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It’s easier to make a change when you know what to do.

2 Views on Hiring from Inside/Outside

A role is open on your team. Is your first inclination to hire from outside your organization or to hire from within? Most leaders have a default position on this issue, where their mind initially goes. They either tend to think first about hiring someone from within or they think first about what type of person they can find outside the organization. In the end, they may not do what they first think, but their default is to lean toward hiring from either outside or inside. It is important to understand both views so you can appreciate the strength of each view. And then you can decide for yourself which view will be your own OR you can choose the third way and do as Jay-Z once penned: “I drove by the fork in the road and went straight.”

View One: Hire from the Outside

Those who think first about hiring from the outside often do so because they value fresh perspective and fresh eyes. Those who prefer to hire externally have a fear that the culture will grow stagnant by simply recycling the same people into different roles. Jeff Immelt, who served as CEO of General Electric in recent years, increased external hires significantly during his tenure. From 2009-2016, external hires increased 60% at GE. Immelt believed a new type of employee and a new type of talent was needed for that important season in their company, so he ramped up external hiring.

View Two: Hire from the Inside

As I was writing this, I asked my youngest daughter, Evie, which view she thought was best. She said, “From the inside because you already trust the person.” Not bad for an eight-year-old, and she is exactly right. Those who advocate hiring from within point out that every hire is a risk, and hiring from within minimizes the risk because trust around character and chemistry has already been established. The person clearly already believes in the mission and has proven to be trustworthy. An additional benefit of hiring from within is the leadership development culture that is cultivated. Hiring from within can help send the signal that “we build our leaders instead of buying them.”

Past the Fork in the Road: Look at the Context

The third view is to discipline yourself to think first about the context. While I lean toward hiring from within because I am committed to developing leaders for the future, looking at the context is where I believe it is best to land. Context should drive whether you hire internally or externally. The needs of the organization at the time, the focus of the role for the next season, and the desire for cultural transformation or cultural sustainability all impact the immediate context surrounding the hire. John Kotter has wisely offered, and I am paraphrasing, “If you want to change the culture, hire from the outside. If you want to sustain the culture, hire from the inside.” Read the full article 2 Views on Hiring from Inside/Outside that appeared first on EricGeiger.com. Used by permission.

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3 Common Ways Leaders Disqualify Themselves

With the recent passing of the great preacher and evangelist Billy Graham, many are celebrating his finishing well. He remained faithful to God’s call on his life, fought the good fight, and finished the race. He avoided scandal and accusations against his integrity and was above reproach as he faithfully served the Lord throughout his life and ministry. We should be thankful for the example. And Billy Graham’s example stands in stark contrast to what, at times, seems to be epidemic among leaders—tragic, self-inflicted disqualification. Leaders seem to be disqualifying themselves at alarming rates, and if you disqualify yourself from leading, one of these three failures will be true:

1. Moral Failure

Coaches, politicians, teachers, pastors, and other leaders are routinely disqualified because of moral failure—failing to live up to the moral standard of the office they hold. Often those who own their sin and turn from it later confess a slow and consistent weakening of their character before their moral failure was fully born. The moral failure is the outer manifestation of a heart that has wandered from a deep commitment to leading oneself. Billy Graham’s commitment to his own personal integrity was applauded by some and mocked by others, but the fruit cannot be denied. The practice of avoiding being alone with someone from the opposite sex other than your spouse has been called “The Billy Graham Rule” because of his commitment to do all he could to avoid even a hint of questioning his character or his commitment to his wife. Because our hearts are prone to wander and none of us are above falling, we must daily turn from trusting ourselves and turn to trusting the Lord to keep us pure.

2. Ethical Failure

Leaders often disqualify themselves for ethical lapses. It is common to read of a leader who has been released from his or her duties for violating policies, for lying about one’s educational or professional accomplishments, for using the role for personal advancement, or for abusing the power of the office. Those who ask the leader to step down know that when a leader loses trust, the leader loses the ability to lead effectively. And seemingly small ethical lapses will likely degenerate into larger ones. Perhaps the best counsel I have received came in terms of ethical decisions in a leadership role from a Christian CFO of a large company. It is a cliché but true: “If it is gray, stay away.” In other words, don’t risk your leadership for something that is unclear.

