Become More Daring: 7 Risks Any Leader Can Take Today

The problem with many leaders is that there is a gap between what they want to see happen and what they will do today.

We dream of a radical new future, but then we answer email all day, go to meetings, inhale caffeine and go home before it’s too late with far too much of whatever-we-did-today (what did I do again today?) leftover for a boring repeat tomorrow.

To put this as eloquently as possible, this stinks.

To accomplish a radically new future, you will have to do radically different things.

And this scares the socks off of most of us. After all, risk is for risk-takers, and many of us are not crazy risk-takers.

But what if you could begin to change that starting…today?


The End of the Road for the Timid And Fearful is Not Awesome

Before we get into how to break this pattern of leadership monotony, let’s look at why courage, risk -taking and daring matter in leadership.

It’s simple. If you fail to take risks in your leadership,

Your organization will suffer from few breakthroughs and likely continue a path to decline and irrelevance.

You will likely never leave leadership with any sense of fulfillment or accomplishment.

I completely understand that underneath a lack of courage is often fear.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a fearful person and a lazy person?  The writer of Proverbs shows us where that lands, knowing that fear and laziness are cousins. While the motivation is different, the outcome is often indistinguishable.

I’m not saying you should be a reckless crazy person, but you probably need to be more of one than are you presently.

Let’s face it, when over 90% of churches are plateaued or declining, the church is not suffering from an overabundance of courage or risk-taking.

I believe risk taking is both a habit and a mindset. Take a few steps toward tackling small challenges, and soon you’ll be up for big ones.

Similarly, if you’re a natural risk taker, it’s also natural with age to rest on your laurels. Don’t. Even taking risks like the ones below will prime the pump for future change and transformation, which, by the way, is always in season.

After all, the next generation doesn’t care what you did yesterday.


7 Risks Any Leader Can Take Today

So, if you want to flex your risk-muscle for the first time or the 1000th time, here are 7 things you can to today to get started:


5 Signs Your Church Culture Needs to Change (Because It’s Harming Your Mission)

Chances are you have a very well thought-through mission and vision.

And that’s fantastic.

But have you ever thoroughly thought through the culture of your organization?

Here’s why that matters:

Your mission and vision determine the what and the why of what you do.

Your culture determines how your organization feels and behaves.

And, in most cases, your culture trumps your mission and vision. Often without anyone saying a word or even realizing it, you can undo a great mission by having a terrible culture.

If you’ve ever struggled with why a compelling mission and vision haven’t taken you further, maybe it’s time to look at your culture.

The truth is  simple: A bad organizational culture will kill a great organizational mission.

Chain shade


Yes, You’ve Left Great Missions Behind Because of a Bad Culture

You’ve already left great missions behind because of bad organizational cultures.

You went to a home design store that had the exact product you needed, but you left because the staff didn’t care or because the owner treated you poorly.

You avoid a certain location in a restaurant chain you otherwise love because the staff always get your order wrong and the restrooms are rarely clean.

You didn’t stay long at the company you first worked for after graduating, not because it wasn’t in your field (it was), but because you really didn’t like the people you worked with.

None of these problems are really mission or vision problems. At their heart, they’re cultural problems.

And if you think about it, you probably have a few places you visit regularly not because you even like the mission or vision, but because you like the culture?

Ever go to a coffee shop or favourite restaurant when you weren’t all that hungry, just to hang out? Miss your college days because you loved the people you were with? I sometimes go to my favourite bike store even when I’m not buying anything because I love the vibe and conversation (and even the smell). That’s culture.

Your problem often isn’t what you believe as an organization, it’s how you behave.


5 Signs Your Church Culture Needs to Change

Many churches that have a culture problem exhibit similar signs. Here are some I’ve observed.

(By the way…because culture problems are often people problems and sin problems, the phenomenon is wider than just church. So even if you don’t work in church, some of these signs might seem uncomfortably familiar.)

Here are 5 signs your culture needs to change:


Why “Just Turn Down His Microphone” is A (Really) Bad Leadership Strategy

When I began in ministry, the churches I served were small and traditional. So small in fact, that I actually sang in a choir.

Some Sundays there were as many people in the choir as there were in attendance.

The truth is (and there’s hardly anyone who would disagree with this)…few of us could really sing. (Ever been to a church/event like that?)

But being able to didn’t really seem to be a qualification for being in the choir.

It seemed that the only criteria for being in the choir was wanting to sing.

The choir didn’t last long. Within a few years we had a band.

But again we struggled with the question of qualification.

So here’s the issue everyone who has ever handled volunteers struggles with.

How do you determine who gets to sing, serve, or volunteer, when it’s pretty clear to everyone except them they don’t possess the gifts for it?

That’s a tough leadership question.


The Mess This Gets Us Into

It’s just too easy to find yourself in a situation as a leader in which people who:

Can’t sing are singing

Can’t play are playing

Can’t communicate are preaching

Can’t really lead are leading

What do you do in a situation like that?

Usually, you feel paralyzed.

How do I tell them?

How do I ask them to step aside?  

After all, they love doing it. And they really can’t see that few people share their enthusiasm for what they’re doing.

In the case of the band, usually you end up pulling the sound guy aside and saying, as discreetly as possible, “just turn down his mic.”

Instinctively you know you’ve caved in to cowardice, but you just can’t muster up the nerve to have the hard conversation.

So we come up with justifications for allowing people to serve significantly outside of their skill set:

But she loves doing it.

He’s been doing it for years. 

He asked…so what was I going to tell him?

Well, maybe for starters, you maybe you could have told him no.


What’s Wrong with This Picture?

Too much actually. There are at least three long term implications of not confronting the issue of people serving where they are gifted:


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