5 for Leadership-December 26th


Lali Masriera on Flcikr

For the week between the holidays, here is a fresh 5 for Leadership. This week there are posts on leadership basics, leadership habits, best leadership reads from 2015, and making the best leadership decisions. There is also one great video presentation on colorblindness and culture consciousness. This is a good week to consider your leadership life . . . some of these links may help.

7 Basic Things Every Great Leader Should Know

“In a recent survey, only 3 percent said they have confidence in corporate executives. The news was equally dismal for others: 3 percent reported having confidence in government officials, 5 percent in reporters and journalists, 8 percent in small business owners, and only 11 percent in ministers and clergy.” I included Lolly Daskal again this week–take a look at these leadership principles as you start a new year

Develop This One Habit in 2016 and You’ll Be The Most Popular Person in the Room

“Decades ago, when a friend of mine and I were both young and ill-educated about the ways of the world, he said, ‘Betty, this is why guys and girls are so different. When guys have a problem, they want to hear solutions. When girls have a problem, all they want to do is have you listen to them on and on and they don’t want to hear solutions.’ He was both right and wrong. Wrong in his overall gender assumptions, but right in one very critical way.” Find out what it is . . . from Betty Liu on Linkedin Pulse.

The 15 Best Business Books I Read in 2015

“I’m pleased to share the fifteen books that I enjoyed the most in 2015 – they made an impression on me, and I think they’re worth reading (or listening as I usually do).” See what Chris Fralic recommends–and grab a few for your personal reading list in the new year.

Adam Edgerly: From Colorblind to Culture Conscious

Adam is a pastor and leadership consultant. We at Cru City have been engaging with Adam for over a year now and he has proven to be invaluable in helping us embrace change. If you have the time, this is an excellent video presentation by Adam at Biola Univeristy on this critical topic.

How To Make Confident Decisions And Stand By Them

“I’ve spent countless nights wide awake, mulling over a leadership decision. Did I do the right thing? Was the choice I made best for the ministry and everyone involved? Even when I feel confident making a decision, I often second-guess myself later.” Kristine Brown uses the narrative of 2 Samuel 6 in the Bible to provide us with some solid principles on decision making . . . found in Leadership Journal.

There are the 5 for this last week in 2015. Take some quality time this week to reflect on your leadership as you prepare for 2016.

3 Qualities of Leadership from My Golden Retriever

Leadership-Cappuccino-Golden Retriever


Every dog has a different personality, even within the same breed. We have had two Golden Retrievers over the past 13 years. Taffy was our dog who got us to Italy and back. You can read more about her here. Cappuccino is our current Golden Retriever, who will celebrate her second birthday on the 26th. (You think I am kidding about a celebration–but my kids and wife will make sure she is celebrated) She is our Christmas Golden.

Taffy and Cappuccino are very different dogs. But they do carry some similar traits. There are three characteristics that I have observed over time that make for quality leadership reflection.


Many breeds are curious by nature, but a Golden Retriever is supremely curious. Any sound from outside will spark an immediate reaction. Any new object within the home, or even an out-of-place item, will cause a sensory speculation that must be satisfied. At this time of year, a wrapped present sets the stage for sniffing, surveying–and hopefully tearing–to discover the contents inside. House guests are welcomed beyond measure as they must be greeted with all manner of tail wagging and licks. This supreme curiosity may arouse excitement, fear, or great caution–but nothing must be ignored.

The curious leader is an aware leader. 

We too need to be attuned to the unusual noise, the new element in “the room” that could change everything, and especially those we lead. Curiosity leans into the unknown. Curiosity discovers. The unknown may startle us, cause us anxiety, or even fear. But curiosity also leads to possibility. Leaders chase what’s possible. Aware leaders are curious leaders.


I know this will surprise you, but Retrievers retrieve. Our Cappuccino will retrieve from sunup to sundown if you will supply the throws. As soon as she has had her breakfast, Cappuccino will bring you her tennis ball and beg you to throw it in the backyard. She will cajole you, bug you, and frustrate you. But you will throw the ball eventually–even if it is to just get some energy out of her. She will outlast you.

To be tenacious is to not be easily stopped. It is the essence of determination. 

