Bears. Trains & You

Have you ever heard the story about two guys in the woods and a bear? The bear walks up to them and is clearly hungry.  The two guys look at each other and run. One of the guy’s motivation is to outrun the bear. The other guy’s motivation is to simply outrun the other guy.  Why? It’s pretty simple. Once the bear catches up with the other the guy trailing behind, he won’t pay attention to the other man who is still running because he’ll be eating. 🙂 

As I start this process of raising up leaders for our organization, I am sometimes tempted to lead out of the mindset of the man who just needed to outrun the other man in the woods.  Can you just outlast or outrun the others in your generation?

As younger generations start to emerge in more prominent positions of leadership, it’s easy to look down on them thinking there isn’t a lot of hope or that their generation is lost.  It’s an arrogance in our own thinking that young leaders can’t do things as well or better than we can simply because they accomplish things differently than we do.

I think it’s time to help train young leaders to outrun the “bears” around them, not just others in their generation.  

So how do we do that?  

I think young leaders could lead in amazing ways, probably even better than we can.  How do we set young leaders up for success?

I personally have 19 Habits that I bring any leader through.  This is something I started doing when I worked at a manufacturing plant assembling automotive parts.  I’ve used these 19 habits in both manufacturing and church settings.

When you envision a leader in your influence being successful, what helped that leader become successful?  What habits, attitude, or thought process helped them succeed?

If you lead others, I think it’s crucial that you plan ahead.  It’s so easy and tempting to simply live and work in the daily grind of life.  Things happen, but if we never take time to plan ahead, we’ll fail. Let’s look at the industrial revolution as an example.  Imagine if the inventors of the locomotive spend so much time, energy and resources into this invention that had the potential to change the world, and that’s it.  They never spend time thinking or planning for how the train would get from point A to point B. They had a well-oiled machine, but nowhere to go, because there wasn’t a method to transport the well-oiled machine.  

Take trains and railroads for example.  In the 1800’s, the railroad was the latest technology that changed the world, especially the United States.  

In the early stages, companies had to focus on the train itself.  Without a method to transport the train, it was pretty useless. So, the next thing they had to think about was the railroad.  This was the platform to transport the train from the east coast to the future destination. Once the train and railroad were developed, they needed a destination.  

Head West Young Man!  

That’s exactly what happened.  The railroads headed west. The way humanity moved at this point was on land by muscle, either human muscle or by a horse.  The invention of trains literally changed the world. Places like the Hamptons became destinations for the wealthy people to escape the city with more ease.  In 1869 on May 10th, our country was changed forever. The ability to head west from the east coast was made possible with ease upon the completion of the transcontinental railroad.  

Railroad companies spent time building trains, railroads and future destinations.  This process has transformed America in more ways I can explain in this blog. Suburbs became a reality due to the ease of commuting from work to home.  Vacation destinations, like the Hamptons, became a reality. Time zones were established based on the train schedules for arrivals and departures.

Leaders, as we develop other leaders and the processes we will use in our workplaces, schools and families, don’t expect instant results.  We might underestimate what the rewards of long-term faithful obedience in one direction could be. I’d encourage us to stay faithful in developing leaders and our processes. It’s so tempting to jump ship because we might not see the results we are hoping right away.  The reward for sticking to a plan is there. Don’t give up because you might not see the results right away.

Leaders, we need to spend time developing our product, our delivery systems, our future destinations and goals.  Helping develop young leaders is one great way to help that process take place. Empowering young leaders will carry our mission further and faster than we ever expected.  

As we develop young leaders and focus on the product, systems of development and future destination, we help our leaders outrun the “bears” they’ll face in the wild of the emerging economy and culture we live in today.  

