Breaking the discipline – habit barrier

I used to tell my kids discipline is doing that which you don’t want to do in order to become what you want to become. Getting your children to be disciplined is a hard sell. It’s not just a hard sell for kids it’s a hard sell for adults as well.

Solomon says in Proverbs 25:28 “like a city whose walls are broken through is the person who lacks self-control.”

I don’t know anyone who wants or says they enjoy discipline. Discipline requires willpower. Discipline requires determination. Discipline is fighting through the excuses. Discipline requires making a choice and sticking with it even when your mind body and emotions are telling you to quit.

But something magical happens when you stick with discipline. A switch flips in your mind. And honestly most times you don’t notice when it happens, it just happens. And when the switch flips you’ve just broken the discipline to habit barrier.

Habits are different than discipline. It’s discipline that builds a habit. But habits do not require willpower, they run on autopilot. Habits do not require determination or making a choice. The choice was made long before and the pattern is ingrained in your mind. That which was hard to do now becomes normative and a part of your lifestyle.

The key to maximizing your life is breaking the discipline to habit barrier over and over again in different areas of your life.

What habit do you need to establish in your life?

The Final Word on Forgiveness

We started a new series at West Ridge Church yesterday titled “The Last Words”.  I had the opportunity to kickoff the series teaching on Luke 23:34 “Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them for them know not what they do.

When someone offends, betrays or hurts you there’s something deep within you that screams, “I can’t let them get by with this.” Your blood begins to boil and you think, “I didn’t do anything to deserve this. I was the one who was honest, I was the one who loved with my whole heart, I was the one who sacrificed for years, I was faithful, kind, generous, loyal, I held up my end of the deal, I gave my best.  And without warning, they hurt me!”  What are you supposed to do with that?  How are you supposed to forgive someone who is deliberately trying to destroy you? How are you supposed to forgive someone who never said I’m sorry?  How are you supposed to forgive someone who acts like they don’t even care that they hurt you?  In this message I give three Questions to help you process your pain and help you get to a place of true Biblical forgiveness and freedom from resentment.


The Last Words: Forgiveness from West Ridge Church on Vimeo.

The Be With Factor of Mentoring

 I’ve said it for years, “Leadership development is best done in the context of relationships”. I honestly believe if we neglect the “be with” element of leadership development we will not be effective at developing high quality leaders.  Why?  Because we can teach someone a leadership principle in a class setting and lodge it in their mind.  But it’s only through relationship with another leader they get to see that principle lived out in real life leadership.

I’ve heard it said that “leadership is better caught than taught”.  Each time I watch a seasoned leader live out a critical leadership principle I have the opportunity to process what that would look like in my own leadership.  Paul told Timothy “imitate me as I imitate Christ”  You cannot imitate what you do not see. Modeling is one of the most essential yet overlooked ingredents in leadership development.  And the only way to have a model is to “BE WITH” a leader you can learn from.

Who will you invite to “be with”, observe and learn from your leadership this year?

Top 10 Posts of 2010 – #10 Feedback

Four Types of Feedback

Many leaders don’t feel comfortable or confident when it comes to giving performance feedback. You may not believe this but you’re probably better at it than you think. There are four types of feedback and chances are you’re good at one if not more. The odds of improving your ability to give feedback improve dramatically when you understand all four types.

