“Flee & Pursue” Leadership

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Timothy was Paul’s protege.

Timothy was placed in charge of the house churches of Ephesus, arguably the most precious ministerial work Paul ever did. 

In 1 and 2 Timothy Paul instructs and exhorts his young protege in how to lead the church.

1 Timothy 1:2 Paul states, “To Timothy, my true child in the faith . . .” 

We first learn about Timothy in Acts 16. Paul was at the beginning of his second missionary journey and stops in Derbe and Lystra. He picks up a disciple named Timothy, who was the son of a believing mother, but most likely not the son of a believing father. For all practical purposes Paul became Timothy’s spiritual father.

I actually see 2 Timothy 2:2 as leader multiplication strategy more than a general discipleship strategy. Paul is challenging Timothy to rasie up more leaders for the Church. But he knows there is one besetting sin that will always be the likely one to render a leader ineefective for the cause of Christ. This is the issue of sexual immorality.

With the revelation of the Ashley Madison scandal it has become evident that possibly hundreds of pastors or other church workers were engaging in extra marital affairs. The total fallout is till to be revealed. In 2 Timothy 2:20-21 Paul reminds Timothy that there are vessels for honoable use an dishonoarble use within God’s kingdom. It is only the clean vessel that is able to be used fully by God. This teaching is followed by a double command, to flee and to pursue.

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith , love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

These are present tense commands. Paul fully intends for Timothy, and those emerging leaders around Timothy, to flee youthful passions and keep on fleeing every day of their lives. Paul fully intends for Timothy, and those emerging leaders around Timothy, to pursue righteousness and keep on pursuing every day of their lives.

To flee means to shun or avoid something abhorent. It is to escape a trap. It is to be saved by flight.

To pursue means to intensely strive after something. It is to do something with intense effort with a definite purpose or goal.

Paul declares that one should flee youthful passions. The notion is to not covet or desire what is not yours. The context implies immoraltity. To have an affair is to always over desire something that does not belong to you. This was King David’s problem even though he had been warned. David committed adultery with Bathsheba. It was David’s servant that keenly reminded David that Bathsheba was another man’s daughter and another man’s wife (see 2 Samule 11:3). Bathsheba was not his to pursue. He was to flee in every sense of the word.

Paul also provides the remedy. Every leader is to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. And we are to do so in community–so as not to become islolated alone with our lusts. Every virtue and vice is rendered more powerful with an object. Lust leads to sin when it finds it’s next. Righteousness, faith, love, and peace find their true fulfillment among others within the body of Christ.

Tim Challies provided a timely and strong exhortation via his wife for all Chrisitan leaders to cease from sexual sin in My Wife’s Plea to Christian Men. You need to read this pleading post. You and I need to heed her exhortation and the exhortation of Paul to Timothy. The very future of the Church depends on it.

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5 for Leadership-August 29th

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This week in 5 for Leadership we have topics ranging from the NFL to important questions–like Where did all the good leaders go? and What are your hidden strengths? There are also great posts on exceptional leader traits and strong advice for young leaders. Take a look at one or several.

7 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

“Launching and leading a successful small business requires much more than a great idea. Effective and highly successful businesses have highly effective and successful leaders at the helm. And, let’s face it, not every entrepreneur is a natural leaders. The good news is that just like any other entrepreneurial skill, leadership must be cultivated and trained for. Those who train, lead better, live better and experience greater returns in their business.” This comes by way of Entrepreneur online–take a look.

Hard Advice For Young Leaders

“I have some hard advice for young leaders. Before I share , I feel the need to be clear — in case you’re a new reader — to assure you I’m a supporter of young leaders. Ask anyone I work with, or look at decisions we’ve made as a church, or the personal investments of my time into young leaders and you can clearly see I believe in the next generation of leaders. I only build my case of support, because this may be a hard word to receive.” Ron Edmondson shares some timely words for all of us.

Where Did All The Good Leaders Go?

