Courageous Followers

There are leaders and there are followers—and leaders that can follow and followers who can lead. I have experienced each of these four categories in my life. Because I am a leader, I have read many books focusing on the qualities and characteristics of good leaders. However, in all my years of reading and studying, I never came across a book on how to become a great follower—until now.

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“The Courageous Follower: Standing Up to and for Our Leaders” by Ira Chaleff was a rare and unique find. This book would mobilize and galvanize any organization, if the culture of that organization would allow it to.

 

I am sure you have read a quote and thought, “EXACTLY”. Like a universal truth was perfectly captured and we all learned new language for it. Then there are other times when someone says something that is all together different from anything else we have ever heard. That is exactly what this author does, throughout the entirety of this book.

 

An example of a specific thing he said that I had never heard before is this: “The main difference between a leader and a follower is that the leader can externally articulate what the followers internally believe.” In other words, all of us (leaders and followers) believe in the vision. But, the leader has a unique ability to articulate externally what all of us hold deeply in our hearts. He goes on to say that if the leader can make the mission very clear for everyone, then the followers can contribute an equal or greater share than the leader.

 

One key point he makes is the necessity of the leader to communicate clearly. “When a common purpose guides both the leader and follower, control shifts from the leader to the purpose itself.” We probably have all witnessed an organization that is personality driven (leader) versus a purpose driven organization where everyone is empowered to contribute to the success of the mission. If this post inspires you, please pick up the book, “The Courageous Follower”. I don’t think you can hear what he has to say anywhere else.

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Be Careful What You Touch

When I was young I did not go to church, ever. I didn’t know the Lord and didn’t know any Christians. My reference point for the things of God was zero. Those who grow up in a Christian family are made aware of the things of God, but that wasn’t my journey. So, how does God find and introduce himself to a guy like me?

 

It was fifth grade and I was flunking out! I hated school and was not a good student. It is a fact that had I not moved out of state at the end of my fifth grade year, they would have failed me and held me back. I can only imagine what that would have done to change the course of my life. That was one of seven or eight calls I can point to in my life that could have gone either way and made all the difference for who I am today. Thank you Lord!

 

One day a classmate named Christy Westmoreland brought a Bible to class with her. To my recollection, this was the first time I had ever seen a Bible. I remember asking her why she had it at school. I don’t remember her answer. But, she did invite me to church (way tshutterstock_173726786o go young lady). I laughed and said that we did not attend church. Class started and there was that Bible on her desk. It had my full attention. I remember it was all black, and written on the outside were the words HOLY BIBLE. Something about the conversation and the presence of that Bible made me feel uneasy, like something was wrong with me. So, I drew a picture of a Bible with holes all in it and called it HOLEY BIBLE. When I gave it to Christy, she was not amused to say the least.

That was it. I didn’t get saved that day. That would come a couple months later through a crazy turn of events, when my father led me to the Lord and my life changed forever. But go back to that moment for a second. Imagine what happened in heaven that day. God—knowing that I would become a preacher who would one day study, teach, eat and sleep the Bible—touched that spot in my life before I even became saved. I imagine the fun that He had with the angels as they watched me studiously drawing that disparaging picture of the Book that would change my life.

 

Two closing thoughts: Thank you Christy, for making me aware that there is a God. And thank you God, for finding me when I didn’t even know I was lost. For more one this subject go to  http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/the-elements-of-a-great-testimony.html

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Try Measuring It

When man was put on this beautiful global ball, he was instructed to multiply. Deep down, each of us desires to flourish, reproduce, and multiply. And, each of us does it differently. Whether it is a mother that wants to have children and share her love with a family, or a man who has an idea for a business that could change humanities daily life and create honorable jobs for others—we are driven to make a contribution to this world with the life we have.

 

So, how do we “multiply”?

 

There is a great adage that says, “You cannot multiply what you will not manage, and you cannot manage what you will not measure”.

 

Recently, I re-read the great business book “E-myth revisited” by Michael E. Gerber. The premise of the book is: just because you’re a great cook—doesn’t automatically qualify you to run a restaurant. One is a talent—and the other a business. He goes on to say that each one of us has three basic business elements, although in very different portions.

 

The first business element in each of us is the “entrepreneur”. It is the dreamer, visionary measureand risk taker part of us. The next is the “manager” who develops systems, processes, and routines that puts legs to the vision. The last is the “Technician”, who performs the daily tasks that make the vision tangible. Some of us lean heavily towards one or the other. While we all have these three elements, we all need help from those who have the opposite leanings.

 

Let’s honor the “technician” for a minute—they never get enough credit. The process of multiplication begins with measuring, and that is a “technician” job. In January, I joined the gym. I weighed more than I wanted to, had gotten a little soft, and needed to sweat! So, I joined a class. One of the first things they did was establish a benchmark for me. They had me do one sit-up, one push-up, and one air squat. Then I was to add a rep to each exercise in round two—so I did two sit-ups, two push-ups, and two air squats. I was to continue adding a round, adding a rep each round to each exercise, then see how many reps I could get done in 15 minutes. At the end of 15 minutes I was spent. I had accomplished 10 rounds, and was in the middle of pushups on the eleventh round when time was up.

 

A month later, they had me do the very same exercise. This time I made it through 15 rounds. I improved to 65 sit-ups, 65 push-ups, and 65 air squats. I had not lost a bunch of weight. I didn’t have bulging muscles—yet. But, I unequivocally knew that I was making progress, and that the class was working, because I had measured it.

http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons.html

Measurements can change our lives. Calendars measure our time—budgets measure our money—diets measure our calories. If you want to make a change in your life today—measure something. For more on this subject go to http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

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