AS: Leaning into what your strengths are means you have to give stuff away. How has what you do or don't do changed over the years?
CG: I really believe that the more effective you want to become as a leader, the fewer things you do. In the early years, I was the only staff member, so I did everything. It was the greatest day when someone else cared if the toilet overflowed.
I wanted to do everything and kept my hands in it. For example, we were the campus pastors at the pastors we preached at for too long. People kept trying to free me up until finally I listened.
If I ask you about your church or organization and you can tell me everything, you're probably leading ineffectively.
AS: Someone asked me what my most important leadership lesson is. Recognizing my strengths and delegating my weaknesses. I wish I had done that earlier. I think there was a lot of guilt there. If I don't want to take out the trash, no one should take it out. But when I learned to delegate what I didn't like and wasn't good at.
I used to do all of our small group training because I wanted to get it started right because it was central to what we did. There is something to putting your time into those central place.
The hardest thing for me was giving up the senior pastor of our largest campus pastor role.
CG: It's not that we're not leading, we're leading through people, and that's even harder.
AS: Then you become the custodian of culture. You're not doing a lot, but you pay attention to where things are going wrong.
CG: And you might sense those problems before someone else does.
AS: But I can't go in and re-own the responsibility. I'll go to one of our churches and something will bother me. I'll go to the senior leader and ask if something bothered him. If it bothers him, then it doesn't have to bother me. But if it doesn't bother him, if I think it's a four and everyone else thinks its an 8, then I have to do some retooling and some re-vision cast.
CG: How has your week changed?
AS: As your church grows and your family changes stage, you have to change your schedule.
I used to preach 2-3 times on Sunday and at 1 of our evening services. I generally take Monday off. I might start back in on Monday afternoon. Tuesday is staff meetings all day. It's almost 100% staff. I used to have lots of lunches, I don't do that. I exercise M, W, F. That's important. Our health is part of our ministry. If you're the point leader, your physical health is part of our ministry. Wednesday is nothing but a study day. Thursday is a study day. Friday is the day I will schedule time I want to spend time with, elders, friends, a few people who want to meet. Saturday, my brain is starting to lean into speaking. We have never done anything on Saturday night for 20 years if I'm preaching on Sunday.
CG: I've been to counseling two different times for being a workaholic. I've found a managable schedule now. It changes with the
Saturday, all day soccer games and kids stuff, 1-2 services saturday night, so I get to the church by 2:30 . Saturday is family night at the church, so my whole family comes. The family parties on while I preach. I want them to associate being at church having a lot of fun.
I usually preach on Sundays twice, but if I like the video on Saturday night, I'll let it run on Sunday.
I have two set meetings on Mondays. I do all of the paperwork and everything with my assistant on Monday, and then I shift into sermon prep on Monday afternoon.
Tuesday is full on message prep all day.
By Wednesday I'm finishing up the message and I go into do our videos, and every week I go in and do a bunch of videos for campuses, churches, etc.
Every day I try to leave by 3:45 to go to the gym. Ministry is never, ever done, so if I put an artificial barrier on my day, it forces me to be efficient. I believe I get more done. I'm home by 5:15 every night.
Thursday is the day I meet with whomever I want to.
Friday is usually my day off.
We meet Monday mornings with our key leaders, and we meet with our board or key leaders as needed throughout the year.
That's the template, so people ask, "When are you a pastor?" This guy ended his life, and I called his wife. There was a guy struggling with his marriage.
You can't get too big to just pastor people.
AS: I primarily pastor my staff. We probably feel the weight to pastor a similar amount of people as a single site, single congregation pastor. It's just that we have larger staff.
CG: I was raised that the church come first, but I've found that I have to keep myself spiritually healthy and my marriage healthy.
AS: I used to ask Sandra every now and again, just, "How am I doing?"
CG: I ask Amy all of the time, "What are the three things I do that are the biggest blessing to you? What are the three things I do that could use work?"
It's easy for us to lie to ourselves. When we've lied long enough, it's easy to believe it's true.
When I ask people how many of you battle with significant self-deception, something like 3% raise their hands. But when I ask who knows someone who's a good singer, or good manager, or good communicator, but they're not, all kinds of hands go up.
A lot of us are self-deceived, and many of us are self-deceived to the point we don't realize it.
I want to talk about creating a culture of self-awareness, or a culture of high-feedback.
Those who don't know don't know they don't know.
Many of us are very self-deceived. The higher you rise in any organization, the more difficult it will be to get people tell you the truth, especially in church world, because nobody lies in church world.
In where I come from in the south they say, "Well bless your heart." What they really mean is, "You're an idiot."
The problems you don't know about are the problems you can't fix.
My wife told me after several years, "Craig, put down the box." I was like, "What are you talking about?" When I spoke I looked like I was carrying a box.
Because we're so full of love, we rarely create a culture of truthful feedback.
Three Principles of Self-Deceptions
- We as leaders have a limitless capacity for self-deception.
Perhaps the greatest example in Scripture is with Bathsheba and David. Nathan tells the story about a rich man stealing a poor man's lamb. David is indignant, and Nathan tells him he's the rich man.
- The longer we believe the lies, the harder it is to hear the truth.
Psalms 36:2 - For in his own eyes he flatters himself to much to detect or hate his sin.
I really believed I was good at interpersonal communications. People told me I was warm and friendly on stage but not in person. People over and over tried to tell me lovingly, but I just wouldn't listen. One day, my small group members re-enacted the way I treated people. Finally I saw it. So I got coaching on how to do it better.
There are a lot of you who very likely have had someone in your organization trying to tell you something about your leadership, and you're not listening.
That's especially true in the younger generation. We have not told the emerging generation the truth. You have to work extra hard to be coachable, to posture yourself in a position where you want to learn.
- The leader's lack of self-awareness is the leader's barrier.
I used to think I was good at delegating. I was good at delegating tasks, not delegating authority. Delegating tasks creates followers. Delegating authority creates leaders.
So often in the church world we're quick to issue blame for any of our problems, not enough money, they don't serve, wrong location, etc.
I've trained myself to never say, they won't. Anytime I hear another leader say, "They won't," I stop and correct them and say, "I have not led them to."
Uncovering the Truth about You
Psalms 139:23-24 - Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.
I used to use a lot of edgy humor in my messages. I kept getting complaints, but I just chalked it up to stuffy, legalistic church people. Finally one guy just asked me to pray. I half-heartedly said I would. I prayed about it, and the next Sunday my oldest daughter had her first Sunday in big people's church. I looked over at her about to tell an off-color joke.
Proverbs 15:31-32 - He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.
The more I tend to believe that I'm right, the more likely I might be wrong. Just like Peter says he's never going to deny Jesus like everyone else.