Photo by Hans Veth on Unsplash


Past, Present and Future: It’s a Generational Perspective

I was recently asked a question in a somewhat formal interview.  “What do you do with the millennials in your organization that you lead?”  My response was pretty simple, “I lead them…”. I didn’t quite understand what the individual was asking me.  She was more pointed than I expected her to be. Her view of millennials in the workplace was an almost always negative one.   I realize that there might be reasons to be negative toward individuals within a generation, but to write off an entire generation because of a few interactions with those individuals, seems a bit extreme.

Her question, however, got me thinking.  Why do people who might be of the older generation have a negative mindset toward millennials and the other emerging generations?  (To clarify, the millennial generation isn’t emerging. Millennials have arrived. I know millennials who are CEO’s, have kids, own houses, lead organizations and lead them well).  The lady who asked me this particular question this day used an example she heard from a conference she attended. The statement went something like this. “Baby Boomers and Gen Xer’s are used to, and are willing to, work 50 – 60 hours per week… companies are reluctant to let them retire because millennials simply aren’t willing to work that much.”

I believe this with everything in me, yes there are lazy millennials, just like there are lazy Gen Xer’s and Baby Boomers.  Lazy individuals exist in every generation. The reality of our era is that millennials and the emerging generations are merely living up to the expectations their parents created for them.  Want to know why younger people expect participation awards for everything? Their parents, who led their little league and soccer leagues growing up, gave them to them, so no one had their feelings hurt. The purpose of this blog is to inspire a partnership among the represented generation and venture hopefully into the future.    I responded to her statement by saying “What if millennials could do the same amount of work without having to put in the same amount of hours each week?”

In the same meeting, another gal asked me a question that arrested my attention long after the meeting was over.  This gal asked me, “Why should we rethink church?” The organization I currently lead is a church. The name of the church is RE.THINK Church.  I gave her the elevator pitch that I have crafted since 2015. After the meeting was over, I couldn’t shake the thought though. Why should we rethink church?   I asked myself over and over again, “What if BlockBuster would have rethought how people should watch movies? What if ToysRUs thought differently about how people purchased toys for their kids?”   I don’t think the church is any different or any less vulnerable to the changing climate around us.

There’s a guy I listen to almost every week, Brady Shearer.  His company’s tagline goes something like this, “we’re living through the biggest communication shift in over 500 years…”  He’s right. In 2018, I don’t think we can appreciate how the printing press changed things for the communication game. I’m not sure we’ll understand what the internet’s potential is in our lifetime.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t or should think how we accomplish what we accomplish.   Think through what your organization does, not ask yourself how does your organization achieve that responsibility.

I’m not convinced it’s enough to move our platform to a digital platform.  I believe we need to rethink our how’s. I’m convinced that partnering with each generation represented is a crucial factor.

I’m a bit of an anomaly.  Technically speaking, I’m part of a microgeneration.  I was born in 1981. I remember rotary phones and dial-up.  I remember only being able to watch TV when the networks wanted me to, instead of when I wanted to.  I remember a day without cell phones or the internet. I remember not receiving a participation award and being ok without it.  I remember realizing trophies were for the champions because we didn’t celebrate mediocrity.

There is a tension in workplaces due to all the generations represented.  Companies need to brace themselves for a mass exodus of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.  That is inevitable. It’s happening no matter how we feel about it. Everyone in human history stops working at some point.  People will either retire or die. Every day, 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age. Most Baby Boomers aren’t retiring, however.

The generations behind the Baby Boomers are just playing the waiting game.  The positions that most Baby Boomers hold are the cherished positions.

Companies need to realize that the game is changing on us as we are playing it.  What got us here won’t get us to where we need to go.

This tension, however, isn’t going anywhere.  I don’t think this tension needs to be fixed, only managed.  Here’s the tension Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have put in the work to get us HERE.   We can’t ignore their efforts. We can’t merely think that what they have sacrificed and worked for over the years is pointless.  In my line of work as a pastor, we have a history of over 2,000+ years. To ignore the legacy of church leaders who have gone before I would ridiculous.

Like I mentioned before, what got us HERE won’t get us THERE.  If we only move our platforms to a digital platform, it won’t be enough.

