SYC_1.JPG Living an intentional and focused life in alignment with God's purposes and unique wiring will help you finish well.  To do so you will need a compass, a map, and a guide. The compass explains the importance of orienting your life in accordance with established biblical compass points.  The map defines the trajectory you are to follow based on how God has wired you.  The guide stresses the importance of being mentored and mentoring others.  Guidelines are provided to help you develop a Personal Alignment Plan, a Personal Life Mandate, and a Personal Mentoring Strategy - all of which will inform, condition, and establish your journey forward until God calls you home!

index.jpgTired of living in the misty lowlands of mediocrity? Have you forgotten how to soar like an eagle?  Are you seeking a compass that will help you navigate an ever-darkening world?  Lasting transformational change is accomplished from the inside out.  Your central beliefs establish your values, your core values inform your attitudes about life, your perceptual attitude energize your behavior, and your behavior reflects the health of your ‘heart.’  This resource will help you tune your heart to the heart of God and prepare you to live a honorable and noble life of meaningful significance.

Papas Blessing 2.JPGEvery human being longs for the affirmation, acceptance, and esteem of someone who matters to them. Sadly, most of us never hear the words we long to hear-words of appreciation, esteem, recognition, and value.  The importance of blessing is established. eight essential components of a meaningful blessing are identified, multiple examples of blessings are provided, how to administer a blessing is described, the legacy of blessings is explained, and a worksheet for developing and giving a blessing is included.

heart.png     Heart of a Warrior Blog Website

SYC_1.JPGMy latest book is available at the following locations--Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and iUniverse in hard cover, soft cover, and e-book for Kindle.

God is very clear about His purposes for you. If you want to live a meaningful life, it must be aligned with His purposes. The first step is to calibrate your heart to the heart of God so that you will be able to navigate the journey ahead.  The second step is to determine your unique map that will set the trajectory ofyour life. You have a unique purpose to fulfill, a committed passion to embrace, a role to perform, unique methodologies-a personal toolkit-to employ, and an ultimate contribution to make. The final step is to brings others alongside to help you stay on course.  They might include mentors who will help build foundations into your life, mentors who will build skills and competencies, and mentors who will offer guidance.

In Setting Your Course, I seeks to help you set your course, find focus for your life, engage in God's journey for you, and finish your journey well. I employ a three-part process to influence you to live all-out for Christ-the compass, map, and guide

The compass explains the importance of orienting your life in accordance with established biblical compass points.

The map defines the trajectory you are to follow based on how God has wired you.

The guide stresses the importance of being mentored and mentoring others.

Setting Your Course helps you formulate a deliberate strategy for determining your purpose; assists you in aligning your life according to God's plan; encourages you to become a proactive partner in fulfilling God's purposes and redemptive activity; and exhorts you to leave a worthwhile legacy in the lives of others.


What drains your barrel?  Depending on one's life stage and current circumstances certain activities drain one's barrel - some legitimate, others not so much. 

Each of us has a finite amount of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy.  This energy is dissipated at a rate equal to the responsibilities we hold, the obligations we have, and the load we carry.  For the most part, this 'drainage' is normal and common to every man.  The rate of dissipation increases when we expend our energy on things that could have been avoided such as bad disicisions, dysfunctional behavior, personal weaknesses, and sin.

What fills your barrel?  What actions do you take to fill your barrel?  Such activities as a vibrant devotional life, prayer, worship, and fellowship can fill your barrel.  Meaningful engagement with friends and loved ones can fill your barrel.  Exercise and healthy entertainment can fill your barrel.  I have recently taken up cooking - it fills my barrel.  Anything that gives 'life' to your life can fill your barrel.

If the outflow exceeds the inflow your barrel will drain to levels that will produce anxiety, fear, paranoia, and ultimately, shut down healthy functioning.  When your life becomes hectic the tendency is to focus on outflow and put inflow on hold.  When live becomes hectic we must ensure that healthy inflow is maintained to manage the rate of dissipation. 

I encourage you to conduct a personal audit using the resource Barrel Exercise.  The goal is to eliminate unhealthy outflow, recognize legitimate outflow, and manage the dissipation rate by adding positive inflow activities.

