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In His Service,

#224: Effective Leadership: Employ, Equip, Empower, and Get Out Of The Way!

As the Bob Dylan song goes, “the times they are a changin.” Managing a business in today’s world is an exercise in managing change. What worked phenomenally well in 2010 won’t work in 2020.

Effective Leadership

To meet the challenges that lay before us, leaders must learn new, more effective ways of managing rapidly changing, diverse groups of employees.

Way back in 1966 Peter F. Drucker wrote The Effective Executive, in which he makes the point that to be effective executives must learn how to harness worker resources like intelligence, imagination, and knowledge, and convert them into results.

The Effective Leader

So, what can you do to develop the future-oriented effective leadership style? You need to learn how to employ the right people, put them in the right jobs, give them the right training, empower them to get the work done, and most important of all, get out of their way so they can work!

1. Employ

The first step of the effective leader is to learn how to hire the right kind of people. In companies where employees are empowered, the employees are often responsible for the first one or two interviews. Team interviews that include employees and managers are becoming more common. After all, who knows the work better than the people doing it every day? Employees can be a valuable resource in hiring people who will fit the corporate culture and strategy.

Companies that are still relying on just the Human Resources manager for all hiring decisions are not utilizing the employee assets within the company. A real disaster is set-up when upper management takes control of hiring decisions at entry levels, to the exclusion of input from employees and first level managers. Hard as it may be to believe, this is still being practiced by some Fortune 500 companies today!

2. Equip

The second in becoming an effective leader is to get the right people in the right jobs. Paul wrote to the Romans, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:6-8).

Clearly, we need to be sensitive to people’s gifts and skills and do our best to match them to jobs that use their skills.

Once you have your people in the right jobs and you are focusing their talents on their jobs, you need to train them to do the best job possible.

In a recent survey of training costs, it was found that companies had budgets for training that ranged from $50 per employee per year to $4,000 per employee. Whose employees do you think are the best prepared to meet the challenges of the future?

Training your employees is a two-step process. First, there is the industrial training that keeps the employee up to date on your industry. Second, there is skill improvement training. Neither one of these is a one-time investment. Rather, it is a continual process that must be kept up over the life of the employee.

Ecclesiastes gives us an excellent view of the importance of training, “If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success” (Eccl. 10:10). If you have ever chopped wood with a dull axe, you know how much work it is. You work harder, it takes longer, and it requires much more determination to get the job done. Training will keep your employees like sharpened axes; capable of doing more, in less time than your competition.

3. Empower

Companies are getting the word; teams can be more productive than individuals. The rebirth of America’s large corporations has upper managers talking about making their employees intrapreneurs; people empowered to make decisions without approval from five levels of higher managers.

In America’s small companies we are hearing about “virtual corporations” where a handful of employees run big businesses by outsourcing talent, subcontracting, and making decisions without the safety net of expensive layers of higher managers.

The crucial steps in empowering your employees include;

  • hiring the right people, to begin with,
  • making sure that they are in jobs that best utilize their talents,
  • training them until they are the best they can be (and keeping them well trained), and finally,
  • making them accountable for decisions that affect their work.

Employees who are responsible for the productivity of their work group are more likely to take an interest in the output of other employees. If they understand that all sink or swim together, as a team, they will fight to survive.

4. Get Out of The Way

The biggest single reason that efforts to empower employees fail are that managers do not get out of the employee’s way and let them get the work done!

The manager “mother-hens” the employees, second guesses them, and sets-up their decision making so it comes out the way he wanted all along.

According to Mr. Webster, empowerment means to give someone authority. The definition does not suggest that a manager is to abdicate responsibility. And it is between giving authority and maintaining responsibility that most managers fail.

You must start by giving employees the right information, giving them the time and the resources to analyze potential decisions, and the support of management to carry out plans.

What constitutes the right information? For every company and every situation, the answer is different. Think about what information you would need to analyze a problem and decide. If you are managing a factory, giving workers production and profitability numbers for their department would be a good start.