  1. ENCOURAGEMENT – Often we don’t think of encouragement as being a form of feedback but it’s probably the easiest and most powerful. A recent survey by Leadership IQ showed that 67% of employees say they get too little positive feedback from their boss.   Yet this type of feedback should be very easy for leaders to give.  Think about it, most of what employees do is done correctly.  This means that most of our feedback should be positive praise.   We’ve all heard that very practical leadership principle that says: What gets praised gets repeated.
  2. REDIRECTION – In most cases employees are really giving their best effort. So when they fall short of a goal or a deadline typically it’s a matter of lack of skill or knowledge, rather than defiance.  In this case a simple redirection can make a huge difference in their performance. When you give redirection you let the employee know what they are doing right and ask them to make specific adjustments that will help them be more effective on that particular task or goal.  I’ve found when you discuss poor performance with someone most of the time they are aware of it, they just aren’t sure how to correct their performance.  Providing redirection is one of the leaders biggest opportunities for coaching employees toward improved performance.
  3. STRETCH – Sometimes our employees are doing such a great job we can simply empower them and let them go. But it’s important that we still give some form of feedback. This is where Stretch feedback is very useful. Before giving Stretch feedback consider the employees potential, future contribution to the organization, dreams and ambitions. Then at the appropriate time share a stretch challenge that you would like them to reach toward. Your objective is to find something that’s just beyond their current competencies. Something that will stretch them in new ways, make them think outside the box, yet still fit within their gift mix. This form of feedback is powerful because it communicates your confidence in the individual.
  4. REPRIMAND – Sometimes an employee is not getting the job done even though they have the competence. You may find their commitment level is lagging. After giving them redirection feedback if they still do not respond then it’s time for the most difficult form of feedback, a reprimand. In a reprimand make sure you do it immediately, be specific about the errant behavior , let them know how you feel about that behavior (disappointed, angry, frustrated), reaffirm the fact that you value them and make clear what you expect in their future performance.

Which form of feedback do you need to improve in as a leader?

Top 10 Posts of 2010 – #7 Soul Care

The Soul of Your Leaders

Spiritual leadership isn’t just about accomplishing God given results, it’s also about caring for the souls of those we lead along the way.  As leaders we are accustomed to meeting with our direct reports and talking to them about action plans, priorities and results, but we often neglect talking to them about the condition of their soul.    While we don’t have to be their spiritual accountability partner or best friend it’s wise to stay in touch with the condition of the soul of those we lead.  Aubrey Malphurs, one of my professors at Dallas Seminary, used to have a plaque on his desk that read, “Let’s cut through the chit chat, what’s God doing in your life?”  Okay that may be a little to direct if you’re not that close to someone but you get the idea.  For some leaders inquiring into the condition of their followers soul can be awkward or uncomfortable.  So having a few good questions can help make this more natural and more effective.  Here are a few…

  • What’s the freshest thing God has been doing in your life lately?
  • How full is your emotional, physical and spiritual tanks?   Empty, quarter filled, half, three quarters or full.
  • What theme does God seem to be emphasizing in this season of your life?
  • What are you looking for God to do in your life in the next couple of months?
  • What’s God been saying to you through His Word recently?
  • What passion is God stirring in your soul recently?
  • What season best describes your spiritual life right now: Winter, spring summer or fall?  Why?
  • What’s exciting you the most in your spiritual journey these days?

Today’s Leadership Challenge: Have a soul care conversation with someone on your team this week.

What questions would you add to this list?

Establishing Rock Solid Values

In Monday’s post Vision + Values = Organizational Strength I said, “When executed properly core values define the way a company operates, gives clarity for decision making and assures greater engagement of employees.  However most leaders invest all their energies on vision and tend to neglect values.”

CIU Authority-of-Scripture_lowrLeaders must pay attention to values because values determine behavior. One organization I’ve witnessed living out strong core values is Columbia International University.  I’ve had the privilege of getting to know the President, Dr. Bill Jones and several of the CIU staff.  With each interaction I walk away impressed with their heart for the Scriptures and commitment to world missions.  It comes out in everything they say and do.  When I finally had the opportunity to visit the campus I began to understand why their values were so visible in their lives.  On the grounds of the campus they have CIU’s 5 core values literally etched in stone displayed for everyone to see on a daily basis.

CIU worldevangelization_lowresAs a leader this reminds me that I have to find ways to reinforce and make visible our organizational values so that ultimately those values will be visible in the attitudes and actions of those on our team.

What are some practical ways you can reinforce the core values of your organization?