5 Ways to Guard Your Priorities

Avoid the Administrative Rabbit Hole 

The opportunity to coach, write, and speak on the topic of leadership is a gift that I hope I never take for granted. But a productive work rhythm is an art to be mastered.

The administrative rabbit hole is real–for all of us. Many would agree it’s key to develop rhythms and routines that help us maintain priorities. But even when we know better, we can find ourselves down the rabbit hole overwhelmed trying to find our way out.

But here’s the thing, when circumstances change or responsibilities increase, the issues are still the same. It’s all about self-management. So whether I’m managing my business, leading a team, or sitting in my home office with my four-legged friend at my feet, I have to resist the administrative rabbit hole.

 

5 Ways to Guard Your Priorities

  1. Before you begin your day, determine your priorities. You might set these priorities as you wrap up the previous day, in the morning or sometime in between, but whatever you do define your priorities before you sit down and open your computer!
  2. Pre-determine when you check emails and structure your workflow. You must manage your emails and not allow your emails to manage you. Consistently reacting to emails will put your day’s productivity in danger before you even think about lunch.
  3. Map out your schedule each day. I’m very competitive and goal-oriented, so I begin each day by mapping out my time. I account for every 30-minute window, and then I challenge myself to stay on schedule. If I only have 30 minutes to check and respond to emails, it’s incredible how fast I can clean out my inbox. Putting time limits on tasks will keep you moving forward quickly.
  4. Change your scenery. I quickly get antsy and bored where I lose focus simply because I’ve been in the same place for too long. When possible, change where you work throughout the day. Here’s a great quote.

Change of Place + Change of Pace = Change of Perspective.

Mark Batterson, Wild Goose Chase

5. Do what only you can do and do that first. This brings us back to the first point about determining priorities, but it’s worth repeating. We can get lost down the administrative rabbit hole when we lack the discipline to do the hard things first. It’s easy to be lured by a sense of accomplishment when we check a few things off a list rather than spending time on one major priority that only you can do. Do the big or harder things first when you are fresh and energized.

 

Plan A Healthy Work Rhythm and Routine

Maybe you’re scrambling to get clarity on your priorities. Don’t let life’s whirlwind keep you from being purposeful.

I want to encourage you not to give up even if your schedule is packed. Take out your calendar right now and find at least one hour that you can devote to thinking, planning, and prioritizing. I promise this hour will not be wasted. It’s the most valuable work you can do for yourself and your team. Make the time and make it happen.

 

What are your tricks of the trade for keeping yourself focused on the right priorities?

 

Keep leading well.

Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group

 

** Are You New to The 4Sight Group?  **

As leaders, we’re full of ideas and initiatives. We see potential and opportunity all around. We can almost taste the outcome, but often we get bogged down by how we’ll get from here to there.

The “how” can be overwhelming and discouraging, so we give up on our goals or fail to build a plan to help us achieve them.

These five steps will get you and your team on the path to moving from ideas to action! We’d love to have you join our community and access this free PDF!

 

 

Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.

Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.


 

 

3 Reason We Don’t Value Rest

Avoid the Danger of Chronic Work 

 

Have you ever noticed that of the 10 Commandments, God gives the most description to Exodus 20:8-11?

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy,” (Exodus 20:8-11 NIV).

Four verses are devoted to explaining why we need to rest. No other commandment is given this much dwelling time. But even with the extra explanation, I still violate this one the most.

 

A Leaders Greatest Danger

I believe, the inability to honor the Sabbath is a leader’s greatest danger.

Leader’s thrive on accomplishment. We’re wired for productivity. We’re naturally inclined to maximize time and opportunity. A few extra hours to catch up when others are at rest makes us feel like we’re getting ahead of the game. Some of us wake up early or stay up late to get “just a few more things done.” We check our phones during family time to respond to “just one email.” Or we go to the office on a holiday to catch up on a project, for “just a couple hours.” Unfilled time slots are a precious commodity to us because our plates are full and their spinning fast.

If you’re like me, you might be tempted to see the Sabbath as a luxury you can’t afford. Somehow we are tempted to believe we’re above the law. And this my friends is a dangerous place for us to be.

