Saturday, May 1, 2010

Strategic SWO

This is an interesting look at the military's top leader. Worth the time to examine what life at his level is like. Consider some of the attributes of a strategic leader that are eluded to throughout the piece.

How America's Top Military Officer Uses Business to Boost National Security

Admiral Mike Mullen says the sea was his business. Now, as America's top military officer, he's reshaping strategy for a world in which economics and security are intertwined.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Servant King

by graham kendrick

From heaven, You came, helpless babe, entered our world, Your glory veiled; not to be served but to serve, and give Your life that we might live.

This is our God, the Servant King, He calls us now to follow Him,
to bring our lives as a daily offering of worship to the Servant King.

There in the garden of tears, my heavy load He chose to bear;
His heart with sorrow was torn, "Yet not my will but Yours," He said.

This is our God, the Servant King, He calls us now to follow Him,
to bring our lives as a daily offering of worship to the Servant King.

Come see His hands and His feet, the scars that speak of sacrifice.
Hands that flung stars into space, to cruel nails surrendered.

This is our God, the Servant King, He calls us now to follow Him,
to bring our lives as a daily offering of worship to the Servant King.

So let us learn how to serve, and in our lives enthrone Him;
Each other's needs to prefer, For it is Christ we're serving.

This is our God, the Servant King, He calls us now to follow Him,
to bring our lives as a daily offering of worship to the Servant King.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lessons From A Volcano

Read Psalm 97 below then click the link to the article following it about the Icelandic Volcano and its effects on the economy and the modern expectation of living. Do you see the connection? I love how the author of the article says it is just "Nature" at work - we know it is our God letting His power be made known. When God moves everyone must stop and take note. He often disrupts the way in which we desire to live. We often easily become uncomfortable and inconvenienced at even the smallest of His actions in Creation. Economies, continents, international industries, and entire multicultural societies are very fragile. God is great, we are not.

Psalm 97

1 The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.

2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

3 Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.

4 His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles

5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.

6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.

7 All who worship images are put to shame,
those who boast in idols—
worship him, all you gods!

Volcano "Disaster" Is Just Nature In Action

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Catalyst Leader

From the Catalyst Leadership website some very powerful and pertinent characteristics of an effective [Christian] military leader as well. I absolutely agree with the helpfully condensed way that great godly leadership has been communicated here. I will highlight a few of the nuggets I took away as you read.

Elements of a Catalyst Leader

AUTHENTIC in their Influence
Influence is gained naturally, not through coercion or manipulation. This is a natural outcome when the leader is “being” (integrity, passion) and “doing” (calling, community, culture). Leading is an easy next step once the other core elements are being consistently practiced and modeled.

UNCOMPROMISING in their Integrity
Character, integrity, conviction, discipline and private, personal decisions – these all comprise the inner character and integrity of a Catalyst leader. I understand that my character and integrity is the guard to my soul and ultimately their life. This can’t be let go, can’t be delegated, it’s the foundation of who I am as a person and as a leader. It’s the basis from which my moral authority is grounded. It must be nurtured, guarded and found true under testing.

INTENTIONAL about Community
People are in my life at all levels. Close personal friends that keep me accountable, question my deepest motives and help me stay true to the vision God has imprinted on my heart. I value the people that work for and alongside me, recognizing that I am fulfilling a leadership role with people God has entrusted to my care. Catalyst leaders value the wisdom of those more experienced than them and seek out council in all things of importance.

I must have awareness of my small role in God’s big, developing story. This is critical to my humility, faith and trust in Him as the definer of how He will use me and my calling. To have this constant awareness, I must connect with God without ceasing through my life, study, music, art, film, vocation and relationships. My passion for God to receive Glory must be bigger than my desire for Glory.

COURAGEOUS about their Calling
God has a unique purpose that he desires to carry out in me. To know this purpose I must first know Him. To fulfill this purpose, I must trust Him and have the courage to act on it, which may feel like a risk. My talents and heart converge to create my calling and purpose. I am competent in my calling because I am committed to further developing and honing my talents and skills. My foundational understanding of how God is working during our times, determines the specific way I apply this calling vocationally.
ENGAGED in Culture
As a leader, I must understand the context God has placed me in. I must know the audience I am connecting with to have any opportunity of connection and relevance. Because God desires that Christ-followers engage and influence their surroundings, I will be a source of hope, redemption, justice and peace in my community, demonstrating a piece of the Kingdom of God in a fallen world.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Goodbye to C2

Charlene Li tells us, in her article, that "Command & Control" type leadership is a thing of the past - even for us military folks. Do you agree? Are we required to be "old school" to lead well in the military environment? Are there not some situations/some people that require a more military kind of leadership? She is a social media consultant, so the essay is bent toward its uses in diminishing dictatorial leadership. As the military has endorsed/began using Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. she begs the question of how influence is really established, organized, and maintained.

Say Goodbye to Command-and-Control
By Charlene Li | Altimeter Group

At one time, country rulers, army generals, and company executives thought the only effective way to organize and manage was through a system of command-and-control. The king/general/boss gave the orders; everyone lower did what they were told.

The system contained some hidden assumptions: (1) The boss knew more than anyone else. (2) Workers could be trained—or threatened—to follow orders unquestioningly. (3) Any other system was inefficient and slow to react to threats and change.

In fact, bosses never had as much control as they might have thought, or wished. Employees talked around the water cooler. Customers gossiped over the back fence. Because enlightened bosses realized not all the good ideas originated in the executive suite, they installed suggestion boxes and took other measures to be more open in the way they led the organization.

Today, while there are probably thousands—even millions—of rulers, generals, and executives who still believe that command-and-control is the only way to administer, social networks are rapidly undermining that approach to management in government, in the military, and in business. Leaders are seeing the ordered world they understand crumbling as citizens, customers, employees, and partners are empowered by new tools that were almost unimaginable fifteen years ago.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Yammer, Jive, Glassdoor, and hundreds of other websites give people the power to opine about products and services, to learn about organizations and their policies, and to share insights and experiences. The old assumptions no longer hold true (if they ever did). The boss may know more than any one individual in the organization, but it is an arrogant and reckless boss who believes he or she knows more than everyone. Workers—especially younger workers—want to do what is best for themselves and the organization; they become sullen and unmotivated when they do not understand why they should be doing what they’re ordered to do (this is very true!). And although a less dictatorial system may not react as rapidly to threats and change, it is more flexible and innovative and thereby more likely to survive. Ordinary people want government, the military, and business to be more open.

Being open should be considered a rigorous approach to strategy and leadership that yields real results. I am not suggesting total transparency and complete openness, whereby everyone from customers to competitors has access to all information and everyone is involved in all decisions. Such an unrealistic extreme of complete openness is untenable if a business is to sustain its competitive advantage and ability to execute.

At the other, equally unrealistic end of the spectrum is the completely closed organization, in which information and decision-making is centrally controlled and everyone follows every instruction not only perfectly, but happily. Such an organization cannot survive in today’s world. The question isn’t whether you will be transparent, authentic, and real, but rather, how much you will let go and be open in reaction to the new technologies.

As people become more adept at using social and other emerging technologies, they will push organizations to be more open, urging leaders to let go in ways in which they may not be comfortable. The natural inclination may be to fight this trend, to see it as a fad they hope will fade and simply go away. It won’t. Not only is this trend inevitable, but it will also force leaders and their organizations to be more open than they are today.

In the past, leaders had the luxury of remaining ensconced in their executive suites, opening up only when they felt the need to. Today, information leaks out everywhere, with company miscues and missteps spreading all over the Internet in seconds. And all involved—from employees and customers to business partners—feel entitled to give their opinions and get upset when their ideas are not implemented. The fundamental rules that have governed how relationships work are being rewritten because of easy, no-cost information sharing.

Being open is hard. But if you can understand both the benefits and the process, it can get easier. You may be in a leadership position—a manager or CEO—of a business that is trying to use social technologies to introduce a new product or to counter a customer backlash. You may be an HR manager or company strategist eager to tap into the ideas of your workforce. Or you may be a church committee leader who is trying to energize listless volunteers, or a school administrator working with vocal parents agitating for change.

The struggle to balance openness and control is a universal, human problem. As a parent of growing children, I sometimes long for the days when I could simply strap a discontented toddler into a car seat and drive off to my destination. Just as children grow and develop their own voices that need to be heard, so do customers, employees, and partners want to be brought into the inner sanctum of the organization as well. Successful leaders will find ways to bring them in while strengthening the organization by their presence.

Charlene Li is the founder of Altimeter Group and the author of Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead. She is one of the leading independent voices in business today, with a special focus on the strategic use of emerging technologies. She is coauthor of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, named by both Amazon and strategy+business magazine as one of the best business books of 2008. Follow her on Twitter @CharleneLi.