The measure of a leader is what will stop them. By definition, leaders move things forward. Leaders change the status quo. Leaders push against what is to get to what could be. And there will always be barriers. Tenacious leaders draw energy through calling and conviction. They are driven by a vision. If they are leaders of true character, that vision is for someone else’s good. But they are never easily stopped.


Golden Retrievers are nothing if not grateful. Taffy would show her gratitude through leaning on you and her low-level grunts. Cappuccino demonstrates her thankfulness with a gentle lick. It is a very conscious move on her part. Immediately after breakfast, or dinner, I can expect the grateful lick. She is also quite happy to show you her gratitude when you return home. These are social animals.

Gratitude keeps us grounded and humble.

For a leader to say “Thank You” is to acknowledge that he or she is less than omnicompetent. Leadership is about influencing others. It is also about serving others. No leader has ever tasted success without the help of many others. To be grateful is to be appreciative. The more specific you can be, the more powerful your gratitude–and the greater your influence. Leaders who are worthy of being followed are leaders who say “Thank You.”

Are you a Golden Retriever leader?

5 for Leadership-December 19th


Marcela on Flickr

This version of 5 for Leadership has some great topics that will inspire you and serve to equip you to lead better. The topics covered this week are leadership vision, leadership simplicity, reaching your goals, the virtue of reading through your Bible in a year, and eleven inspiring leadership quotes.

The Power of Vision

“As most leaders can attest, vision tends to “leak” in organizations. The vision is put forward for all the key constituents and everyone seems to be on board and excited. Then a few weeks, or even a few days, go by, and suddenly the demands of day-to-day life and organizational needs turn the attention of people away from vision.” See what else Justin Irving has to say about this critical leadership task.

10 Ways To Simplify Your Leadership

“Often our greatest hardships are those we impose upon ourselves. There are some who think that in order to be a great leader, we have to allow life to teach us the hard way—but in truth, if we are open to learning things can come with ease. Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers.” Lolly Daskal is always on point–take a look.

The One Quality You Must Develop to Reach Your Goals

What does it take to accomplish your goals? Some people think it’s mostly about luck, smarts, good looks, and social connections. Nope.” Michael Hyatt provides some very practical advice that could get you off to a great start in the new year.

Fruitful Vines: 7 Reasons to Read the Bible in a Year

“I spent last week cleaning up the remains of tomato vines from my garden. It’s easy work because once vines are dead, they lose all strength and break apart with little effort. While the remains of a tree can be made into a range of items from paper products to furniture, a detached vine crumbles to dust with the slightest touch. It has no use except kindle for the fire.” Melissa Kruger makes a great case for this important spiritual discipline–every leader needs to consider this.

The Art of Leadership: 11 Quotes on Leading Well

Jonathan Michael gives us eleven inspirational quotes to help us think about our leadership as we finish another year–and launch into another year of intentional influence.

There are the 5 for this week. Merry Christmas!

5 for Leadership-November 21st


Liz West on Flickr

5 for Leadership is a collection of weekly posts focused on the topic of leadership. This week there are posts covering leadership gratitude, first-time leaders, knowing when your leadership time is up, an interview with Max Lucado, and what millennial women think of leadership sacrifice. There is plenty to ponder.

Millenial Women Question: Is Leadership Worth The Sacrifice?

“The real question is: do Millennial women really not want to be leaders? Or, have they recognized how great the sacrifices female leaders must make, and how many obstacles there are for them in the business, and chosen other paths?” This post comes from the Switch & Shift blog and contains a great infographic.

Take An 80-20 Approach to First-Time Mangement

“As an individual contributor, your focus is on doing the work, getting projects done, and meeting deadlines. But when you switch into a manager role, it means that you have to help others get the work done and ensure that they have the support, resources, and encouragement they need to be successful, both as individuals and as a group.” David Witt contributes a great post for anyone new to leadership or improving in their leadership–on the Blanchard Leadership Chat blog.

5 Leadership Questions with Max Lucado

This is a podcast on the Christian Leadership Alliance website. I think you will really enjoy this interview with pastor, leader, and author–Max Lucado.

10 Ways A Leader Knows It Is Over

“Leadership is temporary.  Our responsibility is to steward it well while we have it.  The fact our leadership responsibilities will one day conclude is a sobering reality that is in the back of all our minds.” This post is from Brian Dodd on his blog, Brian Dodd on Leadership. Brian takes some points from a recent USA Today piece on Peyton Manning and makes some great leadership applications.