Have you looked around lately? If you have, you might have been surprised to see a shocking lack of good leaders. We see leaders failing all around us.Leaders are failing in their marriages. Leaders are failing in their willingness to speak up for what is right. Leaders are failing in taking care of those they lead. Leaders are failing in their push for more.” Joseph LaLonde makes a strong case for the need for better leaders–and what leaders must pay attention to now.

What Are Your Hidden Strengths?

I am a big proponent of strengths-based leadership. As a matter of fact, I am certified in a tool that helps leaders become the best of who they are and meant to be. That is why I was fascinated by this blog post title on hidden strengths. This comes from Leading Blog. Take a look and see what you think of this premise.

Leadership Styles: 3 Things You Can Learn From The NFL’s Top Coaches

“With the start of the American National Football League (NFL) season around the corner, I thought it would be good to talk two of my favorite topics; leadership and football.” See what else Tommy Shavers has to say on the Linked2Leadership blog regarding NFL coaching and leadership.

There are the 5 for this week. Football season is right around the corner–that means fall is too. This is a good time to retool your leadership.

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Leading Up When Team Leaders Mess Up

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No team is perfect.

No team leader is perfect.

If you are part of a team you will encounter dysfunction at some point. But how should you respond as a team member when your team leader makes a significant mistake?

Let’s create a typical scenario that might aid our learning in leading up. Let’s say that your team leader makes a unilateral decision to add a new member to the team. (We will assume that if you are a team leader you would never do this!?!) And let’s also assume that this truly is a team–not a committee or a working group–but a bonafide team with an agreed upon team purpose, clear team roles, and a common objective. And to further this dilemma let’s also say that you found out about the addition third hand–some member of the constituency that you are striving to serve informs you about this new hire.

Got the picture?

Is your frustration factor rising just a little?

Is this calling anything to mind?

3 Important Aspects To Your Approach

  1. Assume the best in your leader.  It never does any good for you or your team leader if you approach the issue with suspicion and distrust. You will only add anger to your frustration and anxiety. Assume that the team leader had the team’s best interest at heart. Assume that the team leader saw value in this new member. Assume that this new team member has something valuable to add to the makeup and function of the team. Assume the best.
  2. Inquire, don’t condemn.  If you have already failed the first assumption you will probably fail the second one. These assumptions follow a logical progression. If you are able to gather yourself and assume the best, then you will be in a position to make inquiry rather than initiate by way of words of condemnation. You might use phrases like, “Would it be possible for us to revisit the decision-making process that led to this new hire?” Or, “Can you walk us through your thought process that led you to this decision to hire Susan?” It takes a good amount of courage to assume the best and make the inquiry. It takes nothing to explode and condemn. Worse yet, it will be severely damaging if you say nothing at all. Genuine questions raise pertinent issues and invite understanding and solutions. Condemnation creates further distrust and the possible loss of your credibility and role on the team.
  3. Be solution focused.  Don’t simply raise the problem at hand without thinking through possible remedies for next time. Anyone can complain and point out the problem at hand. It takes leadership thinking to propose alternatives to the mess. Reflect, consider, and choose to be solution oriented as you approach your team leader with the mess. You may not be able to remedy the current scenario, but you can set the stage for next time. Lessons can be learned and new principles applied.

3 Important Team Issues at Stake

  1. Team Communication.  Trust is the lifeblood of any well functioning team. Good communication is the foundation and guardian of trust. Discuss this as a team. Help the team leader and the whole team better understand that internal communication is essential. To be surprised by a third party constituent creates an awkward situation and does not allow you to defend the decision well. It can cause you as a team member to look ignorant and create a lack of credibility for the whole team. Every team member needs to be informed about important decisions to be able to represent those decisions well. Better yet, important decisions should be informed by the team for greater ownership and understanding. Leaders ignore internal communication and consensus decision making at their own peril.
  2. Team Dynamics.  Every time a person is added or subtracted from a team the team dynamics are significantly impacted. Team leaders must not be naive to this reality. You must not only assess the qualifications of the potential new member, but also the impact on the team and the collective effect toward those you are serving.
  3. Leader Motivation.  Ask the leader why they thought this person would be a good addition to the team. Ask them what value this new member will bring. Ask them what deficit they saw in the team that required an additional member. These are all relevant questions. Ask them with a genuine desire to understand–not simply in a backhanded way to dig at the leader. The team leader needs to realize that “why’s” matter.

