My Notes from Juliet Funt “How to Create Whitespace at Work” @ the Leadership Summit

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 14th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Here are some takeaways from session 5 with Juliet Funt, CEO of Whitespace at Work:

  • All of us are getting less and less comfortable with silence and the pause. The moments that are not filled.
  • This loss of time without assignment has a great cost to our businesses and lives.
  • If we work in insane ways and busywork, we see the waste in our companies.
  • Our companies waste $1 million per 50 people.
  • Whitespace is a strategic pause taken between activities.
  • Whitespace is to be recuperative to recharge your mind and body.
  • A pause brings insight, introspection and creativity to your brains.
  • Great leaders naturally use whitespace.
  • Don’t rush the cooking of a great idea.
  • Whitespace is not meditation.
  • Whitespace is not mindfulness.
  • Whitespace has no rules, no goals. It is a boundary-less freedom where your mind can play and improvise.
  • In whitespace, we think the unthought though.
  • A diabolical aspect of busyness is that it feels like our fault.
  • 4 main drivers of overload: drive, excellence, information and activity.
  • To have whitespace, you must determine how you will use drive, excellence, information and activity.
  • Any space you have, it will be filled. You must install filters to take control of the whitespace.

Whitespace questions:

  • Is there anything I can let go of?
  • Where is “good enough”, good enough?
  • What do I truly need to know?
  • What deserves my attention?

My Notes from Lazlo Bock on “How to Lead and Manage People” @ the Leadership Summit

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 14th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Here are some takeaways from session 5 with Lazlo Bock, Senior Advisor at Google:

  • For too many leaders, there is a gap between what they believe and how they act.
  • A leaders job is to find the best people, grow them as fast as possible, and then keep them at the company.
  • The experience of work should be meaningful.
  • We all want to be valued and have a voice in what we do. A leader needs to give that to their people.
  • Treat your employees right and they will great things for you.
  • The most important thing is to give your work meaning.
  • If you are a leader, you need to give the work that your people do meaning.
  • What meaning do people find from working at your church or company? What meaning are you giving to your people?
  • A leader needs to remind people about the mission and meaning of your work.
  • There are some people who remember the duty but forget the joy of the work we do.
  • Only a 1/3 of workers feel a connection between their job and meaning.
  • To create meaning: Figure out why you are doing the work you are doing. Remind yourself, this is why I’m here.
  • A big mistake most companies make is to not trust their people enough.
  • The only thing that drives performance in organizations is having a goal and make sure other people know that goal.
  • If you are a leader, give your people more freedom than you are comfortable with.
  • Ask what your people think.
  • When people ask a question, ask them what they think.
  • More freedom makes people happier and they stay longer.
  • Recruiting and hiring is so important because that is how you transform an organization.
  • Simple rules for hiring: Don’t let the interviewers make the hiring decision. Always hire someone who is better than me in some way.

My Notes from Andy Stanley on “Finding & Creating a Uniquely Better Product” @ the Leadership Summit

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 14th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Here are some takeaways from the last session of day 1 with Andy Stanley:

  • If we had to do it all over again, what would we do all over again? What really worked in our church?
  • It’s important to answer the question, why is this working.
  • Part of being successful as a church is having a uniquely better product.
  • Unique isn’t enough. You can be uniquely bad. Unique doesn’t create momentum.
  • There are shared assumptions in every industry that cause us to do the same things, the same way.
  • Uniquely better is often the byproduct of circumstances that successful organizations are trying to avoid.
  • Uniquely better is often a solution to a problem.
  • Uniquely better is often so unique that successful organizations cannot imagine that it is better.
  • The more successful you are, the more likely that when what’s better comes along, the more likely that you’ll miss it.
  • Our job is to create a culture to find what is uniquely better instead of resisting it.

How do you create a culture that looks for uniquely better:

  • Be a student, not a critic. 
  • Don’t criticize something you don’t understand.
  • We naturally resist things we don’t understand or can’t control.
  • The moment you start criticizing, you stop learning.
  • “The next generation product and idea almost never comes from the previous generation.” -Al Ries
  • Keep your eyes and your mind wide open. 
  • Listen to people who aren’t in our industry, who don’t know how to do what we do.
  • Outsiders aren’t bound by our assumptions.
  • Closed minded leaders close minds. 
  • How do discern if you’re closed minded: How do you respond to suggestions about other organizations? When was the last time your organization embraced a big idea that wasn’t your idea? When was the last time you weren’t sure of an initiative but you gave the go ahead anyway?
  • Replace how with wow.
  • All ideas die at the word ‘how.’
  • You lose nothing by saying wow.
  • Wow ideas to life, don’t how them to death.
  • We fuel innovation or kill them by our response to new, untried, expensive ideas.
  • Nothing is gained by not knowing what your people are dreaming about.
  • The world will put enough ‘how’s’ in front of your kids, let’s be ‘wow’ parents.
  • Ask the uniquely better questions. 
    • Is this unique?
    • What would make this unique?
    • Is it better?
    • Is it better…really?

