Archive for January, 2011


Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business (J-B Lencioni Series)

“But the fact is, bad meetings are a reflection of bad leaders.”-Patrick Lencioni

I don’t care what type of organization hosts or holds what type of meetings.  If the organization does not have an agreed and adhered to structure to its meeting, things can go haywire in a hurry.  It can be the YMCA or PTA, people will drift when they are not directed to stick to the structure that is in place.  It can be a corporate annual meeting or a community-based organization’s monthly meeting, but there should be an agenda with some action items.

The agenda identifies what will be discussed and reported.  In particular, there are also those action items that will be voted on identified within the agenda.  Many organizations structure their meetings with public comment at the beginning of the meeting.  These are usually appeals or addresses to the board or the entire body.  These are heard out, usually with a time limit like two minutes.  They are not action items and do not require a comment or questioning from the board or the floor.  That’s where the discipline must come in with the determined structure.  Some people may know the rules, but something just prevents them from following them.

You may need a sergeant at arms or a parliamentarian. The title may vary, but the functions pretty much run along the same lines.  They keep things in order when the chairperson seems to allow some things to run afoul or astray.  You know some parent meetings for those Pop Warner and Pee Wee teams can get sort of heated.  There may need to be some beefed up measures for an organization to keep order, so review your structure, including roles and rules.

  • Roles: Who is supposed to do what? Chairperson… Parliamentarian… Secretary…
  • Rules: Robert’s Rules of Order? Or, do you use another format? Be sure that all in attendance know what it is.
  • Reporting: Written reports versus oral reports… time limits… published or unpublished…
  • Responses: Cut down the confusion and cut off people on the board responding to comments from the floor.  Address the outbursts as disorder, ask for them to stop and demonstrate some restraint, and then move on with the agenda.

Robert's Rules for Dummies

You maintain order by restricting board members from responding to outbursts from the floor.  If not, there will be a cacophony of chaos as people go back and forth with their various comments and responses to any and every single thing thrown out there.  In many environments like school board meetings and city council meetings, people can have an outburst if they want to, but they most probably will be escorted out into either the hallway or the parking lot by security or some other authority figure.  That’s realistic. 

Set it up for success.  If you have been in an organization where the inmates seem to be running the asylum, stop the bleeding and set some order in place.  Share some insights about board training and running public meetings.  Do you accept public funds? You know that redevelopment money or those block grants.  Those are public funds.  That means your meeting- uh-oh- is open to the public.  Learn how to deal with the public in a decent and disciplined manner.


Read Full Post »


How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
I know I’ve been changed / Angels in heaven done sign my name
-Lyrics from Negro spiritual

People seek change.  In fact, many people speak of change as if change itself is an elixir to all of the issues and problems that they and others face.  Many organizations talk it up when they state that they are undergoing change.  New year’s resolutions are filled with change running throughout the entire concept.  President Obama swept the nation with a campaign full of change.  Change is on the tip of the tongues of many.

The church is called to change.  So many prayers go up about change that it can become dizzying when one visits a local church’s prayer meetings or prayer vigils.  Yet, much of what is prayed about to change deals with the external things.  God may or may not change them.  However, the earnest request of the Christian should be to seek internal change.  The Christian must seek to be changed from the inside out.

Christians in ministry leadership should seek to identify what change needs to occur within themselves before pleading with the Lord to change the hearts of the people under their leadership.  Start with seeking change for yourself, and then demonstrate the change that comes about for you.  Seek to live out your change right before the eyes of your people, making a difference by behaving and operating differently.  Become changed.

The Christian in business is no different.  Many Christians may not work in a Christian-friendly environment, but that doesn’t mean that they must become a product of their environment.  These same Christians must stand out as shining examples of Christian strength in the workplace.  They cannot simply seek God and hope for everything around them to change, leaving them as they were before.  No, they must change as well.  Situations arise for a reason.  We must learn the life lesson out of all that we encounter.  Yet, we must be aware that the change that needs to occur might just need to start within us before we can see any change going on around us.

Seek change.  See the change that may need to come about within you and through you.

Read Full Post »

>11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.” 12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
– Genesis 26:11-15 (NIV)

Issac parted ways with Abimelek with an order of protection for both he and his wife.  However, Abimelek’s orders did not cover Issac’s wells “that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham.” Those were not on the list of covered items in the king’s orders.  The Philistines “envied” Isaac and his wealth of “planted crops” and “many flocks and herds.” Here was an outsider making it and being more successful than those who had been born and raised there.

It’s an all-too-familiar scenario.  It plays out throughout the centuries in various ways.  History will have to be retold one day about the many people who did not enslavement on plantations, residency on government reservations, growing up in reform houses, or temporary stays in internment camps hold them back from garnering the blessings that the Lord can bestow upon us.  For far too long, we have endured the countless tales of welfare mamas of color living on the dole simply because Mama and her mama before her had done the same all the way back to FDR’s New Deal.  That’s the story told to us, but we don’t have to buy it. That’s what political pundits and talking heads on broadcast radio want us to get all riled up about when we talk about cuts in spending and holding more people accountable.

Issac thrived in a foreign land.  He was blessed in a place called Gerar.  Gerar means “lodging-place.”  It is derived from the Hebrew word that means “to sojourn.”  In essence, you can’t see Gerar as your home when you are destined for somewhere else.  Gerar may only be a resting place for you.  It may only be a temporary dwelling for you.  Don’t get settled in Gerar.  You just get busy despite the haters and others who envy your success and blessings.  You can’t control how it goes for them. 

The Word says “because God blessed him” in verse 12.  Issac was just the recipient.  God did the blessing.  Isaac was simply obedient.  God blessed him.  Isaac made the best out of what he had, but it was God who did the blessing.  Don’t caught up in what you had to go through to get your blessing.  Get excited that God can bless you despite what you had to go through.  Someone else didn’t get that blessing.  others wanted it, but they just couldn’t get it.  God is still in the blessing business.  Are you working with expectancy and in obedience? Or, are you simply sulking and hating on the next person who is getting their blessing? You know yourself. 

Read Full Post »

And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.  Jeremiah 3:15 (KJV)

Pastoral leadership is about connecting people with God.  The pastor should be a communicator.  He needs to be able to communicate God’s message since he has been given to the people according to God’s heart.  He must know the message himself in order to compel the people to turn their hearts towards God.  He feeds the flock “with knowledge and understanding.” He shares what he knows with the people of God in a manner that delivers the message in accordance with God’s will and His ways as well as His Word.

No pastor is called to coerce the flock of God’s people.  You do not manipulate or massage the Word of God to make it more bearable for people.  You let it flow and let it flow naturally as living waters that refresh and replenish.  Keep the integrity of the Word by sticking to the Word.

If you are in church and under a pastor, know that you should receive from the pastor what God has for the flock.  it may come through his messages and sermons or it can flow out of how he leads various meetings throughout the church.  Listen and hear from the pastor as an authority in place by God.  If it doesn’t match up with God’s Word, inquire of the pastor in a respectful manner how he arrived at that conclusion.  Keep in mind that all pastors are human.  The only perfect pastor is in the personage of Jesus Christ.  We must be able to forgive people of their faults and flaws, even if it happens to be a person in Christian authority.

Read Full Post »

>We should be cognizant of economies of scale.  In our lives and our businesses, we need to be mindful of each endeavor and how it impacts other plans and wishes.  It can happen in ministry, too.  The church is not immune to fiscal issues.  You have to weigh all of your options in light of your resources.  Times like these require managers and leaders to see how they can scale back services, employee hours, and hours of operation. Yes, the overall economy is not pretty at all.  However, taking charge of the situation works way better than becoming overwhelmed.

Scale up and scale down.

  • Scale Up: savings, efficiency, and standards
  • Scale Down: costs, expenses and wasted resources

When it comes to running a tight ship, you just have to tighten things up where you can and how you can.  You don’t want to work on the wrong thing.

Read Full Post »

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings

And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. – Genesis 26: 1 (KJV)
Issac experienced a “famine in the land” similar to what his father experienced.  It drove him away from home.  God warned him to not go to Egypt in verse 2.  He ended up in Gerar.  He ended up in a similar situation to the one experienced by his father during a famine, and he ended up doing something similar to his father in how he handled it.

We have to see that what Abraham did as Abram had a legacy effect on his son.  Did he share about his challenges during the famine? Did he tell his son that things got mishandled when he told his wife to say that she was his sister? I don’t know.  Commentaries may make assumptions, but I truly don’t know.  Theologians may take a stab at some hermeneutic line of inquiry, but we were not there and we don’t know.
What we do know is that Isaac repeated his father’s flaws.  Isaac repeated his father’s faults.  Isaac repeated his father’s failures.

He may not have been his father, but he didn’t have to repeat it.  It wasn’t something that he had to do.  We all could use our parents and their human fallacies as an excuse for our mistakes.  The truth is that excuses do not excuse us.  We have to take ownership of our choices.  We have options.  We need to be diligent with exercising our options.

Read Full Post »

Now Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison. And Rebekah loved Jacob.
– Genesis 25:28 (ASV)

Issac, the father of twin boys, loved one boy more than the other.  Okay, I might be a little harsh in my interpretation of the translation.  Issac showed, what Dr. Henry M. Morris called out as, favor towards one son over the other son.  His tendency leaned towards one more than the other.

The verse says because he did eat of his venison.  In a modern view, we might see this as: Now Daddy loved him some Junior because Junior sure could grill him some chicken and links.  It is bad enough what the Word says about the prenatal period of both of these boys, along with God’s shared words about the two:

22The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”(Genesis 25:22-23, ESV)

The real trouble does not come from what is added by the parents.  Rebekah got in on it, too.  If Isaac could do so with Esau, she could certainly do so with the other.  The sad truth is that for all of his contradictory ways and confusing characteristics, Jacob may not be entirely at fault.  It may have a whole lot more to do with the nurture by his parents rearing of him than by his nature. 

If Mama and Daddy are playing favorites, what is Jacob expected to do when he has an opportunity to take advantage of his brother or his old, feeble father? If Daddy showed favoritism, why not favor Joseph over his other sons? After all, he was the child of his “favorite” wife.

Parents need to see the problem that is revealed by the Scriptures here.  The Bible is for people to read and understand about how God operates and intends for us to operate in a covenant with us.  We should see these two young parents in Genesis and start pumping the brakes, just to ease into some deep and reflective thoughts about how we have raised or are raising our own children.  Got a favorite? Does everybody and their mama know it? Feel free to repent and seek to move forward without any favoritism.  It’s in the Bible but it is not God’s way for us.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »