The hardest thing about leadership is actually doing it.

It’s easy to talk about leadership. It’s easy to observe how and when others aren’t leading. Your inbox and social media feeds prove that it is much easier to blog about it, tweet (and retweet) about it, preach about it, publish books about it, convene a conference about it, or judge it.

But to lead well over time in ways that build the people and the institution in the process – that is an art. The creation of art requires courage, patience, inspiration, and diligence. Ultimately each true work of art must be released to the public where it will be experienced, evaluated, and critiqued.

How will the artist in you lead well today?

Larger Scope, Fewer Words

February 23, 2016 — 6 Comments

“I really appreciate having a clear framework for our digital ministry,” Doni told me over lunch today. “My dad was in the Indonesian military. He trained me well in the need for clear focus. It can be a matter of life and death.”

Doni gives leadership to 14 nations’ digital efforts in southeast Asia. The scope and complexity of his leadership challenges are huge. But he and his growing team are making great progress. This is due in large part to his love for people and his ability to clearly state a few objectives.

Here are two lessons I’ve learned in mobilizing large groups of people:

1. The more clearly we sound the deepest spiritual note, the higher level of personal commitment the right people will choose to offer.

2. Less is more with vision. The number of words, goals, or ideas a group can digest is inversely proportional to the size of the group. If we want to mobilize 10 developers on a project, we may be able to get away with a few pages of ideas. If we want to scale to 10K or 100K people who are actively involved, we may need to be in the range of 3-10 words.

Jesus launched a worldwide movement with a few simple ideas: Love God. Love people. Follow me. Make disciples.

Once people have the big idea clearly in mind, they can run at their own pace.

My Holiday Reading List

December 15, 2015 — 9 Comments

Whew! The past few months have flown by. On December 8, our global digital strategies, operations, products and services teams marked the 100th day since significantly restructuring. To everyone’s credit, we’ve seen a surge of early wins in product release speed, quality of our digital offerings, analytics dashboards, and most importantly, a much richer stakeholder engagement process. We still have a long way to go.

It’s been an exciting and demanding time. In spite of the pace, I don’t find myself tired or fatigued. Rather, my soul is hungry for richer fare than articles on best practices in digital maturity. This week I am beginning to taper my schedule to allow for a season of reflection.

Over the next few weeks here’s what I’ll be reading (or re-reading):

  1. Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Tim Keller
  2. Relational Leadership: A Biblical Model for Leadership Service by Walter C. Wright
  3. Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale by Frederick Buechner
  4. The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business by Erin Meyer
  5. The Contemplative Pastor and Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity by Eugene Peterson
  6. Leadership by James MacGregor Burns

How do you pull away and reflect? What’s on your reading list?