My Notes on Bryan Stevenson’s talk on “Being a Brave & Hopeful Leader” @ the Leadership Summit

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 14th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Here are some takeaways from the third session with Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of Equal Justice Initiative:

  • You can’t be effective leader from a distance.
  • Leadership requires that the people we are serving know that we are with them.
  • The goal of leadership and life is to do something that brings you life and passion.
  • Don’t simply settle.
  • Problems can’t be solved from a distance.
  • There is power in proximity. The answer comes in proximity.
  • If you lead by fear and anger, you will allow yourself to be led to dangerous places.
  • We need to understand the narratives that we believe.
  • True narrative change can liberate us.
  • Leaders can never give up hope.
  • Hopelessness is the enemy of justice. It is the enemy of leadership.
  • Hope is about talking about what we’ll do, not what we’ve already done.
  • To be an effective leader means we must be willing to do uncomfortable things.
  • What is it about us that resists and run from the people that are broken?

My Notes from Fredrik Haren “Being a Creative Leader” @ the Leadership Summit

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 14th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Here are some takeaways from the fourth session with Fredrik Haren, creativity expert and author of The Idea Book:

  • There is no correlation between creativity and creative confidence.
  • The #1 thing a leader must do is make the people around them more creative.
  • Creativity is when a person takes knowledge and information and combines it in a new way.
  • Just because people don’t see your creativity or worthwhile, doesn’t mean that it is not creative or worthwhile.
  • Creativity has never been more important than it is now.
  • Idea perception is the ability to see that the world has changed.
  • What if leaders took the challenge of making their people more creative?
  • You become creative by doing more creative things as a leader.

Notes from Marcus Lemonis @ the Leadership Summit

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 14th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Here are some takeaways from the second session with Marcus Lemonis, from CNBC’s The Profit:

  • Leadership is about reinventing yourself.
  • Sometimes we need a fresh start.
  • We can’t run from what we’re running from, those things always follow us.
  • Business is about vulnerability.
  • Business is about making connections.
  • Success is based on your ability to be vulnerable.
  • The most important thing in life is to be vulnerable and transparent.
  • Vulnerability is very difficult to unleash.
  • It is the leaders responsibility to be stewards of your people.
  • It is the duty of the leader to make them successful.
  • Leadership is about taking a chance on yourself first, and then putting yourself in harm’s way.

Sheryl Sandberg @ the Leadership Summit

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 14th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

The second session was with Sheryl Sandberg. Her book Option B, was one of my favorite books of the year so far. She is the COO of Facebook.

Here are some takeaways:

  • What we see ourselves becoming is often what we become.
  • If we can’t see ourselves becoming something, we won’t reach it.
  • When choosing a job, choose a mission you believe in and a path for growth.
  • Hire people that you don’t need yet, but will need soon. Hire people you will need.
  • Always hire someone with skills over experience if you have to choose.
  • Most organizations don’t fire as quickly as they should.
  • Focus on results, not on facetime.
  • The goal in a job is to get results.
  • Make heroes in your organization of those who work hard, but fail and learn from failure.
  • We would have a different world if women got an equal seat at the table.
  • Churches and organizations must do a better job of helping women lead and use their gifts.

How to grieve

  • We personalize it. We blame ourselves in grief and beat ourselves up.
  • Everything is pervasive. We talk about how everything is terrible. In grief, think about what could be worse.
  • Permanence. Grief does go away.
  • Joy is something we have to look for.
  • Don’t ignore pain and grief. Engage it.
  • Compliments on the most basic thing is really helpful.
  • When people are in grief, we need to show up.
  • In the midst of grief, give yourself permission to be happy.

Challenge:

  • At the end of each day, write down 3 things that brought you joy that day.
  • The longer you lead, the harder it is to get real feedback.

Notes from Bill Hybels on “The Kind of Leadership our World Needs” @ the Leadership Summit

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 14th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

I love how every year Bill Hybels starts the summit by reminding us of the stakes of leadership. Such a needed, yearly reminder.

Here are some takeaways from the first session with Bill Hybels:

  • There is great power in believing in the possibility of leadership in people.
  • Someone believed in you as a leader before you ever led anything. They saw something in you.
  • There is so much power in expressing your belief in other people.
  • There is so much power when we encourage younger leaders.
  • How do leaders lead in an era of divisiveness and disrespect? The solution has to begin with me as a leader.
  • All I can control is me and how I ask those around me to live and work.

10 rules for respect every leader must obey

  1. Leaders set the example of how to differ with others without demonizing them.
  2. Leaders must set the example of how to have spirited conversations without drawing blood.
  3. Leaders must not interrupt others who are talking and must not dominate the conversation.
  4. Leaders must set the example of limiting their volume levels and refuse to use belittling words.
  5. Leaders must set the example of being courteous in word and deed.
  6. Leaders must never stereotype.
  7. Leaders must apologize when they’re wrong.
  8. Leaders must form opinions carefully and stay open minded if better information comes along.
  9. Leaders must set the example of showing up when they say they will show up.
  10. Leaders must set rules of respect and enforce them relentlessly.

Civility code

  1. We will greet each other and acknowledge each other.
  2. We will say please and thank you.
  3. We will treat each other with respect.
  4. We will be direct, sensitive and honest.
  5. We will address incivility whenever it occurs.

Leadership succession

Questions about succession:

  1. Who will make the decision on succession? Who has the final decision power?
  2. When will the decision be made? When will the succession happen?
  3. How will this transition be led?

Learnings on Succession:

  • Doing the hard work up front, really helps.
  • If a succession plan is long and complicated enough, it will motivate every leader to want to move on. Don’t let it drag on.
  • A long plan can make a drag on the vision of an organization.
  • Asking leaders to live in limbo can be very disruptive to a leadership team and staff.
  • It’s hard and complicated and it gets delicate.
  • As difficult as it is to build a high performing organization, it is harder to transition one.
  • Begin understanding that everything you lead and do is a season.
  • Is God writing an ending to your current season or role?

Challenges for leaders:

  • Spend 15 minutes each morning, read and reflect on your life, your leadership, your character, faith and family. Leaders who crash squeeze reflection time out of their life.
  • Make this the year of the grander vision. Choose an organization in your area that is doing great things and get behind them. At a certain point, mere financial success should bore you.
  • Measure the health of the culture of your organization. The culture will only be as healthy as the top leader wants it to be.
  • Do you have a personal betterment plan for your leadership in the coming year? How will you grow as a leader? Take responsibility for growing as a leader.
  • Are you leading on the home front as well as you are at work? The scorecard in people’s minds is money, but that is not what lasts.

The Halfway Point of the Year & the Top 10 Posts of July

It’s the middle of summer.

In Tucson, where I live, the monsoon’s are in full swing and school is back in session.

The year is more than halfway over.

Hopefully you are closer to the goals you set at the start of the year.

If not, don’t fear.

The year isn’t over and it isn’t too late to hit restart and try again.

In case you missed them, here are the top 10 posts of the month of July. Hopefully, they are encouraging to you but also help you reach the goals you have as a leader and a person. Thanks for reading!

  1. 11 Ways to Know You’ve Settled for a Mediocre Marriage
  2. How to Share your Faith
  3. 7 Ideas to Help Your Kids Grow Spiritually
  4. 8 Questions to Ask Before You Preach a Sermon
  5. The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize
  6. 18 Things Every Husband Should Know about His Wife
  7. How Many Times a Year Should a Pastor Preach
  8. 5 Books Every Pastor & Church Staff Should Read
  9. What Role a Pastor’s Wife Plays in the Church?
  10. When You Manipulate Your Husband, You Lose Him

Successful Mentoring Relationships

Since Revolution Church is filled with people in college and their 20’s, and because we’re part of Acts 29, I and the other leaders at Revolution will often get requests to mentor someone, either in our church or a church planter or worship leader.

There is also a big desire that many people have to be discipled and mentored. The New Testament, particularly Titus 2:1 – 8, shows how to do this.

The amazing thing in Titus is that the relationships it describes have a few realities:

  1. They are intentional, but organic.
  2. They are relational.
  3. Growth happens through conversations, not necessarily a curriculum.

Paul tells Titus that in mentor relationships, in inter-generational relationships, they happen through proximity. The older are to teach the younger, but the only way for that to happen is for them to be together, not in life stage groups where they never mingle. In this environment, a younger person can find an older person they want to learn from.

Paul tells Timothy what they are to teach, but that teaching means ordinary conversations, not simply standing on a stage, teaching a class. Everyday, ordinary conversations.

What do they teach? What is amazing to me is that Paul says they’ll need to learn the following things. The things they’ll learn are things that won’t come naturally, or else we’d already know them.

This has caused me to think through what makes an effective mentor. They are important, but I think we often set ourselves and the person we are seeking help from up for disaster.

A mentor is someone further ahead of you in an area you want to grow in.

No one person can mentor you in every part of your life.

This is the problem we run into. We look for someone to be the end all, be all for us.

When someone asks for a mentor, I explain this to them and then ask a series of questions:

What are one or two areas you want to grow in as you think about your life in the next 3, 6, 12 months? This could be finances, prayer, marriage, boundaries, health, etc.

Why do you think I can help you? I want to know why they think I can help them. Not because I want to pump up my ego, but I want to know they’ve done their homework on me and didn’t just throw a dart at the wall and pick the closest person.

What are you doing, or have you tried to grow in this area? Often, not always, but often people seek a mentor because they are lazy. I want to know what books or blogs this person has looked at in this area. Are they actively seeking to grow in this area or just hoping to rub off success from someone? Which leads to the last part.

How much time are you willing to put into this? Anything worth doing will take time. You won’t grow in your handling of finances, health, marriage, career, preaching, etc., without putting in time and effort. This is a commitment you as the person getting mentored are making. The mentor is coming along for the ride, and if I as the mentor am not convinced you are into the ride, I’m getting off.

If you are worth your salt as a leader, person or pastor, you will be asked often to mentor people. You must be selective about who you mentor, because you are giving up one of your most precious commodities, your time. If you are asking to be mentored, to succeed and have it be worthwhile for you, you need to do your homework and be willing to put in the work. There is nothing more exciting than working with a person who wants to grow in an area and helping them do that.

We can’t become the person we are to become without relationships with older, more mature people in our lives.