One caveat from companies who have tried this. Break into employee empowerment gradually if you can. This is a new skill area for most employees, and they will need some practice to get good at it. Let them work on a few focused issues to build their confidence.

One Last Thought

Effective leaders of the future have difficult shoes to fill. The world is a complex place, and the rules of the game are changing all the time.

As difficult as this work is, remember Paul’s instruction to the Philippians, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from a 6-page whitepaper entitled, Effective Leadership: Employ, Equip, Empower, and Get Out of the Way!

This whitepaper includes a broader discussion of how to develop as an effective leader of the future:

  • 9 points of contrast between the past and the current/future work environment.
  • Two steps managers need to take to meet the challenge of the changing environment.
  • A broader description of the four elements of being an effective leader in the future.

You can download the whitepaper here: Effective Leadership: Employ, Equip, Empower, and Get Out of the Way!.”

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. How has the work environment changed in your industry over the past few years? How has your own leadership changed to meet the needs of the changing work environment?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Skills | Leadership Development

 

#223: Let Us Stop and Remember Whose We Are

A Memorial Day Tribute

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day when tens of thousands of small American flags mark the final resting place of soldiers who paid the ultimate price; who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Remember the sacrifice

Memorial Day began in 1868 as a day to remember the fallen in America’s civil war. But since then, Memorial Day expanded as a day to remember and honor all those who served and died defending our country over the years.

But a day of remembrance is not unique around the world. Many nations set aside one day to remember those who served and fell. The list includes England, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada just to name a few.

Neither is a day of remembrance a modern institution. There are several examples of memorials established in the Bible.

  • Rainbow. God established the rainbow as a sign of a covenant with Noah that He would not flood the earth again (Genesis 9:8-17).
  • Passover. The final plague visited upon the Egyptians brought the angel of death to every home in the land except for those with a mark of blood on the doorposts. Upon seeing the blood on the doorpost, the angel passed over the house. Passover feasts today are celebrations in remembrance of this event (Exodus 12, 13).
  • Crossing the Jordan. The Lord caused the water of the Jordan River to stop so the Israelites could pass over with the Ark of the Covenant into the Promised Land. A member of each tribe brought a stone out of the river and stacked on the far side of the river as a memorial to future generations of what the Lord had done that day (Joshua 3).
  • Communion. Paul passed on Jesus’ teaching at the Last Supper as he explained both the purpose and procedure of celebrating communion. It is a memorial done in remembrance of Jesus’ life and death on the cross (1 Corinthians 11:17-26).

Each of these Biblical examples is a reminder to future generations of God’s love and provision for His people.

Memorial Day is a reminder of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.

The Greatest Expression of Love is Sacrifice

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, explained some might sacrifice their lives for a just man or a good man.

“For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die” (Romans 5:7).

But, said Paul, God proves His love for us and has sacrificed even more for us.

“But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8).

Jesus said the greatest expression of love is in the willingness to lay down one’s own life for his friends.

“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13).

Jesus said that knowing the fate of his followers; that many of them would lay down their lives because of their love for Him and one another.

Jesus said that knowing his own fate on the cross loomed ever closer. Yet, He went to the cross. He sacrificed His life for us that those who believe in Him might have eternal life.

Let Us Remember

This Memorial Day let us remember the importance of sacrifice.

First, it is fitting and proper that we remember and honor all those who came before us and laid down their lives defending our freedom. And in the words of Abraham Lincoln let us, “highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Let us never forget the valiant sacrifice of all those who gave the last full measure of devotion to this country that we might live free.

Second, remember that God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us. There is no greater love and no greater sacrifice than this.

In remembering Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, let us remember whose we are!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome.

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Humility

#222: Is This Standing in the Way of Your Success?

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right! Ford’s point is your attitude often determines whether you succeed or fail.

