July 2014

More Stage 3 Decline - The Denial of Risk and Peril

Stage 3 Gets Worse and Worse (and Worse)
Great Leadership Lessons, Note 27

Here are several signs that decline is in the third stage. In How the Mighty Fall, Collins gives many examples of great organizations, who moved into decline and how these features were at work in the decline. These stories are quite powerful as illustrations.

Failing to Plan for Succession

The Neglect of Long Term Preparation for Leadership Transitions
Great Leadership Lessons, Note 26

The smaller the organization, the more difficult it is to plan for successors to step into the most vital seats.
The smaller the organization, the more unlikely it has the right people already there who can step up to more significant roles of leadership.
The smaller the organization, the more likely it will have to go outside to find new people to fill empty seats or imminently empty seats.

For companies to remain great, they must have great replacement, advancement and succession strategies in place. Too many organizations simply do not much in place.

How Much Sleep Do You Need? What If You Don't Get Enough Sleep?

Here is an extra resource for you today. It is a fun (or scary) short video courtesy of Fast Company. Check it out.

I may be fooling myself, but I may have that genetic adaptation for less sleep. If not...

Ruh Roh Rould be Rouble

Your Brain on Six Hours of Sleep


Failing to Recruit the Right People

Is Always Bad and Even Worse When an Organization is in Decline
Great Leadership Lessons, Note 25

I’ve seen it many times. The right people make all the difference for good. The right people are how you move from good to great.

The wrong people make all the difference in the other direction. The wrong people are how the mighty (or even the “quite good") fall from good to mediocre to bad to terrible.

God...Truth...Virtue...Cultural Systems... The Inevitable Decay

Here are some images that reveal the decline and decay we experience in our culture.

Once GOD has been diminished and the true image of God lost...

God has become trivialized, diminished, reduced, domesticated, tamed, boxed in, anemic and rather boring.
buddy Jesus, the diminishing of God, trivial spirituality

With this diminishment of GOD, then we experience a decay of TRUTH. For God is truth, true truth, the source of all truth and without God, truth cannot reamain. We exchange the truths that would provide the norms for human life for the prevailing lies that are convenient.

The Trivialization of God: The Dangerous Illusion of a Manageable Deity

Some Book Titles Just Rock Your World - Like This One!

The Trivialization of GodI am preaching (in a few days) on the question(s):

Who is God?
What is God like?
Do I have a true understanding of the true God?
How close does my image of God correspond to the Bible's teaching?

The Undisciplined Pursuit of the "Wrong Stuff"

The More is not the Problem...the Wrong Stuff is the Problem
Great Leadership Lessons, Note 24

I have a friend who is a successful small business owner. His business involved providing a product and the service for installing the product. My friend reads a lot about leadership. He knows how to strategize, build teams, lead change, solve problems; he has a good brand, solid reputation, competitive prices... Like I said - he is successful. 

The Undisciplined Pursuit of More

Stage Two of Organizational Decline
Great Leadership Lessons, 23

It is not the problem of complacency that leads to decline (according to the research by Collins). It is the undisciplined pursuit of more. Now, before we completely eliminate complacency and laziness - I would like to put in a good word of warning about complacency, for it is indeed a problem that leads to decline.

Complacency and lazines about learning, being developmental of your poeple, thinking about the future, analyzing cultural trends, critical thinking, building teams, deep praying and all the other necessary works of leadership - this will indeed lead to problems. Serious ones.

Four Signs of Stage One Decline (The Results of Pride)

The Signs are Clear When You Have the Eyes to See
Someone in your organization needs to have those eyes!
Great Leadership Lessons, Note 22

dogmatic, dogmatism, deathIt has been several weeks since my previous post in this series. To refresh your memory - check out Pride is the Deadly Organizational Sin.
There are four signs Collins mentions that are the results of pride. Here is a brief explanation of each.

Women in Leadership: Seven Stories of Getting Better

Here is a nice article with snapshops of seven women (all over the age of 40) who are leaders. They reflect on how they have grown as leaders through the years. 

Life long learning is mandatory for great leadership.  I am privileged to work with several truly great women leaders. They are life long learners, devoted to spiritual formation, leadership development and missional impact on the world. They put in the hours neeed to grow. They produce wonderful results.

These stories illustrate how seven leaders learn and how leadership capacity and fruitfulness expands. Thanks again to Fast Company for providing outstanding short articles for leaders.

Seven Inspiring Women and How They've Become Better Leaders With Age.

