I’m speaking at the Australian Christian Media Conference on the Gold Coast in eastern Australia near Brisbane. It covers radio, TV, Internet, and emerging media, and we have nearly 200 participants from all over the country. Great people, and I’m having a terrific time. I opened the conference with a workshop on branding and identity and how it can impact the audience’s perception of your program, church, or organization. I also followed up with another workshop with Rick Dunham on fundraising, and some principles for effective fundraising in media ministry organizations. Rick is based in Dallas, but has numerous media clients in Australia, and we had a really good time challenging the conference participants with ideas for generating funding for their programs and projects.
One of the highlights of the day for me was listening to Phil Cave who is a very successful businessman and corporate turnaround expert. He’s bought and sold numerous major companies over the years, and has performed miraculous transformations in the business world. He had some remarkable suggestions for church and ministry leaders, and I wrote down four pages of notes based on his talk. He taught me that you don’t have to be an expert at a particular business to be successful. If you have a solid understanding of quality business principles and are a great leader, then you can move from one business to another with very few problems. Here are some of the highlights and gems from his lecture:
— “Management” is getting ordinary results from ordinary people. “Leadership” is getting extraordinary results from ordinary people.
— Listen first. The answers to your problems are most likely already in the company. Learn to shut up and listen to employees and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover.
— When Phil evaluates a company for a turnaround, no matter what the problems with the organization, he looks for an established pathway to the customer. The single hardest and most expensive thing to create is the pathway to the customer. And it’s the thing companies should spend the most time developing.
— Spend more time working on the business and less time working in the business. Learn to step outside the business and look at it from the big picture.
— Give your team the authority to make mistakes. The balance of giving them that ability, without them crashing the company on the rocks is the secret of great leadership.
— CASH IS KING. Phil owns multiple businesses throughout Australia and Asia, but every day he receives financial reports on how much cash is on hand, balance sheets, deposits, and credit status for each company. Within 24 hours, he can have detailed spreadsheets that deal with every aspect of the financial health of each business. You can’t run a business successfully without that timely, immediate, and accurate information.
— When you cut costs, don’t cut an artery. Sometimes, saving money is the worst thing you can do.
— Success is not hit and miss. It’s a culture and habit at great organizations.
Finally, here are some principles Phil Cave suggests all leaders should follow:
1) Listen to your customers. It’s not about you – it’s about your customers and their experiences.
2) Liberate your people. Let them run with the ball and accomplish great things. Stop holding them back.
3) The leader should set the strategic direction for the company. And then, make sure every single employee understands it.
4) Learn from the best. Study great companies and learn what they do right. If you don’t take the time to study other great companies and leaders, you’re working in a vacuum.
5) Reinvest in the company. Pour your energy, money, time, and talent back into the company to take it to the next level.