- Build a team that craves and gives helpful feedback.
If you're a senior leader, it starts with you. I get feedback after my first message. I get feedback before my first message. We build this into our entire process. It's in our hiring process. We have people prepare a 10 minute talk for 10 minutes and then give them feedback. We want to see how they receive feedback. We have them give the other candidates feedback.
If you're a senior leader, people are afraid of you. You have to go ask for feedback specifically
- Implement annual 360° evaluations for every team member.
I think we need to have anonymous feedback. It needs to be anonymous, because that's when the truth really comes out. It's so helpful, and it's so incredibly painful.
I had two consecutive years where people said I was disengaged from the staff, that I was more concerns with mentoring other senior pastors. For two years many leaders in our organization said I was distracted. Even though my heart was still in LifeChurch, my head was divided.
It's one of the most painful and most helpful things I have ever done.
James 1:22 - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
What have others been trying to say to you or show you? What has God been trying to say or show you that you've been too proud to listen to.
Some of the most common things I see:
- You're a workaholic. Give your family some attention. When my youngest daughter was three years old, God rang my bell, she said, "Daddy, you don't live here. You live up at the church." My wife asked if we could have a meal without me typing on my phone.
- Some of you will do what I did years back. I became a full-time pastor, and a part-time follower of Christ. I'd pray when I prayed publicly. I'd study when I was preparing for a sermon. My self-worth was based on last week's numbers.
- Some of you are looking at some things you should not be looking at. You're telling yourself it's not a big deal. You're not telling anybody. But your sin will find you out.
Some of you need to go repent to your spouse or your children. If we build big churches and lose our children, that is a failure. The more I humble myself and listen to God, the more broken I am, the better my relationship with my spouse is, the better my family is, and the better my church is.
There are so many people who continue to fight against the truth, when it's the truth that will set you free.
Personally if there's some part of your life God is trying to show you is not where it should be, don't fight against it, embrace it.
Churches don't divide because of theology. They divide because systems get out of whack.
Every organization has a culture. A culture is a set of unwritten rules that determine how an organization runs, the values, practices, etc.
The longer you are there, the less aware you are of your organization's culture. If you work with a healthy, clearly defined culture, then you know how energizing it can be.
If you've ever worked for an unhealthy culture, you know how draining it is.
These 5 statements are the framework for everything we're going to talk about today. 5 indisputable truths about organizational culture.
- Leaders shape organizational culture whether they intend to or not.
- If you have have been at your current church for two years or less, you can still remember when you came to that church, and you walked in and you began to pick up on the personality of that church, and there were things you liked or didn't like. You were aware of how your predecessor shaped the organizational culture.
- But if you've been there 5 years or more, those are your problems.
- Every leader is doing something intentionally or unintentionally to shape the organizational culture.
- If you love the organizational culture of your church, then your number 1 goal is to figure out why it has become what it has become, because if you don't know why it's working when it's working, you won't know what's not working when it breaks.
- If you hate your organizational culture, then you need to go home and look in the mirror, because you create your culture.
- Time in erodes awareness of.
- There are things in your house that don't look good, but you don't see them. If I came to your house I could point them out.
- The longer you are anywhere, the less aware of it you are.
- You need to build into your structure the information that comes with fresh eyes and fresh ears.
- I tell our new staff, "In three months, you're going to get an email from my office with a set of questions. We're not evaluating you. You're evaluating us. In a year, you're going to get another email. Because you see the problems." We ask these questions trying to see the insight that comes with fresh eyes.
- When there's a problem in the organization, there are three levels of blame:
- Human nature
- Systems - This is often the problem. If you are not aware of the culture you are shaping, you will try to make personnel changes that aren't needed.
- Healthy cultures attract and keep healthy people.
Don't you love healthy people? They're secure. They have ideas but can hear no. They're not always looking for more vacation time. Unhealthy people are a drain on your staff. I'm not saying they're not going to Heaven, you just don't want them on your staff. Have a ministry, don't hire a ministry. Unhealthy people wither and die in a healthy organization. People won't gossip with them. When they're critical, people will ask what's wrong with them.
- The culture of an organization impacts the long term productivity of an organization.
- This hasn't really been studied, but recently people have tried to take the squishy things and begun to measure them. Because business people, pastors, want things they can measure. So is it really worth it to create a productive culture?
- Yes. Healthy people love to lean into the future instead of dwelling on the past. Healthy people are problem solvers not problem creators. You'll do more with less resources.
- We're going to talk about goals. We're going to have push back. You are a corporation. You are an organization, so you should be organized.
- When your systems begin to break down, you're less healthy.
- Unhealthy cultures are slow to adapt to change.
- Unealthy cultures turn their back to the community and face each other... to gripe, moan, and infight.
- Healthy cultures turn their back to each other and face the community to be on mission, and they'll do anything they need to do to accomplish the mission.
- We need to have nimble organizations committed to the vision and mission, rather than doing things the way we've always done.
Creating and re-creating corporate culture rarely feels urgent. Besides, you can't fix it with a meeting, a memo, or a mandate. It's a bit like trying to pick up Jell-O or win an argument with your teenage daughter. One keeps slipping away. The other keeps changing the subject. For leaders, working on culture feels like going backwards. Why can't people just do their jobs and get along? The truth is, the good people in your organization want to do exactly that. They want to do their jobs and get along with the people they work with. While tinkering with your organization's culture is not glamorous, it is mission-critical.
Do you guys realize what just happened there?
You guys, we can't just do things like that. We can't say Gungor, awesome. Isn't Jesus great? Yeah!
Jesus is just in such a different category. I don't want my name in the same sentence as Jesus. I get caught up in this is awesome, that is awesome, oh yeah, Jesus is awesome.
I'm here, you're here, the musicians are up here all because of one being. We say that name Jesus all the time, but we can't let that name be common.
I want us to just stop right now and think about who He is who created us all and died for us all. I want to do something very sacred and just talk to him right now.
I just want to pray, to have still, quiet time.
I was looking at my notes from last year because that would be embarrassing if I gave the same talk again. Last year I told you the Trader Joe's story about how their refrigerators broke down right after we announced we had no meat for our outreach to serve thousands of meals.
So this year we're doing the same conference again, and the kitchen manager says to me we only have enough meat for one day. Half an hour after the staff meeting we get a call from Trader Joe's. They had a power outage.
We're like no way. It's just so nice to know he's with us, and he's leading us.
This last year there's just been miracle after miracle. I've never had a year where I've had so many miracles. I met with some guys just to type them out. We had the greatest time of celebration for hours. These crazy, crazy stories.
The thing is, even with all of the things that happened and all of these people we've been reaching out to. My ministry is in inner city San Francisco. On Sundays we sing for 10 minutes. I speak for 10 minutes, and then we go out for two hours to these apartment buildings and do outreach. And then we get back together after two hours and talk about what happened.
A couple of weeks ago my daughter called me. She's freaking out. She asked this guy to read his Bible when she visited him. She asked him to read Ephesians 1 and 2. And she goes back the next week and asks if he read it. He said this morning, I get this weird text message, and I pushed this button and the phone starts reading Ephesians 1 and 2.
These things just keep happening over and over and over.
But this thing is driving me crazy. The people still don't repent. It's just unbelievable. I wish I could say there's hundreds of people showing up who have turned from their addictions and we're going to baptize them right now. It's like two.
It's frustrating. It got me thinking about thinks. I'm seeing God work. God revealed to me at one point that I was worshipping revival more than I was worshipping Jesus.
The Bible doesn't promise revival. In 1 Timothy 4, he promises the opposite. He says people will be lovers of themselves and not teach sound doctrine.
He says go and make disciples. He doesn't say there will be revival. He says he will be with you.
There's this thrill of knowing we are walking with Jesus.
There's probably plenty of you in here that have had a discouraging year. As much as I've seen God do, it's been a discouraging year. I'm exhausted. But it's not about that.
Are you walking closely with Jesus? Are you living by faith?
I think at the end when you see Jesus, I think you're going to be surprised. I think who God looks at and says, "Well done," will surprise you. "Man, you made those 8 disciples." And you're like, man, that's all I did. We're a church of 9. And he's going to say, "Well done. You followed my model."
You see it happening out there. More and more people are saying, man, I need to make disciples.
I got so excited about making disciples and started writing down all of these reasons to make disciples. But then I started thinking and I thought, "We probably don't want everyone in this room making disciples." Because some of you don't really act like Jesus. People don't look at your life and say you're just like Jesus or you remind me of Jesus, so why would we want more of you? What we want is Jesus right? What the world needs is Jesus. What we need is more of Jesus.
What Paul says in 1 Corintihans 11:1 is "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." But we know there are people in this room right now who are cheating on their spouses, so why would I tell you, "Go, duplicate yourselves." There are people in here who are greedy, arrogant. Man, some of you don't really love and know Jesus, so why would we multiply that? You see what I'm getting at? So we're supposed to be about Jesus, but maybe we've forgotten that it's about exalting Jesus and making our lives look more and more like him, being selfless and giving ourselves to other people, but if we're not doing that, why would you make a convert that's twice the son of hell that you are?
So look at yourself and ask yourself, "Who am I?" We need to judge ourselves. Are you becoming more and more like Christ, I hope so.
There are times I get so busy and focused on other things that I'm not looking at my life, and I'm not asking if I'm becoming more and more like Jesus. Look at my life as I learn more and more about Jesus.
Part of being like Christ is making disciples. Jesus says, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." He spends his whole life making disciples, gets nailed to a cross, rises, and says go and start making disciples. So as we follow his example, we live a life of disciple making.
The church has to get back to making this the primary thing, right. If I'm going to be a pastor, then I want to act like Jesus. That's the question. Does he remind you of Jesus. That's what I'm supposed to do. When's the last time you had someone look at you and say, "Follow me ,as I follow the example of Christ."
So why be disciple makers? Well, it's commanded. I should be able to close with that.
Imagine a person rising from the dead and saying every bit of authority on heaven and earth belongs to you. And he prefaces that by saying, "Go and make disciples."
I get concerned. Again, "Be hearers of the Word, right?" No, be doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves.
We're hearing tough messages, but what are we doing? Walking away sad isn't achieving something. That's what the rich young ruler did.
I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty. That's the last thing I want. Repent. Change.
I do it because I love the lost.
Paul says, "Be imitators of me as I am of Christ." RIght before that he says, whatever you do, eat or drink do it all to the glory of God, not to Jews or Greeks or the church of God, but I try to be all things to all people. Be imitators of me as I imitate Christ.
That's a weird thing to say. He's saying he's a people pleaser. He's trying to make everyone like him so that he might win some.
Let's admit it. I just want us to be honest. Don't you hate sharing your faith? Don't you hate it? Wouldn't you rather do just about anything than go up to a stranger and share your faith.
It doesn't make sense because based on what I know in Scripture this guy is going to spend eternity in hell because I don't want to talk to him about Jesus. I used to feel this as a pastor. I'm just so scared to talk to them about JEsus because I don't want them to reject me.
This pastor is telling me about this christmas program where people are spending 20 hours a week rehearsing. And I said, wouldn't that time be better spent just getting to know their neighbors? And he said, yes, but people won't do that.
That made sense to me then. Now I realize we don't change the system because it's hard.
Scripture says "Go, make disciples."
Paul tells Timothy not to be so scared. Paul asks for prayer from the Ephesians for boldness.
We do this also so that our people will experience God. Don't you want your people to experience God? That's one thing I can guarantee. I don't know if we will get that many people, but we will experience God. That's what Jesus says, he'll be with us when we're making disciples. He sends his Spirit so that we can make disciples.
This is it. This is the huge conclusion.
We've all heard the stats, right, how many of the kids walk away from the Lord when they turn 18. No one knows what the real number is, but let's go on what seems to be the low end: 60%. 60% of kids who grow up in church will ditch it at 18. I've got 5 kids, so if I played the odds, three of them will not walk with the Lord by the time they hit college? Are we okay with at?
When my daughter wasn't following the Lord, I prayed and balled my eyes out. SO I'm looking at the church, and my five kids and I'm saying, so three of them? We've got to have the experience God. We're raising disciple makers.
My daughter is experiencing God. The excitement on her face when she comes home after going out and trying to make disciples. MY daughter sees a homeless lady and asks if she can get her a cheeseburger, goes in gets a a double double and asks if she can sit and have lunch with her. So she sits down and starts laying out the Gospel to this lady, and the lady goes, "This is so weird. Two months ago this guy came up to me and started talking to me about Jesus, and I was thinking about him as you were walking up and this guy told me about this pastor moved to San Francisco and started this ministry." And my daughter goes, "Is his name Francis Chan? That's my dad." Is there any chance onEarth?
We have got to make disciples so that our kids follower our examples. We experience the presence of God. And our kids, we don't just keep them from all of the "bad people" they experience God. My daughter is going off today. I'm not scared anymore. I see how my daughter lives. I go wow, God. You love her. She's starting to experience you.
I don't know how we're going to get back there, how we say I'm just going to worship Jesus and become like Jesus and then just start talking to these people that I'm afraid to talk to. We've gotta get the church back to this.
We've got these people still coming back week after week who should be teachers who are saying, "You didn't feed me enough." I trained my daughter so that she can get her own job, have a family, not coming back asking for allowance. We've got to be training people and equipping people and saying go, start making disciples now.
