The Future

I’ve recently been doing some research on leadership and team building. An organization losing its bearings is always the end result when either of these components are missing. Most organizations or should I say, most employees want to know what direction they are headed in. This is very important for employees today; more so now than in any other time. Today’s employees believe in the higher purpose of an organization and tend to resist “because I said so” leadership styles.  Creating a vision is the single most effective way to get people to support any proposed change or altered direction. Employees can lose sight of and will need to be reminded of, an organization’s core values and purpose.

Organizational leaders need to construct an envisioned future that describes what the organization stands for now, what the future looks like and how it will get there. The biggest key to successful visioning is sharing the plan with everyone in the organization. Setting goals and objectives that describe the milestones along the way will help turn a wish into a reality. Employees should participate in such a way to help re-define the benchmarks because they have a unique perspective within the organization. Communication throughout the entire process is the best way to keep the vision in front of everyone. If leaders tell people where they are headed and then get out of the way to let them work toward achieving that goal, amazing success can be achieved.

“…He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:10

The Old Testament is the visioning process of the bible. God gave us a look into what He could do and what He wanted for us. God spoke through angels and in some cases; He spoke directly to ordinary people telling about His vision. God even went so far as to get out of the way and let us work. Of course, we know what we did along the way and failed to meet His expectations. If we were employees, God would have fired us! Like a great Father, He never quit or gave up on us.

God sent us a Son to save the world. Jesus continued to reinforce the vision of “everlasting life” and reminded us of the promises of God our Father. Some people have a hard time reading the Old Testament. When you read it now, read it like a vision of what was to come and as a description of the power that God possess. He was able to overcome armies, flood the earth and cast famines to ultimately overcome Satan. We have a simple responsibility now; stay connected to Him through faith in Jesus Christ as our one and only savior. The goal is simple – everlasting life. The vision is beautifully described throughout the bible, be sure to take the time to find where.

Meeting Your Needs

These are uncertain times for sure. There is global unrest and the U.S. election isn’t making anyone feel great about the future. How have these past few years been for you? My guess is that they’ve been tough. If you think about it though, you have been provided for in some way. Paychecks have been flat for a few years, hours are still reduced or there’s been no overtime to supply the extra buffer of cash you counted on but you have still been provided for. It’s hard to think positively about positively when the past few years have been a struggle.

Think about what makes you happy at home and at work and focus on those things. Many people have “re-invented” themselves these past few years when a job loss forced it. What do you want to do? Is there something that you’ve always dreamed of doing? Now may be the time to do it. The world that we knew has changed and doors are being opened for people in a lot of unusual ways, they just don’t see it. Leaders should be finding ways to open doors for their people. We should be seeking opportunities to expand our experiences by offering to help our bosses with their projects. If you feel “stuck” in your job with no hope, look outside of current position for a new future. They say it’s always easier to find a job when you have one. If you are without one or are “underemployed”, follow your passion!

“…God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

So many people think that they are in control of their destiny and that if THEY don’t do things it won’t happen. As Jesus would say “Those Fools!” God has said throughout the bible that He has the plans and that they are not for us to know. He also promises to meet all of our needs and this verse from Paul is another reminder. He reminds the Philippians that God will meet their needs. What God doesn’t promise is that he’ll meet the needs that WE desire.

We have to remember that what we need to sustain us here in this life is NOT the same as what we need to sustain ourselves for eternity. Paul reminds the Philippians (and us) that we need the riches of Christ Jesus, our savior. God wants us to be happy in this life and he wants us to keep our focus on Him, not our happiness. If you are down about the current situation in your life, send your cares to God through prayer. He didn’t finish His work when He raised up Jesus from death; He was just beginning His work. He continues to tell us where to focus our lives. Live to His glory and He will meet all of your needs.

Confidence and Freedom

It’s been a while since I’ve written a true leadership post, so this week I thought I’d address the “open door policy” concept. As I’ve studied leadership over the years, it has been interesting to see how this phrase even emerged into leadership. The autocratic management style (do as I say) was very strong in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Workers didn’t ask questions, offer their opinions or make suggestions for process improvements and heaven forbid they sought advice from their leaders. I’m sure this was the period that created the phrase “the daily grind”; for good reason. As the workforce became more disgruntled, someone had the idea that asking the workers what they needed might make a difference. Tom Peters became an iconic office name since everyone was reading his groundbreaking books about new age leadership and creating employee involvement.

Leaders started telling employees that their office doors were open and that they could come in anytime with ideas and complaints. Over time, leaders slid back into being managers as bottom line pressures increased and soon the open doors became metaphorically closed. No one dared to go into an office and when they did, managers were not interested in hearing what they had to say. Workforce satisfaction has since fallen and it wasn’t until the workplace disruption by a company called Google and all of their crazy philosophies that it changed. Unfortunately, managers claim to have “open door policies” and they still don’t see employees coming in. “I have an open door policy. I don’t know why we have all of these problems”, is commonly cried. I’d suggest that while the door is open, the mind is closed. If you manage or lead people, evaluate your effectiveness in regard to employee engagement. Old dogs can learn new tricks, its called evolution. Are you evolving or just existing?

“Through faith in Jesus we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Ephesians 3:12

The famous Catholic confessional starts with “Forgive me father for I have sinned…”. Depending on what Christian denomination you were raised in or taught in, the father in this confession is the Catholic Priest. I’m not going to engage in a theological discussion about the biblical origin of this belief, but I do want to discuss our ability to directly approach God at any time and for any reason. St. Paul writes in this letter to the Ephesians that our faith in Jesus allows us to approach God – freely and confidently. God has an open door policy – literally and metaphorically.

We do not need a mediator to speak for us to God. The punishment, death and resurrection of Jesus was all of the intervention that we needed with God. Jesus did for us what we could never do; live a life that kept all of God’s commands. Quite simply, we sin constantly. We can go to God and confidently know that our sins are forgiven because of what Jesus did for us. We can’t pray sin away, we can’t perform works or pay for forgiveness; we are already forgiven. Go confidently and with freedom into your life knowing that you can turn to God for help and forgiveness at any time. He wants to hear from us in times of celebration and in times of need.