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Team Killers (Part Two)

Last week I wrote about 3 Things That Will Kill Your Team. Today, I want to continue on that thought. If you’re looking for a way to stunt the growth of your organization or your department, here’s 4 ways you can kill your team to do so.

1.) Lack of Accountability – Great ideas, poor follow through. We can fool ourselves into thinking we are moving forward because we have creative talent on our squad. What creatives are notorious for are shouting out brilliant ideas… that never get done.

Solution: Evaluate. There are many organizations who say they give 90-day and yearly reviews that often get neglected. Create a culture of accountability. Punish appropriately when the ball is dropped. Reward appropriately when they achieve goals.

2.) BureaucracyPeople work, cause the boss said so. The worst thing that an employee can bring to an organization is work without purpose. When someone is working and they don’t know why, you are killing their passion and energy to work for you.

Solution: Lead. Don’t Enforce. If I work for you, help me to see the organization through your eyes. Help me to know WHY you like seeing things done a certain way. If I just do what you say, I can’t learn your ways. If I learn your ways, you won’t have to ask me to do anything.

3.) When Talent is Greater Than The Project. There is someone on your team who feels like they are on the bench. Sure, they may be overconfident and believe they could run the organization better than you, but that doesn’t mean they have to be benched completely. Although nothing should be “beneath” a talented person, they can’t help but think and feel that they’re talent is being undervalued and overlooked. I’ve seen many organizations lose some of their greatest talent to simply not being used.

Solution: Even if it’s once or twice or year, let them lead… something. Let them speak. Let them be in charge. Give them an opportunity to be you for a day. There will be areas of weakness, and that’s where you’ll get to show them why you’ve been entrusted with leadership over that area.

4.) Ambiguity – What’s your vision? Mission? Values?. It’s discouraging to come to work and not know why. I get to work with a lot of churches and 8 times out 10, their mission/vision statement usually includes a statement that goes like this, “… To make disciples of all the nations.” Well, that’s very Biblical and cute, but it’s also very vague.

Solution: Declare your target market. Put up a map in the office of the area you’re trying to reach. Put up a picture of the family you’re trying to target. What does the person look like that we want to reach, and what do we want them to look like after we’ve reached them?  That mission statement should inspire everyone who works with and for you. Every person who shows up to work  for you should know why they’re there, and what they bring to your organization.


Team Killers (Part One)

LMPatrickLencioniOne of the main things I’m learning whenever I’m consulting with an organization is that the main leader of the organization believes their team is more bought into the vision than they actually are. The main leader, generally speaking, believes everyone loves their job and loves them. Anyone leader realizes that on some level, people aren’t going to tell you the truth. Why? Because the truth could get them fired.

The leader may be awesome themselves, but they may be ignoring the fact that certain employees are cancerous to the rest of the team. You can be awesome and oblivious at the same time.  Here’s 3 things I’ve seen that are team killers for any organization.

1.) Entitlement – People who want power.

A person who wants a title to lord over others will destroy team chemistry. It’ll cause other people to lose sight of the assignment because they’ll be questioning the credibility of the person giving the assignment.

Solution: Create a culture of servanthood from the top down. I heard of a CEO the other day who starts off everyday walking around with a cart of muffins and coffee and he serves his employees once a week. I don’t know what company it was, but I’d work with and follow that guy.

2.) Credit – People who want glory. Ronald Reagan said it best when he said, “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a successful organization, and there are at least 4 to 5 people who believe their success is due to their presence alone. Have you ever been in a meeting and someone else shared your idea before you did, and your first thought is… “That was… MY… idea.” You’re killing your team.

Solution: Be a loser. Just wake up and decide early that you just want your organization to win today. It doesn’t matter if you take the shot, or have the best idea. You simply want your organization to have impact. Play your part, whether you get the recognition or not.

3.) Boring meetings – Connection times for your team that can be used to inspire but often stunt momentum. The world could not run without meetings. They are a vital part of every organization, obviously. Yet, I have never met a person who said, “Man, I love work meetings.” If you’re going to have a meeting, have a meeting! Every single person in your meeting is asking themselves one question: Why am I here?

Solution: Give people a reason to be there. Help them understand their value in the meeting or at least add value to them while they’re there. Engage them while they’re there. And speaking of “there.” Change up the space every now and then. Meet at a restaurant. Surprise your staff with catered brunch. Change up the time. Your meetings should increase momentum for your organization. Often times, meetings can be problem-solving oriented. Don’t’ spend too much time running in circles around the problem. Bring clarity and focus to your meeting to keep people from checking out. There’s always at least one person who’s in your meeting who’s mind is elsewhere.

1 Thing to Keep You From Getting a Big Head

mr-medullaEver since the Surprise Wedding was released, the main thing that has changed for my wife and I is really our schedule. We understand that life is but a vapor and don’t put too much stock into any “fame” that may or may not come from our story. Nevertheless, we’ve gotten A LOT of encouragement from people from, literally, all over the world. This could lead to us believing we are much more than we actually are.

