Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday, 5/13/2013

Dear BI343 Proverbs Students

Good morning, and welcome to the first day of class. I trust this will be learning and growing experience; moreover, my hope is that this course will just be the beginning of a lifelong journey for you in the study and application of God-centered wisdom. Here are a few reminders, some advise, and a few things to enhance your course experience as you get started this week:
  1.  Read through the preliminary materials at the top—this will help you to know what is going on, and will also point you towards some good resources for help in course work.
  2. In those resources, there is a course schedule, I strongly suggest you print that out and keep it somewhere convenient for a quick reference (and look ahead, so you know what’s coming).
  3. Each week there is a checklist for the week, always read that first so you can plan out the week.
  4. Like most online courses, there is a lot of reading. I have one suggestion in how to make this a bit more useful. (Note: I really like the Steveson Commentary—some of you may have never read a commentary cover-to-cover before; if not, this is a good one to start with.) Here’s a hint to make it even more beneficial, try reading it for your devotions. I realize you may already have some very good things you use, and if so, fine. But if you want a change for a few weeks, or if you’re looking for something, I suggest this commentary to you. You can break down the reading for each week into daily portions. This will help you get your reading accomplished, and I think you will be challenged, nourished, and blessed in many ways.
  5. You will notice my Twitter page embedded into the top of the course page. I have posted a daily Proverbs for several years (blogs, Facebook, etc.)—and in it, a link to the Proverbs chapter for the day. During our course time, I want to add some relevant and informative Proverb related quotes and thoughts, and I’d like your help. So, if you come across something in your reading, the course postings, your own thinking, project research, etc., that you think would be good to share with the world, I would like to Tweet it. Send it in an email (, with the source (if the sources is online, send me the link as well), and if possible, I’ll put it up.
  6. And finally, I want you to be a help and resources to each other. I’m not sure how I’m going to do it yet, but I would like to build a page where you can recommend good sources to each other. These sources can be books, articles, blog posts, internet sites, journal articles, sermons, devotionals, studies, quotes, etc. But in the end, I envision it as a grand list of Proverbs and Wisdom related helps to anyone interested in growing in their knowledge of Proverbs and wisdom study. Stay tuned . . .

Wisdom and Blessing to You

Dr. Bill Higley

Thursday, December 22, 2011

An Interview with Coach K on Leadership
December 16, 2011
by: Loren Gary

I recently came across a fascinating interview that academics Sim Sitkin and Richard Hackman conducted with legendary Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski (“Developing Team Leadership: An Interview with Coach Mike Krzyzewski,” Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2011, vol. 10, No. 3, 494–501). The conversation focused on recruiting and developing team leaders, creating a context for team success, and sustaining one’s own leadership capacity. I came away impressed with the broad applicability of Krzyzewski ‘s insights. Here are a few excerpts

On walking “the fine line between encouraging individuals “to develop new capabilities as leaders and accepting their liabilities: “I tried to meet twice a month . . . just empathizing with them, not trying to get them to be anybody different. I was concerned about insisting “You need to be this leader or that leader.” I wanted them to be a player too, and I didn’t want leading to conflict with their natural playing abilities. . . . We want to keep their strengths while working on their leadership.

On the connection between leadership roles and demonstrated talent: In some organizations you only listen to talent. You’ve got to be talented before you can give advice or be recognized. We’ve tried not to have that culture. If you have a guy go from freshman to senior, sometimes the freshman that you bring in is better than the senior. It wasn’t always that way; it used to be that if you’re an upper classman, you should always beat out the younger guy. . . . So how is that senior guy going to be a leader when he is not the best player.
“We had a walk-on who became a scholarship player and was a 5-year player, Jordan Davidson. Guys listened to him more than anybody because he had established himself. So I think some of it is credibility.

On coaching your top performers: “I’ve found that when I am coaching my Duke team, I need to be the best player’s best friend. Being the best player is a lonely position. Even though you get accolades, no matter how good of a team you have, there is always some level of jealousy. Always. Because you’re competitive. A little bit of it is not bad. But I want to make sure that I’m connected with that guy because in a tense moment he also might produce better knowing that he’s not out there alone.”

On dealing with so-called derailer, who is undermining the morale or effectiveness of your team—do you try to save him or get rid of him: “You save him. With the Olympic team, we would never select them because you don’t have enough time to help them. It’s a different mission when you’re coaching a college team. A kid can get sidetracked, and he might be a derailer because of insecurity or for any number of reasons. Saving a kid is important, because it might just be that he lost his starting job, or he’s discovered that he’s not good enough no matter how hard he works. Part of it can be redefining what success is for that kid.

On ensuring that minor problems don’t become major ones, distracting the team from its focus on achieving collective goals: “I continue to pay close attention to the team’s context. Sometimes I’ll meet with my team or my staff and I’ll say, ‘I want you to think about irritants. We’ll have a meeting on irritants and let’s try to get rid of as many irritants as possible. In other words, let’s not let Duke beat Duke because every day we can’t stand something.’ I try to make sure, even with the Olympic team, ‘Ok, let’s have a meeting. What’s bugging us right now . . . food, whatever? Nothing? Good, let’s go.’ You can lead better if everybody is not distracted.”

On ensuring your own continuous development as a leader: I’ve learned so much from getting outside of my area. I think you need to get involved—whether it be a charity, a hospital, or working with a kid’s group—to keep actively learning. If you look, you’ll see natural leadership happening all around you all the time. You can learn about being a better leader from everybody. You can go and study an orchestra. You can go study a basketball team, a business, or whatever. . . . In developing leadership, you’re not just helping a young kid on your team become a better leader. By attempting to teach that person, you’re developing your.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Developing a Theology of Leadership
A free eBook by Tony Morgan. He writes about the book:

"It’s important to wrestle with and understand how God defines leadership. In this eBook, I share what I have learned—and am still learning—about biblical leadership. I also challenge you to take a look at yourself and what motivates you in your leadership role."

Morgan does a nice job of introducing the necessity for a theology of leadership, as well as giving a useful outline and ideas of how to create and implement this theology. You can read it below. And, if you would like, it can be downloaded from the home site liked below.

Communities of Grace vs. Communities of Performance
So is your community a community of performance or a community of grace? Try these diagnostic tests:  

Communities of Performance
  • The leaders appear to have it all figured out 
  • The community appears respectable
  • Meetings must be a polished performance 
  • Failure is devastating, because identity is found in ministry
  • Actions are driven by duty 
  • Conflict is suppressed or ignored
  • The focus is on orthodox behavior (letting people think they have it all figured out) 
Communities of Grace
  • The leaders are vulnerable
  • The community is messy
  • Meetings are just one part of community life
  • Failure is disappointing but not devastating, because identity is found in Christ
  • Actions are driven by joy
  • Conflict is addressed in the open
  • The focus is on the affections of the heart (with a strong view of sin and grace)
In performance-oriented churches, people pretend to be okay because their standing within the church depends on it. But this is the opposite of grace. Grace acknowledges that we're all sinners, all messed up, all struggling. And grace also affirms that in Christ we all belong, all make the grade, all are welcome.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Power of Vision

Shared vision is a unifying force because it:

Unleashes energy When an organization’s vision stems from the innermost values and beliefs of its people, it generates a tremendous excitement, a compelling spirit, and a powerful level of engagement.

Kindles CommitmentSeeing the relationship between their organization’s vision and what they personally believe in and care deeply about kindles a passionate commitment.

Provides PerspectiveA vision illuminates the organization’s purpose so that all members are completely clear about what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how their work relates to what they personally believe in. Members see themselves as part of a larger whole and they see where they fit in. Day-to-day activities have more meaning because it is clear how they contribute to the greater welfare of the organization.

Supports EmpowermentWhen leaders are assured that shared direction and values drive employee decisions, they are more willing to let go of control and let others assume responsibility. Leaders spend less time managing others and day-to-day crises and more time focusing on planning and big picture issues.

Sparks Creativity Creativity flourishes because there is more room for autonomy within the broad guidelines that a shared vision provides. Because everyone knows that they desire the same result and share the same values, they can act more independently without concern for competing self-interest.

Triggers TrustPeople work together more easily. Because they realize they are not so different from each other, they begin to trust each other’s unique contributions. The organization becomes a partnership, where each person has something to contribute in his or her own way.

Stimulates Creative Disagreement
 People can argue about ideas without fear of it leading to damaging personality conflicts and without fear of ridicule and exclusion.

Encourages Proactive Action
 Instead of passively waiting for direction, people at all levels take proactive action because they share truly responsibility for their organization’s future.

Vision: A picture of your preferred future. Can you, and your team, conceive (picture, articulate) what could your team accomplish if you came together as a unified force? What do you want to accomplish? Have you envisioned it? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Character vs. Charisma in Leadership

Character-based leadership is leading from who you are, not your position or power. Your character creates true influence, especially when your character also includes being competent.  Your rank in the company or your title doesn’t create real leadership influence, but a substitute influence that manipulates others to do what you want done.  Your true influence comes from the people who volunteer to join you on your quest, from understanding the mission and trusting you have the strategy and the competence to help them get there.

But character is difficult to know and easy to mask.  We often don’t know or even like who we truly are.  For me, the real Mike Henry can be much less than I’d like.  I’m reminded of the line by Frank Cross (Bill Murray’s character) from Scrooged. (It’s at the 5:50 mark in this video.)
It’s Christmas Eve! It’s… it’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we… we… we smile a little easier, we… w-w-we… we… we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!

Charisma can become a counterfeit for character.  Charisma, defined by Wikipedia as a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, can help character-based leaders.  When a leader has charisma, their charm inspires others.  Charisma works like an emotional intelligence that enables leaders to be graceful in relationships
But if that charisma masks the truth, it becomes a counterfeit of character.  Our world is one where image matters.  Character-based leaders try to fix the true person, the source of the inspiration, influence and leadership rather than simply trying to mask it.
Character is what’s truly on the inside – the real you.  If we believe in the power of character-based leadership we won’t substitute charisma.  Our character will dictate the charisma.  Maybe we’re not very charismatic.  Character-based leaders don’t need charisma.  Charisma makes a few things easier.  But in the end, true character inspires, especially when bundled with a great idea and excellent execution.  True character creates true influence. To generate influence through any other means is simply manipulation.
True character creates true influence.
So this year, for more than just a couple of hours, I will be the person I always hoped I would be.  I will trust more (and for me that means I will trust Christ more, too).  I’ve got to risk being vulnerable and I’ve got to stick with my plans.  I must resist the temptation to change my mind and my commitment and persist with projects and ideas.  I don’t want to be a quitter.
What about you?  You don’t need permission to lead… you don’t need permission to change the world, if you start with yourself. If you’re going to spend more than just a couple of hours being the person you always hoped you would be, what will you change?  Go ahead, ink it below.  And thank you for reading this blog and being part of this group this year.  I appreciate it
By  in December 15th 2011
@ Lead Change Group