It never was about you –

For me, it has been the most difficult week to be a spiritual leader.  The week concluded with the worship ministry team that I oversee being at one another’s throats, including an expression of hatred and blaming me for everyone’s issues.  After spending the night in tears and prayer and seeking the Lord direction, a calmness came over me when I realized the need to ask the team this question, “When did it become about you?” When a person is in ministry and processes the ministry through emotions and personal needs, rest assured that you are on your way to a fall. I think that says it all for this blog.

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Balance

All of us need a reasonable perspective on what we contribute to our world. When I am having my best day, I am still just one grain of sand in the beach of humanity. I have always kept in mind that if I take everything I know and put it all together, it likely fits into the fingertip of someone else’s knowledge. One of my expressions is, “Life is not a contest.” I am not in competition with anyone else which relieves me of the burden of trying to be on top. If I pursue the excellence that has been assigned to my life then I have fulfilled my quest. When I see you pursue the excellence of your life, then I  easily become one of your greatest cheerleaders. 

24K Leadership Thought – “It is a lot cheaper to keep your integrity then to try and buy it back.”

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24K Leadership

The reason this blog is named 24K leadership is partly because I have spent my life clarifying my name.  When asked what my name is, and I respond Kathy, I inevitably get, “Is that with a C or a K.” Another piece of the blog name is that 24K gold is pure gold which means it has been refined by fire.  Whenever I am speaking, I say, “I am not standing here because of my history of successes but because of my countless failures that I’ve learned to turn into experience.”  The leadership part of the title is my commitment to be a blessing to others by sharing my stories of God putting me through the fire to refine me. My educational journey has been a supplement to my life journey. From a high school dropout to earning a doctoral degree at the age of 62, I like to say, “The journey has been rugged but the scenery has been memorable.” 

24K Leadership Thought –

I remember when President Barack Obama first took office and there was a lot of focus on how much he values his time with family. I have often wondered what it was like for him the first time that he had to approve airstrikes that he knew would take lives, yet when he sat down to dinner with his daughters that night, he asked, “How was school today.” Leadership often carries a paradox of responsibilities. We are all responsible for information that we cannot share and yet we have to mix that with asking others, “How was school today.” 

As leaders who are Christians we must have an internal sense of balance. It comes from bringing the principles of the scripture into our lives so that we remain humble and consistently recognize that the only way we can do all things is through Christ (Philippians 4:13).

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Scar Tissue and Leadership

 

Jeremiah asked a question, Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered” (Jeremiah 8:22)?  Daughter is feminine and can mean exactly what it says, but it is also a word that means personification.  For example, if we say a person is smart as a whip, it doesn’t mean they are a whip.  It means that the quickness and strength of a whip is personified in that person’s intelligence.

Recently, I was in prayer crying out to God, “Why are the people still not healed?”

God replied, “Who said they aren’t healed?”

Huh????  God????  “Come on, Lord, just look around!  People are broken and messed up!”

God asked me the question again, “Who said they aren’t healed?”  Huh????  Like many of us in leadership, Peter is a character of developing leadership .  Peter stayed with Jesus until the ascension.  He was in the upper room.  He preached a mighty word.  Also like us, Peter missed a critical part of process.  Peter went on to have issues that clearly reflect his lack of wholeness.  As an example, he acted one way when he was with the Gentiles and another way when he was with the Jews.  He professed spirit but he continued to live under law.  His healing became scar tissue.

Are we more like Peter than we are able to see or want to admit?  Are we afflicted by our healing?   Is there scar tissue where the wound was closed? Scars are patches of skin developed over a wound after an episode of a previous injury, burn or cut. They are often more thickened than the rest of the skin. Both the previous skin and the scar have the exact same component – collagen.  Many of you are struggling and you think you are struggling with an area of your life that you believe needs healing, but I pose to you that it is not a wound that needs healing but spiritual scar tissue that has become the problem.

Scar tissue is part of the normal healing process in the body. Scar tissue that has not been properly remolded can become a problem.  Collagen cells gather but they do not know how to distribute so they clump which results in scar tissue.  The scar tissue area requires therapeutic intervention so that it redistributes evenly and avoids becoming problematic.  Scar tissue that is untreated remains clumped and can actually cause limited mobility or other physical interference for various areas of the body.  Initial injury – we have coping mechanisms thus emotional, spiritual, and psychological collagen rushes to the scene.