3. Relational Failure

In recent years more and more leaders have disqualified themselves for leading with anger, for manipulating, and for creating relational strife and disunity among those they lead. In leadership, healthy relationships matter. Without them, trust quickly erodes. If you sense yourself waning in patience with those you serve alongside, get out of the office and take a break. If you sense your heart growing cold, don’t ignore it. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Forgive and seek forgiveness. Read the full article 3 Common Ways Leaders Disqualify Themselves that appeared first on EricGeiger.com. Used by permission.

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Four Considerations for Baby Boomer Pastors

I am one of you. We are the generation born between 1946 and 1964. Until the Millennials came along, we were the largest generation in American history. Our influence is still great. But most of us are surprised our older years arrived so quickly. We can remember when we didn’t trust anyone over the age of 30. Now we think 30-somethings are kids. Many of us have difficulty dealing with this phase of our life and ministry. Older age was for “those people.” It never was supposed to be about us. And now we are here. Our ages range from 54 to 72. We are in our fourth quarter. How do we end well, especially if we are in vocational ministry? Allow me to make four suggestions.
  1. Make your life one of mentoring. You have rich experiences. You have served as pastor of good churches and tough churches. You know the joys of ministry. You know the pains of ministry. You know what it is like to be ready to throw in the towel. Find a Millennial pastor. Grab a coffee with him. Go with no agenda other than to get to know him better and to pray for him. See what God will do with that relationship.
  2. Don’t let your vocation be your identity. Your identity is child of the living God. Your identity is Christ. It is not your title or your position or your church. We Boomers often get so caught up in our work and ministry that it begins to define who we are. As a consequence, we have trouble letting go when it’s time to leave. That brings me to the next point.
  3. Know when to leave. We Boomers won’t retire in the classic sense. We want to keep making a difference. But sometimes that means we hold on to a position too long. You are not indispensable. Trust God to find your successor. Trust God to help you with your finances. Trust God to find you a place where you can make a difference. But don’t hang on so long your church or organization declines and wonders if you will ever leave. It’s not about you. Make room for the next person. Make room for the next generation.
  4. Consider a fourth quarter ministry in another place. Perhaps it’s time to move on and serve under a younger pastor in another church, even if it’s part time. Perhaps it’s time to be highly intentional about mentoring, coaching, or consulting with other churches and pastors. Perhaps it’s time for you to take a subservient role even though you have led as a pastor for years. Consider all the options God may put before you.
We are about to see a great exodus of Boomer pastors and church leaders through retirement and death. The data indicates we don’t have enough church leaders to fill these vacancies. Maybe we Boomers can be highly intentional about raising up this next generation of church leaders. It’s time, fellow Boomers. It’s time for us to consider how to transition in this phase of our life and ministry. Don’t hold on to those things where God has told you to let go. It might be a scary next step. But, like your original call to ministry, the God who gave you a path and opportunities will do the same in this new, and possibly, last phase of ministry. It’s time to let go, whatever that may mean, and trust God. He will provide.
Read the full article Four Considerations for Baby Boomer Pastors that appeared first on ThomRainer.com. Used by permission.

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2 Qualities in All Great Leaders

Great leaders are both intentional and intense. Great leaders bring focus and fury, precision and passion, wisdom and work ethic. With wisdom and discipline, they identify what matters most. And with passion, they continually pursue what matters most. Intentionality coupled with intensity makes a leader very credible and very effective. We see both intentionality and intensity in the biblical account when God first gave humanity the responsibility to lead. God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). After God created the creatures in the sea and in the sky, He told them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:22), but He did not tell them to subdue and lead. God reserved that command for the crowning work of His creation—humanity. God placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden with the instructions to “work it and watch over it” (Genesis 2:15). God-given leadership, before sin tainted everything, was simply watching over and working. And still today, effective leadership requires both intentionality and intensity.

Watching over requires intentionality.

Leadership without intentionality results in chaos for the people on the team and for those being served. Leadership without intentionality wastes an incredible amount of energy and resources. Intentionality means having a clear understanding of your mission, your culture, and where you are headed. Great leaders fight the drift away from intentionality and toward a plethora of competing directions.

Working requires intensity.