Success

If you convince yourself that you will be victorious, you are more likely to be successful. If, however, you convince yourself that you are doomed to fail, then likely, you will fail.

I guarantee you, when Michael Phelps (28 Olympic Medals) stepped up on the starting block at the end of the pool he saw himself swimming all out, defeating his opponents. He did not picture himself belly flopping and coming in second!

When Larisa Latynina (18 Olympic Medals) mounted a balance beam, she pictured herself executing a flawless routine. She certainly didn’t imagine herself falling off the beam.

If you’re a golfer, you know if you are driving over water and you think, “don’t hit the water, don’t hit the water” the next sound you’ll hear is kerplunk as your ball hits the water!

Our Attitude Does Make a Difference!

Yes, our attitude does make a difference. A negative attitude almost always precedes a negative outcome. So, negative attitudes limit our success.

The thing is, many of our negative attitudes are distortions of reality and thus are false beliefs. John Townshend, in his book Leadership Beyond Reason, describes what he calls cognitive distortions, that limit our success:

  • “I’ve tried, and nothing helps/works. There is nothing left to try.
  • Afraid to take the initiative. You’re waiting for someone else to decide or do something.
  • Fear of failure. This causes you to focus only on the negative. You may justify it as just being realistic, but it is anything but reality.
  • Defensive thinking. You won’t own your part of a problem, and you rationalize your position.
  • All-or-nothing thinking. You believe there is only one solution to a problem and can’t accept there might be other ways to handle a situation.
  • False self-thinking. You try to be someone you’re not to fit an image you’re trying to project or to please others.

In each case, these cognitive distortions, or limiting beliefs, prevent us from seeing ourselves the way we really are. We don’t see a situation the way it really is. The result is limited success or outright failure.

These false views that limit our success are the work of Satan. They are not the attitudes that God desires for us.

God’s Desire for Our Attitude

As we read through the Scripture, we encounter people with limiting beliefs over and over again. Adam was defensive. At times Moses acted helpless and negative. Nehemiah had to deal with city leaders who were passive and thought falsely about themselves. The list of characters exhibiting one of these limiting beliefs goes on and on.

But this is not God’s plan. In fact, with nearly every case of a limiting belief, we see God refuting the limiting belief and encouraging the person to have faith in their success.

So how should we respond when faced with the unexpected, the frustrations, and the difficult, exasperating situations of life?

Paul wrote that no matter what happens we should respond with a Christ-like attitude.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27a).

Paul also said our attitude should be the same as Jesus’.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5).

And Paul encouraged us to be imitators of Christ.

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1)

We know there will be difficulties in this life. We need to respond with a Christ-like attitude, being imitators of Christ.

God did not give us an attitude of fearfulness, but of power. Paul reminded Timothy, his young protégé of this very fact.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” 2 Timothy 1:7).

So let’s cast aside these limiting beliefs that are preventing us from achieving all that God has for us and instead let us be imitators of Christ with a spirit of fearlessness and power!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you ever faced a limiting belief that affected your ability to accomplish a goal or to be successful in some aspect of your life? If so did you overcome it?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Character

 

#221: Surprise! Someone Is Preparing to Lead A Rebellion In Your Organization!

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

Being a leader is like playing “King of the Hill.” King of the Hill was a game we played as kids.

Rebellion

There was a mound of dirt on the playground. Whoever is at the top of the hill is king. Everyone else playing the game tries to knock the king off the top of the hill, and then they become king. That is until the next person comes along and knocks them off the hill so they can be king.

Being a leader in real life is a bit like playing king of the hill, but the stakes are much higher. Those in positions of leadership are regularly targeted by rebels who oppose your leadership. It can happen to anyone, even those appointed by God to lead His people. For example, rebels challenged Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership on several occasions.

God called on Moses & Aaron to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. They were not gone long before a rebellion led by a man named Korah threatened the entire nation. If it happened to Moses and Aaron, it could happen to us!

Here’s the backstory of Korah’s rebellion (Numbers 16).

