Don’t Be Guilty of Ignoring the Ops

A Thought to Consider 

Why did you get into ministry leadership?

Was it to process the 501 (c) (3) paperwork? Maybe create budgets? Build organizational charts? Fix broken computers?

Yeah, probably not.

 

The Operations Team is like Oil to Your Ministry Engine

When you considered getting into ministry leadership, these things probably didn’t enter your mind. You didn’t study accounting, HR, or IT. But while operational issues aren’t the most compelling reason to be a leader, paying attention to operations is essential for any great leader.

Operations are like the oil to the ministry engine. Without effective operations, the ministry engine is not going to run well, and eventually, poor operations will burn a ministry engine up.

That’s why it’s critical for us as leaders to value the operational needs of our organization and implement intentional practices to support them.

 

Operational issues don’t get me up in the morning, but they will keep me up at night.

 

5 Ways Savvy Leaders Support their Operations Team  

If you’ve been guilty of ignoring your Operations team, don’t worry, I have a few suggestions for you. While you’ll probably never be an expert on operations, here are some things that you can do to make sure operations are adequately supported.

 

1. Invest in a Qualified Staff 

It’s tempting to put off operational hiring. Pressing ministry needs often take precedence, but an excellent Operation’s staff will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the long run.

 

2. Reinforce Operational Systems 

Most of your staff will resist filling out the proper paperwork for a check request or creating their annual budget, but as the leader, you must reinforce the value of these processes. The easiest way to emphasize its importance is to model it.

Meet deadlines and turn in your paperwork. Don’t expect to be given exceptions because you’re the leader. What you value, others will value too.

 

3. Stay On Top of  Things

Even though you hired qualified people who understand operations better than you, don’t allow yourself to become too disconnected. I signed every check that our accounting team processed when I was a staff ministry leader. It took me a couple of hours each week, but it helped me see in real-time how we were spending the ministry dollars.

 

4. Meet Regularly with the Operations Staff

Create a regular meeting time to check in with the operation’s team and hear their needs, frustrations, or concerns. By creating time for them, you’ll convey the value they bring to the overall ministry needs. It will also create an opportunity for you to hear and resolve concerns before they become a crisis.

 

5. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Your Board

Enlist a Board of Directors with proven competency in operational issues and fiduciary responsibility. Be accountable to the team and heed their advice.

 

Ministry leadership is a great honor and privilege. While operational issues will rarely be the motivator to get you up in the morning, poor operations will be the thing that keeps you up at night. Too many ministries have floundered because a leader took their eyes off of this essential element of leadership.

 

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.


 

 

Why Great Leaders Remain Uncomfortable

It’s Easy to Get Comfortable 

 

I’m not old.
Neither am I young.
In this stage of life, I want to be both. I want the maturity and wisdom of age and experience, but I want to cling to the energy and idealism of youth. I want to believe my ideas are still new and innovative. Perhaps the greatest danger of this season is in both believing I still have great ideas but also the wisdom of experience.

 

Enough to Be Dangerous

 

It’s not impossible to have both great ideas and the wisdom of experience. It’s just dangerous to assume you have both because of this stage of life. It’s an attitude that leads to the entanglement of pride.

This is the “I know enough to be dangerous” stage of leadership. I’ve circled the leadership block enough times for the scenery to be familiar.  I know the twists and turns of the road, and I know where to anticipate the potholes. I’m confident to direct others who join me.

 

Expand Your Territory 

 

But at this stage of life and leadership, it’s time for my territory to expand. Perhaps I haven’t been paying attention to the new construction, and it’s changing traffic patterns. Are there new roadways that connect to my block and I haven’t explored them?

Before I exhaust the metaphor completely…

What I’m learning about this season of leadership is that it’s easy to get comfortable with where we grew up as leaders. After all, we have ideas, systems, and decision-making filters that are common and comfortable.

If we choose to stay with this set of experiences, we will limit ourselves. We will be inclined to reject new or different ideas. We will pridefully rely on what we know. Since it worked for us in the past, we’re convinced it will work in the future.

 

Remain Uncomfortable

The danger is that the landscape is changing whether you’re exploring it or not. We must listen to new voices. Challenge ourselves to consider new ideas. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. It will stretch us. And it will even batter your confidence.

But our ability to continue to grow as leaders is contingent on our ability to keep ourselves slightly uncomfortable. It’s in the discomfort where we continue to learn and grow. Remain uncomfortable and become a great leader.

Are you in an uncomfortable season of leadership? What are you learning from it?

 

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.


 

 

How Good Leaders Let Others Have a Voice

When Others Don’t Listen

 

Have you ever had one of those experiences where you’ve offered advice to someone and for whatever reason they didn’t listen to you? You’ve spent time pouring your heart and soul into them, offering advice that you think is important for them to hear but no response.

Then someone less connected comes along, says the same thing, and their advice gains acceptance. The new voice gets the credit for what you’ve been saying all along.

It happens all the time. With our families. With our friends. With our staff.

For much of my leadership life, I’ve been irritated by this dynamic. I can give direction over and over, but it’s often an outside voice that breaks through.

 

Embrace Outside Voices

 

As leaders, we can either fight this dynamic or embrace it. Embracing it doesn’t mean we give up on giving direction; it just means we need to look at our roles differently. While we need to both speak and model the way, we can also embrace outside voices to reinforce the principles we’re trying to cultivate in our teams.

You must bring other voices to speak to the issues your team needs to hear. You can’t say it all, and they won’t listen to you all the time anyway.

 

Good Leaders Let Others Have a Voice 

 

Rather than feel the need to be the one with every brilliant idea, bring voices you trust to say what your team needs to hear.

It’s an act of humility because it means acknowledging that outside voices will often be stronger than yours. It’s a willingness to let go of the need to be the “know-it-all” and trust that your job is really to bring the information to the table in whatever form will get through to your team and influence change and growth. Your role as the day-to-day leader in an organization is to be the curator of content.

 

Become a Curator of Content

 

When you embrace this role, you can relinquish the need to be the one developing all the ideas, and instead, direct your energy to find voices who can help say it for you. You become a curator of content.

Scour DVD teaching series, YouTube content, training resources from subject experts, Podcasts, and business leaders in your community. Look around you for people who are saying what you need to say but perhaps in a different way.

And when you see that “ah-ha” look in your team’s eyes, don’t get frustrated or jealous that someone else said it. Be proud of the fact that you made the connection.

 

Being a leader doesn’t mean being the only voice. It means knowing how to curate the many voices that will bring the right ideas to help your team effectively carry out the mission.

Be the curator!

 

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.


 

 

Are You Guilty of Being a One-Sided Leader?

Don’t Become a Good Cop/Bad Cop Leader 

 

“Go ask your mother.”

“Your father is not going to like that!”

“You’ll need the boss’ approval.”

“If the leader of that department is okay with it, I’m okay with it.”

 

We do this all the time. We pass the buck. We play good cop/bad cop.

Some of us are wired for mercy.

Some of us are wired for justice.

And because of that wiring, we usually become either the good cop or the bad cop for those we lead.

 

Good Cop/Bad Cop Philosophy

When we perpetuate a good cop/bad cop scenario, we create heroes and villains.

The philosophy doesn’t emerge from dysfunction. It comes from that natural wiring, and at first, it even seems balanced. We need mercy and justice. We need grace and truth. Since both exist, there appears to be an equilibrium in the organization. For a time, there might be the illusion of such, but in reality, you’re enabling a dysfunction that will wear down the relational chemistry of your team.

 

The “Good Cop” Role

The leader who plays the “good cop” role, while well-liked, will become less respected. That person can never be relied upon to speak the truth. The team eventually catches on and realizes that in the desire to be the “good cop” this leader is never coaching you for improvement or constructively giving you feedback. The “good cop” leaves that to the “bad cop.”

 

The “Bad Cop” Role

The leader who plays the “bad cop” role wears down the organization. As the person who is always delivering the bad news, this leader is avoided. People dodge when they see them coming. People know that whatever they have to say, it’s not going to be good.

 

Embrace Both Sides of Leadership

Good cop/bad cop leadership philosophy divides teams. It perpetuates unhealthy alliances and ultimately severs relationships.

As leaders, we can’t delegate the good or the bad. Healthy leadership is embracing both sides. It’s part of our leadership responsibility.

As leaders, we must be willing to be merciful and just while being both truthful and gracious.

 

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.


 

 

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.


 

 

Startup Tips for New Leaders

Starup Tips for New Leaders

4 Strategies for Surviving the Two-mile Start

 

I have been a semi-avid runner for the last fifteen years. Over the years, running has become a way for me to pray, reflect, learn, and listen. I do everything from prepare for an important meeting to dance to my favorite new song while I’m running. (Cue JT’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”) And most importantly running is justification for eating more sugar than I ought. My motto is, “I run for treats.”

But for all the things I enjoy about running, I still hate the beginning.

 

The Temptation to Quit Too Early

Even after fifteen years and roughly 10,000 miles logged (including several half marathons), I still feel like I want to quit during the first two miles OF EVERY RUN!

It takes this long for my body to settle in, for my mind to settle down and for everything to start working together more fluidly. And if I don’t remind myself of this, I will get frustrated and sometimes even quit. Too many times I’ve forgotten this principle, and I’ve given up with excuses that, “I’m just too tired,” “something must be wrong… maybe I’m sick,” or “maybe I’m just not cut out for running anymore,”

This principle not only applies to running, but it also applies to most of the challenges we face in life. I remember when I was working on the development of The 4 Sight Group. While I was incredibly passionate about equipping leaders with the foresight for extraordinary outcomes, the beginning stages of starting a new organization were challenging. It felt like I was in the first two miles. It was easy to want to give up. It was hard work because not all the systems ran smoothly. I wondered if I was cut out for the challenge.

Are you in the early stages of a new project, a new relationship, or a new job?

 

How to Get Through the Two-mile Start

 

1. Don’t be alarmed when it’s harder than you expected.

The reason why we start new things is that we have a vision. We see the potential. Don’t lose sight of that vision when the reality of what it takes sets in, and it seems impossible. Stay the course and remember the two-mile principle.

 

2. Don’t quit in the first two miles.

Before you start your new endeavor, anticipate when to expect resistance. Every fresh start has a few moments of bliss, but inevitably, it takes a turn. You encounter a problem; you have your first fight; you have a difference of opinion with a coworker. Anticipate this ahead of time so that it doesn’t blindside you.

 

3. Build a support team.

You need people who will remind you of why you need to keep going. When my friend Rachel and I ran half-marathons together, she would write her name all over her t-shirt so that those watching the race would cheer her on by name. It was brilliant! As she ran, she constantly heard people cheer, “Go Rachel go!”. Make sure you have friends, mentors, and allies who will cheer you on during the difficult days.

 

4. Plan your reward.

You need to have something to look forward to when you make it through the difficult points. Before you begin, determine when and how you’ll celebrate. I approach every single day by building my schedule with some of my most challenging work early in the day and finishing with something I enjoy like reading a book, taking a walk with a friend or enjoying my favorite cup of tea. Whatever the project you’re facing, give yourself something to look forward to at those different increments.

 

Leaders do hard things. We charter new territory so others can follow more easily. Don’t let the initial resistance of a startup defeat you. Stay the course.

 

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.


 

 

Align Your Work to Changing Seasons

Your Summer Permission Slip 

 

School is out. We’re on the brink of summer.

 

It’s a Season of Change.

Seasons are an essential part of life’s rhythm, changing our pace, and creating disruption.

I used to think I didn’t like seasons. Spending most of my life in Wisconsin and Tennessee, I found the extremes of the seasons tiring. Whether it was the long subzero winters of the Northwoods or the triple-digit humid temperatures of Music City, the seasons were extreme and often exhausting. When I moved to Silicon Valley in Northern California, I expected it to be heavenly. Mild, Mediterranean-like temperatures year round. What could be better? Frankly, the seasons are better.

 

Seasons are Beautiful and Startling

The transition from one season to another stimulates change. It awakens our senses. Consider the fragrance of new growth in spring, the sun and humidity of summer, the crisp air and vibrant colors of fall, the stark and barren emptiness of winter. Each season, in its unique way, is beautiful and startling.

Summer is the season most of us eagerly welcome. It often involves a more relaxed pace, vacation, lots of sunshine, and extra time with friends. Summer is a season of rejuvenation. The new life of spring has given way to the flourishing growth of summer. Long days, relaxed nights, and if you’re lucky, a beautiful coastline, if even for a week, to enjoy the grandness of God’s creation.

In summer, I feel invincible. I feel appropriately large and small at the same time. I breathe deeper and exhale more fully. The world that I’m carrying on my shoulders doesn’t feel so unbearable. Seasons of change affects us and those we lead.

 

Embrace Seasons of Rest

For too many years, I saw summer as an opportunity to “try to catch up.” As a leader, I was always trying to stay on the cutting edge and kept leading my teams forward. I saw summer as an opportunity for me to gain some ground and prepare for the fall. I drove myself, and I drove others more aggressively than the season demanded. As a result, we were tired and frazzled instead of rested and rejuvenated.

Leaders, there are seasons for work. There are seasons of hustle and drive, and there are seasons of rest and replenishment. You need both, and your team needs both. You need to rest and play. I felt like it was a luxury I couldn’t afford. My resistance to embrace summer left me ineffective as a leader.

Let me encourage you that summer is an essential season. Ask yourself these questions.

  • What season are you in right now?
  • What do you need?
  • What does your team need?
  • What do you need to be doing in this season to prepare for the next?

Remember, set the pace. You must be aware of the current reality while anticipating a future need.

 

Your Summer Permission Slip

As schools take a reprieve and summer breaks way, step into it. Enjoy it. Don’t resist it. I hereby permit you to rest, to play, to laugh, to dream, to skip through sand, to soak in the sun, and to cherish memories with family and friends this season of summer.

 

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.


 

 

The Power of Vision

6 Steps to Steward the Power of Vision

 

I remember a friend calling me one day for some advice. She and her husband were at a crossroads. The couple had sold their home and most of their possessions to take a job across the country, leaving family and close friends behind.

It was a risky adventure, but the vision of the organization compelled them. The organization had some audacious goals but not outside of the realm of possibility. They were excited about the possibilities. They asked lots of questions and took time to process their opportunity with friends and mentors. They sought God for guidance and eventually, leaped.

Now they were struggling. They had made tremendous sacrifices only to discover that the organization wasn’t ready to pursue their vision cast. This family was in upheaval because the leader didn’t fully understand the power of vision.

Sound crazy or extreme? Sadly, change the names and organizations, and I hear a version of this story nearly every day.

 

Vision is Essential for Individuals, Teams, and Organizations

Proverbs remind us, “without vision people perish.” Those of us who are visionary by nature use this scripture to help us find significance in the visionary gift we have.

But visions are dangerously powerful, and leaders who don’t understand this power have the potential to cause irreparable damage to the people they lead.

One of my greatest concerns for leaders is that we don’t fully grasp the weight of our influence on others. Influence, by definition, means, “the power to change or affect someone.” Let this sink in, the POWER to change someone. Our position of influence gives us a power that quite literally changes or at a minimum affects another person’s life.

Think about the influence your parents had on your life or your first boss. How about your soccer coach or piano teacher. Your life has been shaped by their influence, positively and negatively.

Visionary leaders create hope and possibilities. They appeal to a person’s dreams and goals defining a preferred future. The better a leader is at casting a compelling vision, the more influence they’ll wield.

At their best, a visionary not only casts an inspiring vision, but they have the wherewithal to see that vision come to fruition. And while people may perish without a vision, we also know that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” When a leader doesn’t have the ability to see a vision become a reality, they create pain and hopelessness for those they lead.

 

The Dangerous Power of Vision

Visions have enormous power. And a vision in the hands of strong leaders wields extraordinary power. Power in and of itself is not bad, but power wielded carelessly leaves carnage.

Too often, I see leaders cast a vision and pursue it without a full understanding of the cost and impact. They get starry-eyed with the thrill of accomplishing a goal that we underestimate what it will cost, especially in human capital.

We’ve seen this play out with the business professional who scales the corporate ladder at the expense of his family. He cast a vision that working hard would acquire their “American Dream,” but underestimated the sacrifice of family relationships.

We’ve witnessed the fast-growing church with their audacious growth goal that gets blindsided by moral failure. They were racing so fast towards the vision that they blew past the warning signs.

We’ve read the stories of start-up companies that hire for rapid growth only to make drastic cuts when investment funds run out. But we can steward the power of vision.

 

6 Steps to Help You Steward the Power of Vision

1. Refine your vision with the wisdom of others. Visionary leaders nearly always underestimate what their ideas will entail. Often, they are removed from frontline activity; they have lost touch with what it takes to bring an idea to life. Don’t cast your vision to the masses until you’ve worked it out with a team of people who can help you understand what it will take. And by the way, make sure you listen in this conversation. Your gregariousness and charm can woo others easily.

 

2. Slow down and be cautious. Once you’ve received critical feedback, count the cost for accomplishing this vision. What will it take? What will you risk? Who will take risks? What will it cost?

 

3. Get in touch with reality. As you’ve processed the impact and the cost, think through the critical points in this vision. What key conversations will you need to have? Who may try to derail it? How likely are they to succeed? What difficult decisions will you have to navigate to keep the vision on track? What happens and who is impacted if the vision isn’t realized?

 

4. Count the cost. What will this require of you? Will it pull you from other priorities and if so, what is the potential impact? What will it take financially? Do you have the margin to pursue it? What will it require of your staff? What will they give up? If you’re recruiting people based on the vision, what are they risking, and if you were in their shoes, would you take the risk?

 

5. Proceed humbly. If you have taken the time to process well and feel compelled to move forward with the vision, hold it humbly. Acknowledge what it is required of everyone, every step of the way.

 

6. Evaluate your “why?” What motivates you to this vision? Is it a vision you would pursue even if it cost you everything?

 

Leadership is Sacred Work

Leaders, you have the sacred responsibility of stewardship, and the two most precious things you’ll steward are vision and people. They are inextricably linked – “without vision people perish,” but without people, visions are just pipe dreams.

We need you to be visionaries. We need you to dream great, God-sized dreams. Please don’t shrink away from that; however, we need you to recognize the power of those visions equally. If they are not birthed of God and nurtured with humility, you risk wielding your power dangerously.

Leadership is a sacred work. Visionary leadership is powerful work. May you sacredly steward your power for the glory of God and the good of others.

 

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 actually 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.


 

 

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