Resources for Men

Men's Ministry Resource Books

  • Effective Men's Ministry editor Phil Downer
  • How to Build a Life-Changing Men's Ministry by Steve Sonderman
  • Men's Ministry in the 21st Century: The Encyclopedia of Practical Ideas by Group Publications
  • Mobilizing Men for One-on-One Ministry: The Transforming Power of Authentic Friendship and Discipleship by Steve Sonderman
  • No Man Left Behind: How to Build and Sustain a Thriving Dicsiple-Making Ministry for Every Man in Your Church by Patrick Morley, David Delk & Brett Clemmer
  • Pastoring Men: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why It Matters Now More Than Ever by Patrick Morley
  • Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow

Men's Issues

  • A Life of Integrity editor Howard Hendricks
  • A Rattling of Sabers:  Preparing Your Heart for Life’s Battles by Greg Bourgond
  • Being God’s Man in the Face of Temptation by Stephen Arterburn, Kenny Luck, and Todd Wendorff
  • Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson
  • Daily Disciplines for the Christian Man:  Practical Steps to an Empowered Spiritual Life by Bob Beltz
  • Every Man Series Bible Studies by Stephen Arterburn et al
  • Every Man, God’s Man by Stephen Arterburn and Kenny Luck
  • Every Man, God's Man:  Every Man's Guide to Courageous Faith and Daily Integrity by Stephen Arterburn and Stoeker
  • Every Woman’s Desire: Every Man’s Guide to Winning the Heart of a Woman by Stephen Arterburn & Fred Stoeker with Mike Yorkey
  • Man in the Mirror:  Solving the 24 Problems Men Face by Patrick M. Morley
  • Man to Man by Charles R. Swindoll
  • Papa’s Blessing:  The Gift That Keeps Giving by Greg Bourgond
  • Renovation of the Heart:  Putting On the Character of Christ by Dallas Willard
  • Revolution of Character:  Discovering Christ’s Pattern for Spiritual Formation by Dallas Willard
  • Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper editors Al Janssen and Larry K. Weeden
  • Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, Revised Edition by Max Lucado, Gary Smalley, Bill Breight
  • Seven Seasons of the Man in the Mirror by Patrick M. Morley
  • Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World by Craig Groeschel
  • Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance by Karl Payne
  • Strengthening Your Grip by Charles R. Swindoll
  • The Barbarian Way:  Unleash the Untamed Faith Within by Erwin McManus
  • The Four Pillars of a Man’s heart:  Bringing Strength Into Balance by Scott Weber
  • The Man God Uses by Henry Blackaby
  • The Man in the Mirror by Patrick M. Morely
  • The Measure of a Man by Gene A. Getz
  • The Measure of a Man:  20 Attributes of a Godly Man by Gene A. Getz
  • The Secrets Men Keep: How Men Make Life and Love Tougher Than It Has to Be by Stephen Arterburn
  • The Walk of Repentance by Steve Gallagher
  • Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul by Erwin McManus
  • Victory Over Darkness by Neil T. Anderson
  • Waking the Dead by John Eldredge
  • When Men Think Private Thoughts by Gordon MacDonald
  • Wild at Heart:  Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul by John Eldredge

Sexual Purity

  • At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry by Steve Gallagher
  • Every Man's Battle:  Winning the War on Sexual Purity One Victory at a Time by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker with Mike Yorkey
  • Out of the Depths of Sexual Sin by Steve Gallagher
  • Pure Desire by Ted Roberts
  • The Dirty Little Secret:  Uncovering the Truth Behind Porn by Craig Gross and Carter Krummrich
  • When Good Men Are Tempted by Bill Perkins

Focused Living

  • Beyond Halftime: Practical Wisdom for Your Second Half by Bob Buford
  • Chasing Daylight:  Seize the Power of Every Moment by Erwin McManus
  • Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen
  • Finishing Well: The Adventure of Life Beyond Halftime by Bob Buford
  • Focused Living Resource Kit by Terry Walling, Gary Mayes, Steve Hoke, and Julie Becker
  • Halftime:  Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance by Bob Buford
  • Identity Theft:  Reclaiming Who God Created You To Be by Mike Breaux
  • In Search of Balance: Keys to a Stable Life by Richard A. Swenson
  • Margin:  Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard A. Swenson
  • Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence by David Keirsey
  • Rest of Your Life by Patrick Morley
  • Second Wind for the Second Half by Patrick Morley
  • Seizing Your Divine Moment:  Dare to Live a Life of Adventure by Erwin McManus
  • Starting Well--Building A Strong Foundation for A Life Time of Ministry by Richard Clinton and Paul Leavenworth
  • Strategic Concepts That Clarify a Focused Life by J. Robert Clinton
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
  • Stuck! Navigating the Transitions of Life and Leadership by Terry Walling
  • The Common Made Holy: Being Conformed to the Image of God by Neil T. Anderson
  • The Man God Uses by Henry and Tom Blackaby
  • The Map: The Way of All Great Men by David Murrow (2010)
  • The Overload Syndrome: Learning to Live Within Your Limits (Guidebook) by Richard A. Swenson
  • What You Do Best in the Body of Christ: Discover Your Spiritual Gifts, Personal Style, and God-Given Passion by Bruce Bugbee
  • Winning the Values War In A Changing Culture by Leith Anderson

