5-Steps to Bring Your Dream to Reality:


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Dreams abound in our lives. The question is “how many of our dreams go unfulfilled throughout our lifetime?” For many, unfortunately, this is quite true. There is a simple five-step solution to bring more of our dreams to fruition. Here’s how:

  1. Dream – The intangible world

Dreams exist in what is called the ‘intangible” world of our thoughts, ideas and fantasies. We can acquire a dream from inspiration or our deepest longings for something meaningful and fulfilling. A dream is simply a colorful picture of the future, of what can be? Before we can crystallize our dreams into reality, we have to ask ourselves a few questions:

Who I am? – Identity

Why am I here? – Purpose

Where am I going? – Destiny

Some dreams are simply silly ideas, conjured up from the lack of knowledge and experience. I remember when I was in Junior High School. I was a good basketball player, making the all-star team from a large middle school with four teams. From these four teams, 60 players were vying for the same All-Star team, of which only the top twelve made the cut to represent the school in regional tournaments. Since I was one of the twelve, I thought to myself, “When I grow up I want be an NBA basketball player.” All my dreaming of becoming a player on a big league team subsided when I stopped growing after my freshmen year of High School. So what would I become? What would I do with my life? Not all dreams are meant to be.

  1. Desire – Giving birth to your dream(s)

Once I had a dream list for my life, I had to access something different from within to make my dreams a reality. Desire, therefore, became the starting point to refine my dream list. Desire is rooted in your heart, where a constant vigil happens of thinking through your dream. Once a dream has taken root in your heart, you can start moving into a desired direction. After all, God will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4), if you prioritze him in your life. Your heart is the center of emotional activity, where motivation takes place and passions grow. You must acquire the motivation and draw inspiration to engage your dream to the next step.

  1. Design – The plan of action

Once you have something burning deep within your soul, you must sit down and create a plan of action. Planning is not a strength for most people, but a crucial step that must take place. Planning requires a person to think and write out goals, objectives and reasons why a particular dream is truly yours, and second, that you are the only one with a unique dream tailored for your life. A plan of action should consist of three basic features:

  1. Creating vision for your dream, the one thing that will keep the dream alive before you.
  2. Listing objectives; small action steps, people and resources to make your dream happen.
  3. Assessing your objectives: This is an evaluative process of measuring your effectiveness. How will you know when certain steps have been achieved? What more is needed for the journey ahead?

These are just three areas that can branch out into more steps. I have listed only the critical ones to get you started.

  1. Diligence – Taking decisive action

Once you have devised a workable plan, you must be diligent – day in and day out, throughout the process. Dreams are achieved with grit and commitment to see them through fruition. Diligence is simply paying attention, making necessary corrections as you go, and acquiring the stamina needed to make it through testing and trials. There will be obstacles along the way that will test your resolve and character. Don’t take short-cuts through this process because most, if not all trials, are developing the character you need to live out your dream. Your process maybe short or long, but regardless of the length to achieve your dream, this process will make you a better person or leader along the way. Dreams exist to stretch you and make you into a different person. If your dream doesn’t challenge you along the way, it was just a bad idea in the first place.

  1. Discover – the tangible

Once you have taken the steps to make your dream tangible; this means it is becoming a reality right before your very eyes. You will have discovered more about yourself, and you will be better prepared to sustain your dream, and appreciate your new reality in a better state as a person. Soon you will see pieces of the puzzle come together, where the picture becomes more evident and tangible.

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#Latinos, Are You Defeating the Giants in Your Life?


bookpromopic.jpg-large THE DIMENSIONAL LEADER is a book that discusses the leadership strategies of a shepherd boy named David, who would become one of the greatest kings Israel ever had on the throne. Most of us are familiar with the story. Many of us, however, are befuddled on how a teenager could take down such a prized and renowned fighter, but he did. This book reveals how the young man navigated wisely through the crowd and the noise to defeat the giant. Are you willing to confront the insidious giants in your life? If so, read on.

