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Great Leaders Consistently Work on Their Character

Never does a day go by that I don’t think about working on my character.
The truth is, I think about my character even more than I do my conduct. Why? Because, through the years, I have discovered that my character always determines conduct.
Whether you call it character and conduct, or as I like to say, integrity and influence, if you want to change the things you do, look in the mirror and start with who you are.
mirror
As a kid, like many of you, whenever it was report card time, my parents would always ask the same question first. “What is your conduct grade?” Never did they ask, “How did you do in math?” Never, “Did you bring up your science grade?”
It was always, “Let me see your conduct grade.”
The reason? They knew my conduct was a reflection of my character.
So how is your conduct grade these days?
The answer to that question is not simply a reflection of what you do. It is an indicator of who you are.
[Tweet “You will never be a great leader without great character.”]
Why not start with the one in the mirror and work on your character today? I know I plan to.
Leadership Begins at Home,
Randy
What happens when leaders focus more on conduct than they do character?
Comment Below … 

Is Your Mouth Writing Checks Your Soul Can’t Cash?

Thanks to a gift from my friend Dan Webster, I am reading a book titled Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg. John is one of my favorite writers. He has this way of cutting through the clutter and speaking to the places where I am living. This read is no exception.

I know why Dan sent me the book. It is a reminder of something he has challenged me with on many occasions in the past. “Make sure your mouth isn’t writing checks your soul can’t cash.” Ouch! There’s a reason I call D-Web Yoda. Who thinks about stuff like that?

Actually, I hope you will. As a leader, is your mouth writing checks your soul can’t cash? The answer to the question most likely has much to do with whether or not you are in a hurry. God prescribes for us to be still if we are to know Him, and ultimately enjoy life.

[Tweet “Hurry is the enemy of love!”]

In Soul Keeping, Ortberg quotes his mentor, the late Dallas Willard who was one of the great spiritual thinkers of the last century. “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life …. Hurry is the great enemy of souls in our day. Being busy is mostly a condition of our outer world; it’s having many things to do. Being hurried is a problem of the soul. It’s being so preoccupied with myself and what myself has to do that I am no longer able to be fully present with God and others. There is no way a soul can thrive when it is hurried. And nobody will come along and un-hurry your soul for you.”

So how’s your soul? Do you find your inner life preoccupied? Are your days characterized by stress and stuff … hurry and worry? If so, you can’t delegate this one. This one’s a self-leadership deal.

My neighbor has a swimming pool. While he has a filter to keep the water clean, the filter is not enough. He also has a net on a long pole to skim debris from the surface.

As leaders, we are a lot like swimming pools. Every day or two stuff surfaces at a soul level and needs to be skimmed if we are to remain healthy and vibrant toward those we lead.

For the next few weeks, I intend to put time on the task of skimming … and not on my neighbors pool. No, my focus will be on slowing down, eliminating hurry, and sifting out the junky, gunky, build up of my inner life.

Why? Because I don’t want my mouth to be writing checks my soul can’t cash.

Is it time for you to do some Soul Keeping too?

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

How much time do you think a leader should spend working on his soul, and what practices do you use to keep yourself fully present with those you lead?

Comment Below …

Are You Struggling With Lust?

Lust will shipwreck a leader. Does today find you struggling to keep your appetites in check?

Lust takes on different forms, but the end result is always the same. Emptiness.

Lust is defined as “a passionate or overmastering desire or craving.”

Are there areas in your life where you have failed to master your appetites? Maybe you have a hunger for power? A craving for cash? A desire for pleasure?

The problem with lust is that, unlike Snickers, it never satisfies. It is always an illusion of what “might” be.

The Bible refers to this illusion in Proverbs 27:20. It reads, “Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man.”

Did you catch that? The eyes are never satisfied!

There will always be a newer make and model; a latest and greatest product; a sleeker and sexier person.

Don’t buy the lie. Remember, the eyes are never satisfied.

If you want to be a leader who leads with integrity, you must find your satisfaction in something other than what you see. Lust will never bring you what you want and it might eventually be your undoing.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What are some areas that you see leaders being lured by lust?

Comment Below …

 

Do You Have Any Cracks in Your Leadership?

A while back I went all home improvement and made a trip to a local hardware store. Let’s just say, I am not Mr. Fix It. But after three weeks of the spray nozzle on my kitchen sink leaking, I had had enough.