A Vital Truth and a Challenging Word for Today's Church

Christian Monasticism, David KnowlesTHIS MAY BE ONE OF MY MOST IMPORTANT POSTS

Here is a profoundly insightful, long sentence from David Knowles. I was really moved by how it describes one of the GREAT TENSIONS that is core to my own calling and ministry. What is authentic faith? Why does it seem authentic faith is so often missing in the church?

It is from his book Christian Monasticism, pp. 12. It is in the context of why the monastic movements of the 3rd and 4th centuries flourished with thousands of Christians flocking to the desert to find a space and community of deep spirituality.

C.S. Lewis as a Public Speaker

C.S. Lewis, public speakingMany of us have read the extremely popular book by C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity. What you may not know is the book was originally several series of talks Lewis gave on the B.B.C. network.

James Welch was the BBC director of religion. Welch was looking for a speaker who could communicate powerfully, clearly and in a contemporary way, the deep truths of the Christian faith. Welch was looking for a speaker who had the following characteristics.

1.  A voice that exuded warmth.

2.  Common sense that spoke to the masses

Does Background Music Help or Hinder Learning and Work?

Since I continue to be extremely busy with writing projects and planning for new learning communities this fall, my time for blogging is less than normal. So, if you are interested, continue to check out these links I post for articles I believe are worth reading.

Here is one on whether Music Helps or Hinders Productivity.

Sometimes I do listen and other times I don't. Most often I do not listen while I work, especially think, write, create materials.  How about you?

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


The Spiritual Life of Young Adults

Here is an incredibly insightful article about the spiritual life of young people. It was published in 2010 and comes from Biola University where evangelicals are doing some of the best work on spirituality you will find in North America. It will take about 10-15 minutes for a good, engaging read... or you can skim it over in about 3 minutes to see what is there.

Spirituality at a Crossroads

Again - this is very, very good.

I am doing some more reading and study on these issues. This article captures in a concise way what the longer studies are showing.

The Art of Communication

Here is a really good article and video on public speaking. It has 8 things a good communicator MUST NOT DO. Then there are 4 things that good communicators MUST DO.

It is from one of my favorite bloggers - Presentation Zen.

Enjoy and incorporate in the next time you speak.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


Five Mistakes at Work

Hey, I am back from vacation and SLAMMED with stuff to do. It may be a little hard for posts, so I may be putting up links to some worthwhile articles and posts this week instead of writing my own posts.

Here is a good one.

You're Probably Making These Five Mistakes at Work.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


Lessons on Startups From Our Founding Fathers

While it is a few days after the Fourth of July where we celebrated the founding of the United States of America, I thought you would enjoy this article from FastTrack on lessons about startups you can see in our founding fathers.

Lessons on Startups From Our Founding Fathers.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International



Culture Making or Being Made by Culture

Maybe it is not a paradox, nor even a mystery. But it is quite a challenge - this thing called culture.

In the Bible, the idea is that we are IN the world but we are not OF the world. We live in the world, but the world is not to live inside us. We dwell in the world as sojourners and travellers. We love the world, but we love the world in the way that God loves the world. We value the world, but we don't cling to it. 

You Will Worship Something

"You gotta serve somebody."
Bob Dylan sang that.

"You gotta worship someone or something."
Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his own way, said this.

"A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming" (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

The biblical teaching is this.

To be human is to worship something greater than the self.

Pride is the Deadly Organizational Sin

pride all about me deal with itNo Surprise on This One!  Pride is Always at the Root of What's Gone Wrong!
Great Leadership Lessons, Note 21

It is the original sin.
It is the most deadly of sins.
It is the most ingrained of sins.
It is the foolishness of those who cannot see themselves for who and what they are.
It is the sin which launches a multitude of other ones.

Call it hubris, ego, vanity, arrogance, superiority - in this form it is always bad. There is a type of pride that is good. You can have a true and necessary delight, enjoyment, satisfaction, and confidence in real achievements and accomplishments. Leaders actually need that kind of pride.


The Five Stages of Decline

Introducing the Stages
Great Leadership Lessons, Note 20

Today is an overview of the Five Stages of Decline. In following posts, I will give more detail to each stage.

Five Stages of Decline Jim Collins

ONE. Pride.
It is always the original and deadliest of sins.  Whether in your personal life or in that of an organization - it is ALWAYS DEADLY. Organizations themselves take on the character of its leaders. Remember Enron and its leadership tribe who believed they were "the smartest guys in the room"?