Millennials can come across as almost aloof to the efforts of previous generations.  Leaders of communities, organizations and other companies seem to have a significant issue with working with or leading Millennials because of this trait.  I’ve seen this first hand. I’ve also experienced Millennials learning HOW to accomplish tasks in different ways to achieve more work in the same amount of hours or less than their older co-workers.

I worked at a company that is a first tier automotive supplier.  While working there, a customer changed their expectations from us.  As the supplier, we had to change with the game. Our team struggled to reach our production goals and satisfy the expectations of the customer.  After a few days of a new production system and purposes, we came to realize that one station in our assembly process was the bottleneck. No matter who we put there and no matter what we tried to do, the bottleneck never got better. As a result of this bottleneck and others, we missed shipments, missed production goals, long shifts, no weekends.

While trying to solve our problem, a 19-year-old showed up named Ray.  I was showing Ray around the assembly line and explaining what we were doing as a production team.  He observed the bottleneck and asked if he could try something. We had been doing anything and everything we possibly could at this station with very little success.

Ray stepped in was trained by the associate who had been working at this company longer than Ray had been alive.  The experienced associate watched and ensured what Ray was doing was what the operation manual said to do. She also ensured Ray was performing the task with safety and quality first.  Ray caught on quickly. Like really fast. Ray figured out a way to assemble the parts more swiftly than anyone else who had run that particular station. Ray eventually trained the rest of the team about his process.  It was evident that Ray could accomplish more work in the same amount of time, if not less time, than associates who had worked at the company for decades.

I wonder what would happen if companies would prepare for the inevitable departure that is going to occur of the older generations as they reach retirement age and leave the workforce.  What would happen we could partner the generations together and have millennials learn from older generations and vice-versa.

It’s arrogant for millennials to believe the older generations don’t matter.  It’s foolish for leaders who might be of the older generations to think they don’t have to change to accomplish their goals.

The companies that survive and thrive in the next 10-15 years will be the companies that don’t confuse the WHAT  with the HOW. Blockbuster might still be around if they would have rethought how people watched movies. The reality is, they confused the HOW with the WHAT.  People are still watching movies. We just aren’t watching them by renting a movie on a disk from a storefront. We watch Netflix.

Leaders, don’t be the version of Blockbuster in your industry.  Think outside the box. Ask Millennials HOW. They’ll help you. Don’t be offended when a younger person changes HOW things get done.

Millennials, the reality of life is that you don’t know everything.  It’s ok to learn and mature as you live your life. Don’t ignore history.  Don’t be aloof to what others have sacrificed and worked so hard to create for you to take into the future.

Together I believe we can partner together and create an amazing future.

 

Photo by Elijah O’Donell on Unsplash

 

Revealing

Several years ago we bought a house.   This was the first house we owned. It was a pretty big deal for us.  There were some changes we wanted to make to it. The beautiful thing about owning your own house is that you don’t really need to ask for permission, you can just do it.  When we purchased the house, there was carpet throughout the living room and hallway. We didn’t really love the carpet and wanted it removed. One day, one of our friends, Aimee, was over.  We were discussing the carpet and she reached over in the corner and pulled up part of the carpet. She was amazed at what was underneath. Beautiful hardwood floors were covered by this dull boring carpet.  

 

We immediately started doing research on how to remove the carpet and how to refinish the hardwood floors.  After doing the research, we decided to move forward with doing this project on our own. I rented the sander, sandpaper and all the other necessary items.  

 

Now both Heather and I knew what to do.  We had watched several youtube videos. The guy at the rental store even told us what to expect.  That makes us experts, right? Well, even if we both understood what should happen, it didn’t prepare us for what happened next.  We removed all the carpet, tarped all the hallways and doorways etc. The rooms were empty. The house was prepared and there we stood waiting for the next move.  We prepared the machines and I stood in the middle of the living room ready to begin. As I started the sander and began the process, I looked over in time to watch my wife walk out of the house.  Even though we both expected it to be loud and messy, she needed a few moments to brace herself.

