From Strategy

How to Lead Change When You’re NOT The Senior Leader

If you were in charge, everything would be different, wouldn’t it?

But you’re not. At least not yet.

So how do you effect change when you’re NOT the senior leader? How do you lead change when you’re a staff member or simply a volunteer?

Because I’ve written on change, I get that question all the time. That shouldn’t be a surprise, really. Far more people are NOT the senior leader than are the senior leader.

It’s easy to think you’re powerless, or to try to work around a leader you disagree with. But neither is a great strategy.

So what do you do if you want to bring about change but you’re not the key decision maker?

Not the leader

If you do a little homework and learn to think differently, you can be exceptionally effective at leading change well, even when you’re not the senior leader. Even if you’re ‘just’ a staff member or ‘just’ a volunteer.

How?

Here are five ways you can ‘lead up’ to your senior leader when you want to broker change:

1. Think like a senior leader.

So you’re not a senior leader, but try to imagine that you were. Imagine the pressures and issues facing your senior leader and approach the conversation accordingly.

Think through how it impacts the entire organization.

Understand that your senior leader may have budget restraints and many other interests to balance, like a board of directors or elder board. Show him or her that you understand that and you’re willing to be flexible on some points.

Showing your senior leader you understand the bigger picture is huge.

I’m a senior leader and I’ll disclose a bias here.

When someone on my team comes to me with any idea and I realize they have thought it through cross-organizationally (that is, they’ve thought through how it impacts the entire organization), I am far more open to it than otherwise.

Why? Because

They’re thinking about more than just themselves.

They did their homework.

They helped me do my homework.

They showed me they’re leading at the next level.

I always try to be open to new ideas, but here’s the truth. Often before the person is done their presentation or we’re done the discussion, I’ve already thought through 15 implications of their idea.

If they show me theyve thought through the 15 implications before they got to my office, I’m completely impressed and very open.

I’m not saying that’s a good thing, I’m just saying it’s a true thing.

And I think it’s true of most senior leaders.

When you think like a senior leader, you’re more likely to persuade a senior leader.

2. Express desires, not demands.

No one likes a demanding person.

In fact, when someone demands something there’s something inside me that wants to not give them what they asked for.

I don’t always follow that impulse, but expressing demands damages relationships. Instead, talk about what you desire.

Show respect and tell him how you feel – don’t tell him how you think he should feel. And above all, don’t be demanding.

3. Explain the why behind the what.

As Simon Sinek has so rightly pointed out, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Your best argument is not the what (we need to completely transform our church) or  the how (here’s how you should do it).

It’s the why (I think I’ve discovered a more effective way to reach families in our community and help parents win at home…can I talk to you about that?)

The more you explain the why, the more people will be open to the what and the how.

Lead with why. Season your conversation with why. And close with why.

4. Stay publicly loyal.

Andy Stanley has said it this way: public loyalty buys you private leverage.

It’s so true. If you start complaining about how resistant your senior leader is, not only does that compromise your personal integrity, he’s not dumb.

He’ll probably hear about it and he will lose respect for you.

In my mind as a senior leader, the team members who conduct themselves like a cohesive team always have the greatest private influence.

Your public loyalty will buy you private leverage.

5. Be a part of the solution. 

If you’re discontent (which you should be, as I wrote about here), it’s not that difficult to drift into the category of critic. Unless – that is – you decide to be part of the solution.

Offer help. Don’t end-run your leader, run with your leader on the project.

Be the most helpful you can be.

Offer to do the leg work.

Bring your best ideas to the table every day.

Offer to help in any way you can.

If you won’t be part of the solution, you’ll eventually become part of the problem.

So be part of the solution.

Those are five ideas on how to lead change when you’re not the senior leader.

Do they always work? No…human dynamics are more complicated than that.

But they often work, and if they don’t, you will know you gave it everything you had and then you can weigh your options. (Click here for 5 signs it’s time to move on.)

If you want more on change, I wrote about effectively leading change in my best-selling book Leading Change Without Losing It.

Non-senior leaders, what would you add?