The passion of the team will rarely rise above the passion of the leader. Leaders who work hard will likely lead teams that work hard. Leaders who struggle with apathy for the task and mission will likely lead apathetic teams. Leaders must not choose between intentionality and intensity. Both are essential. Read the full article 2 Qualities in All Great Leaders that appeared first on EricGeiger.com. Used by permission.

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4 Types of People on Your Team (Only One Is Effective)

In his classic work Pensees, Blaise Pascal profoundly wrote:

Four kinds of persons: zeal without knowledge; knowledge without zeal; neither knowledge nor zeal; both zeal and knowledge. The first three condemned him. The last acquitted him, were excommunicated by the Church, and yet saved the Church.

Clearly Pascal was affirming those who are filled with both knowledge and zeal. Those with both knowledge and zeal, according to Pascal, are the ones who saved the Church, and those without both qualities are the ones who condemned Jesus. Applying Pascal’s framework to leadership, there are two essential qualities in all great leaders: Intentionality (knowledge) and intensity (zeal). In your context, you have met these four types of people. And only one of them is really effective.

1. The Internal Consultant (Intentionality without intensity)

I have been a consultant and benefit currently from utilizing consultants, so I am not bashing the discipline. Consultants help you with clarity and with understanding that leads to an intentional direction. They are valuable. But internal consultants attempt to speak into the work without doing any of the work. They come with ideas but lack the intensity to implement any ideas. You don’t want people on the team who offer their heads but not their hearts and their hands.

2. The Chaos Creator (Intensity without intentionality)

The chaos creator wakes up ready to execute something today. And something entirely different tomorrow. Sometimes the “something different” is actually in the opposite direction, but the chaos creator does not care. A person on the team who is passionate yet lacking in wisdom easily creates unnecessary work for everyone else.

3. The “Why Are You Here?” Guy (Neither intentionality nor intensity)

Once you see a person without intentionality or intensity, it is hard to un-see what you have seen. Neither great ideas nor passion for the mission are brought to the table. Meh. You can’t help but wonder why the person is still around. Surely there is some mission or cause in the world that person can be excited to join.

4. The Person You Trust (Both intentionality and intensity)

Intentionality coupled with intensity makes a leader very credible. And not only the leader but any person on the team. The person you trust, the person who adds incredible value, who makes everyone else better, is the person who is both intentional and intense. This person deploys thinking, energy, and skill in the same direction. People who are passionate about what matters most are highly effective. Read the full article 4 Types of People on Your Team (Only One Is Effective) that appeared first on EricGeiger.com. Used by permission.

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6 Mistakes Leaders Make in Their First 90 Days

While there is nothing magical about the number, many have used the “first 90 days” to describe the important first days in a leader’s new role. In his helpful book The First 90 Days, Michael Watkins encourages leaders to adjust their leadership to the context and life cycle of the organization: start-up, realignment, sustaining success, or turnaround. As an example, leading in a start-up or turnaround requires a very different approach than a seasoned and sustainable organization. But no matter what context you find yourself in, there are six common mistakes you can avoid during your first ninety days.

1. Not listening

If you enter a new context without listening, you are entering a new context without learning. And without learning your context, you will be unable to lead effectively. You will make decisions that are out of sync with reality and your ideas will be ideas for some other context, not the one you find yourself in.

2. Only listening

However, if you only listen, you will miss the opportunity to provide the value a new and fresh set of eyes can bring to the team. Listen, but also act.

3. Over-declaring

Mark Twain is credited as quipping, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” When entering a new role, be careful you don’t declare specificity without first understanding the context. You can and must declare general direction, affirm the past, and state your commitment, but granular first impressions will likely change a lot in your first ninety days. Don’t over-declare.

4. Not declaring anything

However, you must declare something. Even if you declare a period of learning and evaluating, you must provide clarity to how you will be leading.

5. Making too many decisions too quickly

An older man in Miami who became a friend and mentor told me a story about the first grocery store he managed. The district manager told him, “You can change the positions of displays, but not for two months. Because if you change it earlier, you will change it again right away.” In other words, evaluate before you take the big swings.

6. Not making any decisions

But you must make decisions and leadership calls; it is what leaders do. Even if you don’t desire to make decisions at first, every single context will demand a leader to decide. An indecisive leader sends the entire organization into paralysis. A turnaround or a start-up requires more rapid decision-making, but every context requires some. Read the full article 6 Mistakes Leaders Make in Their First 90 Days that appeared first on EricGeiger.com. Used by permission.

