency is Important… Read More »

28Apr

Getting on the Same Page

For our organization, an event like today only happens a few times a year, and it is something that I have really grown to love and appreciate.  Today is a day when everyone who works within our organization  is able to come together, get caught up on things that are going on and ensure we are all on the same page.

I get to work for an organization that in its biggest form is organized  into 2 divisions – the division that I serve with is a part of a collaborative which has over 8 different ministries operating from it and is comprised of at least 4 different partnering organizations.  Although we would still be considered a small organization, we have a lot of moving pieces, a lot of different people, and a lot of potential to all be moving to the beat of a different drum.

I think it is important to be able to have events as we are doing today; to carve our intentional time to help make sure that our vision is aligned.  A great leader knows that he or she is always communicating vision – where by action or words, the leader is setting the pace for where an organization is going and getting others sold in on that vision.  Read More »

27Apr

Being a Grateful Leader

I once heard of an executive of a large company, who kept a small notepad on the corner of his desk.  All day long, we would write down the names of people he met with that day, people he had long discussions with on the phone, or anyone who went out of their way to help him.  The executive then carved out the last 30 minutes of every day he was at the office to stop the activities of the day and write a thank you note to everyone on that list.

I am willing to bet that any recipient of these letters felt extremely valued and appreciated for the time and efforts they had given to the executive – and possibly more prone to help him again in the future!  It is amazing how such a small thing can mean so much to people – the simple task of saying Thank You.

I think we do not say “thank you” enough in our day to day life.  What I am talking about is more than me signing “thanks, BMF” at the end of my emails, but more so going out of your way to say “Thank You” in a meaningful way – taking a few minutes to really say thank you and to appreciate the work of others.

To me, being grateful is one of the greatest things that a leader can do.  When we think about being a servant leader, we realize that this must be someone who is humble and looking out for the needs of others.  I am also thinking that a servant leader must be thankful and grateful to those around him.

You have an opportunity each and everyday to let people know you appreciate them and what they do for you or for your organization.  I think that when you become a grateful leader, people will want to follow you.  They will be willing to commit more efforts to you because they will know that you value and appreciate them, they will feel good about their work, and they will be motivated because they know you care not only about what they do, but also who they are.

My challenge to you is to say “Thank You” today.  Take a few minutes today to sit down and write a thank you note to someone and actually snail-mail it, send an email that will let someone know how much you appreciate them, or have a one-on-one conversation explaining your gratefulness to someone.

I believe if we become grateful leaders we not only will  be doing what we are called to do as servant leaders, but we will motivate others to greatness, let others know we value them, and see the benefits of a much healthier team in the future.

How do you express gratitude best?

25Apr

Finding a Pacer

During my time at Samford University, I found a love for something that I never thought I would enjoy.  Daily, I would put on some shorts, a dri-fit shirt, lace up my Brooks running shoes, queue the iPod and hit the Lakeshore trail to go running.  I started my time not even being able to run a mile, but with some determination, I began to run daily – I got in the best shape of my life (so far) and started to look for ways to compete.

Shortly after I knew I could physically run 3 miles, I ran my first 5k and loved it. Running races made me realize there is a community who participates in events and they made running much more fun.  Also at a race, I could find people to push me – people who became my pacers.  Though the community is a blast, one of the greatest parts is that there will typically be people better than you, faster than you, and willing to push you to work harder.

For me, how I do in a race is all about the person I am pacing with.  I need someone who is a little faster than me so I can try my hardest to keep up with them for the duration of the race.

One of the bigger lessons that I have learned though is that in a race, I cannot pick my pacer until I have completed the first mile.  See, when a race starts you always have 3 types of Runners: Read More »

20Apr

Success is Succession – Developing Younger Leaders

One of my favorite things to do ever since I have moved into my house is to work in the yard.   I know this is not something loved by all 26 year-olds, but I have grown to love planting plants, cutting the grass, trimming the hedges, etc.  I think a lot of the reason why I love it is because I get to see immediate results – whereas in my career we aim for long-term results over the short-term.

