Archive for the ‘Leadership’ category

Tribes – Take the Follow

February 16, 2009

I wrote a post on this topic previously and deleted it, thinking it was the right thing to do. I folded to a skewed opinion of another person and shouldn’t have.  I now know that it was a mistake to delete it. The key in leadership – both individual and corporate – is not to make decisions rashly and based on emotion. The basic concept in this section from the incredible book from Seth Godin, Tribes, is that there comes a time in leadership when, if your vision becomes cloudy, you must step aside and let those who are assured of direction lead.

When a leader is unwilling to let go of the reins of leading when their own direction is in doubt, a flag should go up and be acted upon by those within the organization. Not acting will only serve to cripple the organization. Without solid leadership, the leader only serves to move the organization more quickly in a direction neither he nor the ones he leads are aware of.

Great leaders know when to move on within the organization. Great leaders also know when they have reached the boundary of ability and can no longer adequately lead and move on outside the organization. When a great leader cannot let go, that leader sinks in both further ablilty and continued influence.

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Dialogue for Change

November 19, 2008

One of the big topics in education and learning is the concept of Dialogue Education. Jane Vella first proposed the concept in the early 80’s. It draws on a variety of adult learning theories and combines them into an integrated learning experience. The biggest difference is that teaching is typically done in a monologue format, this form is a dialogue. The dialogue focuses more on what the student does and less on what the teacher says.

The implications for this are staggering as we look at the current way in which most learning environments are designed. In the church setting there is a person talking (monologue) and a congregation listening. In the work world during a meeting, there is a person making a presentation (monologue) and a group listening. In most educational settings there is a teacher (monologue) and students listening.

Dialogue education is a form of Constructivism, in that it focuses on the argument that people construct knowledge and meaning from experiences, because of that, Dialogue Education can be a means for transformative learning. The big reason is that it gives ownership to the learner for his own learning.

I know that is lot to digest, but the implications in the church setting cannot be stressed enough. Because of this I’m beginning a series of Dialogues, called Dialogue4Change. At the onset we will discuss the theory and practice of Dialogue Education itself and what its meaning in our different environments:work, family, church.

If there are a majority of people in the Warner Robins area we will meet at Lifepoint Church approximately once a month. If the majority are from further places, I’ll do my best to facilitate an on-line discussion in the same time-frame.

To let me know if you are interested in becoming a part of this cutting edge discussion, email me at dialogue4change@gmail.com.  In the next few days I’ll be putting up a separate page that will go into more detail. This is going to be Great!

Most People

November 15, 2008

This is from the book Tribes by Seth Godin and it is great:

Most people like the products they already have, so marketers ignore them.
Most people work hard to fit in, so others don’t notice them.
Most people like eating at places where they’ve eaten before.
Most people would like the world to stay just as it is, but calmer.
Most people are afraid.
Most people didn’t use Google until last year.
Most people aren’t curious.
You’re not most people.
You’re not the target market for most marketers.
Almost all the growth that’s available to you exists when you aren’t like most people and when you work hard to appeal to folks who aren’t most people.

Here’s to you. Someone who is most assuredly not “most people”!

Fans Change the World

November 9, 2008

One of my hero’s is Kevin Kelly. Several moths ago I had the opportunity to meet him; it was a major highlight of my life. Kevin talked about the “1,000- True Fans” in an article. Basically, a true fan is someone who is a member of the tribe and cares deeply about you and your work. A true fan is the person who will choose to tell others about you, bring a friend to hear you.

In these days of Facebook and MySpace, the concept of a “friend” is increasingly gaining a cloud of vagueness. This is not so of true friends. If an artist has 1,000 true friends, he has enough to make a good living and help some others along the way. A true friend will not wait for the paperback. They want the hardback or first edition. The major key element that true fans bring is the added intercommunication with other fans. The true fans help to fan the words of the artist into a roar.

The takeaway hear is that you cannot allow yourself to become fixated on numbers. You do, however, want to seek to make and keep fans. A few of these precious true fans can change everything. They just need you to be brave enough to be You.

