Have you ever taken a vacation by yourself?
A good friend of mine who lives in the northern section of the U.S. has found a new way to deal with the arctic feel of winter. As an avid golfer, he has decided to take two or three days each month in January, February, and March to travel to a warm state, play golf and then go back home… by himself. When he was telling me about this new way of dealing with the cold, all I could think about was the by himself part. I too hate the cold. But probably not enough to go away by myself.
This made me think about one habit that I keep seeing in leaders … the trips we seem to take by ourselves. We plan, we prepare, we dream, we set up, we do the work.
Don’t get me wrong, we try to include others and to some degree we engage them in the work, but when it comes to leading, we are often on a trip by ourselves.
In our last two articles, we have been looking at what it takes to build momentum. No leader can build momentum by themselves. In our last article, we examined the necessity for leaders to become travel experts in order to build momentum. Now, we build off that metaphor by realizing that we can’t travel as a solo leader. What is required, is an increasing expertise in the development of leaders. Leadership Development is when a person is intentionally invested into – with an outcome of becoming a leader whom others follow and are, in turn, also invested into.
Many organizations, and most churches, are lacking momentum in part due to leaders who are too busy organizing and taking trips by themselves.
How do we change this dynamic?
Here are three specific action steps you can take to stop traveling alone and build momentum.
- Change your personal metrics for success
In coaching Pastors, I have rarely experienced as much vulnerability as when someone starts to talk about how success is measured. As a church, certain metrics seem to be built in (attendance, baptism, giving, etc.) and those metrics can certainly be changed or added to. Many would argue that they need to be changed in the new post-church world that we currently live in. But they may not change for the good if leaders don’t change the way they measure their own effectiveness.
Leaders, when no one else is looking or counting, how do you measure whether or not you have done a good job? If your metrics include the measurable investment into potential leaders, you can become one who travels together, building momentum through others. If not, we will just revert back to what we really deem to be the measurements of success.
Something I learned from Dave Ferguson (who learned it from Bob Buford): “my fruit grows on other people’s trees.” Is that how you measure your own success?
- Become that person
Social groupings often are filled with that person. Work teams often have one person who becomes that person. What am I talking about? THAT person is the convener. The one who convenes others. The one who summons, organizes, assembles, arranges, for others to join them. Most people seem to be responders to the convening of others. Want to build momentum? Decide today that you will become a convener. How? Create a discipline of initiating with others.
A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to become a convener. I realized that when I was young I would convene my friends together, usually around a baseball or basketball game. As I evaluated my life, I realized that I had gotten away from this leadership trait. So I decided that I wanted to become that person again. Here is the how the discipline plays out:
Who would you want to invest into, hang out with, learn from, or just stay connected to? Make a list. This is your “initiate with” list. Look at the list and then schedule how and when you would initiate with them. Want to build momentum? Become that person who doesn’t wait for others to initiate. Become a convener. Conveners never travel alone.
- Develop an equipping community
Much has been said, particularly in the church world, of equipping leaders. It’s a nice phrase to describe the need to prepare people for service. But there is one component that is consistently needed. Many leaders do a great job of teaching values and beliefs, of giving knowledge, both on a theological front and in how the church functions. Other leaders are fantastic at including potential leaders in systems and procedures. Rarely do we see a community that focuses any energy in the development of specific leadership skills. How often is momentum stalled because we have “equipped” leaders with knowledge but imparted no skill in them to lead others.
This need is so substantial that we at Intentional Impact have created a series of video training lessons specifically to address this. This series is designed for staff and volunteer leaders to develop the skills that are necessary to continue to grow in their leadership, and learn where and how to serve – wherever they can. This series is called ALIGN. If you are interested in more information about it take a look here.
Do you want to build momentum? Learn how to travel with others and stop traveling alone, simply by changing your personal metrics, becoming a convener, and developing a skilled community of leaders who are committed to the development of skills. Like I told my solo vacationing friend, “it’s always good to get out of the cold, but think of how great it would be if we did it together.” Next year, I think we might.
Ready to build momentum? Stop traveling alone? Intentional Impact is ready to help. Contact us today to get started.
Let me know below how you plan to stop traveling alone in the comment field below.