Senior leaders, what other advice would you give?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

Some Quick & Dirty Leadership Lessons I Learned When I Bought the Massive iPhone 6 Plus

So I’m a bit addicted to technology.

How about you?

My guess is a relatively high number of you are too.

According to my Google Analytics, half of the people who read this blog read it on their phone. Another 20% read it on their tablet. So, like me, you like your tech. (By the way, if you don’t know those number for your church website and blog, you should…and you should design your content and layout accordingly.)

So when the iPhone 6 was announced, I was super excited. Faster, bigger, sleeker. Count me in. (Yes, I’m that superficial.)

I got up extra early the morning the phones were available for pre-order online and, after two hours of finding only crashed websites, finally got through and ordered mine.

I went for it, and ordered the massive 6 Plus.

I think I learned as much (or more) about change in the ensuring weeks than I did about phones.

iPhone 6 plus, leadership, change

5 Quick and Dirty Leadership Lessons About Change

I’m a student of change, and have even written a book on it. It amazes me how much the dynamics of change surface in every day life.

And if you become a student of those dynamics, you will learn how to lead change better when it counts.

So here’s what I’ve learned from my decision to get the biggest-yet iPhone 6 Plus.

1. Nobody is as excited about the change you want to make as you are.

I LOVE technology. I love new technology even more.

When I finally got the phone I was like a kid at Christmas.

I realize that other people were excited too. Apple sold 10 million 6 and 6 Pluses in the first 72 hours after they went on sale.

But, clearly, I was not personally surrounded by all 10 million people in my immediate circle.

Lots of people I know were not so excited.

Didn’t you just get one last year? (Yes I did. But I’m dumb enough to buy again.)

It’s really not that different than other phones. (Okay, but it’s bigger, right?)

It’s just a phone. (And you’re just a person.)

Principle: Whenever you introduce change, few people will be excited about it as you are.

That’s okay. Really.

If it’s a good change, it will catch on. Just keep going.

Just be prepared for indifference and ridicule.

Speaking of ridicule, on to point 2.

2. People Make Fun of Different

Android fans pointed out that my phone has the same features theirs did two years ago.

People who still send their mail with stamps asked me whether my phone bent yet.

Others who saw it asked how I liked my new iPad.

I mostly just smiled.

To those who persisted, I pointed out that Consumer’s Reports ran independent testing to show that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are no more bendable than most phones on the market. And that if mine did, I’m sure Apple would replace it.

Principle: Every change is met with resistance, even ridicule. Just get that.

As Arthur Schopenauer said:

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Almost everything new you try—if it pushes the envelope of what people are used to—will be met with opposition.

So, when it comes to critics, don’t play their game. Play yours.

3.If the change is truly different, you’ll think you made a mistake.

I got the case for my phone two weeks before my phone shipped.

It was…massive. I began to think I’d made a mistake.

Then the phone arrived. It was huge.

For the first day I thought “I can’t believe I spend all this money on something so big…should have gotten the 6 like everyone else I know.”

That line of thinking lasted about a day, as I’ll explain.

Just know if the change you’re embracing is radical, at some point even you’ll think you made a mistake.

4. Mastering new features makes the experience much better.

I always think the way you use a device within the first ten days of getting it will determine how you use it forever.

The human brain longs for the familiar and will try to get you onto a familiar course as soon as possible, often at the expense of exploring all the possibilities in front of you. I wrote about creating whole new patterns for your life based on this principle in this post.

So I try to learn all the new features and rethink how I use technology before I settle in to a new pattern.

I read tutorials, watch videos and try to master new ways of using the product.

For you iPhone 6 Plus users, the key for me was to shift the centre of gravity from the base of my palm (where I usually rested older phones) to the centre of my hand. Once I did that, I could access any part of the screen with my thumb. Voila.

Plus I’m trying to master all the tips and tricks of iOS8 that the 6 Plus was built for. Here’s a handy article on the iPhone 6 and iOS8 to help you and couple of 6 Plus hacks that can help.

