Successful Passage Through Change Initiatives

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If we were just simple software programs then change would be an easy, logical step. All you’d have to do is input the direction and poof! Instant change. Isn’t it funny though that sometimes we think that’s all we need to do to change others; change whole organizations even?

We are dealing with people here though who actually happen to be human. I know! It was hard for me to get this at first too but I’ll give you a sec…

Anywho – here’s the deal: Change is the basic facts that need to be applied for there to be growth. Transition however is the human element that leaves your accountants quivering with night-sweats.

So how do you grow your organization while dealing with the human element? That’s where a lifestyle of learning Christ-centered leadership comes in. An entire lifestyle probably cannot fit into a single blog post though so I’ll give three steps here that should help along the way.

1. Empower the resisters. Yep, that’s right! Now don’t get me wrong… You’ll want your “champion” to be trumpeting forth glorious praise for the change but we don’t want to isolate the resister. Why on God’s green Earth do you say? Well, people usually resist because they don’t feel like they are in control (We are dealing with creatures of habit after all). When we include them in the planning and decision making phase of an initiative it’s like handing them that safety blanket. When they are able to add input and talk about what is changing then they don’t feel invisible. Invisibility leads to isolation and isolation can end up with disengagement. It doesn’t mean that you have to have their approval; it just means that you are showing them that they are heard.

2. Tend to the power of habit. So we just talked about dealing with creatures of habit. I know that there are many bad habits out there for the catching but that doesn’t mean we should call it all evil and drag it to the stake for burning. Good habits have powerful affect on change. Let’s use them! I’ve even heard of people holding a miniature funeral service for an old habit that had to go. If you have to make an official observation to detach emotionally then go for it. When we focus on adding good habits though (however small they may be) good change is going to be inevitable. Keep swinging the axe and the tree will eventually fall.

The quicker we can attach to new habits the quicker we can get over the bell curve on that messy transitiony-human-element part. Yea I think that’s a word.

3. Build and maintain trust. Wow I think this has to be the most important. Every leader is imperfect except for Jesus. This means that we leak trust if we don’t “add to the pot”. Integrity is what keeps the trust meter full even when we make mistakes. When someone can be clear on your intentions and your character then they can endure the changes along the way.

Now go change somethin! Jesus loves ya!

6 Ideas For A More Creative Leader – Part 2

1433983_61997011Hey all! It’s time to finish up the Creative Leader post with Part 2 here. Let’s get right into it with our next point…

4. A Creative Working Environment

Let’s talk more about that lightning rod that catches inspiration from a previous point in Part 1. First off –

What environment can you establish that will generate creative thoughts for you and/or your organization?

If it’s possible; use nature! A lot of people find that when they are able to see nature then they are able to get the light bulb to turn on. It’s no wonder that God’s creation has the ability to spark imagination within those who are made in His image. So can you get to a window? Maybe you can take a quick walk through a park. If all else fails you can even put up pictures of God’s creation that may move you.

As far as layout goes there are actually some companies that will design their buildings to help their people generate ideas. I know this may not be possible for most to do but hey, it’s still really cool to dream! Here’s some ideas if you happen to have access to this possibility…

– There are some software companies that actually design a “hive” workspace where everyone works together in one large room so that they have instant collaboration. Then there are small private areas where they can go to get alone for focus time.

– Other companies will actually design their conference rooms like a residential living room so that it takes on a more family oriented atmosphere. This way it breaks up whatever may be the norm.

– There are even businesses that will design the hallway to the bathroom to be extra long so that employees will be forced to talk to others while they are walking!

– Some places have small out of the way areas where people can go to just allow their mind to wander so that they can recharge. I’ve actually heard of one that puts out a couple chairs and a table with PlayDoh on it so that their people aren’t stuck creating only one type of thing throughout the day. Along these lines if you’ve never seen pictures of Google’s workspace then I really encourage you to check them out. Be warned though; you will never be the same.

5. Balancing Leadership and Management

Okay so let’s say you have this vision. This vision is awesome and wow you really want to make this happen, right? All of a sudden this annoying “management” stuff starts getting in the way though. What? Can’t we just dream and it just works or something? Gosh!

Right…back to reality. Management is needed but if it’s not balanced it can suffocate our ability to dream. If we stop dreaming then we stop creating and that’s why this point has to be here for a more creative leader.

The disconnect can happen easily. The main thing to remember is that management only maintains but only leadership can bring change. As you go higher in rank the leadership needs to raise and the management needs to lower. The problem of dream suffocation happens a lot to people at the top because they haven’t delegated enough management to others so that they can lead. As an example, when Steve Jobs was around at Apple he passed a large amount of management off to his second in charge so that he could keep being the creative entrepreneur for the company.

It’s like taking your vitamins. Don’t forget to delegate!

6. Finally – Culture, Culture and some more Culture!

What are people doing when the boss isn’t looking? That’s what defines culture in a workplace. Is your creativity flowing down the ladder?

You already have a culture where you are so why not shape it to be awesome? When we combine all these things we’ve been talking about we arrive at a place where we actually become a culture bomb that ignites people around us. When it’s “just what we do” it becomes electric. People like being a part of something that sets them on fire. Do you want a great platform to be able to talk about the Lord? Be a creator like your Father and the people He wants to hook up to your work will come running. Be a culture bomb for the Kingdom of God!

In closing I just want to mention something here… If someone comes by and wrecks your sand castle it may hurt but hey; it’s okay. It’s sand. You’ll just build a new one! Here’s the thing – Jesus sees the heart and He can restore what the locust has eaten. He can also protect what’s in your heart. Remember through these type of times what Phil. 1:6 says: 

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. NASB

I love you guys and gals! Now go make something.

 

Question time! What is one simple change to your workspace that can help generate creative ideas?

6 Ideas For A More Creative Leader – Part 1

Garden Design Blueprint SketchingDo you consider yourself creative? Where would you rate your creativity at? How about compared to others? There’s probably someone you know that you can think of right now that can just blow your mind away when it comes to creativity, isn’t there? So what makes them special? What makes creative people so creative?

Here’s the thing… I don’t like when I hear folks say that they aren’t creative. Ya know why? Because we are made in the image of God! Therefore, we all have ridiculously, amazing, powerful, stupendous, where-in-the-world-did-that-come-from creativity prowess! I mean… let’s not forget where we come from aye?

There can be a number of disconnects that cause us to not see ourselves as creative. Maybe a person hasn’t found their calling yet. Maybe they stopped dreaming a while ago because of a dark moment or their hope being deferred. Whatever the cause; Jesus restores all.

Having said that, I want to bring some ideas that I’ve learned to help leaders (and those who think they aren’t leaders!) generate creativity within themselves as well as in their organizations. I believe that the Lord wants to connect His children to His creative power. He is the light of the world and we can stand to get some of His creativity in us to change this place for the better!

1. Mastery and Discipline Expertise

You know I have to start out at the stewardship level, right? Obviously we have to start from a place where we are dedicated and focused on being our best. We can’t just be our best anywhere though. We need to know where to put all this focus on! Because we are created, we don’t get to choose where our talents are; we get to discover where our talents are. On the individual level this requires research, soul search, and God search.

As far as choosing the right people for the right job though, that’s going to require a more focused hiring process than the norm. Many Fortune 500 companies know this and have made their hiring process to have multiple steps for admittance. In short – hire the best.

When people fit where they are supposed to they learn fast, act fast and adopt fast. They also mesh well with each other and it helps generate excellence within the team. Ask yourself how they will fit into the culture of the organization. The hiring process should be lengthy and deliberate. It isn’t enough to work hard. If you’ve hired a hard-working accountant who is actually an architect on the inside, then you won’t get the full talent that’s needed. God’s gift achieves more than man’s sweat.

2. Reach Outside of the Discipline for Ideas

Bridge Fields – Connecting different fields can give insight! Go look at a completely different industry and see how they deal with what you’re dealing with. Perhaps they’ve found a way to accomplish about the same thing that you are.

Blend Fields – Is there something that you can create that is a hybrid of different fields? Think about how Apple blended tech and artful design together.

