Fresh Ideas

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ImageHow do you change the world when you are out of fresh ideas?  Where do you get your inspiration?  As leaders, many times we get so caught up in day to day activity that we do not take the time to dream.  We forget to be innovative, fresh, and find excitement in what we do.  

It is important to dream even when you don’t think you have the time.  Put time on your calendar, make an appointment with yourself for creative time.  Take the time to retreat and don’t feel bad about it.  The only way to take your company or your position to the next level is to take the time to plan, think, reflect, and dream. 

Make and appointment with yourself and respect that appointment as if it were with the most important person in your life.  It could be the difference between that promotion or staying status quo.  Stay up with the competition and even surpass them by making this one simple appointment.  Reaching the top is a process.  It has to happen everyday!  What books are you reading, who is your mentor, who are you listening to for growth?  

Getting fresh ideas and renewed energy takes time that you have to make for yourself.  Day to day operations can be draining.  Care for yourself and let your creative juices flowing!  Let me know how you plan to renew! 

You’ve reach the top….now what!

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You are hired as a first time manager.  First day of work you meet the people you will be managing.  Most are older than you.  Obviously all have seniority at your new company.  A couple of your team members actually applied for the job you were hired to do.  Wow, sounds like a tough first day.

How do you handle a situation like this?

  • Never walk into this type of situation with a chip on your shoulder.  Everyone knows you have lots to prove.  Copping an “I’m the boss” attitude” is the last thing you want to do.  You are going to get the cold shoulder from some.  You are going to be observed closely.  Everyone is going to want to know what the new guy/girl is going to do.
  • You will have those who want to get close to you right off the bat.  Beware!  Walk slow.  Take your time getting to know your staff.
  • Be careful of those who want to give you the dirt on the department.  Learn the personalities of your staff on your own by having conversations with them.  Asking questions.  Finding out what their job responsibilities are.  What are they passionate about?  Ask the right questions to see if they are cup half empty or half full kinds of people.  Walk slow!
  • Don’t start making changes until your staff is comfortable with you.  Some of the toughest changes are personnel.  You many inherit staff who are trouble makers, or who are where they are because they are the weakest link and no one knows what to do with them.  Watch and listen for 6 months minimum before you start making major changes.
  • Find out the personalities of your staff and their leadership styles so you know how to manage them.  It is important to help your staff grow into the best they can be.  Figure out what motivates them to be productive.  This all takes time and patience.  Be patient and take it slow.

Attitude is everything!  Be positive, helpful, compassionate to create a safe environment for your staff to trust you and to grow!

Decide, Don’t Decide or………

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Someone said to me today, “you can choose to make decisions, you can choose not to make decisions, or you can choose to be indecisive.” He went on to say, “I appreciate your ability to not only make decisions, but to then to make things happen”.  Isn’t that what its all about?  Choices?  Name a time in your life that you didn’t have to make a decision.  

You had to decide to drink from a cup or a bottle, to play ball or sit on the sidelines, to get married or stay single, to have children or not, to work in an industry that is fulfilling or work at a job that is just a job.  You’ve made decisions your entire life whether you wanted to or not.  Some are good, some are not so good but they are all still decisions.  

As simple and common sense as the concept of making decisions is, it is one of the hardest and easiest things we do on a day to day basis.  We make impulse decision, thought out decision, we just act at times without making decisions at all and go with the flow…….  What is at the core of the choices we make?  Is it our culture, our beliefs, what our parents taught us?  Is it all of these things?  What do we do when we make poor decision? Do we blame others, take the heat, ignore them and hope no one finds out?

This is the one my son seems to choose the most!  Pray mom doesn’t find out!  :)  

Decision making, I am convinced, is a continuation of our character, our attitude, our heart, and our soul.  It is external proof that we have a conscience. That we want to make a difference in the world, the country, our communities, or our homes.  Our choices make us good parents, kids, employees, leaders, friends…… They tell others who we are and who we want to be.  