 

As we started this process, sawdust flew everywhere.  The old layers of stain and polyurethane were removed, revealing the true beauty of the floors.  

 

Even though we knew it was going to be loud and messy, we had no idea to what expect.  It was shocking to both of us.

 

Sometimes as a follower of Jesus, I know what to expect as Jesus begins working in my life.  I know that parts of my life will need to be modified. I shouldn’t return to sinful ways of living.  I shouldn’t click on that website. I shouldn’t rely on substances to get me through the day. As Jesus begins the process of removing my old ways of living, it’s painful.  I don’t like it. I sometimes want to stop the process.

 

Some of us have done that in the past.  We’ve stopped the process of maturity and renewal that Jesus wants to do in us.  The process of removing the old is just the beginning. The process of revealing our potential and beauty isn’t easy.  It isn’t fun. It’s actually messy, but it’s so worth it.

 

Once the process of removing the old is complete, we can begin to put on the new.  There would be no point in putting on the new until the old is gone.

 

I am reminded of a time when I foolishly tried to cover up a huge mistake I made with a tractor while on the job.  I accidentally ran the tractor into a concrete structure that scratched the paint right off of a decent sized area.  In order to not get fired, I decided to find the same color of paint in the barn and repaint the damaged area. My boss, the farmer, came into the barn the next morning and didn’t say anything.  The paint job wasn’t perfect but it was good enough to fool him… that time. I took the tractor out again to get some work done. When I returned it; however, the new paint had worn off. It looked so bad.  It was obvious that something had happened. I returned the tractor to the barn hoping my boss wouldn’t notice. This time my boss asked me what happened. I was caught. He mentioned to me that he thought the tractor had looked a bit odd in the morning.

 

I really tried to think of some excuse that would cover my butt.  In my 14 year-old-life, I had never really had to deal with something like this before.  When I admitted what I had done, he laughed. He knew the whole time. He had watched me run into the concrete structure the other day.  

 

He taught me the proper way to fix a major screw up like that.  The area needed sanding and I had to remove all of the other dust and debris before repainting.

 

That day I learned a difficult lesson.  In order to truly repair the affected area, the old had to be removed.  

 

There are so many kinds of lessons like this, whether it’s painting a tractor or refinishing floors to reveal their true potential.  There are times when we need to realize this lesson in our own lives. This is called discipline. When we encounter discipline, we can either avoid it or embrace it.  I’d encourage each of us to embrace it. Learn from it and mature through it. Avoiding discipline may allow us to ‘feel’ good, but in the long run, we are only going to repeat our foolishness.  

 

What area of your life are you avoiding discipline?  What area of your life, if you practiced discipline, would improve by simply embracing discipline?  Don’t avoid it. Don’t cover it up. Embrace the whole process! Your true potential will be revealed as you do!  

 

That Person. Them. Those People.

Ever find yourself wishing that your life could be like his? Am I the only person who does this? Some days I hate going to the gym. Not because I don’t enjoy working out (I really enjoy working out. In fact, I love a challenging workout). The part I hate is looking around at the guys who seemingly do less work than I do, but still, have the results I wish I could have.

Really, I’m the only person who does this? Like you’ve never made a comment about what she did to get that promotion? Busted! I knew you’ve thought that before.

Maybe the day you dreaded is finally over. Or, THAT day happens every 365 days and it’s just another reminder. THAT day you deliver flowers to everyone else. THAT day you hate but wish you didn’t. You want to be celebrated on THAT day too. Why does February 14th happen every year?!

Granted you might put on a smile in an attempt to be happy for everyone else. When I go to the gym, I don’t walk up and spew my jealous thoughts to those guys. I do sometimes secretly wish they would get fat and struggle to lose those pounds. Don’t judge!

