In 2003 I graduated from Golden Gate Theological Seminary with a Doctorate of Ministry. Its been six years since I laboured through courses and my project, Raising Cross-Cultural Competance in Leaders for the Urban Multi-Cultural Church. I recently made a digital copy of the project so I could publish it here. I hope that it may be helpful to others in church and marketplace ministry who desire to increase the depth of their relationships and the fruitfulness of their leadership across cultures.
As leaders we face the push and pull of pressures and distractions on sticking with our values and our plans. For many years I have internalized the axiom that “a plan is a good place from which to depart.” However, I have also realized that before parting ways with my plans I should sort out some very good reasons for doing so. In the face of a crisis it is very tempting to abandon the plans and even the purposes before us, because we believe that if others think we are doing nothing then they will think badly of us. Sangeeth Varghese wonderfully illustrates this leadership trap in his recent article in Forbes. In a crisis or a difficulty whether the leader chooses to maintain the course or to change course one of the essential choices is to be clear. Keep talking. Talk clearly. Explain the why. Reinforce the values. And talk about the plan in regard to the current conditions.
I recently finished reading Dan Roam\’s book, The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures. I am a paper on the wall, whiteboard, and post-it note person when it comes to brainstorming and solving problems so this book was an easy sell. I recommend it though to even the most picture resistant. An easy read…follow the pictures, but very insightful as to what it takes to understand a complex problem or a simple one, come to a set of solutions, make a decision, and then communicate that decision visually to another group of people.
You can get the basics from Dan Roam\’s webite and watch his presentation to the Commonwealth Club of California. In the last few weeks I have been trying to apply his approach and so far have found it to speed the process of decision making and communication along. In fact, last night I was watching Celebrity Apprentice and thought, \”Gosh, they need Dan Roam, to help them visualize this problem. Both teams would have saved themselves about 5 hours of painful conversations and they would have gotten the best out of their most creative thinkers.\”
This is a great book for anyone involved in making decisions, leading, and then having to communicate the problem, solutions, and decisions. Pick-up the book and give it a read. And then… try it yourself.
In the last few months I have been captivated by this leadership idea: leaders create opportunities. I observe this practice in every significant arena of leadership whether it be at home, on sports teams, at work, in church, in government, or in neighbourhoods. Leaders create opportunities for the people in their sphere of influence.
I have observed a parent putting down money and time in order to understand what a child needs in order to learn well. I have celebrated Jan Miko, principle, for creating an opportunity for children at Brock Elementary to sing at the opening of the new Olympic Curling Centre here in Riley Park when 4 weeks before Brock did not have a choir. I have observed a youth hockey coach going way beyond the call of duty for his players to play on the GM Place ice and to meet Trevor Linden. And last night I watched a pastor, Corneliu Ardelean, enjoy the fruit of all his labours to create opportunities for at least 20 other people to lead in a worship service.
Great leaders create opportunities for people to excel, to grow, to advance, to meet other leaders, to serve meaningfully, to succeed, to share the joy of life, to risk, to fail, to stretch… What… to fail? That’s right. Even to fail. Leaders create opportunities that encourage their followers to try and even to fail…but also, then to learn from those failures.
Leaders create opportunities for people to grow. I have a built in matrix for considering the people I lead (and myself.)
Head: What do they need to know?
Heart: What do they need to build character and to fuel passion for God?
Hands: What skills do they need to master?
Home: What relationships do they need to nurture?
Horizons: What dreams and visions are they aiming at?
Jesus was a brilliant leader. As an exploration of leadership I suggest that you read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in order to observe how Jesus created opportunities for the people he served.
Here are some more questions for reflection:
1. Who created opportunities for me in my journey in life so far?
2. What was at stake for these leaders when they created the opportunities for me?
3. When have I not fully appreciated the opportunities in front of me?
4. For whom am I creating opportunities?
5. What needs to change in me in order for me to create new and extraordinary opportunities for the people in my sphere of influence?
6. What strategic alliances can I make that will create opportunities for the people I lead?
Hey Cityview! Willow Creek is going to announce the speaker line-up 2009 Summit on Tuesday at 11 AM CST. The alert is here. This year the Tuesday announcement presented by Bill Hybles is going to be livestreamed on the Summit Facebook Group and at growingleadership.com/webcast. Cityview has already made our early group registration for Aug 6-7 2009, however if you want to get in on this you can contact us at the office and we will help you.