Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Legacy Leader

Trammell Crow, a Dallas developer who built one of the most successful real estate companies in America, is considered a Legacy Leader. The comments from those whom he touched demonstrate a rich legacy and some simple, yet powerful leadership lessons.

Leadership is based on Character
“To those who were fortunate to know him personally, we will remember his humor and upbeat personality along with his uncompromising honesty, integrity, and character.” Jim Carreker, former chief executive, Trammell Crow Co.

“He was the finest of gentlemen. He started out small and became worldwide in his scope, but he never lost that generous touch.” Wade Nowlin, Nowlin Savings in Fort Worth

Leadership is about People and Caring
“…we are all going to miss him greatly. He cared so much about people, and people gravitated to him.” Bob Scully, Managing Director, CB Richard Ellis, Fort Worth

Leadership is setting the Example
“It was like having the Messiah shake your hand. When you look at all he accomplished, he’s responsible not only for the careers of some super successful real estate people, he transformed the central business districts in large cities all over the country. He’s the man everybody wanted to be like.” Jim Eagle, former Trammell Crow Executive

Leaders treat people like Partners
Crow was known to conduct business on a handshake. He relied on hundreds of young leasing agents, and those that proved themselves talented and hardworking became partners. As he brought in new people, he gave them an equity stake in the business. Sandra Baker, reporter, Fort Worth Star Telegram

There is much being written about leadership, particularly about how it is changing in this technology-driven, globalized business environment. These simple but powerful leadership characteristics and strategies that are a part of Mr. Crow’s legacy – being a person of character, caring about people, setting an example, and treating people like partners – will remain constant across time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Finding Leadership for the Small Church

Finding Leadership for the Small Church

"Small" is relative. In Texas, land of vast distances and megachurches, a congregation of 150 souls may rank as tiny indeed. In Nevada and Montana or even West Texas, a church of that number might be seen as one of the larger congregations.

One thing we know, small congregations fight a never-ending battle for money to pay the pastor a living wage, money to cover the regular bills plus invest in missions, and money to maintain a decent program. Leaders of small churches are forever looking for ways to be more effective with limited resources.

Decision-makers of such congregations might want to take a lesson from the owner of a major league baseball team situated in one of the smaller markets in this country. Stu Sternberg is principal owner of the Tampa Bay Rays, Florida's American League baseball team. In the June 30, 2008, issue of "ESPN Magazine," Sternberg shared "8 things you should know about running a small-market baseball team."

In his article, we can find clues and insights here for a business or church being dwarfed by the big guys and having to get creative to stay competitive or effective.

1) Timing is everything.
Sternberg says there is no point in his team paying big bucks for a player he cannot afford to keep. So, what he does is watch for windows of opportunity, a moment when a qualitied player might be available for fewer dollars due to circumstances. A small church may scrounge enough money to fund an ambitious program one time, but then what will it do? Better to prayerfully find the kinds of ministry suitable to their church, their mission field, their resources. Nothing is more important than seeking in prayer the will of the One who is the Sole Owner of your church.

2) Follow those Marlins.
Sternberg's team learned from the Florida Marlins, a bigger-market team in his state, but still not in the running with New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. To stay competitive, the Marlins built a farm system which would take young players and prepare them for the majors, added key players for only two years at a time, and learned how to let stars move to other teams when they could no longer afford to keep them. In a small church the leadership team must be regularly seeking “younger leaders” and training them in the “farm system.”

3) We have to pick well....
Sternberg says a team with little money will find its best future in selecting young players with great potential and investing in them. You take chances, he pointed out, but you have no other choice.

4) ...And scout well.
Scouting--for the non-sports fans among us--refers to the process of checking out teams far and wide to find new talent. For the church, it may mean the leadership opening their eyes to great leadership inside the local church or a neighboring congregation. Wise leaders are always scouting for potential helpers.

5) ...Because we can't pay well.
When a great player comes available as a free agent, even if his team doesn't have the money to compete with the big boys, Sternberg says they don't rule out trying to get him, but not with money. They try to find out what else the player is interested in. One pitcher wanted to be a closer and the Rays gave him that opportunity. Another longed to live in central Florida near his home.

A church should not automatically rule out a potential pastor or staff member who may be "priced out of your market." Remember, God leads the calling process!

6) We pull for other teams.
Sternberg points out that baseball clubs in small-market teams often need each other's help to be able to compete with the large, wealthier teams. Leaders in the local congregation might build networks of friends in other churches whom they love and respect. Then, when they are looking for an idea, seeking a staff member, or trying to solve a problem, this network will often provide answers and unexpected resources.

7) Small things are big.
"We don't draw (crowds) like the Yankees," Sternberg writes, "so we have to give extras." The Rays' ballpark, he says, offers free parking, impressive restrooms, and the best hotdogs in the country.

Churches of all sizes would do well to seize their uniqueness and emphasize that in their community. Trying to do everything the big churches do will guarantee only failure and frustration since they don't have resources to compete. However, every church of any size has strengths in the talents and abilities of its members. Leaders will do well to take advantage of the potential God has built into their congregation and no other.

8) Designate this.
In the American League, teams are allowed to have a player called the Designated Hitter. Almost always, the DH is an older player no longer quick in the field or fast on his feet but still with hitting power at the plate. The DH does not play defense, but merely bats. Sternberg says, "We don't have the money to pay a player who doesn't field." So, the Tampa Bay team does not have a DH.

It's a wise church leader who decides his congregation does not need every innovation and trapping the big churches feel are necessary.

Another clue for the small church looking for great leadership: It's all around you, just waiting to be recognized and developed. God blesses your ministry in whatever place He has placed you!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Crisis or Contingency Team Leader Characteristics

Pepperdine University conducted a survey of crisis management experts, and here are 14 characteristics they identified. List by Robert C. Chandler, Ph.D.

According to the study, a good crisis or contingency team leader should be:

1. Coordinated
An effective leader has coordination skills. He or she should have experience, knowledge, and/or training in how to get individuals to function together as a single unit. According to the respondents, a leader should have the ability to create team cohesion, team coordination, and integration.

2. Decisive
An effective leader should be able to make the right decisions during contingencies. Respondents to the survey suggested that inappropriate hesitation or reluctance to act undermined effective leadership.

3. Experienced
Leaders should have plenty of field experience to draw upon. The value of a seasoned veteran’s experiences is clearly indicated as a factor for effective leadership. Look for actual hands-on experience when selecting leaders. If everyone is a newcomer, it is imperative that the training regimen include plenty of mock drills, simulations, and hands-on training to increase the experience level of the designated leader.

4. Goal-Oriented
Effective leaders have goal-setting abilities. They are skillful in laying out short- and long-term goals, setting specific objectives, making task assignments to meet those goals, and following through to achieve them.

5. Able to Communicate
Leaders provide and solicit key information, engage in two-way communication, and interact in open and honest ways with others. They have the ability to communicate successfully, with few misunderstandings, in a wide variety of contexts and situations.

6. Able to Facilitate
Effective leaders are not dictators. Rather, they are able to get the most out of team members by facilitating input from others, creating a situation in which the team makes decisions in a collaborative manner, fostering team work, and creating a sense of cohesion among all team members.

7. Able to Handle Stress
Clearly, crises, contingencies, disaster recovery, and emergency management situations can be very stressful. Those who do not manage stress successfully are often failures at leading during these situations. Emotional and mental stability is a prerequisite for effective leadership. An effective leader has the capacity to remain calm, stable, and focused during the most chaotic periods. A sense of stability must be maintained in order to keep recovery efforts on track during the stressful periods of a crisis.

8. Able to Listen
It is imperative that leaders be good and active listeners, with the capacity to digest a large amount of information and different perspectives. The effective leader practices and trains to listen, and has the capability to exert active effort to understand, process, and evaluate others’ input.

9. Open-Minded
An effective leader is not dogmatic and “hard-headed,” but rather is open to differing viewpoints and perspectives. He or she is willing to “think outside the box” when considering solutions to contingency situations and has the ability to interpret and understand different ways of looking at an event.

10. Responsible
An effective leader takes ownership of and responsibility for the resolution of a contingency. A leader should take responsibility for the team, support team ownership of the crisis response, and shield the team from inappropriate external interference. It is also important for the leader to ensure that the team as a whole gets recognition for success.

11. Able to Prioritize
An effective leader must have the capacity to recognize which tasks must come first and which can be delayed, retain a clear sense of priorities of both purpose and process, and have knowledge of when to follow and when to deviate from the plan. Effective leaders have a sense of balance to recognize what issues need to be tackled first and which ones are key to resolving other decisions and solutions.

12. Able to Think Critically
A leader should possess problem/solution analysis and critical-thinking skills. According to the survey respondents, an effective leader should have the capacity to define, analyze, and understand the unique complexities of each crisis. Further, the leader should be able to critically analyze possible solutions and envision both the intended and unintended consequences of each solution. This requires a leader to read the unique aspects of every situation and to have a great capacity to visualize what it will look like once it has been implemented.

13. Adaptive
An effective leader should have the capacity to adapt and respond to unique aspects of crises and changing circumstances. Inflexibility, rigidity, and inability to adapt severely limit the effectiveness of a leader.

14. Trained and Prepared
The value of addressing leadership as a development and training goal was clearly endorsed in this survey. To be effective, one must be prepared for the role of leader by being thoroughly knowledgeable of the organization’s contingency plans and recovery operations; however, the leader also should be knowledgeable of the skills and capabilities of the members, the traits of all who are working on the crisis, and the overall purpose, function, responsibilities, and boundaries of the team during the crisis.