That's my prayer. SOmehow we've got to get back to that. It starts with leaders. We ourselves don't go out and share the Gospel. We've got to get back to that.
We've got to do what they did in the Bible. They prayed and the earth shook. I worship the same God. But the issue isn't the earthquake. THe issue is they were filled with the Holy Spirit. I would like us to have a prayer just for power, that we would walk out of this room more courageous.
We've had a very full day, and there's nothing like a greek chick to come on at 5 to keep your mind off of dinner.
When I was here last time 2 years ago, we gave out about 10k keys, and it was one of the first times I had spoken about the A21 Campaign. We had one office in Greece then, we have 7 in different countries now, dozens of traffickers in jail, hundreds of girls rescued.
In July this year, like most people, I was glued to the TV watching the Olympics. And now my husband and I are actual resident aliens of the US. And so now I was watching this and realized most of the events I was watching Americans were competing in and Americans were winning.
I had to the opportunity to be in Sydney in 2000, and I was watching the 4x100 women's swimming relay, and the US should have won. They had the best team, but there was very sloppy baton passage. ANd then in Athens in 2004, it was the same thing in the women's 4x100 running relay. In 2008 there was a dropped baton in the 4x100 running relay. In 2012, we won gold, and I wrote to the Olympic relay and asked if we could have permission to show this footage.
You see the frustration of a baton exchange that didn't happen like it should have. What should have been a seamless exchange, all of those years of training of diet of discipline, it all came down to 1.9 seconds in the exchange circle. It didn't matter how fast any individual runner was running. That 1.9 seconds in a 20 meter exchange zone determines everything. It doesn't matter how fast any individual runs.
We are all a part of the Church of Jesus Christ in the year 2012. I watched the debate last night. This is one of the most pivotal moments. We are a generation of leaders alive in an exchange zone in the church. We have to decide if we're going to hand the baton off too late and be disqualified, if we're going to drop the baton, or if we're going to have a seamless exchange.
When we're talking about making, who's going to make the biggest church, the biggest ministry, it's all about understanding that it's all about handing the baton. We are part of history receiving the baton and handing it off. THat's what God has called us to do. It doesn't matter who's the biggest.
Hebrews 12: Therefor since wer are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangled.
We're surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. This chapter goes on to talk about the great witnesses of the faith. We are just a part of it. Ultimately the goal of everything we are being mad into is that we are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
I'm going to show you another text from the OT where the baton exchange did not happen well.
I wonder whether Joshua ultimately succeeded. Is this about the baton of faith going forward or is this about me and my ministry, me and my faith going forward. To me, Judges 2 is the saddest passage of Scripture.
The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him… After that whole generation died, another generation grew up who neither knew the lord nor what he had done for Israel.
He led a whole generation into the promised land, but what happened in the exchange zone. It doesn't matter how big what we build is if we don't hand it to the next generation. We don't have to stop it and start it all over again. We don't have to be lazy and sloppy in the exchange zone, we can actually do this in our generation. We can actually make the transition from one generation to the next without dropping the baton.
Remember that there is a great cloud of witnesses, that there are others who have come before us. If you don't know how to honor others who came before you, you will forget there are others to come after you. We need to make sure we are honoring the men and women of God.
To those of you in the little country town and not in the glossy pages of a Christian magazine or up on a platform, let me tell you you are on God's platform. You hold onto the baton every time you stick with that marriage a little bit longer, honor your senior leadership, work with those kids in that little country town, you hold onto the baton.
When you realize it's not about you, you submit yourself to the process so that God can make you the person you need to be.
You will reproduce what you are, not what you say. Far more is caught than taught.
My birth certificate says, "Unnamed." My social work report says, "Unwanted." I was sexually assaulted for four men several times a week for most weeks for twelve years of my life.
If I didn't deal with that, all I would have done is carry all of that into my leadership, and the last thing the Body of Christ needs is another wounded healer. When we carry our insecurities into our leadership, we are dropping the baton of faith. We transfer it from one generation of the leadership.
Let me tell you what the weight of this generation is:
I deserve something
I won't do anything unless I'm paid for it.
I'm not going to do anything unless there's a position and a title with it.
We pick and choose what batons we want.
When I was growing up, there was no popular Christian culture.
Nothing will kill you faster than a spotlight. God makes you who you need to be in places of anonymity and obscurity. THe greatest ministries on earth are made in anonymity and security, but we want to bypass that process.
Our tribalism will kill us. The most important thing is the baton of faith, the love that we have for one another. People don't care about our opinions. They want to know about the love, justice and mercy of God.
We only care about one thing, the name of Jesus Christ.
I'm going to carry the baton in my generation. It's time to lay aside the weights and the sins personally, denominationally, culturally.
Let us lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with perseverance.
Your talent will open the door but only your character will keep you in the room.
I utilize technology, but it does not control me or govern my sense of significance or value.
Let me put you all out of your misery right now. THere is only one love language. It's called die. Die to self. That is the only love language.
What's missing in the church are the words of Jesus in the garden saying, "No, I don't want to do this but nevertheless." When was the last time you got on your knees and said but nevertheless.
Do you remember when it was an honor to hold the baton of faith. Do you remember when it was like, Jesus it is an honor to carry the baton, but when you run into an exchange zone, I'm running full speed. The person I'm passing the baton to, there is a moment in that 1.9 seconds they have to be running full speed without the baton.
If you put yourself somewhere you have to keep yourself there. If God puts you somewhere, it's his job.
I can't put the baton into the hand of someone who isn't running. Some of you young men, your pastors are ready to give you so much more, but you're not ready yet. You just want the glory of leg 4 without running legs 1, 2, and 3.
We're obsessed with talent. Talent isn't enough. The devil is too strong and the world too hard, not stronger than Jesus, but too strong for a talented, gifted, unanointed leader.
Samuel went to anoint the next king of Israel and said, surely, it must be the oldest. But God said, "no, it's not him. I don't care how talented he is." Have you got anyone else? "Yeah, there's this guy in the back water town looking after 20 kids with no one noticing." And God said, "I've been making him in the backside of the desert."
When God marks you, it's better than when men market you.
And he says finally, fixing our eyes on Jesus.
Here's the advice for this generation, for a generation obsessed with comparison and social media, it's not about you. It's about the baton of faith. Some of us seriously need to get off of the Facebook and get our faces in the book. We are more worried about how many people are following us on Twitter than are following Jesus.
Ken Coleman: My favorite shows of all of hte shows you produced is "The Contender." Mark, the theme of this conference is Make, the making of a career, a leader, a dream. Your story emobdies the American deram more than anyone else. You did a show for MTV. You shopped Survivor to all three networks. They said no, you went back to CBS. You did a deal in a way a deal had never been done before.