A wound takes place and intervention follows.  Scar Tissue is your issue – it stopped the wound, it was collagen rushing to the scene.  Yet you have not rehabilitated the site to reintegrate the tissue into the whole of who you are. God is saying to us, “You have only trusted me for the initial phase of the process.  You left me out of the rehabilitation.  You have completely negated the necessity of rehabilitation.  Little wonder then that just like the prophet’s words, even though there is healing and balm, the health of the daughter of my people is not recovered.” 

Your 24K Leadership thought – does your scar tissue need therapy?  You are worth it!

 

 

 

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All dressed up and nowhere to go –

Here is your 24K Leadership thought for today –

To say that a person is “all dressed up and nowhere to go” is an old expression implying that a person has planned for an event that doesn’t happen.  Let’s take a look at a common dilemma for believers in their attempt to apply the Ephesians 6 instruction about putting on our armor.  The pieces of the armor can be recited by small children, has been the prop to countless Sunday School lessons, is the subject of songs and jingles, and has a plethora of pulpit messages attached to it.  It has become an outfit to be purchased in Christian bookstores or can be made from cardboard covered by aluminum foil.  If we “google” the phrase armor of God, there are 12,700,000 results that appear in .030 seconds.  Most of us have likely been in a prayer meeting where we walked through the motions of putting on the armor.  The nagging question is, “What have been the results of us putting on the armor?” which circles us back around to the title.

Jesus’ ministry was results-oriented.  No wonder that He had the constant ability to talk about His relationship with His Father.  He said that He came to glorify His Father.  He said that He did nothing without the Father.  He said that He and His Father were one.  He said that He wished we were more like He and His Father.  A chief characteristic that Jesus displayed demonstrating His lineage is being results oriented.  Let’s go all the way back to Genesis where God began speaking, “Let there be . . .  and there was . . . (Genesis 1:3).”  Jesus’ ministry reflected the Father’s speaking ability, “Lazarus, come forth . . . (John 11:43).”  Jesus said, “. . . be whole . . . (Mark 5:34).”  Again and again, we can find examples of how closely Jesus mirrored the Father’s results-oriented speaking.  It begs the question, “What happens when we speak?”

Is there anything worse than putting on an outfit and having no agenda to match the attire?  Can you imagine putting on an evening gown or a tuxedo and just sitting around your house?  Can you imagine putting on your best outfit and waiting on the front porch with no itinerary?  The reason we get dressed up in the natural is in response to an invitation for a specific event or purpose.  Yet, we put on the whole armor and . . . .

According to Oxford’s online dictionary, a colon is a punctuation mark that separates two clauses of which the second explains or expands the first clause.  Ephesians 6:17 ends with a colon.  Paul lists every piece that we are to put on – the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, and the shield of faith – and then his writing pauses with a colon to conclude the list.  By what we just learned, the colon says that what is being said next explains what was just said.  What is coming is the reason or the purpose for what was said immediately before the colon.  And what is next?  Ephesians 6:18 (following the colon) says, “Praying . . . . “  There obviously is more, but let’s pause right there and say it again, “Praying . . . . “  The first word after the colon explains why we have the armor.  Our instruction to put on armor is for the purpose of praying.  This isn’t just any kind of praying, but this is results-oriented praying.  We are outfitted with armor so that we can pray.  We stand against the devil by praying.  We are all dressed up AND we have somewhere to go!

Here is your 24K Leadership Challenge for the day – be results oriented!

 

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The story of grace

In the Gospel of John 4:5-18, we find Jesus in conversation with the woman we have come to know as “the woman at the well.”  Jesus pauses their dialogue to ask her to go and get her husband.  She replies that she has no husband.  Jesus corrects her by saying she has had five husbands and is now in a live-in relationship.  The woman stating that she has no husband is not pertinent by her marital status.  Its relevancy is that she tried to bring only a portion of her story to grace.  That is why it is important that she told the people that she met someone who told her all the things she had done. It was never about her guilt.  It was about her story.  When we come to grace, we must bring the whole story.  To leave any part of the story out is to leave that piece out from under grace.  At some point, you must go back and get everything that you try to leave out from under the chapters of grace.   John 1:17 tells us that grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  “The glory of the law is the glory of realizing our deficiency. It reveals our sin before a holy God. How much more glorious is the grace of God which tells us we have a remedy for our problem! Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”[i] Mercy shows up whether we are a believer or not, but grace is a mindful connection to accepting what the presence of Christ will do in us.  Grace is the result of the action of believing.

