More short book reviews

41msZhS8f1L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ Haverim – Paul Clayton Gibbs 

I read this one on recommendation and came away encouraged but not blown away. This book is a great place to start if you are new to leading a small group bible study and will give plenty to get your teeth into, practically as well as for thinking. It lays out good practice, handy tips and a philosophy of learning that would be good for more people to adopt. 7/10

 

Image 10-04-2018 at 09.29Canoeing the Mountains – Tod Bolsinger

A book on leadership that bounces off the story of explorers, Lewis and Clark, and utilises the experiences of the author in dealing with new and unexpected challenges. There are the usual aspects of leadership theory, good practical helps and a solid framework on which it all hangs. A well written book that will provide good resonance for leaders who need a level of creativity. 8/10

 

Leadership Values

What are your values? Not your stated values but those you truly live by? It is important to know the difference because it will determine your effectiveness as a leader and impact the culture you are creating in your organisation.

This week we have seen a major upheaval within the political landscape of the United Kingdom and the values of our political leaders have been seriously tested. A number have resigned. All politicians state that they are representatives of their people and will uphold democratic process. However, it appears that some may have forgotten this. It is easy to knock public figures, what about our organisations? 

So often, we have values that we state, mention and uphold publicly. Yet, they are aspirations rather than heartfelt passions, so that when troubles come…..they can be forgotten. Our values have become a management tool rather than a code we live by. People notice, recognise it and respond in kind. If you don’t truly live by your values, there will come a point when it is tested and you will pay a heavy price. 

What are your values? What are your real values?

Decision Making or Strategic Response?

In our drive to be bigger, better and more recognised, we have relegated some words from their lofty heights to a level of ‘normal’. The words ‘strategy’ or ‘strategic’ are in this realm. Often when people make a single decision, someone congratulates them on being ‘strategic’…..errrr…hello? They made a decision, this does not necessarily mean that they are being strategic.

Strategy comes from a number of decisions that help you achieve your goal, it is rather like a game of chess. You have to make a whole host of decisions and you must respond continually to your opponents moves, just one wrong decision may cost you the game but the the strategy comes in the twists and turns of the game.

Making decisions does not make you a strategist but every strategist will make decisions.

Deal with the Problem Decisively

If you have worked in a team, you will know the score. There will be someone who doesn’t pull their weight, who holds people back or causes trouble for the rest of the team. If the leader delays or fails to deal with it, it may not only destroy the team but it can damage the leaders authority. 

These issues need to be dealt with immediately and openly. It will benefit the whole team. The danger of ignoring the problems will include:

  • Loss of respect – because you allow things to continue unchecked
  • Loss of authority – people will begin to doubt your leadership
  • Loss of staff – good staff members will become frustrated and may even leave
  • Loss of performance – why should anyone on the team perform higher than the lowest common denominator?

If there is a problem, deal with it quickly and decisively 

Team or Celebrity?

Currently, the football (soccer) world was taken by storm by an unheralded Leicester team that won through an emphatic season. Their was no stand out stars although certain names began to emerge. Similar to Greece in 2004 when they won the Euros with a group of players that were unknown to a wider audience. This is unusual, most teams will have a player who is considered a star and if the team is fortunate, they will have a number of stars (cf Real Madrid and their Galacticos).

However, it should be remembered that in team sports, a star player cannot win on their own. Think Pele with Brazil, Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls, Kobe Bryant with the Lakers. None of these celebrity players could have won on their own – they needed a team around them, most of whom remain forgotten in the mists of time but were essential to the success of the team.

So it is with Church. There are many who would choose to be the Apostle Paul (yet shy away from the persecution and suffering), yet even Paul needed his support people. Many would like to be the author of a great book, new course, on the platform at the global conferences etc. etc. but we cannot ever lose sight of the community of faith. We are all called to play our part and to engage with the mission. Not all of us will receive the credit, praise or be given a platform but all of us are called to love one another, seek each others best interest and to honour the name of God.

Let’s serve the team and be humble enough to accept our place within it. Lets be satisfied to be the Horace Grant, Steve Kerr, Brian Shaw, or Wilson Piazza on our team.

Let’s play!

Strategy….is leadership

“as far as I know I was the first person to introduce the phrase strategic leadership in the early 1970s. Subsequently I discovered that in that phrase the word leadership is actually redundant. For in Greek strategy is made up of two words: stratas, a large body of people, and the egy element which means leadership. Strategy is simply the art of leading an organisation.”

John Adair

Quotes 

I hate the way people use PowerPoint instead of thinking” Steve Jobs
We are all on the same team. Family doesn’t shoot family.” @kevezell.
There may be times when we’re powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest”  Elie Wiesel
We are drowning in information, but starved for knowledge”  John Naisbilt
Preach from your scars, not your wounds…”   Nadia Bolz-Weber