The Power of Casting a Great Vision

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Pilot and author of “The Little Prince,” Antoine de Saint-Exupery once wrote: “If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” One of the greatest mistakes leaders make us to substitute tasks for vision. When it comes to accomplishing something really significant, teams need

The Problem With Surrounding Yourself With Smart People

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I grew up in the South and spent my early years watching buddies hang out their entire lives. Usually these buddies were picked because they wouldn’t challenge each other, push each other, or inspire each other. You probably know some people like this. They’re buddies that do nothing but “hang out.” So I decided early on that I wanted to do the opposite – to surround myself with smarter, more talented, and more driven people than me.  And for most of my life, my friends have done some amazing things. They produce 

Target CEO Resigns: Leaders Are Responsible Even When Things Aren’t Their Fault

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The CEO of Target resigned last week amid the furor over the data breach that jeopardized 40 million payment card accounts since the Black Friday shopping weekend. Gregg Steinhafel had been at Target for 35 years and has been a respected leader through some challenging times. But with the data breach issue dragging on, and impacting stock prices, he finally stepped aside.  The truth is

Do People See Things Better Because of You?

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This past Christmas I was reading about the Nativity story, and one line in Luke Chapter 1 stood out: Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” I’ve read that line a thousand times and always thought about “magnify” in terms of praise or thanksgiving. Mary was praising God for the incredible news that she would bear the Savior of the world. But then again, the idea of a

Do Dreams Help Storytellers?

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I don’t know about you, but my dreams have always been explicit, epic, and completely wacky. Just last night I dreamed about a Zombie invasion, where I was forced to go on a difficult journey through Zombie territory to find my father. So with dreams like that, early in my twenties I decided to keep a dream diary. It has some doozies, and I thought these dreams would make good stories. But as you may have discovered with your own dreams, creating

If You Were Given $10 Million, What Would You Do?

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I’ve started asking that question to my friends – particularly those in the ministry and nonprofit world. “If a donor suddenly stepped up and offered you a $10 million donation, what would you do with it?” I’ve been shocked at the number of people – even older, more experienced pastors and leaders – who have no idea. They’ve spent decades in ministry and yet can’t really express what

Telling Your Story: Are You Seeing the Big Picture?

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When it comes to sharing your message with the culture, most of us are just thinking in pieces.  If you’re a company, nonprofit, church or whatever – you need to understand the bigger picture of engaging the culture with your message.  For instance, some organizations have a great video, others have a terrific website, and still others have great instincts for social media.   But unless ALL these platforms are working together, you’re only

The Power of a Leader’s Vision

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What are the most important attributes you need as a leader?   The Creative Group did a poll that indicated that 34% of executives felt strategic vision is the most essential quality for successful leadership.  That poll was taken a few years ago, but I think it’s still worth thinking about today.  In the poll, advertising and marketing executives were asked, “In your opinion, which single quality among the following is the most essential for effective leadership?”  Their responses: