May 2014

The Dark Side of "Good Enough Never Is"

7 Facts About the Dark Side
Great Leadership Lessons, NOTE 18

I will say it again, I love the mindset of "Good Enough Never Is." That is my own way of thinking. It is who I am by personality and experience as well. It is how I live in most (but not all) parts of my life. It is my approach to writing, teaching, preaching, mentoring, leading, as well as the hobbies I enjoy. I approach many (but not all) relationships this way. For the relationships that are very important to me - yup, good enough never is. 

Good Enough Never Is

Great Leadership Lessons,

Collins is so ironic and right in one of last paragraphs in the chapter, Good Enough Never Is, that I'll give you most of that quote.

The good news is that one of the key elements of being a visionary company is strikingly simple: Good old-fashioned hard work, dedication to improvement, and continually building for the future will take you a long way. 

Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep What Works

Great Leadership Lessons, NOTE 16
8 Ideas to Guide Your Constant Experimenting

Remember we are talking about  stimulating the periphery. We are not talking about the core. You always keep and preserve the CORE. On everything else, Collins says great organizations are constantly innovating, experimenting . . . trying a lot of stuff and keeping what works. Here are eight ideas to help you do just that.

Remember, preserve your core mission, values and culture.

All innovation and experimentation is in the service of your CORE.

When You Set Yourself on Fire...

People Love to Come and See You Burn

This quote by John Wesley is of course, talking about the inner fire of passion, truth, beauty, goodness, glory, conviction, vision . . . there are many different words that can be used. The world is attracted to those people who have a fire burning within them.

Now, this fire may be a purifying, holy, glorious fire.
Or it may be a dangerous, destructive fire.
We are drawn to those who burn within and who can communicate that "burning" in words and actions. 

Hitler is one of the most recent unholy fires that burned and mesmerized a nation and traumatized a world. Not all fires are from heaven.

But others are!

Jesus said he came to "set the earth on fire" (Luke 12:49).

Pray (A Lot)

Give me a few minutes to talk with most Christians about their prayer life, and pretty quickly, I find out the difficulty and struggle of prayer most of them face. Here are some helpful words from Benedictine Abbot Dom John Chapman. I had not heard of him prior to seeing this quote in an essay. It is from Chapman's book, Spiritual Letters, page 53.


The only way to pray is to pray; and the way to pray well is to pray much.

If one has no time for this, then one must at least pray regularly. 

But the less we pray, the worse it goes.

There are No Ordinary People

C. S. Lewis quote, there are no ordinary people

One of those beautiful reminders for you and I to live in and out of our True Identity. You are not ORDINARY. You are extraordinary. If you want to see just some of the biblical basis for this quote from Lewis, turn to Psalm 139.

You are no ordinary person.
AND . . . Not a single person you meet today is ordinary.
Friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, bosses, people you like, those you don't, those who don't like you . . .


Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear...see and hear and act appropriately.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

Abraham Heschel Quotes to Ponder

Abraham Heschel was a brilliant and mystical, poet, theologian, activist, author, Rabbi. I have found his writings so deeply anchored in the Old Testament worldview of God, humanity, life, meaning, purpose, death -- to be marvelous. Here are some recent quotes I posted on my Abraham Heschel Pinterest Board.

Abraham Heschel quote,  study human behavior and bewilderment

Abraham Heschel quote, human conviction

Abraham Heschel quote, man must interrogate his own nature

Reading the Right Books (Franz Kafka)

What is the right book for you to read? Here is what Franz Kafka says . . .

Franz Kafka   if the book we are reading does not wake us up

The right book is any book that wakes you up.
The right book is any book that hammers at your thinking.
The right book is any book that is axe-like in breaking the sea frozen inside you.

The right book is any book that challenges you to see things differently.
The right book is any book that moves you to feel more deeply about the things that matter most.
The right book is any book that mobilizes you to live, act and lead in transformative ways.

What are the right books you have been reading lately?

To Change the World It Will Take a Village (of Churches)

Andy Crouch's extremely profound book, Culture Making, is probably my favorite book on the subject of how Christians and the church engage culture in transformative ways. I have the utmost regard for this wise, engaging, challenging book.