 

3 Sins of Sabbath Violation

1) Pride

Our inability to recognize our limits and to acknowledge our dependence on God is a sin. It’s a violation of God’s directive to us. When we can’t take God at His Word, we are suggesting we know better. We’ve stopped leading ourselves well by not practicing the essential disciplines that nurture our soul.

 

2) Fear

Trusting God with our limitations is frightening. We fear for our identity, reputation, and future if there are unknown elements that are out of our control. Fear compels us to seek control and manipulate every moment and opportunity, even if it means we violate God’s command. As a result, we stop giving ourselves permission to pause.

 

3) Selfishness

In Exodus, we find an explanation for why we should Sabbath,

“Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed,” (Exodus 23:12).

Observing the Sabbath isn’t all about you! This verse explains that when we rest, we create space for those we lead to rest too. Leaders, this is huge! When you don’t rest, you don’t allow your family or those who work with you to rest. You are leading them to sin as well.

This passage was an eye-opener for me. For most of my life, I’ve been tempted to see the Sabbath as a gift to me, but that’s a selfish perspective. A leader’s life is never just about oneself. How we lead, even in rest, impacts the people we are responsible to lead.

 

A Fresh Perspective

Sabbath is about God and my recognition that it is him that enables me to do what I do. It’s a weekly reminder of my limitations. Sabbath is my acknowledgment of my total dependence on him. Honestly, this is really hard for me. It’s a weekly battle to turn off, shut down, disconnect, and trust God.

How about you? What is God teaching you about Sabbath and rest? How are you growing in your dependence on him?

 

Keep leading well.

Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group

 

** Are You New to The 4Sight Group?  **

As leaders, we’re full of ideas and initiatives. We see potential and opportunity all around. We can almost taste the outcome, but often we get bogged down by how we’ll get from here to there.

The “how” can be overwhelming and discouraging, so we give up on our goals or fail to build a plan to help us achieve them.

These five steps will get you and your team on the path to moving from ideas to action! We’d love to have you join our community and access this free PDF!

 

 

Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.

Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.


 

 

Freedom to Influence

Freedom to Influence

 

Summer peaks with July festivities. Independence Day brings red, white and blue decorations, fireworks, BBQ get-togethers, and summer nights with family and friends.

As I contemplate this special holiday, thoughts about freedom come to mind. Some may see freedom as a privilege, the absence of oppression, financial opportunity, equality, and more. Of course, all of these are true, but from a Biblical perspective, Galatians 5:13 shares a different view–one of responsibility instead of benefit.

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Freedom allows us to love, serve, and influence others toward extraordinary outcomes.

 

Freedom to be Unique

You were made to impact the world in a way that no one else can. I know that God has designed you for something very significant and unique. He’s gifted and equipped you to influence for the good of the people around you. We have the power to change or affect the lives of other people. I believe it’s sacred work that God has entrusted to us.

Long before you even heard of God, He had his eye on you. He saw you. He knew you and knew the plans He had for you. He’s bestowed you with gifts specific to the purpose for which He’s designed you. When we take all of this into consideration, it stands to reason that understanding our identity means getting to know the one who created us. Make a careful exploration of who you, and do the work that God has given you to do. There’s no need to mimic what everyone else is doing. Discern what God’s unique calling looks like for your life, and relentlessly pursue it.

 

Freedom to Impact Others

We can use influence for good or bad. We influence whether we acknowledge it or not. Our influence can be accidental, or it can be purposeful. We can be aware or completely oblivious of our impact on others.

We have to understand how to steward influence for extraordinary good. Stewarding our influence means to direct the trajectory of our influence, so we impact the lives of others in significant ways. It connects with the longings in our heart; it connects with our God-ordained desire to matter. There is something deep inside each of us that longs to count.  We want to matter to the world, if even for a moment.  We can’t help but feel called or destined for something significant. And I believe we are.  I believe that each one of us has a purpose, a calling that only we are qualified to fulfill.

 

Freedom to Fulfill Our God-Given Calling

You were made to influence the world in a way that no one else can, but you have to make a careful exploration. You have to understand your sphere of influence. You have to steward it well. If your circle remains small, or if your circle expands exponentially, it’s not the arena of influence that matters, but how you steward the influence you’ve been given. The impact on each individual is equally significant.

I know that some days may feel long and hard, but this is our only life. Take responsibility for all that God has entrusted to you. You were made to influence the world in a way that no one else can.

 

Freedom to Open Doors and Move Mountains

When you begin to understand God’s heart for influence, you realize it isn’t about you. It’s not about your success, your enjoyment, your comfort, accolades, or your future. Your freedom to influence is a gift to open doors and move mountains for others.

There is somebody else who is going to thrive because of your freedom to lead and influence. Think about who is in this immediate circle of influence in your life right now: spouse, kids, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or people in your small group. Who’s a part of your world right now.

I could tell you a zillion of stories of people who have made it possible for me to be where I am. You have that potential. You have the power to influence and impact a world in a way that no one else can. God has equipped you and designed you to live out your unique calling and gifting.

 

“Who will you influence, today?” We can help you confidently lead and influence others. There’s still room to join us for the Women in Leadership Coaching Intensive.

 

Keep leading well.

Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group

YouTube Excerpt

 

** Are You New to The 4Sight Group?  **

As leaders, we’re full of ideas and initiatives. We see potential and opportunity all around. We can almost taste the outcome, but often we get bogged down by how we’ll get from here to there.

The “how” can be overwhelming and discouraging, so we give up on our goals or fail to build a plan to help us achieve them.

These five steps will get you and your team on the path to moving from ideas to action! We’d love to have you join our community and access this free PDF!

 

 

Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.

Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.


 

 

4 Tips for Using the Enneagram as an Effective Team Development Tool

4 Tips for Using the Enneagram as an Effective Team Development Tool

By: Jenni Catron

 

About 10 years ago my counselor introduced me to the Enneagram. It was one of the many tools that she used to help in discovering my motivations and convictions. We wrestled for months to accurately type me. Was I a “One” or a “Three”… maybe even a “Five”. She wasn’t in a hurry to determine my type although I was. To her, the process was a sacred discovery that would ultimately help us identify what some Enneagram scholars call the “automatic” self – the way I have learned to show up in the world to succeed.

 

Ultimately our discussions led us to conclude that my automatic self is a Type 3. Early on in life I learned to succeed by achieving. I internalized the belief that I was most valued when I performed well, whatever the role called for – teacher’s pet, straight “A” student, top of my class, star role in the musical, obedient child. Funny enough my nickname growing up was “Winners” although no one can remember exactly when or how that name was given.

 

Little about this process was humorous or entertaining. It was raw and many times painful but it was also incredibly beautiful. The Enneagram has been a tool of immense personal growth. It has stretched me and it has given me a framework for continued growth.

 

For the last decade, I have actively continued to study this tool both for my personal development but also for helping to serve the leaders I work with.

 

For many years when I would introduce the Enneagram, I would get strange looks and tentative questions “Ennea – what?” I’m pretty sure a few people thought I was drifting into some new age spirituality.

 

And so I have been mostly delighted with the rise of the Enneagram’s popularity. I’m thrilled that more people are aware of this tool and actively seeking to grow in their self-awareness.

 

As with any tool, knowing how to use the tool is important for it to be effective. A tool misused can be dangerous.

 

With a passion to help leaders use the tool well, I want to give you some thoughts on how to use the Enneagram effectively for you and your team.

  • Resist the desire to type someone. Sure, it’s kind of fun to try to peg someone based upon what you experience in their personality. But what we see on the surface is not always an indicator of underlying motivation. For example, I have perfectionist tendencies that can often be mistyped as a Type 1. With a closer look, you’ll discover that my pursuit of perfection is directly related to whom I’m trying to please. As a Type 3 I may shift my behavior according to whose approval I’m seeking. If you type someone too early, you may confuse them and yourselves and short circuit their discovery. When you allow someone to arrive at an understanding of their type, I promise you will learn much more about them.