How do you manage that tension between patience and persistence.
MB: So glad to be here with you. I think the important thing I'd like to communicate with you firstly is that there's no reason I should have all of these shows made. I came here with nothing. This nation gives everyone an opportunity, but you have to have the courage and the faith. "No" really means "next opportunity." When I went back to CBS for survivor, the head of CBS came back and said, "Ok, you can make this."
You do have to jump in. If you need to be certain of something, you will do nothing.
If you wait until you're certain, you won't do anything.
KC: Desperate Networks details Mark's story so well. How would you challenge leaders to say, make sure you give a shot to those below you?
MB: Many great things in our nation have been done by people who were the most unlikely candidates. If you're telling young people to go forward, start the parade. Make it go forward, people will join you. If you need it to be laid out so easily, nothing is going to happen.
This country is a place that we love. It gives you chances, but you also have to deliver. Because Americans love results. You also get second chances in America. We all know that with our faith, but it's true in our country as well. Donald Trump taught me something important. If he has a couple of people lined up in front of him, one with a Harvard degree and moderate energy, another with boundless energy and no college degree, he'd hire the person with energy every time. Energy is so important. You have to stay energetic.
KC: CBS caid yes to you, and then you had to deliver.
MB: That element of someone telling you, here's you're big chance buddy! Who wouldn't be scared. That feeling of fear can be looked at as the same energy of excitment. Look at people in Iraq and Afghanistan now. Look at the bravery. It's okay to be afraid, but that doesn't mean you can stand their.
As I said, I don't need certainty, I just need faith. That is enough for me.
KC: You're a guy that has created some really unique shows. What is your imaginative process like? How do you begin to develop show ideas?
MB: It's a completely instinctual thing. It's not a scientific process. You just have to listen to that. Everyone here knows, it's a god thing. Something inside of you tells you it's the correct path. In the need you have to make a decision on something and go for it.
We're all scared a lot of the time, and you just have to deal with it.
The people in this room are responsible for millions of people, and sure you're scared.
Every week there has to be a TV show when you tune in.
You can't always show your fear to those following you.
KC: I did a lot of reading on the different shows you've created. You create shows that connect emotionally in different ways with different people. What would you say to church leaders who are trying to reach a diverse audience?
MB: THe one word answer is authenticity. The camera can see inauthenticity. Within 12 hours the Survivors have basically forgotten the cameras exist.
My wife is an actress and has to find authenticity in every perforamce. You can see authenticity.
Today I just want to talk to a certain group of people. The only group of people I think I'm really going to talk to today is the frustrated leader. If you're not frustrated, you're either lying… or you smoked crack right before this session.
You're frurstrated. You're frustrated with this session, with your people, with the leader who didn't come here. You're frustrated with your position because you thought you'd be further along in the process.
Some of you look at me and are like, "You're a megachurch pastor. What you're frustrated because your lasers didn't work on Sunday morning."
I worked as a youth pastor and was part of the problem of great van controversy between the youth group and the senior adults. The problem was that the youth group never cleaned the church van. 6 kids got saved on Wednesday night, but I'm being called into the pastor's office and he's like the senior adult director is breathing down my neck because the van isn't clean.
So I decide I'm going to clean the church van like it's never been cleaned before. I took the van to the car wash, took all of the seats out, hosed down the inside. I was like, "Let the senior adults say something about that."
They did. That was like a Saturday. On Tuesday, they went on a trip. Do you know what happens when Armor All gets really hot? It get's slippery. So they went on this trip in the mountains and their like sliding form one side to the next.
I remember going into my office and being like, "God, I can't make your people happy." He said, "Me either."
No matter what you do, there will be people who aren't happy.
1 Samuel 16-18
I think we can all agree that David is one of the greatest leaders in Israel. But I think there's some stuff that applies to every leader who is frustrated.
Jesse was told, "Go get your sons because one of them will be anointed king." What happened to David? He got completely ignored.
Maybe you're somewhere and you feel completely ignored. David learned in the sheep pen where no one paid attention where he learned a skill, how to use a sling, that propelled him into leadership.
If we want progress in leadership, there is no progress unless we embrace the process of leadership. That means sometimes we do some hard work, some difficult work, some unbelievable work, and no one is going to see it but God.
We've got to get passed wanting to get discovered and start worry about being developed. When we stop screaming at the world, "Discover me!" and start screaming at God, "Develop me!" That's when we'll reach our potential.
God's anointing comes off of Saul, and David plays the harp, so he gets a job as a part time worship leader. He goes and cares for the sheep and then puts on the skinny jeans and goes and leads worship.
David kills the giant. HOw did David get to the battle lines in the first place? His dad had him take bread and cheese to the front lines. YOu know what David didn't say, "I'm anointed. Why don't you take the bread?"
I'm all about anointing, but that doesn't mean you don't have to go through the process.
You know what, if you're gifted, you don't have to say you're gifted. You just have to use your gift and people will notice.
David was available. The Bible doesn't indicate he was mad about taking the cheeses and the bread. David sees Goliath and a tremendous opportunity, so he starts asking about him, and what happens, his brother gets mad at him.
I worked for a church one time where they told me, "We just want you to reach students, and we don't care what you do." You know what I found out, they cared. It was a Baptist church. I decided to teach them the electric slide. I got to attend my first deacons meeting.
That happens and either they don't like the way you're reaching people or they don't like the people you're reaching.
Saul pulled David in to full-time service, but David was working for a leader who was very insecure, who did not quite recognize what God was doing in the next generation.
Several years ago I had a guy on my staff come in and say, "Have you seen my Twitter?" I'm like, "You want to run that by me again? No, freak, I have not. I don't know what you're talking about right now." So he showed me what it was, "And I said that's the dumbest thing I have ever seen." My staff showed me a video of me in a staff meeting saying Twitter is the dumbest thing ever and I'll never do it.
You know what, those of us in our 40s, 50s, and 60s, it's not our job to reach the next generation. They'll reach themselves. We can either be a part of it or resist it and get passed over.
David worked for a leader that asked for ridiculous things. David had to bring Saul 100 Philistine foreskins.
For those of us who are complaining about what we have to do… at least you're not David. We complain that we have to do things we get paid to do that other people have traditionally given their lives to do.
David doesn't get 100. He gets 200. He is a good steward of where he is. If God can't trust us with where we are right now, how do we expect him to use us for greater things in the future.
So Saul throws a spear at David. You know how you know when it's time to leave the church? When the pastor pulls out a Glock. You know when it's time to go. But it's not time to go when you're having a tough time, it's when the leader is trying to destroy you.
You know what a church plant is, it's David in 1 Samuel 22. He was surrounded by the distressed and the dire and the in trouble. Normal people don't show up to a church plant. If you plant a church, every freak in a 50 mile radius is going to find you.