James Davidson Hunter is another writer (a Christian sociologist) who writes powerfully, but more densely, on the same subject. I read his book, To Change the World, right after I read culture Making. A slower read, as I said - dense, but rich in insight about changing culture.

Raving Fans in Every Seat of the Bus - How to Create Them!

Great Leadership Lessons, Note 15
The Three Things You Must Do to Have Raving Fans on the Bus

In three phrases, you need (1) the right hiring, (2) the right training and (3) the right supervision. Let's unpack each one.

ONE:  The Right Hiring
It may be more appropriate to say - hiring the right people. Jim Collins makes an interesting point (and it is one that has been confirmed by my own experience). You MUST hire people who already have your core mission, values and ethos as a part of who they are. One of the frequent failures is hiring people who have the competencies we need but not the same values and ethos. We assume that if they are somewhat ballpark, we can imprint our values/ethos on them. I have "yet" to see this really work.

Raving Fans in Every Seat of the Bus - When You Don't Have Them

Great Leadership Lessons, Note 14
And Trust Me - It is Going to be a Real Problem When You Don't . . .

Yesterday I introduced the idea of Raving Fan to talk about the kinds of employees you want to have as a part of your team. When Jim Collins talks about having the RIGHT PEOPLE in the right seat on the bus, at the very least, the Right People are true Raving Fans of the organization.

They love the organization.
They love the mission and values (The Core) of the organization.
They love the culture of the organization.
They love the "story" of the organization.
They love what they do as part of the organization.

Raving Fans in Every Seat (of the Bus)

Raving Fans book Ken BlanchardGreat Leadership Lessons, Note 13

Raving Fans!
You have probably heard that phrase before. It is the title of a very good book on customer service written by Ken Blanchard. If you haven't read it - you need to.

Aspiring to Holiness

In 1 Corinthians 12:31 Paul talks about THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY. He offers this in the context of speaking about spiritual gifts. Paul then moves to his magnificent description of the way of love as THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY.

I want to borrow Paul's language and inspiring phrase and apply it to another quality of the Christian life. It is a phrase that comes from Eugene Peterson.

aspiring to holiness, Eugene Peterson

10 Suggestions for Setting Good BHAGs

reach for the starsGreat Leadership Lessons, Note 12
So Just How Big Are We Talking?
Big is one thing. Excessive is something else.
Audacious can be inspiring. Ridiculous is discouraging.

So just how big are we talking? How audacious? How beautiful? How challenging? How inspiring? How demanding? How much hard work is appropriate? 

And how do I know what is both realistic and also beyond what I can do on my own? How do I navigate living by confidence in knowing what I can do with some hard work and living by faith, trusting God to do more than what I can get done with my strength?

Nine Reasons Why Christians Resist BHAG Thinking and Living

Great Leadership Lessons, Note 11
I have asked this question many times as I work with leaders. Why do Christians "resist" the idea of BHAGs? When I get strong and negative reactions from Christians about BHAGs, I am no longer surpised. I thought I knew why Christians react the way they do, but I wanted to get a broader perspective. So I ask leaders their opinions about the resistance. Here is a summary of the answers that are offered most often.

ONE:  Pride.
As Christians we know pride is so easily a very bad thing. To talk about BHAGs seems to verge terribly close to that most deadly of sins. Best to avoid it altogether. Why put yourself in a situation where temptation to pride abou the great things you are doing and accomplishing will trouble you.

Scott Adams and Great Leadership Lessons

Sneaking in Great Leadership Lessons, Note 10.5
I thought this post about how Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, thinks about goals, very interesting and worth reading, especially as I am talking about BHAGs.

I think it is always good to wrestle with differnet viewpoints on these vital matters.

Scott Adams on Why Big Goals Are For Losers.


Dilbert seting goals

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


B.H.A.G. Level Results

Great Leadership Lessons, Note 10
Love It or Hate It, the idea of B.H.A.G. is now part of our leadership lexicon!

BHAG Big Hairy Audacious GoalsAnd it should be a part of our every day life! Even our Christian life.
Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals, or
Beautiful, Heavenly, Awesome Goals, or
Breath-taking, Heroic, Amazing Goals . . .