Crowds

November 8, 2008

I’ve been reading a lot about Crowds. Who they are, and who they are not. The most intriguing aspect of the Crowd conversation is that nobody is discounting that the power leverage has shifted. The ball is owned by the Crowd, and the Crowd determines what the next step is.

The nagging thought that I keep getting is that if a Crowd is simply a large mass of people, the ability to direct, sell, teach, even listen to them is practically impossible. The other thing about Crowds is that they can gather in an instant, but they can also disperse just as quick.

I’ve been to a couple of meetings with “guys in the know” about the next step in church development and where religion plays a part in that development. In every instance there is a focus on the Crowd. A push to get the Crowd involved and bring the Crowd to some central event. The sad part about this is that in essence there is no difference from “marketing to a Crowd” to the old stand on the street corner with a bullhorn approach in terms of truly making a difference.

Sure you may get your church’s name in the paper, but who reads papers anymore? You may create a “buzz”, but then you fall into the same need to have a bigger buzz each time you meet. Most organizations do their best at sending loads of money out to the crowd. I suppose that is OK if your intention is to become just like most organizations – bland and interchangeable. I suppose it is OK if you just want to surf the same wave every other guru is asking people to surf.

It’s not OK if you want to be anything other than “most”. If you have any desire to be remarkable – in other words that someone would have reason to “remark” about you – you have to focus not on Crowds, but on Tribes. As Seth Godin says, “A crowd is a tribe without a leader. A crowd is a tribe without communication…Smart organizations assemble the tribe.”

The Illusion of Certainty

November 2, 2008

We have been sold a bill of goods. We’ve grown up believing that the world we live in is static and unmoving. We have been taught that the world that was defined in our history textbook is the same as the world we actually live in. All of these ideas are false – entirely false.

Maybe the textbook writers thought the world was stable and certain, but the army of advertisers who want us to purchase “new and improved” products at an epidemic rate know that they, the ad men, need the world to be a restless unstable place. They need you to change your toothpaste, and change your detergent and change your paper towels. They need you to change these things because they need to “sell” them to you. If you only bought Crest toothpaste, were happy with Crest toothpaste and never knew any reason why you should change from Crest to Aquafresh, the print and television media would suffer. And the ad guy would lose his job.

We have been trained to love the new and stylish item more than the old proven one. Think for yourself. The only emails and YouTube videos that get sent to you are the interesting ones – the provocative ones. No one forwards a boring video or email.

Today, change is the word of the hour. Change is what we want and change is what we “need”. Old and frugal do not get the attention of people. Instead, new and different and loud gain attention. As we embrace the concept that we all are leaders and not just leaders but “needed now” leaders, we have to notice that culture today demands a leader who will dare to make a lot of noise and disrupt the status quo. People want to be a part of a movement and people want change. None of those things are stable and certain.

In the Age of Change the only thing certain is that nothing is certain!

Looking for a Movement

November 1, 2008

There are many different groups of people who meet and know each other in various ways. These groups of people can be a formal business group or just a group of people who are interested in the same kind of books or art. There are times when we, as members of some of those groups, want to make something happen or get something done. More often than not, nothing is eventually what happens. Even though we have very good intentions, the end result is that everything stays the same.

Used to be, you needed to convene a committee to make a proposal to get something done, especially in business. Now things are different. The one thing that is needed to move your group toward being a movement is a leader. And there is no reason that leader shouldn’t be you. Yeah, you heard me right, you have everything it takes to be a leader.

You have an idea of something that, if done, would change the way the future of your group looked. You will not be able to push people where you think the group should go. You have to lead them where you know they want to go. People want change. Change is far more inviting than “same”. Change has risk, which is why they need you to lead them.

Having a leader helps people go where they want to go. As a leader you get to see your group begin to move and become a movement. Take up the challenge and take your group that is probably stuck somewhere and be the leader we all need to get things going.