You know how you know David is a leader? He went somewhere and people would follow him.
David never dishonored Saul at any point.
There are some people here who are frustrated, and the easiest thing to do when you're frustrated is talk smack about a leader. If you want to embrace the process of leadership, instead of talking smack about your leader, talk to your savior. Say it doesn't matter if I'm here for the next 10 minutes or the next 10 years, I want you to make me.
BUt your'e saying, "But you don't know my story."
And I would simply ask you back, "Are you any better than Jesus?" Jesus embraced the leadership process. Jesus lived in obscurity for 30 years, swinging a hammer, being a carpenter, working in the family business. If you think nobody recognizes you, nobody understands you better than Jesus.
"But you don't know the clowns I'm working with." How would you have liked Peter on your staff? Or James and John who asked to be seated on the right and the left right after he talked about being crucified.
But Jesus took those people and launched a movement that has brought us to where we are today.
"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion." He's bigger than your biggest enemy, greatest fear, and biggest dream, because he is always faithful to people who embrace the process.
I want to talk to you about identity. I think to lead, to be people who make a difference, to be agents of change and justice, I think we have to think about our identy. I also think we have to think about what we say.
I learned about identity from my grandmother. My grandmother was the ultimate matriarch. She was the dominant force. She was the end of every argument. She was the beginning of a lot of arguments too.
She'd hug me so hard I almost couldn't breathe.
My grandmother was the daughter of slaves.
The only problem with spending time with my grandmother was that she had 10 children, and my mother was the youngest.
One day my cousins were running around and for about 20 minutes she kept staring at them. ANd after a while she came over to me and said, Come on Bryan, we're going to have a talk.
She said to be, Bryan, I"ve been watching you. You're special. I think you can do anything. She said, you just have to promise me three things. She said, you have to promise me you'll always love your mom. And I said, yes, momma, I'll do that. She said, you have to promise me you'll always do the right thing, even when the right thing is hard. And I thought about it for a minute, and I said,f yes, momma. And she said the third thing is, you have to promise me you'll never drink alcohol. And as an 8 year old, I said, yes momma.
I later learned momma had that conversation with all of the grandchildren. But at 52 years old I've never had a drop of alcohol. ANd I tell you that not to preach the virtues of abstinence but the power of identity.
In 1942 there were 300,000 people in jails and prisons. Today there are 2.3 million. We have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. WE have 6 million on probation and parole.
This has devastated communities. In alabama 34% has permanently lost the right to vote. We're actually anticipating getting to the point where there's a higher level of disenfranchisement than before the Civil Rights Act in the 60s.
The people who are most victimized by it than the poor. We have a criminal justice system that treats you better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent.
The united states is the only country in the world that sentences children to die in prison.
It's not just age or poverty, but it's race. We have a horrible history of racial tension. Older people come to me all of the time and sago, you make people stop saying we're dealing with terrorism in the first time in our history. I dealt with terror. We decided not to talk about all of the problems and trauma caused by racial tension.
We haven't dealt with the problems to get to the point of reconciliation.
But I'm not hear to talk to you about all of that. We have a bigger problem… the profound absence of hope.
I talk to 12-13 year old children who don't believe they're going to be free or alive by the time they're 21. This hopelessness is shaping their lives. They say I've got to go and get mine while I can.
We've got to get proximate not to the hopeful but to the hopeless if we are to truly be agents of change.
I represent people on death row. I've been proximate to people like this not so long ago. Recently I was working on this case at the last minute. We started working to try to help this man who was to be executed with only 30 days to go. This man, in our judgment, had been wrongly convicted, he had done some wrong things but wasn't the primary one responsible for what haps happened. ANd we just couldn't do anything about it.
When I was 9 or 10 years old I meant a boy with a speech impediment, and I had never met anyone like that, and so out of ignorance I laughed. My grandmother pulled me aside and told me to go apologize, give him a hug, and tell him you love him. And I didn't want to do that last one, but when I did, you know what he said, "I love you too,"
I was thinking about this when I was talking to this man on death row the night he was to be executed. He had a speech impediment too. And he said, I thank you for standing with me. And I love you.
And I was overwhelmed and thought I can't do this anymore. Why do we want to kill all of the broken people. I had to remind myself why I do this. I started realizing I don't do this because I think it's fun or important or because it's the kind of thing that has to be done.
I do this because I realized I'm broken too.
When you're broken you realize that you don't see things the same way until you're broken. I am part of a broken community.
Brokenness can be mended by grace. Brokennes can be healed by mercy. And there is opportunity to be a voice to the broken.
My clients have taught me that we are all more than the worse thing we've ever done. Even if you kill somebody, you're not just a killer.
There is this need to be an advocate, for redepntion.
For poor communities and disadvantaged communities, the opposite of poverty is not wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice, the dignity of every person.
If we are a truly a community of faith, we will define ourselves not by how we treat the rich and powerful but how we treat the poor and the marginalized.
If we truly believe the vallies can be made high, the mountains made low, the crooked made straight, surely we have to believe in the lowly.
It is a difficult thing.
As a young lawyer I had the privilege to meet Rosa Parks. Ms. Parr, a friend of Ms. Parks would tell me that they were going to talk with another woman and they would ask me if I would like to come listen. They would talk about faith and I was so energized and one day Ms. Parks turned to me and asked what the Equal Justice Initiative is and what you're trying to do.
And so I told her about the injustices we're trying to do something about. ANd she looked at me and she said, "That's going to make you tired, tired, tied." And then she put her finger in my face and said, "That's why you're going to have to be brave, brave, brave."
We need a community of people who are going to embrace the broken. I gave a talk one time and this woman who came up to me and said, I feel so bad for you and talked about the woman caught in the act of adultery and how everyone went away who was going to throw a stone. She said, today, they aren't going away, and you'er trying to be a stone catcher. I said, that's okay. I've been healed by grace. That's what we're called to.
I leave here today hoping there are those here who understand what it means to be a means of grace, hope, and redemption. I have to be willing to speak when everyone else is quiet and to love those who everyone else thinks is beyond love, mercy, and grace.
I begin all of my talks with a confession, which makes sense because I'm a practicing Catholic.
I am a little nervous. It's not the number of people here, it's all of the things going on. My personality is an ENFP. If you don't know what an ENFP is, the prayer for an ENFP is, "Dear Lord, please help me to focus, oh, look, a bird, on the things I have to do."
The second confession is, the things I'm going to tell you today are simple, folks. People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.
Ken Blanchard said to me one time, "You know why your books are selling so well, don't you? It's all based on the Bible." WE're just restating what Jesus said.
The third confession is that I've never given a talk in jeans before.
