“Out Smart Your Own Biases” – HBR


“Not Taking Risks Is the Riskiest Career Move of All” – Harvard Business Review

This is an excellent article from Harvard Business Review that illustrates how important it is for you to take responsibility for your career and job security. Here are the first two paragraphs from the article:

Mark was a survivor. Until he was fired in 2012, six months shy of his 50thbirthday, he’d done everything right — rising through the ranks of the book publishing industry, from editorial assistant to associate editor to senior editor, then into management as an editor-in-chief. But as e-books and Amazon destabilized the industry, and waves of consolidation contracted available jobs, Mark (not his real name) admits today that he hadn’t “paid attention to the writing on the wall.” He confessed that he’d spent the 18 months prior to being fired living in denial as his team was reorganized. “Despite that,” he says, “I clung to my job rather than start thinking about how to leave. At that point, I couldn’t conceive of a life outside of the confines of corporate publishing, of not being at the center of the club I’d been a part of — and a star in — since the age of 21.”

Mark’s story is a cautionary tale for us all. In my experience, Mark’s kind of wishful thinking — that things will sort themselves out on their own — rarely works out. Not taking action has costs that can be as consequential as taking risks; it’s simply less natural to calculate and pay attention to the “what-ifs” of inaction. In today’s marketplace, where jobs and job categories are being destroyed and invented at an accelerating rate, I’d argue that the riskiest move one can make is to assume that your industry or job is secure. Just ask former employees of Countrywide, British Petroleum, or Newsweek if you doubt me. Former Chief Talent Officer of Netflix, Patty McCord, says that companies should stop lying to people about their job security, because there’s simply no such thing.

You have to be actively managing your career and not leave that to others – in the nonprofit world just as much as in the for profit world.

Read the rest of the article by clicking here.

Take responsibility for your life in a proactive and intentional manner!



“What Makes a Leader?” from HBR on Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is critical to your effectiveness as a leader. The business where I am currently employed, Ambassador Enterprises, LLC, uses the byline “Relational Effectiveness Drives Organizational Performance” as they so believe in the importance of “EQ” and relationships.

Following is a quote from a good article on EQ by Daniel Goleman on the Harvard Business Review blog:

I have found, however, that the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but mainly as “threshold capabilities”; that is, they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. But my research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.

Following is a good graph from the article.

Five Components of a leader from HBR

Click here to read the entire article.

What are you doing to improve your EQ?


do what makes sense

railroad tracks - Keely 2013Good morning, we are finally thawing out a bit here in NE Indiana. Last week was a tad rough here as it was for most of the country.

For most of us our vocation is important to us. For those who lead, the mission is important – especially when the mission is serving a higher cause. So not only are we driven to “get our job done”, the importance of what we do drives us even more. For many serving in ministry and serving people in non-profits we have so much to do and so few resources, especially time. So we push and push, and as leaders we keep urging those who follow us to reach new heights. Because they are dedicated people they respond.

While they are responding, their families are seeing them less and less. They go home burnt out with no energy for their spouse, no energy to play with their children, no energy for spending time with their friends, no energy to attend to pressing financial needs, and no energy to attend to their own relationship with the Lord. They are spent, all for a good cause, but still spent. And amazingly, they often still feel guilty for not doing more.

As leaders, we then commend them for their dedication and hard work, thus signaling to others that the standard in our organization is to sacrifice family, important relationships, and emotional and physical health for “the cause” – whatever it may be. This is also true in most of our country no matter what the industry. Why do we do this to people? And why, most of all, do we do this to people in ministry?

There are ways we can better take care of those we lead, there are ways we can help them to be healthy and strong, there are ways we can protect families, and finally, there are ways we can make our organizations healthier as well as more effective.

This article, How to Be a Family-Friendly Boss, on the Harvard Business Review site, gives some tips for helping those you lead (and maybe you need to try these tips in your own life?).

Focus on What, Not How or When. With today’s information technology, more and more work can be done in places other than the office and at times outside of traditional business hours.

Get Better at Measuring Performance. For managers to become comfortable with employees working more flexibly, they need to get better at measuring performance.

Delegate, Coach, and Let Your People Earn Trust. Another great investment that pays off in the long-term is spending the time to develop employees to the point where they can work more autonomously in the medium- and long-term.

Serve as a Work-Family Balance Role Model. Finally, you can help employees struggling with work-family balance by showing them how it’s done. Make it a habit at work to mention your family activities and ask your employees about theirs.

And finally this key thought (applies to ministry / non-profits as well as to business):

Managing employees is not easy, and for the most part, human resource policies in large organizations are designed to simplify things. But sometimes, in their tendency to focus on risks and avoid worse-case abuses, these policies serve to discourage supervisors from doing what makes sense.

You are a leader – do what makes sense. Take care of your people – be a shepherd and not a “boss”.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

Blessings on your week!


Crossway Bibles (2009-04-09). ESV Study Bible (Kindle Locations 223733-223740). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.


“Three Creativity Challenges from IDEO’s Leaders”

“Three Creativity Challenges from IDEO’s Leaders”

The Dangers of Denial

The Dangers of Denial

Great leaders tell it like it is. In other words, they focus on reality, no matter how painful or unpleasant it might be, and then figure out what to do about it. In contrast, less effective leaders sometimes avoid hard truths, argue with the data, and delay tough decisions.

