Monday, August 26, 2013

Courage: Don't Leave Home Without It

Award winning TV producer Mark Burnett with Willow Creek Pastor Bill Hybels

Courage is no longer for the warriors of the world. Increasingly, courage is required of every day people.  At the annual Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit - it was a recurring theme of day one of the two day leadership training event.  From the opening session with Willow Creek Community Church Senior Pastor Bill Hybels to the final interview session with Hollywood producer Mark Burnett, courage in leadership was practically demanded by every speaker. Courage with our calling and courage with our people were the top two areas emphasized.

We all have a calling in life. Some of us are called to lead companies. Other of us are called to lead teams. Many more are called to lead families. Regardless your calling, our WCA GLS  leaders reminded us, again and again, that courage in your calling is a dealbreaker. Attorney and entrepreneurial leader Bob Goff said, “If we were not afraid, we’d live the life worthy of our calling.”
He is right on point. The day we get a glimpse of what we are called do is the day we must decide to stare our greatest fears in the face and defy them. It is not a one-time deal, it is a daily decision to get up and pursue our life’s work. Our calling deserves our attention and accountability. We owe it to the calling to live no other way. How else will we motivate the people we do life with to join us in the calling if we ourselves are afraid to go for it.


People in our lives need us to be courageous as well. Whether it’s the family you lead or the team at work, the people we lead expect us to have the courage to take care of the entities we head. We must ensure that the environment we lead is a healthy one where the inhabitants can grow and flourish. Business strategist Patrick Lencioni challenged us to know the people who work with us. Take an interest, make certain we know our people so that they can live up to their best potential and have the courage to face their own callings.

Relational courage is of utmost importance in our lives both in business and personal settings. Burnett stated that “unresolved emotional conflict drains the energy from an organization.” It takes courage to face conflict with others. It takes courage to root out toxic behavior. We cannot move toward our collective or individual calling without courage in our relationships.

Take a moment this week to look for ways to be more courageous in your calling and with the people you do life with.

Monday, August 19, 2013

3 B's of Back To School

Relationships Matter Now wishes students of all ages a great back-to-school season.  We also have a few pieces of advice as you go back to school.

Be Confident

You have all you need to conquer this new school year inside. Be confident in what you've learned to date knowing it has prepared you for the new things you will learn this year. Remember, the way you start is the way you finish. Go in full of confidence that you will have a great year and that is what you will have. Leave fear and apprehension at the door. Be confident that all you need to be successful in this new school year is within you.

Be Relaxed

All the activity to get back into the school routine can mess with your nerves. Relax. Really. Relax in the confidence we just spoke about. Make sure you get enough sleep; that may mean getting to bed earlier than normal in the early days due to the anxiety. Nothing makes us more relaxed than a full tank of energy and you only get that from getting the proper amount of rest. You have a clean slate. Now relax and enjoy it.

Be You

Without question, the most important thing to remember for the new year is to be you. Go into this new school year being fully who you are. Embrace yourself and all the quirky qualities you bring to the party. You are the only "you" there is and the world needs you, your perspective and your style. It is tempting to blend in to "fit in," but that is a recipe for disaster. Now more than ever, it is critical to just "do you" and let those who appreciate you into your life while repelling those who don't.

This new year is going to be great. Take the time to be confident, be relaxed and be yourself as you start. We are all cheering for you!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Which YOU Do You Do?

Coming off an incredible 48 hours of intense leadership training, my head is still spinning, 2 days later. All the incredible knowledge from lawyers, doctors,  Ivy League professors, corporate gurus, international pastors and some of the every day people like me who covered the event on the digital experience team is just bursting from my brain.

The one thing I feel compelled to share now, as I sort thru the most important nuggets to make action around in my life and business, is the point of "which you do you do?"

Meaning, which "you" do you do most often in your life? We all have this aspirational "you" - the person we idealize in our heads and if asked, is most likely the "you" we describe when folks ask us for a self-description.  The person who has specific principles and values that we can quickly rattle off. Many of us also have the "real" you that vaguely resembles the "you" on paper. This the  "you" that shows up in our every day living that rarely actually uses those principles and values that we hold "close to our hearts."

