A final and to-the-point finish to this talk: a “can do” attitude goes a long way.
Whatever your issue is, a “can do” attitude is determined to find a way through. No problem is too big for resolution; no struggle is too hard to persevere through; no lie is to powerful to overcome.
A “can do” attitude not only addresses your immediate concerns but also the bigger-picture outcomes. What’s the dream? What are you trying to achieve? What are you aiming at? When you clarify these things, you can set your targets, and align your attitude to meet them.
This is pure optimism, and it is not just for dreamers: “There is a way. I can do it. This is not too big. We’re gonna get there.”
Set your sights, set your attitude, and Find-a-Way.
Adapted from the “Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader” talk by Dr. Henry Cloud at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 5.
Here is an approach to reverse the damage caused by “The Three P’s“. It helps first to write down the problems.
1. Dispute the Negative Stuff With Truth: Identify the lie, and say “that’s absolutely wrong.” Put it into perspective, look at the good stuff… be objective! It’s all to easy to take mistakes too personally when you’re stuck in the mud.
Every great movie has crises scenes… and life can be a bit similar sometimes. Look for a way to launch off the crises into a new, stronger place.
2. Control: Can vs. Can’t: I’ve found this particularly helpful. What can I do? What can’t I do? What’s my problem to sort out? What isn’t?
Your brain can turn into a cesspool of stress by focusing on things out of your control. That doesn’t sound good, so don’t go there! In times of high pressure, when things seem to be getting out of control, this Can/Can’t exercise can be a good one. See Matthew 6:25-34 to be challenged about worry or anxiety.
3. We Must Connect: Surround yourself with people. We are made for relationships. Don’t be an isolationist… call people, get together for lunch, put energy into growing a mutually enriching network of relationships. And don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Dr. Cloud tells a story of a monkey in cage to illustrate this point. In a study, a particular monkey’s stress level dropped 50% simply by having a buddy. Humans need a buddy too!
Adapted from the “Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader” talk by Dr. Henry Cloud at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 4.
These three things initiate the Downward Spiral that leaders can find themselves in:
1. Personal: “I’m no good; why did I think I could _______?” Dr Cloud tells a story to illustrate that although we all make mistakes, those of us who are naive, oblivious or cheerful enough will survive these critical times by refusing to take our failings personally.
2. Pervasive: An issue spreads broadly and appears much larger than it really is. “It’s not one person, it’s all of them; they all think that. Everything has gone bad. My whole life sucks.”
3. Permanent: “It will always be this way. This isn’t going to change.” Another lie.
Even the best performers can find themselves spiralling. Our brains change, something switches, and so it begins. Do you need to eliminate any of these three errors of thought?
Adapted from the “Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader” talk by Dr. Henry Cloud at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 3.
Some time during the hard-work of leading, it starts to happen. What does? The downward spiral. If you haven’t experienced it yet, just keep succeeding… it will come!
Leaders start Here and move on towards There… and somewhere along that path, the surrounding circumstances cause them to go Out of Control. It’s a kind of learned-helplessness. When what you used to do doesn’t work, the spiral begins.
The leaders that don’t start on the downward spiral (or those who make their way out of it) have something different in their favour. Belief. This can make all the difference. Believing you can, even if you can’t… this is good. Believing you can’t, when you actually can… definitely not good.
Leaders who resist and survive the death-spiral think, feel and behave differently than others. Are you in control of your thinking? Are you feeding your emotions in a healthy way? Are you aware of the situations you’re in and acting appropriately?
Adapted from the “Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader” talk by Dr. Henry Cloud at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 2.
Dr. Henry Cloud starts his talk on Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader with a story of a family business, involving a father-boss and a son-employee. Unfortunately, at some point the son makes a momentous stuff up, and his dad fires him. Or at least his boss does. Immediately afterwards, dad changes tack: “I hear you lost your job today son. Can I help you?”
It’s funny. You can feel for the father who obviously has had a tough choice to make… but he seems to have dealt with it well enough! It is also a demonstration of the post title, being “ridiculously in charge”, which of course the father-boss is, firing-and-hiring in the same breath.