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How Much Time Do Pastors Take for Vacations?

This topic was hotter than I expected.

I asked pastors and other church staff about the amount of time taken for vacations each year. Most of the responses came from pastors, and many of those pastors were pretty intense about it.

They spoke of their dire need for vacation time; of the constant interruptions during vacations; of learning the hard way about forfeiting vacation time; and about some church members who don’t believe pastors should take any vacation time.

After I put the survey out on social media, I received many responses. Here are the reported annual vacation times, mostly from pastors:

  • None to 1 week 21%
  • 2 weeks 28%
  • 3 weeks 14%
  • 4 weeks 25%
  • 5 or more weeks 12%

The results were fascinating, almost forming a perfect bell curve. But note that nearly half of the pastors take only 0 to 2 weeks of vacation.

We also heard several other issues related to vacations:

  • Very few pastors take all of their allocated vacation at one time.
  • Many of the pastors were very sensitive about how many Sundays they missed. Some of them were in churches that would not let vacation time be inclusive of Sundays.
  • Two factors typically contributed to more vacation time: size of the church and length of pastoral tenure.
  • One-third of the pastors volunteered that they always take fewer vacation days than the church permits.
  • Some of the pastors are challenged to take vacation time if their spouse works. Coordination of schedules is not always easy.
  • Bi-vocational pastors, as a rule, have much greater difficulty taking vacations than other pastors.

What is your vacation schedule? What are some of your thoughts about vacations?

Let me hear from you.

Read the full article How Much Time Do Pastors Take for Vacations? that appeared first on ThomRainer.com. Used by permission.

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Seven Common Reasons Pastors Get Cold Feet

Many people have this naïve view that a pastor just has to preach and love people. Not so. Pastors certainly have to give a priority to preaching and ministry to others, but the pastor’s week is filled with unexpected and multifaceted demands. Many times pastors need to lead the church in a new endeavor, something that gets the members out of their comfort zone. And sometimes it gets pastors out of their comfort zone. Relocation. A new ministry. A second campus. New staff and changing staff positions. Purchase of property. These are but a few examples of leadership challenges some pastors have not seen before. These challenges not only require basic leadership skills, they require leadership skills in often-untested areas. Change leadership. Financial risk-taking. Breaking of routines. New paradigms. When pastors face these new challenges, it is not unusual for some to get cold feet. They decide the pain is not worth the potential gain. They get cold feet and settle for the status quo. Why? Here are seven of the most common reasons.
  1. The critics. Major change often engenders major criticisms. Too many leaders will stick with the status quo until their churches are on the path to death. They just want to avoid the critics. Remember, the vote to go to the Promised Land lost 10 to 2. They naysayers yielded to the critics, the whiners, and comfort-seekers.
  2. The energy drainers. These are the people ready to vote no before they hear the motion. They always have a better idea. They want to tell you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. And they will wear the pastors out . . . if the pastors let them.
  3. Lack of knowledge. Pastors are often placed in positions of leadership and relatively large budgets with no preparation. It’s hard to lead a challenging project if you can’t read a financial statement. And while pastors can find more seasoned laypersons to help them, the pastors’ lack of knowledge can be a showstopper.
  4. Prayerlessness. With God all things are possible. But if pastors have gotten too busy for God, they are too busy to lead forward. Frankly, pastors should have cold feet if they have not prayed about their own leadership and the endeavor they are about to lead.
  5. Short-term view. Pastors who don’t plan to hang around long can have cold feet about leading projects that may have a longer view. I have advised many pastors not to move forward on a major endeavor unless they plan to see it through. So cold feet in this case is probably the right temperature.
  6. Inadequate staff and lay leadership. I get this one. I spoke with a pastor this week who expressed concerned about the leadership around him. He was not sure he would have the right team for a major and visionary endeavor. I urged him to look behind his present team and see if God would raise up some other leaders in the church.
  7. Faith-as-idea. It really sounds exciting to take steps of faith . . . until it’s actually time to take those steps. To continue the Promised Land metaphor from point number one, leaders get to the edge of the Promised Land and freeze in their tracks when they see the challenges (see Numbers 13). Any step of faith will have its challenges. The question is: Is your faith bigger than your fears?
We need an army of church leaders who are bold and courageous. We need the spirit of Joshua 1 instead of Numbers 1. I pray for our pastors. I pray they will truly be the courageous people God has called them to be. We really need to move forward to our Promised Land.
Read the full article Seven Common Reasons Pastors Get Cold Feet that appeared first on ThomRainer.com. Used by permission.

