1971 Titans

Communication is the Oxygen of Leadership (Part 1 of 3)

Leadership is our ability to positively influence others. As such, it is fundamentally a relational skill. It has been said, “Communication is the oxygen of relationships.” Without good communication, relationships die. Consequently, without good communication, leadership doesn’t stand a chance.

In the early 70s, many communities in the United States were in the process of dismantling segregation. Alexandria, Virginia was one such community. It took tangible steps toward equality when it combined the populations of three area high schools into one. Two had been white and one was black. Herman Boone, a black man, was chosen to be the football coach at the new high school ……. over Bill Yoast, a very popular white coach. This added to the tension, especially since Yoast and another white man became Boone’s assistant coaches. Boone did everything in his power to bring the players and his coaching staff together. And it worked. That season, the team won the state championship and became the second highest ranking high school football team in the country!

When asked what the secret was to this high-performing team’s success, Boone stated, “Communication. Talking to each other. Getting to know and appreciate each other. We forced the kids to spend time with each other to find out things about each other. Every player was required to spend time with teammates who were a different race.” Result: the team went undefeated. And that is why, to this day, the people of Alexandria still remember, and talk about, the 1971 Titans.

You cannot have a high performance team unless you have communicative players on the team. Without communication you don’t have a team, you just have a collection of individuals. You will be a much more effective communicator, and leader of your team, if you follow these 12 principles:…

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Jesus Washing Peter's Feet

To Lead, You Must Serve

If leadership is influence, and we have the desire to be leaders, why do we want to influence people? I’m sure there are many answers to that question. Some people want to influence others in order to feel better about themselves. I think that is why there are so many self-help books out there. Others work to influence others for their own gain. Our primary goal at Passavant Leadership Group is to come alongside the leaders of churches, so our reasons are much different than these. We want to partner with leaders in order to advance The Kingdom of God. Our reason for influence is Jesus Christ.

This is why leadership in the church looks so much different than leadership in many companies of the world. Our leadership example did not influence others for His own gain or to feel good about Himself. Instead, He served others in order to influence them….

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Invisible Ponies

Invisible Ponies

As people and as an organization it is easy to get stuck when you look into the future. How you look forward can determine how much headway you make into your dreams and goals. Sometimes it even determines whether or not you have dreams or goals.

It doesn’t take a lot of research to discover that there are at least two ways to look at the world around us. We use various examples: glasses that are half-filled, sports analogies, and many other topics.

I was recently reminded of a story that Ronald Reagan made famous that goes like this:

The parents of two brothers, one an incurable pessimist and the other an incurable optimist, took their sons to see a doctor in the hopes of curing the boys of their respective conditions. The physician started with the young pessimist. He took the boy into a room brimming with a mountain of new toys. “These are all yours,” the doctor said. Immediately, the young pessimist burst into tears. “What’s wrong?” His parents asked. “If I play with the toys,” the boy sobbed, “surely they will all break and be ruined.”

Next, the doctor tried his hand with the young optimist. Instead of toys, the doctor took his patient into a room filled with a mountain of horse dung. “This is for you.” The doctor told him. With that, the boy smiled so wide he could have eaten a banana sideways. Excited, he raced to the top of the mountain of manure, where, with his bare hands, he began digging into the pungent heap. Baffled, the doctor and the parents looked at one another quizzically, “Son,” the father asked. “What in heaven’s name do you think you’re doing?”

“Well,” the boy replied, “with all this horse dung, I figure there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere!”

There’s really no need to spend the next couple of paragraphs reiterating the point of the story. It’s pretty self-explanatory. However, I would like you to think about how you focus the point of the story in your life….

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Pope Francis Washing Feet

Make A Difference In The Lives You Hope To Influence

If you’ve been following the PLG Blog, you probably understand to some extent that Leadership is Influencing People. There are different levels of influence that you can have on others, and they have the ability to influence you as well. Influence, or leadership, happens best through relationships. If you look at the life of Jesus and the people he influenced most, you will see that they were his closest apostles. He was a leader to multitudes of people, but it is those few He invested in who went on to change the world, building His church. Jesus influenced the sick and broken through healing and teaching.

As I was listening to the news earlier today, I heard that Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 inmates at a juvenile detention center in Italy where Holy Thursday Mass was held (read about it here). This act of servanthood is likely to be the catalyst for change in at least one of those twelve inmates, and it is likely to influence many people who hear the story. When I heard the story on the news, they made a point to mention that many of the inmates in that prison are Muslims. Can you see what a difference that serving can have on influence compared to debating and arguing?…

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Turtle On A Post

Turtles

“What’s one thing you can know for sure about a turtle on a fencepost?”

I first heard this question my freshman year in college. It’s a question that is intended to inspire a journey into a multitude of questions and infinite unknowns. The question makes you wonder about meaning, purpose, and sacrifice. The answer to the question, however, sounds like a punchline to a joke, and, like so many other punchlines, it holds deep meaning.

“So, what is one thing you can know for sure about a turtle on a fencepost,” you ask?…

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Chris Stark Interviews Mila Kunis about Oz

The Ten Million Hit Leadership Lesson

On March 4, 2013 an interview was published to YouTube. Chris Stark, a rookie reporter from a popular BBC radio show, sat down to interview Mila Kunis. Mila Kunis began her rise to stardom during nine seasons of That 70’s Show; since then, her career and popularity have grown exponentially.

Why do I mention this? Since the seven minute interview hit YouTube less than ten days ago, it has garnered over 10.4 million hits. [You can watch the interview by clicking here.]  That’s an average of over 1 million hits a day. What has made this video of what should have been a fairly boring actress/reporter promotional interview something that more than 10 million people have directed their browsers to see?…

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Top 10 Qualities For A Great Leader

What Personal Qualities Do Great Leaders Have? (Part 1)

This is a complex question. I have been a student of leadership for many years and there is a plethora of theories and models concerning what good leadership looks like. As I have blogged before, Leadership is Influence. There are many bases for leadership: positional, relational, knowledge/information, performance, etc. But real, lasting leadership tends to be based upon influential relationships.

In my last blog post, I listed 5 Common Misunderstandings About Leadership. If those misunderstandings are examples of what leadership is not, then what personal qualities do make a great leader? Here are the first 6 of my “Top 10” personal qualities for a great leader:…

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