Archive for the 'mark sanborn' Category

Thursday Quick Hits

• I received an interesting question yesterday from a new reader of the blog. Apparently, they disagree with my (and leading experts) opinions that leaders are made not born. Folks, I am personal proof that you are not born with leadership abilities. If I had been born with the leadership gene I don’t think I would have made and continue make mistakes in leadership. I am a firm believer that leadership is a journey, a process.

• While conversing with a friend I felt the need to encourage him to get out of his comfort zone and realize he was a leader at his place of employment. He had the typical response, “I’m not in management, I can’t lead.” Unfortunately that’s exactly what we’ve been brainwashed into believing…if you’re not at the top of the chain then you’re not a leader. Mark Sanborn in his book “You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader,” discusses this topic in detail and explains that leadership is influence and not merely your position. If you positively influence others, if you inspire others, if you work to achieve goals by working with or coordinating the efforts of others, then you’re a leader. Don’t know about you but I think that pretty much takes care of everyone, from the middle school drama student all the way to Grandma’s bridge club. If you haven’t read Sanborn’s book PLEASE do so immediately…it should be required reading for anyone with a pulse.

• It always amazes me how seasons come and go in our lives. For the past few years I have poured my heart and soul into the leadership development of others. I found out long ago that the best way for me to learn is to teach. But for whatever reason, over the past few months more people who are going through some pretty tough situations have crossed my path. It’s becoming more apparent to me that I’m entering a season that will have me assist them in restoring their dreams, their finances, and their life. I’m pretty juiced about it too!

• College football season is upon us. Living in the south I can’t help but be biased toward the SEC and its 12 teams. So, I’m definitely pumped that tonight’s LSU/Mississippi State game marks the commencement of another season. Let’s just hope the bullies have some bite for the Bengal Tigers.

• I’m currently involved in a pretty radical project to assist in energizing and equipping members of a church to become small group leaders. Over the past few weeks we’ve tweaked the game plan and have what I believe will be the tools for a successful project. However, in order for us to win this game we actually need to kick it off. Good ideas are just that as long as we wait and twiddle our thumbs waiting for the right time to kick this thing off. Success requires action and I’ve about had it with the inaction of not getting this party started. The inaction of the churches leader’s is so loud I can’t hear a darn word their saying!

• May all of you have a tremendous and safe Labor Day Weekend.

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Taking time to think

One of the toughest things for me to accomplish is taking the time to think. We max out our schedules with meetings and tasks and fail to give ourselves time to think. Personally, I had to schedule my thinking time and treat it like a meeting by putting it in my PDA. Like leadership expert Mark Sanborn, I spend most of my thinking or pondering time at a Starbuck’s. My daily agenda, setting short and long term goals all get their genesis at the coffee shop. I not only set personal goals, but family, career, community service, faith and impact goals.

Whether it’s at a Starbuck’s, in your study, office or some other quite place; take the time each day to get alone with yourself and think about what you want to accomplish during the day. Make sure that your daily agenda brings you a step closer to fulfilling your short and long term goals. Don’t do like some folks I’ve met who have some pretty good goals for their life, career and family, yet construct a daily agenda that has them going in a different direction.

As John Maxwell puts it, “a minute of thought is greater than an hour of talk.” When you really think about it, not planning your day, your goals and your life is pretty scary. When we plan our day and have a list of set goals we take the power of outside interference away. When we don’t take the time to set our agenda any little obstacle can take us off course. We can’t let the expectations of others determine the course of your life.

When we die it will be our name that is engraved on the tombstone above our resting place. Not our friends, not our co-workers, not even our mom or dad’s, but ours. To author a life that is rewarding we must take the time to think.

Would you like a hug with your order?

Have you ever ordered lunch and got a side order of hugs? I hadn’t until today.
I had the great pleasure to meet a friend for lunch at Ivey’s in Madison, Alabama (suburb of Huntsville). I’ve heard alot about Ivey’s however this was my first chance to dine with them.
Ivey’s specializes in home cooked-southern foods. Chicken, pork chops, roast, it’s all great. Their desserts are awesome too. But, what makes Ivey’s so special is owner/manager Ms. Swanner.
I noticed Ms. Swanner soon after we had taken our seat. She was wearing a red apron and giving patrons a small bowl of her homemade banana pudding with a little something extra, a hug. Each person in the restaurant didn’t have a choice, they had to take a sampling and they had to give her a hug. She finally made her way over to our table where she introduced herself to me and expressed her appreciation for me dining at Ivey’s. Not only that, she made me get out of my seat and give her a hug.
After eating a great pork chop, green beans and cole slaw I was stuffed and decided to pass on dessert. That was until Ms. Swanner made her rounds again and changed my mind. As she put it, “If you’re not gonna order dessert then you at least have to have a few bites.” Ms. Swanner brought me a more than a few bites of her banana pudding.
What was meant to be a half-hour lunch meeting turned into an hour and a half. My friend and I couldn’t escape the presence of this great lady. We went into Ivey’s expecting great food and left with the feeling that we had been in the presence of an angel.

Now, is there any wonder why Ivey’s Restaurant is doing so well? Is there any wonder why people stop by Ivey’s on their way home just to see Ms. Swanner?
For all of you “Fred Factor” fans, Ms. Swanner is definitely a Fred.
Oh yeah, one other thing…as I was leaving Ms. Swanner poked her head out the door and asked “Jim, are you going home, cause if you are, take some of this banana pudding to your kids.” Wow, not only did she remember my name but remembered me telling her about my kids.