While it’s easy to be critical of leaders who can’t face the facts, the truth is that most of us engage in denial at one time or another, usually without even knowing it. As human beings, it’s one of the most common defense mechanisms that we use to cope with difficult situations.

“Don’t Make Decisions, Orchestrate Them”

“Don’t Make Decisions, Orchestrate Them”

“Is the role of the manager to make decisions, or to make sure that decisions get made? The answer, of course, is both — but many managers focus so much on the first role that they neglect the second. The reality, however, is that decision-making often is not a solo activity, but rather an orchestrated process by which the manager engages other people in reaching a conclusion. Doing this effectively not only improves the quality of the decision, but also ensures that everyone is more committed to its implementation.”

“Six Principles for Developing Humility as a Leader” – Harvard Business Review

Good Friday morning to you!

I saw this article,“Six Principles for Developing Humility as a Leader”,  and thought it interesting that a premier business publication would be talking about humility. It’s actually a pretty good article.

“Whether we’re looking at business or politics, sports or entertainment, it’s clear we live in an era of self-celebration. Fame is equated with success, and being self-referential has become the norm. As a result we are encouraged to pump ourselves full of alarming self-confidence. . . Yes, we have scores of books, articles, and studies that warn us of the perils of hubris. The word comes from the Greek and means extreme pride and arrogance, generally indicating a loss of connection to reality brought about when those in power vastly overestimate their capabilities. And yes, many of us have also seen evidence that its opposite, humility, inspires loyalty, helps to build and sustain cohesive, productive team work, and decreases staff turnover. Jim Collins had a lot to say about CEOs he saw demonstrating modesty and leading quietly, not charismatically, in his 2001 bestseller Good to Great.”

The one thing I notice about the article, is that it is still misses a key point, in my opinion, of humility. One aspect of humility is a focus on others and their needs (Philippians 2:3) and less on ours. As Crawford Lorritts says in his book Leadership as an Identity, servanthood is an identity, not a leadership tactic.Humility is not a tactic or leadership strategy, but a way of walking with the Lord and others.

So, some good ideas in here, but the biblical approach to humility is a much richer and deeper understanding and approach to life.

Have a blessed weekend!


Success by Failure

“Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill

Succeed by failing?  Does that sound a little odd to you?  It did to me, even though I have even taught the concept – just not in those words.

Jeffrey Stibel who is Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. and author of Wired for Thought has an article in the Harvard Business Review blog where he talks about how important it is within their company to advance through failure.  Advance through failure – again a little hard to swallow?  Doesn’t the TQM mentality demand we get it right every time?

Actually, Mr. Stibel talks about how you learn and grow through failure.  Also, because we fear failure, fear embarrassment ( a pride issue), we don’t want to upset the boss and etc. we don’t stretch, we don’t fully innovate, we hold back and play it safe.  When we hold back due to failure, we are not giving it our all, we are not fully engaging our creativity in our endeavors.  We are missing out on the wonderful things we could be doing and contributing due to fear.

Mr. Stibel actually requires failure in his company.  Interesting concept.  Why don’t you go out and fully engage in whatever God has called you to do wholeheartedly and without fear of failure.  Fall on you face, then pick yourself up and dust yourself off and then learn from what happened and get better and truly make a difference!


Building Your Own Personal Advisory Council

Here at our ministry we have a group of about 15 highly gifted professionals in ministry, business, law and medicine that form an Advisory Council for our ministry.  The Council has no formal authority, but are simply people who have an interest in our ministry and our willing to share their expertise and wisdom with us as needed.  They have benefitted the ministry greatly.

The Executive Director of our ministry began to encourage all of our senior leaders to develop their own Advisory Council.  I took him seriously and now have four people from various professions that speak into my life on at least a monthly basis. One in particular – a successful small businessman – is coaching me in my coaching & consulting business and has been a great help.

We all need the help and wisdom of others – particular wise, godly people.  Proverbs is full of verses pointing us in that direction.

There is a new article on the Harvard Business Review site that talks about Personal Networking, but is really addressing, in a way, this concept of a personal Advisory Council. Following are come comments from the post:

Meanwhile, the most satisfied executives have ties to

1. people who provide personal support, such as colleagues who help them get back on track when they’re having a bad day or friends with whom they can just be themselves;

2. people who add a sense of purpose or worth, such as bosses and customers who validate their work, and family members and other stakeholders who show them work has a broader meaning; and

3. people who promote their work/life balance, holding them accountable for activities that improve their physical health (such as sports), mental engagement (such as hobbies or educational classes), or spiritual well-being (music, religion, art, or volunteer work).

Four Steps to Building a Network


Identify the people in your network and what you get out of interacting with them


Make some hard decisions to back away from redundant and energy-sapping relationships


Build your network out with the right kind of people: energizers who will help you achieve your goals


Make sure you’re using your contacts as effectively as you can

The key is – to really grow in all areas of your life – you need the counsel of others – the right others.  And you have to be intentional and seek them out.

Have a great weekend celebrating the gift from God that is the birth of this nation.  And please for a spiritual awakening in this great country – all for the glory of God.