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Resurrection

2013-12-10 07.06.53O God of my exodus,

Great was the joy of Israel’s son,

when Egypt died upon the shore,

Far greater the joy

when the Redeemer’s foe lay crushed

in the dust.

Jesus strides forth as the victor,

conqueror of death, hell, and all opposing

might;

He bursts the bands of death,

tramples the powers of darkness down,

and lives forever.

He, my gracious surety,

apprehended for payment of my debt,

comes forth from the prison house of the grave

free, and triumphant over sin, Satan, and death.

Show me herein the proof that his vicarious offering

is accepted,

that the claims of justice are satisfied,

that the devil’s scepter is shivered,

that his wrongful throne is leveled.

Give me the assurance that in Christ I died,

in him I rose,

in his life I live, in his victory I triumph,

in his ascension I shall be glorified.

Adorable Redeemer,

thou who wast lifted up upon a cross

art ascended to highest heaven.

Thou, who as Man of sorrows

wast crowned with thorns,

art now Lord of life wreathed with glory.

Once, no shame more deep than thine,

no agony more bitter,

no death more cruel.

Now, no exaltation more high,

no life more glorious,

no advocate more effective.

Thou art in triumph car leading captive

thine enemies behind thee.

What more could be done than thou hast done!

Thy death is my life,

thy resurrection my peace,

thy ascension my hope,

thy prayers my comfort.

From The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975

Love Lustres at Calvary

018My Father,

Enlarge my heart, warm my affections,

open my lips,

supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres

at Calvary.’

There grace removes my burdens and heaps them

on thy Son,

made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;

There the sword of thy justice smote the man,

thy fellow;

There thy infinite attributes were magnified,

and infinite atonement was made;

There infinite punishment was due,

and infinite punishment was endured.

Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,

cast off that I might be brought in

trodden down as an enemy

that I might be welcomed as a friend,

    surrendered to hell’s worst

that I might attain heaven’s best,

stripped that I might be clothed,

wounded that I might be healed,

athirst that I might drink,

tormented that I might be comforted,

made shame that I might inherit glory,

entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped

from my eyes,

groaned that I might have endless song,

endured all pain that I might have unfading health,

bore a thorny crown that I might have

a glory-diadem,

bowed his head that I might uplift mine,

experience reproach that I might receive

welcome,

closed his eyes in death that I might gaze

on unclouded brightness,

expired that I might for ever live.

O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou

mightest spare me,

All this transfer they love designed and

accomplished;

Help me to adore thee by lips and life.

O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,

my every step buoyant with delight, as I see my

enemies crushed,

Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,

sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,

hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open.

Go forth, O conquering God, and show me

the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

From The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975

Don’t let the Flag Touch the Ground! Leading the SpringHill Way – Part 6

2013-04-12 13.56.56The American flag represents the highest values and beliefs of the United States as articulated in our Constitution. This is why, when I was a Boy Scout, we learned to never let the flag touch the ground. We were to protect and keep our flag from being soiled or trampled on, treating it with the highest respect.

As leaders we have the same responsibilities to the organizations we lead and work for – to protect, uphold and advance the answers (core values, mission, vision, etc.) to the 6 key questions (click here to see the 6 questions) every organization needs to answer. This is why, at SpringHill, a leader’s job is to assure the “SpringHill flag” never touches the ground.

How does a leader assure that such things as the core values, mission and vision of their organization stays fresh, untarnished and respected?

  1. Authentically live out the values, mission and vision of your organization.
  2. Over communicate the answers to the 6 key questions.
  3. Reward, recognize, celebrate, and reinforce, both publicly and privately, any examples of your team practicing your organization’s values, mission, etc.
  4. Regularly and honestly evaluate how you and your team are doing living out your organization’s mission, vision and core values and then be willing to make any necessary changes.

So take it from a Boy Scott, if you make these four practices a part of your leadership, you’ll help assure that your organization’s flag will never touch the ground.

 

Forward Leaning! Leading the SpringHill Way – Part 5

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen sitting we can take many postures. For example we can slouch back and put our feet up or sit erect and tense, or we can sit on the edge of our seat leaning forward. Each posture communicates a different attitude about the world around us.

Sitting postures provide a great illustration for different postures we can take as leaders. For example, there are times when being laid back or tense and alert can be the most appropriate postures a leader can take. But I believe a leader’s most predominate posture should be forward leaning. Forward leaning leaders are leaders who are ready for action, looking for opportunities, and attuned to the people and world around them. It’s an externally focused posture.

This posture is important because we lead in a fast changing and values shifting world where opportunities and dangers disappear as quickly as they appear. Only leaders who are in a forward leaning position can effectively navigate and lead in such a world.

  • So what’s your leadership posture? Here are some of the questions that can help identify your “sitting position”:
  • What is my mental, emotional and physical posture?
  • Am I focused on the world around me or is my focus turned inside?
  • If an opportunity arises will I see it?If a problem comes our way will I have myself and my team prepared or will we be caught off guard?

Be a forward leaning leader and you and your team will always be ready for action.

Reflections – Series 2, Vol. 2

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Handsome is as Handsome Does! Leading the SpringHill Way – Part 4

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday it so often seems our world value celebrities, fame, and image over integrity and character. As a consequence, leaders are often tempted by the promise of influence that fame offers so they can quickly slide into focusing too much energy on managing their image instead of building their character.

However the problem with fame and image, from a leadership standpoint, is that they’re superficial, temporary, and do not build meaningful relationships. And without meaningful relationships, transformational leadership becomes impossible. Now here’s why (so follow my chain of logic for a moment)–

Transformational leadership requires a context of healthy relationships

Trust is the key ingredient to healthy relationships

Trust comes not from image or fame but from integrity

And integrity is simply doing what we say we’re going to do when we say we’ll do it.

In other words, handsome is as handsome does.

This is why leaders at SpringHill are more concerned about doing what it takes to positively impact  the lives of others and the world as well as following through on the promises they’ve made rather than becoming a celebrity, being famous or enhancing their image. For the SpringHill leader the only handsome they care much about is the good looks that come from integrity.

You Move what You Measure! Leading the SpringHill Way – Part 3

2013-05-27 06.32.21Recently I meet with a CEO of a large publicly traded company.  I was seeking input from her about how she effectively  leads a fast growing and changing organization in hopes of applying what I learned from her in my leadership context.  At one point we moved to discussing the essential nature of measuring the right things. That is when she said “you move what you measure”.

Then she shared one example of a simple behavioral change her company wanted to make with a key group of their business partners – improved timeliness of monthly reporting – and how, by simply adding on-time reporting as a measurement to their weekly scorecard, they drastically improved performance in this area.

So the question is – why does something as simple as measurement change behavior?

First, measurements provide feedback and, as social science has clearly demonstrated, feedback is essential for any behavior change.  Secondly,  by choosing to measure something you’re also communicating it’s importance to the organization.   And this is important because people want to do meaningful work that aligns with the values and the priorities of their organization.

Finally, there’s one other bit of advice this CEO had about measurements. She said that  it’s important to pick only a handful of measurements because, as humans, we can only focus on a small number of things at one time.  So when we measure to many things the measurements looses their power to change behavior.

I’m thankful for this part of our discussion because it affirmed one of the important components of leading the SpringHill way that I shared with our leadership this winter – “what gets measured is what gets done” or as this CEO stated “you move what you measure”.  And because we value getting things done, especially the right things, measuring them is an absolutely essential practice that SpringHill leaders prioritize, value, assure happens.

For more perspectives on place of measurements in your organization click here and here.

The Problems of Christian Leadership

Back in 1985 evangelist, teacher, and leader, John Stott, gave four messages to the staff of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in Quito, Ecuador. Thankfully Inter Varsity Press recently published these messages in a 95 page book titled The Problems of Christian Leadership.

As a reader of many of the Stott’s books I wasted no time in picking this one up and diving in. I was not disappointed. Stott address four common problems, or challenges, Christian leaders face in their work –

The Problem of Discouragement

The Problem of Self-Discipline

The Problem of Relationships

The Problem of Youth

Though I must admit, before I started the book, I wondered if these four problems were still the most pressing challenges facing Christian leaders today. But as I read and reflected on my leadership experience as well as those of others, I realized these issues are as real today as they were 30 years ago.

But the best part of Stott’s teaching isn’t just identifying these seemingly timeless problems it’s in the wisdom and practical advice he brings to each. The book is simply a leadership guide for tackling each of these four problems. For example, the reminder  in the chapter titled The Problem of Self-Discipline, of the importance in making regular time away from daily work for prayer, reflection, and tasks requiring quiet and focus caused me to act. I’ve now blocked out a day a month in my calendar to make this focused time a reality.

So, if you’re looking for or in need of a solid, practical and inspiring book on authentic leadership, read The Problems of Christian Leadership. You’ll be blessed with 300 pages worth of insight and inspiration packed into a 95 page book.

Plan Your Work then Work Your Plan, Leading the SpringHill Way – Part 2

???????????????????????????????If successful leaders manage things and lead people and never confuse the two, then it’s absolutely critical that leaders effectively manage the resources entrusted to their stewardship. At the core of good management is planning. This is why at SpringHill we like to remind ourselves to “plan your work then work your plan”.

Plan Your Work:

So what does planning your work look like? It always starts at the highest level (answering the 6 Key Questions) then works down to the actual steps and tasks necessary to accomplish a goal, project or a dream. At SpringHill after we’ve affirmed the answers to the 6 Key Questions we build a 3 year plan (that’s updated annually). We followed the 3 year plan with a 1 year, seasonal (quarterly), monthly and weekly goals and plans which have ever-increasing detail.

For individual planning, whether it’s work or personal, it can and should follow the same logic of breaking down long-term goals into annual, seasonal, monthly, weekly and even daily tasks and goals. For work plans we encourage our staff to align their plans and goals with the plans and goals of their team and the organization.

Work Your Plan:

However we always need to remember that the only reason to plan is to accomplish a goal or dream. So it’s absolutely critical to break down goals and plans into actionable steps so we can answer the question “what’s important right now?” When we answer this question then we’re ready to work our plan so it becomes a reality.

I also like to remind to myself and our team that we should spend most of our time working our plan. Because, at the end of the day, we’re not interested in being good at just dreaming big (anyone can do that), but being good at making big dreams a reality.

You Lead People and Manage Things, Never the other way around! Leading the SpringHill Way – Part 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn January, SpringHill held its first ever Leadership conference in Chicago where SpringHill leaders from around the organization met together for three days of learning, encouragement, team building and fun. As part of the conference I gave a talk titled “Leading the SpringHill Way” where I shared thirteen maxims that capture what it means to lead at SpringHill. So over the next several of posts I’ll summarize each of these thirteen maxims in hopes that you’ll find a nugget or two to use in your own leadership context.

I began my talk with this maxim – “you lead people and manage things, never the other way around.” This maxim is foundational because it captures the two sides of a leader’s job at SpringHill – managing and leading. It also makes it clear that it’s imperative not to confuse the two.

Management is about controlling, planning, and manipulating things to the organization’s advantage. If we’re to be effective leaders we need to management valuable resources such as time, money, processes, and systems. In other words we’re to control, plan, and manipulate these things for the benefit of the organization.

Now leadership is about inspiring, encouraging, developing and enabling people to make their maximum contribution to the success of the organization. It’s much more about encouraging their hearts and challenging their minds than it is getting all you can from them. A great leader knows and understands their people and tailors their leadership to them as individuals. It’s this relational context that distinguishes leadership from management.

Now the key for leaders is to make sure they don’t confuse who and what they’re leading and managing. You see you can’t lead things. You can try but all you’ll do is waste those valuable resources. On the other hand you shouldn’t manage people. People aren’t to be controlled, planned or manipulated. You can try but in the end you’ll never see people perform their best.

So great leaders always remember – you lead people and manage things, never the other way around.

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