Today was a great day of connecting with old friends and fellow leaders from churches planted by North Point. I didn’t make it to any of the breakouts I signed up for, because I couldn’t walk more than 5 feet down the hall without running into someone that turned into a half-hour conversation! God scripted my day perfectly and gave me time with people that I needed to be with more than I needed to sit and take in information.
As always the creative team has done an amazing job of enhancing all the main sessions. One of the coolest things was a take-off on the T-Mobile Liverpool Street Station video. As the session started, people began spontaneously dancing in the audience, and then they taught the whole audience to do it. It was great.
Listening, Learning, and Leading
The longer you’re in leadership, the more likely you are to get insulated from the people you need to hear from and the information you need to get.
- As leaders we gravitate to voices that tell us what we want to hear.
- The nature of leadership is such that we become insulated and isolated. And the dirty little secret is that most of us like it that way.
- Leadership is not about making decisions on your own. It’s about owning decisions once they’re made.
- The responsibility of the leader is not to make all the decisions. The responsibility of the leader is to ensure that all the decisions made are good ones.
- To make right decisions, a leader must be surrounded by and be willing to listen to the right people
To be a great leader, you must be a great listener.
- You are probably not the smartest person in your organization. You are just the leader.
- What and who you listen to will determine what you do.
- Organizational decisions are judged by the people in your organization.
Your private decisions will be judged publicly…
- Leaders are attracted to environments where their ideas and opinions are heard.
- Leaders want to know they have an opportunity to influence their own destinies.
- Leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing important to say.
- If you want to attract great leaders to your organization, create a system where their voices can be heard.
The man who needed counsel the least (Solomon) had the most to say about it. (Prov 1:5, 12:15, 13:10, 19:20, 15:22)
Problem: Most organizations allow seniority to determine structure.
- A seniority structure limits access and thus impedes the flow of ideas.
- In a seniority structure, title and position, rather than insight or creativity, determine who sits at the decision-making table.
- Eventually, a seniority structure leaves the seniors in charge.
Solution #1: Create a system that allows you to get the brightest and most strategic-minded people to the decision-making table.
- Ask yourself, “Who would I like to sit down with on a regular basis to discuss the issues that impact the future of our organization?” Resist the temptation to fair. “Fairness ended in the garden of Eden.” Don’t aim for fair or you’ll be unjust. Do what’s right, not fair.
- Make that your decision-making body for a year.
Solution #2: Create systems that allow you to listen deep into your organization.
- 3-month/12-month employee evaluations
- Elder meetings (monthly)
- Stewardship team (bi-monthly)
- Ministry Team Representatives (quarterly)
- Resist the urge to lead every meeting you attend.
- What we don’t want to hear is generally what we need to hear.
- Who we don’t want to hear from is often who we need to hear from most.
- You have some really smart people in your organization. Figure out how to leverage their smarts.
- Remember: leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing important to say.
Takeaway for New Denver Church:
- We have to get the systems in place soon to regularly involve people from our core group in decisions. I need to finish crafting the structure the local leadership development process we’ve discussed. I’d like to start that by the fall. We need to find stewardship team people, potential elders, and potential ministry team representatives.
- How can we continue to learn from the right people – both inside and outside our organization?