This serves simply as a fun warm-up that precedes an important starting point: leaders are in charge of themselves. To lead means to take action, to accept responsibility, to exert energy for the sake of others.
Are you taking action? Are you taking responsibility? Are you exerting your energy in the best way?
Adapted from the “Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader” talk by Dr. Henry Cloud at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 1.
In life, good intent can do well enough… but it’s not until we deeply connect with others that true change really takes place.
(Goff illustrates this point by telling a story of a Ugandan criminal he worked with who experienced stunning and transforming forgiveness, and the powerful changes that resulted.)
Forgiveness – the saying here would apply that “it takes two to tango”. On the one side, RELEASE: a letting go of your right to avenge, a letting go of the entangling cords that bind you when you’ve are wronged. On the other side, RECEIVE: firstly, acknowledging that you have done wrong, and that you need forgiveness, and secondly, that someone else has the power to forgive (or not forgive) you.
Nothing can stand in the way of God’s love for us (as Romans 8:38-39 so vividly puts it) – His love and forgiveness are ultimate and complete. We’re asked, challenged, even required to live our lives in this same way.
Put others first. Receive forgiveness; be a forgiver! Pursue these, and experience true and lasting change in your life and in the world.
Adapted from the “Love Takes Action” talk by Bob Goff at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 6.
Do you want have power in your leadership and life? If so, learn to say “Yes”.
OK sure – don’t say yes to everything! But do ask yourself: “What matters the most?” Say Yes to that. When you say Yes to some things, you’re also saying No to others.
Goff makes a habit of quitting something every Thursday. Seems to me like a lot of quitting! But saying “No”, obviously helps to bring clarity about what his “Yes” will be.
What opportunities is God opening up for you? What possibilities are presenting themselves? God wants to blow your mind! So, seek out the open spaces, be action-minded, and say Yes to God’s way… and No to everything else.
Adapted from the “Love Takes Action” talk by Bob Goff at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 5.
If we weren’t afraid, we could live up to the high calling we’ve received… but all too often we fake it. If we weren’t afraid, we could help others live up to the high calling they’ve received… but all to often we simply pull others down.
Don’t be afraid: be honestly, truthfully, daringly yourself! Don’t be afraid: be strong, be different, be outrageous… and build other people up!
We can choose to see people differently. Not just who they are now, but who they could be! Choose to see the potential in others and treat them accordingly. An example (from Matthew 16:18) of Jesus speaking to Simon: “You are Peter, a rock”. Jesus sees him as he will be, and speaks this truth into his life.
Don’t be afraid, but choose the different path of speaking life to those around you. Speak into people’s potential and not their failures, and you will blow their socks off!
Adapted from the “Love Takes Action” talk by Bob Goff at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 4.
For real growth, embrace (or give) real responsibility.
We learn when we’re stretched to our limits (and beyond), and failing is part of the process. Leaders can provide the environment and support for safe risks (what Tim from Endeavor Movement calls “falling forward”), but we must allow room for a real victory. Or a real failure.
Goff tells the story of an extremely difficult plane landing that his son made. In the midst of a life-and-death situation “I didn’t say anything.” Real responsibility was given, and real consequences were held (and handled) in his son’s hands.
Are you stretching to your limits and embracing real responsibility? Are you giving the same opportunities to others?
Adapted from the “Love Takes Action” talk by Bob Goff at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 3.
The leadership gift takes time to develop… kind of like a photo from a polaroid camera. Objects start to develop slowly; you can make out an outline, a face, a smile. With time, the picture gets stronger, and at a certain point it reaches completion.
This truth has a nice parallel to the Christian hope of eternal life, expressed in 1 Corinthians 13:12: Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
In your own life, and in the lives of those around you, remember: it’s often more important to head generally in the right direction, than it is to have everything laid out and perfect from the beginning.
Set the course for your life, imagine what you’re aiming at, and move steadily and consistently toward it.
Adapted from the “Love Takes Action” talk by Bob Goff at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 2.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus laid down his life for us, and so we ought to do for our brothers and sisters… Let’s not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (Paraphrase from 1 John 3:16-18)
Love God… love people…. and do stuff! We make a difference that counts when we take action, when we get involved with people.