This year in my yard, Angela and I wanted to try something new; we wanted to be like every good southern family and build a garden.  Over the past 3 weeks we have dug, tilled, and built a garden into the landscape of our back yard.  As much work as it has been, I have a feeling that the fun part is just getting started.

The garden has also taught me a lot about the role of a leader to prepare others.  I understand that garden analogies are a bit cliché, but there is a lot to take away.

Read More »

14Dec

Processing an Event – 3 Steps

Over the past several years, I have had the honor to be able to hear many great speakers and communicators at countless events and seminars.  In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do – break away from the office for a day or two and find ways to challenge myself, grow, learn, and meet others in the same boat.  Although I get to hear great material and gather some great ideas for how it can all impact my life and the world around me – I often find that I never take the time to process what I have heard and make it apply for me.

The most frustrating part is that its great stuff and so quickly I loose it.  I just think over 2010 how much great material I have been able to hear.  Through Backstage Leadership alone, I have heard from Dan T. Cathy, Jon Acuff, Mark Batterson, Francis Chan, Ken Blanchard, Mike Foster and more.  Then you throw in Chick-fil-A Seminar and I was able to listen to Coca-Cola CEO, Mutar Kent, Bill Hybles of Willow Creek, Andy Stanley, and even more great Chick-fil-A Speakers.  Then we can go with an event like Catalyst where the stage was filled with great communicators:  Scott Harrison, Seth Godin, Beth Moore, Perry Noble, Gabe Lyons, Craig Groeschel, and more.  The list goes on and on… But the biggest question is what do you do with the information – because reguarless of how great a speaker is and how great the content is, if you do not apply it and put it into practice then you loose it and waste it.

Through all of these experiences I have worked to find out the best way to capture your thoughts and the best way to capitalize on what you have heard.  The process has to start with a good note taking system (for me I use a Moleskin, then transfer all materials to a indexable database such as Evernote to find information very easily later on) but after note taking you have to take your info to a different level. For me is as simple as 3 easy steps.  Hear me out…

  • Within 1 hour stop, debrief, reflect, and journal:  I understand that it is not always feasible to stop within an hour of receiving great material to debrief, but I do encourage you within one hour of getting away from the hustle of everything going on – stop and think about what you have heard.  I would start by simply writing a 1-3 key take-aways in a permanent place.  For some this is a blog, for others its a journal – wherever it is you need to write down 1-3 key points and take aways from your event/material. (you can add more, but having 1-3 key points is much better than loosing it all)
  • Within 1 day find someone to share your key learnings with: It is proven that you will learn something so much more if you teach it – the same is true of things that you learn through great communicators and events.  For me, it is important to verbalize what your take aways are as it will help you process it further.  The other great thing is that it will lead you to great conversations that will give you insights from others and help expand your growth and learning even more.
  • Lastly, within 1-week find at least 1 additional resource to take you deeper. This is the final point that will take you from where you are to where you want to be.  The best growth will happen when you dive in further on the topic being talked about.  You can do this simply through reading blog posts about it, finding articles online, read a book on the topic, watch interviews on YouTube.  Whatever it may be, I want to challenge you to take what you learn at the event and find a way to take it a step further.

I know there are a lot of ways to process, but this works for me.  The biggest thing to realize is that when you are a part of hearing and being exposed to great material, you then are a steward of the information.  Will you be a good steward and allow it to grow you into the person and leader you want to be or will you waste the material, waste your time, and do nothing with it?

How do you process and debrief after an event?

Below you will also see a great video produced by Growing Leaders on this Concept – enjoy:

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.980465&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26]

14Dec

Processing an Event – 3 Steps

Over the past several years, I have had the honor to be able to hear many great speakers and communicators at countless events and seminars.  In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do – break away from the office for a day or two and find ways to challenge myself, grow, learn, and meet others in the same boat.  Although I get to hear great material and gather some great ideas for how it can all impact my life and the world around me – I often find that I never take the time to process what I have heard and make it apply for me.

