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W17D4 - Purpose

"But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
    the purposes of his heart through all generations" - Psalm 33:11.

God doesn't just have a purpose for individuals or the Church, He has a purpose for every organization, including companies, governments, schools, and other enterprises. A leader's job is to help identify that organizational purpose and then help individuals express their purpose within the larger group purpose. Some call this vision, mission, calling or destiny, but when God's purpose aligns with group purpose and individual purpose is expressed, there is a flow of energy and alignment that stems from God's involvement, even if it's a bank or a garden club.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today you will develop, reaffirm or clarify the purpose for each organization of which you are a leader, including your family. Does that entity have a purpose statement? If so, is it accurate? Is it operational? Do followers know what it is? If your group does not have a statement, then you will help develop one. Gather people together and summarize why that organization (or family) exists in one short sentence that has accuracy and life to it.

W17D3 - People Skills

" . . . and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping,
she began to wet His feet with her tears, and
kept wiping them with the hair of her head,
and kissing His feet and anointing them
with the perfume" - Luke 7:38.

The scenario of a woman wetting Jesus' feet with tears and drying them with her hair is apt to make most people uncomfortable. Yet what does this tell us about Jesus? It says that He was supremely accessible and approachable. The woman was not afraid of being embarrassed or rebuked. She could be herself around Him and be accepted. She could be honest and open with her feelings and not be concerned that He would react, take advantage of, or be dismissive of her emotional moment. Effective leaders create the same atmosphere with their followers that allows genuine honesty and transparency.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today evaluate how accessible you are as a leader. First, look at your workspace. Is it fortified with closed doors and assistants stationed between you and the people or is it open? Next, look at your calendar. How much time every week do you spend with other people? Third, examine the content in those meetings. Is your time with followers spent talking about your agenda or what's on their minds and hearts? What did you learn from your answers?

W17D2 - Change

"Then a voice told him, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.'
'Surely not, Lord!' Peter replied. 'I have never eaten
anything impure or unclean'" - Acts 10:13-14.

Up to this point in time, Peter had maintained a kosher diet according to Old Testament Law. Then a voice from heaven told him to change his diet and he said, "No!"  Even though it was a heavenly directive, he was being asked to change a lifelong pattern and it represented not an opportunity but a loss in his eyes. When leaders announce well-thought-out change initiatives, people can often respond in the same manner. The leaders can then be offended or perceive the followers as negative or uncooperative.

LEADERSHIP STEP: If you are leading change, you must provide support services for those most directly affected, whether it's a move for your family or a new product for your company. Your Step today is to sit down and listen to those being impacted by any change and better understand what kind of support you can provide for them. Perhaps you need to change your attitude toward those who are resisting the change so you can find out and understand why.

Week 17 Day 1 - Strategy

"Plans are established by seeking advice;
    so if you wage war, obtain guidance" - Proverbs 20:18.

Armies don't just show up one day and decide to fight it out with an enemy. They determine what their objectives are and then develop a strategy to accomplish their objectives along with strategies for each battle they will wage. Usually there is a war council of top advisers who are experienced and who also command resources that will engage in the battle. The same is true for leadership of any organization, whether a family or company. The strategic plans, however, are determined by the objectives and must be clear for the strategy to have any chance for success.

LEADERSHIP STEP: In order to develop a clear strategy, you must have clear objectives. If it is to get out of personal debt, you must have a strategy for that clear objective. If it is to launch a new product line, then be clear on the product, when it will be launched and what the sales goals are. Identify one objective today for your enterprise, and then assemble some trusted advisers to lay out the strategic plans that will enable you to reach that objective in the set time.

Rest Stop 16

“'If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.'
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken" - Isaiah 58:13-14.

There is a regular need for leaders to step away from the pressures of their work to address other needs they have in their lives. This day of rest is not to be a time of dread when they step away from work, but a time of delight when they give some thought to the Lord and to the needs of other people. When they do this, leaders will find their joy not just in their work but in the Lord who assigned them their purposeful work. And what leader doesn't need this, for work can often be frustrating and a source of disappointed effort that does not yield its intended results?

LEADERSHIP STEP: On your next rest day, focus on "not doing as you please" or "speaking idle words." You will use that day to visit someone close to you - family member, friend, associate or someone else the Lord lays on your heart. Bless them by hosting them at a meal or over coffee. Your objective is simple: to refresh that person with encouraging words and actions so that you are not your only focus when you take the day to step away from the pressures of labor.

