Leadership Lessons from Tidying Up

"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing"

Leadership Lessons from Tidying Up-2

Like many of you, I am still trying to work out some of the finer details from the goal setting that is so much a part of this time of year.  One of the goals that I have set for myself this year is to be more organized (less cluttered) in my own personal life. I have also set a goal of redeeming some of the lost time that I spend in my car while commuting to and from the office.  One of the ways that I am dealing with both of these goals is to listen to an audio book on tidying while I drive. Please don’t shame me, but listening to an audio book in the car is a first for me.

The book that I have selected is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. Marie Kondo is a Japanese cleaning consultant. She takes tidying to a whole new level.  She claims that if you properly simplify and organize your home just once, and you do it according to her “KonMari Method”, you’ll never have to do it again. Her method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results according to her book. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed back into their old cluttered lifestyle once they graduate from her class and the in-home process. Further, she claims to have a 3-month waiting list to have her consult with you in your home or office.

I love many things about Japanese culture. I value the simplicity of design and the almost stark or Spartan look to the interiors of many Japanese homes. For me, it is almost like walking into a hotel room. I am relaxed and energized by the uncluttered look and feel to a hotel room. Aside from a bed, a work surface, a TV and a coffee maker, most hotels lack many of the things that we feel we must have in our homes. Apparently, for me, that is not the case. In fact, I am usually extremely productive in a hotel room when it comes to creative activities and planning.

Why is that so?

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Leaders and Conflict

What can you do about it?

Leaders and Conflict

I have been thinking a lot lately about conflict and conflict resolution. I think we can all agree that some level of conflict is unavoidable. However, how we face it and whether or not we resolve that conflict says a great deal about our own leadership styles and abilities.

Consider the following statement by Warren Bennis, one of the foremost writers on leadership and organizational and management theory.

“Leaders do not avoid, repress, or deny conflict, but rather see it as an opportunity.” 

Leaders, this is one of your primary responsibilities. You cannot delegate this to one of your followers. Nor can you pretend that conflicts do not occur within the organization that you lead.

Conflict is unavoidable

I have spent much of my adult life working in the corporate world during the week and serving in a non-profit and volunteer organization on weeknights and weekends. And let me assure you that conflict is common to all organizations. Yes, you will even find conflict within churches and religious organizations. But we, as leaders, have the responsibility to sense conflict at its earliest stages and resolve it before it affects the entire organization.

True leaders do not avoid it nor do they run from conflict. I am not suggesting that they go and seek it out or that they invent it where it does not exist. But, great leaders must lead in times of calm and in times of conflict.

Conflict must be resolved

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Do You Know Where You Are?

That is the first question!

do-you-know-where-you-are

And, perhaps more importantly, do you know for sure what it is exactly that “got you here?”. Such is the dilemma that so many leaders and organizations face. They have no idea how they got “here.” And they have no clue how to get “there!”

A Really Good Book

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” is the title of Marshall Goldsmith’s book. It was published in 2007 and is available on Amazon via this link. I highly recommend the book. In that book, Goldsmith helps the reader how to handle what he calls the “paradox of success.” Goldsmith says that folks who have achieved success share some common characteristics that have attributed to their success. Unfortunately, it is those same characteristics that will make it difficult for them to adapt and to change to meet the needs of an ever-changing world.

Do you know where you are?

Goldsmith is great and he has sold way more books than I have. But, I see things a little differently from where I sit. My first question is this. Do you even know where you are?

If you don’t even know where you are, you have no way of determining if you are where you want to be. Sounds rather simple and fundamental, doesn’t it? Yet, so many fail to stop and take a look around to see where they are relative to their intended destination. Do you know where you are?

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The Persistent Pursuit of Leadership – Baidu

How persistent are you?

Persistent Pursuit of Leadership

There are many things that we take for granted in life. “Google” is probably high on that list. At least it was for me.  That was until I took my first business trip to China several years ago. I also didn’t realize until that trip just how important social networking sites like Facebook and Google’s search engine were to me.

I learned a lot on that first business trip back in 2014. And I learned some stuff in some very unexpected ways.