When we read about David’s great triumph over Goliath we simply bypass two previous encounters – Eliab, David’s eldest brother and King Saul, the flustered and reluctant leader of Israel. David had to navigate through these two individuals first to get to his ultimate goal – that of confronting and defeating the malicious behemoth, and thus, wiping away the reproach from Israel. I am positive there have been times in our lives where you and I have had this thought, “I want to be like David.” However, we do not realize the price it took David to achieve a level of leadership mastery. Somehow we bypass those elements of personal sacrifice and testing in the shadows; the hidden places and events, which shaped David’s character. We have the tendency to look upon those who have succeeded as one of God’s favorite kids who were given a free pass to greatness, and somehow everything was handed over to them on a silver platter. This way of thinking is not realistic, nor fair for those who have achieved a level of greatness among us.

Greatness comes with a price tag. In other words, anyone who has ever had some legacy worth talking about had to overcome personal challenges and overcome barriers, which catapulted them to a new and improved station in life. It may have been they were willing to confront their fears, which kept them limited and regulated to a mediocre and mundane life. These champions of life succeeded somehow, because they were able to cross what I call the lines of resistance.

A line of resistance is a force seen or unseen, which works against you to constrain you or impose a limitation by restricting you from achieving your dreams, your goals and ultimately your destiny. A line of resistance is also a roadblock or barrier to stop you from moving forward. A line of resistance can eventually create a limiting mindset, a negative attitude, even a habitual pattern, which hinders you from accessing and pursuing your goals, to the point of discouraging you from actualizing your true potential and purpose in life. In the natural realm, a line of resistance can come from the people around you. In the spiritual realm, the lines of resistance arise from Satan and his hoard of demons. In a personal sense, many lines of resistance already exist in our fallen nature, producing destructive patterns in our life. At other times your lines of resistance can be produced when something dramatic occurs in your past where a negative history was created. This negative event in your life may have produced an insecurity, which is now rooted in fear and controls you. If this is true, you then begin to build an image about yourself, which is not based on reality.

The lines of resistance can be self-imposed or they can come from well meaning people, like our close friends or family members. For instance, someone can give us erroneous counsel diverting us down the wrong road from our destiny for many years. This is why parents, mentors, clergy, and others play a pivotal role in developing and directing the lives of young people. If we “buy-into” these limitations we can end up living on the wrong side of the tracks, instead of what could be — a life of mastery, filled with abundant living.

Have you ever taken an inventory of your life to find out what can be possible? Have you ever challenged yourself to break out of the old mindsets that keep you where you are? This book will challenge you to identify, confront and traverse over those debilitating lines of resistance, which have kept you from experiencing a life above and beyond your true and rightful potential. Be challenged and enjoy! Joel C. Garcia

Get your copy on AMAZON

Life Coaching for Teens


Life Coaching for Teens is a leadership workbook I put together to aid Latino youth, which explores topics on the essential foundations in leadership development.

I am making the PDF copy available to you to use in the training and development of Latino youth.

Link: Life Coaching for Teens _ Seminar Version

Please fill out and provide your comments about Life Coaching for Teens, thanks!

The Preface of My New Book: The Dimensional #Leader


This book discusses the qualities of the dimensional leader, which any person seeking a leadership role should seek to develop and master over time. As spatial dimensions contain three spheres of width, height and length, so the dimensional leader model exudes the three dimensional qualities of character, competence and communication. David was the consummate dimensional leader, who displayed these three qualities from his inaugural scene, at the time he fought and defeated Goliath, and throughout his entire life as the leader and commander of Israel’s army. David’s leadership legacy is summed up in an obscure passage in Psalm 78:72, where the dimensional leader’s paradigm is revealed:

And David shepherded them with integrity of heart [character]; with skillful hands [competence] he led [communication] them.

This passage of scripture has been written as David’s epitaph; a one sentence summation of his leadership legacy. Any thoughtful reader of this passage should pause for a moment to deliberate its substance and significance, to ponder its hidden treasures. It won’t take you very long before the hidden gems burst forth, revealing the transformative qualities effective leaders should cultivate and master over time.