5. If it’s a good change, it doesn’t take long to not want to go back.

After my one day of “why did I order such a big phone?”, I quickly became a fan of it.

I do have relatively big hands and fat thumbs. Love the keyboard! It’s big.

Probably the best thing is that the screen is big enough that I can easily read iBooks and Kindle on my phone, not just my iPad.  I always found my old phones frustrating because you could only get a couple of paragraphs of text on a screen at once.

Now, because my phone is always with me and really is my go-to device, I think that’s going to mean more quality books read and less time wasted meaninglessly meandering through apps.

Just a week into it, I don’t want to go back. In fact, when I hold a smaller phone, it now seems strange to me.

The point: spend enough time adapting to change and you will find a new and better normal.

I think you can see the parallels between something as trivial as a phone and some of the big changes you want to bring about.

And if you want to read more about mastering the dynamics of change when people oppose it, check out my book on that subject here.

What are you learning about change these days?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

CNLP 004: Why Young Adults Are Walking Away from the Church & What You Can Do About It—An Interview with Kara Powell

You want kids to follow Christ.

You want your kids to follow Christ.

And yet between 40-50% of students who are active in the church in their senior year of high school will drift away from the church as young adults.

Why?

Kara Powell’s decade long research project sheds light—and hope—on a growing problem for parents and church leaders.

Welcome to Episode 4  of the podcast.

 

Guest Links: Kara Powell

Find and follow Dr. Kara Powell here:

Kara on Twitter

Kara on Facebook

The Fuller Youth Institute

Links Mentioned in This Episode

The links and resources mentioned in this episode include:

Sticky Faith by Kara Powell and Chap Clark

The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family by Kara Powell

Sticky Faith, Youth Worker Edition by Kara Powell, Brad M. Griffin and Cheryl E. Crawford

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Kara’s interview was full of great advice from the unique perspective of an academic, church leader and even as a mom.

While there’s so much you could do after listening to Kara, here are 3 things you can begin this week:

1. Provide opportunities for adults to connect with kids and teens. Create services teens love to attend. Get them involved. Get kids and teens serving together. Think about how to ensure kids have more than just other kids at work in their lives.

2. Talk to your kids about your own faith journey with your kids. Don’t just interview your kids about what they’re learning or how they’re growing spiritually, talk about how you’re learning and growing. It helps your kids see that you are in a relationship with God. You don’t need to be more spiritual than you already are. Just share the spirituality you already have. It helps kids develop their own faith.

3. Create a place for young people to express doubts. Don’t dismiss faith questions that kids have, even if they bother you. Don’t trivialize their questions. Get comfortable saying “I don’t know but…” It is not doubt that is toxic to young people’s faith. It’s unexpressed doubt. Create space where kids and teens can express their doubts. What’s critical is not that young people get all the answers (sometimes there are no answers), but that they stay engaged in the conversation.

Quotes to Share from Kara

 

A New Episode Every Week…Just Subscribe.

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Your wish is granted. There’s a new episode every Tuesday.

That’s a great reason to subscribe now.

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Let’s Have Lunch In Washington DC or Indianapolis || Orange Tour 2014

I’m going to be in Washington D.C. this Thursday, October 9 and Friday October 10th, and in Indianapolis on Thursday October 16 and Friday October 17th for the 2014 Orange Tour.

I’ll be giving some keynotes and doing some breakouts on parenting, leadership and the church, and hosting a lunch for senior leaders each Friday of the Tour Stop. I’d love to hang out. Sign up below!

2014 Orange Tour

Have lunch with Carey: Register for the Washington DC Orange Tour Stop

Have lunch with Carey: Register for the Indianapolis Orange Tour Stop

 

Next Episode: Craig Jutila

Sometimes leadership makes you hard to live with. Ever felt that in your family?

Craig Jutila, a ministry leader at one of American’s largest churches, went home one day to find his wife had written “I hate my husband” in her journal.

Craig talks honestly and openly about how he had to learn how to lead and live differently, saving his marriage and his future as a leader.

Craig is a sought after speaker, author and he blogs here.