It’s not right, but it’s a struggle. How should we handle and deal with jealousy? Is this a battle we just have to keep fighting or is there hope?

Here are my top 3 tips when it comes to combating envy:

Number 1: Don’t label THEM or THAT KIND of people.

For some reason, it’s easier to label people with titles. The problem is that we don’t actually get to know them before we label them as “THOSE people”. I used to work for a company where this guy would go from department to department. Every two years when he reached a new promotion, he would switch to another area. I didn’t really know this guy, but everyone I worked with seemed to know him. They kept saying things about how this guy kissed butt and that’s why he was getting the promotion.

I ended up working with him on a project. I got to know him and found out a little more about him. A few months after that, I transferred from 2nd to 1st shift and ended up working with the same guy. I saw his work ethic, his personality, and his temperament. He was great to work with. His work was quality work. He didn’t make excuses. He simply did his job and did it well. After a few more months, I got to know more about him and his family. He had three girls and a boy. Growing up, his dad worked in the same industry we were in. His father worked 2nd shift on an assembly line. His father wasn’t there for most of his games because he had to work. His dad missed a lot of the extra parts of his life. He loves and respects his dad, but wanted his kids to have a different experience. So, he set out to go from the assembly line to a position that allowed him to work during the day with weekends off. Eventually, that’s exactly what he did.

It’s so easy to assign labels to people without knowing their story or their motivation.

Number 2: Don’t buy into the lie that it couldn’t be you.

I think one of the biggest reasons we become envious is because deep down we don’t believe that it could happen to us. Think about it. Would you turn down a promotion? Wouldn’t you want flowers delivered to you on THAT day? I certainly wouldn’t turn down the 6 pack abs! If you received the outcome you were hoping for, you’d accept it and celebrate it as well.

Growing up without a father figure in my life, I viewed Bill Cosby as my father figure. He was funny, successful, had an attractive wife, great family, a sweet house and was a great dad! I also remember myself as a kid being jealous of Theodore Huxtable. He had the dad I wish I had. Let’s ignore the fact that I was jealous of a fictional character! I was 8 years old at the time.

I recently read a book “To Own a Dragon” by Donald Miller. He explained similar experiences growing up. His insights helped me journey through the reality of growing up without a dad. One of the biggest insights I walked out with was to view God as my father. Once I started living like that, things in my life changed. It’s not like everything I did turn to gold but my mindset changed.

The Bible describes God as a loving father. Parts of the Bible display God lovingly taking care of His children. It also shows God blessing His kids. The Bible also says that Jesus came to give us the best life possible. Aside from blessing our spiritual life, I also believe blessings include money, success, relationship status, etc. God is FOR us, He loves us. He wants us to succeed. Maybe it’s time we start believing that too. God has more for me than I’ll ever understand. No matter how much I think I know how much God loves me, I’m wrong every time. He loves me more than I can imagine. Same is true for you. God has more for me to experience and mature into and is waiting for me to take that next right step.

Heather and I had been married for 2 and a half years when I discovered a check from our wedding. We never cashed it or deposited it. I debated if I should deposit it or not. Ultimately I didn’t. I wasted the potential of the check because I didn’t take my next right step in time. I delayed and in doing so wasted the potential that was given me.

If we spend time wallowing in our sorrows and wishing things would happen to us, we’ll waste the potential given to us.

Number 3. Fake it until you make it.

At the root of jealousy is the reality that you can’t or won’t celebrate the success of other people. You may not believe that God wants you to succeed, get the promotion, have the six-pack abs or have flowers delivered. If you need to, re-read Number 2 above.

In order to fight envy, however, I have found that celebrating other people is crucial in order to find the hope. You can overcome envy. You can experience the desired outcome you’re looking for. So, if you need to fake it, fake it. To genuinely fake it, start with a golf clap if you need to and work your way up to the full-on loud clap and cheer. I have found this has literally loosened the chains of envy that slipped around my heart. Believing that God will transform my heart for others and help me celebrate others is a great start to making it a reality.