Spiritual Disciplines

  • A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines by Patrick Morley
  • Boundaries:  When To Say Yes and When To Say No by Henry Cloud and Townsend
  • Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster
  • Disciplines of a Godly Man by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney
  • The Heart of a Godly Man: Practical Disciplines for a Man's Spiritual Life by E. Glenn Wagner
  • The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg
  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
  • The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

Apologetics (Defending the Christian Faith)

  • Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell
  • Handbook of Today's Religions by Josh McDowell
  • Know What You Believe by Paul E. Little
  • Know Who You Believe by Paul E. Little
  • Know Why You Believe by Paul E. Little
  • Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
  • The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell

Discipleship & Evangelism

  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson
  • Becoming A Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels
  • Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy Keller
  • Devotions for the Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley
  • Disciples Are Made Not Born by Walter Henrichsen
  • Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ by Greg Ogden
  • Discipleship for the Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley
  • Discipleship: The Road Less Taken by Greg Laurie
  • How to Give Away Your Faith by Paul Little
  • If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg
  • King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus by Timothy Keller
  • Knowing Scripture by R. C. Sproul
  • Spiritual Discipleship: Principles of Following Christ for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders
  • The Complete Book of Discipleship: On Being and Making Followers of Christ by Bill Hull
  • The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard
  • The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited by Scot McKnight
  • The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation by Keith Meyer and Bill Thrall
  • The Master Plan of Evangelism and Discipleship by Robert Coleman
  • The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  • The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller
  • Too Busy Not To Pray: Slowing Down to be with God by Bill Hybels


  • Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels
  • Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell
  • Developing the Leaders Around You by John C. Maxwell
  • Emotional Intelligence by Travis Bradberry
  • Follow Me:  Experience the Loving Leadership of Jesus by Jan Hettinga
  • Having A Ministry That Lasts--By Becoming A Bible Centered Leader by J. Robert Clinton
  • How to Build a Life Changing Men's Ministry by Steve Sonderman
  • Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
  • Leading from the Inside Out: The Art of Self-Leadership by Samuel Rima
  • Leading from Your Strengths: Building Close-Knit Ministry Teams by Eric Tooker, John Trent, and Rodney Cox
  • Living and Leading Well by Richard Clinton and Paul Leavenworth
  • Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: How to Become an Effective Leader by Confronting Potential Failures by Gary McIntosh and Samuel Rima
  • Principled Centered Leadership by Stephen Covey
  • Reframing Organizations by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal
  • Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God's Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby
  • Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders
  • The Bible-Centered Leader Workbook: A workbook for Younger Emerging Leaders by Paul Leavenworth
  • The Making of a Leader by J. Robert Clinton
  • The Power of Team Leadership by George Barna
  • The Situational Leader by Paul Hersey
  • There’s No Such Thing as Business Ethics by John C. Maxwell
  • Transforming Leadership: Jesus' Way of Creating Vision, Shaping Values & Empowering Change by Leighton Ford
  • Upside Down: The Paradox of Servant Leadership by Stacy T. Rinehart

