Archive for the ‘Management’ Tag

Doesn’t Work Any More   Leave a comment


Television (Photo credit: videocrab)

This past summer, I spent time helping clean out the storage room of the basement.  It was long overdue and you could barely move from one end of the room to other.  In the midst of all the items that had been placed in that room were two or three old televisions.  They had been replaced years ago but since you cannot just send a television to the landfill with the week’s household garbage, they were moved to the basement until other arrangements could be made.  The reason that they were down there is that they just didn’t work any more.

If you have been a follower of my blog for a while, you know that I am part of many organizations that are in the midst of trying to vision what they are supposed to be.  These organizations have encountered challenges as they have seen their memberships decline and the energy levels reduced.  Resources are becoming limited and questions are arising all the time.  My leadership involvement in these organizations has often led me to do a lot of research and even some soul-searching.  The nagging questions that seem to arise are:

  1. How do we increase interest in our organization?
  2. How do we increase resources to accomplish our mission?
  3. How do we develop and encourage new leaders?
  4. How do we continue to make a difference in the lives of our members and our community?

I believe that in my search for answers, one of the things that has become abundantly clear to me is that one of our problems is that we do not easily admit that they way we have operated in the past just doesn’t work any more.  This does not mean that what we have done in the past was wrong.  Like the old televisions in my basement, there was nothing wrong with them when they were purchased.  Those televisions were the right ones for the needs that I had when they were purchased.  However, since the original purchase and over some years, they were not working as effectively and did not meet the needs I had when a new television was purchased.  This can be said of some of the our modes of operation in many organizations today.  One difference between my comparison of the old televisions in my home and many organizations is that instead of acknowledging that our methods and ways of being do not work any more therefore replacing them, we continue to use the same approaches.  So the effectiveness and reliability dwindles.

It has become extremely clear to me that if organizations wish to continue to exist and move into the future, there needs to be deliberate examination of how we live out the purpose of our organization.  Leaders and members will need to look at the structures and more importantly, the guiding principles of how our organization operates.  The goal is not to abandon our past but instead to review our ways to ensure that we carry the heritage of our past into meaningful ways today.  As we do this examination, we must be willing to admit that some approaches and modes of operations within our organizations just don’t work any more.


More Than One Way   Leave a comment

The maze of Longleat House

The maze of Longleat House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever had one of those problems that seemed to reach a dead-end?  Yesterday I had one of those problems.  I found out that there was not enough material to finish a project.  The material that was needed was not ordered and stocked.  However, I was not aware of the lack of material until coming to the very end of the project.  So it appeared that the project had hit a brick wall.  I directed the person working on the project to do what she could with the material we had and that the rest of the project would just have to be abandoned.  That was the only solution that I found available late yesterday afternoon.  But wait……  This morning, as I had a new perspective on the situation, I thought of another solution that would allow the project to be finished.  By using a different material and a slightly different approach to the project, the project could be completed.

This situation reminded me how important it is to remember that often there is more than one way to handle a situation.  Yesterday I was not in the right mindset to be able to look beyond the one way that had always been used for the project.  (See yesterday’s post.)  In my thought process yesterday, the project would have to be left uncompleted because the materials had not been ordered.  It is amazing how time away from the situation and a completely different mindset can produce a much different result.

In addition to reminding me that I have to look for multiple approaches to a situation, I was also reminded how important it is to walk away and get a different focus.  Now some situations demand an immediately solution but in most cases if you are hitting a brick wall in determining a solution, you can walk away, focus on something else and then return.  That is what happened to me.  I had an evening out of the office and time to focus on other aspects of life.  This morning a new approach presented itself without me even having to think about the original problem.

So when you hit the dead-end, remember that there is usually more than one way.  Go looking for that other way.

Time for Calm   1 comment

Contemporary rendering of a poster from the Un...

Contemporary rendering of a poster from the United Kingdom reading “Keep Calm and Carry On”, created during World War II. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is one of those days where I feel like I am racing out of control.  For some reason last night I did not sleep well.  So today I am feeling a bit groggy.  Add to that a to-do list that keeps growing by the minute it seems.  I have also been dealing with some technology issues.  Needless to say, I am feeling like the proverbial hamster on the wheel.  All of this is causing me to have issues focusing and of course that seems to make the wheel go at an even greater pace.


Let me say it again…..


We all know that if you approach tasks and you are a bit out of control psychologically, mistakes are bound to happen.  In addition to mistakes, frustration levels tend to increase.  As frustration increases and mistakes multiply, then any interpersonal skills go out the door.  This often leads to handling situations in ways that are not helpful.  Words are not thought through well before being spoken.


As a leader, I know that I am being watched.  I also know that a vital aspect of leadership is setting example.  So this morning, I am going to take about fifty steps back and try to get in a different frame of mind.  I am going to work hard on planning and organizing my work.  I am going to be mindful of my communication and work on the non-verbal aspects as well.  I am going to take pauses whenever I feel the calm leaving my body.


At the end of the day, what must be accomplished will be accomplished.  So don’t mind me if I am silent for a little bit of time, I am just finding my calm.  You will most likely find me in prayer a lot today.

Do Not Change Me   Leave a comment


change (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I saw an interesting quote this morning but did not see who the originator of the quote was, so here it is:

“People don’t mind change, they mind being changed.”