I wrote this book called The Advantage - and here's the premise. Organizational health is the single biggest thing can have to gain a competitive advantage, and yet, it remains virtually untapped in most organizations.
It's free, and most anyone can do it.
So why don't people do it? I was at the Southwest Airlines leadership conference a couple of years ago, and I learned why. I was sitting there with the CEO, Gary Kelly, and I leaned over and asked a semi-rhetorical question. And he had a somewhat sad look on his face, and he said, "You know, Pat. I honestly think they think it's beneath them."
The truth is, it really is simple, but it's only for those who have the willingness to humble themselves enough to do it.
So what is organizational health.
Every organization that wants to be successful has to be two things:
Smart - The problem is that it's only half the equation but gets 99% of the attention.
- Minimal Politics
- Minimal Confusion
- High Morale
- HIgh Productivity
- Low Turnover
But we just keep tweaking the smart things because it's an objective, measurable area. The health stuff is messy and emotional and hard to measure.
I never go into a company and think, "This could be a great company, but these people are just too dumb."
What's the thing that's going to make our organizations better? Health. The healthier our organization is, the more intelligence it's going to get to use.
Healthy organizations aren't smarter than their competition. Their culture is so healthy they tap into all of the knowledge they have.
If we can build a healthy organization we can make smarter decisions and strive.
There are four disciplines at the heart of a healthy organization.
- Build a cohesive leadership team. The people at the top have to be behaviorally cohesive.
- Create clarity. They have to answer 6 simple but critical questions
- Overcommunicate clarity. Leaders have to overcommunicate things. Great leaders communicate so much, long after their tired of communicating the message. If you're a leader, your people should be able to do a great impression of you
- Basic human systems
I want to talk more about number 1. There are five behaviors of a cohesive leadership team.
- Trust - No duh. It's obvious. But I'm not talking about predictive trust. any two people who have known each other for a long period of time have predictive trust. I'm talking about vulnerability trust. When people can be that emotionally buck naked with one another and be completely honest about who they are, warts and all, it creates a dynamic like nothing else.I worked with a team once, a start up company, high-tech, start up on steroids. They had all of this money in the bank. They were going to change the world. So they called us to work with them. We learned they were losing to less smart competitors. There was this funky dynamic on their leadership team where whenever one person spoke, everyone got silent. I asked another person why. He said because she never changes her mind, never admits she may be wrong. Never sees things from our sides. So we did an offsite with them. And we went to dinner one night and had wine with dinner. And this woman picked up her glass at the end of dinner and stood up and gave a toast and said, "I'm not going to be trusting you guys any time soon, if ever." After the meeting I went outside and talked with the CEO. And we said we have to get this woman to trust. And so finally the CEO managed her out of the company and off the team. At the next meeting, you would have thought we swapped out every member of the team for different people.When you have one person on the team who can't be vulnerable, it changes the entire dynamic of the team. We know this from sports, right? One guy in 50 on a football team can poison the team. If that's the case, what does that do for our leadership teams, our church teams?The only way we can get to vulnerable is if the leader goes first. It's a leap of faith folks, and it's not comfortable.I once worked with a leader who could not do this. He's famous and brilliant and intimidating. So no one on his team ever gave him feedback. So we did 360 reports, but he didn't want to share the results. So the head of HR got him to reluctantly share the results. So he went down the list and just asked around the table what everyone thought. And of course, they told him what he wanted to hear. So if I'm going to be a good consultant, I have to do something and risk losing the client. So I slide up next to the CEO and say, "But you guys were the only ones who filled this out." But only one guy spoke up. The rest cut his legs out from under him. That company circled the drain and was sold off for a fraction of the cost.
All that CEO had to do was stand up there and be human. But what about not letting them see you sweat. You know what, they see you sweating before you nkow you're sweating.
I don't think you can be too vulnerable.
- Conflict - Conflict is a good thing on a team when there is trust. Conflict is nothing but the pursuit of truth, but conflict without truth is politics. A good team has to have conflict.We owe it to each other to disagree sometimes. When we withhold our opinion, it's bad, because when we don't disagree with someone around an issue, it becomes about the person.You know, though that every church, culture, family, etc. Is going to have different expectations of conflict. If you're working with culturally Japanese people and their sucking air through their teeth, it means they really hate the idea.
Even here in the US we have these interesting dynamics. Conflict is going to look different in different regions, different companies, different churches, but that doesn't matter. You have to know that people on your team cannot be choosing their battles, counting their costs.
Relationship is built on recovery from difficult moments.
- Committment - Force Clarity and Closure
Peers are the primary source of accountability on a great team. They don't go to the leader all of the time. But that will only work if the leader is the primary source of accountability.Firing someone is often an act of cowardice.A leader who doesn't like to hold people accountable, like me, we're what's called a wuss. I used to think I didn't like to hold people accountable because I don't want them to feel band, and I realized in a moment of honesty, I just don't want them to blame me for feeling bad.
If I love someone, I owe it to them to tell them where they can improve.
You know what taught me the importance of accountability? I'm telling one of my twin seven year old boys a bedtime story. The other twin is in time out. So he comes in half way through the story and asks to stay. I say yes, but my wife comes in and says, no, you have to go. So my other son, Connor says, "Dad, if you don't hold him accountable, he's never going to learn the consequences of his actions.
Ultimately great teams get results. But something else happens when we build great teams. We're building a ministry. When we build great teams, people treat each other differently at home, in the store, on the bus, and I don't think that is beneath any of us.
Andy Stanley: How would you suggest people use The Advantage with their leadership teams?
PL: I think I'd sit down with the team, read the intro and then go through it section by section.
AS: What do you say to the point leader of a team with a good product but a bad culture? Is there a first thing?
PL: I hate to say this because we're so used to offsite meetings being these touchy feely things, but it's going to start with us getting out of the office for a day and a half. That process will become so important. In a day and a half you'll see results. You'll slide if you don't follow up, but you'll see results then.
AS: Sometimes senior pastors are in leadership positions that seem just a bit closer to God. What do you say to staff members whose senior pastor seems to have created this shell.
PL: It's a tough role to be a spiritual father as well as a managerial leader. Be vulnerable, let them in. Tell them it's hard. To be vulnerable, the people you care for every day, there are times they have to care for you.
Recently I had the chance to attend this lovely salon for women of two different generations, the idea was for the older generation to impart its wisdom to the younger. I was asked to speak about my regrets in life. My first regret is that I'm now, apparently, is a member of the older generation.
My deeper regret is that as an introvert I didn't try to leverage my own natural powers and spent too much time trying to be an extrovert.