Marriage and Family

  • The 2:52 Ultimate Devo for Boys: 365 Devos to Make You Stronger, Smarter, Deeper, and Cooler by Ed Strauss
  • A Husband After God’s Own Heart:  12 Things That Really Matter in Your Marriage by Jim George
  • Being God’s Man in Leading a Family by Stephen Arterburn, Kenny Luck, and Todd Wendorff
  • Bringing up Boys by James Dobson
  • Every Man’s Marriage by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoker
  • Finishing Strong:  Going the Distance for Your Family by Steve Farrar
  • His Needs Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr.
  • His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley
  • If Only He Knew by Gary Smalley
  • If Only He Knew:  Understanding Your Wife by Gary Smalley
  • Point Man, Revised and Expanded by Steve Farrar
  • Point Man: How A Man Can Lead His Family by Steve Farrar
  • Raising a Modern Day Knight:  A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood by Robert Lewis
  • Real Family Values:  Leading Your Family into the 21st Century with Clarity and Conviction by Robert Lewis         
  • The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About ItT by Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan
  • The Family Book of Christian Values by Stuart Briscoe
  • The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to your Mate by Gary Chapman
  • The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller
  • The Young Man in the Mirror:  A Rite of Passage into Manhood by Patrick Morley
  • They Call Me Dad: The Practical Art of Effective Fathering by Ken Canfield
  • What Wives Wished Their Husbands Knew About Women by Dr. James Dobson


  • As Iron Sharpens Iron:  Building Character in a Mentoring Relationship by Howard & William Hendricks
  • Connecting:  The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed in Life by Paul D. Stanley and J. Robert Clinton
  • Eternal Impact: Investing In The Lives of Men by Phil Downer
  • Mentoring:  Confidence in Finding a Mentor and Becoming One by Bob Biehl
  • Spiritual Mentoring:  A Guide for Seeking and Giving Direction by Ken Anderson and Randy Reese

Time & Personal Management

  • Halftime by Bob Buford
  • Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard A. Swenson, M.D.
  • Mid-Course Correction by Gordon MacDonald
  • Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  • Strategy for Living by Dayton and Engstrom
  • The Overload Syndrome: Learning to Live Within Your Limits by Richard A. Swenson, M.D.
  • Tyranny of the Urgent! by Charles E. Hummel

Work and Leisure

  • First Things First by Stephen Covey
  • In His Grip: Foundations for Life and Golf by Jim Sheard
  • Work & Leisure in Christian Perspective by Lyland Ryken
  • Your Work Matters to God by Doug Sherman and William Hendricks

Devotional Resources

  • Confessions by Augustine
  • Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Philip Yancey and Paul Brand
  • God Has Spoken by J.I. Packer
  • In His Image by Philip Yancey and Paul Brand
  • In Times Like These by Vance Havner.
  • Knowing God by J.I. Packer
  • Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.
  • Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.
  • Salt and Pepper by Vance Havner.
  • The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
  • The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a' Kempis.
  • The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer.
  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.
  • The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.
  • The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.
  • Your God Is Too Small by J.B. Phillips

Bible Study Guidelines

  • Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible: Playing by the Rules by Robert Stein
  • How to Read the Bible in Changing Times: Understanding and Applying God's Word Today by Mark Strauss
  • How to Study the Bible by John F. MacArthur
  • Living By the Book Workbook: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible by William Hendricks and Howard Hendricks
  • Rick Warren's Bible Study Methods: Twelve Ways You Can Unlock God's Word by Rick Warren
  • Studying, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible by Walter Henrichsen
  • The New How to Study Your Bible: Discover the Life-Changing Approach to God's Word by Kay Arthur, David Arthur, and Pete De Lacy
  • Understand: A straightforward approach to interpreting the Bible by Walter Henrichsen

Bible Study Resources

  • Manners and Customs in the Bible: An Illustrated Guide to Daily Life in Bible Times by Victor Harold Matthews
  • Nelson's Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, 3rd Edition by Thomas Nelson
  • Nelson's New Testament Survey: Discovering the Essence, Background & Meaning About Every New Testament Book by Mark Bailey and Tom Constable
  • Nelson's Old Testament Survey: Discovering the Essence, Background & Meaning About Every Old Testament Book by Charles Dyer and Gene Merrill
  • NIV Bible Study Commentary by John H. Sailhamer
  • The MacArthur Topical Bible: A Comprehensive Guide to Every Major Topic Found in the Bible by John MacArthur
  • The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance by Edward W. Goodrick and John R. Kohlenberger III
  • Zondervan Atlas of the Bible by Carl Rasmussen
  • Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Premier Reference Series) by J. D. Douglas, Merrill C. Tenney and Moises Silva