What Is Leading With Gratitude?

“Each of us has many things to be grateful for in our imperfect personal and professional lives. Although it may be easier to look at what is not working, it is more empowering for leaders to identify what we are thankful for. As Thanksgiving approaches for many of us, let’s explore ways to show our gratitude.” Terri Klass shares 10 great ways to show leadership gratitude on her blog Terri Klass Consulting.

There are the 5 for your Thanksgiving week. Take some time to truly reflect on your leadership journey this week–and give thanks!


5 for Leadership-November 14th


5 for Leadership always provides a great collection of posts on the topic of leadership. This week there are topics covering a Veterans Day reminder, creativity and leadership, how to recover from being thrown under the bus, being a leader worthy of being followed, and the flourishing of our cities. There is a lot of variety this week–read more than one post.

My Secret Book Project (And The Amazing Family Behind It)

If you read any of the five posts highlighted this week you must read this one. Leadership comes in many forms. Anne Riley is a young adult fiction writer–and a leader. She has discovered a need and she has stepped in to make a meaningful contribution. That is what leaders do.

Veterans Day-Solemnly Remember

“I submit to you that we are surrounded, in your community, with opportunities to support our troops and veterans. In small towns across America, you’ll find veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Panama, Corsica, Beirut, Iraq and Afghanistan. You may not have noticed them, but you can easily find them in various places–walking down the street, drinking a cup of coffee at work, at your kitchen table, in the cemetery…in your family.” This is a great, practical piece from the General Leadership blog.

12 Ways To Rise After Being Thrown Under The Bus

“Every leader has a few tread marks on their back. How deep they go depends on you. Being thrown under the bus means someone elevated their status and lowered yours in front of others.” Dan Rockwell addresses this common experience with some very practical and life-saving advice.

Be A Leader People Choose To Follow

“People follow leaders by choice. You can get compliance through imposing your authority, by coercion or manipulation, but you won’t be trusted and respected.” I always appreciate Jesse Lyn Stoner. This post reflects a lot of my beliefs on leadership character and followership. Be sure to take a look!

The Difference Christianity Could Make In The City

This final post comes by way of Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. My vocation focuses on city flourishing. Many of Tim’s thoughts have resonated with me as a leader. All of us long to live in cities that are flourishing–in every way a city should flourish. Take a look at his perspective on this timely topic.

There are the 5 for this week–take a few minutes and read more than one of these helpful posts.

5 for Leadership-November 7th


William on Flickr

5 for Leadership this week contains posts on vital leadership perspective, a list of 17 role models that you won’t want to miss, the need for brave leadership, leadership lessons from Walt Disney, and how to overcome discouragement in leadership. Leading is exciting and challenging–all at once. My hope is that you find something here today that will encourage your leadership.

Brave Leadership

“Most people would agree that good leaders are brave leaders. But our definition of brave may vary widely. For some bravery could mean facing a tough personnel decision or making investment decisions to enter a new market. And while those decisions can often be brave, I contend that the highest form of bravery in an organizational context is keeping at bay the opposite of bravery; fear. This comes from Darrin Murriner on the Great Leadership blog.

17 Leadership Role Models Who Get Results That Last

“Who is your favorite leadership role model? This month, as Frontline Festival authors were submitting their posts, I asked them to consider the 7 Results That Last roles, and identify one role model who exemplified the values and behaviors inherent in that role. I loved the responses, and enjoyed the overlap across some of the roles.” Karin Hurt share some great insights from others on the Let’s Grow Leaders blog.

Three Business Lessons From Walt Disney

“Walt Disney has been a major influence on my approach to business. Having turned a small animation studio into one of the world’s most recognized brands, there are many lessons to learn from “Uncle Walt.” Here are three lessons that have stood out for me, and that every businessperson should take to heart.” Rick Caruso shares some practical principles for any leader.

7 Effective Ways To Embattle Discouragement In Leadership

“If you talk to most leaders long enough to get a real answer to ‘So how’s it going?” you will quickly discover that a surprising number of leaders are disheartened. Even discouraged.” Carey Nieuwhof has some hope-filled principles for leaders in ministry–or any leader seeking to follow Christ in their leadership.

