What Every Leader Needs to Succeed

It’s one thing to lead people or a team. It’s another thing to lead leaders. What do you do if you’re in charge of an organization and have developing leaders who answer to you? It’s the difference between leading people directly and leading through others. And often those leaders have great potential and are in the process of development.

One thing that is helpful to me is to see examples of this in scripture. Jesus, for example, did more than lead disciples. He developed them to lead others as He prepared them to advance His kingdom.

Another great example is the way the Lord prepared Joshua to advance into the Promised Land. After 40-plus years of floundering and wandering, it was time for a new day. But before the Lord prepared the nation, He prepared the leader!

In the Lord’s instructions to Joshua, He addressed issues every leader needs to succeed. Some of those issues are personal; others are organizational. Take a look:

[click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Leadership Light

In the last post I shared six signs of a leader who breathes life into organizations and followers, as opposed to those who have a way of sucking the life out of them.  Definitely worth a review if you missed it.  My guess is, you have probably experienced both types on a personal level, whether it’s in your workplace, your church, or your community.  We’ve certainly seen both types on a global or national scale as well.

What I’m more concerned about, however, is the leadership you show, even if you don’t think of yourself as a leader.  Everybody influences somebody, and you’re no exception.  And all of us can learn from the example of the ultimate life-giving leader, the Lord Jesus.  Here are six more signs of a life-giving leader. [click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Tricycle WreckHave you ever felt as though you were good – really good – at something?  I don’t mean false pride or arrogance.  I mean being a person with faith.  Faith in God.  And almost as important, faith in yourself, at least in certain circumstances.

The word for that is confidence, and without it, you’re toast.

Have you ever moved confidently into a situation and blown it?  I’m not talking about giving in to your weaknesses.  I mean digging deep into the well of your greatest talent, knowledge, or skillset and serving up what they call “gopher balls” in baseball.

All of us can shrug off those areas of weakness.  We know we won’t be perfect at everything.  (You do know that, don’t you?)

But it’s hard to know where to go or what to do when we get hammered for what we think we’re good at.

I’ve seen a lot of that lately.  I’ve had a few of those experiences myself, but I’ve also come across a variety of other people who’ve faced the same thing.  Their confidence has been rattled, and they’re not quite sure what to do next. [click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }


Someone once told Matt he was like the man with the five talents in Jesus’ parable.  He was not limited to just one ability, but was blessed with multiple skills.  It was a bad interpretation of the word “talent,” but Matt appreciated the sincerity of the compliment.  And truth be told, Matt is that kind of guy.  Smart.  Articulate.  Funny if you catch him on the right day.

But lately Matt hasn’t felt like a man with one “talent,” much less five.  The tough economy has him working three different jobs to make ends meet.  And while Matt is good at shooting from the hip, lately he’s been handed a fist full of criticism in just about every area of his life.

“God,” he says, “You’ve picked the wrong guy.  I need you to find somebody else to do this.  Or You fix this.”

“No,” comes the reply from heaven.  “It’s not my job – it’s yours.  It’s not somebody else’s job.  It’s yours.  Now stop trusting yourself.  Stop looking at the problem.  Watch Me. Trust Me.  And do it.”


Teri always referred to John as her rock.  But little did she know how much she really depended on him until the weeks after his sudden death.  [click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Quick Question:  What do the people you lead (and you do lead somebody) do when trouble shows up?

Quick Answer:  They do what you lead them to do.

More Thoughtful Question:  Do the people you lead (and you do lead somebody) run for the hills or cower in fear at the first sign of trouble, or do they courageously rise up to the challenge?

More Thoughtful Answer:  They do what you lead them to do.  Not necessarily what tell them to do or manipulate them to do.  What you lead them to do.

That reminds me of a story.  True story.  About a guy named Eli.  Now Eli was a soldier, and being a soldier, he had a Commander-in-Chief.  And the reason Eli’s Commander-in-Chief was the Commander-in-Chief was because he was the biggest dude in all the land.

You know what the problem is with making the biggest dude in all the land the Commander-in-Chief?  Sooner or later he’s gonna run into a bigger dude.  And that’s what happened.  Eli’s boss went quaking in his boots to the rear of the line because he was staring down the barrel of an overwhelming challenge.

So you know what Eli did?  He quaked in his boots too.  I’m talking, Give up now.  Better fled than dead.

One day later – one day! – that’s Eli with his shield up, his sword drawn, charging headlong into the enemy’s camp and taking no prisoners.  What made the difference? [click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

If you intend to be successful in any area of life, sooner or later you are going to have to have to fight for it.  I wish I could tell you that being intentional (a popular darling word) was enough.  But it isn’t.

I wish I could prove to you that some simple formula – here a step, there a technique, everywhere a quick-and-easy procedure – would guarantee the fulfillment of your fondest hopes.  Can’t do it.

I wish I could assure you that if it was really hard, or lonely, or dangerous, that the idea was certainly not God’s will.  If that were true, the Almighty’s got some ‘slpainin’ to do with some people who are now in heaven.

But the truth is, sooner or later, you’re going to have to fight for your family.  Or for your testimony.  Or for your walk with God.  Sooner or later you’re going to have to fight for answered prayer.  Yes, answered prayer!  Or the advancement of the gospel.  Or the safety of one of the world’s most endangered species – American children.

Sometimes when you run to the battlefield you may discover that you are the only one standing there.  You may find that you’re surrounded by taunting enemies, and for backup you have a bunch of gossips, critics and spectators – but nobody willing to draw a sword or raise a shield with you.