 

  • Remember that the Enneagram is not designed to pigeon-hole someone into a type. While we all have a type that reflects our automatic self and this type will not change, the Enneagram is designed to help us become more integrated. Our automatic type will learn to be more fluid and balanced. As we grow and move to the healthiest version of our type, we will not be as extreme in our type or reflect the negative attributes of our type as strongly. I often hear individuals use their type as an excuse for behavior or I see team members box someone in with phrases like, “as an 8 you always have to be in charge” or “she’s a 4 that’s why she’s so moody”. We must resist the urge to limit people’s potential by seeing them as the stereotype of their number.

 

  • Use the Enneagram to spark understanding of one another. We naturally view the world through our own lens and as a result have difficulty understanding the motivations and behaviors of others. Healthy processing of the Enneagram equips your team to have a greater understanding of one another because you learn the automatic responses and motivations of each type. Using the Enneagram as a tool for learning more about one another can open up curiosity and lead to greater compassion for your team members.

 

  • As a leader, use the Enneagram to know how to coach and develop your team. You will build trust and influence with your team as you seek to understand them. Knowing your teams’ core motivations and fears give you powerful insight to know how to coach them, encourage them and provide feedback. For example, when you’re working with a Type 2 you can be sensitive to the fact that their desire to help everyone often leads them to overcommit and often feel taken advantage of. With this knowledge, you can be on the lookout for when they are overextending themselves and help coach them to be more clear with their boundaries. You can also keep an eye out for other staff who may take advantage of their tendency to rescue others.

 

Helping your staff be both self-aware and others-aware is a tremendous way to build trust and develop healthy teams. The Enneagram is just one of many tools that can be a powerful resource in creating healthy and thriving organizational culture.

 

What tools have been helpful for the health and development of your team?

Leadership Lessons I’m thankful for….#1

Leadership Lessons I’m thankful for….

by Jenni Catron

The longer I lead the more I realize that there are times in our leadership journey when we have to make critical perspective shifts to think differently and therefore lead differently.  These moments are often hard to identify because we don’t know what we don’t know. That’s why they’re called blind spots. The longer we have these blind spots the more limited our leadership becomes.

That’s why I’m thankful for other leaders in my life who have been willing to identify these blind spots and expand my perspective.

One particular perspective shift that comes to mind is when a leader that I served with coached me on the need to chase momentum rather than fixate on problems. This thought was so counterintuitive to me. One of my strengths is identifying problems and creating plans to overcome them. This gifting has served me well but the more my leadership influence grew the more problems that mounted and the more I was figuratively chasing my tail rather than moving us forward.

My leader’s challenge to chase momentum first was not permission to ignore problems. It was simply a challenge to shift my perspective. I needed to recognize that my greatest attention needed to be given to where we were experiencing momentum as an organization. How could I provide more resources and support for the things that were working? How could I coach and encourage my staff who were leading initiatives that were experiencing momentum?

Momentum is an extraordinary gift.  

One of our responsibilities as leaders is to protect and propel momentum because building momentum or regaining momentum once it is lost is disproportionately more difficult.  

As leaders, there are problems to solve… and we need to solve them, but this perspective shift helped me realize I needed to prioritize momentum over problems. My tendency as a leader was to believe that spending time on problems was my greatest contribution, when in fact giving attention to our successes would actually reap greater rewards, both with our staff and to the bottom line.

So, are you more prone to fixing problems or fueling momentum?

This could be the perspective shift that makes all the difference!

 

Jenni Catron is the Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group.  Her passion is to equip and inspire leaders to lead from their extraordinary best!

Jenni Catron, Leadership Consulting, Self-Leadership

4 Dimensions of Self Leadership That Could Save You From Imploding

4 Dimensions of Self Leadership That Could Save You From Imploding

By: Jenni Catron

 

Like most of the ambitious and driven, I’ve not always stewarded the responsibility of leadership well. I’ve chased position, title, and accolades. I’ve made leadership more about me rather than serving others.

 

The longer I lead the more deeply committed I’ve become to the gravity of leadership.  We see the notoriety and success and we then become enamored with the idea of leadership.

 

Hebrews 13:17 tells us that as leaders we are to keep watch over those in our sphere of influence and that we will be held accountable for that care.

