Killing Leadership Drift

Peter Drucker said, “Only three things happen naturally in an organization: friction, confusion, and underperforming. Everything else takes leadership.” Like a lot of his pithy statement, Drucker effectively captured the natural drift that occurs in organizations (and ministries) and the importance of leaders to rally people against the natural drifts.

Just as a person does not drift towards health, organizations and ministries don’t naturally drift towards greater effectiveness. Just as my garage will not drift towards being clean without my intervention, organizations naturally drift toward complexity without intervention. Organizations and ministries drift away from mission, not towards it. Though Drucker was surely not advocating that leaders shrug their shoulders at the drift towards friction, confusion, and under-performing, the quote could be adapted to “leaders must constantly lead against the natural drift towards friction, confusion, and underperforming.” Because those three drifts happen naturally, here are three things leaders must do.

1. Because friction naturally happens, leaders must bring clear values.

Friction does not only happen because there is a lack of shared commitment to the same values, but a lack of value alignment ensures there will be friction on a leadership team. So, leaders must constantly communicate, illustrate, and ask for commitment to the values that undergird the work.

2. Because confusion naturally happens, leaders must bring clear direction.

A common occurrence in organizations and ministries is that people on a leadership team or staff are on the same page about the mission, but not on the same page about the strategy. They have agreed at a high-level view of “what” the organization or ministry is about but not “how” the organization or ministry will accomplish “what” the organization or ministry is about. In other words, you can have people who declare and repeat the same mission statement but are deeply confused about the daily direction. Without clarity around strategy that confusion will constantly increase as activity disconnected from a coherent strategy increases.

3. Because underperforming naturally happens, leaders must bring clear expectations.

When people don’t perform well in their roles it is often because there have not been clear expectations given to them about their roles. Clear expectations are a gift to those on the team who desire to offer their best, contribute, and use their gifts to serve others. When there are clear expectations people are able to identify areas for growth and development. When there are clear expectations, leaders are able to encourage and challenge as necessary. To share the exceptions is to be honest. To equip people to fulfill those expectations is to be caring and committed to the person and not only the result. Of all leaders, Christian leaders should excel in both honesty and equipping.

Leaders serve their teams well with clear values, clear direction, and clear expectations.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

10 Mistakes New Pastors Make in Their First Year

Recently, I had the chance to sit down with new Mariners Church Senior Pastor, Eric Geiger and capture his story of transition for the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast. Springing off of our conversation, here are ten mistakes that too many pastors make during their first year in a new role:

  1. Attempting too much. There will likely be a long list of needed changes to culture and process waiting as you step into this new role. It is equally as likely that much of that list can be done over time and not all at once. Do not mistake activity for ministry. Plans are important, but your greatest influence will come not from the doing as a pastor, but from the being.
  2. Attempting too little. In this season, building relationships become a critical part of establishing your leadership. Meetings are important but so is making some needed and incremental changes. You will set the tone for the whole staff in your first year of work. It could be easy to mistake your desire to spend too much time getting to know them as instruction away from effective progress. Remember, it only takes 21 days to form a habit and your team will follow your lead quickly. Year two should not be spent breaking bad habits over fueling new initiatives.
  3. Forgetting the power of questions. The wisest leaders enter most of their meetings in year-one prepared with a set of thought-out and instructive questions. There is wisdom in placing a priority in asking, then listening for something to learn – instead of – telling, then expecting for something to happen. Also, remember it is often in the follow-up questions in which the most discovery usually occurs.
  4. Never leaving your last church. It is natural, and often necessary, to remain connected with good friends and leaders of the church you just left. You will miss some of the processes you helped to develop and some of your favorite places to eat or unwind. However, an unhealthy longing for “what was” will likely keep you and your current church from “what will be.” Using the phrase “at (fill in the church name) we…” too often is a good indicator it’s time to leave mentally as much as you already have physically.
  5. Trying to prove your organizational worth to the formal and informal leaders of the church. PowerPoint presentations and Gantt charts are useful and certainly make a new leader look smart. But, what needs to be proven – what is of most Kingdom value to those leaders – is your dependence on the Lord. It will be your commitment to His Word, to walking in the Spirit and to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ that brings the longest lasting impact to the organization.
  6. Equating time in the pulpit as equal to time with the people. Balance the time spent preaching and preparing to preach with time spent listening and getting to know your congregation, and especially its leaders. Learning who they are and what they struggle with will help to move your preaching past assumptions and simple anecdotes to applying the truth of scripture to the real challenges your people are facing.
  7. Forgetting to help your family grieve the loss of friends and ministry they’ve just left.Holding the two tensions Eric talked about is as critical for your family as it is for you as a leader. The best thing you can help them to do is celebrate the impact of the last season. Like stopping to watch a mid-summer sunset, gather your family to tell the stories of what God has done. Stop and frame a picture from this last season, then reframe from what is lost to what is learned. Think as much as about what we have learned as what we have loved. Help yourself and your family to look back, intentionally and briefly, like a slingshot to looking forward hopefully and expectantly.
  8. Spending extra time in the office instead of at home. In a new pastorate, there will be much to do at work. However, there will always be a lot to do. Ministry activity expands directly with the amount of time available. Be stingy with your time at home. Disappoint your congregation with how much you are not disappointing your family. It is more valuable to your ministry to care for your family and lead them to Christ in this season of transition than to be at every meeting or event someone else has deemed to be critically important.
  9. Believing everything the search consultant or committee told you. It is not that they lied or deliberately misled you – for the most part. Keep in mind that their perception of reality around your new position and their assessment of the condition of the congregation was directly connected to who did the reporting and to their hopes of the outcomes. In some cases, it was their job to present a prettier picture than reality. Therefore do not be discouraged, and remember that there will always be more problems than were first reported and that there are equally as many victories than were ever celebrated. In this new season, walk wisely, with great anticipation, and without assumption.
  10. Forgetting to take care of yourself. Establish a rhythm of health that is sustainable. Work out. Eat healthy, because you will be eating out a lot. Guard your off days as if your life depended on it. Understand the meaning of Sabbath and protect time away from study, meetings and to-do lists. Double down on a hobby or activity that creates room for your mind to breathe and focus on the Lordship of Christ in your life. Your inability to rest or set aside work for a Sabbath is a better statement of your theology than a sermon ever will be.

What mistakes have you made or seen made in the first year of a new ministry role?

Hear Eric Geiger’s leadership transition story here. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Why Integration is Better than Balance in the Work-Life Tension

In recent years some consultants and counselors have encouraged people to stop thinking “work-life balance” and start thinking “work-life integration.” While some say this is semantics, others believe the language represents a fundamental shift in thinking with “work-life balance” as a view of your life as having disparate parts (work and life) and “integration” as viewing your life a singular whole. It has been a helpful distinction for me. Here is why…

I never could get the balance right, which I realize is really a statement about my own struggles. On my worst days, I feel I am not doing enough. Not doing enough as a leader. Not doing enough as a pastor. Not doing enough as a husband. Not doing enough as a father. I say “on my worst days,” because those feelings are contrary to the message of the gospel – the message I believe and teach. The message that Christ has accomplished my forgiveness and approval for me is the message I need to liberate me from my striving. My default struggle can easily be amplified in a ministry or leadership role because ministry roles and leadership roles are never done. There is always something else to do, someone else to meet with, some problem to solve, or some opportunity to pursue. Also, there is always more time I can spend with my kids or investments I can put into my marriage. When I sought “balance,” I felt guilty when I “worked” during the evening because that was “family time,” and I would have felt guilty if exercised during the day because that is “work” time. Which is one reason I gained 30 pounds as a ministry leader in my early 30s (pounds that have not been lost).

