Month: October 2016

That’s a S***** Move


Sometimes, as leaders, we have to make decisions that people disagree with. Sometimes, we’ll be pegged as out of line or even mean. Your job isn’t to make everyone like you. It’s to be a steward of the gift God’s given you. In leadership, that often means we’ll be called the “S Word.”

Before you click “dislike” or unsubscribe, please understand me. The S Word I’m referring to is “shrewd.” It’s no fun to be shrewd, because it means that you’ll have to deal with difficult situations, say things people don’t like to hear, and ultimately be held responsible when tough times come.

But, it means you have a backbone. It means you’re willing to make tough decisions and have difficult conversations. It means you’ll stay in it long enough to see the process through. It means you don’t abandon people or projects. It means you work hard (and smart) to find the best way to get the job done. It means you walk in excellence.

The shrewd manager mentioned in Luke 16 was commended because he knew how to deal with difficult situations in a way that benefited him. He was wise enough to know the outcome of a situation and a way to make it positive in the end.

You can be like the shrewd manager. In fact, Jesus challenges us to make tough decisions and be generous just as the shrewd manager was. Don’t settle for less than excellence just because it’s easy. Being shrewd isn’t easy. When you settle for less in the beginning, the end will come back to bite you in your rear end. Here are three ways we can learn from the shrewd manager and begin to walk in a shrewd (spelt e-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-c-e) manner:

  1. Pray. The shrewd manager didn’t do this; but it’s our secret sauce. When we begin with prayer, we’re tapping into Excellence Himself. We’re allowing God to speak to us. This realigns us with His vision, reminds us of our identity in Him, and resets us on the path of excellence.
  2. Make tough decisions sooner rather than later. The shrewd manager sat down immediately and figured out how to position himself with his boss’s debtors. He didn’t wait, and you shouldn’t either. I love to procrastinate. All that does is make it more difficult when I finally get around to making that tough decision. I’m committing myself to making the tough decisions earlier in the game. It makes it easier for me and for others.
  3. Hang in there. The shrewd manager knew that if he was to stay alive for the long haul, he needed to prepare. He did that and the outcome was his boss’ commendation and preparation for the next step. Brian Johnson says, “Cool is cool as long as cool is cool; but excellence lasts a lifetime.” Don’t quit when it gets hard. If you’re prepared well, you’ll be able to keep going.

I want to be known for making “S***** Moves.” I hope you’ll join me.


Paths of Mentorship

Within many of my circles (family, professional development, ministry, business), we talk about mentorship, coaching, accountability, as well as a whole list of other words that carry similar meanings. 
I recently asked a person I consider as somewhere on this continuum about his thoughts on mentoring. As he began explaining how various people interact with him in different contexts, it became apparent to me that we often use a word (the choice differs depending on which circle you’re in) to indicate several options. The following four paths seek to describe basic functions a mentor-type person can take.

  1. Peer / Accountability Partner. A peer mentor, or an accountability partner, will challenge and affirm you. They are your own age and often understand the struggles you’re going through, because they are going through the same ones. You meet as often as you like. You can trust each other. 
  2. Sage / Back-Patter. A sage is someone who has gone through it all and stands there simply to tell you that you’re doing well. If you play your cards right, they will give some age-old advice that you’ll benefit from greatly. 
  3. Coach / Plan Maker. Coaches ask great questions and help you to make insightful plans. These are the people who never tell you what to do, but always find a way to make you do what’s best. 
  4. Yoda / Discerner. Whenever Luke needed it, Yoda was always around to blow his mind with insightful thoughts posed in backwards grammar. Your Yoda comes with timely emails, texts or phone calls that always seem to be right on target. Yoda shouldn’t be afraid to nail you for something you’re not doing right. Yoda needs space to speak into any area of your life. And when he speaks, listen, you should. 

One problem with our generation is that we shy away from some of these forms of mentorship. When we avoid allowing peers, sages, coaches, and yodas to speak into our lives, we miss the blessing that comes along with them.
It’s important that we have people around us who operate in all of these differing paths. Yet, we all tend to prefer a certain function. Did I miss any valuable paths? Which one of these fits you well? Which do you need more of? How can you pursue finding someone to fill this role. Do you have someone you are mentoring now? What does that look like? How does this add clarity to your relationship?