The subtitle may have also left you asking, “What can a shepherd boy teach me about leadership?” The answer is obvious; a shepherd boy has already taught us principles about leadership, especially how a dimensional leader thinks and acts in times of great challenge. We just need to dive deeper into the story to exhume purpose for our lives today.

When we read about David’s great triumph over Goliath we simply bypass two previous encounters – Eliab, David’s eldest brother and King Saul, the flustered and reluctant leader of Israel. David had to navigate through these two individuals first to get to his ultimate goal – that of confronting and defeating the malicious behemoth, and thus, wiping away the reproach from Israel.

I am positive there have been times in our lives where you and I have had this thought, “I want to be like David.” However, we do not realize the price it took David to achieve a level of leadership mastery. Somehow we bypass those elements of personal sacrifice and testing in the shadows; the hidden places and events, which shaped David’s character. We have the tendency to look upon those who have succeeded as one of God’s favorite kids who were given a free pass to greatness, and somehow everything was handed over to them on a silver platter. This way of thinking is not realistic, nor fair for those who have achieved a level of greatness among us. Greatness comes with a price tag. In other words, anyone who has ever had some legacy worth talking about had to overcome personal challenges and overcome barriers, which catapulted them to a new and improved station in life. It may have been they were willing to confront their fears, which kept them limited and regulated to a mediocre and mundane life. These champions of life succeeded somehow, because they were able to cross what I call the lines of resistance.

A line of resistance is a force seen or unseen, which works against you to constrain you or impose a limitation by restricting you from achieving your dreams, your goals and ultimately your destiny. A line of resistance is also a roadblock or barrier to stop you from moving forward. A line of resistance can eventually create a limiting mindset, a negative attitude, even a habitual pattern, which hinders you from accessing and pursuing your goals, to the point of discouraging you from actualizing your true potential and purpose in life.

In the natural realm, a line of resistance can come from the people around you. In the spiritual realm, the lines of resistance arise from Satan and his hoard of demons. In a personal sense, many lines of resistance already exist in our fallen nature, producing destructive patterns in our life. At other times your lines of resistance can be produced when something dramatic occurs in your past where a negative history was created. This negative event in your life may have produced an insecurity, which is now rooted in fear and controls you. If this is true, you then begin to build an image about yourself, which is not based on reality.

David was confronted by three people, each one tried to restrict and limit him in some manner from succeeding on his mission. These three individuals attempted to create lines of resistance in David’s life.

1. Eliab – David’s brother represents the line of criticism.

2. King Saul – David’s leader represents the line of authority.

3. Goliath – David’s archenemy represents the line of fear and intimidation.

The lines of resistance can be self-imposed or they can come from well meaning people, like our close friends or family members. For instance, someone can give us erroneous counsel diverting us down the wrong road from our destiny for many years. This is why parents, mentors, clergy, and others play a pivotal role in developing and directing the lives of young people. If we “buy-into” these limitations we can end up living on the wrong side of the tracks, instead of what could be — a life of mastery, filled with abundant living.

Have you ever taken an inventory of your life to find out what can be possible? Have you ever challenged yourself to break out of the old mindsets that keep you where you are? This book will challenge you to identify, confront and traverse over those debilitating lines of resistance, which have kept you from experiencing a life above and beyond your true and rightful potential.

Be challenged and enjoy!

Joel

NOTE: You will be able to purchase The Dimensional Leader – The Leadership Strategies of a Shepherd Boy

Worldview – Cultivating a Governing Philosophy of Leadership


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The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”
– George Orwell –

Western culture, an idea derived from the tenants and teachings of the Christian faith, has been “under direct and unremitting cultural assault form those who want to destroy the bedrock of values of Western civilization.”[i] “We see the effect of this everywhere in the West,”[ii] and “without a basis for moral authority, no moral consensus can be reached, which is why we are in an ongoing and increasingly strident cultural war.”[iii] This cultural war over Western civilization is a struggle over which governing philosophy or ideology will prevail to dictate the cultural values and norms of civilized society. Will it be “the core values of Western civilization [which] are grounded in religion,”[iv], or moral relativism, which rejects the thought of absolute truth itself? For those of you thinking, “Wait a minute, Western Civilization is a Christian idea? Yes it is! Although the Kingdom of God is neither a Democracy nor a Republic, the very idea of a free society is derived mainly from Christian thought, and the primary reason why we should stand and contend for Kingdom principles to prevail and shape our culture.