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Five Difficult Pastors to Succeed

“That’s not the way Pastor Bob would do it.” The church member may have meant well, but her words stung the new pastor. After all, he had been at the church for only three months, and he had already heard that sentiment expressed more than a dozen times. He knew he would be living in the shadow of a legend. He just had no idea how big that shadow would be. There are several succession situations for pastors that are often more difficult than others, I know. I hear about them almost every day. Here are five of the most common:
  1. The long-term pastor. If a previous pastor has been at the church ten or more years, you can be assured the current pastor will hear many comparisons. Every pastor brings a new culture to the church. It often takes church members a few years to adjust.
  2. The church-splitting pastor. This pastor left mad. Perhaps the pastor was fired or left angry about something that happened in the church. Instead of finding another church in another community, the pastor decides to start a church in the same community. Church members follow the pastor. When the new pastor arrives, he often has to deal with hurting and angry members. Some of the members will actually have family splits over choosing churches. It’s not a fun situation to lead.
  3. The moral failure pastor. When there is pastoral moral failure, church members are hurt. Some are angry. Many of the congregants don’t know if they can trust a pastor again. The new pastor walks into a very difficult situation. He now has to pay for the sins of his predecessor.
  4. The omnipresent pastor. This pastor seemed like he visited every member every month. He was in homes. He attended all events. He visited the hospital fifteen times a day. He counseled people every day. He went to funerals and weddings he did not officiate. He was the superman pastor. Except that his family suffered greatly. Except that the church suffered because he would never let go. He just enjoyed the attention too much. And now the remaining members want to know why the new pastor is not visiting them in their homes nine days a week.
  5. The oratorical pastor. The previous pastor could preach with seemingly unmatched excellence. His sermons were legendary. He had more downloads to his podcasts than the current pastor has hairs on his head. Comparisons are frequent and not flattering for the new guy. And downloads are lower by 97 percent.
Does this situation sound familiar to some of you pastors? Remember, your identity is in Christ. Be comfortable in how God made and wired you. You have nothing to prove in the comparison game. Persevere. This season of dealing with the past will fade into new opportunities that will cause members to look to the future with excitement and anticipation.
Read the full article Five Difficult Pastors to Succeed that appeared first on ThomRainer.com. Used by permission.

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The Biggest Hindrance to a Leader’s Growth

Sitting in an airport for a few hours can easily remind you that people struggle with self-awareness. There is the guy who does stretching exercises in a small and crowed space, the guy who talks extremely loud on his phone, and the person who lays down on the row of chairs without thinking others will soon want to sit there. Self-awareness is hard. Ben Franklin wrote, “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” Will Mancini, who serves on our team at LifeWay and leads Auxano, recently told me that a lack of self-awareness is the biggest hindrance to a leader’s development. When we are not self-aware, we greatly hinder our own growth for three reasons:

1. A lack of self-awareness prevents understanding of what needs development.

All leaders have growing and maturing to do. None of us have arrived to the point where we don’t need adjusting and learning. A self-aware leader knows this about himself/herself and works to improve. A leader without self-awareness fails to improve because the leader fails to see what needs improvement.

2. A lack of self-awareness numbs receptivity to feedback.

Leaders grow with feedback, when they receive coaching from others. It takes self-awareness to receive and apply coaching. Leaders who are not self-aware are numb to feedback. They may look like they are listening but the lack of adjustment reveals their receptivity to feedback has been numbed.

3. A lack of self-awareness mutes the impact of others.

Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence, defined emotional intelligence as “the ability to manage ourselves and our relationships effectively… It consists of four fundamental capabilities: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social skills.” A relationally intelligent leader is self-aware and simultaneously benefits from the people around him or her. A leader without self-awareness will struggle relationally and mute the influence others can have. The biggest hindrance to a leader’s development is not intelligence or work ethic. It is a lack of self-awareness. Read the full article The Biggest Hindrance to a Leader’s Growth that appeared first on EricGeiger.com. Used by permission.

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