Favorite Sayings

Over the years I’ve collected a few favorite sayings. Some are original with me, and others I’ve adopted. Here they are (I’ll add to the list as I go along through life):

  1. The problem with leadership is knowing who is following you and who is chasing you. That may take a while to sink in. What it means is that some of the people behind you are supporting you while others are actively throwing knives at your back. You want to get rid of the latter or transform them into the former. Regardless, leaders need to know that some people in their circles are not followers but chasers.
  2. A financial crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Use crises as opportunities to fine tune the organization and prune programs, expenses, staff, and even buildings that are not in the critical path of your mission. If everyone knows there is a fiscal crisis, then don’t waste it by continuing to support ministries that have needed to go away but you didn’t have a good enough reason to terminate them.
  3. Give God what’s right, not what’s left. Neat stewardship quote (not original to me).
  4. Separate the Personal from the Professional. Too many times people perceive a professional criticism as a personal attack. Or they mix their professional lives with their personal lives and that blend causes angst for them and those around them. Professionals should act professionally and realize that who they are (personal life) is NOT their job or career (professional life).
  5. Committees should be a balance of institutional memory and new ideas. As you work with who should be on a committee, always have a balance young people and new people with new ideas with people who’ve been on the committee a while and those who’ve been in the church a while. The longevity group tempers the younger/fresher group (but hopefully doesn’t completely dampen them) and the younger/fresher group instills vitality and enthusiamsm (but not at a cost that tramples history or leads into minefields which could cost the church its unity).
  6. Quality + Service + Cost = Value. This is based on Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, who used the QSCV formula to run his stores. I’ve modified it to define value which is what I strive for in all my purchases. I don’t necessary take the low bidder but I will go with the vendor that gives me the best perceived value, and that is a combination of quality, service, and cost.
  7. If nothing unifies us, then everything divides us. Every church and every organization should have one central thing around which everyone unites. That one thing will keep everyone on task and everything in focus. When a church or organization just does routine things without any unifying commitment, then everyone will feel that their particular passion should be the most important thing. That leads to division.
  8. Attack the problem, not the person. Quote from an article in the 1980s in Fortune magazine. It’s been something I’ve used with every staff I’ve ever had. It helps people to focus on the issue and not the person. If the person is the issue, that’s another thing, but most of the time, problems (not people) are at the root of conflicts.
  9. Hire attitude; train aptitude. After hiring and firing dozens of people, I’ve learned that aptitude (skills, abilities, talents, knowledge, etc.) can be taught or learned (not always, but most of the time). Attitude cannot be taught or learned; it is in someone’s DNA to have the right (or wrong) attitude. My experience as a manager is that a person’s attitude is the single most important factor in that person keeping or losing a job. Résumés list a person’s aptitudes; the interview reveals the attitude, and that is the part that should get you hired.
  10. If you need a tool to do your job and I don’t give it to you, shame on me. If I you need a tool to do your job and I give it to you but you don’t use it, we’re going to talk. I let all new employees know that this is what I expect from them. First, if they need something, they need to ask me for it. Second, if I don’t provide it (and don’t have a good reason for not providing it), that is my fault and they should complain louder or to someone else. Finally, if I do give them a tool and they don’t use it, then the employee is heading toward losing his/her job.
  11. Have conversations, not policies. This comes from North Point Community Church where they have almost no operating policies (except Personnel Policies, which are a must). Instead, they have conversations when someone acts up. So, when someone does something that out of bounds, instead of passing a policy to “punish the entire class” the supervisor has a conversation with the person. For instance, if someone schedules an event and gives the building staff about 24 hours to get ready for it, that results in a conversation to explain to the person that there are lots of moving parts to pulling off an event, even a small one, with just a few hours’ notice and the best practices is to give two week’s notice of a event.
  12. I get worried when I don’t hear laughter in the halls. A former boss said this. He feels that having a staff that laughs with each other is healthy emotionally. When a staff does not laugh and carry on, then things have become very serious in the office and even tense. I encourage laughter in the halls!

Lead On!