Final thought on envy… Envy is something that we believe will help us feel better. In reality, it’s toxic to us. No one else knows that you’re envious. Being envious is kind of like drinking poison hoping that it hurts the other person. Put the poison down and experience freedom! God is for you and He wants you to succeed!

Photo by Kate Trysh on Unsplash

3 Ways to Make 2018 YOUR Best Year Ever

Woah 2017 is almost over.  Did you miss it?  Did you live in the moments, capture every transition that took place in your life?  Guys, did you mourn the migration of your hair from your head to ‘other parts’ parts of your body?  Did you celebrate anything major?  Or maybe did you miss out attempting to capture the perfect picture of the moments that you missed the actual moments?

I don’t know about you, but as 2017 comes to an end I’m eager to move forward and press into 2018.  I think 2018 is going to an amazing year, I’d even say it’s going to be my best year I’ve ever lived.  

I’ve already started to set some goals for my 2018.  These goals will help me mature into the person I believe God is wanting me to become in order to accomplish the things He has in store for me to accomplish.  

As easy as it would be for me to press on toward 2018 and not pause and reflect I know I must.  There’s a misleading saying that I’ve heard throughout my life, “Experience is the best teacher…”  As I’ve not only gotten older but matured I’ve come to realize that this statement is lacking.  It’s not complete.  If that were the case then we’ve got to mature just by getting older.  If that were the case I wouldn’t be tempted to relive my glory days in high school and retell those stories.  Uncle Rico wouldn’t keep reminding us that he could throw a pigskin a quarter mile either.  Do you know an Uncle Rico?  Are you an Uncle Rico?  

Don’t just get older this year, don’t just go through 365 days and not mature or get better.  

I’ve put my top 3 tips below in how I’ve matured and maybe they can help you out as well.  

  1. Evaluate your experience.  While experience can teach us a few things, it’s not the best teacher.  Evaluated experience is.  Take time to evaluate your 2017.  How did you mature?  What was great about it?  What sucked about it?  How did you fail?  How did you succeed?  Take time to write your responses in a journal or diary whatever you want to call it.  I have had a file on my Evernote that I look back over at times and answer those same questions.  
  2. Write a statement of who you want to become in the coming year.  This statement can have goals, it can have character traits you’d like to have in your life.  It can be as big or as simple as you’d like.  Write something down that you’ll be able to look to and remind yourself over and over again throughout 2018.  Put a reminder on your phone throughout the 365 days to look at and through this statement.  Instead of waiting until the very end of 2018 you’ll be able to adjust according because you’ve taken this statement seriously.  Any goal worth achieving needs attention and intentionality so this helps you in both regards.  If you don’t give your goal or statement attention or intentionality you’re wishing and hoping, but not really doing your part to mature.  
  3. Break 2018 into quarters like you would in a business fiscal year.  In the coming days think through habits or disciplines that will help you accomplish your statement from #2.  In that quarter develop 1 habit/ discipline that will help you accomplish it.  If you choose more than 1 you won’t actually accomplish any.  At the end of 2018, you’ll have developed 4 habits that will help you become who you actually want to.  

I’m believing 2018 is going to be the best year I’ve ever lived, but I don’t want to just waste 365 days of possibilities of maturing and bettering myself.  Enjoy the time to pause and evaluate and give yourself attention and intentionality to become the person God wants you to become, in order for you to do the things He has planned for you to do.  

One more final thought…. As we become the person God created us to be it should improve our world we live in.  Our workplace, schools, friends, family etc should improve.  We don’t just improve just to improve.  It should be like the coffee bean transforming simple water into something new, something better.  

Just a little Man Spreading here….

My younger sister brought this idea to my attention recently, man spreading.  She flew into Chicago on a Friday night and as we picked her up at Midway Airport she just had to get her frustration off her chest. Here’s what she had to say.