What is the decision you are struggling with or celebrating today?  Is it a job change, family issue, health issue?  How do you decide, how to choose? Do you know what you don’t know?  Do you ask questions to find the answers?  Do you pray about it, ask others to pray with you? Do you just go with the flow and see how it all turns out?  Whatever you do, own up to your decisions and if you don’t like where they’ve taken you, make a U-Turn and decide to try again.  

Not deep words, not prophetic or new…….but words that have meaning. A choice to share a heart that chooses to love, care, respect, ask questions, and own up to it when the choice isn’t all it should or could be. 

Live with your choices and choose how you live……..then make it happen!

Just Happy…………

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ImageHow do you say happy, just happy.  Not ecstatic, or excited, or even content, but happy.  I love teaching others about leadership but just as much as teaching, I love to learn.  Today was a learning day for me.  To have a person I respect care enough to invest in my leadership is fulfilling.  How exciting to be on the other end of constructive criticism.  To have an “aha” moment of my own.  How humbling to gain more insight and experience first hand, in a field I love.  

Don’t ever take constructive criticism negatively.  Whoever cares enough about you to give it, cares enough about you to want you to grow whether it be in leadership, parenting, job skills, being a husband/wife…….leave yourself open to the kind of growth that is affirming to helping you reach the next level of humanism.  

I am thankful today for a friend who cared enough to point out my weakness, even though I know it wasn’t exactly easy for them to do so.  I am thankful for a loving atmosphere to grow in and to lead in.   I am also thankful for the space to be who I am and to expand in ways I never thought possible. Stay open, stay humble, and stay positive when it is your turn to learn.  You never stop learning, even when you think you have it figured out, you probably don’t!  

How we GROW!

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Hello all! I am so proud of my daughter. She is the Director of a Fashion Show put on by her College. She is a Fashion Merchandising major with a minor in Business Management. As you know, my boss, her Senior Pastor is suffering with Lymphoma. My daughter’s is using this fashion show as a fundraiser to help find the cure for blood cancers such as Lymphoma.

As we all learn and grow. It seems my daughter is also learning how to give back! It is fun to watch her grow into a leader as she faces the same challenges we

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all do. She has struggled with getting her team on the same page, keeping moral high, solving conflict, and all while keeping focused on the vision and mission of her class and this project! This picture shows a man with courage. Courage to fight for what he knows is good! He was released from the hospital, came to Pittsburgh, and rode his segway through the streets of Pittsburgh with about 100 of his church members cheering him on! It was an amazing night. What is more amazing is that this type of activity can spur a young mind into wanting to raise money to help others through cancer.

The lessons she is learning are really basic.

1. Build a good team using the gifts and graces God has given us all. Don’t be arrogant and prideful, be humble! You don’t always have to be the smartest person in the room!
2. Gain trust by being sincere. If you say you’re going to do it…..do it! Don’t be afraid to say the hard things. Trusting someone means being honest. Not through emotion but through reason! If you are emotional about a topic, do not address it until you’ve had time to digest it!

3. Be knowledgeable. Research, learn, give good direction! There is nothing more frustrating than the sudden change of direction. Sometimes the ship has to change course but be careful when doing so that you don’t knock to many off the sides!

4. Get the right people on the right seats of the bus! This one is HUGE! You are only as strong as your weakest link – Last Night’s Survivor episode showed that! If your weakest link is making you drown then cut ties and get the right person! We will talk about good hiring practices in a later post!

It has been fun to walk her through these basic steps! Thanks for letting me be proud of my future leader with you! To learn more about the Light The Night Walk or to Donate to the cause through the Femme Fatale Fashion Show please visit: http://pages.lightthenight.org/wpa/Pttsbrgh13/FFatale

Have a Blessed Easter!

 

Dig Deep……

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How do you dig deep as a leader?  This week our Sr. Pastor, CEO announced he is out of remission and needs more treatment for his lymphoma.  As he was telling me I could feel my heart sink, not only for he and his family but for us, our church.