The most frustrating part is that its great stuff and so quickly I loose it.  I just think over 2010 how much great material I have been able to hear.  Through Backstage Leadership alone, I have heard from Dan T. Cathy, Jon Acuff, Mark Batterson, Francis Chan, Ken Blanchard, Mike Foster and more.  Then you throw in Chick-fil-A Seminar and I was able to listen to Coca-Cola CEO, Mutar Kent, Bill Hybles of Willow Creek, Andy Stanley, and even more great Chick-fil-A Speakers.  Then we can go with an event like Catalyst where the stage was filled with great communicators:  Scott Harrison, Seth Godin, Beth Moore, Perry Noble, Gabe Lyons, Craig Groeschel, and more.  The list goes on and on… But the biggest question is what do you do with the information – because reguarless of how great a speaker is and how great the content is, if you do not apply it and put it into practice then you loose it and waste it.

Through all of these experiences I have worked to find out the best way to capture your thoughts and the best way to capitalize on what you have heard.  The process has to start with a good note taking system (for me I use a Moleskin, then transfer all materials to a indexable database such as Evernote to find information very easily later on) but after note taking you have to take your info to a different level. For me is as simple as 3 easy steps.  Hear me out…

  • Within 1 hour stop, debrief, reflect, and journal:  I understand that it is not always feasible to stop within an hour of receiving great material to debrief, but I do encourage you within one hour of getting away from the hustle of everything going on – stop and think about what you have heard.  I would start by simply writing a 1-3 key take-aways in a permanent place.  For some this is a blog, for others its a journal – wherever it is you need to write down 1-3 key points and take aways from your event/material. (you can add more, but having 1-3 key points is much better than loosing it all)
  • Within 1 day find someone to share your key learnings with: It is proven that you will learn something so much more if you teach it – the same is true of things that you learn through great communicators and events.  For me, it is important to verbalize what your take aways are as it will help you process it further.  The other great thing is that it will lead you to great conversations that will give you insights from others and help expand your growth and learning even more.
  • Lastly, within 1-week find at least 1 additional resource to take you deeper. This is the final point that will take you from where you are to where you want to be.  The best growth will happen when you dive in further on the topic being talked about.  You can do this simply through reading blog posts about it, finding articles online, read a book on the topic, watch interviews on YouTube.  Whatever it may be, I want to challenge you to take what you learn at the event and find a way to take it a step further.

I know there are a lot of ways to process, but this works for me.  The biggest thing to realize is that when you are a part of hearing and being exposed to great material, you then are a steward of the information.  Will you be a good steward and allow it to grow you into the person and leader you want to be or will you waste the material, waste your time, and do nothing with it?

How do you process and debrief after an event?

Below you will also see a great video produced by Growing Leaders on this Concept – enjoy:

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.980465&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26]

28Oct

25 going on 70 – A Lesson from Jon Acuff

One thing I am always joking with people about is that sometimes I have a tendency to believe that I am 25 years old going on 70.  As a one-liner that works our pretty good on the humor scale, but there is a lot of truth to that.   I feel like a lot of times I want to accomplish the whole world, move mountains, and make huge impacts at the age of 25.  I also sometimes feel like I am going to be 70 tomorrow and if I do not do something quick then I will miss out on my opportunity.

The crazy thing is that we know that this is not true by any stretch of the imagination.  I often find myself thinking, why am I not a CEO, why and I not a politician, why have I not started my own business, and even more so, why can I not be one of the people on stage speaking at events like Catalyst.  Then soon after this comes the humbling moment – the moment where I realize the answer to all of this is that I have nothing to share on stage in front of 10,000 people, I am young and lack a lot of real-world experience, and I have a lot to learn before I am ever at these huge milestones in life.

Read More »

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