Thankfully, my view changed over time as I watched other leaders I respected. I noticed something different in ministry leaders I believed to be the healthiest. They did not view their lives through the typical 9-5 lens. They woke up extremely early to work on sermons. Yet they unashamedly exercised in the middle of the day. They enjoyed walks or lunches with their spouses. And yet at times had dinners with others in the evenings. Instead of viewing their days as two distinct parts, the healthy leaders had a view of their whole life and set their rhythms and schedules to serve both their roles and their families. At the same time, I read stories of ministry spouses feeling neglected and heard many ministry leaders lament the difficulties of exercising with their brutal schedules. So, I stopped viewing my day as two parts (work and family) and started viewing it as one whole.

Disclaimer Alert: This approach requires understanding and support from your supervisor(s) AND should only be attempted if you enjoy work. If you default to being lazy, I don’t suggest asking for this privilege. No one has ever accused me of being lazy (I am so messed up that I feel I have to note that), and this approach has given me freedom with a clear conscience in the following five practical ways.

Can exercise during the day (with a clear conscience)

At one point I would have felt guilty doing so, but now I view this as stewarding my health in order to serve others more effectively.

Can answer emails after the kids go to bed (with a clear conscience)

I always have answered emails after the kids go to bed, but now I do so without guilt. I don’t feel I am “letting work infringe on life” because I don’t view my week that way.

Can read for a sermon on vacation (with a clear conscience)

I used to ban myself from books that could be considered “work” in nature because it was “rest time,” but I enjoy reading books about the Bible, theology, and leadership – so I go for it.

Can start work early (with a clear conscience)

I wake up early. When I viewed my day as “work-life balance,” that was when I was supposed to exercise because “work” was to start later. But I am often most ready to study early in the morning and exercise later in the day helps give me a second wind.

Can spend some extra time with Kaye during the week (with a clear conscience)

If I have several night appointments during the week, I will go to lunch with Kaye during the week or go for a walk with her. I evaluate the week as a whole and try, by God’s grace, to ensure my family gets plenty of me.

Work-life integration has been a better approach for me than work-life balance.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
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— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Three Places to Uncover Values in Your Culture

While serving alongside the Auxano team, I learned the important distinction between vision, mission, strategy, and values. Well-intentioned leaders can confuse those and mix and match them in a way that actually harms clarity.

  • Mission is the what. Your mission is what your organization or ministry is on the planet to do.
  • Strategy is the how. Your strategy is how you accomplish the mission.
  • Vision is what you are pursuing now – the major goals in front of your team that are in alignment with your mission.
  • And your values impact everything you do because your values form the culture of your ministry organization.

Because it is the shared values and beliefs that form the culture, it is critically important for leaders to understand the values beneath the surface. Wise leaders don’t declare values; they uncover the values that are already there. In your organization, you can learn the values that are beneath the surface by looking in a few places. Doing so will help you understand the culture, and understanding the culture is more important than understanding the strategy because strategy is much more flexible than culture. So where do you look? To uncover the values in your culture, look in these three places:

1. The Heroes and Stories

The leaders in the culture that are spoken of as the epitome of the ministry or organization are good examples of the values on display. Listen to the stories that describe the heroes in the culture and you can learn what is valued. As I interviewed and onboarded into my new role at Mariners Church, I heard numerous stories of God’s people at Mariners serving the poor and marginalized in our community and around the world. The stories are beautiful and amazing. By listening, you can learn a lot about what is valued.

2. The Celebrations

Plato famously declared, “What is celebrated in a country is cultivated.” The same is true in any ministry or organization. Whatever has been celebrated has formed the culture. If a ministry celebrates tangible impact in a local community, you know local engagement is in the culture. If a ministry celebrates volunteers who are equipped for ministry, you know that leadership development is in the culture. If you pay attention to what is celebrated you will you learn what is valued. If you want to add a value to a culture, you will need to find ways to celebrate and cultivate that value. You won’t be able to merely speak a value into existence. You may be the leader, but you are not God.

3. The Language

As the new senior pastor of Mariners, I knew one of my first tasks was to understand the culture beneath the surface at Mariners. Thankfully there was language and history for me to study.