W16D6 - Team Building

"Even so the body is not made up of
one part but of many" - 1 Corinthians 12:14.

Leaders understand that they are only as good as the team that surrounds them. Paul's analogy of the church being like the human body can also be applied to another business or organization. There are many interrelated parts that must function well together; if one part of that organization is sick or malfunctioning, then the entire entity is rendered 'sick' or 'wounded.' So effective leaders pay close attention to the health and dynamics not only of the team but also of the individual members.

LEADERSHIP STEP: It is common to have an annual physical checkup when your body is evaluated and problems addressed. Your step today is to schedule your annual department or organizational checkup. This will take place at an offsite, away from the normal office or plant routine. It would also be helpful to enlist the services of a consultant to come in and help run the offsite to give leadership another set of eyes and ears to assess your team's health.

W16D5 - Personal Development

"The king assigned them a daily amount of food
and wine from the king’s table. They were to be
trained for three years, and after that they were
to enter the king’s service" - Daniel 1:5.

Daniel was taken from the security and comfort of his Judean homeland and sent to Babylon University, where he was given a new name and had to learn a new culture, including language, customs, currency, property rights and religious practices. This was his preparation to lead in Babylon and God personally chose his course of study. Leaders must give themselves to education and training, and that is a lifelong experience and practice. Without this, there is no growth and consequently those leaders will not be able to lead and embrace fresh new initiatives.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today think about your personal development plan to prepare for the future. Does that plan include more education? What is stopping you from pursuing that education? Today pretend like you have all the money and time you need, then decide where you would go and to get this education and training. Once you decide that, then begin to research how that can happen. Don't assume it's impossible; work to prove that it is possible and it will happen!

W16D4 - Spiritual Growth

"These commandments that I give you today
are to be on your hearts" - Deuteronomy 6:6.

Leaders should fill their hearts with good things because leadership is not only a head but also a heart matter. The Lord expects His requirements for righteous leadership to be assimilated in the heart so they can readily find their way into daily decisions and work relationships. While the Bible does not give specific directions for how to build a business, it does give specific directions for ethics, business practices and fairness.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today you should do a quick search on the topic of leadership in the book of Proverbs. Go to the online Bible and do a search for the words 'king' and 'prince' in Proverbs. Then substitute the word 'leader' wherever you find king or prince, and see what Proverbs has to say to the one in charge or overseeing other people. What can you learn from those verses to apply to your leadership work? Print and carry that list with you for the rest of the week.

W16D3 - Communication

"After this letter has been read to you, see that
it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans
and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea" - Colossians 4:16.

Paul used the technology of his day - letters and the Roman system of roads and ships - to communicate with his followers and inform them of his latest plans and insights. When he sent this particular letter to Colossae, he made sure they would circulate it among the other local churches. The point is that leaders use whatever means possible to spread their 'word' to those who need to hear or can benefit from it. If Paul were alive today, he perhaps would use all the social media channels to disseminate his message. Modern leaders should do the same.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you up to speed on the media available to you to communicate with those who need or want to hear from you? Today stop talking about getting with the technology and do it. Get with someone or take the time to learn about and register for Twitter, online conference calling or any other media you could benefit from using. If you have an account for those social media, then spend your time today planning how you will use them effectively.

W16D2 - Decision Making

"Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law,
and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace,
he had in mind to divorce her quietly" - Matthew 1:19.

As far as Joseph knew, Mary had violated their engagement covenant and broken their values as Jews. Joseph had to make a decision, but he was mindful of Mary, her family and her feelings when he did. With all that to consider, he decided to do it with as little fanfare as possible. When leaders make decisions that involve people, they don't have to humiliate others to prove the leader is correct. This even pertains to interpersonal dealings that don't need to involve sarcasm, verbal harassment, or public ridicule or correction. Leaders' decisions affect people and they need to keep that in mind as they make them.

LEADERSHIP STEP: How well are you considering people as you make your decisions, especially about personnel? Today it's time to reevaluate your termination policy to make sure it is as sensitive as possible to that traumatic experience for those being let go. Are you generous with your severance? Do you help those being released to find other work? Remember, you reap what you sow, so be merciful and God will be merciful to you if you are ever on the receiving end of a painful or difficult decision.