All three of these team issues are important elements for teams and team leaders to consider and resolve when a poor decision has been made–or a good decision has been made poorly.

Team leaders, don’t simply act and inform. That only works well in time of crisis. Otherwise, be sure that every important stakeholder has been brought into the process.

Team members, learn to lead up well.

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5 for Leadership-August 22nd

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Here is a new 5 for Leadership for your leader learning. The topics cover solution-based leadership, leading in the wild, best leadership books of 2015, what to do when your church does not fit your community, and how to attract and keep good leaders. There are some quality posts here–take a look at more than one.

Leading in the Wild

“The classic tenets of what it means to be a leader originated in an era of “cage” employees. Employees punched in, went to their workstations, did their tasks all day, and punched out. New employees hoped to avoid getting a bad boss and stayed worried about their pay raises and performance reviews. They learned to keep their heads down; mouths closed and just get the job done.” All that has changed dramatically–read on to discover leadership in the 21st century.

The Best Leadership Books of 2015

This comes from Paul Sohn. Enough said–take a look!

3 Questions to Consider When the Church No Longer Reflects The Community

“The question was: How can we grow now that we don’t represent the demographics of our community?” Ron Edmondson does a great job of providing insight to answer this tough question.

Beyond Thank You–5 Non-Financial Keys to Attracting and Keeping Great Leaders

“Whether it’s staff or volunteers, you want to keep people engaged, motivated and committed to a common cause. While there’s a variety of ways to do that, there’s one truth underneath it all that often gets missed.” Carey Nieuwhof shares some great insights on this very important topic.

Solution Based Leadership

“Leadership thinker Brian Tracy makes the following comment about leaders and followers:

Leaders think and talk about the solutions.
Followers think and talk about the problems.

This quote reminds us that leadership effectiveness is not just about skill and capacity; it is also about a leader’s focus.” This comes from Justin Irving on his blog Purpose in Leadership.

There are the 5 for this week. Summer is rapidly coming to an end. Take advantage of your last summer days to do a little leadership reading.

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5 for Leadership-August 8th

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Here is a fresh 5 for Leadership with some fascinating topics, including the value of reading for leadership, why coffee drinkers succeed, ethnic diversity in leadership, walking meetings, and the real work of leaders. This is worth your time.

10 Reasons Why People Who Read A Lot Are More Likely To Be Good Leaders

“Reading is currently on a global decline. The statistics and polls behind this pattern are frightening because the shortage of readers means there will be a shortage of leaders. There is no disputing it: reading offers you the platform to become a leader. Famous leaders from Steve Jobs to Elon Musk engage in a lot of intellect-building by reading books. This is what reading offers when it comes to leadership.”

8 Reasons Why Coffee Drinkers Are More Likely To Succeed

“Most times what you need to get plugged into a project is that shot of caffeine. Coffee does it for me, from the smell to the flow into the cup and that intense swallow. It gets me on the drive. While others are worried about the intensity, for me it’s perfect. I get energy only coffee can provide. I can’t help but remind the worriers of the wonders coffee does to their chances for success. Read this article if you’re hesitant about coffee, and consider all the benefits you stand to gain.”

Dear White Leaders: Ethnic Minorities Excel at More Than Just Minority Ministry

“As a white male in ministry who has had the privilege of getting to know many of my ethnic minority colleagues over the years, I’d like to dispel a notion that has crept into the psyche of many of us white leaders. A number of us have come to live as if ethnic minorities are only good at reaching their own people.” This is an excellent post from missioeric and posted on The Future of College Ministry site.