I have been fortunate and blessed to follow an exceptional leader in Kenton Beshore. He has, infused the church with values that have created the culture. When he became the senior pastor 35 years ago, he brought the church a list of five values to the church:

  • We teach God’s Word.
  • Be God’s loving family.
  • Every believer is a minister with a ministry.
  • Be innovative in our ministry and relevant in our community.
  • Be contagious in sharing Jesus Christ

Those values have been crystalized over time. I am leading our team through those values again. We are spending one staff meeting a month, with our whole team, walking through the importance and the implications of each value. It is helping me learn the culture, and I hope and pray it is helping us all renew our commitment to and unify around values that have formed the church we are honored to serve.

I love strategy. I have a tendency to go there first. Strategy is important, but culture is more so. Peter Drucker wisely quipped that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” My friend Will Mancini has provided helpful tools, such as this one, to help leaders articulate values through demonstration of those values.

If you are a ministry leader who would like some strategic outside eyes to help you and your team uncover your unique identity, not only your values but also your mission and your strategy, I highly recommend Auxano. I have learned a great deal from the team and believe wholeheartedly they would serve you and your team well. To reach out to the team, click here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
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— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Stop Spreading Your Time Too Thin

Calendars fill up quickly. If leaders don’t manage their calendars then their calendars will manage them. In my view, one of the most important decisions leaders makes is how to plan their work. Do they just react to what comes their way or do they proactively plan how they will lead and create? Meetings, emergencies, and time with people are a given. But what about preparing messages, planning ahead, and crafting direction? Some leaders set large blocks of time for that work while others attempt to “squeeze that work in” to their busy schedules.

I have learned that it is significantly more fruitful to intentionally place large chunks of time on the weekly calendar for preparation. In other words, the “blocks of time” have to be planned and protected. I have learned that:

  • One five-hour block of message prep is significantly more productive that five one-hour blocks.
  • One four-hour block of advanced planning is significantly more fruitful than eight 30-minute sessions in-between emails and meetings.

Here are 4 reasons leaders need large blocks of time (such as 3-5 hours of uninterrupted focus):

1. To maximize deep work.

In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport describes deep work as “a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.” In other words, there is a place where you can go mentally that is hard to reproduce. I have heard leaders, writers, and preachers call it “the zone” or “being locked in,” but all speak about the sacredness of those moments, the amount of work that is accomplished, and the desire to not to get up from the desk because you don’t want the moment to end. Those moments of “deep work” cannot be microwaved; they take time.

2. To train yourself to not live and lead reactively.

There is always something to react to as a leader, always a problem to solve, always a question to answer, and always a correspondence to respond to. If you don’t block off time, you can easily spend your day just responding and not proactively leading.

3. To help others lead proactively.

Just as it is healthy for leaders to train themselves to not continually live in chaotic, reactive mode, it is healthy for their teams to also know they don’t have to, and shouldn’t, lead that way either. A leader who leads proactively teaches the team to do so and thus reduces chaos for the entire organization.

4. To encourage your team to solve problems without you.

A leader who loves to be, or needs to be, in every decision trains the team to not solve problems or make decisions without the leader. But a leader who is inaccessible for “large blocks of time” encourages the team to solve problems on their own. “Deep work” is good for the leader and the team.

> Read more from Eric.


 

Let’s talk! Connect with an Auxano Navigator for more information.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

8 Succession Success Markers

We are only ten months in to the transition at Mariners Church between Kenton Beshore (long-time senior pastor) and me (the new guy). But we are frequently receiving phone calls from churches that see succession from a long-time senior to a new leader in their not-so-distant future. The healthy relationship Kenton and I share is truly God’s grace to me, to our church, and I believe to Kenton as well. While ultimately the transition is the Lord’s work, there are practical lessons along the way. Here are eight things Kenton has done, and is doing, for me to make this transition as smooth as possible—eight ways to treat your successor:

1. With support

Countless times I have been in conversations with people in the church and heard, “I ran into Kenton and he was bragging on you.” Kenton’s humility to support me, both publicly and in conversations with others, has helped immensely.

2. With strategic hand-off moments

Kenton cares about moments, moments that mark the transition. For example, my first elder retreat was Kenton’s last as senior pastor. He led the first session and I led the last. It was a marked moment that Kenton designed.

3. With presence

When I teach, Kenton is often there on the front row taking notes. He has been in my corner, not just verbally but with his presence. Often in leadership presence speaks louder than words.

4. With absence

There are times when Kenton is not around, which has helped me express my leadership, without wondering if this is a moment where I should pause and honor him. For example, the first time I spoke to our “shepherding elders” and their wives, Kenton did not come. We did not highlight that fact, but it helped communicate that it is now my turn to provide direction. How do we decide when presence or absence is best? We talk about it.

5. With history

Kenton has served Mariners for nearly as long as I have been alive. So I am an idiot if I don’t listen to him, if I don’t ask questions about the history of our church. Leaders who don’t listen to those who went before them are foolish. Because church ministry offers its fair share of painful moments, not all the history is pleasant to recount. Thus sharing history and the lessons learned from it is a sacrifice.

6. With care for the family

Kenton and Laurie (his wife) have cared deeply for Kaye and our daughters. One of the best encouragements they gave early was to do everything we could to help our kids love being at the church – which included swimming in the lake at the church.

7. With encouragement to make changes

Several times I have called Kenton about a change I want to make, to get his perspective. They are not big changes, but changes nonetheless – things like a change in scheduling devotionals on a retreat. Kenton has said, “You should make that change” multiple times and has reminded me that if he were still leading “he would make changes too.” Many outgoing leaders like the idea of succession as long as everything stays the same, which is a clear indication the leader is not really ready for succession.

8. With private coaching

I have a TON of growing to do. Kenton has a ton of wisdom to offer. How can a predecessor provide wisdom without diminishing the successor’s credibility? This is likely one of the biggest challenges facing the predecessor. In regularly scheduled private meetings, Kenton uses that time well. He is there to give coaching, as I need it. And I do. He wants to help, sees ways he can help, but simultaneously wants to affirm. Conversations in private are the place for that.

For leaders considering a transition, a succession, I encourage you to evaluate if you are ready to offer these. My gut feeling is that some of the leaders who are telling Kenton they are ready to transition are not yet in the place where they can offer their successor what Kenton is offering me.

> Read more from Eric.


 

To learn more about a healthy succession and transition process, connect with an Auxano navigator.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Check For Blind Spots

One of my mentors, Brad Waggoner, has regularly quipped, “Most people struggle with self-awareness, so why would I think I am somehow different from everyone else?” He is right. Everyone struggles with self-awareness to a degree, and we are foolish if we think we are immune. Our lack of self-awareness in life and leadership is often referred to as our blind spots. I have been leading other leaders for a long time, watching them interact with their teams and with the team they serve on, and I’ve seen three common blind spots in leaders:

1. Many leaders talk longer than they realize.

Many leaders talk longer than they think they do. They can easily dominate meetings because of their convictions, their ideas, and the sheer amount of work to report. But by over-talking in meetings, leaders can unintentionally stifle the team. One practical way to combat the temptation to talk too much is to set a time for yourself and hold yourself accountable not to cross it.

2. Many leaders sound harsher than they mean.

Because leaders can underestimate the power of their position, they can sound harsher than they realize. Every word from the mouth of a leader is received with amplified impact, so leaders who bring sharp critiques to their teams must do so very carefully. If the leader thinks the rebuke is a “5,” the people likely hear it as an “8.” Wise leaders steward their words very carefully.

3. Many leaders change direction more than they know.

Leaders are often about new ideas, change, and vision. Because of that, leaders can err by constantly bringing new direction to the team. The team can sometimes feel as if they have yet to execute properly the last batch of ideas or see the fruit of the last direction before a leader brings a new direction. Effective leaders know that consistent direction over time is far better than constantly shifting the direction of the team.

Of course, there are other common blind spots, but these three can easily hamper a leader’s effectiveness. Blind spots can’t be corrected if the leader doesn’t know they exist. For blind spots to be corrected in a leader’s life, the leader must be in community and humbly listen to others whom the leader trusts.

> Read more from Eric.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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COMMENTS

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Thomas TC Gotcher — 07/24/19 5:21 pm

Excellent information, thank You

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

3 Ways the iPhone Changed Leadership

Before we had kids, Kaye taught public school for eight years. When we found out we were having our first daughter, we decided she would take step away from teaching for several years. Her last day as a teacher (the first time around) was one day in June of 2007.

The first iPhone was released on June 29th that same year (more on that later).

After our daughters started going to school, Kaye decided to go back to teaching. She missed it and wanted to make an impact in that way again. She went back to the classroom in the fall of 2015.

While she was away from the classroom, the smartphone grew more and more ingrained into the culture and in the regular rhythms of how people live. I think if Kaye had been teaching through those years, she likely would not have noticed the changes in such a visible way, as she would have experienced them incrementally. But to go back to teaching after eight years off, the same eight years where the smartphone took deep root, was initially jarring.

Here are three changes Kaye noticed, as a teacher, after eight years off (the same eight years after the advent of the iPhone):

Speed of Communication

Before the smartphone, communication with parents and other teachers may take place over several days. An email would be sent and a day later the response would be sent back. The process was slower but also allowed people to spend more time formulating their responses and thinking about the implications of the decision. The smartphone has sped up decision-making. At times this is great and at times the result is decisions that are not been well-informed.

Expectations for Response

During the first eight years of Kaye’s teaching career parents emailed, and their expectation for response was within a day or so. When Kaye went back to teaching, and everyone had been using smartphones for several years, the expectation parents had on response time was exponentially higher. If some parents did not receive an answer back within a few hours, they assumed something was wrong – and not that Kaye was actually teaching a room full of kids. Our phones have trained us to expect faster responses. We both benefit from and can be enslaved by the heightened expectation for response time because of our phones.

Decreased Focus

While we love to believe we can multi-task, research continually proves we are not nearly as good at it as we think. Just google “multitasking makes you stupid” for a list of articles based on research, including one study that shows multitasking impacts your brain in a meeting more than smoking weed in a meeting would. Before the iPhone, the typical parent-teacher conference was different than it is now. You were able to get through 30 minutes of content and conversation in, well, in thirty minutes. Now those 30 minutes are often less focused. There is more “let me send this really quick to our babysitter,” or “my spouse is running late, let me check something really fast.” The smartphone on the table puts in everyone’s mind that this meeting can be interrupted at any moment, and thus lowers the effectiveness of it.

Are there benefits, though, Eric? Absolutely. When Kaye went back to teaching, she rarely had to run back to school to print something. It was on a doc on her phone. She could also easily check appointments, handle details in a quick text, and connect with other teachers in a group text.

But watching Kaye go back to teaching helped me realize that the phone has impacted us/ me more than we often realize.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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5 Keys to Leading an Omnichannel Church

Recently Dave Adamson wrote a compelling article on the future of the church based on the digital tools that church leaders now have at their disposal. He applied the term “omnichannel” to church practice, and his article was the first time I have seen someone do so. Dave does this type of work with churches, so he was not just winging it and throwing out an idea. If you have background in ecommerce or marketing, you are familiar with the term “omnichannel.” It represents the thinking that a company should align all of its channels so that a customer has a seamless experience across all. In other words, the customer could easily flow back and forth between a physical store and an online store and other touch points.

If you apply “omnichannel” to a local church, as Dave has done, you essentially decide it does not matter which channel the person you are serving utilizes to interact with your church or consume content from your church, and you want all the channels (such as your podcast, your live-stream, and your physical location) to offer a similar experience.

Here are five things I like about applying “omnichannel” to a local church.

  1. It is the reality of what is already happening. People are interacting (or desiring to interact) with your church in multiple ways. People may attend one week and watch online while traveling the next. Desiring that person to receive consistent teaching from his/her church in a unified manner is a good thing.
  2. It forces leaders to think about people not just content. We don’t just teach the Word; we teach the Word to real people and we must understand the people we are teaching.
  3. It can help break down ministry silos. Because people move across live streaming, podcast, and the worship gathering, staff in those areas must be coordinated.
  4. It helps churches use tools to reach people. Just as the Lord used the advent of the printing press to spread the Bible and the advent of radio to broadcast C.S. Lewis and Billy Graham messages, every new technology is an opportunity to distribute the good news.
  5. It helps churches think about the other 167 hours. Perhaps the most challenging thought that Dave offered is the challenge to think about all the hours in the lives of the people we serve, and not just the weekly gathering.