Over and over as I listened to talk after talk, I kept challenging myself with this question, "do I really live up to the me I have dreamed in my head?" I would nod in agreement to many principles that were given and then ask myself, "do I live out those principles as often as I can?" I would peer deep into my own consciousness and look for inconsistencies as I furiously agreed and co-signed with many of the topics and themes discussed at the WCA Global Leadership Summit. Speaker after speaker referred to the important work of being honest on who you are, where you are so that you can make goals to be better. 

I am happy to report that after much self-reflection, I'm congruent. The "me" in my heart and on paper is very close to the me I live. I even checked in with a couple of close advisers and they agreed with my conclusion. This was super important to me as I invest regularly in my own personal growth and development. One of the "returns" on my investments is the ability to actually see my own values and principles put into action on a regular basis. It's not enough for me to "hear" and have my values reinforced if I am not actually converting that into action in my life and business.

Now, I throw the challenge to you. Have you made an effort to ensure that the "you" on paper and in your heart is aligned with your daily living? Do you make choices that honor your principles and values regularly? Are there people around to help you in this endeavor of being the best "you" you can be? If the answer is not in the affirmative to each question, that is OK. Taking the time to reflect and ask those questions are the first step to getting you there. But I challenge you to get to work on this immediately.

Regardless the theme or topic, it is imperative that the "you" you do every day lines up to the "you" you value most. One way to experience life the way you've dreamed is to bring your dream world into reality, starting with you.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Focus on 'Followership": The Secret To Great Leadership

Retired General Colin Powell shook up the WCA Global Leadership Summit today by challenging leaders to focus on a little talked about aspect of leadership - the importance of "followership."

"You are nowhere without followers who want to follow you," were his exact words. General Powell went on to make three quick points to drive home the importance of great leaders focusing on followership as the secret sauce to solid leadership. 

I'm Not Getting The Work Done

Any good leader recognizes that they need their people to get their vision converted to action. But a great leader understands that the work itself is done by his/her followers. Great leaders make no illusions and they recognize and empower their people to the work thy are charged with doing. 

Everyone Has A Purpose

Great leaders understand that every person in the organization they lead, no matter the role, is important. Just as an organization has its purpose, so does each individual contributor. It is a great leader who can draw the purpose of each person on their team and ensure they know it. 

It's Always About The Followers 

Our leadership depends on our followers. No ifs ands or buts - without followers, you are not a leader. So, everything you do as a leader should be about your followers. You must figure out how to build an environment where your followers flourish. You must figure out how to empower every person you lead to get you closer to your organization's goals and objectives. 
As we seek to grow as leaders, we'd all bode well to follow in the footsteps of retired General Colin Powell and take time, often, to focus on our followers. Build up our followers as a means of strengthening your leadership. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Grow With Me At The Global Leadership Summit!

 Each August, I have an appointment with myself to recharge my batteries. Some years, there are multiple recharges but every August, since 2006, I have recharged my leadership batteries at the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit.

As a leader, it is my obligation to grow- every day of every year. I take this obligation very personally and I intentionally set out each year to grow. Part of my process includes two days of focused learning from a cross-section of leaders from around the globe. I unplug from my normal daily duties to absorb nuggets of wisdom and I've always shared those with my tribe throughout the two days.

The Global Leadership Summit is hosted by Willow Creek Association and is crafted to to infuse vision, skill development and inspiration for the sake of local church transformation. That is the intent but the GLS is also an incredible catalyst for marketplace transformation as well. In fact, that is what first attracted me to the summit to begin with. In addition to pastors doing incredible feats around the world to further the gospel, key global leaders from government and the private sector have graced the stage to teach as well. I credit the GLS as being one of the many factors to convince me to venture out as an entrepreneur. Business leaders I'd admired and respected have come to share their journey as well as young entrepreneurs who are changing the world in their own way. There was even an international rock star on the roster back in 2007.

This year will be no exception.  Come Thursday, I will be among some of the greatest church and marketplace leaders in the world for two days of learning, sharing and most importantly,  growing. In addition to my normal expectation to grow personally, I am part of the @wcaglas digital experience team  and will share my perspective with a broader audience.

Be sure and follow along:

Twitter: @DeniseWBarreto

Join our conversation!