W49D5 - Collaboration

“'Watch me,' he told them. 'Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do'" - Judges 7:17.

Gideon was leading a few men against a much larger enemy contingent and he needed to coordinate and direct their efforts for success. He did not send them out to do what he was not willing to do, staying safely away from the front lines. Instead he led the troops to the edge of risk, giving them clear instructions along with a visual example to follow. He was a true leader and did not ask his followers to do anything he was not willing to do himself. Leaders must work to build effective teams, fostering a spirit of collaboration, if they are to achieve the organization's most important goals. That will not be achieved only by giving commands. What's more, they must also lead these teams by example and not delegate responsibilities that can only be carried out by the leaders themselves.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to assess your ability to foster collaboration: 1) Can you identify the most important values and behaviors needed for organizational success? 2) Are you modeling those values and behaviors for your followers? 3) Are you clearly communicating what you require from your followers? 4) Do you lead them by being among them, or are you aloof and reserved? 5) Do you have courage to lead them to the edge of risk?

W44D5 - Collaboration

"When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, 'Can this be Naomi?'" - Ruth 1:18-19.

On one hand, Naomi was ready to separate herself from what family she had and move back home. On the other hand, Ruth did not want to stay where they were by herself so she decided to collaborate with her mother-in-law and make the transition to a new place, which turned into a place of blessing for both women. The lesson is that these two women stuck together and it made the journey more tolerable for both of them. When Ruth met her husband-to-be, it was Naomi who recognized what was happening and gave the advice that helped Ruth understand and respond to the encounter. Leaders must avoid going it alone, for they need the encouragement, admonishment, and wisdom from others who are more experienced, seasoned, creative and insightful than they are. Leaders must also be open to major change in order to come into all God has for them and their organizations.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to recognize your need to collaborate with other people in your leadership journey. These people must be committed to you and the organization's vision and be as open to your input as you are to theirs. Who do you have in your world now with whom you can collaborate more effectively? Ask God to help you see the people with whom you're supposed to partner, and then work to build meaningful, productive relationships with them.

W39D5 - Collaboration

"But Ruth replied, 'Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me'" - Ruth 1:16-17.

Ruth stayed loyal to her mother-in-law Naomi even though there was no apparent benefit to do so. Ruth left her homeland and went back to Israel with her mother-in-law and it was there that the unexpected happened: Naomi helped Ruth identify and win a potential suitor and the widow Ruth was soon married. That marriage led to Ruth becoming the grandmother of King David and part of Jesus' family tree. Leaders should not always evaluate partnerships by their apparent benefits or selfish return, but should look to align with people who have similar values to theirs. Those new partners can then bring new perspectives to situations that can produce unexpected and beneficial results.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine your current business or ministry partnerships. Do you have enough partners to achieve your vision? Are you only collaborating with people who think or act like you? Are you only looking for what you can received instead of what you can give in the partnership? Do these partners share your business values or are they a mismatch? Have you evaluated your partnerships solely on what they can give you or have you considered those to whom you can contribute something to make them more effective and stronger?

W34D5 - Collaboration

"You have increased the number of your merchants till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky, but like locusts they strip the land and then fly away" - Nahum 3:16.

Companies and organizations form alliances with their clients, suppliers, customers, employees, donors, volunteers, neighbors, local and national governments, and labor unions. These partnerships can be predatory, greedily vying to destroy the environment, competitors, rivals, and other organizations. These partnerships can also do tremendous good and produce positive results for both society at large and the people and companies involved in those relationships. Leaders create or perpetuate the culture and mindset of these partnerships, so it is up to that same leadership to set the tone for the type of partnerships and collaborative efforts of which their organizations will be a part.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Leadership Step today is to consider all the partnerships of which you are a part. Are you happy with the results they are producing? Do you like the spirit with which they function? What role can you play in helping to shape, mold, or change these collaborations into forces for positive change and societal contributions? It all points to the business philosophy with which you function and, as a leader, you get to mold the organization's mindset and culture daily.

W29D5 - Collaboration

"Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, 'Come,
let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised
men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing
can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many
or by few.' 'Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer
said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul'" - 1 Samuel 14:6-7.

Jonathan proposed a bold plan to attack the Philistines (something his father Saul with the army refused to do) and his armor-bearer agreed wholeheartedly to accompany him. Jonathan provided the leadership and his armor-bearer the followership and together they were able to create such a stir that eventually the army of Israel moved out of fear and attacked as well. Here we see that: 1) leaders provide adventure and purpose; 2) leaders need at least one follower to be a leader; 3) the armor-bearer also became a leader of Israel through his courageous followership; 4) courageous leaders and followers operate in faith; and 5) courageous followers encourage leaders to act on their leadership vision.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you creating enough exciting opportunities for people to express their followership? Today's Step is to identify your followers and their reasons for following. Are they following your vision or out of fear? Do they have faith or are they living off your faith? Can you speak to them and they respond with their own courage and vision? One other thing to consider: have you been a good follower when required so that you are reaping what you have sown?

