follow the Leader

I’d read the back of a soup can if Joel Stein wrote it, so as I studiously scrolled through my blog reader this weekend, trawling through posts from the Harvard Business Review that I subscribe to out of some vague feeling that I should, the one he wrote caught my attention. (Surprisingly, “History Rhymes in the Greek Debt Crisis” did not.)

Titled “Boringness: The Secret to Great Leadership,” the article is typically hilarious Stein, this time talking about the research he completed for his …


focused group

A few weeks ago I visited Carnegie Hall to hear a concert by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, a group known for maintaining the highest level of musical artistry while also performing without a conductor. Instead of one director, different members lead each piece, coordinating the rehearsals and giving cues during the performance.

This unique approach has earned them invitations to speak to business leaders around the country, who are interested in how this very diverse, very opinionated group of musicians manages to find harmony, literally and figuratively, through such a process. Harvard and Stanford have studied the group and they’ve conducted seminars at Morgan Stanley, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, and …


everything you need to learn about leadership in 133 minutes


Good news! You don’t have to spend any more money on leadership conferences, training seminars, books, videos, or Successories posters.

Instead, you can learn the core leadership lessons for only $10. Just see Moneyball.

It’s all here:
— don’t back down from conflict
— encourage input…..
— …..but don’t cater to majority opinion out of fear
— define reality
— stick to your principles
— challenge people to do more and be more
— hire slowly, fire quickly
— look people in the eye and tell them the truth
— rethink conventional wisdom (but remember, the first one to try new things always gets bloody)
— don’t apologize for your decisions (you’ll never make everyone happy)
— stay on …


new to you friday–eighth track

After I originally posted this, one reader told me how much he liked it and asked if I had written anything else on “P4.” Two years later I still haven’t, but I see examples each week, across industries, of dysfunction caused by poor processes or miscommunication. So the original track is still on frequent rotation.


Every person is a CD with recurring “tracks”—comments, opinions or rants they can always be counted on to share when a given topic comes up.

For instance, my mom’s blood starts boiling when the conversation turns to Bible college students (often preaching majors) …


the parent trap

When I was young, my parents determined what I ate, what I wore and—as much as is possible with a strong-willed child—how I behaved. (They also determined the punishments when I misbehaved.) That’s what parents do.

Now my folks and I relate as adults. I still honor their role, and I try to submit to them as I would to any other believer, but all three of us set boundaries and make our own choices. We even argue occasionally.

In last week’s enews from Crossroads Christian Church in Anthem, AZ, lead pastor Steve Wyatt wrote about the difference between parent-child forms of interaction (in which one participant assumes a domineering …


happy blogiversery

Today marks three years for this blog! (And tomorrow involves a birthday with more threes…….heaven help us.) Here’s a look back…..

Ten of the posts I like best, for one reason or another:

Do we really want a country of McChurches?

The story is bigger than our short-term happiness.

Can Christians drink?

A Holiday Tip.

“Leadership” means dealing with reality—including conflict.

eHarmony: I’m not a fan.

If you must read “The Shack“……

On preaching politics from the pulpit….

Why I’d rather work for men.

An open letter to Tim Keller.

Ten of the posts that received the most feedback, on or off-line:

Apparently …


Each week you hear more: more ministers caught in affairs or “inappropriate conduct,” more pastors convicted of tax evasion or fraud, and more leaders damaging ministries with their own pride and ego.

Last weekend some friends and I talked about this at length—are there any leaders—especially megachurch guys—who don’t do this stuff?

Well, by the grace of God, there are a few who have not yet cheated on their wives, stolen their church’s money, developed an addiction, or exasperated their staff. But even the remaining holdouts demonstrating character and integrity have no doubt struggled with lust, greed, or anger.

Enter this book; In


This morning I spent some time talking to a staff member from Higher Ministries, a non-profit organization that reaches out to pastors and churches in crisis. During our conversation, Tony made an interesting observation: “Guys leave Bible college or seminary full of knowledge in theology but without adequate training in leadership and conflict management skills.”

I am continually astounded at the number of leaders I know who are unable to have the difficult conversation or who, like Michael Scott in The Office, equate leadership with being everyone’s friend. It causes so many problems and solves so few.

Henry Cloud talks about this in his book Integrity: The Courage to …