I’ve looked at a lot of church budgets over the years. It still amazes me how much I can learn about a church with a quick review of their budget. When it comes to a church’s core values and vision, the budget is the single most effective indicator of true priorities.
Have you ever ridden in a taxi? If you have, you know the drill. Once you’re lucky enough to flag down a cab, you climb in and the driver asks, “Where to?”
Pretty simple question, right? What would happen if your reply to the driver was, “I’m not sure.” I don’t know how the driver would react, but I can be sure you wouldn’t go anywhere. You’ve got to have a destination in mind when you begin a journey.
Harry Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” I would propose a variation of that principle. Not all listeners are leaders, but all leaders are listeners.
One of the most critical requirements for solid organizational leadership is the ability to keep your finger on the pulse of your organization. The best way to do this is to simply become a listener. There is a big difference between a hearer and a listener. Most employees would not argue whether or not their leaders hear them, but an overwhelming majority would assert that their leaders rarely listen to them – I mean really listen. Hearing indicates the acknowledgment of a sound. Listening is the result of true focus.
Churches face a myriad of challenges and difficulties. I know. I’ve been there. Growing a church is not easy work. Whenever I’m talking to a church staff member or leader, in addition to sharing their challenges with me, they also almost always tell me about their God-sized dreams. I love hearing about these exciting visions. I love hearing the passion and excitement that accompanies the sharing of these dreams.
Every year I, like many others I suspect, create a list of new year’s resolutions. Sometimes the list is just in my head – which is a problem in itself – and sometimes I write the resolutions down somewhere. However, again like many other people, I fall short on many of those resolutions. Even more discouraging is the fact it doesn’t take me long to completely abandon many of my goals for the new year. I won’t speak for anyone else, but if I had to guess I’d speculate that I’m not alone in this regard.
Soon, 2013 will be gone and we’ll be welcoming 2014 into our lives. As I near the end of each year, I like to take a few hours and assess my leadership effectiveness for the past year. In doing this, several years ago I made a commitment to myself. I pledged that, each year, I would become a better leader than I was the year before. I realized that every year I made mistakes. I was also aware that, in most cases, I was able to identify the cause or causes of those mistakes. Sadly however, it became far too clear that I rarely made the necessary changes to prevent the same mistakes in the future.
Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less (Austin, TX: Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2011)
Work The System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less, guides the reader in modifying his or her perception of the world, moving from a false vision of chaotic conglomeration, to a more accurate one: that life is an orderly collection of individual linear systems each of which can be improved and perfected. The reader is guided through the process of ”getting” this new vision, and then through the specifics of applying it via a ”system improvement” protocol. For start-ups or existing businesses the methodology is simple, believable, and mechanical; not mystical or theoretical. Carpenter developed this “Systems Mindset” protocol in the business he purchased in 1984 and still owns today. With that company, he moved from an 80-100 hour workweek to a 2 hour workweek, while multiplying his income dozens of times over. He is CEO of an international business consulting firm and several other businesses and non-profits, each operated in the same systems mindset fashion. With a diverse background in engineering, construction, publishing, telecommunications and journalism, he calls his approach a “workingman’s philosophy.” Seeworkthesystem.com/testimonials.
Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less will show business owners how to achieve a positive macro result by looking at their business and work on a micro level; by analyzing and refining each of the internal systems, the systems that, added together, comprise the whole business entity. Readers will learn how to tweak this “system of systems” in order to maximize profits, create client loyalty, and develop autonomous employees. The strategies also help individuals dramatically improve performance as well as decrease the stress of being overtaxed and disorganized, ultimately resulting in a substantially shorter work week and a much improved bottom line. See testimonials of readers at workthesystem.com/testimonials.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business (New York, NY: Random House, 2012)
We’re all familiar with habits. Most often we think of habits in the negative sense… as in, bad habits. Of course, there are good habits as well as those not so good.
In his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business, New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg shines light on the research of habits. He shows us the science behind why habits exist and what we can do to change them. As we read this book, we begin to gain new understanding regarding if and how we can change.
Duhigg looks at both companies and individuals. He uncovers why some never successfully execute change regardless of how hard they try, yet others achieve transformation with seemingly little effort.
Duhigg pulls back the curtain and allows us, the readers, to more clearly understand how habits really work. He gives us hope – the hope that we can change. We can rid our lives of those bad and unproductive habits that are dragging us down and replace them with behaviors that will create success in our lives and businesses.
This is definitely a must-read.
Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons, 2013)
I don’t care if you’re a first time CEO or a veteran of the corner office, you need to read this book!
While big company CEOs are usually groomed for the job for years, startup CEOs aren’t—and they’re often young and relatively inexperienced in business in general. Author Matt Blumberg, a technology and marketing entrepreneur, knows this all too well. Back in 1999, he started a company called Return Path, which later became the driving force behind the creation of his blog, OnlyOnce—because “you’re only a first time CEO once.”
Now, more than a decade later, he’s written Startup CEO. As the fifth book in the StartUp Revolutionseries, this reliable resource is based on Blumberg’s experience as a startup CEO and covers a number of issues he’s faced over the dozen years he’s been a CEO.
- Offers valuable insights into how the CEO sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders
- Discusses how to build a company’s human capital by recruiting, hiring, and retaining the very best talent
- Examines how a CEO must align available resources with the company’s strategy in order to ensure success
- Addresses what it takes to master the “How” of being a CEO—from leading an executive team to managing in any type of market
Engaging and informative, this book is essential reading for any, and every, CEO.
Click here to purchase Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business