3. Expect and Schedule Creativity

There’s this thought that creativity is like lightning striking and you can’t choose when or where. Well that doesn’t mean you can’t hold up a lightning rod in the middle of a field on a stormy day! We can create environments that “catch” creativity. All kinds of people have great inventions in their head. Most of them don’t get them to market though because they aren’t ready for it. Here’s some steps to make creation a routine –

1. Review what’s been done – If change is going to happen then we need a starting point to know if that change is doing us any good. Save the good parts and move on. Be careful not to get stuck on a method! Every organization needs to be reborn at some point.

2. Generate New Ideas – Instill habits within your organization to spend time on creative ideas. Schedule brainstorming! I know this sounds like a no-brainer but sometimes you will hear that there’s “just no time”. Even worse is when no one cares about what the folks down in the trenches are thinking.

3. Test Ideas – Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t let others be afraid to fail! Learn to fail fast and then move on.

4. Use the Best Ideas – In other words; do it right. When you find a good idea take the time to make it really work. One polished idea is better than the clutter of many “ok” ideas.

Part 2 to come…

Question: What is one simple habit that you can establish that will schedule an opportunity for creative ideas?

Becoming Efficient with Time

Time seems to be that one thing folks just can’t get enough of. The interesting thing about it though is that no matter where or to whom we were born we all get 24 hours a day to accomplish life. What we focus that time on is what we become or what we continue to linger as. There are many successful people in this world that even started with nothing that have the same amount of hours as the rest of us. So what’s the difference?

I wanted to bring some tips that I’ve learned from my own fevered searches for understanding on this topic so that time doesn’t remain elusive. I hope it will bring peace to your day and hey…remember that Jesus is the Lord of time and the Restorer of what the locust has eaten!

The 80/20 Rule

Many have probably heard of the 80/20 rule because it’s used in just about every subject. Basically, usually twenty percent of the work that you do is more important than the rest (the 80%). Most of the time you will have twenty percent of your customers responsible for the brunt of your work and/or pay. In the same light, during twenty percent of your workday, you will be at your highest energy level.

Everyone has a peak energy “window” of time in the day where they are able to be the most efficient. It varies from person to person but we definitely want to figure out when that is for us. A lot of times this can coincide with optimal glucose levels in the body as well. In other words, the time of the day where you’ve been without food the longest is probably not the best time to make your most important decisions.

Once you are aware of this you’ll start to see when that time is. From there just start asking “is this an 80 or 20 project?” The key is to do your “20% work” during the time that you are at your peak. When this gets lined up the time starts freeing up more.

Another thing about that window…Protect it! Don’t let people steal your peak time with menial tasks. Broadcast your availability to others so that they know when they shouldn’t interrupt you. If you need to and are able to then get away from the distractions. For instance maturity is paramount with technology at this time. If you have Twitter buzzing your phone clear off the desk then turn it off. Uncle Frank’s post about his new Bassdestroyer 2000 can be liked during the eighty percent time. Unless of course you don’t like the Bassdestroyer 2000…but who wouldn’t?

If a large amount of your time is still being spent on the eighty percent even after you’ve dealt with the twenty percent in your peak time, then the next step comes which is to –

Delegate – Automate – Outsource

If you don’t have to micromanage something and you still are…I wish I had your energy. Leaders lift others up to their own level. The whole purpose of leading is to create other leaders. If you aren’t developing others around you then you aren’t passing the baton. When you stop passing the baton your destiny becomes stagnated because you’ve stopped work on your next promotion.

Here’s something that I try to live by as a general rule for delegation – If it can be done by someone else…it should be done by someone else. Now, that’s not an excuse to become lazy so it has to be said with balance. I’m saying it here because there’s some that need to balance doing everything on their own with this statement. Remember Jesus said you have to love me. :)

What can you delegate, automate, or outsource? Yes maybe you can fix the car for cheaper. How much is your time worth though? After five trips to the store, three YouTube videos watching professionals make it look easy and 6 hours of work did you really get your money back? How much work could you have done focusing on your strengths that God gave you to make a profit faster?

God made you specifically a certain way to answer a problem that the world has. When you find out what that is, you can focus on that strength and then use the success from that to pay others to do what they were created to do. Isn’t it so relieving that you don’t have to be good at everything?

Sleep and Have Fun!

The traditional thought about work is that it should be categorized apart from fun. The problem with that is that God created work and He’s the funnest person you’ll ever meet so somewhere there’s been a disconnect. The mindset is what I’m going after with this. The thought that we are going to just go full crazy for eight or more hours straight almost every day of the week just isn’t within the confines of our design. Our brain needs a break and our body does too. God doesn’t want us sedentary in body or in mind.

There are plenty of studies out there that say taking quick naps or just taking a break to play a game or create something small can reset the brain and make us more efficient. I want to challenge you to sharpen the axe throughout the day and see how much of a difference it can make! Eccl. 10:10

 

What are some ways that you break up the day to stay efficient? Leave a comment!

 

Leading People or Maintaining Robots

When we go to work and look around, do we see a vibrant environment full of inspiration and creativity, or do we find ourselves drained of purpose and just trying to get by? The “another day, another dollar” saying truly is a sad edict hung over many a head across this globe. I’d also venture to say that it’s not within the confines of Heaven’s original blueprints for humanity either.

I’ve heard before (and honestly have thought myself) some say that they just wish we could have a good dictator come in and “just… fix everything!” Ya know… just for a little bit. Whether this be about our governments or perhaps frustrations with red tape or management issues at our workplaces. We just want things to work right! Right?

Here’s the problem… Jesus, no matter how supreme and omnipotent, doesn’t act like a dictator. Why? Because God’s way of leading doesn’t require it. The reason for that is that we are created to be loved and to love. Therefore, when Jesus loves us, the core of our design is touched in such a way that though we have free will, we voluntarily subjugate ourselves to Him (John 14:15). It works this way because once you are convinced of someone’s sincere love, it is much easier to be persuaded of their cause.

On the other hand, though you strive for the most holy of stances, if you lack the purveyance of genuine friendship, you will be hard-pressed to win over a single soul.

I say “soul” because that’s exactly what we are dealing with. If you only want a robot in your following, then simply appease people on their basest of levels. Like for instance, merely a paycheck (shelter, food, water). We’ll call it the “carrot on a stick” motivator. You may also use this base motivation as leverage. For instance when the boss pulls out the whip and says “work harder or you’re fired!”.

If you want to activate what God puts on the inside of people though, and as a leader you need that to accomplish your vision, you have to go a level deeper. A good Godly leader needs to touch the heaven that’s inside his people to get the Lord’s answer manifested in his business or organization. To attain inspiration, there must first be a conducive environment for that to come through. Every organization rises and falls due to its leadership, so the responsibility to cultivate a heavenly atmosphere lies within the lap of the leaders.

Most places are filled with robots and most places are filled with managers instead of leaders. Should not the marketplace influence coming from the Church be different? If we invest at the robot level we will lead followers. If we invest in people, we will lead leaders, and that’s where the real multiplication begins.

Jesus used both the whip (cleansing the temple) and the carrot (miracles and provision) as tools, but that’s all they were. The spirit of His leadership is firmly grounded in love and a passion for bringing others up to His level instead of leaving them behind in the dirt. Jesus produces leaders. We can actually see whole cities mentioned in the Bible where they were offered the carrot but were blinded to the love and as a result they didn’t turn (Matt 11:20-24). Though He performed many miracles, they weren’t won to His cause. Neither benefits nor great pay can join people to vision. It must be love.

Why did certain people reject Jesus? 2 Cor 3:14-16 shows us that those who are so used to a cold, law-based life (The cycle of tradition – Mark 7:13) are veiled to the light and love of Jesus. In fact, in the aforementioned Matt 11:20-24, the only cities that were being rebuked were the ones that had the law readily available to them. Unveiling prayer then, must be an added component for the people we lead so that we may have as many as can be on board with God’s dream for the organization.

With these principles in place, the raised bar of activation within the company or group acts as a filter for those who refuse to be excellent. It is when the leadership is content with mediocre that “flies in the ointment” stay on board. As a result of God’s love in leadership, I believe Jesus can bring Christian influence to the top of the marketplace and make the competition wonder why our people are so alive and firsts in innovation.

So, I want you to know that Jesus loves you and I love you, and you’re more than normal. You’re an overwhelming conqueror!