Korah’s Rebellion

A prominent man named Korah assembled a coalition of 250 other leading men to challenge Moses’ and Aaron’s leadership of the Israelites.

Korah accused Moses and Aaron of exalting themselves above everyone else. Korah wanted the people to have more input because God dwelled with them all and God had described the people as a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:3-6).

What Korah said publicly in accusing Moses and Aaron was designed to rally his supporters, but it hid the real reason for his rebellion. When someone rebels against a leader there is usually a stated reason and a hidden reason for the rebellion.

The Stated Reason

In Korah’s case, his stated reason was he wanted more democracy inside the camp. He wanted the people to have a say in running things because God lived among all of them and described them as a kingdom of priests.

His logic was, “If God lives among the entire nation of Israel who does Moses and Aaron think they are elevating themselves above the rest of us, telling us what to do?”

The Hidden Reason

Korah’s real reason for starting the rebellion against Moses and Aaron was hidden. He didn’t want to be someone who just helped the priests in the service of the Lord. He wanted to be a priest!

His logic was, “If we are all priests as God says, why should Aaron and his people be the only ones to get to offer sacrifices to God? I want to be a priest and offer sacrifices too!”

What Drove Korah’s Rebellion?

Understanding what drove Korah’s rebellion gives us an important clue to what causes rebellion today.

Korah was envious of Moses and Aaron. God had appointed them to lead the nation, and Korah wasn’t satisfied with the role God had assigned him. His envy drove his selfish ambition to be something God had not called him to do.

James warned us of this very thing when he wrote, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (James 3:16).

How Did Moses Respond to the Rebellion?

Moses responded to the rebellion in a way that demonstrated he understood Korah’s public accusation as well as Korah’s selfish ambition:

  • He humbled himself before the Lord. When Moses heard the accusations against he fell on his face before the Lord (Numbers 16:4, 22).
  • He interceded for the people in prayer. When the Lord was ready to judge the people, Moses prayed asking the Lord not to punish all the people for the sins of the few (Numbers 16:22).
  • He faced his accusers directly. Moses reasoned directly with the rebels explaining what they were doing was in direct opposition to God (Numbers 16:5-11).
  • He left the final judgment to God. When the rebels refused to back down, Moses left final judgment of who should lead the Israelites up to God (Numbers 16:16-55).

Leaders beware! There will be those who, out of envy and selfish ambition will rebel against you. They will speak falsely. They will lie about you. They will say and do whatever it takes to become king of the hill.

The first step in thwarting a rebellion is to understand its cause; envy and selfish ambition. The second step is to respond like Moses; humble yourself, spend time in prayer, face your accusers directly, and know the final judgment will come from God.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Has anyone rebelled against your leadership? What steps did you take to manage the situation?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Skill | Conflict Management

 

#220: It Turns Out You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!

It turns out old dogs like me can learn a lot from the young crop of Gen Z students emerging from our college campuses.

Old Dog New Tricks

This was my fourth year teaching a class in Sales and Sales Management at Azusa Pacific University. This year’s class of 40 dwarfed last year’s class of 20 students and was equally divided between juniors and seniors.

Feedback from the students last year made it clear they wanted a diverse mix of teaching methods. Given their short attention span, hour-long lectures in a three-hour class just didn’t cut it. Variety is not only the spice of life; it is absolutely necessary for a classroom of Gen Z’s!

My goal this year was to really mix it up by making the class far more experiential and less dependent on lecture:

  • To create a simulated workplace team environment, I divided the class into eight teams of five students each based on their Strengthfinders results. Students were assigned to groups so that each of the four Strengthfinder Leadership Domains (Executing, Influencing, Relationship, and Strategic Thinking) were represented in each group.
  • The teams worked together on two major assignments: creating a sales training manual for a company of their choosing and teaching their fellow students by presenting the contents of one chapter of our text.
  • Role play exercises in six of our 13 sessions were designed to give the students an opportunity to practice selling skills in the classroom.
  • In one class session, students were required to present key learnings to the class gleaned from a published article on sales.
  • Three sales training videos demonstrating elements of the sales process were used to show how selling skills discussed in class came to life in a selling situation.
  • Short quizzes were given covering the material in each chapter every week. Scheduling quizzes as we covered material ensured that students stayed up to date and eliminated the need to “cram” for a midterm or a final exam.
  • Students were each required to write six short case study papers over the course of the semester.

