Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice (Harper Business, 2016)
Is successful innovation random? Is there a reproducible way to identify opportunities to serve people and solve problems that no one else is doing? Do customers really know what they want? Why are some companies and organizations one hit wonders while others have a history of innovation and success? These are some of the questions the authors answer in this well researched book. I appreciate the case studies and numerous real world examples given. If you like to think creatively, solve problems, and move your organization forward then you’ll enjoy this book. This book has a 4.6 star rating on Amazon.
So often work is hard. Even when you’re in a role that you feel called to, there are days when it seems nothing is going right. Delays are happening. Resistance. Challenges. Overwhelmed. It so easy to get discouraged and want to quit… or check-out. How do you get through the most difficult days at work?
I recently read the book of Haggai in the Bible. It takes place at a time when the people of God have returned from decades in exile to their homeland. They have found favor with their enemies and received permission to go home and begin rebuilding their city and the temple for God. They also realize this is something God has called them to do.
However, when they return they face resistance. Things aren’t turning out as they had hoped. There are roadblocks, barriers, and detours. They’re especially frustrated as they realize this is something God wants them to do. They want to quit.
Have you ever noticed that everything worthwhile in life is uphill? A great marriage, building a successful business, advancing your career, being a great parent, living a healthy life style, and making wise financial choices for the future are all difficult. They take work. They take intentionality. The challenge is that our habits often don’t support our hopes. As John Maxwell says, “People have uphill hopes and downhill habits.”
In my own life, I’ve realized that many of the habits and patterns I have don’t support my dreams and hopes for the future. For example, after several years of being very physically active that culminated in my dream of completing an Ironman, I put on 20 lbs of weight in a year. One of my life goals is to remain physically fit so it doesn’t impact life with my wife and children. I don’t want my health to be a barrier. Over that year I adopted some downhill habits that needed to change. I’ve discovered three steps to break a downhill habit and get intentional with my life.
When I came to Christ in college I made a commitment to God that I would follow Him anywhere He would lead and do anything He would ask. That adventure led me to my beautiful wife Courtney, multiple mission trips around the world, to build our family through international adoption, to step out of a successful sales career into full-time vocational ministry, and to help start Life Church where I’ve served full time for the last 10 years.
As Daniel says, “God changes times and seasons.” The time for us to follow God in the next season of that adventure is here. I am stepping back from my full-time pastoral position at Life Church into a part-time role. I am also going to work full time with a startup in Indianapolis called Dulead. We will focus on utilizing technology to help organizations do leadership development in a way that is continuous, consistent, measurable and extremely effective.
As a parent, I’ve realized the extraordinary power my words have in the lives of my children. I can encourage and inspire my children to greatness, or bring them to tears with just a few words. Even though at work you’re dealing with adults, the power your words have is incredible.
The language you and your team use set the direction and atmosphere for your organization. Average leaders don’t give any thought to the words they use in their emails, team meetings, and hallway conversations. Great leaders are intentional about identifying unhealthy language and replacing it with language that is life-giving, encouraging, and forward-looking. They understand that language creates culture.
Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work (Routledge , 2015)
It happens to all of us. We get comfortable, complacent, and lose momentum. It happens as individuals, to organizations, and industries. Whitney Johnson has an incredible personal story of how she went from an administrative assistant, to an equity analyst, to one of the most influential managers and business thought leaders of our time. If you’re in a place where you know things need to change, or a disruption is needed, then read this book! It has great insights for both individuals and organizations. 86% of the people on Amazon that read it gave it five stars.
Coaching happens through strategic conversations. Strategic conversations don’t happen by accident, you must be intentional.
In the busyness and day-to-day grind, it can be easy to miss opportunities to have intentional conversations with the team you lead. Coaching your team to develop them personally and professionally is one of the most important jobs you have as a leader. This not only benefits your team but is necessary for your organization to be healthy, succeed, and grow.
How can you ensure these conversations happen? How do you bring up the sometimes difficult issues that need to be discussed?
Leadership is about people. As leaders, we are responsible for helping our team grow and develop. Our goal as leaders is not simply to get more output and performance but to help them discover and grow in their talents and gifts.
Good leaders will coach their people for performance while great leaders coach them for development. To coach your team, it’s important to have tools to help their development move forward. Here are the five qualities I focus on as I coach people for growth and development.
Every Good Endeavor (Penguin Books, 2014)
What does it look like to live your faith out at work? Far too often we reduce it to putting a cross up in your cubicle or having a Bible on your desk. Life as Christian in the work place is so much more deep and meaningful. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read in helping Christians see their work as meaningful, valuable, and good. Even if you’re in a difficult environment or you don’t like what you do, Keller will give you a new perspective as you go into work each day. If you want to have a greater impact and a better understanding of how God wants to work in and through your work then check out this book! 82% of people on Amazon gave it 5 stars.