In a direct way, Christianity finds itself totally immersed in a cultural war over worship. How is this so? The very root word for culture is “cult”, meaning “a particular form of worship.” Since we all worship someone or something, this someone or something determines how you and I create and order our lives, govern self and our family; how we approach the workplace, and even how we see, interpret and impact culture at large. Those in positions of influence tend to influence the values and mindsets of large segments of society. Culture then receives either an upgrade or downgrade depending on “who” leads and “what” worldview, values or philosophy are being translated to the masses to influence and shape culture. You see, every culture offers a unique expression distinct from other cultures. This exclusivity is their particular brand of worship. Why is a certain way of worship more important than others? It’s simple, you become like the object of your worship, for ‘those who make [idols] will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.”[v]

This struggle over worship originated in the pre-material world, when Lucifer attempted to exalt himself over God’s throne (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19) to divert worship from its rightful proprietor. Lucifer’s treasonous act cost him a position and place as God’s “anointed cherub”. As a result of his disloyal conduct, Lucifer was cast out of heaven to the depths of Sheol, which is the abode of the dead. This war over worship manifested itself once again in the Garden of Eden, where Lucifer acting as Serpent tempted Eve, sweeping her and Adam into a forbidden path, which opened the floodgate of evil into God’s material world. Mankind, though created in the image of God, was now tainted by sin with the propensity for evil works. Lucifer’s destructive brand was transferred from a timeless dimension to a limited one, from God’s abode to His material creation. In a brief sentence found in Genesis 6:5, evil’s manifestation within the heart of mankind and its geographical spread throughout the earth realm reached its full measure:

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Since then, this war over who controls culture, and who is to have the supremacy in worship has been fought on various fronts throughout history. This struggle has been the central theme of history’s struggle over good versus evil, which is evident in the visible and invisible worlds; a battle between God’s angelic hosts and Satan’s hordes of demons, God’s chosen remnant and the unredeemed; the righteous who live by faith, and the wicked who live by their own evil creed.

This struggle over which worldview will dominate to dictate the culture norms and trends continues to the present moment; a struggle between the Judeo-Christian worldview and a post-modern, secularized mindset. This cultural crusade is most noticeable in our arts and entertainment, the so-called artistic arena of sitcoms, movies, music, and print media. You just have to visit the magazine racks of your local bookstores to see the evidence; covers glorifying scanty clad women, narcissism, gossip, betrayal, and weekly portraits of break-ups and infidelity among the Hollywood elite. You can also watch daily soaps and nightly sitcoms abounding with immoral scripts, overflowing with sexual innuendo, lust, adultery, and the “new normal” arising in popular culture are same-sex themes. More demonstrative are the movies released in theaters, which are watched by millions of viewers each day spewing a barrage of soft to hard-core pornographic scenes, profanity, the illicit use of drugs and displays of extreme violence. For example, a beloved children’s movie had a scene of a male toy soldier humping another male toy soldier, taking the position for gays to openly serve in the armed forces. The sad part of this embedded piece of propaganda, particularly in a child’s movie, was that it was viewed by millions of young people, and children along with their parents. It was Hollywood’s way of demeaning and rejecting the deeply held values of the traditional family, and the long held views of the nation’s military policies and priorities.

In this section, I have briefly touched only upon the entertainment sector but I can go on with other sectors of culture such as science, education, politics and a variety of media outlets spewing venom and misinformation every day to undermine Christian virtue, and uproot the founding principles, which formed a nation under God.