First, let me just say this is not a complaint on dimensions of a man compared to my 5’1’’ frame. Having broad shouldered brothers and 6’2” husband, I get it. Airplane seats are less than ideal and nearly impossible to fit in. That being said, when I sat down next to a young, same size-ish man as myself, I didn’t think I’d have to fight for my own seat space with such assertion. With an aisle spot, this guy took up his seat and then some of mine for the majority of the flight. Elbows out, knees repeatedly pushing me into a narrow (real uncomfortable) crossed leg position.

I’ll admit this is a funny topic, but I feel that it depicts something that is really going on in our culture.  The discussion around this issue is one that has quietly been going on for a while now.  

During my lifetime I’ve noticed something, the leaders of our political and government, religious practices, groups, education departments, medical industry, and business and industry have been led, and ran by white males. In my lifetime the leaders of these areas have started to see some diversity.  Which is great for culture, politics, religion, education, and every other aspect of culture.  It’s not only great for the people that are affected by these parts of culture, but it’s great for the leaders who get to lead.  Unless you’re the guys who are being replaced; aka the white males that have been leading.  No longer do we live in a culture that allows leaders to lead based on their last name, the color of their skin, or gender. There is at least a debate (it may not be a fair debate yet, but the discussion is actually being had). Until recent history in America, the number of non-white males holding leadership in these realms is few and far between.  

In my opinion, of what I’ve observed, is that white males (which I am one of) have felt the pressure to give up their leadership roles based on their gender and color of their skin and now have to actually lead and earn that space and position of leadership.  So they react by man-spreading, maybe not like one would on a public transit but still.  This happens in comments like, “I’m not racist but….”  “You’re in America learn our language….”  (as if we had our own official language).  “You’re successful for a _____”

I am grateful to have worked in a company named Denso Manufacturing that had a goal of empowering and promoting anyone who was worthy of being promoted.  I’m sure they weren’t perfect in this, but from what I experienced minorities and women were given a shot at leading, and some are thriving there as well.  I’m encouraged by the recent announcement of Willow Creek Community Church’s leadership transition taking place.  Founding Pastor Bill Hybels will be replaced with Co-Ed Lead Pastors, Heather Larson, and Steve Carter.  This is a monumental shift! 

I do believe organizations and companies are making some major strides in regards to how they are intentionally stopping the manspreading within their own ranks.  I’ve witnessed my own denomination do this in recent years by electing Jo Anne Lyons as the General Superintendent.   

So what if you’re like me, a white male in a leadership role, what should we do?  I believe number one, pull your legs together. Create space for others to lead.  Don’t lead by position or title, earn it.  Build up the reputation, credibility, and lead by example.  We must first admit this happens and is an issue.  The fact that women on average are paid $.79 to do the same job men do and are paid $1, we must admit and address it.  If we can pay a man to perform the same job it’s not a lack of funding, it’s a lack of confidence, trust, and an increase of greed on our part.  We must believe that non-white males can actually do a great job and might even do a job better than we may, and that’s ok.  It’s uncomfortable to watch someone outperform you, but it is okay.  As a leader, we are meant to lead, and that usually means creating space for others to lead.  

Secondly, do the difficult thing and earn your position over and over again.  Reinvent yourself as a leader.  The world and markets are changing which requires new leadership.  Relearning how to communicate, relearning the market,  and relearning how to accomplish something you’ve already known is a challenge.  Matt Keller defines teachability as being willing to relearn that which we think we already know. Teachability is the key to success.  Check his book out, Key To Everything.

Squeeze in and give others, especially the emerging leaders, room to lead.  Be okay with others accomplishing tasks, goals, in ways that you aren’t comfortable with.  Be there to offer advice, but not overwhelming them with your crushing man-spreading. I look forward to the day that leaders are leading based on their merit, not simply holding their leadership positions because of their skin color, last name, or gender.  I believe when this happens we’ll experience some great days!  

 -Co-written by, 

Stephanie Smith & Marc Ulrich