How To Do Walking Meetings Right

“A walking meeting is simply that: a meeting that takes place during a walk instead of in an office, boardroom, or coffee shop where meetings are commonly held. Nilofer Merchant wrote in HBR about her own transition to walking meetings after realizing that, like many Americans, she was sitting way too much while working.” This come by way of the HBR Review.

The Real Work Of Leaders

“Leading begins when the performance of others becomes a top priority.” This quality post is by the Leadership Freak, Dan Rockwell.

There are the 5 for this week. Take another look.

Leader Development or Leadership Devlopment

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The leadership culture has changed.

We live in a “postheroic” era.

People attribute authority to those they trust . . . those with proven integrity.

Titles no longer matter as much as character.

People want to be inspired into action, not driven.

The top three leadership traits that are needed for a “postheroic” era are the abilities to network, collaborate, and have influence without authority.

But these are not traditional leadership skills that universities teach. These topics rarely form the core subject matter of the next leadership conference.

These skills have much more to do with social capital than human capital.

Some thought leaders have begun to differentiate between leader development and leadership development.

Is there a noteworthy difference–or is this semantics?

Maybe both.

David Day, a scholar at the University of Western Australia, makes the case that there is a need to consider both kinds of development for the 21st century leader. He separates leader development from leadership development and says both are necessary.

Day makes the distinction in the following way:

Leader Development

  • Focus on Human Capital
  • A Model of Individual Personal Power, Knowledge, and Trustworthiness
  • The Competence Base is Intrapersonal
  • Necessary Skills:
    • Self-Awareness
      • Emotional Awareness
      • Self Confidence
      • Accurate Self-Image
    • Self Regulation
      • Self-Control
      • Trustworthiness
      • Personal Responsibility
      • Adaptability
    • Self-Motivation
      • Initiative
      • Commitment
      • Optimism

Leadership Development

  • Focus on Relational Capital
  • A Model of Relational Commitments, Mutual Respect, and Trust
  • The Competence Base is Interpersonal
  • Necessary Skills:
    • Social Awareness
      • Empathy
      • Service Orientation
      • Political Awareness
    • Social Skills
      • Building Bonds
      • Team Orientation
      • Change Catalyst
      • Conflict Management

Most would agree that all of the above competencies are needed to effectively network, collaborate and and have influence without authority. Leader development focuses on the individual and can be accomplished in an individual training context. Leadership development focuses more on the team and is better accomplished in a cohort or team context.

Consider these principles for your development of leaders:

  • Development needs grounding, a base from which to establish character and integrity.
  • Development is best done in the context of the mission–the actual work of the organization.
  • Holistic development requires both “hard” trait oriented skills and “soft” people/social oriented skills.
  • Leader development can be done in a one on one training context.
  • Leadership development is best done in a cohort/team environment.

In a “postheroic” era a premium will need to be placed on leadership development with a grounding in the leader development necessity of self -awareness, character and integrity.

What are your thoughts?

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5 for Leadership-August 1st

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Here is a new 5 for Leadership for this first day of August. As you finish up your vacation season and prepare for the fall take some time to refresh your leadership for the fall. There are topics on leadership influence, leadership lessons, toxic leadership, an infographic on the change process, and a top 30 list of great posts from this past month. There is something here for you.

Sketch Note: How To Influence Without Authority

Jesse Lyn Stoner is one of my favorite leadership bloggers and her post “How to Influence Without Authority” offers useful guidance on the what she calls as “8 Portals of Influence”. It is also one of the most loved posts on her blog! Whether you lead backed by a formal authority or you lead without a title, these ideas should help you build influence. Here is a sketch note version encapsulating some ideas from her post. Read the full post here.” This was posted on Tanmay Vora’s site. Check out some of his other posts–it will be well worth it.