Therefore, it is critical today, more than times past, for Christian leaders to cultivate a governing philosophy of leadership, which is most commonly known as worldview. A worldview, according to Christian apologist and author Norman L. Geisler is simply a way a person “views or interprets reality.” Geisler adds, the concept of “Worldview is derived from the German world Weltanschauung, meaning a ‘world and life view,’ or ‘a paradigm’… the framework through which or by which one makes sense of the data of life. A worldview makes a world of difference in one’s view of God, origins, evil, human nature, values, and destiny.”[vi] Chuck Colson’s examination of Christianity led him to this insightful summary:

“Christianity is a worldview that speaks to every area of life, and its foundational doctrines define its content. If we don’t know what we believe – even what Christianity is – how can we live it and defend it?”[vii]

Colson concludes his summary on worldview with the obvious reality that “our ignorance is crippling us,” meaning that without framing a cohesive and comprehensive worldview among Christian leaders today, we will keep losing the cultural war over the biblical values, which have shaped our culture and sacred institutions for generations.

Whether we know it or not we all approach and interpret life through a philosophical lens consisting of a set of presuppositions grounded in our existing reality, which forms our belief structures and value systems. Our value system dictates how you and I live, how we commune with our world, and how we apply God’s moral law and ethics to everyday life. Our approach to solving the problems arising in our world, such as poverty, defining biblical sexuality, marriage, human rights, even preserving human dignity in all phases of life from the mother’s womb to a person’s last breath are derived from a person’s worldview.

Significant Research – Worldview Metrics and Optics

To prove my point, let’s take a look at sound research by the Barna Group, a respected Christian research organization. The Barna Group claims a “worldview serves as a person’s decision-making filter, enabling them to make sense of the complex and huge amount of information, experiences, relationships and opportunities they face in life. By helping to clarify what a person believes to be important, true and desirable, a worldview has a dramatic influence on a person’s choices in any given situation.”[viii]

The distressing reality is that many Christians are not on the same page when it comes to viewing reality through a biblical lens. Research seems to indicate Christians do not possess a comprehensive and cohesive biblical worldview.

In 2009 The Barna Group conducted a study called, Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians over the Past 13 Years, which revealed astonishing factoids, such as – “Only 9% of all American adults have a biblical worldview”, and “among born again Christians, less than one out of every five (19%) had such an outlook on life.”[ix] Now, you can begin to grasp the American Christian dilemma. In other words, Christianity in America is floundering to influence and shape culture? Other critical facts of the same survey reveal, “Varying numbers of Americans embrace the different aspects of biblical worldview thinking.” The survey found that:[x]

▪  One-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. Slightly less than half of the born again adults (46%) believe in absolute moral truth.

▪  Half of all adults firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches. That proportion includes the four-fifths of born again adults (79%) who concur.

▪  Just one-quarter of adults (27%) are convinced that Satan is a real force. Even a minority of born again adults (40%) adopt that perspective.

▪ A minority of American adults (40%) are persuaded that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth. Slightly less than two-thirds of the born again segment (62%) strongly believes that He was sinless.

Given these measurements, what optics emerge concerning the Christian believer? The truth concerning the state of our culture is found in the lack of belief in “absolute truth” even among Christians. In addition, the skepticism among the same group that Satan is a real entity is incomprehensible. These numbers should not only cause alarm among our church leaders but should also sound the alarm to rally around making Christ-centered disciples. We must go from a “Disneyland faith” to demonstrating a sound biblical faith, which is grounded on reality and truth. As believers, we cannot be ashamed of Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, and the central tenets of the faith once delivered to the all saints for every generation.

Now, let’s take a look at what I call a Transformative Worldview.

