April 18, 2009

My Focus Journey

Over the last 12 months, I have experienced a dramatic increase of demand on my time. One of my mantras is “Focus expands.” Eight years ago I decided to focus my ministry on helping other leaders with vision and clarity. That work has expanded more than I ever planned or anticipated. Ironically, my own vision is being tested like never before. This challenge leads to a second mantra:“New levels bring new devils.” At each level of expansion, managing clarity and keeping focus is not just demanding, but ruthlessly so. Like an expedition up Everest, the air is thinner with every step you take.

I thought I would share some current learnings as I attempt to live out for myself what I do with clients.  The next few posts will drill down on my recent fumbles and touchdown in the game of focus. Here is a summary of posts to come from my 2009 playbook:

#1: Apply the “Positive No”- this practice will lead to waves of return with a few drops of practice.

#2: Prioritize Values Even in the Core- most ministries never define their core.  But when you do, there will be some level where you need to further hone how you think about the core.

#3: Get Outside Eyes on your Situation– Blind spots keep this basic practice out of reach for most leaders.  Yet without outside eyes you will never leave “good” to get to “great.”

#4: Push “Combined Efforts”– Sometimes a leader is a near step away from a radically simpler solution. But you have got to think differently to find it.

#5: Map Attention Management– I can’t wait to share a 2 hour exercise that may dramatically change your life

#6: Find the Focus behind Greatness- By looking in the right place, you will find stories that increase your resolve for focus.

April 10, 2009

Resurrection Clarity


Two national church leaders spoke out on the need to be clear NOT clever this Easter.  I thought the material was very helpful and excellent summaries related to 1) Preaching a clear resurrection message and 2) Keeping a clear perspective on the extra work of worship services this weekend.

Preaching with Clarity

If you want engaging material on defining the resurrection, go to Thoughts on Easter Preaching by Mark Driscoll. As a side note, please notice that Mark references a research ministry called The Docent Group led by a friend of mine, Glenn Lucke. This is a very strategic ministry that I have benefitted from first hand and would be highly recommended to pastors.

Easter Services Clarity

Check out what Mark Batterson has to say in his Pep Talk for Pastor
April 7, 2009

Beyond Wishful Thinking

Steve Bradley, one of Auxano’s navigators, posted a cool little story yesterday to illustrate the point that  unique articulated vision is a powerfully attractive force. On the other hand, an unarticulated vision is simply wishful thinking.

Does your vision have wings?  Read his entire post.
Steve will be one of several navigators on our team who are leading an innovative discovery experience called Vision co::Labs. We are going to 16 different cities in 2009 to work with 8 churches in each city. Click here to learn more and consider being 1 of these 128 churches.
March 17, 2009

Stop Thinking Your are Normal

This phrase comes from Perry Noble's advice on "Four things I wish someone would have told me"

I love his passion for Church Unique- he simply blurts out-  "You're not normal.  If you were God would have left you alone. Quit trying to be who people want you to be.  Be who God called you to be."

Another reason I wanted to reference this statement is a great quote I am modifying for for churches that I read with regard to people and speaking.  In a new book entitled, Real Leaders Don't Do Powerpoint, Christopher Witt, writes "Don't be different just to be different. Stop, instead, trying to look and sound like everyone else.  Be yourself, and if that does not make you different, then something is seriously wrong. 
March 15, 2009

Strategic Banning


On Thursday Auxano rolled out a new kind of e-mail tool redesigned for simplicity and focused content delivery. The purpose is to adapt an old delivery method in the age where social networking media has passed it by. The the first topic of this new “Auxano Insights” is Strategic Banning.

If you like the the article leader, you sign-up for 3-6 more e-mails that all come in the next month, totally clutter free, and ad free. We call this “Drill Down.”

In this Issue: What is strategic banning?

Thousands of churches and ministries across the country still invest heavily in traditional strategic planning practices. To what end? The result can be underwhelming at best and frustrating at worst. After the grueling hours and overpriced consultants have expired, the leader is left standing with 150-page notebook that works better as boat anchor than an organizational rudder.

Strategic banning – It’s time to shut down traditional approaches to strategic planning and start something new.

To learn more about the fallacies of strategic planning and uncover the pathway to better visioning, subscribe to this issue’s Drill Down.

To read the first intro article, Obscuring the Essence click here

To subscribe to the Auxano Insights free resource click here