It started when I was a child. At 9 years old I went to summer camp for the first time, and my mother packed me a suitcase of books. In my family, reading was the group activity. And so I thought camp was going to be just like this, only better. I had this vision of 10 girls sitting cozily in a cabin in matching nightgowns.
Camp was much more like a keg party without alcohol. Our counselor taught us a cheer which set the tone for the rest of the summer: R-O-W-D-I-E, Rowdy, Rowdy!
The first time I pulled a book out, the coolest girl in the cabin asked me why I was being so mellow. And the camp counselor talked about the need for camp spirit.
I tell you this story not because it was particularly traumatic but because it is emblematic of many stories throughout my life where I was subtly told I needed to be an extrovert.
I became a Wall Street lawyer because I wanted to prove what I could do instead of being the lawyer I wanted to be, went to crowded bars instead of having a quiet drink with our friend.
It is not just our loss but our colleagues' loss and the world's loss, because the world needs what introverts do best.
Introverts, as I'm sure you know through your experiences, you're forever being obliged to participate in these group exercises whether you like them or not. Introverts actually work quite well in groups, but they don't like these spontaneous groupings that come up out of no where.
Now let's think a little bit more about who you truly are. Six questions:
- I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.
- I enjoy work that allows me to go in depth without many interruptions.
- I tend to do my best work on my own.
- I tend to think before I speak.
- Extroverts tend to process verbally
- I displike small talk, but enjoy talking in depth about topics that really matter to me.
- After attending a fun party for, say, 2 hours, I start to wish I were at home in my pajamas.
- This is why restrooms tend to be crowded at parties.
The more you answer true, the more introverted you tend to be.
- Einstein - It's not that I'm so smart. It's that I stay with problems longer.
- Introverts tend to stay with problems longer and think more before jumping in.
- Introverts tend to get better grades, even though they aren't any smarter.
- JK Rowling - Spent 5 years planning Harry Potter before actually sitting down to write it.
- Warren Buffett
- Bill Clinton
Notice how vivid these portraits are. There is a delightful, vivid, bubbly, champagne like quality. Extroverts tend to get super-excited. It's this exuberance we tend to be so attracted to.
There's two types of being: thoughtful and seize the day. We need both. Mark Zuckerberg and Cheryl Sanders. They're complimentary.
Introverts and extroverts both have strengths and downsides/blind spots. We know that the most effective teams are a mix of the two types.
I believe deeply that these two types are as fundamental to our personality as our gender.
However, we all fall at different points along the introvert/extrovert spectrum. There's no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert.
People who fall right in the middle of the spectrum are ambiverts.
What's really important here is not just who you are but why you are the way you are. What it has to do with is how you react to stimulation.
Introverts feel at their most alive in calm, quiet, peaceful environments. Extroverts have to have stimulation or the feel like they're not themselves.
Introverts want to socialize in less stimulating ways. Many introverts invest their social energy into the people they're closest to, their families, close friends.
Just to show you how deep and wide this is: One of the oldest studies shows that introverts will salivate more than extroverts when a drop of lemon juice is placed on their tongue because they react more strongly to stimulation. Another study shows that extroverts perform better at math problems with background noise, introverts perform better in silence.
We have radically preferred extroverts in our society with the amount of stimulation present:
- Group work in schools
- Open plan offices
- These are horrible. They make people sick. They actually lead to fewer friendships.
- Religious Services - The way we do them now works beautifully for a proportion of our congregations, but there's a sizable number of people who feel overwhelmed and out of place. Adam McCue questions his own commitment because he doesn't want to worship in an outward way.
When psychologists look at who the most spectacularly creative people have been over time, they almost always find people who have serious streaks of introverts in them. These people are usually extroverts in a sense. They're extroverted enough to go out and exchange their ideas. No matter what society they're living in, no matter how much their society compels them to operate in groups, they find solitude. It's what makes them so successful.
Philipe Starke is one of the great designers of our time. It's basically a grand exercise in solitude. "From the middle of June to the middle of September, I don't speak to anyone, read magazines, watch TV, or go to cocktail parties. I'm alone, not repeating what everyone else is saying, trying to find my own way of doing things."
A lot of what is so great about solitude is that when you are by yourself you are not being tainted by what other people think. You can tune into what is going on in your heart, mind, and soul. In a group we are such social creatures that we are radically influenced by the group. Humans by nature are conformist, even those who are intentionally non-conformist.
Solomon Ash, a psychologist who studied conformity, went to his grave wondering if people actually believe the falsity the group is purporting or if they're telling a falsehood. Recent research says they actually believe the falsehood, even if it is evidently untrue.
You cannot be in a group of people without instinctively coming to mimic their opinions. We're not aware of this. People tend to report that they're coming to their conclusions on their own.
The other problem with groups is not only that we're following their opinion, but we're typically following the opinion of the most assertive or charismatic person. We behave as if assertion means rightness.
We do this automatically. We don't even know it's happening.
So how do we stop? How do we think differently and independently?
How to wage a quiet revolution:
- Rethink Meetings
- Ask people to actively prepare in advance before a meeting. We know from 40 years of research that people who brainstorm on their own produce more and better ideas.
- Half-way through the meeting stop and ask everyone to reflect, and then go around the room in order and have people report on ideas.
- Have people make better use of electronic brainstorming. This is the one exception to individuals doing a better job of brainstorming. When they come together electronically, they do even better. It removes a lot of the barriers to effective communication that pop up in various situaitons.
- Rethink Leadership
- We tend to think of people who are really good talkers.
- This is backwards. We need to be more concerned with who really has something to say.
- This has been borne out in various forms of leadership. Jim Collins in Good to Great seeks to figure out what makes companies stand out from their peers. And he didn't want to look at leadership, but he couldn't help it. Each great company had a CEO with a fierce sense of mission but who was described as quiet, shy, reserved, etc. In Silicon Valley level 5 leadership is found more often, Larry Page, Marissa Meyer. Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks. Gandhi said his shyness stopped him from saying something stupid. They were motivated by their missions. General Charles Krulak was the commander of the entire US Marine Corps, but he is an extreme introvert. He said that he has to remind himself to make eye contact and steel himself before giving a speech or heading to a cocktail party, but in Vietnam he volunteered for an incredibly dangerous mission because he empathized with his comrades in danger.
- Rethink Spirituality
- We forget that solitude is related to transcendence. Religious leaders always go off by themselves to the wilderness: Moses, Buddha, Jesus.
To the introverts in the room and those of you who feel like you're on the shy side: The key to exercising your great potential is to get into the habit of figuring out what your convictions are. What do you truly think and feel about this? From your conviction will come your courage.
To the extroverts and the gregarious: May you also cultivate the habits of solitude. Know what you truly think and connect with the divine in ways that are not possible in a group setting.
To all of you: This quiet revolution is one of the great diversity issues of our time.