4 Steps To Regaining Perspective As A Leader

“What’s your motive for leadership? I’ll admit. I easily fall into the trap of desiring leadership because I want the attention and the accolades that I perceive come with it. But that’s not what leadership is about.  There will never be enough attention, accolades or praise to satisfy the sacrifice that leadership requires. We have to be willing to lead because it matters.” Read more of what Jenni Catron has to say on this important topic. Also take note of her new book coming out in December!


5 for Leadership-November 1st


David on Flickr

Here is a new 5 for Leadership. There are posts on Reformation Day, pseudo leadership, leading at your best, the loneliness of leadership, and what Robert De Niro can teach you about leadership. There is something here for you.

Overcoming The Loneliness Of Leadership

“Over the past 20 years, Americans have faced a crisis of community. As Robert Putnam documented in his famous book “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital,” we’re spending less and less time with each other. As technology connects us, it changes the types of relationships we have. We have more “friends” than ever, but we lack the deep bonding we yearn for.” This comes from Bill George on Linkedin Pulse.

Beware The Pseudo-Leader

“Holding a position of leadership doesn’t make you a leader.” Joel Peterson teases out the differences between position and title–real and pseudo.

Reformation Day: Jesus Came Knocking

“Sometime around A.D. 95, Jesus, through the apostle John, came metaphorically knocking on the door of the church in Laodicea with an unsurpassed invitation: ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.’” (Revelation 3:20) Jon Bloom makes a great analogy on this important day in history.

Lead At Your Best

“When we think of leadership, we often focus on the what: external characteristics, practices, behavior, and actions that exemplary leaders demonstrate as they take on complex and unprecedented challenges. While this line of thinking is a great place to start, we won’t reach our potential as leaders by looking only at what is visible. We need to see what’s underneath to understand how remarkable leaders lead—and that begins with mindsets.” Barsh and Lavole write a very insightful piece that every leader should read.

What Robert De Nero Taught Me About Leadership

I’m always surprised by what I learn at the movies. I go to be entertained. But many times I walk out of the theater with insights I can put to work in my life.” Michael Hyatt shares some wonderful insights from the movie The Intern.

There are the 5 for this week. Aim to finish the year well.

Dr. Noel Castellanos-Movement Day 2015


This past week I attended Movement Day 2015 in New York City. One of the plenary speakers was Dr. Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association.

The theme of Movement Day this year was “Bridging the Great Divide.” This relates to one of the great challenges in every major city–how to we bridge cultural, economic, and racial divides for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Dr. Castellanos addressed the issue of crossing the economic divide and made some very interesting remarks from the book of Nehemiah.

We find the beauty of the incarnation in John 1:1-14. In The Message, Eugene Peterson translates this verse as “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” But what kind of neighborhood did Jesus come from and move into?
Jesus came as a Galilean Jew. He came in poverty. He was dedicated with the offering of the poor. He was a laborer, a carpenter by trade. Jesus came out of the margins of his time and place and he entered the world as 100% God and 100% Galilean man. God launched his whole missionary endeavor from the margins of the world.
We find a model of how to bridge the economic divide through the book of Nehemiah. Most agree today that there is income inequality in our society. The rich are getting richer and the poor are becoming more poor. How do we as the Church enter into this setting?
1. We must have a new burden. The burden is to be broken enough to actually be present. When Nehemiah heard of Jerusalem’s plight he was broken and burdened for the state of his city. Nehemiah asks permission to go to his city and be present there–he incarnates into the situation. He becomes present.
2. We must have a new leadership approach. Nehemiah could have entered with great fanfare and privilege. He was a representative of the king. But he does not enter this way. He rejects privilege and perks. He was there for the sake of his city and not for himself. He was there to benefit his city and not himself. He rallied all of the citizens to contribute to the rebuilding of the wall for the sake of the city.
3. We must have a new partnership. If we read the companion piece to Nehemiah, Ezra, we see a partnership between Nehemiah and Ezra. Nehemiah focuses on meeting the physical needs of the city by building the city walls. Ezra focuses on building the spiritual lives of the people and calling them back to God’s covenant. There is always a clear link between spiritual vibrancy and economic restoration. We have to take the long view. Nehemiah spent the better part of 12 years seeing this restoration all the way through.
4. We must have a new sustaining presence. In Nehemiah 11 there is a “drawing of straws” to see who will actually move into the city for the sake of its sustenance. The ability for the Church to enter and remain in our city centers is critical for spiritual vitality and economic restoration.
Are we convinced that putting the poor in the center of our mission and concerns match the priorities of Jesus? Will we take these steps to help cross the economic divide?
What are your thoughts on Dr. Castellanos’ message?

