Leadership 101

simple insights for those in leadership

Quote of the Day :: 05.18.09

Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.

– Thomas Jefferson

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May 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Thoughts

Occasionally on Tuesdays I’ll take a few moments to write or think about something out loud or link to another site on leadership that I found to be insightful.

What do you do when everything you’ve planned begins to go awry? This past weekend was our high school winter retreat. Forty-three students plus leaders headed up to Pinebrook for a weekend of fun, relationships and growth. Friday morning I wake up to see snow. The forecast appeared to be correct for a change. Not off to a good start. I eventually make my way to the office and start the phone calls and checking out hour-by-hour weather forecastsonline . Everything appears as though it will ultimately work out so we can stay on course. Our Tech Team arrives as scheduled and we load up a van with all of our sound, lighting and video equipment. Five of us hit the road to the retreat center to begin set-up of the meeting space before the rest of the group arrives. About 40 minutes into our trip, my cell phone rings. Bus company. Due to severe icing that has started the owner will not allow any to be dispatched for the remainder of the evening. Our group has no way of getting there. We turn around and head back.

So, what do we do when we step up to the line of scrimmage and find out the play we’re planning to run is not going to work? Here are some thoughts on what the leader should do when confronted with a play that can’t be run.

(1) Don’t Give Up. The easy thing to do is throw up your hands and walk away from the play. The old, “If I can’t have my way, I’ll just take my ball and go home” attitude. Don’t do it. My senior pastor told me a long time ago, “If it were easy, anyone could do it.” Hang in there. You’re called to lead and it is in moments like these that your leadership is most needed.

(2) Don’t Panic. The moment we begin to “freak out” we lose the rest of the team. Keep your head about you. Remain calm. Now would be a great time to pray and ask God for peace and wisdom.

(3) Assess the Situation and the Options. Take a good look over the entire field. What is about to happen? What are my options? The problem with this step is that we don’t always have a lot of time to accomplish this. We never have as much time as we’d like, that’s for sure. But don’t allow that to deter you. Try to see clearly and then think carefully. Always come up with several options. My old college president and graduate school professor at LBC always encouraged us to look for the terdium quib – the third option. Coming up with two options is usually pretty easy and usually makes choosing an option simple. But the moment you introduce that third option you begin to have to really weigh things and make some hard decisions. Another piece of this process can, and most often should, include gathering the input of some trusted teammates as long as time and the situation allows. None of us has a corner on the wisdom market. We can always use some wise council.

(4) Call the Audible. Make the decision and make sure the entire team knows the play.

(5) Run the Play. Time to execute. Pull out all of the stops and let it go with energy and enthusiasm.

So, in case you were curious how my weekend played out, here’s what happened. After a few phone calls to see what our options were, the options that we couldn’t control (ie – will the bus company come Saturday morning, what times; what are our options with the retreat center, etc?), I sat down with the four guys who were headed up early with me and we examined our options. We opted to let the students come as planned Friday night (without advertising ahead of time what was going to happen) and then start our retreat at the church and spend the night there, leaving on Saturday morning when the bus arrived. We hung out, played some games, used the gym, ate (these guys put down some serious food – kept 5 to 6 of us moving non-stop in that kitchen for almost 2 hours), spent some time singing, praying and even had our first session with special-guest speaker Louie Giglio via DVD (as my buddy, Jim, said to me this morning, “It’s always nice to have a little Louie on the shelf.”). After a few hours of sleep, our Tech Team took off around 7:00am and the bus arrived for everyone else around 9:00am. The remainder of the weekend went as planned. No, scratch that. It went better than ever planned. It was an incredible weekend and we saw God do some absolutely amazing things in the lives of our students. And to top it all off, it allowed me to think through this idea of what we do when all of our plans fall apart.

February 26, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment