CLOUT Pre-sale Offer!

On January 21st, I have the privilege of releasing my next book, CLOUT: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence!

CLOUT is my heart message and I really truly hope that the words in these pages somehow speak to a generation of leaders who need hope and clarity for where and how God wants to use their influence. My greatest prayer for this book is that God would use it to free great leaders from distractions – I call them the “clout killers” – and unleash us to lead in ways that defy our personal limitations and allow God’s plans to be unleashed through us.

Clout cover

CLOUT releases on January 21, 2014, but we want to offer you some really great FREE gifts if you order now!

If you order the hardcover or eBook of CLOUT before January 26, 2014, send a copy of your receipt or confirmation e-mail to discoverclout@gmail.com and you will receive a copy of the Clout Workbook.  The workbook is designed to help you process how the 7 Clout Killers are impacting your leadership as well as define the 4 Clout Cultivators that will allow you to unleash the influence God has given you.  It’s a great resource for personal study or with a group – and it’s currently only available with pre-sale orders!

We’ll also include the following gifts:

  • Clout Photo/Quote Memes

  • 40% off Discount Code for ThomasNelson.com

  • And whatever else we decided to throw in between then and now :)

How it Works:

Order a copy of CLOUT from your favorite retailer by Sunday, January 26, 2014.  You can order online or visit your favorite bookstore. Then take a picture of your receipt, take a screenshot of your order confirmation, or forward the e-mail confirmation to discoverclout@gmail.com.

Beginning January 21, the receipts will be reviewed and the Clout Team will e-mail you a link to download your free items. It’s that easy!

Thank you all for supporting me in this journey.  I am praying that CLOUT allows you to discover and unleash every ounce of influence God has gifted to you!

 

What’s Your Speed?

Processed with VSCOcam with b2 preset

Ok, it’s time to get back to work.  Christmas and New Year’s Day are officially over and reality sets back in.  All those audacious goals you drafted on January 2nd now need to start becoming reality.

But for most of us it’s cold – actually really cold -and dreary.  It’s now the dead of winter.  It doesn’t help that the snowpocalypse they were calling for only turned into a light dusting.

Unmet expectations abound. 

I didn’t start that diet or the cleanse my body desperately needs.

My running routine is all off kilter because it’s so stinkin’ cold outside!

The Christmas decorations are mostly put away but my house is still recovering from 15 family members who descended for a week.

I had such high hopes of being refreshed and energized for the New Year but still feel like I’m racing to catch up with life.

Can you relate?

So here’s the issue…

You’re the leader.  You set the tone for your team.  How you react, respond and engage directly affects how your team engages this New Year too.

“Speed of the leader, speed of the team” ~ Bill Hybels from his book Axiom

What’s your speed?

If you’re not motivated, no one else will be either.

Perhaps you’re recharged and ready for the New Year, if so, good for you!  Figure out the rhythms you need in your schedule to help you stay connected to the motivation you have.

If you’re playing a bit of catch up like I am, carve out some time this week to allow yourself to dream.  Let go of the guilt of the expectations already unmet, let the house live with a little clutter and take a few extra minutes to dream some audacious dreams and set some audacious goals.

Your team needs you.  They need your focus, energy, purposefulness and vision.

Accelerate into this New Year with great hope and purpose!

The Death Grip of Control

The-Death-Grip-of-Control-900x421

There is something special about the feeling of ownership. I vividly remember pulling away from the car lot the day I bought my first car—a 1992 maroon Saturn SL1. I saved diligently for that car, and I felt pride in knowing that it was all mine. I didn’t even care that it lacked air-conditioning, although I was headed to the triple-digit temperatures of Nashville, Tennessee in the dead of summer. It was mine. That was all that mattered. I experienced the same exhilarating feeling when my husband and I purchased our first home. There was no end to the home improvement projects we had in mind to make the place our own.

Ownership provides privilege, pride, freedom, and a sense of responsibility. But ownership also has a dark side. It feeds the illusion of control. The idea that it’s ours may cause us to drift toward an attitude of entitlement. The more invested I am in something, the more costly it will be to lose. The more control I have acquired, the more insecure I become about things not going my way. The more control I have acquired, the more insecure I become about things not going my way.