I was doing a speaking engagement in Chicago and I invited some of my boys to come with me. At the end of my session, I left some time for Q & A and I was asked this question: “Ryan, how do you keep from getting a big head from all of this?”

Before I could even answer the question, one of my friends spoke up and shouted, “We wouldn’t let him! We’d smack him before he could get there.” And all I could do to answer the question was point at him and say, “Yeah, what he said. Ha!”

It’s true. I would be scared to ever ‘arrive’ because my boys would tare me to pieces as soon as I ‘got there.’ The one thing to keep you from getting a big head… is having really good friends.

Wendell Smith Preaching (Judah Smith’s Father)

Anyone who’s been listening to and hearing about Judah Smith over the past few years are certainly aware of the tough time the Smiths went through when they lost Judah’s father, Wendell Smith. I had never heard Pastor Wendell speak until I came across this clip the other day. It’s amazing to me that Pastor Wendell’s legacy continues on through his son. It inspires me to not one day be awesome for myself, but to pour something awesome into a son or daughter who could go on to impact more people. 

What Do You REALLY Want For Christmas?

IMG_9066Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could put what we REALLY wanted under the tree?

I wonder, if given the opportunity, how many of us would trade our gifted sweaters for 100 more likes on a photo? What about 20 retweets? No, how about 5 retweets, but they are all from celebrities?! What about acceptance? Maybe from your parents? The opposite sex? It’d be cool to be able to give out the attention of the opposite sex to our friends. What about an engagement? #hello

What about a bigger business? A bigger church? What would you do if I told you I had the utmost respect of other people who do what you do wrapped under the tree? Every pastor would be calling you saying, “How do you do it?”

What if we could put a bow on being exactly like _______? What about impressions? What if I could give you the ability to impress everyone you meet? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could hang fame on the tree for anyone to pick up? The very thought has made me consider buying an actual spotlight for a friend for Christmas because it’s what they REALLY want.

Jesus, undoubtedly, is the greatest gift not under a tree but on one. Nevertheless, I believe the things we REALLY want are endless. And as my wife and I search for single mom’s this Christmas and families that don’t have enough food to have a Christmas dinner, I wonder what their response would be if asked what they want for Christmas? Eggs? Milk? Some bread?

There are many beautiful things about Christmas. (The Jesus-juke isn’t coming btw.) One of the beautiful things I’ve noticed is that it’s only in this season that our wish list, our requests get bold. You can ask for stuff from people and God around Christmas that you’d never ask people or God any other time of year. Christmas requests, for the most part, are greater than birthday requests. And as we celebrate the idea that virgin would have a baby that would change the world forever… isn’t it amazing that God sees the single mom’s need for eggs and someone else’s desire for something as honest as popularity, and cares so stinking much.

Before you unwrap Christmas gifts on Wednesday, I challenge you to really pray to a God who does the impossible. Ask for the impossible. Let God be God. Impossible is all over his resume. Merry Christmas.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:6, 7 MSG)

The Science of Social Timing

Believe it or not, there is a science to social media. Stats will tell you the times people are the most active on social media. Check out this infographic. The-Science-Of-Social-Timing-Infographic

Old School Billy Graham Sermon

Billy Graham. Perhaps the greatest evangelist of all time. We’ve all heard the stories of the thousands who have been impacted by this man’s life. But as much as I’ve admired Billy from afar, I’ve never actually sat down and listened to one of his sermons. And when I did, it was cool to hear someone simply talk about Jesus. It almost convicted me when I considered my approach to preaching.

Hats off to you, Dr. Graham.

Noah Trailer

I think it’s amazing that a movie hasn’t been made about a Biblical character by a major production since the Ten Commandments. That was 50 years ago. I’m excited to see Paramount making this happen.

The Best In-Flight Safety Video Ever

Virgin America has just launched a new safety video. Well, it’s actually a music video. I don’t know why, but it made me want to fly Virgin America whenever  I go to Los Angeles. Kudos to Virgin America for taking something that is usually incredibly boring and making something that now has me humming the melody of the song in my head. Check it out.

A New Way To Shop

1392058_10151731140681762_450596482_nSometimes making a difference cost us a lot of time, energy, and resources. Other times, making a difference simply means choosing to buy things we already purchase from people who use their profits to make a difference. One of those organizations who do that well is TOMS. Getting to know a few people in their organization, I’ve simply been impressed with their approach.

Things have grown for TOMS. It was widely known that TOMS was the organization that allowed you to buy a shoe from them, and by doing so, you were also providing shoes for a child in a third world country. Well, they’ve expanded tremendously over the past few years. This season, they are introducing new way to shop: meet the #TOMSmarketplace.

TOMS Marketplace is a platform to help other entrepreneurs who are using business to improve lives.Check out the 200+ products from 30+ innovators providing scholarships, creating jobs, funding meals and more. Shop differently: www.TOMS.com/marketplace

Here’s my latest pair of TOMS. toms

Check out some of the videos introducing #TOMSmarketplace.

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