9-1-1 Leadership. How do you know if you are a leader or a manager? Certainly if you Google this topic you will get a laundry list of different articles or answers. There are many well known spiritual leaders who have written numerous books on leadership; my favorite being Bill Hybels. I would like to take an approach that comes from personal work experience as well as a biblical example. I have never heard it explained the way I will attempt to in this blog. I like to call this the 9-1-1 approach to leadership. The “9” stands for the 90% that is working correctly in your organization day in and day out. Let’s face it, not everything is broken on a daily basis. If you are a positive person it is easy for you to identify the areas that are hitting on all cylinders. The first “1” stands for the 10% that is not going well and is causing you headaches. Some organizations recognize the 10%, while others do not even know the 10% exist. And the last “1” stand for the up to 10 times longer it will take to identify, fix and change the behavior behind the 10% not going well.
So back to the initial question, how do you know if you are a leader or a manager? In my opinion, if you focus and spend a majority of your time on the 90% that is going well…then I would call you a manager. However, if you spend most of your time and energy in the 10% area that is not going well…I would call you a leader. Managers keep the organization rolling and steering the ship on a day to day basis. They are there to “manage” what processes/policies already exist within the organization. They quickly identify situations that start to slip or get out of whack with what is the norm. Managers have typically been handed a proven solution and told to carry on the way it was designed.
Have you ever felt like God has abandoned you or that His rationale or circumstances for the things in your life just don’t make sense? I would imagine we have all felt like this at some point in our daily walk. I would dare say both those who know God as their Savior and those who do not have had these very same thoughts.
Let me share an analogy that may help put things into perspective on how you may view this differently. I was thinking the other day as I was flying into Cleveland and looking down at the city how different it looks from above than when you are on the street below. We were making a hard left turn, right over downtown, I could see the Key Bank building, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena and yes the huge Nike mural of Lebron James painted on the side of the building that says “We are all witnesses”. It was a very sunny day and looking down was an incredible site of events taking place and the opening of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Fast forward one hour, now I am in a rental car driving toward downtown Cleveland from the airport. Wow, what a different perspective. My view is limited because of the tall buildings, trees and marketing billboards. There is also the confusion and chaos of everyday life, heavy traffic, pedestrians, long waits at each traffic light and detours due to the parade. I could feel my stress level starting to rise because it wasn’t quite as peaceful as it was an hour ago from above. Life was happening all around me as people busily went about their day. Eventually, I made it to my destination and was able to finish my day.
I would like to begin with saying I recommend that you visit the “My Testimony” from Blue Ridge Community Church to the right and watch all three videos which will cover this topic of a “Chair 3 Christian” in more detail. It is roughly 25 minutes long for all of the parts.
In many of my blog entries I have openly discussed that I grew up in a Christian home. I thought I was a Christian only to realize later that I did not have a personal relationship with God. I have a passion to share my story, because I believe it is much more common than others care to acknowledge. A majority of those people do not realize they may not have the relationship with Jesus they claim to have, just as I was unaware for years. I am certainly not casting judgment. However, if I can grow up in a Christian home, attend and graduate from an evangelical university, work for that same evangelical university, closely with a great leader, Dr. Jerry Falwell, and not have a personal relationship with God, then it can happen to anyone. In the book of Matthew, Matthew spent a lot of time on this subject of alerting individuals to the danger of thinking we are saved when we are not. (Matt 5:20, 7:21-23, 13:20-21, 13:47-50, 22:10-14)
I heard a message one time with a “4 Chair” analogy. The speaker started off by saying “the good news is, that all of us in this room sit in one of these four chairs. The bad news is, not all of these chairs are desirable positions to be in.” He then went on to explain each chair in detail.
In my posting prior to this one I discussed leadership versus management, if you have not taken time to read that leadership lesson, I encourage you to do that first by clicking here. It will give a bit more insight and maybe give this posting a bit more context of where I am coming from. I will also refer back to that post some, so it will give you a frame of reference as well.
Previously, we discussed the 10% that is not going well in your organization and the 10 times longer it may take to identify, fix and change the behavior behind the 10% not going well. Why is controlling the 10% so critical to your organizations success? The answer lies in the fact that there is so much outside of your control that you absolutely have to control the things you can control. If you are only controlling 90% of the 100% you can control, then you and your organization are not hitting the maximum potential of the organization. And eventually that will be discovered and someone will be in place that will control 100% of what is controllable. Organizational success is based on 10% of what is outside your control and 90% what you do control. If you don’t control it someone else will.