(or a business, or a team, or a church, or, well, you get the idea…)


1.  Work on collaboration (easier said than done).


2.  Make yourself a part of the story.


But wait! There’s more!

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They were two branches off the same Vine.

Designed in the Vine’s image, each a was unique expression of the nature of its Creator.  One was tender and sensitive, with stunning intuitive wisdom. The other was strong and masculine, with a compelling view toward the horizon.

They loved being branches of the Vine.  And they loved each other. But they’d cut themselves off from the flow of the Vine’s life.  They believed the lie that they could thrive on their own.  The result: An odd combination of life and death in the same form.

Form without flow.

Image without reality.

As they dreamed of a future together, they asked one another, “How can we shape ourselves so our offspring can know our love and be fruitful?” [click to continue…]


Dylan hadn’t smiled for days.  His grandmother, whom he loved dearly, had died, and the ten-year-old was crushed.  His friends were worried about him, and convinced him to visit their special friend, an old man they called The Storyteller.  The Storyteller loved children, and often helped them with the special stories he would make up.  The Storyteller also knew Dylan’s grandmother.

“This is Dylan,” one of the kids said that Monday afternoon.  “His grandmother died last week, and he’s very sad.”

The Storyteller looked up from his gardening and sized up the boy.  “Sad” was an understatement.

“Looks like she found the Big Surprise,” said the Storyteller, with a twinkle in his eye.

“What’s the Big Surprise?” asked Dylan dejectedly.

“Well, let me tell you about it,” said the old man as he turned to sit on the grass and the kids sat around him. [click to continue…]

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Make a list of the most important qualities needed for effective leadership, and let me hazard a guess as to what won’t be on it:  Conversation. 

Oh, I’m sure you’ll mention communication, but in most people’s imagination, this refers to the ability to move a crowd with speeches, lead a meeting with clarity, and/or write powerfully.  And let me hasten to say, I’m for all three of those.

In each of these, a position holder is talking to people in other positions.  And that has its place.  But the best leaders have a secret weapon that “primes the pump” of their influence:  they know how to engage their constituents in ongoing, life-shaping, direction-setting conversations. 

They disarm by listening differently. 

They empower by asking questions out of sincere curiosity. 

They enflame the imagination by telling stories – theirs or somebody else’s. 

They forge “joint ventures of the heart” by demonstrating understanding and an ability to be influenced themselves. 

And they mobilize by sharing their vision interpersonally, with passion.

And all of this can be done in a few minutes at a time, standing at the water cooler, waiting for the “real” meeting to start, or riding on a bus to the company picnic. [click to continue…]