learn to say yes

One of the popular mantra’s now is learning to say no to what we consider to be unimportant things that will hinder our “success”.

I agree to a point, but a friend reminded me that we need to learn to say yes to being selfless, to loving, serving, caring for, and helping others.

Maybe there are times we consider something as unimportant, but it actually may be life changing to someone else? I have heard it said that one revealing trait of the character of a person is if they help people that cannot help them.

Maybe there are times we do need to say yes when there is no material benefit or gain to us personally. Maybe that is when we truly begin to learn what it is to be successful – to live a life of meaning?

Is there something you need to say yes to that is not about you?


stop being nice and start being kind!

Does that sound a bit odd saying to not be nice? Actually, I am not sure yet if it is the best word yet for what I am trying to communicate.

In the nonprofit world especially, but often in business settings, I have found that people avoid saying what others need to hear or that we avoid dealing with difficult subjects as we don’t want to cause waves or disrupt the harmony (supposedly) of the team. What it actually means is that we try to avoid things that are emotionally uncomfortable for us. Get that last point – “for us”? Being nice, usually means not placing ourselves in a place of emotional discomfort – it’s all about us – not the other person.

Being kind on the other hand, is about doing what is best for the other person, even if it is emotionally uncomfortable, because you place their well-being above your own emotional comfort. Sometimes being kind doesn’t feel kind, especially when you are challenging a friend or co-worker to a higher standard that you know they could and should meet. It’s about challenging a family member to a higher standard. It’s about confronting someone you care about who has habits/behaviors that are detrimental to their well-being.

So, stop being nice (concerned about your own emotional comfort) and start being kind (being concerned for the well-being of others). Do what is right today.


compassionate leadership – a new idea?

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”  – 1 Peter 2:3

“. . . You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37 – 39

The Harvard Business Review blog has an entry entitled “The Rise of Compassionate Management (Finally)“.  Following are some lines from the article:

“Don’t look now, but all of a sudden the topic of compassionate management is becoming trendy. . .To manage compassionately, Weiner noted, doesn’t come naturally to most managers. It requires spending the time to walk in someone else’s shoes — to understand what kind of baggage that person is bringing to work; what kinds of stresses she’s under; what her strengths and weaknesses are. In high-pressure environments, such a time investment is anathema to most of us. But such an investment is analogous to the work of a carpenter who carefully measures a piece of wood three times before cutting once: spending such “compassion time” with an employee, Weiner insists, pays off in that person’s much greater efficiency, productivity and effectiveness (and obviates later regrets). It’s not just altruism: as it turns out, companies that practice conscious capitalism perform ten times better than companies that don’t.”

Compassionate management is now trendy? It’s not natural for most managers? How incredibly sad that it is just now a trend – how incredibly sad that it is “just” being realized that people actually work better when they are cared for – how incredibly sad that truly compassionate leadership is somewhat rare in business, ministry, and the non-profit worlds.

Obviously God’s word calls us to love others, to be compassionate, to shepherd those we lead. Yet we fail to do so – so very often.

If you are a leader, take time to read the great little book The Way of the Shepherd. I use it often in the management courses I teach at Bethel College. Consistently, I am told that little book is life changing.

Also, check out this earlier blog post on the difference it makes when you take a genuine interest in the lives of those you lead.

Are you leading with compassion? Are you genuinely interested in the lives of those you lead?

If not, try it and you will be blessed.


Take Your Eyes Off Of Yourself

Running a little slow this Friday morning. I have been blessed in that I seldom get sick, but now have a spring cold. Can’t even remember the last time I had one.

This week, we have been talking some about Jeremie Kubicek’s book, Leadership Is Dead, How Influence Is Reviving It. He touches on many things that are so good, but today I wanted to talk a bit about relationships. At Ambassador Enterprises where I now serve, we have two key sayings:

First – “A Caring Community and A Team That Performs” – too many organizations simply want a team that performs which really is a task orientation. We have found that if you first have a caring community within your organization, you are much more likely to achieve the goal of having a team that performs.

Second – “Relational Effectiveness Drives Organizational Performance” – very similar to the above statement in that there have to be strong, healthy relationships among the members of your team for them to perform at the level of potential.

Mr. Kubicek says the following, “The best leaders are those who have simplified it down to relationships.” and “To be effective, respected, and a positive force for change, today’s leaders must overcome our cultural tendencies toward narcissism and self-centeredness.”

As a leader, your focus should be on others, not yourself. It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about others, it’s about the mission. So, we need to learn to take our eyes off of ourselves and begin focusing on other people.

Have a great weekend!


An Affair of the Heart

Good morning, I hope that this Holy Week has been special for you as we prepare our hearts for this weekend we remember and celebrate and give thanks for the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.the-truth-about

According to James Kouzes and Barry Posner, in their book The Truth About Leadership, leadership is an affair of the heart. Listen to what they say:

There’s no integrity without heart. There’s no commitment and conviction without heart. There’s no trust and support without heart. There’s no persistence and courage without heart. There’s no learning and risk taking without heart. Nothing important ever gets done without heart. Purely and simply, exemplary leaders excel at improving performance because they pay attention to the human heart.”

So, is your leadership an “affair of the heart”? Do you deeply care for those you lead and serve? Do you pay attention to the hearts of those you lead?

You should not divorce emotion from your vocation and if you want to truly impact the lives of others, you cannot divorce your emotions from your vocation.

Care and care deeply for those you lead and make a difference in their lives – today.

Tomorrow, take some time to contemplate the extravagant act of love of Jesus for us and then thank Him.

Peace and grace to you at this most special time of year,

Do You See Through People or Into People? – 5 Great Questions

A great question – when you are dealing with people, are you looking through them or into their lives?

Dan Foster, in his guest post on Michael Hyatt’s blog, poses five questions that will help you to determine if you are looking through or into people.

He also warns that looking into people is hard work and messy – but worth it.

Click here to read his post.

“And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:39

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”