And here are two cautions I have about applying the “omnichannel” term to a local church. Though I appreciate the desire to connect people where they are and connect them more than one hour in a weekly gathering, ministry leaders must do so while also thinking about these two realities:

  1. A church is not a base of customers. The article was not advocating that, but the term “omnichannel” was developed to help companies think about their customers and their channels, and we must be cautious of any term (or thinking) that causes us to think of our church as a base of customers. A church is much more than a customer base. She is the bride of Christ and the family of God. She is a gathering of God’s people who are in community together and have joined Christ on His mission.
  2. Consumption must not be the ultimate goal. We must not desire the people in our churches to merely consume religious goods and services, but to grow in community and to live on mission. If we settle for consumption, we are settling for a vision of local church that is too small. Yes, let’s use the tools at our disposal and let’s sync them together to communicate the message of Jesus. But let’s be sure that we don’t equate consumption with discipleship.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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The Shape of Your Influence – Part 2

The great (and true) quote that “we shape our buildings and our buildings shape us” is credited to Winston Churchill. Other less insightful quotes are credited to him on the Internet as well, but this quote is really good because it is so true. As I shared in this post, leaders form their organizations by forming the values, mission, strategy, measures and leadership development approaches of those organizations. Today I want to offer five more things leaders can shape that in turn shape the organizations they lead. Here is part two of ten things leaders shape that in turn shape the organizations they lead.

  1. Values
  2. Mission
  3. Strategy
  4. Measures
  5. Leadership development

6. Buildings

Kenton Beshore, my predecessor and genius friend, walked me to the center of Mariners church campus one day, a spot right outside our worship center. He said, “Tell me what you see and don’t see.” After I stood there unsure of what to say for a few seconds, he said, “you can see every entrance to every building but you cannot see a car in the parking lot. The facility was designed to keep you here. When you leave a worship service you do not see your car or a parking lot. We wanted that so that it would help you stay and connect with others.” The facility choices at Mariners have formed the culture I enjoy, as people really do stay and connect with one another.

7. Moments

There are moments in a ministry or organization that form the culture. Moments where there is clarity of belief or direction. Moments where memories are made. Moments where people are invited to internalize and commit to what is most important. Moments of honest dialogue with leaders. Wise leaders steward these moments well and don’t rush through them.

8. Structures

How an organization or ministry is structured is no small matter. The structure declares who will collaborate together and who will just politely nod at one another in the hallway. The structure impacts who is ultimately accountable, how communication occurs, and what priorities receive the most attention. Leaders shape the organizational structure and the organizational structure shapes them.

9. Systems

Andy Stanley once said, “Systems create culture.” A system has a powerful impact on shaping the culture because it operationalizes an important value. For example, if there is an effective system for recruiting and training leaders, the system helps create a culture of leadership development. We cultivate the cultures of our organization by the systems we create and communicate.

10. Policies

Because policies impact behavior, they impact how people in an organization relate to one another. By policies I do not mean the “rules’ in writing that no one takes seriously or have not been updated in years, but the standards that really matter (by the way, these should be the actual policies too). Leaders have the ability to set and shape these standards as they definitely shape the culture. Sometimes the policies conflict with the vision of the team, and when this occurs the policy must be changed as quickly as possible. A common example I noticed when I consulted churches was a church leader who would articulate a desire to develop future staff and hire from within the church, yet a policy that stated all staff must have a specific degree. The vision and the policy were at odds and the policy actually impacted the behavior, in most cases, more than the vision did.

We shape our buildings, moments, structures, systems, and policies, and they in turn shape us. So shape wisely, leaders, shape wisely.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.