It is Always about RESULTS

Quote on getting results, All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they are now getting.Great Leadership Lessons, Note 09
If there is one SIMPLE but yet VERY HARD leadership mindset you don't have it is this. You are not focused on results nearly as much as you need to. If you want to experience the power of great leadership, you will need to make this a major upgrade in how you lead.


The Gradual Slope to Hell

C. S. Lewis quote  the safest road to hell is the gradual oneLewis understood that most of us do not rush head first off the cliff into apostasy or ruinous unbelief.

Most of us do not go from upright citizen and supporter of our country to an act of traitorous betrayal.

There are very few who take the dramatic step from devoted spouse to flagrant and flippant adulterer.

Most of us do not go from worshippers to idolaters in the course of a week. It is so rare it is stunning when a white hot devotion becomes outright denial.

When Goodness is Thrilling

C. S. Lewis quote about him  how thrilling he makes goodness

This past week I did something a little unusual. I listed to at least a half dozen sermons from various radio preachers. Three of them were very good communicators. Two were pretty good, the third - well... let me just say, "he must have missed his true calling." BUT... even the good communicators, it hit me, were all on the negative side. They were each focusing on what is wrong, what it is evil, what it will do to the one who embraces it... Even though they were true messages (and needed), there was very little "redemption" in them except for a tag line at the end. "This is why you need Jesus."

The Genius of Both - And

F. Scott Fitzgerald  the test of a first rate intelligenceGreat Leadership Lessons,

What I say next is not an over-statement. Of all the many, many things Jim Collins has taught me about leadership, there is one insight that stands above all the others. It is an insight not just about leadership, but about life itself. It was a paradigm shifting insight and it affects all my thinking about everything. Whether it is leadership, spirituality, theology, culture, mission, communication... this insight is core. Here it is.

It is the Genius of Both-And.

Simply it means this. We are dualists at heart. We tend to fall into an Either-Or mentality. We think we can have one thing or the other. Some examples . . . 

Theology Must be Sung (and Prayed)

J. I. Packer quote  theology must be sung and prayed or it leaves me cold

J. I. Packer is one of my favorite theologians. This thought from Packer is why I love him so. Packer gets it so RIGHT when it comes to theology. Theology cannot stand by itself. 

Theology & Doxology
Thinking & Praising
Truth & Worship
Belief & Adoration

These things are meant to be together. When theology is divorced from doxology, then such theology becomes dry rationalism and even dead orthodoxy... or worse (apostasy)!

Worship is the remedy to dry orthodoxy.
Praise and petition is the antidote to a creeping rationalism that "may tantalize the mind, but it leaves the heart unaffected."
Religious affections are the pre-requisite for dogmatic least wise ones.

What Successful People Do

success quote success is not just what you do it is how you inspire othersIt is not rocket science, but it is difficult.

It is not a mystery, but it is challenging.

It is within the reach of every person, but it will stretch you.

It is particular and unique for each person, but there are patterns that are evident for most people.

It may be too much to describe it as The Science of Success, but it surely is a WAY that is well mapped.


These are the INDICATORS seen in the Lives of Successful People.

Augustine's Prayer for Self-Awareness

Augustine quote and prayer for self knowledge, self awareness, know yourselfIn Augustine we find one of the great prayers that understands the deep connection between self-awareness and God-awareness.

John Calvin echoed Augustine in Book One of the Institutes. "The knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves are bound toether by a mutual tie.

Bernard of Clairvaux said, "Know yourself and you will have a wholesome fear of God...Without knowledge of self, we have no knowledge of God."

Three Quotes on Love - Each One Profound

I wanted to post three different quotes/images on loving God / the Love of God. Here they are:

First, from the mystic, Richard of St. Victor. Speaking truth out of the ardor of a burning soul.

Quote on speaking truth in love   Richard of St. Victor

Second, the person who speaks of God but does not do so from a place of LOVE.

Quote on loving God

THIRD, Anselm on the paradox on the pursuit of God's love.

Learn How to Learn With Josh Waitzkin

Josh Waitzkin, learning how to learn, achieving masteryJosh Waitzkin is eight-time national chess champion, world t'ai chi chuan competitor and champion and executive coach to the world's top financial leaders. These are nine tips he offers for how to master anything, at any age.

The movie, Searching for Bobby Fischer, is the story of Josh as a very young chess player... it is a great movie about mentoring.