Overall, the objective of this mix of group and independent work assignments was to give students an opportunity to learn while also developing their presentation skills with the support of their peers.

What I Learned from Their Feedback

I give my students a feedback form during our last class session asking three questions 1) What was helpful that we should keep doing, 2) What was unhelpful that we should stop doing, and 3) What would you do differently?

1) What should we keep doing? The interactive exercises, especially the role plays, were a hit with the majority of the students. Students also liked having the weekly quizzes following the lecture because it helped reinforce what they learned that week.

2) What should we stop doing? Long (45-60 minute) lectures were mentioned several times as pushing the limits of their attention span. Allowing student groups to teach a chapter was not as effective as I’d hoped because other students felt they didn’t learn as much. Finally, the training videos were somewhat dated and failed to impress this YouTube generation.

3) What would you do differently? The class had a number of excellent suggestions for improving the learning environment in the class. Several students thought a guest speaker who was currently in a sales role would be a great addition to the learning experience. Doing even more role plays and doing them in small groups rather than as a whole class was suggested to allow more people to get more practice. Finally, several students suggested in-class discussions of the case studies as a way of reinforcing what was taught in the text.

What I’ll Do as a Result

As always, the student’s feedback is a valuable tool for me to improve as a teacher and to develop a learning framework that will be beneficial for the majority of the students. My plans for next semester include:

  • Reducing the lecture time even more to allow more time for interactive role plays and class discussion.
  • Maintain the weekly quiz schedule and the requirement to write case studies.
  • Devote time during the class to discussion of the weekly case study.
  • Bring in a sales representative one week to teach the class and talk about their personal experiences.
  • Abandon the dated videos. I’ll look for something that is relevant to the material in the class with a higher production value.
  • Rethink the way the team projects are completed. Although it was intended to get them to work together, this group did most of their “teamwork” independently and then just assembled the results.

Lesson for Leaders

Peter exhorted believers to “…use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).

Leaders, to be effective, we need to learn and adapt to the changing environment. We need to stay on top of our game by using the gifts God has given us to serve others.

Perhaps my biggest takeaway from this year’s class is that every class is different. What worked well last year may not work well at all this year. Building relationships and engaging with the people in our organizations is the very best way to ensure that we are serving them well.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What lessons about developing and leading people have you learned from others?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Skills | Human Resource Development

#219: Can Feedback Really Help Drive Growth in My Business?

If you want to see the effect of feedback, look at a child. Imagine the excited four-year-old who runs to her father to show off her most recent artistic achievement.

Feedback in Business

If you speak harshly, discussing the need to color within the lines and use the correct colors, you will see a child’s smile fade, enthusiasm will wane, and she will not be as likely to come running to show off her work in the future.

If, however, you tell her what a beautiful picture she has made and show her how if she colors slowly she can stay in the lines you will see a smile broaden as she runs off to create an even more beautiful masterpiece for her father.

Feedback with employees has the same effect; it will either build an employee up or decimate their spirit.

Constructive Feedback

All feedback should be constructive. It should be done in such a way that the employee is motivated to improve performance or continue to do excellent work.

Paul emphasized this point in Romans 15:1, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbor for his good, to build him up.”

Getting Started

Here are eight guidelines to help you develop and use your feedback skills more effectively:

1) Use Common Definitions and Simple Language

Make sure that you are using common definitions. Even the simplest words in our vocabulary have multiple meanings.