W24D5 - Collaboration

"Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work" - Exodus 36:2.

Moses had a significant project to work onthe tabernacleso he assembled a team of creative people who had the skills to work on the task. Bezalel was the team leader and Oholiab was the assistant, while Moses was the CEO or director. The work was important and was completed according to the blueprints the Lord had given. Collaboration requires skill, leadership, and a level of cooperation among talented people that can produce exceptional results. Too often, however, leaders rely solely on their leadership or skills to produce remarkable results, expecting everyone else to fall in line and obey. If leaders want world-class results, then they must employ and build teams of people with world-class talent and giftsand manage and lead them accordingly.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Do you have the people with the right skills on your team, or are you trying to get exceptional results from people who don't have exceptional skills or who cannot work well with a team of equally or more talented people? Is your leadership and management a help or a hindrance to the cause? Your Step today is to assess each team member you currently have on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) based on their attitude, skill level, and willingness to learn. What are you prepared to do to improve the quality of your team, especially if you are part of the problem for their ineffectiveness?

W19D5 - Collaboration

"They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them
on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are
not willing to lift a finger to move them" - Matthew 23:4.

Jesus condemned the leaders of Israel who made heavy and hard work for others, while not doing anything to help them. It is similar to Pharaoh ordering the people to make bricks, but to also gather their own straw for the bricks. When leaders do this, they are reminding people of who is in charge and that they have the right to order work while being exempt from that same work. Effective leaders see their co-workers more as partners and not as someone to do the work they demand. These leaders also work to lighten the burden of their team members by eliminating needless rules and obstacles to creativity and productivity.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Do you make your team's work easier or more difficult? Today you will answer that question by circulating a memo to your team asking one question: if the organization could eliminate one thing - rule, procedure, meeting, role, behavior, or policy - to enhance your work effectiveness or happiness, what would that be? If you want honest answers, have people answer anonymously if they so choose. Be open to the fact that you are an obstacle!


KENYA UPDATE: $80 has come in so far toward the $500 matching challenge grant that expires this Sunday at midnight - give today and double your gift.

W14D5 - Collaboration

"Now to each one the manifestation
of the Spirit is given for the common good" - 1 Corinthians 12:7.

Leaders must learn to collaborate with their team members around projects and events related to the overall mission of the organization. In order to collaborate, the leader must not try to lead every aspect of the task, for team members will have different gifts and tasks that will necessitate the leader actually following them when they are functioning in their strengths and expertise. Secure leaders will be happy that the job is getting done;  insecure leaders will not collaborate but rather see themselves as the boss and everyone else there to serve his or her whims and wishes.

LEADERSHIP STEP: In order to collaborate, you need to know what your team members strengths and gifts are. So, you are going to ask them. Attached is a quote from management author Peter Drucker. Today you will schedule a two-hour staff meeting to take place this month. Circulate this quote to your team and inform them that you will be discussing this quote and set the focus for the discussion: will they answer for a specific project or work in general?

Download Drucker Quote

W9D5 - Collaboration

"Though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken" - Ecclesiastes 4:12.

Effective leaders build partnerships and collaborates with others on important projects. This is not just so the project can thrive, but also because the leaders have a desire to see other people grow and develop. Leader also realize they need the insight and talents the other people possess. What's more, this  gives leaders valuable insight into how team members function best for future projects and promotions. Finally, leaders who can build a broad base of support obtain the team's best creativity and total commitment to the project at hand.

LEADERSHIP STEP: It's time to evaluate your team members for their level of involvement and commitment. You can do this by conducting an evaluation yourself and then asking your team members how involved and engaged they feel as part of your team. What did you learn? What changes do you need to make to engage your team members more effectively?

W4D5 - Collaboration

"Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet,
with his armor-bearer right behind him. The
Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer
followed and killed behind him" - 1 Samuel 14:13.

Jonathan had a bold plan to attack the Philistines, but he needed help from his assistant to carry it out. No matter how bold a leader's vision is, he or she needs others to help make the vision a reality. Thus leaders need to learn how to collaborate with others - to be open to their input, assistance and expertise. This may require that leaders adjust their original vision as others contribute their own perspective. This is one sure way for leaders to secure buy-in from others so that the work will truly be a team effort.

LEADERSHIP STEP: How well do you collaborate with others? First, make a list of all those who are part of a team that you lead. Then journal your thoughts as to how well you are involving others in your leadership vision. Next, go ask them point blank how involved they feel, and compare their evaluation with your own to see how accurate you were. Finally, make adjustments to bring together the two perspectives to insure you are maximizing your collaboration.