clarity

The Most Potent Step

“Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” Proverbs 24:3,4. All of you who own or run a business know the breadth of issues that literally bombard you daily, particularly given the speed of information and pace of events these days. The sheer volume of concerns clouds your vision—you sometimes cannot see the forest because the trees are in the way.

Making progress often feels like moving a pile of boulders by hand—it takes a lot of effort to advance a short distance.

Take a moment to focus on your own “pile of boulders”. Is it a process, an employee, a department, or a client that is holding your business back? Is it cash flow, equipment, legislation or competition that is stifling growth?

Convene can help through our method of wise counsel; members are escorted through a group process that brings clarity around the most potent step that will move their business along by:

  1. Asking questions for clarification on the issue,
  2. Referring to Scripture for wisdom, and
  3. Making recommendations for consideration.

Clarity can come in the form of a different perspective from another member or affirmation that your decision is a valid one.

Convene Chairs are trained to help you distill business and life issues down to the most potent action that, when executed well, will accelerate growth.  Often times you sense what that direction is but it is choked among the weeds of impending issues.

The process doesn’t end; from there comes encouragement and accountability. Encouragement in the form of support, prayers and even “cheer leading” from your Convene peers. Accountability through reporting back to the group of your success, or adjusting your plan, which in turn encourages others to take potent steps.

It’s like clearing a log jam on a river or a clogged drain. When you remove the obstacle, there is a rush of action and things flow again. Movement is good.

Do you feel relief just thinking about that?

“Without consultation plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”  Proverbs 15:22

The Convene points of difference: A conversation among Convene chairs

Convene Chairs eat their own cooking. They get together and work challenges and opportunities just like the CEO teams they gather. In a recent conversation we talked about how we have come to understand and respond to the question that often comes:  "What are the points of difference between Convene and other peer-based advising groups for CEOs and business owners?"

 

Our answer? We have:

* An Essence Process (that distills the team's best thinking)

* The Holy Spirit Co-Creating Wise Counsel (with like-minded peers)

* A Safe Peer Environment Committed to the Ongoing Transformation of the Leader (producing trust, vulnerability and speed of decision-making)

 

These elements, when combined, lead to greater clarity sooner.

 This in turn, empowers our members to make more confident decisions, grounded in deeper understanding for greater (Kingdom, business and family) impact.

Three great temptations wage war against a CEO:  fear, pride and confusion. When a CEO does not have clarity on the issue at hand, on God's will for them and their stewardship of the company, or on a particular opportunity, it is nearly impossible to act dutifully. Fear, pride and confusion block right and timely action.

 

The alternatives are twofold:

1) To not act, delay the decision, gather more facts, avoid, put off, minimize, rationalize or spiritualize.

2) To act with compromised effect based on un-clarity of purpose, opportunity, etc.

 

By engaging a Convene Team with a tough issue, a CEO is:

1)   Humbling themselves by submitting their pride to the counsel of the team, thereby counteracting the enemy's tool of pride;

2)   Gaining truth, wisdom, insight and clarity, thereby counteracting the enemy's tool of confusion;

3)   Gaining depth as a leader, borrowed experience and encouragement from others thereby counteracting the enemy's tool of fear.

 

"For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace." (1 Cor 14:33 - ESV)

It is interesting that Paul, who wrote those words, creates a dichotomy between confusion and peace.

And so, we answer the question about the Convene distinctive as more confident decisions, grounded in deeper understanding for greater (Kingdom, business and family) impact... and personal peace.

 


 

Convene Chairs

-Harris Wheeler

-Marcus Bigelow

-Mark Vincent

-Michael Powers

-Mike Petty

-Ron Hoover

-Todd Kemp

Communicate Like You Don't Work Here Anymore

I was chatting with a friend who recently left a ministry job in which he’d been very effective, yet was not appreciated for his talents and efforts and as such was considerably underpaid.  Plus he admitted that he wasn’t listened too. While my friend loved the ministry and the job, he was in essence forced to look elsewhere for a job from which he could support his family, as well as feel appreciated and rewarded for his efforts. I was stunned when my friend told me that after he’d notified his boss that he was leaving, they were able to sit down and have a better conversation about the job, expectations, pay and goals than at any other time during his two-year employment.  His comment was “I wished we could have talked like this when I was still with the organization.” 

How did this happen? I thought about my friend – passionate about the ministry he’d worked for. He gave it his all, and had done a great job in helping it grow in effectiveness. By all accounts he was very good at what he did. Now he was going to a new (and hopefully better opportunity), while the ministry he left was now in the position of having to replace a valuable team member with somebody new. My sense is they’ll be lucky to hire someone as good.

As I thought about what happened I asked myself why my friend and his former boss didn’t have their really good discussion (or perhaps several of them) prior to his leaving? That could have been a game-changer…with perhaps drastically different results than what happened.  Isn’t that what a ‘healthy’ organization would do?

Pat Lencioni, considered by many the ‘father’ of organizational health, identifies 4 essential elements of team health:

  1. Build a cohesive leadership team
  2. Create clarity
  3. Over communicate clarity
  4. Reinforce clarity

In case you missed it, the word CLARITY is used in 3 of the 4 disciplines. Could Mr. Lencioni be trying to emphasize the importance of CLARITY? My friend might ask why clarity is so hard, and how can we learn clarity to learn better, more healthy teams?

Maybe we’re not clear because we fear confrontation, or perhaps we’re not paying attention, or thinking the other person knows what we are thinking, or don’t know how to be vulnerable with the rest of the team? Or perhaps all of the above.

Whatever the reason, the only way clarity can be exhibited, practiced, and perfected, is through effective communication. As servant leaders, it is our responsibility to lead the effort to practice excellence in being clear with our team. Here’s a short list of some of the most effective ways to accomplish this:

  1. Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31) - pay attention to them, show you care for them.  Put them first.
  2. Seek first to understand, then to be understood (a corollary of #1 by Stephen Covey).
  3. Ask lots of questions (Jim Alampi suggests your questions / statements ratio should be 20:1).  Good questions dig the holes that provide ‘wells’ of solutions.
  4. Listen. Listen well. Then listen some more.
  5. Be vulnerable and transparent. Your leadership in this area will bring about the same in the rest of your team. If you’re not vulnerable your team won’t be either.
  6. Over communicate (Lencioni says that when your team begins to mimic you that you’ve achieved the proper level of communication!). It is almost impossible to over communicate!

Create clarity – over communicate clarity – and reinforce clarity. Focus on that and you won’t end up having your best conversation with a team member after he leaves your firm. And you’ll have to hire one less person.

Light for the Road Ahead

Imagine yourself driving late on a dark night…in the country…on a county blacktop road…fields of crops on both sides…no one else seemingly on the road… no other lights to speak of… just you driving with your headlights on. Your headlights provide just enough light to see the road immediately ahead and drive safely. For good measure, we can flip on our high beams for a little extra distance. Note — We do not see our destination, we do not see miles ahead, we do not see the next intersection or town until our headlights illuminate it as we draw closer  

Yet, the light is adequate, sufficient. Seeing only to the end of your headlights…you can make the whole trip that way!

Don’t know what you want to say or do?  Proceed with faith anyway. Clarity often emerges from our trust in the Lord and stepping out of the boat; it doesn't precede our work. Often we grip too hard to a specific outcome / “destination” when we are given just the right amount of light to keep moving and take the next step. Drive on…