Key Websites for Men

Church for Men http://churchformen.com/

Every Man’s Battle http://newlife.com/emb/

Heart of a Warrior Ministries  www.heartofawarrior.org

Man in the Mirror Ministry  http://www.maninthemirror.org/

Men of Integrity  http://www.menofintegrity.org/

Men’s Fraternity http://www.mensfraternity.com/

National Coalition of Ministries to Men  http://ncmm.org/

No Regrets Ministry  http://www.menwithnoregrets.org/

Promise Keepers  http://www.promisekeepers.org/

Pure Desire Ministries International  http://www.puredesire.org/

Top Gun Men’s Ministries  http://www.topgunministries.org/

Leadership & Formation #23: Reframing

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Posted by greg

door_decision_pc_400_clr_2583.png Every leader seeks to make sense of the world around them through a set of perceptual attitudes more commonly referred to as a worldview.  It is through that lens they view and interpret their surroundings, their relationships, and their perceptions of their observations.  One could say they see the world through a ‘frame.’

While attending Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Institute for Educational Management, I was exposed to Reframing Organizations by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal, now in its 5th edition.  This resource is an attempt to consolidate major schools of organizational thought into a comprehensive framework encompassing four perspectives called frames.  The authors suggest that like maps, frames are both windows on a territory and tools for navigation.

This article is longer than my other posts.  I encourage the reader to read it through to completion.  Doing so will result in the addition of a strategy to your leadership toolkit that will make you a more effective leader.


There are four frames:  structural, human resource, symbolic, and political.  Each leader has a default frame through which they process options, alternatives, possibilities, opportunities, choices, and prospects.  What follows is a brief description of each frame in the author’s own words followed by applications derived by my use of the framing structure,

STRUCTURAL – Factory (Architecture)

This frame is all about an organization as a factory.  This frame depicts a rational world and emphasizes organizational architecture, including goals, structure, technology, specialized roles, coordination, and formal relationships.  It is a rational model that simply looks at the facts to determine direction and action.  Such organizations value org charts, allocate responsibilities, create rules, policies, procedures, systems, and hierarchies to coordinate diverse activities into a unified effort.  When something isn’t working some form of reorganization or redesign is needed to remedy the mismatch. GE, GM

HUMAN RESOURCE – Families (Empowerment)

This frame focuses on interpersonal relationships and sees an organization as an extended family, made up of individuals with needs, feelings, prejudices, skills, and limitations.  The key challenge is to tailor the organization to individuals—finding ways for people to get the job done while feeling good about themselves and their work.  Finding the right fit for people, this perspective contends, can only benefit the organization because members of the organization are operating from their ‘sweet spot.’  Microsoft, Google

SYMBOLIC – Temples (Inspiration)

This frame emphasizes ethos, culture, symbols, and spirit as keys to organizational success.  The symbolic lens treats organizations as temples, tribes, or movements.  These ‘cultures’ are propelled by rituals, ceremonies, stories, heroes, and myths rather than rules, policies, and managerial authority.  These organizations are driven by well-established DNA consisting of mission, vision, and values.  Departure from this DNA is tantamount to betrayal.  Everything attempted or envisioned is seen through this DNA with each actor on the stage playing his or her part.  Starbucks, Apple

POLITICAL – Jungles (Advocacy or Political Savvy)

This frame sees organizations as arenas, contests, or jungles.  Parochial interests compete for power and scarce resources.  Conflict is rampant because of enduring differences in needs, perspectives, and lifestyles among contending individuals and groups.  Bargaining, negotiation, coercion, and compromise are a normal part of everyday life.  Coalitions form around specific interests and change as issues come and go.  Problems arise when power is concentrated in the wrong places or is so broadly dispersed that nothing gets done.  Solutions arise from political skill and acumen.  The Apprentice, Survivor

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Leadership & Formation #22: Wise Decisions

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Posted by greg

figure_good_choice_400_clr_12897.pngAn ancient writer once said, “Who is like the wise man?  Who knows the explanation of things?  Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance…and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him. “

How many ‘wise’ leaders do you know?  When I was executive pastor of a large church in southern California a prominent internationally renowned church leader visited our church.  I asked him what he thought was the biggest problem facing leaders for the foreseeable future. His answer came quickly and consisted of one word - DISCERNMENT!  

How does a leader ‘discern’ the right course of action, decide between two equally viable options, be objectively informed by divergent perspectives, suspend their own predispositions and biases to hear different voices, consult their inner convictions, before making a decision?  To a great degree, their intuition enlightened by insight, will help them make wise decisions.