Sketch Note: 6 Leadership Lessons from Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam

I decided to give you a second post from Tanmay Vora. He is a new thought leader for me and I want to introduce him to you. It is great to gain insight from different ethnic perspective and through a different medium like Sketch Note. This may be one you will want to copy and display near your desk to be reminded every day. Enjoy.

Top 30 Must-Read Posts on Leadership for July 

So here’s my top 30 curated leadership tweets you might have missed in July 2015.” Paul Sohn–take a look–there is a treasure trove here.

Communication Framework for Change Agents-Infographic  

“While organizations thrive on change, people often don’t. We don’t all embrace change at the same rate or pace (and a few even reject it outright). How new ideas are communicated can hinder or accelerate adoption. If you’re an innovator, it’s tempting to think that conveying your enthusiasm and excitement will accelerate others’ acceptance—it turns out, that won’t work most of the time. Effectively communicating the need or reason to change is an important skill for change agents and a big factor in innovation velocity.” This comes via the StrategyDriven site.

The Toxic Leader Score

“Your Toxic Leader Score* (TLS) is the level of unnecessary irritation you cause others. If you occasionally irritate colleagues by arriving late, you’re a 3 on a range from 1 to 10. If you frequently irritate colleagues, but don’t realize it, your TLS is 9. The worst leaders don’t know they’re toxic.” Find out more about where you stand–from Dan Rockwell.

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Distractions & Unfulfilled Promises

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I recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas. I was there with my son for a high school basketball tournament. It was my first time since I was 12 years old when I was on a family vacation. Needless to say a lot has changed. The famous Las Vegas strip has expanded greatly. The strip now includes escalators, over street walkways, and a monorail. There are shows galore and a slot machine in every available space. Yet the setting strikes me as a productive leadership metaphor as well.

Las Vegas is all about entertainment. At the heart of the definition for entertainment is a sense of “amusement” or “diversion.” It is not uncommon to see people of any age, gender and ethnicity gambling for hours and at all times of the day. Hotels are set up in such a way that you never have to leave. You can dine in a variety of eateries, take in a movie, swim, workout, gamble in an infinite number of venues, get your hair cut, or shop within the world’s elite stores . . . all without leaving your covered space. All for your entertainment . . . for your amusement and diversion. When you stop to reflect it is a bit unsettling. It is an artificial world. It plays on our perceived need to be distracted and amused. And ultimately it does not fulfill. Sure, the shows can highlight a variety of great performances. And it is possible that the gambling can make you instantly rich. But there would be no Las Vegas and no gambling, nor show industry, if people were not desiring entertainment . . . a desire for amusement and diversion. Most walk away with less money and a fleeting memory of a great show. They are distracted for a moment . . . and left often with unfulfilled promises. Sometimes they come and they go as a train wreck.

Leaders can fall out on either side of this equation. Leaders can be the ones who are distracting and offering false promises . . . or the ones being distracted and chasing false promises.

Leaders can offer a great show or the promise of something for nothing . . . an image without substance . . . think of Bernie Madoff, Jim Jones or Hugo Chavez. The primary problem is one of a lack of true character. They were always more concerned about self than those they were suppose to serve. Their true idol was power or control or fame . . . greatness. They leave unfulfilled followers in their wake. Remember the gambling axiom? The house never loses. Do you always have to win? Then maybe you are a leader who leads by way of distractions and unfulfilled promises.

Leaders can also become the distracted and those who chase false promises. Sometimes the 2nd type leads to the 1st type. Leaders are prone to chase the shiny and new. They are prone towards the latest and greatest. They forget their calling. They finish unfulfilled.

Laci Loew sites three reasons why leaders fail:

1. Failure to build personal accountability.

2. Poor integrity and lack of trust.

3. The “couldn’t happen to me” syndrome.

Where are you merely being distracted and chasing after false promises as a leader?

Where are you being a distracting leader from the things that really matter? Where are you offering false promises in the name of grandiosity?

