Is This What’s Missing In Your Leadership?

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Is leadership that is not expanding truly leadership?

Bear with me for a minute.

If I’m teaching students to ask and answer the three questions but it stops there, is my leadership influence growing? Even more pointedly, if the students I’m leading are stopping short of answering the third question, aren’t we missing the point completely?

Leadership influence expands when more people fall into that influence. That means I can teach 10 people to grow their influence, or I can teach 10 people to grow their influence who in turn grow their influence by teaching 10 people each. At that point influence isn’t growing, it is multiplying. Like chills in the movie Grease.

Let’s get specific: if I pour into a leader who never into another leader around them, am I really pouring into a leader? Leadership influence is most efficient when we first lead ourselves and then lead others. And leadership influences multiplies when the people I have led begin to lead others.

But secret expectations are rarely met and almost never healthy. You know this. I know this.

How are you equipping those you lead to truly lead others? How are you inviting them to repeat the process?

Let me challenge you today. If you are a regular reader, find one person this week in whom you can start investing. It could be a student. It could be an adult. It could be your child, your spouse, or your neighbor. Teach them the three questions, and then add a fourth: who can I teach the three questions?

Don’t settle for addition. Aim for multiplication.

Can Bad Ideas Be Good For You?

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I truly love working with teenagers. More often than not, I’ll listen to a kid preparing to share a wild idea they’ve had, and simply be filled with glee. Most of the time they know their idea is a stretch, but there’s always hope.

I’m the same way. Sometimes I toss out a bad idea just because I know it’s a bad idea and because I want some creative juices to start flowing. An outlandish statement helps me find my grounding principle.

I think we need to learn to sift through bad ideas in order to find the good ones. In fact, isn’t that the balance? We don’t know a good idea when it’s presented if we haven’t discovered bad ideas along the way.

When I share a bad idea with someone and they tell me so, it pushes me to keep thinking. I evaluate what makes it a bad idea. I try to tweak it, or decide to move on completely. At the end of the day, though, none of us are immune.

When someone shares a bad idea with me, it sparks my creativity. Is there a tweak to change the bad idea into a good one, or do we need to move in a different direction? It gets me thinking. It challenges me.

So today I want you to lean into your bad ideas. You don’t have to pursue them, but as you think through the situations you face, acknowledge your bad ideas in the process. I think it will help you know the good idea when you see it. But be gracious with yourself and with those around you.

Or, who knows. Maybe I’m wrong and this post was a bad idea…

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Make the Next One Even Better

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Do you have something that you enjoy doing, but it takes a lot of energy to convince yourself to do it? Maybe it’s exercise, eating healthy, or following up on a conversation you had previously.

For me, I love when I’m finished reviewing an event. Not just pulling the event off, but actually sitting at the finish line and working through the process that got me there. Unfortunately, in spite of the joy I find in having finished it, I have to spend a lot of time convincing myself to do it.

Why do I love the finished product? Because I have a terrible memory, and when I can take notes on something I’m able to write down the things I don’t want to forget.

For example, this week we are doing a fund raiser at our church. Because of COVID, this is only the 2nd time we’ve done this fundraiser in my 25 months at this church. To spell it out even more: we haven’t done this fundraiser in 2 years. Now, my memory is pretty bad most of the time, but when I have to remember the minutia of an event 2 years ago, all hope is lost.

That’s why I’m grateful I took notes two years ago. I wrote down the process, what worked, and changes I needed to make. This way, I don’t have to re-apply the energy it takes to make a decision, and I can even make the event itself better.

As John Maxwell says: “Experience isn’t the best teacher. Evaluated experience is the best teacher.”

What do you need to review? It’s like writing a love note to yourself that delivers down the road. You’ll be grateful.

Finally, because I love practical elements, here are the questions I use to evaluate. Enjoy!

Experience Helps You Trust the Process

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I started the Three Question Leadership Blog 4 years ago. I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing some of my first posts, in their entirety, here. Whether you’re new or have been with me all along, I hope you find these concepts applicable.

18 months ago I ran a Half Marathon, and then basically stopped running. So, last week I did something I never expected to do again and started a Couch to 5K program.

When I started running, the C25K app introduced me to running. Now, as I start over, I have to remind myself of one simple thing: trust the process.

I have the benefit of knowing the C25K app will help me build up my endurance. In leadership, we don’t always have that assurance.

This is why learning from our past becomes one of the most important things we can do. If we refuse to sit down and evaluate the things we have done, how can we expect to get better?

Have you made mistakes? Everyone does. But how have you recovered from the mistakes you made? What have you learned? What would you do differently? What processes have you built into your leadership to help you succeed?

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It’s Time to Start Somewhere

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I started the Three Question Leadership Blog 4 years ago. I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing some of my first posts, in their entirety, here. Whether you’re new or have been with me all along, I hope you find these concepts applicable.

I am a thinker. I have a terrible tendency to be able to argue both sides, even when they don’t need to be argued. Because of my propensity to think, I joke that I spend 90% of my time thinking about what I could do, and 10% actually doing it.

Thinking about things all the time has benefits. Often, I can think through a situation and find a new way of looking at it. I enjoy hearing how other people think so I can see if there is something I can learn from how they process and proceed.

There are downsides to thinking about things 90% of the time–you actually only act on what you’re thinking 10%. That leads to plenty of mental development, but very little real life occurrence.

That’s where the principle for today’s post came into my life. I don’t know if you’re wired like me, but I think there is a little truth in what I’m about to say. I’ve made this my new mantra, especially when there’s something I would much rather just think about doing than actually doing.

Are you ready? Here it is: Start Somewhere.

Sounds simple enough, right? You would be amazed at how many times it has helped me move from thinking to action.

For example, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of a student leadership team. I’ve tried one at past churches with moderate success, but never had a set structure I wanted to follow.

Where I serve now, it’s pretty fun to look back at the growth of our student leadership team. The first two or three years was just a trip at the beginning of summer. Then, two summers ago we added monthly meetings. This year, we’ve added weekly meetings and have really started to hit our stride.

But we would not be where we are today if I hadn’t started somewhere.

The crazy thing about starting somewhere is your start is not your final product. I never start something with the mindset that it is going to be perfect from the beginning. But, if I want a program, event, relationship, or opportunity to reach full potential, it will not happen until I start somewhere.

You may not be wired this way. Maybe you spend 90% of your time doing things and only 10% thinking. (If so, I think we would make a great team.)  Your “start somewhere” may be to put a little more thought into something before you start it.

Maybe you have a habit of starting things and never finishing them. So your “start somewhere” would be to pick one project and actually finish it.

I am not saying my way is the only way. I am asking, though, for you to evaluate yourself. Are you more of a thinker or a doer? Could the principle of “start somewhere” apply in your life? If so, where?

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