In my way of thinking, three levels of insight of increasing complexity are possible and used by leaders to make decisions; the information level, the knowledge level, and the wisdom level.

Many of us are living at the information level which is simply the ordered understanding of raw data. We do not give enough time to reflection leading to comprehension. The tyranny of the urgent, the frenzied activity of our daily lives, and the constant bombardment of data (TV, faxes, newspapers, magazines, Internet, e-mail, radio, audio tapes, videos, podcasts, webinars, superficial conversations, etc.) rob us of an ordered analysis of our world. We operate off of sound bites instead of measured and thoughtful examination.

Many others are stuck at the knowledge level, satisfied with the acquisition and accumulation of information ordered in such a way as to produce an intellectual grasp of the essentials, enough to converse intelligently on the subject but little more. We acquire competencies analyzing data and applying rubrics to tease out nuggets that will hopefully propel us into a preferable outcome or attainment of a sought after goal.  The trouble with remaining at this level is that our mental comprehension doesn’t move on to applied wisdom.

We need to move to the wisdom level by prioritizing the acquisition and accumulation of knowledge into wisdom.  Wisdom is an internal quality developed over time, established by a congruent belief system, conditioned by a core value system, informed by an integrated worldview, and honed through experience.  Learned methods, processes, systems, and strategies are the tools we use but it is wisdom that provides discernment in their application.

For instance, the Internet offers access to information on almost every topic imaginable.  Any person can acquire information on a given topic, recast it in their own words, and present the information as if it were their own.  When we process that information, comprehend its significance, visualize its application, and apply that knowledge to events, situations, or circumstances we are operating at a knowledge level.  Weighing the significance of information, analyzing the specifics of a body of information, synthesizing it with other related information, evaluating the importance of the information, and making informed judgments regarding the utility of the information is operating at a wisdom level.

As an example, in Exodus 20 of the Bible we are exposed to information, the existence of 10 commandments.  We develop a knowledge about them when, through study and reflection we comprehend their meaning (i.e., the first 4 commandments address our relationship with God and the remaining 6 commandments address our relationship with others).  Knowledge becomes wisdom when we understand the commandment’s implications to us individually and we personally apply them to our lives as we process them through a belief system that has established our values.

In the popular movie, Jurassic Park, the proprietor of the park, John Hammond presides over a lunch with invited guests who have just witnessed the amazing existence of dinosaurs created in a lab and now roaming the grounds.  John is being criticized by Malcolm, a skeptic who questions the entire enterprise.

MALCOLM:  The problem with scientific power you've used is it didn't require any discipline to attain it.  You read what others had done and you took the next step.  You didn't earn the knowledge yourselves, so you don't take the responsibility for it.  You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you knew what you had, you patented it, packages it, slapped in on a plastic lunch box, and now you want to sell it.

HAMMOND:  You don't give us our due credit.  Our scientists have done things no one could ever do before.

MALCOLM:  Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.  Science can create pesticides, but it can't tell us not to use them.  Science can make a nuclear reactor, but it can't tell us not to build it!

In summary then, information is the ordered understanding of raw data. Knowledge is meaning derived through study, reflection and comprehension. Wisdom is knowledge applied based on one’s core beliefs and values. There is a vast distance between having a knowledge about something and having a personal knowledge of something.  The bridge from one to the other is wisdom.

What level of insight do you employ?

How would your associates view you?

What informs and conditions your thought process?

How discerning are you?

What sources and resources do you use to make decisions?

What ethical system influences your decisions?


To be continued…

Leadership & Formation #21: Unrealized Potential

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Posted by greg

stick_figure_popping_out_of_a_present_400_clr_13393.pngOne of the primary functions of a leader is to develop those under their charge.  Keen powers of observation are necessary to uncover the potential within another person.  Knowing someone’s potential and helping them realize their potential is one of the most rewarding experiences a leader can have.

When observing someone who reports to you or is within your sphere of relationships or influence a leader should pay attention to strengths, limitations, and weaknesses.  Intentional assessment of these areas will reveal a person’s potential.  The goal at this point is to encourage that person to explore their potential and come to a realization that they have a greater capacity and capability then they may realize.

A person’s strengths are comprised of an amalgamation of their spiritual gifts, natural abilities, acquired skills, personality temperament, core values, discovered axiomatic operating principles, experience, and worldview.  The configuration of these elements, the dominance of these factors, and the ways which they are applied to events, circumstances, and situations make each individual jut that; individually unique.

Although there exists a wide variety of instruments designed to reveal the many dimensions that make us human; observation of a person in a variety of settings will yield a relatively accurate picture of their God-ordained design, what they offer, and how they can make their greatest contribution to a team, a vision, an objective, or a goal.

Limitations are not weaknesses.  Limitations include one area that cannot be mediated and two that can.  A person may not have the aptitude demanded of the responsibility they have been given.  For instance, if they are put in charge of finances for a project and are required to manage a complex budget yet they have no aptitude for numbers or financial structures they may be doomed to failure.  The toe other areas include experience and training; both of which can be mediated by providing opportunities to gain experience or acquire the training necessary for success.  So, aptitude, experience and training and the lack thereof is not a weakness; it is a limitation.

A weakness may be a character flaw, a compromised work ethic, a poor attitude or the like.  These ‘weaknesses’ may also be mediated but will more than likely take time and patience before a person can conquer these inadequacies.  As a leader, manage, or supervisor, you may not have the time to do so especially when a short project deadline looms over the team.

Two factors repeatedly prevent someone from realizing their full potential – competence and confidence.  Because of legitimate limitations or weaknesses such as a lack of discipline, a person may experience varying degrees of performance that may adversely impact their competence and confidence thereby affecting the subsequent successful completion of assigned tasks.

So, developing your powers of observation can facilitate your ability to accurate assess someone’s strengths, limitations, and weaknesses.  What will become apparent is and understanding of the unrealized potential resident in an individual.  Strategies can then be formulated to help them engage their unrealized potential so that they can enjoy new opportunities to exercise their new found awareness.  They may be hesitant at first to explore their potential for fear of failure or simply because of unfamiliarity.  The leader may have to exert their influence as a sage on the stage or a guide by the side until the person is more comfortable in the exercise of their potential. 

A leader may have to adjust their leadership style to accommodate the ability (competence) and readiness (confidence). 

If the team member is unable and unwilling or insecure they may have to be directed and shown specifically how to accomplish the task, objective, or role.  In this case the leader simply describes the steps necessary to effectively and efficiently complete the task, objective or role.

If the team member is unable but willing or confident the leader might have to coach them through encouragement, empowerment, or exhortation.  The leader may still make the final decision but explains the rationale to the team member for learning purposes

If the team member is able but unwilling or insecure the leader may have to shift from a sage on the stage to a guide by the side where the team member is given the opportunity to make the decision with guidance and encouragement from the leader.

If the team member is able and willing or confident the leader should delegate responsibility to the member, observe their performance, and offer timely advice and suggestions as needed or requested.

The reader may recognize this adaptable leadership style as situational leadership.  One caution is needed at this point.  One’s potential has a boundary.  The worst thing a leader can do is to promote the notion that team members can dos anything they set their mind to doing if they are committed and disciplined.  That, frankly, is not true.  A team member can do what they have the capability and competence to do.  Forcing someone beyond their capability and competence will only break their spirit.

People should not be treated as tools or functionaries but valuable resources imbued by his or her Creator to contribute in significant ways to worthwhile endeavors.  Helping people realize their God-given potential can only help and organization to reach seemingly impossible dreams.

More on this subject will follow…


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Leadership & Formation #20: Mentoring Contract

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Posted by greg

stick_figure_holding_letter_x_400_clr_7741.pngThis final post on mentoring addresses the specifics that must be thought through before a mentoring relationship is established.  These items should be considered regardless of whether you intend to mentor someone or be mentored by someone.  They help to frame the relationship in terms of expectations and accountability.  When you seek a mentor it would be helpful to think through these items to help define the rules of engagement.

Your prospective mentor may not go to this detail but you should.  If you mentor someone, you should come to conclusions on each of the ten issues that follow so that the parameters of a successful encounter are established in advance and in accordance with your preferences. 

You can also use the list that follows as talking points in your initial interview with a prospective mentoree or mentor.

Jointly agree on the purpose of the relationship.

(Present the objective(s) for the mentoring relationship.  Determine the type of mentor needed.  Identify the area(s) that need to be addressed.) 

Set the criteria for evaluation.

(What will a successful outcome look like?  How will you know the objective(s) have been accomplished?  Have the mentoree describe what they hope to accomplish.)