Still think that cause is worth the fight?  David did.

In the familiar story of David and Goliath, the young man after God’s own heart – newly empowered and anointed by the Spirit of God – brought a giant to his knees while the army of the living God looked on in disbelief.  What was the difference between David and the rest of the army of Israel?  Didn’t they have the same power available to them?  Yes.  Didn’t they have the same God?  Yes.  So what did David have that they didn’t?

In the life of David, there was a difference in: [click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

If your paychecks came from Ford Motor Company in the 1970s, you lived in an ugly time.  Morale was low.  Sales were taking a beating.  Quality was “job none.”  And the company operated from an entrenched system of rules and regulations.  Into that demoralized environment, Donald Peterson became Ford’s CEO in 1980.

Peterson showed up tossing words around like “teamwork” and “upward communication.”  But words mean nothing to entrenched bureaucracies.  So Peterson tried something radical – he left his office.  He would walk into the offices of designers and ask simple questions like:

  • Do you like these cars?
  • Do you feel proud of them?
  • Would you park one in your driveway?

I think you can guess the answer he received.

Your job, Peterson said, is to come up with the cars you think will sell – cars you can be proud of.  The results were stunning and quick, by auto industry standards.  The first significant product was the 1983 Thunderbird, followed quickly by the wildly successful Taurus, which became the best-selling midsized car in America.

That was just for starters.  During the 1980s, Ford reversed its dismal previous performance to record then-record-breaking profits.  Peterson was chosen by his fellow CEOs as the nation’s most effective leader, surpassing even Lee Iacocca.

What made the difference?  Donald Peterson was a Side-by-Side Leader.   In the words of Robert Richardson and Katherine Thayer, “Peterson didn’t accomplish all this by sitting behind a desk and telling people what he wanted done.  He rolled up his shirt sleeves and jumped in.  He provided a direction and goal and then participated in making them reality.”

Your Worst Skydiving Fear

Imagine you are an inexperienced skydiver.  You’ve been on a few jumps, but still think of yourself as a rookie.  It’s a beautiful day for flying and jumping out of airplanes, so up you go.  You reach the point where it’s time to pull the ripcord, and it malfunctions.  To your horror, so does the backup chute.

Suddenly it’s not such a good day for jumping out of airplanes. [click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Don’t Toss Your Confidence

by Andy Wood on March 4, 2011

in Hoarders, LV Alter-egos

Ever hear of Harry Hartman?  

Probably has the distinction of having the shortest major league baseball career ever. 

Harry was a gifted Dodgers ballplayer whose day of glory arrived in 1918 when he was called up from the minors to pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  This was the moment he’d dreamed about, the beginning of a great career! 

But Harry’s dreams began to fade when his first pitch was hit for a single. 

The next batter tripled. 

He walked the next batter on four straight pitches, and when he did throw a strike to the next hitter, it went for a single. 

At that point, Hartman had had enough.  He headed for the showers, dressed, and walked out of the stadium to a naval recruiting office, where he enlisted.  The next day, he was in a military uniform, never to be heard from in professional baseball again.

Safe to say, ol’ Harry left baseball with an itty bitty confidence problem.  And the tragedy of it all?  Harry was good enough.  But he threw away his confidence, and never tried again. [click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

bad leaderLast week I was having a “what do I do” conversation with a youth pastor in another city.  Seems he found himself at an impasse with his boss – the senior pastor of the church – over what leadership was supposed to look like.  His take on it:  the “leader” isn’t leading anybody.  Not him, not the others involved in the problem.  Nobody.

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a frustrated children’s pastor about a supervisor who was repeatedly letting important details fall through the cracks.  It got so bad, the  entire church leadership team was hindered in getting their work done.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve counseled or consulted with employees or constituents – inside and outside Church World – who are crying out for visionary, heart-based leadership.  All they get instead are insecure emperors, oilers of the machinery, or absent-minded trips down memory lane.

Whenever I hear yet another story of position holders who are failing the people they’re supposed to be leading, I have two knee-jerk reactions.  First, I want to take up the constituents’ offense.  I want to bark and growl and roll my eyes and look incredulously and fuss and fume.  Second, I wonder if anybody could issue the same complaint about me if they were completely honest.

Just for laughs, why don’t we stick out necks out and try on an idea.  Leadership failures aren’t the result of somebody setting out to ruin an organization or to make your life or work miserable.  (Hey, I said “try it on”… if it doesn’t fit, we can fuss and fume some more later.)  Assuming that’s true, then, where do we go wrong?  How do leaders begin to suck the life out of people or organizations?  Here are 10 things to watch for: [click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

munutoliAwards season is in full swing.  The Golden Globes, Grammys, and Emmys are history.  The Oscars are approaching.  That can only mean one thing:

Michael Minutoli is probably close by.

Michael Minutoli is a party crasher, and without a doubt one of the best.  For more than 15 years, this man has boldly gone where few of us would dare, and he never had a ticket.  You could find him at movie premiers, awards programs, concerts, and backstage parties.  Have tux, will travel.

He moves with such congruence, he blends right in.  And he has the pictures to prove it – more than a thousand of them.  You can find disposable camera prints of Michael with his arm around the likes of Harrison Ford, Katie Couric, Britney Spears, Paul McCartney, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, President Bill Clinton, Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery, Madonna, and Bruce Willis.  Just to name a few.

And boy, does he have stories to tell. [click to continue…]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }