November 14, 2008

Top Ten Annoying Phrases


Have you ever noticed how certain phrases become part of a culture’s conversation style? Some are memorable and become “buzz-worthy” (heard that before?) or create culture by sharing ideas and ideals. Others just create verbal fatigue with overuse and misuse of language and detract from your message. Wired Magazine’s blog, Underwire, recently cited the list of The Top Ten Most Annoying Phrases from Oxford University researchers. The list includes:

1. At the end of the day
2. Fairly unique
3. I personally
4. At this moment in time
5. With all due respect
6. Absolutely
7. It’s a nightmare
8. Shouldn’t of
9. 24/7
10. It’s not rocket science

Absolutely. I personally would like to add that at the end of the day it’s a nightmare that we distill our communication with verbal noise in an effort to be fairly unique. It’s not rocket science but, with all due respect, we are all truly unique 24/7 and shouldn’t of thought to mess up what we say by cluttering things with superfluous sayings.

What phrases do you catch yourself using that may add to verbal fatigue? What additional “noise” does your church or organization regularly use that may detract from the clear message you want to send? “That being said,” are there any you would like to share?

November 11, 2008

Church Unique makes the “Golden Canon”

I was excited to see Church Unique listed in Leadership Journal’s “Golden Canon.” The article opening begins with a quote from Spurgeon: “A student will find that his mental constitution is more affected by one good book thoroughly mastered than by twenty books merely skimmed.” Therefore Leadership Journal created a list “presenting the ten books of 2008 deemed most valuable.” Here is the list:

The Leader’s Outer World
The Reason for God, by Tim Keller (Winner)
Culture Making, by Andy Crouch
Axiom, by Bill Hybels
Consuming Jesus, by Paul Louis Metzger
Church Unique, by Will Mancini

The Leader’s Inner World
Surprised by Hope, by N.T. Wright (Winner)
The Jesus Way, by Eugene Peterson
The Attentive Life, by Leighton Ford
Life with God, by Richard Foster
Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor, by D.A. Carson

Many thanks to Marshall Shelley and all the folks at Leadership Journal who continue to bring a strong kingdom resource to leaders. Their purpose is to serve church leaders by offering spiritual wisdom and practical tools for faithfully proclaiming and effectively living the gospel.

November 8, 2008

Organized Abandonment: Drucker Part 2

Drucker asserts that focus is the primary challenge for leading nonprofits. Here are three quotes from Five Questions:

“… the great majority of nonprofits can be graded “C” at best. Not for lack of effort; most of them work very hard. But for lack of focus and lack of tool competency.”

“I advised some close friends of mine, working with the local council of churches, that half of the things they are doing they shouldn’t be doing- not because they are unimportant, but because they’re not needed.”

“It is time for organized abandonment.”

Its amazing how this simple principle can be heard from many great thinkers and displayed by many great organizations. But few find it. What have you abandoned lately for the good of your life or career or organization?

November 5, 2008

Peter Drucker’s Legacy- Part 1

Picture_20I spent the day with 20 other consultants discussing Drucker’s five organizational questions. My favorite part of the day was Bob Buford’s personal thoughts on the life and legacy of Peter Drucker.

Buford’s respect for Drucker is immense. He called him “the smartest human being alive” and described Drucker’s impact in his own life using a parenting metaphor. Bob shared that the consummation of Drucker’s influence could be found in the preface of a book and that the preface is no longer in print. The name of the preface, written in 1974 is “Alternative to Tyranny.” The idea behind the title is that without the social sector- organizations that exist for positive outcomes of life change – we are left with only government and for-profit sectors. The thrust of the preface, according to Buford, is that if these are the only forces at work in society, then tyranny is inevitable. The alternative to tyranny then, is the strengthening of the social sector. The recognition that it is the non-profit world that can uniquely “rescue society” signaled a shift in emphasis and importance of the social sector for Drucker in the last 30 years of his life. It was from this perspective that his friendship with Buford was forged.

Buford noted an important observation that Drucker about the church. Basically, he felt that the emergence of the megachurch at the end of the twentieth century was the most significant development in the social sector.

Here is an interesting Businessweek article on Drucker.

November 3, 2008

The Five Most Important Questions

On Wednesday I will be participating in a unique training experience on “The Drucker 5.” In 1993, Peter Drucker wrote about 5 key assessment questions for non-profits. Recently these questions have been republished in an inspiring tool with multiple contributors. There is some additional info here.
Here are the five questions:
1) What is our mission?
2) Who is our customer?
3) What does the customer value?
4) What are our results?
5) What is our plan?

An interesting side note is that although I was unaware of this content at the time I wrote Church Unique, I too ask five questions as the pathway to ultimate clarity. There is an interesting sense of shared “irreducible minimums” between Drucker’s questions and mine, with mine being more fine-tuned for the local church.

My favorite quote from the book:

“Doesn’t logic tell us that the simple questions should also be easiest to answer? No. Simple questions can be profound and answering them requires us to make stark and honest- and sometimes painful- self assessments. “