As creative artists and ministry leaders, we naturally feel ownership for the work we do. The commitment that compels us to pour our hearts and souls into our work is birthed from a God-given passion and calling. In its purest form, it’s a beautiful display of God’s work through us. But we can also easily cross over to the dark side of ownership when we find ourselves grappling for control and attempting to manipulate circumstances to fulfill our personal goals and dreams.

Continue reading this post at SundayMag…

Developing Special Teams

Structure is important, especially in organizations.  I’m a strong proponent of well-defined organizational charts with clear lines of authority and responsibility.  We set our employees up best when we provide the framework within which they work.

However, the downside of a well-structured organization is that it can become prone to stagnation.  When employees are relegated to their corner of the organizational world with little opportunity to try new things, they can get stuck.  As a result so does the organization.

One of the most helpful things you can do as an organizational leader is look for ways to stretch staff without completely upending the organizational chart.  My favorite way to do this is by creating special teams or task forces for unconventional projects.

Most recently I led the team at Cross Point through the implementation of Pete’s dream for A Merry Music City Christmas.  The goal was to give a gift to the city of Nashville in the form of a winter wonderland experience and Christmas concert.  With just a couple of months to pull off all the details, I immediately began strategizing how our team could pull off a 4 day event with thousands of attendees while also keeping up with our regular barrage of responsibilities during the Christmas season.  It was certainly a daunting thought!

Because the responsibilities involved in pulling off this event would involve many different departments, I needed to assemble a special task force of leaders from throughout the organization.

First, I made a list of key areas of responsibility that would require a leader:

  • Outdoor experience
  • Lobby experience
  • Concert
  • Artist contact & booking
  • First Impressions
  • Refreshments
  • Parking
  • Marketing
  • Sponsors/Fundraising

Then I looked throughout the organization at leaders at all levels for people who excelled in each of these areas.  Together with our exec team staff we chose the leaders who would make up the task force and take responsibility for each area.  Each leader would then be given additional staff to serve on their teams.

Once the leaders were assigned and teams were assembled, the task force team met weekly to work through details.  Each member came to the weekly meeting ready to give an update on their area.  Ultimately the staff pulled off an amazing event!

Here are some outcomes I’ve experienced by creating task forces for special projects or events:

You disrupt routine.  When new responsibilities are added to our plates it forces us to reevaluate how we organize and spend our time.  We prioritize better.  We make more purposeful decisions about our schedule.

Great leaders emerge.  If you see a staff person with some leadership potential, you can give them some extra responsibility on a team like this to see what they’re capable of without completing changing their job.

The hierarchy is flattened.  As the organization grows it’s difficult for top leaders to see the gifts and strengths of all the staff.  Our Christmas task force allowed me to see some of our staff in action that I wouldn’t otherwise see on a regular basis.

New relationships are formed.  Because we involved staff from all departments, all campuses and all levels of the organization people who had never worked with one another were on teams together.  It was wonderful to see new friendships formed as they worked together to accomplish a big goal.

What event or big project do you have an the horizon?  Could your organization and your staff benefit from changing things up and creating a special team for it?

 

Embracing the Mystery

The New Year holds a mystery

A mystery that is yet unclear to me

Fear or faith

Anticipation or angst

The choice is mine which path I’ll take

 

Let’s embrace 2014 with faith and anticipation!

Happy New Year!

Leading When You’ve Lost Control

I like to believe I have control.  It makes me feel secure.

It’s a deceptively safe-feeling.

Feeling being the critical word.

I fight for feelings of control all the time.  But you know as well as I do that feelings deceive us.

Feeling in control is a dangerous place for a leader to be.

When I feel in control…

I open myself up to pride

I begin to rely on my own ability

I distance myself from God

I believe my own press

I take others for granted

I fuel my independent spirit

So while I hate the feeling of losing control, leading when I’ve lost control keeps me perfectly positioned to rely on God and others.  Our confidence as leaders comes not from having control but our confidence comes from trusting in God and the team around us.

What would it look like for you to lead without so much control?

Seize It!

“When it’s your season, seize it! Don’t squander it.”

I tweeted that a few days ago in a moment of Christmas shopping angst.  I was waiting in an incredibly long line at a business that should not be surprised by the increase in foot traffic at this time of year.  A business that has been complaining of poor consumer engagement.  And yet, with a line out the door, there were no attempts to improve the experience.  In fact, the employees seemed to grow crankier with each transaction.

It’s their season and this business was totally squandering it.

But I often do the same thing in my own life.

In seasons of plenty, in seasons of growth, in seasons of change, in seasons of momentum… I squander rather than seize.

I complain.

I get overwhelmed.

I am uncomfortable with the disruption.

I see the challenges rather than the opportunities.

That’s because seizing your season is hard work.  It takes extra effort.  It takes attention and focus.

What’s your season?  Are you in a season of budding momentum?  Are there opportunities on the horizon?  Risks to take? Opportunities to seize?

If so, seize them. 

Don’t squander the gifts, talents, experiences and opportunities that God has given you.  Seize them and step into your God-given influence!

Can Men and Women Really Lead Together?

I frequently get asked, “What it’s like to be a woman leader?” Frankly I loathe the question. As if being a woman is like having a third eye or some other science fiction abnormality.

I am a leader who happens to be a woman. That’s all. My gender shouldn’t define my opportunities or my limitations. It shouldn’t dictate whether I’m a good leader or a bad one. It shouldn’t be the thing that holds me back from leading nor should it be an excuse for me to be given opportunities that I haven’t earned.

But for as much as I wish gender wasn’t an issue, it is – especially in ministry leadership. We get clumsy, fearful, and inhibited when we lead among the opposite sex. In fact many of our church cultures dictate that men should lead men and women should lead women. Nice clean tidy, controllable lines. But is that God’s best? Did he really intend for us to be segregated? Did he mean for our spiritual gifts to only impact half of the population? Are we limiting God’s work through us because of our fear of the gender he assigned us?

Continue reading this article at the Catalyst website…

Are You Complacent in Your Clarity?

Every year I grow to understand myself a bit better.  My strengths become clearer.  My passions are more easily defined.  I know better what I like and dislike.

This is mostly good.  I have greater clarity on my purpose and calling and am less compelled to chase the dreams of others.  Most of the time.

But I’m also realizing that the better I understand myself the more opinionated and less flexible I’ve become.

Phrases like “That’s the way I’m wired” or “I need to play to my strengths” are quick to roll off my tongue.

And while I firmly believe we need to chase diligently after an understanding of our unique gifts and passions (our Clout if you will), I can’t help but fear that my seemingly clearer picture of myself is inhibiting me from pushing myself to grow.

Do I chase knowledge with the same fervor as I did a decade ago?

Will I put myself in new and uncomfortable circumstances to stretch my thinking and my comfort zone?

Am I trying new things, engaging different conversations, meeting new people?

While purpose and clarity are incredibly important, watch for the drift in your life to become complacent in your clarity.

As you begin dreaming and planning for 2014, I encourage you to consider these questions.

How can I chase knowledge in a new way?

What new environments do I need to explore?

What new things can I try?

What different conversations should I have?

Who do I need to meet?

New knowledge and experiences will continue to add layers to the clarity of who you are and who you are becoming.  Don’t let your clarity lull you to complacency.  Keep growing.  Keep learning!

Reflecting on Thanksgiving

It’s usually the day after Thanksgiving that I slow down long enough to reflect and give thanks.

Truth is, sometimes the actual day of Thanksgiving brings out my most ungrateful self.

I anticipate family drama without being thankful that I have family.

I stress out over preparing my house for company rather than being grateful I have a house where I can host.

I get irritated when I forget an item on my shopping list rather than being thankful that I can make a quick trip back to the store.

I fuss over setting the table perfectly rather than being grateful I have a table to set. 

The list could go on…

But you get it and I suspect you have your own version of the same story.

Discontentment and ungratefulness go hand in hand.  When I’m discontent, frazzled, stressed, irritated and fussy, I’m usually focusing on the wrong things.  I’m forgetting what I have and focusing on what I don’t.

So if you can, today take some time to reflect.  Slow down a bit and recognize where discontentment tears at your soul. 

Because… where discontentment lurks, ungratefulness festers.