FaucetI actually debated replacing the entire sink. Thankfully, I thought better of it when I saw that the new faucets were several hundred dollars.

Plan B turned out to be much better. I asked a clerk for a plumbing expert and then waited on isle seven while one could be paged. After ten minutes of no one showing up, I started talking to myself, which is not unusual. A customer standing nearby detected my frustration. He asked me what I was doing.

I showed him the spray nozzle and told him about my leaky dilemma. He suggested I tighten the spring, put in a new washer, and purchase some plumbing tape to seal the threads. I followed his advice to a “t” and now my wife thinks I’m a plumber. It turns out all I needed was a little know-how and $1.37 worth of materials.

As a leader you should be aware that leadership leaks. It only takes a little crack in a system, an unfocused team member, or even a flaw in your own integrity for the leaking to begin. Just as water finds its way to the cracks, your vision will begin to leak if you don’t pay attention to the crevices in your leadership world.

If you are like me, I’m guessing you could use a little tightening up on some of your processes, a fresh perspective in some area of priority, or a renewed focus on your mission. What you probably don’t need is a brand new start.

Take it from a plumber – this week, if you will make a few necessary adjustments to your leadership cracks, your leaking might just go away.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What are some places where cracks tend to show up in a leader’s life?

Comment Below …

Looks Can Be Deceiving

For the past month I have been traveling. Between work and play, I visited 13 states during June and learned a lot about leadership and about myself. But I must say, my greatest reminder came last night when I arrived back home.

I found the reminder in the edge of my backyard in the form of a fallen tree. A tree that looked perfectly healthy when I left town. There is definitely a reason they say, looks can be deceiving.

Hollow on the Inside

The massive tree was snapped in seven different places. When I saw it, I thought to myself, there is no way I’ll be able to move it without help from my chainsaw. I was wrong. A slight kick to one of the pieces revealed the problem. The inside of the tree had no substance. While not hollow, the wood was practically pulp – light as a feather – thanks to the work of a nasty team of termites. Slowly, but surely, they have been attacking what appeared to be a towering picture of health. 

As a leader, it is tempting to focus more on outside stuff, than the stuff on the inside. This is understandable. The parts that are seen in public impress people. However, unless your public persona is backed by a private integrity, you will have very little impact. In fact, eventually, you will likely find yourself broken, your influence shortened, and your regrets piled high.

I’ll tell you more about my travels in the coming days. In the mean time, as you head into the second half of 2014, I encourage you to take time to evaluate your insides. If you have spots that are under attack, make an effort to rid yourself of the termites before it is too late.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What are some danger spots that can attack the insides of a leader?

Comment Below …

How am I Doing?

Hardly a day goes by without someone asking me, “How are you doing?” But rarely does anyone walk up and say, “How am I doing?”

Former Governor of New York, Ed Koch, was notorious for asking his supporters, “How am I Doing?” As a result, most people loved him.

If you are looking for a way to take your leadership to the next level, make the question, “How am I doing?” a part of your arsenal.

The key is to foster an environment where people are willing to tell you the truth.

A couple of days ago I wrote about the importance of being a truth-teller, and having a willingness to start with yourself.

If you really want to know, all you have to do is ask . . . “How am I doing?”

i2i,

Randy

Application: Find one person today and ask them the question, “How am I doing?”

Comments?


 

Crash . . . Fuel

On Saturday I crashed. Thankfully, I was not in a car, although that might have

been better. At least there would have been an air bag.

Instead, I was on a running trail. The plan was to run seven miles. No problem. Only it was a problem.

After three miles I was in trouble. The trees were spinning and I started to wobble. I shut it down, finished six, and lived to run another day.

When I made it back to the car, I realized there were three factors that led to my crash. They will be the blog subject for the next couple of days.

Factor #1 – Fuel.

I started my run at 4:00 in the afternoon. Ordinarily that would not have been a problem. However, on Saturday, it was. This was because I had skipped lunch. My pancakes were long gone by the time I hit the trail, and my body had no energy.

Leaders often crash because of a lack of fuel. They are constantly giving, encouraging, making decisions, communicating, and organizing. Without replenishing the tank, energy cannot be sustained, and a crash is inevitable.

On the other hand, leaders who have intake to match their outflow set themselves up for sustainability.

Leadership fuel intake can take on many different forms. Consider the following:

1. Exercising. Just make sure you eat something before you go out.

2. Reading. If you are reading, you will always have something to say.

3. Writing. Putting your thoughts on paper leads to a well thought out opinion, which can lead to greater confidence.

4. Sleeping. If you are tired of others, it might be because you are tired. Time to take a nap and start going to bed on time.

5. Playing. Find something you love to do and commit some time to it every week.

6. Eating. Poor nutrition and eating habits lead to poor health. Poor health = crash!

7. Praying. There is a God, and you are not Him. Talk to Him every day and you will be a better leader.

I crashed because I failed to fuel. Don’t make the same mistake.

It is one thing to mess up a run. It is much worse to crash your influence.

Pay attention to your fuel and that will not happen. Unless you violate factor #2.

I’ll tell you how I did that . . . tomorrow.

i2i,

Randy

 

What else would you add to the above “fuel” list?

 

 

repost from 6.15.11

Stay Out of the Shadows

Wednesday afternoon I was out for a run when I found myself going through a tunnel on a local running path.  All of a sudden two women riding on a golf cart came flying into the tunnel.  They were talking faster than they were driving which was scary.  Realizing they were not paying attention, I tried to hug the wall of the culvert.  The ladies slammed on their brakes just before they plastered me.  Thankfully it was dark and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t see that I was starting to cry.

The woman driving looked toward me and said, “I’m so sorry, I couldn’t see you in the shadows.”

It is never a good idea for a runner to be in the shadows.  The same can be said for a leader.

Leaders who live in the shadows will eventually shipwreck their influence.  Yet so many leaders have a propensity to try and hide.

Whether you are a Bible reader or not you will recall the Creation story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  When sin entered the world, the Bible tells us that Adam was trying to hide from God.  In Genesis 3:9 Scripture reads, “The LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’”

Let’s be clear.  God was not asking the question because he could not find Adam.  He knew exactly where Adam was.  God cannot be beaten at hide-n-seek.

He asked the question because He wanted to give Adam a chance to come clean.  A chance to“come out of the shadows.”

So where are you?

Are there areas in your life where you are living in the shadows?  Been keeping secrets from your spouse?  Hiding something from your kids?  Holding back on your team?  Skimming financially?  Taking short cuts physically?

If so, you are headed for a collision.  Why not make the decision to come back into the light and pursue a life of integrity?  Why not make the decision to stay out of the shadows.

i2i,

Randy

 

What areas are the most tempting for leaders to “live in the shadows?”

 

 

repost from 6.10.11

Come out of the Shadows

Wednesday afternoon I was out for a run when I found myself going through a tunnel on a local running path.  All of a sudden two women riding on a golf cart came flying into the tunnel.  They were talking faster than they were driving which was scary.  Realizing they were not paying attention, I tried to hug the wall of the culvert.  The ladies slammed on their brakes just before they plastered me.  Thankfully it was dark and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t see that I was starting to cry.

The woman driving looked toward me and said, “I’m so sorry, I couldn’t see you in the shadows.”

It is never a good idea for a runner to be in the shadows.  The same can be said for a leader.

Leaders who live in the shadows will eventually shipwreck their influence.  Yet so many leaders have a propensity to try and hide.

Whether you are a Bible reader or not you will recall the Creation story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  When sin entered the world, the Bible tells us that Adam was trying to hide from God.  In Genesis 3:9 Scripture reads, “The LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’”

Let’s be clear.  God was not asking the question because he could not find Adam.  He knew exactly where Adam was.  God cannot be beaten at hide-n-seek.

He asked the question because He wanted to give Adam a chance to come clean.  A chance to“come out of the shadows.”

So where are you?

Are there areas in your life where you are living in the shadows?  Been keeping secrets from your spouse?  Hiding something from your kids?  Holding back on your team?  Skimming financially?  Taking short cuts physically?

If so, you are headed for a collision.  Why not make the decision to come back into the light and pursue a life of integrity?  Why not make the decision to stay out of the shadows.

 

i2i,

Randy

Thoughts?

 

repost from 6.10.11

Who's Fooling Who?

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

Those words, attributed to Abraham Lincoln, will hopefully serve as a reminder today that your greatest asset is your integrity.

Who have you been trying to fool lately?

I find that when I try to fool others I end up deceiving myself.

Examine your integrity today and make a fresh commitment to live a life that positions you to influence others in a positive way.

 

i2i,

Randy

 

Comments?

 

repost from 2.17.11

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