January 2015

Problem Solving: Asking Why, Why, Why, Why and Lastly - Why?

Problems Exist
Problems make life harder.
Problems need solutions.
Leaders are those who have responsibility in solving problems and in helping others solve problems.

We all know that. Now the question is - what are the best ways to solve problems?

One of the very good techniques I have used for years, especially when I am coaching, is to ask the Five Why Questions. It is actually the same question, but asked five times so the search goes deeper and deeper to find the root causes of a problem.

When you stop asking WHY when you give your first answer, you have a premature, superficial understanding of the problem and its causes. 

Time to Change Those Bad Habits About Email

About two years ago, I was in a conversation with a leader who ASSURED me that email was a thing of the past. Young people were no longer using email. New social media forms were making email a dinosaur.

Well, while versions of instant messaging have grown... there has been no decrease in email while that happened. In fact, there are more emails then ever. Which is why leaders need to be wise about how we use email.

There are so many common mistakes we make that not only lead to a decrease in our productivity, but for others as well.

How the Mighty (Might Be?) Falling!

Jeff Bezos and Amazon, past their prime, how the mighty fall

Jeff Bezos and Amazon.
Are they Past Their PRIME?
How the Mighty Might be Falling!

The Real Story Behind Jeff Bezos... is an excellent article that looks at this mighty giant in the industry. A juggernaut and behemoth that have seemed unstoppable, but which may be stumbling due to organizational leadership failures.

It is too soon to tell... but there are troubling signs. This is worth a read. It is an in-depth analysis. If you are familiar with Jim Collins fine book, How the Mighty Fall, you will see some of the signs. Of course Collins says there is always hope.

The Qualities of Pastoral Leadership

Pope Francis, close to the people, criterion for being a bishop, shepherd, pastor

This is criterion number one, pastors close to the people.
Pope Francis

One of the MAJOR CHANGES needed in the Roman Catholic Church (and for that matter - all churches, no matter their theology) was the criteria used for choosing those who would be leaders in the church.

Francis Go Repair My House

Francis go repair my house which as you can see is all in ruins

"Francis, go repair my house, which, as you can see, is all in ruins."

These are the words that Francis, a rich merchant's son and a young man in deep spiritual crisis, heard repeated three times in 1205, while he was praing in tears before the crucifix of St. Damian's Church in Assisi. (Francis: Life and Revolution, pp. 167).

And Francis would go to found the Order of the Franciscans, seeking to repair what was broken in the Roman Catholic Church (of which much was broken).

Pope Francis: Life and Revolution

Pope Francis, God forgive you you don't know what you've done

God forgive you, you don't know what you've done.
These are the friendly, joking and yet profoundly prophetic words from Jorge Bergoglio to his "brother cardinals" after dinner with them on the day of his succession to being Pope Francis.

I recently read the excellent biography on Bergoglio/Francis by Argentine reporter Elisabetta Pique, who has followed his ministry career for a long time, and who was/is a personal friend of the Pope.

Core Authors: Sitting and Soaking...

With C.S. Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer
More than twenty years ago, I came across an idea from Bobby Clinton that not only confirmed what I had already been doing, but which set me even more firmly on that path. Bobby Clinton, emeritus professor i the school of world missions at Fuller Theological Seminary spoke on the great value of having Core Authors.

A Core Author is an author who so resonates for you, who so powerfully and compelling writes and addresses the themes of greatest interest - that you should read AS MUCH AS YOU CAN by these authors.

C U at the Movies

Well Probably Not...
Especially since I tend to miss most of them when they are in the theater, and don't catch them until they are released on DVD, Netflix...

Here is the list of Clauia Puig, USA Today film critic, for her Top Ten Films of 2014.

I have not seen a single movie on her list, although there are several I want to see. What was on your favorites in movies and TV shows?

Late in the year I was able to catch:

Seven Habits of Emotionally Healthy People

This is a very inspiring, simple to understand article on what emotionally healthy people look like. This revolves around the trait of being positive, full of vital optimism, what Daniel Goleman calls resonance.

If there is one leadership change to make this year - this is it.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International



Do You Want To Feel a LOT BETTER?

Then Get Into a Regular Exercise Program

In 2006 at age 50, I weighed in at about 255 pounds. I was so frustrated. Most of my life, I had been in reasonable shape, mostly due to consistent exercise, not because of good eating habits.

At age 40, I had a life transition to a new job, a new area, a new work lifestyle . . . and everything went downhill about my health. Well, everything except for my weight. That went up year after year. The more weight I gained, the more immobile I became. Like so many people who struggle with weight issues, I felt bad about my weight, I hated how out of shape I was, I knew the health risks... but I continued to do nothing about it.

Habits That Will Replenish Your Energy and Vitality

Habits of the Heart, Habits of Lifestyle, Habits that are the patterns, routines and regula that shape who we are and what we do.

It is vital that we have those replenishing activities patterned into our daily rhythms. Here are:

Five Habits Worth Checking Out

What new habits are you working on... are you interested in... that you would recommend to your friends?

Get Your Personal Productivity Off to a Good Start - EARLY in the Year

14 Ideas to Get You Going Strong
There should be almost nothing on this list that is new to you.

On the ohter hand, most of what is on this list is what you need reminded about and which needs to be refreshed in your life.

Personal productivity that leads to long term results, personal fulfillment as you are in alignment with God's plan for your life, and fruitfulness that spills over into the lives and ministries of others, will be dependent on the daily and sustained:  practices of personal productivity.

Start out implementing a few good ideas. Build consistency, and then add some more.

Top 20 Articles of Interest in 2014 Christianity Today

If you want to stay in touch with the news articles from Christianity Today that were of greatest interest to its readers, click here.

There are 20 articles. Even if you just scroll down the list to see what is mentioned - you will enjoy that.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


A Best of Brain Pickings Articles List

That is Well Worth Your Time

These articles, The Best Brain Pickings, are not from a Christian point of view, so you will not agree with some of what is said. But they are all worth reading. They are thoughtful, engaging, and examples of the kinds of things Christian leaders should be reading, so we stay in close touch with what the world is thinking.

Most of the articles are a bit lengthy, especially for reading on the computer screen. I use a great program called Readability to save internet articles as files on my computer. This program removes all the extraneous ads, etc.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International



Top 10 Stories of Intriguing Conversions in 2014

If you want to read some VERY interesting conversion stories that illustrate the continuing power of the Gospel to penetrate to the most unexpecte of people...


For most of them, Francis Thompson's, Hound of Heaven theme comes to mind... the pursuing God, who is relentless in his pursuit of us.

Grace and peace,

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


Leadership Lessons From Stephen Colbert

I love to find great case studies / stories of leadership from a variety of places in our culture. Stephen Colbert recently ended his run at comedy central... and will be the heir of David Letterman.

Here is a great reflection on why Colbert was so good. It has good content, including several videos (short) to unpack the themes behind the nine year run Colbert had.

And learn from one of the best entertainers of the past 10 years.

Three Things That Make you Better as a Leader

Years ago, Seth Godin rocked my world when he told leaders, entrepreneurs (and in fact all of us) to give away some of our best stuff.

He said, even though this seems counter-intuitive, do it. Do it because you exist to resource others and a way of generosity that gives freely creates great relationships and credibility. 

Remember the Free Hug movement a few years ago? How contagious and uplifting it was.