The more complicated your vocabulary, the more likely misunderstandings will occur. Be specific, be concise, and use simple terms to increase the effectiveness of your communication.

2) Avoid the Use of Garbage Words and Slang

Use of garbage words can add confusion to a conversation. Words like “hmm,” “uh-huh,” and grunts and groans convey different meanings depending on your tone of voice, your facial expressions, and your body language.

3) Be Observant

People usually use a fairly consistent set of verbal and non-verbal cues. I had one boss who was so tuned in to me that he could see the wheels turning in my head, and knew when I didn’t agree or when I had an idea. He said he could tell when I was thinking something over by my facial expressions, and when I had something to say because my posture changed. He was rarely wrong.

4) Behavior Versus the Person

The purpose of feedback is to improve employee productivity. Feedback for behavior that needs correction should be focused on the behavior, not the individual.

Jesus gives us an excellent example of providing feedback for the behavior rather than the individual in Matthew 26. The Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus when Peter boldly stepped forward and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus said, “Put your sword back in its place for all who draw the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52).”

5) Feedback Timing

Feedback to reinforce or correct employee behavior is best when given as soon as possible.

Luke 19 provides an example of prompt feedback. The day after Jesus re-entered Jerusalem he went to the temple and found men selling. He did not put the matter on the agenda for the next disciples meeting. He immediately overturned the money changers tables and drove them out of the temple. As they departed, he said, “My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of robbers’ (Luke 19:46).”

6) Spoken Versus Written

If the feedback you are giving is corrective, it should be verbal and in private. To make sure that future expectations of performance are very clear you should follow-up in writing.

Verbal praise for a job well done is nice, but the feeling usually fades after a few days. Written praise is more concrete, and it gives you the opportunity to publicize the employees’ success. Copy the written praise to the peer group and upper management. There’s nothing quite like getting a personal note from a senior manager who expresses appreciation for good work as a motivational tool.

7) Don’t Assume Understanding

Do you remember the phrase, “I know you think you understand what I said, but I’m not so sure that what you heard I what I meant?” People often nod agreement or say “I know exactly how you feel,” without really knowing how the other person feels, what frame of reference they’re coming from, etc.

Use your communications skills to ensure that what you think you heard is what the other person meant to say! At any point in a conversation asking questions is the best way to make sure that you heard correctly.

8) Sincerity

Contrary to popular belief flattery will not get you everywhere. People quickly see through insincere remarks. Always provide feedback that is sincere. Praise earned for hard work will always motivate more than the hollow flattery of praise for work that the employee knows is not up to standard.

One Final Thought

Feedback is like a powerful sports car, it is a pleasure to drive, but in the hands of a drunk, it is a lethal weapon.

Before you fire off that next missile chastising an employee, before you bring him or her into your office for a thorough tongue lashing, remember the purpose of feedback is to motivate the employee to improve performance. Employees will want to learn how to do a better job and will be motivated to do better if the feedback they receive from you is always timely, balanced, and constructive.

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from a 6-page whitepaper entitled, Motivate with Feedback—Build Your Business by Building Up Your Employees.”

This whitepaper includes a broader discussion of using feedback to motivate and build up your employees:

  • A definition of feedback appropriate for the business environment,
  • Types of feedback, and
  • Feedback as a motivational tool.

You can download the whitepaper here: Motivate with Feedback—Build Your Business by Building Up Your Employees.”

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. What kinds of feedback have you received? Have there been times when you received feedback that was motivating or disheartening?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

Category: Skills| Management of Human Resources

 

 

 

 

#218: Is What You Desperately Need in Your Hand?

Is what you desperately need already in your hand and you don’t realize it?

Hand

I can’t begin to count the number of times someone has told me they can’t accomplish an objective because they don’t have (fill in the blank). The excuses are often some variation of:

  • “I don’t have enough funding.”
  • “I don’t have enough people.”
  • “I don’t have enough time.”

I’m not surprised by these excuses. I know I’ve used each of them myself at some stage in my career.

When we confronted with an enormous obstacle we can’t see our way around; we often give up mentally never realizing we already have everything we need.

This is not a new phenomenon. Moses was confronted with an enormous obstacle and didn’t realize all he needed was already in his hand.

Moses, What’s in Your Hand?

God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3). Moses offered up excuse after excuse to God why selecting him was a bad choice. God reassured Moses saying, “I will be with you.”

As Moses continued to make excuses, God said to Moses, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” replied Moses. God used this simple shepherd’s staff to perform miracles before the Egyptians and the Israelites. This ultimately led to the Israelite’s deliverance from the Egyptians.

Moses wasn’t the only example of a “what’s in your hand” miracle. Jesus performed a similar miracle in the feeding of the 5,000.

Jesus asked, “What do You Have?”

At the end of a long day, a crowd of some 5,000 men (probably 15,000 or more including women and children) surrounded Jesus and the disciples. The disciples expressed concern that the people did not have anything to eat, so they suggested Jesus send them away. Instead, Jesus told the disciples, “You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-15).

The disciples started with their excuses:

  • “This is a remote place.”
  • “We don’t have enough food to feed them all.”
  • “It would take a year’s wages to buy them all food.”

Jesus asked them, “What do you have?” The disciples said, “We have only five loaves of bread and two small fish.”

Then Jesus took the bread and the fish and looking up to heaven He gave thanks. He directed the disciples to distribute the bread and fish to everyone. When they finished, they picked up 12 baskets full of leftovers, one for each disciple!

Jesus’ lesson for the disciples was that you could trust that whatever you have if you place it in God’s hands, it will be enough. In fact, it will be MORE than enough!

What is in Our Hand?

Moses learned that even the simple shepherd’s staff in his hand was mighty when submitted to the Lord.

Jesus demonstrated to the disciples how God would bless and multiply what they had not just to meet their needs but to exceed their needs.

The key for Moses was to surrender his will and submit to God’s calling. The key for the disciples was to place their trust and faith in God to meet their every need.

Leaders, the next time you face with what seems like an insurmountable obstacle look to see what is in your hand. Remember to submit and surrender to God’s will while trusting in faith that He can and will meet all your needs.

As Paul said, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have there been times in your life where you resisted God’s call on your life, or offered excuses to God, only to experience God’s miraculous provision?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God

#217: What a Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice to Deceive

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

Shakespeare was right. What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Not only do we get caught up in the web of deceit but so do innocent bystanders.

Web Deceive

In this month’s, Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known we’ll examine the story of a man named Achan (Joshua7).

The Backstory

Moses had just transferred responsibility for leading the people of Israel over to Joshua. The Lord commanded Joshua to circumcise all the people, renewing His covenant to take them into the Promised Land if they would only obey Him.

The first city in the Promised Land they were to conquer was the city of Jericho. The Lord commanded the people of Israel saying all the silver, gold, articles of bronze and iron were to be brought to the Lord’s treasury, and everything else in the entire city itself was devoted to destruction.

The Deception

When the Israelites advanced on Jericho, Achan helped himself to a cloak, 200 shekels of silver, and a gold bar weighing 50 shekels and hid them in his tent.

Achan thought he got away with stealing the things that were to be given to the Lord’s treasury, but God knew what Achan had done. He may have deceived everyone else, but he hadn’t deceived God.

The Repercussions

Achan’s stupid mistake had repercussions far beyond his own decision to steal from God.

The very next battle Joshua sent the Israelites into they were driven back and 36 men died because God was not with them.

When Joshua cried out to God, he learned that someone had violated the covenant to obey God already by stealing things devoted to the Lord’s treasury. The people were brought before the Lord to be judged, and the judgment fell against Achan.

Achan finally admitted his deception saying he did it because the cloak was beautiful and he coveted the silver and gold.

Achan, his family, and all his animals were stoned to death as punishment, and they were all burned along with everything else he owned.