If you want to make your marriage or personal life better, don’t miss Episode 005. It goes live Tuesday, October 14th 2014.

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5 Ways Your Emotions Help and Hurt Your Leadership

I had a blah day earlier this week.

Nothing terrible happened. There was no direct trigger.

I just didn’t feel great emotionally.

Chances are you have more than a few of those days yourself.

Sometimes they’re provoked (a nasty email, conflict on your team, a difficult meeting) and sometimes they’re not. For me, my blah day wasn’t provoked by anything I could see.

Sometimes bad days and seasons just happens. As John Mayer so poignantly puts it:

When autumn comes, it doesn’t ask.
It just walks in, where it left you last.
And you never know, when it starts
Until there’s fog inside the glass around your summer heart.

So many leaders I meet live in that space for more than a short season.

I believe misunderstood and unaddressed emotions sink more leadership potential than most of us realize.

And I also realize if I don’t jump on a bad day quickly, it can lead to a bad season.

If you don’t understand your emotions or know how to manage them, you will never reach your leadership potential.

So how do you do that?

emotions, leadership

There are at least five ways emotions can help you or hurt you in leadership.

Understanding how emotions can work for you or against you is key to becoming a healthy leader and cultivating a healthy culture on your team.

2 Ways Emotions Help You

Emotions can be great friends to any leader. Here are two ways your emotions can make you a better leader:

1. Emotion fuels passion.

Who wants to follow an emotionless leader?

There is no passion without emotion.

As John Wesley said

Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to see you burn.

That’s just true.

You are attracted to people who are passionate, or at least you can’t easily dismiss them.

When you lead with passion, teach with passion and preach with passion, your leadership becomes far more magnetic.

Plus, passion ends up fueling you. It’s what makes you get out of bed in the morning and drives you on.

When your emotions are healthy, passion comes more naturally.

2. A fully alive heart generates powerful leadership.

When your heart is engaged and alive, you become a better leader.

When you feel a full range of emotions (both positive and negative) you can empathize with people who are hurting and celebrate with people who are celebrating.

You can walk with a group or congregation through a hard time and celebrate joyfully in the great moments.

To do that, you need to keep your heart healthy and in tune.

I wrote about the top 10 habits of leaders who effectively guard their hearts here.

3 Ways Emotions Hurt You

Often, the negative impact of emotions exacts an incredible toll on leaders and the people who follow them.

Here are 3 ways emotions can hurt your leadership:

1. Emotions can distort reality.

When you’re having a bad day, you convince yourself it’s over when it’s actually just beginning.

You see negative things more negatively than they should. You take things personally when you shouldn’t.

Even positive emotions can hurt you when they are detached from reality. If you’re overly positive, you can ignore reality, miss impending dangers and gloss over problems that actually require your attention.

That’s why keeping a healthy heart is so important.

2. Negative emotions make everything about you.

Bad days or bad seasons are most often fuelled by pain. A stinging email triggers a deep hurt. A bad staff situation eats away at your joy. A season without momentum erodes your self-confidence.

You end as a leader in pain. And pain is selfish.

In the same way that stubbing your toe makes you forget about whatever else you were doing until the pain is resolved, your emotional pain (no matter its source) makes you more selfish as a leader.

People in pain

Don’t listen well to others.

Withdraw and sulk.

Blame others.

Eventually turn every conversation to a conversation about themselves and their needs.

Want others to share their misery or sadness.

Seek attention.

All of that behaviour is selfish.

And selfish leaders are never effective leaders.

The best way to get rid of your selfishness? Get rid of your pain.

Pray about it. See a counsellor. Drill down on your issues.

3. Emotions make you do things today that you’ll regret tomorrow.

When emotions drive decisions, you almost never make great decisions.

For sure, great decision making is a combination of the head and the heart.

But think about all the terrible decisions you’ve made when you were emotional:

You said terrible things.

You fired someone you wish you hadn’t.

You hired someone you wish you hadn’t.

You lost your temper in a meeting.

You broke up.

You ate too much.

You drove so fast you got a killer ticket.

You almost quit.

You did quit.