The 3 DNA Strands of a Transformative Worldview

Today’s leaders, who desire to have a drastic affect upon culture, must understand and consistently manifest the three DNA strands of a transformative worldview. The American version of our Christian faith is not working to transform culture. Therefore, we must go back to the foundations of our faith, grounded in the reality of the gospels, the historical narrative of the book of Acts, and the epistles written by the apostles. In my understanding, a comprehensive Christian worldview must instill a firm belief, power and the ability to transform culture. These strands of a Judeo-Christian worldview are demonstrated time and time again, commencing with the four Gospels, and continuing with the apostolic movement in the Book of Acts, and throughout key places and seasons in history. Today, the transmitters of this worldview should note these strands are deeply intertwined, much like a chord of three strands; each part producing a powerful synergistic affect translating to extraordinary results among individuals, society and culture at large. Here are a few samples:

‘And truly Jesus did many other signs [power] in the presence of His disciples… these are written that you may believe [instill belief] that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life [personal transformation] in His name.”
–John 20:30-31

This pattern was also a common during the early apostolic age:

“At Iconium Paul and Barnabas… spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed [grounding belief]… So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there [transforming a city], speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders [power].”
–Acts 14:1 & 3

“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months [grounding belief], arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God… This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard [a transformative message] the word of the Lord. God did extraordinary miracles [power] through Paul.”
–Acts 19:8, 10 & 11 (NIV)

As you can see, the dynamics of a transformative worldview are evident in scripture. Therefore, as Christian leaders, we must reassess our worldview and examine if we, ourselves, and, or our ministry is aligned properly to the biblical pattern. Does your ministry bring people into a personal and practicing faith? Does your ministry manifest power via signs, miracles and wonders where people are in awe of God’s majesty? Is His presence evident in your congregation, compelling a curious community to your doorstep on Sunday mornings and other gatherings? Is your ministry spreading its influence by transforming the local neighborhood, city and region? If you can answer, “yes” to all these questions, then you are operating within the bounds of a transformative biblical worldview. If not, then you must reassess your ministry, humble yourself and seek God’s face for His presence and power to be released upon your life and your ministry.


[i] Philips, Melanie (2010) The World Turned Upside Down – The Global Battle Over God, Truth and Power. Encounter Books, New York, New York.

[ii] Colson, Charles W. (2008) The Faith. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; pg. 68.

[iii] Ibid, pg. 68.

[iv] Philips, Melanie (2010), pg XII.

[v] Psalm 115:8

[vi] Giesler, Norman L. (2000) Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Book House, pg. 785.

[vii] Colson, Charles W. (2008) The Faith. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; pg. 28.

[viii] The Barna Group. Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians over the Past 13 Years: http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/21-transformation/252-barna-survey-examines-changes-in-worldview-among-christians-over-the-past-13-years, accessed 2-3-2013.

[ix] The Barna Group. Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians over the Past 13 Years: http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/21-transformation/252-barna-survey-examines-changes-in-worldview-among-christians-over-the-past-13-years, accessed 1-21-2013.

[x] Ibid: The Barna Group. Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians over the Past 13 Years.

#Leading a Thriving #Organization


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Organizational executives, managers and leaders have good intentions to create thriving organizations that reflect their vision and mission for successful outcomes in the marketplace. Over the years, I have had the privilege to work for many organizations in various capacities; as an employee, a middle manager, a pastor, an executive, as a coach and marketing consultant. In other words, I have seen the internal dynamics of how organizations are managed and led; some thrive whiles others struggle to survive. To accomplish this monumental task of building a thriving organization it will take an organization to understand and embrace the four pillars of a thriving organization, which are simply strategy, synergy, structure and systems. Let’s start with the first critical layer of strategy.

1. Strategy

The original meaning of the world strategy reveals the “art of the General”, which implies the General’s broad grasp of the craft of warfare based upon years of acquired acumen and intuition from experiences on the battlefield. We can break down this art form into to three layers: hindsight, insight and foresight. Likewise, those in positions of mid to higher management in an organization have years of accumulated knowledge and wisdom derived through their education, exposure to people and events within an organization, and past experiences on the job. The accumulated wisdom of these employees is critical for tapping into new strategic methods for success.

Strategy is the sum of two parts: it’s your acumen and your approach. Strategy is melding what you already know and how you will go about executing what you know. Strategy, however, fails on many accounts. The most critical one is the lack of collaborative imagination that keeps many organizations operating in the dark at mediocre levels. King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, understood the power of collaborative imagination. His wisdom was and is today second to none; the biblical narrative notes a person like Solomon will never be matched again, so listen carefully! King Solomon provides our culture today with a great Tweet tucked away in Proverbs 24:6:

Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.”