The Lessons

There are four important leadership lessons we learn from Achan’s story of disobedience and deceit.

1) Temptation to Sin. Even in the midst of victory, we can be tempted to sin. In Achan’s case, he valued the treasures of man more than he valued obedience to God.

2) Sin Impacts Others. We think our decisions have no consequences or perhaps only affect us but most often others are also affected. Achan’s sin cost the lives of fellow Israelites in battle and the lives of his family.

3) Sin Brings Defeat. Achan knew what was right, but he deliberately disobeyed. His disobedience cause the army to be defeated, it brought disgrace to God, and Joshua, their commander, was disheartened.

4) Sin Cannot Be Hidden. Regardless of how well we might hide our sin from man, nothing is hidden from God. He knows our every sin. Achan managed to steal the cloak, the silver, and the gold and get it all the way back to his tent. Then he hid it in his tent thinking he had gotten away with his theft. But nothing is hidden from God.

As leaders, we are susceptible to the very same kind of temptations as Achan. We are tempted to sin; valuing man’s treasure over God even when we are winning. We deceive ourselves thinking our actions affect no one else. Ultimately, our sin against God brings judgment because no sin against God remains hidden.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Which of the four leadership lessons from Achan’s story resonates most with you? Which do you think is most common in the business world today?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Obedience to God

 

 

#216: What Does It Take to Live the Greatest Life?

It May Not be What You Think!

I asked a few people this past week if they thought they were living the greatest life possible. Most said, “No.” A few said, “Yes.” I followed up by asking, “What does it take to live the greatest life possible?”

Greatest Life

The answers I got were mostly a variation of the happiness theme. From the “no’s” it was:

  • I am unhappy with my job.
  • I am unhappy with my income.
  • I am unhappy with my spouse/family.

From the “yes’s” it was:

  • I am happy with my job.
  • I am happy with my income.
  • I am happy with my spouse/family.

You get the idea.

These answers are flat-out wrong! If you think for a minute that the greatest life possible derives from some measure of happiness brought on by a good job, a nice income, or even great in-laws you are in for a massive disappointment in life.

Good jobs can disappear overnight. And that great income? Poof! An unfaithful spouse? There goes your happiness and your great life.

The reality is, all these things can be taken away or disappear in your next breath. If you are relying on anyone or anything in this world for your happiness you will be disappointed.

The one and only way you can live the greatest life possible is to build your life on God and His Word.

Why? Because God designed us, He created us, He knows what is best for us, and He has promised that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-39).

The Greatest Life Possible

So, if happiness is not a measure of a great life, what then, is the secret to living the greatest life possible?

Jesus told us exactly what it takes when he gave the disciples two commandments:

Jesus answered, “The most important [commandment] is…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

Love God

The first and most important element of living the greatest life possible is to love the Lord your God. This is what we are commanded to do.

But how do we do it?

Jesus told us how when He said, with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength.

  • Our heart is the center of our emotional control center.
  • Our soul is our will, our self-conscious life.
  • Our mind is our thoughts and the way we think.
  • Our strength is our bodily strength.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I think about whether I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, I feel ashamed because I could do so much better.

Love Your Neighbor

The second element for living the greatest life possible is to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Who is Jesus referring to when He says to love our neighbors? We know from Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:33-34) that everyone is our neighbor. We also learn from this parable that we limit our love because people are different than us or because of our fears.

Jesus taught how we are to love our neighbors when He said, “…love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

Jesus loves everyone, and He loves us unconditionally. In this commandment, Jesus is telling us to love everyone, unconditionally just as He loves us. That includes people of the other political party, people who have a different worldview, even people who disagree with us and would do us harm. We are to love them all.

Nothing, said Jesus, is more important than to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. That, folks, is how we can live the greatest life possible!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. On a scale of 1-10 are you living the greatest life possible? If not, what do you need to change in your life?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Obedience to God