Dr. Timothy Keller-Movement Day 2015


I am blogging from Movement Day 2015 in New York City. The first plenary speaker was Dr. Timothy Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church.

The theme of Movement Day this year is “Bridging the Great Divide.” This relates to one of the great challenges in every major city–how to we bridge cultural, economic, and racial divides for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Dr. Keller shared his perspective from Ephesians 2:11-22.

If we are going to bridge the cultural and spiritual divides of our cities we, as the body of Christ, must supplement our words with deeds.

Ephesians 2:18-22 speaks to why we can bridge these divides.

  1. We are fellow citizens. This is the most fundamental thing about us. As followers of Christ, we are first and foremost citizens of heaven–kingdom citizens. We are part of a new nation and we must live somewhat differently than those around us. Yet, a king lives in the same country as his citizens.
  2. We are members of the same household. As members of God’s family we are all siblings, children of God. We should be accountable to each other. We should live open lives with each other to become more like Christ. A father lives in the same household.
  3. We are a holy temple. We are each building blocks that helps to make up the temple of God in our communities and cities. This is where the Holy Spirit inhabits his people. We are cemented together as building blocks.

Each description becomes more intense. These things are true of is as a child of God. Because we share these marks of unity we can bridge the divides–but how?

Ephesians 2:11-17 speaks to how we can bridge the divides:

What was dividing the Jew from the Gentile in the passage was the Law. The Law was a good thing–Jesus came to fulfill the Law. It is our assets that always divide us–those things that are good about us. They become identity factors. We use our differences to bolster our sense of identity. Therefore our identity becomes a source of pride and self-righteousness.

There is a two part cure rooted in the gospel:

  1. Those who are near and those who are far are no different. Those who are trying to live good and those who are not both need the gospel. Both are sinners. In the gospel, there s no pecking order. The very essence of sin is to be your own savior. This realization humbles you forever. This is our humility.
  2. On the cross, Jesus was treated as we deserved to be treated. He was slain for our hostility. When we understand this it slays the hostile feelings in our heart. Our true identity is received, not achieved. This is our security.

We can combine humility and security through Jesus and overcome our divides.

What do you think?

5 for Leadership-October 24th


Totororo.roro on Flickr

This week in 5 for Leadership there are posts on servant leadership, how to deal with anxiety, the difference between careerism and leadership, leadership lessons learned, and important leadership trends. Take a few minutes during this fall day and stretch your leadership.

Top 12 Trends in Leadership Today

This is a great, quick read from Brad Lomenick that will keep you thinking. These are trends that merit your attention.

Are You A Serving Leader? A 5-Point Checklist

“Ken Blanchard believes there is one fundamental question all leaders need to ask themselves:  Is the purpose of my leadership to serve—or is it my expectation to be served?  A leader’s answer is important because it leads to two fundamentally different approaches to leadership.” This comes from Terry Watkins on the Blanchard Leadership blog.

The Surprising Difference Between Careerism and Leadership

“Are you leading with purpose or just trying to get ahead? Do you actually believe in something larger than your compensation, your career trajectory or your next success? I often tell young leaders, if their work has no meaning or satisfaction, they are better off quitting and sitting on the beach until they decide what they want to do.” This comes from Bill George on Linkedin Pulse.

What My Boss Taught Me About Leadership

“Let me set the scene. My career was plateauing. I had done well, but things had started to get a bit stale. Then, I had a meeting/interview with Neil Hobbs. Neil would have the biggest impact on my professional life.” Colin Shaw shares some poignant principles on leadership lessons learned–on Linkedin Pulse.

Anxiety & Prayer

Finally, I offer this brief, 2:43 video on anxiety and prayer by Crawford Loritts. All leaders face anxieties on a daily basis. What is your solution to dealing with them? Dr. Loritts provides the secret.