 

I wonder if we’ve lost this understanding?

 

Luke tells us, “To whom much is given much is required.”

 

Do we recognize that with greater leadership we are not less accountable, we are actually more accountable?

 

Have we glamorized leadership and idolized leaders so much that we’ve become blinded to our frailty?

 

Are we so afraid of honesty, confession, our sin and our failure that, like King David, we will cover it all up no matter the cost?

 

Are we so fearful of losing control that we orchestrate control by surrounding ourselves with “yes men and women”, creating echo chambers of our own praise?

 

Leaders, I believe it’s a season of reckoning. I believe God is calling us back to His heart for leadership. Back to a realization of the extraordinary honor and privilege it is to have influence in another’s life. Back to the realization that with every ounce of influence, we have the power to affect the lives of other people. Back to the realization that with every expansion of that influence— the ripple effect gets more profound. Back to an understanding that when we fail, the consequences and the impact on so many others will send shock waves for years to come.

 

What can we learn? How do change the trajectory of the story? How can we raise a generation of thriving and healthy leaders who lead well for the long haul? How do we make sure today’s heroes don’t become tomorrow’s headlines?

 

It starts with me. It starts with you. It’s the slow, slogging, unseen work of self-leadership. Leading yourself well in every dimension of life. No one can do this work for you, and ultimately you’re accountable.

 

4 Essential Dimensions for Leading Yourself Well

 

  1. Spiritual Discipline

How is your soul?

We hate the word discipline, but I intentionally used it here. To nurture your soul requires a relationship with God. Building a relationship means time spent together. Are you seeking God for the purpose of knowing Him, not needing something from Him? Are you consistent and intentional in prayer, Bible reading, and Sabbath? Are there disciplines in your life that suggest you’re actively pursuing growth for your soul?

 

  1. Relational Health

How are your relationships?

We were made for community, but too many of us sacrifice family and friends for the sake of ambition. It’s often subtle. Responsibilities grow and gradually we continue to squeeze out the relationships that ground us. We buy into the belief that leadership is lonely. Instead of fighting the loneliness with intentional community, we give in to the isolation that becomes a breeding ground for unhealth. Who are the people who don’t need you to be a leader? Fight for time with them.

 

  1. Growth Mindset

How are you learning?

There is a well-known quote that says, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” Trouble is, our egos enjoy being the smartest person in the room, and the more leadership influence we gain the more likely that is the case.  We must fight our ego, cultivate an attitude of curiosity and humbly acknowledge where we need to continue to grow. Our nature gravitates toward what’s known and comfortable. Maintaining a growth mindset helps us value the wisdom of others, humbly recognize our inadequacies, and relentlessly remain committed to learning and growing.

 

  1. Purpose and Direction

What is your purpose?

Sadly, we often lose our personal sense of purpose and direction in the pursuit of achievement.  What is your purpose, your driving “why” for everything you do? If your title and platform were stripped away tomorrow would you still know what you are gifted and created to do? Does your “why” transcend the title and position? If not, it’s time to revisit and identify the core purpose that grounds you no matter the circumstances you find yourself in.

And not so ironically that pursuit of purpose takes you full circle back to the first dimension of soul care.

 

Leaders, we get the remarkable privilege of leading others to extraordinary outcomes, but this pursuit has the potential to do more harm than good if we are not attentive to our health as leaders.

 

“A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside of himself or herself… lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.”

Parker Palmer

 

Perhaps with a more sober perspective on leadership, we would be more cautious with our desire to grow our influence. Perhaps we’d hold it more carefully. Perhaps we’d recognize the truly sacred responsibility that leadership is.

Lead yourself well. It matters. It so desperately matters.

 

3 Proven Tactics to Break the Growth Barriers in Your Organization

3 Proven Tactics to Break the Growth Barriers in Your Organization

By: Pam Marmon

 

Do you want to grow your organization and achieve more impact? If you are on a want to reach more people, you understand that scaling your organization is expensive, time-consuming, and exhausting. There is never enough time in the day to read one more book, attend one more training, and listen to one more podcast. You need to grow, now! Through my experience as an organizational effectiveness and growth management consultant, I’ve helped organizations of various sizes and industries, as they embarked on massive transformations. While some were wildly successful, many lessons were learned through failure. Here are three things you must apply if you want to gracefully scale your organization.

1. People

Your people are your biggest asset. The right people will take your organization to places that far outreach your imagination. Diversity of thoughts, backgrounds, and ideas enhance the quality of perspectives and helps you make strategic decisions. Apart from the obvious characteristics you need your team to exhibit, such as people who are knowledgeable, trust-worthy, and overall a great culture-fit, there is one superior characteristic that will drive your organization to growth.

Ownership.
To cultivate a culture of ownership, people must demonstrate entrepreneurial behaviors. Entrepreneurs obsess about their organizations. They have a stake in the game, an investment, and a higher level of commitment. Your role as a leader is to demonstrate those behaviors yourself, foster incentives that awaken an entrepreneurial mindset and encourage others to think and behave like owners. What can your organization change to cultivate an entrepreneurial environment?

2. Strategy

If you don’t know where your organization is going, you will end up somewhere. Do you want to leave that to chance? This is why successful organizations that scale well host quarterly strategic sessions to define the future path, review what needs fixing, and align on goals and objectives. If this is so important, why isn’t every organization doing it? Because you will need to stop all the important and urgent things you are already undertaking, and invest time in important and yet not urgent matters. Busy organizations are not necessarily productive organizations. Strategically aligned organizations, where people talk to each other, and do what is best for the collective interest of the organization, are productive. They have less re work, less internal strife, and less time putting out fires. If you want to scale your organization, host quarterly strategic sessions and cascade information throughout your organization. Listen, learn, and continuously adjust the plan. How can your organization gather data necessary for a successful strategic session?

3. Execution

If execution eats strategy for breakfast, then great ideas are worthless if not executed well. Execution is about discipline, accountability, and consequences. It’s about operational excellence and resolving the bottlenecks in your organization. It’s
about purposeful meetings, completed tasks, visibility to status, and recognition when milestones are met. It’s ok to run a tight ship and reward people for a job well done! If you want your company to excel in execution, create a culture where high- achievers thrive. Set the expectation that when commitments are made, people are held accountable and rewarded. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as we learn, adjust, and move on. Execution is about getting things done. How is your organization rewarding teams that excel in the area of execution? It is hard to get people, strategy, and execution flawless. But if you want to grow and scale your organization, you need to transition how you’ve done things in the past and look towards the future. Most importantly, remember your why! You need a compelling reason to anchor when the storms come and the inevitable challenges shake your position. Your people will persevere, your strategy will guide you, and your execution will help you get there.

This is a guest post by Pam Marmon who is the Founder of Threefold Tribe, a
consulting firm helping growing churches multiply and equipping the church to be
the highest functioning organization in the world.

Pam is also the Founder of Marmon Consulting, a growth management consulting firm helping growing companies scale by providing leadership and insights that deliver results and break the growth barrier. Church leaders and Christian non-profits can receive Pam’s free video resource on The 6 Steps to Effective Internal Communications, with bonus materials including worksheets, checklists, and an Excel toolkit. In the absence of communications, rumors, anxiety, and lost productivity emerge. You can change that! From strategy to execution, you can improve how your organization serves more people to achieve greater mission and impact.

Leader, Jenni Catron, Leadership Consulting

From Possibility to Reality: The True Mark of a Leader

From Possibility to Reality: The Bridge Building of a Leader

By: Jenni Catron

 

I WAS SO FRUSTRATED! WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN AN EXCITING OPPORTUNITY BECAME ONE OF MY MOST FRUSTRATING PROFESSIONAL MOMENTS.

I was fuming at the end of the meeting. Each person on the marketing team had been tasked with brainstorming an idea for an upcoming project and presenting it to the entire team. The executives would choose the best idea with the understanding that the winning idea would be the anchor promotion for the campaign we were working on.

The meeting started out really fun. Everyone had come with some great ideas. We were inspired and excited about the possibilities. Sure, some of the ideas were outrageous but the creative juices were flowing. The energy was infectious.

Now it was time for the executives to choose the winning idea. I didn’t expect to win. Even I knew my idea wasn’t the best one presented… after all, I’m not so much an ideas girl. I’m more of an implementer. I take pride in being the one on the team that can find a way to get the big idea done. And that’s what puzzled me so much about what happened next. When the executives announced their choice I thought they were joking. Sure, the idea they chose was a really fun and outrageous idea, but it wasn’t a doable idea. Not just in that it would be challenging or stretching… it wasn’t a doable idea because we couldn’t LEGALLY do it. Contest rules and government regulations limited the viability of the idea.

While everyone was high-fiving and talking about how cool the idea was. I was internally screaming at the stupidity of the decision. What good is an idea… a vision… if it’s not a doable idea?

Oftentimes we as leaders don’t realize the frustration we cause when we pitch extraordinary ideas and outrageous goals to our teams. Time and time again as I work with executive leaders and their teams I discover an enormous chasm that exists between a leader’s ideas and the reality that it takes for the team to accomplish them.

But what I’ve also discovered is that most ideas are actually possible, it’s just that the leader has failed to connect reality with possibility. A big part of our job as leaders is to be vision casters. We need to be dreaming of the possibilities. We need to have hope for a better future and greater outcomes. But casting vision is not enough. The challenge emerges when we disconnect too much from the reality of what it takes for our teams to help us achieve these visions. Gary Vaynerchuk describes this as living in the “clouds and dirt.” He says, “I spend all my time in the clouds and the dirt. That is to say, I only ever focus on the high-end philosophy of what I believe, and the low-down subject matter expertise that allows me to execute against it. Know the philosophy, know the details, and ignore everything in the middle.”

When we live in the clouds and never get in the dirt, we are no longer equipped to adequately lead our teams. Leaders lose credibility when we’re disconnected from reality. We have to create the bridge. We have to help connect the dots and create a pathway that our teams can see.

As leaders, we must keep ourselves tethered to reality. Remember, not everyone is on board with your big idea. As leaders, we think our grand ideas are obviously great. We birthed them so how would we think any different?  But while you’re pushing through a grand dream, you could be pushing your team to burnout. If your team really hasn’t embraced an idea as their own they aren’t prepared to put in the long hours and sacrifice it takes. What is a natural overflow for you is grueling, resentment producing work for them. You have to slow down to bring them with you, and perhaps let them shape the vision too.

Jenni Catron is the Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group.  Her passion is to equip and inspire leaders to lead from their extraordinary best!

Who vs. What: A Grey Leadership Issue

WHO VS. WHAT: A Grey Leadership Issue

By: Jenni Catron

There are two schools of thought when it comes to hiring and organizational structure.

The relational types subscribe to “first who, then what”

The all-business types lean towards “first what, then who”

I don’t agree with either of them.

I believe that one of the most dangerous things we can do as organizational leaders is overly systematize our processes.  It’s reassuring, comforting even, to have a formula for every organizational decision.  But I just don’t think it works.  It’s the easy and safe way out.

Leadership is much more complex.

For example: What if you have an amazing “who” but you have no “what” to place them in?  Meaning, you have a great employee with a great attitude, who understands the organizational culture, embraces your DNA and exemplifies great character – all things that you desire to have in an employee – but you absolutely don’t have a position suited for their gift set.  In a large organization, you may be ok because you have a lot of departments that you can place them in, but if you lead a small organization what do you do, especially when the budget won’t allow you to create a role that caters to this individual’s gifts?

Leaders who subscribe to “first who, then what” are likely to keep the “who” they love and put them in any position to keep them on the team.  In most cases, however that leader eventually gets frustrated with their favorite “who” because “who” is no longer a star performer.  “Who” is working outside of his strengths and doing a terrible job.  Eventually you let the “who” go and no one wins.

Leaders who subscribe to “first what, then who” disconnect themselves emotionally from their “whos” and just focus on the “what”.  They create the “ideal” organizational chart and only look for candidates that meet their specific “what” criteria.  The result is a culture that is cold and sterile with no relational chemistry.

