Welcome marathoners in and for Christ. (1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1; 2 Timothy 4:7) Exhausted, depleted from running the Godly, good, and being-a-blessing-to-others race? Welcome. Sit. Relax. Let’s feast.
Feast of the Heart exists to help bring about Christ-centered “reformation, revival, and constructive revolution” (Francis Schaeffer, Death in the City) so that God will be glorified and people blessed.
Reformation… we seek to abide by and serve up the true truth, pure doctrine of the Bible
Revival… we seek to model biblical Christians living in word and deed
Constructive Revolution… we seek to spread the true gospel right where God has planted us with urgency, compassion, and radical self-abandonment
What is at the heart of leadership for you?
Recall in Part 1 of this 3-part series I asked Training Table leaders what “rung” or part on the OEM [Organizational Effectiveness Model, insert image] would they say is their “go-to” as they do what leaders are called to do? E.g., “The #1 responsibility of a leader is to execute the vision-mission of the organization. 70% of CEO’s are relived of their duties due to the lack of execution of the vision-mission.” (“Why CEO’s Fail”, Ram Charan, Fortune Magazine, June 1991)
Again, as a reminder of last week, each of the seven parts of the OEM represents a leadership execution / communication opportunity—that will add a great deal to his or her success in executing the vision-mission of the organization… or detract is left undone.
70% of leaders leave it undone. Please commit to being part of the 30% who get ‘er done!
Even though a few, including myself, have offered the best answer in various forms, it seems to elude us. Why? Its “simple-sappiness” [Hallmark Card-ish] AND its “emotional threat-worthiness” [humanity’s instinctive fear of disclosure] tempts us to ignore the profundity and the potential journey towards good-to-great leadership—when we talk about the heart of it in this way:
“The heart of the matter of leadership is a matter of the heart.”
And even though this is absolutely true, do we have the vaguest idea of what it really, thoroughly, deeply means?
The heart of ANY human being is the centerpiece of what he or she expresses in words and in deeds, BUT, the heart of a leader is exponentially important and influential—because leaders exert an exponential amount of influence on just about everything, right? Leaders need to know what their own heart consists of FIRST, before they exert any influence on the words and actions of other hearts! But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…
The 20,000′ Level: Getting to the Heart of the Heart (The Weeping, Window, and the Way, by John Dozier)
“Scripture calls King David “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:13-14), though he faced the same temptations you and I face each day. When confronted with his most grievous sin of adultery, he dropped to his knees and confessed, “Against you [God], you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…” (Psalm 51:4). David’s weeping and penitential prayer serves as a powerful example for us. He recognized the internal cause of his external sins, the “sin beneath the sins”, that had dethroned God and had made adultery and murder first possible, then attractive, actionable, and finally consummated. It all began within David’s heart; and not with what might have been a perfectly innocent glance at Bathsheba bathing across the way.
The word “heart” and its various synonyms show up in the Bible over 1,500 times. Does that tell you something about the high priority God places on your heart? Does it compel you to consider how high a priority you place on the true nature and condition of your own heart? When I first came to realize and understand this emphasis in Scripture and began to discern the distinction between the heart and the spirit, it radically transformed my perspective. How important it is that we give our hearts the kind of focused attention God gives them, the kind of scrutiny Jonathan Edwards did—as recommended by Harold Simonson, an imminent Edwards biographer.
“No secrets of the heart and mind remained hidden when Jonathan Edwards called for self-scrutiny. . . . This meant the relentless need to distinguish between the true and false affections; between those affections having to do with a redeemed heart, and those darkened by sin. To clarify these distinctions was Edwards’ purpose in his life and in seeing the Great Awakening come to pass.” (Harold Simonson)
[That’s worth reading over again…]
In God’s good creation, the heart is the seat of the entire self. It includes our worldview, core commitments, values, and our idealized image of how the world should be. What is your heart’s default mode? What do you think about when you are experiencing no pressure to think about anything else? What sorts of ideas, hopes, and ambitions most regularly compete for ascendancy in your heart? What do you most hope to accomplish in life? For what would you practically die to achieve? Pause for a moment right now. Before you go on, think it through. In your heart of hearts, on what do you focus? In the margin of this book, finish this sentence ‘If only I . . .'”
Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and Your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” (1 Samuel 15:24) The heart condition of far too many leaders is that they fear man more than they fear God. And this all too common heart condition get’s everything else leadership is about off to a very bad start.
For the Most Effective and Enduring Leadership, There is No Better Place to Start
I would challenge anyone to find a better, more serious, real, and robust place to begin than a favorite quote of mine On Leadership [happens to be the title of the book by John Gardner from whence it came], “Effective, enduring and memorable leaders set a vision and use their authority to create an environment where people can contribute to the vision’s success and flourish doing so. Leaders are environmentalists.” (John Gardner)
What leader among us has a passion and the competencies needed for the care and feeding of a human being at work? If any leader leads other human beings in a largely dispassionate way, the is no breadth or depth of competencies which will make him or her an effective, enduring, successful leader: his or her heart isn’t in it.
Even though Gardner doesn’t offer an explicit, Bible- / God-based connection between “a vision, the people, and their flourishing”, this is where all truly good-to-great leadership must begin: A knowledge of God; a knowledge of His Image Bearers; a knowledge of self; a knowledge of organizational effectiveness; an “inside team” to help him or her see blind spots; the day-in, day-out beauty and duty of attending to the people’s flourishing; a knowledge of the marketplace / customer, and measures of success or failure used to amend the plan.
When an Image Bearer of God is empowered to help achieve a vision-mission, there are no limits. “Vision animates, inspires, transforms purpose into action.” (Warren Bennis)
Have you ever been in a natural and/or man-made greenhouse and seen plants cared for in ways that are most advantageous to their flourishing? Every detail about the environment is most carefully, intentionally, and correctively [if something goes awry] attended to. The beauty of the place can be staggering; the duties involved in caring for it should be a delight! I’m afraid for many leaders it is not…
When neglected, it’s most often due the drudgery of the leadership duties… because the beauty of the Image Bearers, the people-part of the organization, is unknown, degraded and despised within a leader him/her self, and eventually commoditized and treated like so much chattel or nonessential overhead.
This is a crime; and an all-too-common one at that: 52.3% of Americans are unhappy at work. And too much research neglects to take into account some awesome data that we’ll close Part 2 with today. Please take a very close look at the top-ranked verbatim when people were asked “What matters most at work?” AND my addition in the form of the various “rungs”, parts on the OEM that leadership MUST ensure is real, robust, and roundly / regularly communicated by him or herself:
Gallup Research Workplace Audit: The Most Important People Issues for Growing the Business [assuring success at any organization]
- “At work I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.” (RE: Vision / Mission / Core Values / Alignment)
- “The vision/mission and values of the company makes me feel my job contributes.” (RE: Vision / Mission / Core Values / Strategic Roadmap / Alignment)
- “I have a best friend at work.” (RE: Core Values / Personal Responsibility)
- “At work, my opinions seem to count.” (RE: Core Values)
- “My work associates are committed to doing quality work.” (RE: Vision / Core Values / Personal Responsibility / Alignment / Job Performance Review Process)
- “In the last year I have been given opportunities to learn and grow.” (RE: Mission / Core Values / Alignment / Personal Responsibility)
- “I have the resources I need to do my work right.” (RE: Core Values / Strategic Roadmap)
- “In the past seven days, I have received recognition or praise for good work.” (RE: Core Values / Alignment / Personal Responsibility)
- “The person I report to seems to care about me as a person.” (RE: Core Values / Alignment / Personal Responsibility)
- “In the past six months, someone has talked to me about my progress.” (RE: Core Values / Alignment / Personal Responsibility)
- “There is someone at work who encourages my development.” (RE: Core Values / Alignment / Personal Responsibility)
Please note not ONE “key employee / human satisfier” is tied to extrinsic motivators. E.g., compensation, benefits, material perks, etc. These sample key satisfiers are tied to intrinsic values which—DON’T MISS THIS—far too many leaders can’t empathize with within their own heart!
“It’s not what the vision is, it’s what the vision does.” (Peter Senge)
Now we’re getting very close to the challenge of leadership: One Being Fully Human—While Fully Leading Humans
Can’t wait to see all of you marathoners in and for Christ at The Training Table next week,