Can you imagine tapping into the combined acumen, intuition and experience of many advisors? So why don’t you take an assessment of the creative members on your team and begin to tap into their combined wisdom for strategic advantages and advances in the marketplace. The wisdom is all around you… are you listening?

2. Synergy

One lazy afternoon, on my day off, I went to the afternoon matinee to see the movie Pitch Perfect. It simply amazed me on many levels! It wasn’t the humor, although I had a load of laughs. It wasn’t the brilliant singing that caught my attention although it was American Idol on Steroids. The main message for me was how a singing team formed and fermented into greatness. Let me see if I can sum up the important snippets of the movie that helped me see how teams form to create dynamic energy and synergy:

1. Pride was present at first since the old guard did not want to give up their place or stature on the team. So they resist anyone trying to introduce new ideas, which will improve the team’s performance.

2. Then there is friction between the old guard and the newcomers since the new ideas being offered are better than the old ones. It’s takes some time for the old guard to realize their methods have become obsolete.

3. Thirdly, the old guard finally accepts reality and realizes it needs to adapt and change. They are now willing to make some accommodations to make the team better.

4. And finally, the team comes together to implement the new ideas. There’s a dynamic shift in team culture and performance.

Synergy is hard to create but when it is present it is dynamic and energizing. When a team creates synergy it begins to release that corporate magic many organizations long for. How do we know when synergy is present? It is evident when optimum energy is released and dynamic synergy is increased.

3. Structure

Every organization is structured in a unique way. Some structures are more rigid than others, such as the military and Law Enforcement agencies, while other organizations tend to adopt a more fluid and flexible approach. “By structure, we mean the framework around which the group is organized, the underpinnings which keep the coalition functioning. It’s the operating manual that tells members how the organization is put together and how it works. More specifically, structure describes how members are accepted, how leadership is chosen, and how decisions are made.”[i]

The structure solely depends on what your organization wants to accomplish. For instance, let’s take two examples from nature to make my point. An eagle and a duck are structured quite differently from one another since they have different purposes to perform. One is meant to fly in high altitudes, and to dive at fast speeds to catch unsuspecting prey by surprise. Eagles like to be alone most of the time; they are the kings of the air. While a duck is given webbed feet to navigate through the water, and tightly knit feathers to keep them warm in cold climates. Ducks like to fly in teams, and work together to fly long distances.

Each bird has a particular function to play and purpose to fulfill. These distinguishing features provide you and I insight into the roles they perform in their respected environments.

Let’s take another example from nature. What about a tree? An Oak tree has a firm base extending to the general body. It is immovable and strong. Then as the branches move out they thin out and become more flexible, bending by the wind, even with the subtle breeze. Structures in organizations should have a stabilizing structure but should also allow flexibility is some areas of the organization to accommodate quick changes.

4. Systems

Systems are like highways that connect motorists to interchanges, intersections and bridges, which provide a proper flow of traffic so that people can get to places in an efficient manner within a specified time frame. Let me provide you a personal example:

I remember a time when our church fed thousands of inner city people on a Saturday afternoon. At the time, our church had an extraordinary cook on staff that was once Donald Trump’s private Chef (and you know Mr. Trump is a pretty picky guy). Anyway, when it came time to feed the multitudes, I just happened to walk into the kitchen area where I overheard the Chef say, “This is how we are going to take the food out to feed the folks.” To shorten my story, he had adopted a system with six steps before the people could even receive their food on the table. I thought to myself, “This process or system is going to take forever. We can do better?” So immediately, I took the Chef aside and advised him of a more efficient way. After I made it sound like it was his idea, he adopted the new system. The result of this simple change in the flow of food delivery was that everyone was happy, from the volunteers who had to serve the food, to the Chef himself, and the multitudes receiving our compassionate services for the day. All it took was a simple change to the “system”, which provided more efficient outcomes.