Years ago—largely because I learned not to trust my emotions—I made a decision: Don’t base tomorrow’s decision on today’s emotions.

Now when I’m having a bad day (or one that’s unrealistically good), I just don’t make decisions. I wait until I’m feeling more healthy. And, I’ve learned to always draw in other voices and decision makers into important decisions (here’s how to do that).

That’s what I remind myself when I’m having a not-so-good day, or whenever my emotions aren’t firing properly.

I’ve also realized that if that seasons continues for more than a few days, it’s probably a sign God has further work to do on my heart or even go back to a counsellor. I outlined other steps you can take to get off the emotional roller coaster of ministry in this post.

What helps you get through a season when your emotions aren’t reliable?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

5 Reasons Churches That Start Small Stay Small

So…you want your church to grow, right?

When I ask ministry leaders whether they want to see growth, almost every leader I’ve ever talked to says yes.

Sure…there are some house church movements that want to stay small. And some long time or xenophobic churches have lost their appetite for growth. And there are always a few people who think big=evil.

But most leaders want their churches to grow…and for good reasons most of the time. They want to reach people with the life changing love and forgiveness of Christ.

That is awesome.

But most churches don’t grow.

And most churches that start small stay small.

Why?

iStock_000003969312Small

 Almost Nobody Starts Big

Well first of all, almost no church starts big. There are a few exceptions, like North Point.

But that’s the rare exception—almost all of churches start small. Even mega churches most often start with 5 people meeting in a living room and grow from there.

Big doesn’t have to be the destination for everyone.

But clearly, if you want to reach your community, growth is a natural by product of a mission being fulfilled.

 

I Don’t Want to Start Another Debate

Before we get to the main point, a qualifier. The last thing I want to do with this post is to start a debate on small church v. large church. We’ve had them before on other posts and keyboards have been set on fire on other blogs over this issue. No more, okay?

So, for the record:

There are lots of great small churches.

There are lots of great large churches.

There are some bad small churches.

There are some bad big churches.

There is no perfect or biblical number for church size.

No one can claim moral high ground in this discussion.

Can we agree on that? And even if you have different views, can we please not be disagreeable?

Once and for all, size doesn’t determine how significant your ministry is.

Rather, size becomes relevant only for those who are attempting to reach their community.

If you’re going to reach your community, you’re going to grow.

And if you’re going to grow, you have to figure out why certain things make a church grow and why certain things curtail growth.

5 Reasons Churches That Start Small Stay Small

For sure there are more than 5 reasons (I outline 8 related but different reasons why churches never grow past 200 here).

But just know there is no silver bullet.

Doing these 5 things is no guarantee your church will grow.

But the opposite is true.

If you don’t pay attention to these 5 factors, there is a very good chance your church won’t grow. At least not substantially or sustainably.

Read more

Why Every Leader is An Interim Leader (And 5 Things You Can Do About It)

Today’s post is by William Vandenbloemen. William has developed an expertise in helping churches find top staff for their teams. 

He has some sage advice on how to plan for your replacement regardless of your age or how long you’ve been in your position.

So whether you’re a young leader or have only a decade left in full time leadership, William’s advice can help you set up your church or organization up for future success long after you’re gone. Personally, we’re going to implement his advice where I serve at Connexus. It will only make us stronger. – Carey

_____

The truth is that we are all interim leaders.

There will come a day when you are no longer the leader of your church.

The key to a successful pastoral succession plan is to start planning now, no matter your age or tenure.

In the case of pastors, I spent the last year studying hundreds of pastoral successions along with Warren Bird, Head Researcher at Leadership Network.

We co-wrote a book called Next: Pastoral Succession That Works to help pastors, church leaders, and church board members to understand what they can do now to start preparing themselves and their church for the day their church will need a new pastor.  

 

Today is Better Than Some Day

There is not a singular pattern or set of rules for succession planning because there are many differentiating factors that make each succession process unique.

However, throughout our studies, we’ve seen a few cardinal rules pop up. They’re stunningly clear and universally applicable, no matter your situation or stage of planning.