For me this is an important quote to keep in mind as a leader.  I think it gets to the heart of the resistance that usually surfaces whenever change occurs.  It speaks to the personal aspect of change and whether a change is accepted or resisted.  I believe that it also raises the reality of why people’s words do not always align with their actions.

I am sure many of you know individuals who claim that they are supportive of change.  They may easily identify the need for change for the benefit of an organization and/or people.  So a process of change is initiated only to reach the point that the very people who claim desire change are resistant to the changes.  This quote explains that strange scenario to me.

The resistance occurs when the individual realizes that the changes being discussed is going to have a real impact on them.  When the concept of change was abstract and seemed disconnected to the individual, the individual was supportive and may have even been a strong advocate.  However, when the truth of how the changes would impact them personally becomes apparent, they become resistant and can even be hostile.

So as you experience and work through change, keep this quote in mind.  I know it will impact how I deal with change both as a promoter and one that is being impacted.  Also, if you know who was the originator of this quote, please let me know so I can give her/him appropriate credit.

Changing Tracks   Leave a comment


Switch (Photo credit: pferriola)

Sometimes I find it very difficult to abruptly change the direction of my attention or my focus.  I was gone from the office at the start of this week and today is my first day back.  I have an extremely long “to-do” list and two days full of meetings.  Yet, I struggle to change tracks.  The start of the week was focused on one subject, much contemplation time, and some rest time (throw in being sick for one day so lots of bed time).  Now, I am back in the fast-paced, high demanding time and I struggle to move forward.

This has caused me to consider the value of transition time.  It is very difficult to make abrupt transitions.  That is why after being gone for a period of time, I usually try to put at least one transition day in place.  However, that is not always possible, as this week is an example.

So how do I successfully change tracks?  I think that it begins with taking time to plan.  This is true in almost all aspects as a leader.  Poor planning usually results in poor outcome and a lot of stress.  It often creates anxiety which is easily transmitted to co-workers and those who are looking to your leadership.  So as I change tracks, I need to take some time to plan out how I am going to manage the “to-do” list, be prepared for the meetings, and not feel overwhelmed.  There is also a great need to prioritize and to realize that some items might not be finished as desired.  This can also be managed during the planning stage.

Next, it is important to try to maintain routine.  If I stay on my typical routine (realizing that items might arise that impact that routine), it will help me transition to the daily track that I am accustomed to follow.  I cannot let the clock become my enemy.  I know that I have been successful in clock management due to aspects of my routine and so I need to have faith in that.

I am eager to hear what ideas you have about changing tracks.  I can always learn new ways to be more successful in this area.

Reflection   Leave a comment

English: Reflection in water

English: Reflection in water (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most important thing for a leader to do is to take time to reflect.  I do not think that there is a prescribed way to reflect, nor do I think that a person needs to use the same method every time.  Some people are able to reflect  and take inventory of their thoughts by sitting by a lake.  For other people, reflection time comes when they are playing nine holes of golf.  Some choose to sit in a coffee shop sipping a flavored latte and reflect.  Whatever method that a person uses is not important but as a leader, taking the time to reflect is very important.

I think that reflection time provides an opportunity for an individual to get things in a more proper perspective.  It helps to sort through thoughts and feelings.  Reflection gives an opportunity to look at the current list of priorities driving one’s life and determine where changes might be beneficial.  Taking this specific times also helps to sort through the many voices that a leader hears from those around him/her.  It helps to reduce the distractions and provide space to redirect.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to have some reflection time.  I was able to sort through some challenges that I have been dealing with lately.  I was able to identify the focus that I need to have for the current time.  I reviewed my priorities as an individual and the priorities that I see for the group that I lead.  I was able to reduce the emotions around some specific situations and view those situations with a different set of eyes.

If you are a leader, make sure that you are taking time to reflect.  If you currently are not in a leadership role, reflection can be beneficial for your personal life as well.

Posted September 28, 2012 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Leadership, Life

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Setting the Tone   5 comments

Tone scale b

Tone scale b (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a conversation with a friend and community leader this morning.  We were discussing a particular situation in our community and in the midst of the discussion I was reminded how extremely important it is for leaders to set the tone for those to whom they are providing leadership.  It almost seems to obvious but I think that it is often overlooked.  I do not think it matters what specific leadership role a person is placed in because this principle is for all leaders.

Coaches need to set the tone for the members of the team.  I am sure that all of us have witnessed how whatever attitude or set of behaviors a coach demonstrates on the sidelines is often exhibited by a majority of the players on the field or court.  If the approach from the sidelines is to win at all cost without concern about what means to accomplish the win are employed, the players are often ruthless and physically rough during the game.  If the approach from the leader of the team is one that strives to use the skills and the assets of the team to win the competition, the players often demonstrate a desire to give 110% of themselves on the field.

The same can be found in the work place, civic organizations, churches, schools, and other parts of the community where leadership roles are established.  The attitude and behaviors of the leader has a direct impact on the performance and attitudes of the individuals under that leadership.  While there are always a varieties of leadership styles, because there are a variety of individuals, the fact remains that the tone which the leader sets will be the tone that resonates throughout the group.

I feel that Jesus demonstrated this for those who would follow him.  He established an attitude and a set of behaviors that placed service above all else.  He not only spoke of this approach but lived it out in his own life.  His attitude and behaviors set a tone that still resonates within the ministries of the Church.  While just like on a team not everyone on the team exhibits the tone of the leader, a majority will and does.

So my questions for all leaders is this:  What is the  tone that you are setting?  Do you need to make adjustments in that tone?