Most of the people that I spoke to while I was there about this did not really feel a sense of loss. Perhaps that is because they do not know what they are missing. Or, perhaps it is because there is an alternative that provides most of the features and functions of the suite of tools and portals that Google provides. China’s equivalent to Google is “Baidu”. Baidu exists because China has blocked Google’s access to the 1.2 billion people in the country through its state-sponsored filtering software.

Baidu Logo - LargeThe name, Baidu, was inspired by a poem written more than 800 years ago during the Song Dynasty. The poem compares the search for a retreating beauty amid chaotic glamor with the search for one’s dream while confronted by life’s many obstacles. Consider this line from that poem.

“…hundreds and thousands of times, for her I searched in chaos,
suddenly, I turned by chance, to where the lights were waning,
and there she stood.”

What is the leadership lesson here?

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The Tough Questions

Leadership Lesson from an Unusual Source

the-toughquestions

This is the time of year when many of us as leaders are “asking the tough questions” about our organizations. It is the time of year when we seek to evaluate and assess how our organization has performed and whether or not we have accomplished our goals in this last year.

I live in two worlds. One is a for-profit entity within the corporate world. That industry has been impacted significantly by the economic downturn and some economic policies that many folks would argue are hurtful and damaging to our opportunities to succeed. These economic times have caused us to reexamine our performance and how we go about our daily business. We have always prided ourselves in being an incredibly efficient organization. Much more so than our competitors. Well, these economic conditions have provided the opportunity to prove that theory. We know how to and we ask tough questions on a daily basis.

My other life is within the non-profit world. I spend as much, if not more energy, working in that world. It is painfully obvious that this world does not know how to ask these kinds of questions. Oh, we give “lip service” to asking them. But we really don’t.

Perhaps that is because these organizations are non-profit and ministry organizations. So, we feel that asking that kind of question would be too business-like, mean, or “un-Christian.” And when we do ask questions, they are usually not the right questions. And they certainly aren’t tough questions. They are usually softball questions or questions that don’t really offer any hope of getting to any root causes or issues.

The Unusual Source

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The In Between Week

What are you doing this week?

the-in-between-week

The week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is an interesting week. It begins with joy and excitement on Christmas morning. It has times of great peace and contentment as we enjoy the presence of loved ones in our lives. There are times of great frustration when our kids tell us they are “bored” two days after Christmas!

There are times of reflection as we approach January 1st and the start of a new year. What will it look like? What opportunities or challenges will it bring? We also take some time this week to look back at the year that is about to close.

What Does a Family Leader Do This Week?

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My Family and the Manger

Don't send them. Lead them!

my-family-and-the-manger

There are a lot of leadership topics that we have discussed in the 4 years since the start of Leadership Voices.  But today, I am focused on leading your family to the manger.

Everyone sings about the manger. We may even have a little manger scene on the platform at our church. Something glorious is about to happen.

No, not Santa.

Just like more than 2,000 years ago, while the world slept, Jesus was born!

Ok, maybe not exactly on December 25th.  But He was born on a night like that night.  It was a night with lots of activity.  For Joseph and Mary, it was the busyness of the census and traveling with the throngs of people as they all journeyed to their ancestral homes.  For many of us, it is the busyness of wrapping, cooking, cleaning and the mad rush to the 24-hour drug store as we realized that batteries really weren’t included.

It would be foolish of me to suggest or to try to eliminate all of the activities that accompany the modern Christmas season.  But I would speak to you men on this day.  I would speak especially to you husbands and fathers.  And if I am honest, I would speak to myself.  And what I would say is this:

Let’s lead our families and loved ones to the manger on Christmas morning.

And I am speaking literally here.  I don’t see this as just a figurative suggestion. Let’s actually lead our families to the manger in some form or fashion on Christmas day to worship Jesus Christ the newborn king. It would be easy to stay home and remind them that they need to go to church and just send them on their way. But don’t.

Don’t send them.

Lead them!

Leadership Can Be Messy

Leadership Lessons from Christmas Morning

leadership-can-be-messy

How many of you took a photograph of the kids all in the pile of torn paper, ribbons, and bows after all of the presents had been unwrapped on Christmas morning?

Oh, wait, you are one of those neat freaks who cleans up the wrapping as you go along? Well, read on anyway. It may have some entertainment value for you. If you are like most folks who have a giant mess in the middle of the floor after unwrapping presents, read on. There is an interesting leadership lesson to be learned.

Christmas morning can be a messy process

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