These are steps you can start taking right now. These ideas can apply whether you’re 32 or 62, whether it’s your second year at your current church or your twenty-second, and whether you’re in a denominational appointment system or not.

You shape your future more than you might think. Start by taking ownership of your future succession.

Everyone wants to talk about succession planning until it’s his or her own. Too many pastors push away ideas of succession planning, because they think it is an unrealistic and overwhelming task.

The unknown variables can be scary: not knowing the future burdens and dreams that God might develop in your heart, the health and growth momentum of your present church, the ongoing “fit” between you and your present church, what your church board or district superintendent might do, or how your health or family circumstances might change.

 

5 Steps You Can Take Now

You can take these 5 steps now to begin planning your future.

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5 Things Long Term Leaders Master (And Quitters Never Do)

Very rarely does success come from jumping from one venture to another every few years.

And very rarely does long term impact happen from short term tenure.

And yet in ministry and in life, people often jump from venture to venture or church to church hoping the next fit is better than the last fit, only to be perpetually disappointed.

One of the things that characterizes most leaders who make an impact in our generation is staying power. Andy Stanley has been at North Point since he started it 19 years ago.

Rick Warren has served at Saddleback for three decades. Craig GroeschelPerry NobleSteven Furtick and so many more have all had or are working on long term ministries.

 

Many Leaders Leave Before Their Critical Breakthrough

In my view too many leaders leave too often before critical breakthroughs happen.

Most people who become ‘overnight’ successes have put in a decade or more before anything really note-worthy has happened.

I’m not saying leaders should never leave. In fact, here’s a post outlining 5 signs it’s time to move on.

It’s just if you go too early, you can miss out on so much.

 

5 Things Long Term Leaders Learn to Master

Here are 5 things every leader who stays long term learns to master:

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5 Things Every Church Leader Can Learn from the Mark Driscoll Situation

So let me start here.

I struggle with pride.

Do you?

Doesn’t everyone?

Pride is at the root of all sin. It is pride—the pursuit of self, of knowing better, of being right—that caused our fall in the first place. It is a daily struggle for me.

My heart broke this weekend as I read of the latest developments at Mars Hill Church as their Pastor, Mark Driscoll, temporarily stepped down. There’s a very (from what I can tell) balanced and fair article about the events here in Christianity Today if you want some background.

I need to say I don’t know Mark Driscoll. I’ve never met him.

And this is not a post where I’m going to pass any level of judgment on Pastor Mark or Mars Hill. He needs our prayers as does his family and church (My heart really hurts for his family in a season like this. They love their husband and dad. So does Christ.)

And even as I say “he needs our prayers” I realize that often in Christian circles we say that with a sense of superiority, as though he needs our prayers or she needs our prayers in way that I don’t.

Not even close to true.

No one prays with clean hands. I don’t. You don’t.

I need your prayers as desperately as Pastor Mark. So do you. So when we pray, we need to pray as those who come alongside each other before a merciful and just God and a Saviour we all so desperately need.

We are in this together.

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13 Little Known Facts About Change Too Many Leaders Miss

You’re probably trying to change something right now.

And — if you’re honest — you’ve already thought about backing off.

Change seems too difficult.

You’ve watched friends get hurt trying to lead similar change.

You’ve heard the voices of opposition get a little louder.

You really don’t want to be afraid to open your inbox every morning.

But what if this is true?

Change is harder than it needs to be because it’s more mysterious than it needs to be.

And it doesn’t need to be quite that mysterious.
Here’s what I believe about change.

Change has dynamics; and the dynamics can be learned.

A couple years ago,  I wrote a book about leading change while facing opposition. I’m passionate about change because I’ve lived through it and can vouch for the fact that change is more than possible.

I’m also passionate because if the church (and other organizations) are going to reach their potential, change isn’t optional, it’s inevitable.

 

13 Facts About Change Many Leaders Miss

So, if you’re navigating change, here’s a short cheat sheet of 13 key principles that I hope will help you maintain clear thinking amidst the sea of emotions that leading change brings:

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