Another lesson in leadership……be prepared to dig deep.  Many organizations have struggled with economic issues in the past 10 years.  With the rise and fall of the economy, 911, the housing market, the stock market, gas prices and the list goes on.  Organizations become anxious within these conditions.  Will we make the budget, can we keep all of our employees, can we pay the bills………..

Nothing can prepare you though when your leader comes to you with such news.  The really difficult part is not just the illness but watching your friend ride this roller coaster.

ImageMy word of the year is WHY?  It is mentioned 510 times in the bible.  It symbolizes digging deeper.  Understanding the bottom line of decisions, direction, forward movement.  It helps me to see more clearly how to proceed.  When I think about this instance, I ask WHY?  Not in a negative way but in the sense of growth, kind of, “ok now where do we go and why”?  Just when we thought our visionary was on his way back, we took a different road.  Now we take a step back as leaders and figure out what this mean.  We dig deep to move forward just as we do when the economy tanks and we need to be creative in finding ways to meet the bottom line.

Walking through this season of our life has grown me by leaps and bounds as a leader. I’ve told my kids over and over to dig deep, overcome!  Now it is time to take my own advice.  We will dig deeper……why?………to grow!  Without challenge there is no growth.  This is a challenge we are embracing.

Who knows what you are going through whether it be professionally, personally, both!  Pull up your boot straps and regroup!  I encourage you to spend time with God and let HIM show you the way.

Whether you are in a secular job or a church job there are times you need to dig deeper – work harder  – overcome!  Obstacles are there to help you grow, not go!

We had an associate pastor pass away about 5 year ago of cancer.  He had melatonin which spread to his brain and eventually took him. Walking through that with him was so difficult and to be doing it again, well, you can imagine.

As a leader it is my job to keep staff moral high, hope blooming, people positive, prayer flowing as we watch and trust that God is in charge!  He saw this coming and will carry us through.

Dig deep within your challenges, don’t let the circumstances win…….come out on top.  If you don’t know how, seek and you will find!  Seek from God, friends, coworkers, spouses, He uses all of us to grow each other!

Please pray for J. David Panther as he moves forward in his fight!

<3

Holy Low Energy Today……..

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When does a leader stop being “on”?  Have time to relax and smell the roses?  When does one get quiet time to reflect and relax?

These are all questions I ask myself from time to time because being responsible is a full time job in and out of the office. The sun rises and sets on the decisions I make! That can be a heavy burden!

I don’t ask myself, “Who do I need to be careful not to make mad” but “What does God want me to do here”.  It isn’t always the most popular decisions that I make but the right decisions and those decisions can cause waves.

Leading in a church environment, I am a true believer of being the same person on the job as I am off the job. If I am tired and just can’t deal with another person or problem, I tend to hibernate.  Go into my private world and just be.  People know that about me.  I call it “stare at the wall time” and I encourage each of my staff to do the same thing.  I can see when they are getting tired……unfortunately I see it in them before I see it in me!

We each need to know what the signs are that we are wearing out and then be able to communicate that to those around us.  We do not have to be super hero’s all the time.  I used to think getting “tired” (and I don’t mean just physically tired, I mean physical, emotional, professionally tired!)  was a weakness. If I can’t keep up with those around me, then I am not as good as they are.

I’ve learned, balance is more important than betraying something I’m not.  I am more respected by being honest and just saying, “Hey, I’m taking a couple of “missing in actions hours to stare at a wall”.  Everyone around me knows I just need space and that is ok!

Reflection time is important.  You can’t see the big picture if you are to busy to not look at it.  So, although I may be staring at a wall, God is usually showing me things I need to know!  I am the queen of tucking things in the back for later. When I learned to “stare at a wall” I also learned that later needed to come so tomorrow was easier!

Take the time to smell the roses.  You will be a better leader and will not find yourself in the pit of exhaustion.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a really high energy person but at times we all need a break!  I used to tell my kids they NEEDED a nap time because it made me a much better mother!  As a leader, you NEED “MISSING IN ACTION TIME TO STARE AT THE WALL”!  It will make you a much better leader!