Posted by Mac Richard-- at 4/04/2011 09:02:00 AM
As you clarify and refine the vision for your team/staff/church/business/school/family, you also have to clarify and refine the VOICE. The voice of a team is the shared sense of mission, joy, urgency, passion, work ethic, philosophy, and responsibility that defines the culture of that team. I CANNOT overstate how mission-critical the voice of your team is. It is sink-or-swim, do-or-die, life-and-death critical.
Some people that you recruit/hire/bring on will just "get it," almost from before day one. Some people don't get it yet, but they will as you teach and share it. And, some won't. For those who won't or can't, it means that you hired the wrong person. Not necessarily a bad person, but the wrong person for this team.
And, some people are just so wounded that they can't get out of their own way emotionally and relationally and it doesn't matter what you do--it will never be enough. We have to love these people, invite them to join us in the larger mission/vision of the team, and help them where we can (or help them find help where we can't help them). But because of our responsibility to the larger team and mission or vision, we can't allow an individual or small group of people to be a drag and drain on our overall culture, performance, and team.
Hopefully, we're engaged in something so audacious, so monumental, and significant, that to allow that would be catastrophic to our cause. As the leader, we don't have the luxury of settling for the catastrophe of mediocrity. We are responsible and accountable for the vision and the voice that are the vehicles for our vocation, our calling. Regardless of our leadership context or style, our personality, the benefits and rewards, or challenges and obstacles--responsibility is the defining characteristic of leadership. Accepting and embracing responsibility reveals a true leader.
Way back in Feb. I wrote Clarifying Dreams & Visions as a calm, almost academic reflection on Dr. Sam Chand's observation: Leadership is like changing the fan belt on your car. While driving down the highway.
At the time, I didn't intend it to be a multi-part posting. But, in the interim six months, God has changed not only the fan belts of our church and my life, but the oil, radiator fluid, all four tires, the transmission, and the very engine itself. All, while driving down the highway. And, sure enough, he has used this process to clarify and refine the vision that he has called us to realize.
The vehicle has changed. Significantly. But the destination, the object of our prayers, work, dreams, hopes, time, resources, pain, and joy remains the same as it ever was: TO GROW THE COMMUNITY OF CHRIST ONE LIFE AT A TIME.
Over the next few days, I'm going to share some of what we've learned and experienced and decided as a result of this crazy ride. Here's the first thing: THE COMMITMENT TO TRAVEL TRUMPS THE MODE OF TRAVEL. If your car breaks down, don't abandon the journey. Repair it or replace it, but whatever you do, keep moving!
If your team's communication, passion, unity, joy, or effectiveness breaks down, the leader is responsible/accountable to repair/replace whatever or whomever needs to be repaired/replaced. The journey (mission, vision, purpose) is too important and the stakes are too high to abandon the journey.
If you can tell your story simply and beautifully, you've got a shot. That's one of the reasons that I'm a big fan of charity: water, the NYC non-profit started by Scott Harrison <@scottharrison> to provide clean water to people in developing nations. The other reason is that they are changing the world by changing people's lives right here, right now.
To celebrate their founding every September, charity: water launches a specifically targeted mission to raise funds for digging water wells in a particular region of the world. This year, they are targeting the Bayaka people of Central African Republic. Take 5 minutes and see their story and how you can simply and powerfully make a difference below. Then, go to the charity: water website (plus, you'll see how well Scott's wife Vik <@vikharrison> crafts their communications).
In four years, charity: water has gone from being a cool idea to a legitimate world-changer. I know these people and what they're doing and I'm honored to call them friends. They're making a difference and doing it for all the right reasons. They do what they do really, really well. And, above all else, they're the real deal.
charity: water 2010 September Campaign: Clean Water for the Bayaka from charity: water on Vimeo.
At last week's C3 Conference, Dr. Sam Chand likened leadership to changing a fan belt on your car while driving down the highway.
Just for the record, he's right.
God is in the midst of changing some fan belts in me, in our family, and in Lake Hills Church--all while we continue screaming down the highway. It is an incredibly fun, somewhat scary, hugely faith-building time. It's a time of praying, dreaming, seeking counsel, praying, planning, and praying.
I don't know exactly what the next set of fan belts looks like yet, but I know they are bigger and able to sustain higher speeds, hotter temperatures, and greater loads. These dreams and visions that God is leading us into demand change. But, they are clarifying who we are, what we do, and who God wants to be a part of them.
Good is the enemy of best.
When you woke up this morning, you had a choice: Invest yourself in the things that matter. Or, chase rabbits.
Rabbits are the distractions that vie for our time, attention, money, energy, and soul. Some people use email to further their purpose and reason for getting up in the morning. Most people use it to distract themselves from the banality of their job. Some people use Twitter to build a brand, communicate quickly and concisely with their audience, or drive people to their website. Most use it to distract themselves from the task at hand, whatever it may be.
Sometimes, chasing people down who've left your company, church, or team is a distraction. Or, chasing people down to try and change their mind or opinion is usually a distraction. When someone lobs a false accusation at you, defending yourself can be a distraction.
A good friend of mine was asked by the mayor of his small town to serve on his community's school board. Taking his responsibility seriously, my friend proposed instituting higher accountability for the teachers in that system. In an effort to derail that direction, defenders of the status quo hurled accusations of racism at him. He listened to their charges, dismissed them as a desperate attempt to distract from the task at hand--he did not even respond to the charges, they were so ludicrous--and moved forward the work to serve the students of that system.
The word distraction tells us what it is: dis ~ away from; tract ~ to draw/carry. To draw or carry away from.
What distractions are drawing or carrying you away from what you GET to do today, this week? Get past them and get on with it.