Determine the regularity of interaction.

(Should be a minimum of twice a month.  Could be more depending on the needs of the mentoree and the availability of the mentor.  Should begin as a 3-month trial.)

Determine accountability parameters.

(Honesty, vulnerability, accountability and whatever else is required by the mentor and agreed upon by the mentoree.  What accountability parameters will be applied?)

Set up communication mechanisms.

(Email, phone, face-to-face, Skype, etc. —whichever is the most convenient.  At least one face-to-face meeting is required per month in addition to second or additional meetings by phone and/or email.)

Clarify the level of confidentiality.

(What is shared on a personal level must remain confidential unless it is of a legal nature (i.e., abuse of any kind, a crime, etc.)

Set the life cycle of the relationship.

(Three months for a preliminary timeframe at the end of which each of you should evaluate the relationship.  If you are in agreement to continue set an end date not to exceed 6 additional months—a total of 9 months).

Evaluate the relationship from time to time.

(Recommend an evaluation every two to three months). 

Modify expectations to fit the real-life mentoring situation.

(If an issue or concern arises that needs more focused attention the mentor and mentoree should decide whether the parameters of mentoring need to be changed).

Bring the mentoring relationship to a close.

(Celebrate the completion of the journey.  Have the mentoree write about the experience and what was accomplished).

I hope this post and the posts on mentoring have been helpful to you in formulating your plans to be mentored and to mentor others.  Mentoring was obviously a subject or great interest to many of you.  Remember, those who finish well have had anywhere from 10 to 15 significant mentors in their life (intensive/intentional, occasional, and passive).

To be continued with a new subject area…


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Leadership & Formation #19: Mentoring Guidelines

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Posted by greg

figure_walking_into_sunset_400_clr_14043.pngBefore you can find personal mentors, you must first determine your mentoring needs and their priority.  Two arenas must be considered when determining your personal mentoring needs.  

One has to do with your beingness – the ‘energy’ that will supply the fuel you will need to fulfill your developmental goals.  In other words, what activities will provide the resources needed to reach your objectives?  What resources will provide power and strength to attain your goals?  As said in an earlier post; competencies are the tools of effective leadership but character is the power of effective leadership.

The second area has to do with your doingness – your growth goals for your work and calling; your developmental goals that will provide the tools you need to succeed.  In other words, what competencies and skills are needed for you to succeed?  What barriers to your advancement must be addressed so that you can realize your dreams?

In summary, life development goals (beingness) and professional development goals (doingness) must be considered and prioritized before you can answer the following questions.  Answers to the questions that follow will determine the effectiveness and parameters in any mentoring relationship.

  • What do I look for in a mentor?
  • What must I be willing to contribute to the mentoring relationship?
  • How do I find a mentor?

Let’s begin…

What do I look for in a mentor?

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

Look for mentors who will be…

  • Honest with you.
  • A model for you.
  • Deeply committed to you.
  • Open and transparent with you.
  • A teacher.
  • One who believes in your potential.
  • One who can help you plan and turn your dream into reality.
  • Successful in your eyes.
  • Open to learning from you as well as teaching you.
  • Willing to stay primarily on your agenda, not their own.
  • One who will hold you accountable.
  • One who will be available to you.

What must I be willing to contribute to the mentoring relationship?

Am I …

  • Easy to believe in?
  • Easy to like and spend time with naturally?
  • Easy to keep helping?
  • Responsive and teachable?
  • One who will respect my mentor?
  • Self-motivated?
  • Willing to be honest?
  • Willing to be vulnerable?
  • Willing to be held accountable?
  • Willing to be committed to being mentored?

How do I find a mentor?

  1. List your mentoring needs
  2. Prioritize your mentoring needs for the next 12 months.
  3. Identify the type of mentor you need.
  4. Pray and ask for God’s leading for a mentor.
  5. Brainstorm possible candidates within your sphere of relationships.
  6. Brainstorm possible candidates outside your sphere of relationships.
  7. Seek advice and input from leaders you respect.
  8. Contact potential mentors and schedule an initial meeting.
  9. Lay out your mentoring needs and why you chose them as a potential mentor.
  10. Identify your preferable outcomes in a mentoring relationship.
  11. Outline what you will contribute to the mentoring relationship.
  12. Suggest a 3-month trial with the possibility of termination or continuance.

To be continued…

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