Systems should be made simple, but most people make them more complicated than they should be. The Chef in this situation had extraordinary skills but he lacked the basic skills of how to deliver his product efficiently.

What area above is the weakest in your organization? Which one is the strength of your organization?


[i] An Organizational Structure: An Overview. http://ctb.ku.edu/en/tablecontents/sub_section_main_1092.aspx, accessed on 4/7/2013.

Default Leadership: The Presumptuous Leader


 presumption

The “presumptuous leader” sounds like an oxymoron. Well, it actually is one! Leaders who are presumptions think of themselves a little higher than they actually are and think they know more than others. Allow me a short illustration:

I was recently promoted to a new position and took hold of my new branch which had a lot of potential for growth and profit. However, after a quick appraisal of the store’s metrics I soon discovered the store also had some areas that required immediate attention and improvement – most noticeably its leadership presence. This particular branch had been on the decline for some months with the present management who was feeling the pressure from top brass concerning some alarming numbers. During my first few days in the office, my objective was to get to know my team members by simply interacting with them and observing how they worked with each other, but most importantly how they perceived me as their new leader. On the onset I detected some resistance from the store manager, the second in command. At first he was a little distant, cold and “short” with me. One time, during a brief interview, he must have presumed we were done with the conversation, so he got up and walked away. I sat on my seat stunned thinking, “Does this guy have any social skills?” Over a period of two weeks, I knew I had a lot more to work on than getting the store to operate at peak performance. I needed to groom my store manager with the right leadership skills for personal, team and corporate success. Throughout my interactions with the store manager I soon found three default characteristics of a presumptuous leader:

1. Previous work experience does not add up to competent leadership

After spending some time with my store manager, I noticed how he would keep bringing up his previous employment experience, “In my previous job I supervised fifty employees.” And the time I asked him to do the schedule he made a point to say, “It’s easy, doing a schedule for four people is nothing compared to what I used to do.” My first thought, “Wow, I have a great leader working with me. We are going to turn this store around quicker than I first anticipated.” Soon enough, within a matter of days, I noticed the incompetence surface. He lacked the basic skills of supervision, delegating responsibility and holding his direct reports accountable for their work performance. My initial thought was, “Now, how did this guy get to a position where he supervised fifty people?” It just didn’t add up.

2. Layered expectations is a form of controlling others not leading them

There’s nothing more I dislike than someone saying, “They are not allowed to do that!”, or something similar, “The previous boss would only let me do that.” After a few comments like these I had to put a stop to that kind of managerial thinking. In a learning environment managers must relinquish some control and trust others to learn and do the job. After all, we must advance not only the agenda of the organization but also employees to their next level of operation. So I asked myself, “Where did he get this learning?” After some brief dialogue, it was the previous General Manager who would not allow certain people to do some basic things, such as count the cash drawer upon opening or closing the store. My style of training is a “cross-trainer” approach where everyone gets to participate and learn a new aspect of the operation. This happens gradually when someone is willing and ready to learn the next new thing. A working environment must be empowering not controlling others based upon one’s position or title.

3. Leading from behind is not authentic leadership

After a week or so I noticed the store manager was not leading his direct reports properly. So I asked him, “How do you lead your team?” He responded, “Oh, they already know what to do. I just let them do it.” I then asked, “How do you know they are accomplishing tasks on time and being effective in their jobs?” He just stared at me. His style of leadership was laissez-faire, from a French term meaning laid-back leadership. When I questioned his style of leadership he simply replied, “I’ve always done it that way.” Presumption – yes or no? As a leader, you have to engage your direct reports with vision and responsibility, and responsibility with accountability, and timed tasks that are measured by effective performance and results.

What did I learn in the first two weeks of this encounter? First, I learned that the more someone is “experienced” the harder they are to train, because “they just seem to know so much” more than you. Employees who brag about their previous work experience must embrace new learning experiences. Second, bringing correction to a leader who seems to “know it all” is difficult to do but it’s a must. A leader must have the courage to have transparent and regular discussions. What kind of discussions? The one’s where you tell your direct report to “push the refresh button” and to start all over by learning how to lead effectively.