I believe the best leaders do both of these things… and a little more.

First, they evaluate their “whos”.  What are the strengths and weaknesses of their individual team members?  What are their gifts?  Where do they shine?  How are they motivated?  What are their dreams and aspirations?  How well do they support the vision and direction?  Do they reflect the DNA and culture that you desire for your organization?

Second, they determine their “what”.  What does the organization need to continue to grow?  What does the organization structure need to look like to best steward its resources and momentum?  What specific skills are needed for those roles?

Then, the leader starts matching the “whos” with the “whats”.  You might move someone to a totally different role because the process of evaluating “whos” and “whats” separately opened your eyes to a solution you didn’t see when you were focused just on one side of the equation.  You also might discover that some “whats” aren’t as critical as you first thought.  You might be able to give up something so that you don’t lose a good “who”.

The point is that while you need to approach some elements of your organizational structure with systematic thinking, your final decisions will come down to more intuitive analysis.  There is a discernment element of navigating this grey leadership issue that you can’t create a system to solve.

Your instincts in leading through the complexity will be what sets you apart as a leader.

How do you recreate, train and develop your team?

What’s the greatest challenge you’ve encountered in managing your organizational chart?

Jenni Catron is the Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group.  Her passion is to equip and inspire leaders to lead from their extraordinary best!

Developing Special Teams

Developing Special Teams

 By: Jenni Catron

Structure is important, especially in organizations.  I’m a strong proponent of well-defined organizational charts with clear lines of authority and responsibility.  We set our employees up best when we provide the framework within which they work.

However, the downside of a well-structured organization is that it can become prone to stagnation.  When employees are relegated to their corner of the organizational world with little opportunity to try new things, they can get stuck.  As a result so does the organization.

One of the most helpful things you can do as an organizational leader is look for ways to stretch staff without completely upending the organizational chart.  My favorite way to do this is by creating special teams or task forces for unconventional projects.

Years ago, I led a staff team through the implementation of a citywide Christmas event.  The goal was to give a gift to our city in the form of a winter wonderland experience and Christmas concert.  With just a couple of months to pull off all the details, I immediately began strategizing how our team could pull off a 4 day event with thousands of attendees while also keeping up with our regular barrage of responsibilities during the Christmas season.  It was certainly a daunting thought!

Because the responsibilities involved in pulling off this event would involve many different departments, I needed to assemble a special task force of leaders from throughout the organization.

First, I made a list of key areas of responsibility that would require a leader:

  • Outdoor experience
  • Lobby experience
  • Concert
  • Artist contact & booking
  • First Impressions
  • Refreshments
  • Parking
  • Marketing
  • Sponsors/Fundraising

Then I looked throughout the organization at leaders at all levels for people who excelled in each of these areas.  We chose the leaders who would make up the task force and take responsibility for each area.  Each leader would then be given additional staff to serve on their teams.

Once the leaders were assigned and teams were assembled, the task force team met weekly to work through details.  Each member came to the weekly meeting ready to give an update on their area.  Ultimately the staff pulled off an amazing event!

Here are some outcomes I’ve experienced by creating task forces for special projects or events:

You disrupt routine.  When new responsibilities are added to our plates it forces us to reevaluate how we organize and spend our time.  We prioritize better.  We make more purposeful decisions about our schedule.

Great leaders emerge.  If you see a staff person with some leadership potential, you can give them some extra responsibility on a team like this to see what they’re capable of without completing changing their job.

The hierarchy is flattened.  As the organization grows it’s difficult for top leaders to see the gifts and strengths of all the staff.  Our Christmas task force allowed me to see some of our staff in action that I wouldn’t otherwise see on a regular basis.

New relationships are formed.  Because we involved staff from all departments, all campuses and all levels of the organization people who had never worked with one another were on teams together.  It was wonderful to see new friendships formed as they worked together to accomplish a big goal.

What event or big project do you have an the horizon?  Could your organization and your staff benefit from changing things up and creating a special team for it?

Jenni Catron is the Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group.  Her passion is to equip and inspire leaders to lead from their extraordinary best!

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