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8

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5 for Leadership-July 18th

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Here is a fresh lineup of great leadership posts. This 5 for Leadership covers such topics as 10 great theological online resources, accountability in leadership, Phil Jackson on leadership, leadership conversations, and the beauty of networked teams. Take a few minutes and grow your leadership skills and understanding.

Phil Jackson’s 11 Principles of Leadership

“Few people would be more qualified to talk about leadership than Phil Jackson in the sports arena. Jackson is considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NBA clenching 11 championship titles as a coach. Phil Jackson shares 11 leadership principles that have propelled him to become a championship leader.” (Paul Sohn)

Providing Accountability (Leadership Practice 9)

“I’m in a series highlighting 9 Effective Servant Leadership Practices. Servant leadership is not just a good idea. It works! The 9 effective leadership practices highlighted in this series capture core leadership dimensions that are correlated with effectiveness in the team context. This week we will take on the final of the 9 practices—Providing Accountability. (Justin Irving on Purpose in Leadership)

3 Conversations of a Leader

“At its core, leadership is about conversations. As a leader, the quality of the conversations that you have with your team, and those in your business circle, determines your outcome as a leader.” (Croft Edwards on General Leadership)

Make Your Team Less Hierarchal

“A company used to be able to dominate the competition if it focused on creating an effective group of verticals. But in today’s world, leaders using the network model can quickly outpace those who remain focused on winning individual battles.” (Chris Fussell in the HBR)

Online Theological Resources

“If you’re an avid online Bible student, you are probably already familiar with the ten resources I’ve listed below. But these are the ones that I find most helpful in my own personal study.” (Nathan Busenitz on Preachers and Preaching)

There are the 5 for this week. Now back to the British Open . . . if we ever get out of a weather delay.

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5 for Leadership-July 11th

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I have returned from my overseas trip and here is a new 5 for Leadership. There are posts on leading young leaders, why you are not a leader, privilege and leadership, gut instincts, and signs of troubled team leadership. Take a few minutes and find something just for you.

10 Reasons Why You’re Not A Leader

Paul Sohn just relaunched his blog with a new brand. This is an older post by Paul, but is very insightful. “Do you want to make a difference? Change the culture? Turn the world upside down? Make a dent in the universe? Well, let me tell you that you won’t achieve this without leadership.”

Take a look at Paul’s new site!

How To Know If You Can Trust Your Gut Instinct As a Leader

“You have a gut instinct about almost everything that comes across your radar. Before you even say anything out loud, often you have an intuitive sense of whether you should move ahead or not, whether you should jump in or step back, or whether someone is trustworthy or not. The question is, how do you know if you can trust your gut reaction as a leader?”

Carey Nieuwhof shares 5 helpful tips on knowing whether to trust your gut instinct of not.

Short Conversations on Privilege and Leadership

“Last month, I had the chance to sit down with Tod Bolsinger (Vice President for Formation and Vocation at Fuller Theological Seminary) to discuss the intersections between privilege and leadership.”

This is a series of 9 short videos capturing a conversation with Christena Cleveland. Pick out a few, or listen to all of them . . . you will be challenged and enlightened.

5 Signs Your Leadership Team Is In Trouble

“I once heard John Maxwell say that “team work makes the dream work.” However, as I survey the leadership landscape, I believe the reason a lot of dreams are not working is because a lot of teams are way more dysfunctional than dedicated.”

This is a very practical post from Perry Noble. He first posted this back in March . . . it is worth the read.

7 Ways To Raise Up Young Leaders

talk to pastors and leaders my age and older who want to see a new generation of leaders. They claim to love investing in younger leaders. They recognize the huge need in churches and organizations. Our future depends upon doing so.”

Ron Edmondson writes from experience. These 7 principles will greatly aid you in investing in the next generation.

There are the 5 for this week. I hope you take some time to reflect and consider how you can be a better leader.

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