Who are you? What do you want? What difference can you make that no-one else can, right now? Answer those and you will live well, and you will lead well.
In Matthew 5, we are taught to love even our enemies… so that we become like children of God, and become perfect like He is. Struggling with the earlier questions? Try this: Who is God? What does He want from you?
Live life worthy of the calling that YOU have received. Love God, love people, and take action, today.
Adapted from the “Love Takes Action” talk by Bob Goff at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 1.
Leadership is tough.
You will face bitter criticism, heart-breaking disappointments. You will likely face the reinvention of your organisation; and the reinvention of your leadership style. You’ll have difficult succession conversations.
All these things are tough… but you must keep going. We need ONGOING COURAGE.
Aim for the end; aim to finish the race. “Fight the good fight… finish the race… keep the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). You gotta know this: God saves some of the sweetest things for the very end!
DO NOT BAIL ON YOUR MISSION!
Adapted from “The Courage That Leadership Requires” by Bill Hybels at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 6.
There comes a point where VISION must become VALUE. Enough talking – it’s action time.
Who are we? What is not acceptable here? What will define us?
True community has always been an essential part of human life and is desperately needed now. Social media can create an illusion of community, without providing the real thing. Communities have boundaries, definitive life-patterns, values. For a community to stay healthy, to head toward an envisioned future, and to be a place where people truly belong, these boundaries, patterns and values must be put firmly into place.
There comes a point where it’s no longer “this COULD be”, but “this WILL be”. The original vision must become a “like-it-or-leave-it” value.
Adapted from “The Courage That Leadership Requires” by Bill Hybels at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 5.
Fortitude (courage in great difficulty) is needed to shape a healthy, flourishing, God-honouring culture.
You’ll need to communicate consistently, and clearly. You’ll have to make difficult apologies. You’ll be involved in tough situations and tricky conversations.
This isn’t something to be delegated. Do you want to be defined by generosity? Live generously! Or, by Christ-like attitudes (humility and sacrifice, eg. Philippians 2:5-8)? Model those attitudes! Would you like an encouraging culture? Encourage! Deal swiftly with anything that works against the culture you’re creating.
Some people are culture-builders; some are culture-busters. You must help people take ownership of your culture, and not be afraid of making a tough call when needed…
How healthy is your team culture?
Adapted from “The Courage That Leadership Requires” by Bill Hybels at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 4.
Your current reality is one of three possible situations. Either:
- Things are going downhill
- Things have flattened out (a status quo)
- Things are moving on up
Which one are you?
In a downturn, the leader must declare an emergency: ‘Code Red’. The organisation’s survival is at risk. Everyone must drop everything and pull together FAST.
When it’s sleepy, a status quo, the leader must play arsonist: set a fire! Stir the pot, feed the tension, and create some action. Status quo is very dangerous.
When things are rocking and setting records, the leader must pour fuel on the fire. Crank it up!
All leaders will experience these three realities. The hardest thing to do is to choose where you are. Define your position; act accordingly.
Adapted from “The Courage That Leadership Requires” by Bill Hybels at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 3.
“Send it to some other idiot.”
What is a vision? It is picture of the future that creates passion in people. It helps people to own this truth: “We cannot stay HERE; we must go THERE.”
God sends visions to people, but all too often they get ignored. Why? Because the cost is too high. Because of great risk. Too many great visions suffer a fear-induced abortion.
A vision from God… is a holy commodity. It will test the mettle of a leader. It will require bravery and old-fashioned courage, choosing to step out in faith even as you’re vibrating with fear.
What would you drop everything for if you knew it would succeed?
Adapted from “The Courage That Leadership Requires” by Bill Hybels at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 2.
“We must have a non-stop flow of fortitude.” (Bill Hybels)
Here is a mighty command issued from Moses to the succeeding Israelite leader, Joshua:
“Be strong and courageous… You will claim what has been promised… God is with you… Don’t fear or be dismayed.” (Full text in Deuteronomy 31:7-8)
A mighty command for a situation with no room for half-heartedness; given to a man who needed every reassurance he could get – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:9)
Stirring words to hold onto!
Adapted from “The Courage That Leadership Requires” by Bill Hybels at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 1.