Grace is a story demanding to be told.  It is the relationship where culture says the woman did not marry because she had no more dowry.  She was broken and broke.  She could not resolve the need for a relationship out of tradition or culture.  The man who chose to be in a relationship with her represents grace.  It was not profitable for him to take on a relationship with her.  He gained nothing from it.  The same way that this unknown man took a step down on the social ladder to take the hand of a woman he loved, so Jesus stepped down from glory to take our hand in grace.

Here is your 24K Leadership nugget – bring your whole story to grace and trust that its influence will transform your past to a bright future.  Our legalistic and media-driven society prompts leaders to hide their faults, but grace says otherwise.  Leadership does not come with a formula for becoming faultless. 24K Leadership knows that everything golden has gone through the fire.

[i] Bob Hoekstra. (n.d.) The grace of God.  Retrieved from Blue Letter Bible Website at https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/hoekstra_bob/grace/grace02.cfm?a=998016

 

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Elements of Successful Partnership

Exploring the keys to successful partnerships directs us to contemporary management theories. Many management theorists suggest that partnerships are one of the most effective leadership models for today’s economy. Partnerships go beyond collaboration or coordination of resources and skills by engaging an intra-dependent relationship. Simply put, “In partnerships, two or more entities or people come together for mutual benefit (Giesecke, p. 39).” Whether partners determine benefits to include profit, reputation, credibility, or other objectives, there are dynamics that must be in place. Those include common goals; risks and rewards that are real and shared; specified period of time; and a written agreement (Grant, 2010). The Gallup Corporation developed a Gallup Partnership Rating Scale based on 7 subscales that measure the following: common mission, fairness, trust, acceptance, forgiveness, communication, and unselfishness (Giesecke, 2012). Applying the Gallup analysis is useful to measure existing partnerships and to serve as a framework for developing partnerships.

In “Telling Truthful Stories,” Stephen Denning places a prime focus on trust for building and keeping successful partnerships. He encourages trust-building behaviors by, “. . . showing real concern, revealing vulnerability, sharing something of value, meshing, and a willingness to learn (p. 127).” Whether maintaining a current partnership or developing new partnerships, the steps to good partnering include fundamental similarities.   Likewise, the culture of partnerships uniquely embraces the acknowledgement of, “We need each other.” “Reciprocity – the give and take of information, the leveling of power relations, the sharing of vulnerability – allows and enables professionals to enter a deeper place of learning and being (Robertson, p. 55).” That dynamic gives permission for partners to be both leader and follower. Exemplary followers are proven critical thinkers who add value to their environment, work as a partner, and “. . . cultivate a courageous conscience (Hackman & Johnson, p. 59).” Returning Giesecke’s definition that includes mutual benefit, the principles of leadership and followership promote a dynamic of partners engaging one another to the advantage of each/both.

A primary key to successful partnership is the ability to be holistic in its delivery of services. By holistic, this writer refers to the intricate details of conducting business. An example is Deloitte Consulting. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the company spokesperson explained their success has “. . . a foundation based on strength, stability, and innovation (McCartney, p. 34).” Within the realm of their strength is noted to include the strategy of taking on the less-glamorous (details) of the supporting areas for their clients (McCartney, 2000). Partnerships take on an identity and personalize the participants through their business activity serves. That is a direct benefit to their customers / stakeholders. Partnerships epitomize the definition of great leadership as, “. . . the product of context plus the personal characteristics of the leader . . . (Hackman & Johnson, p. 78).”

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you may help them to become what they are capable of being. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Hackman & Johnson, p. 46).”

 

References:

Denning, S.J. (2007). The Secret Language of Leadership: How Leadersh Inspire Action Through Narrative. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Giesecke, J. (2012, January). The value of partnerships: Building new partnerships for success. Journal of Library Administration, 52(1), 36-52. DOI: 10.1080/01930826.2012.629964.

Grant, C. (2010, March). A partnership for creating successful partnerships. Information Technology & Libraries, 29(1), 5-7. Retrieved from Ebscohost.

Hackman, M.Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2013). Leadership: A Communication Perspective, 6th ed., Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.

McCartney, L. (2000, October 9). Deloitte Consulting riding high. Inter@ctive Week, 7(41), 34. Retrieved from Ebscohost.

Robertson, J. (2010). Learning through partnership: Challenging ways of seeing, being, knowing. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 4(12), 53-60. Retrieved from Ebscohost.

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