100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership


Powerful QuestionAs a leader, I have learned that one simple question, asked at the right time, has the power to change a life when someone exercises the courage to honestly answer the question. I believe that powerful questions can often times provide the keys to unlock closed doors, unleash new worlds of discovery and adventure, and ignite tremendous growth in people’s life and leadership.

Therefore, I have compiled 100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership which I pray will be a powerful resource for your personal growth as well any other people that you lead. As a practical resource for growth, please feel free to read them, ask them, answer them, use them, and share them in any way you like.

100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership

  1. How do you want to be remembered in life?
  2. Who are your core trusted advisors?
  3. What has God been doing in your life lately?
  4. What are your greatest leadership strengths?
  5. What are your greatest leadership weaknesses?
  6. What activities replace the energy you expire relationally, physically, mentally, and spiritually?
  7. What are your top 3 to 5 personal goals?
  8. What are your top 3 to 5 professional goals?
  9. If you could achieve one personal goal that would make your life better, what would it be?
  10. What is the greatest limitation or barrier to achieving your top goal?
  11. What “Well Dones” have you desired and NOT achieved in life?
  12. How does that make you feel?
  13. Will you allow me to give you some guidance in that area?
  14. How full are your emotional, physical, and spiritual tanks?  Empty, quarter, half, full?
  15. What theme does God seem to be emphasizing in this season of your life?
  16. What are you looking for God to do in your life during the next 6 months?
  17. When was the last time you became angry and why?
  18. What are your most compulsive bad habits?
  19. How do you intend to break your harmful bad habits?
  20. What has God been saying to you through His Word recently?
  21. What passion is God stirring in your soul?
  22. What season best describes your spiritual life right now: winter, summer, spring, fall?
  23. What’s exciting you most in your spiritual journey these days?
  24. How will you measure progress in your personal and professional life?
  25. What does personal and professional success look like for you?
  26. Who is the one person in your life who has helped to make you who you are today?
  27. What is the most risky decision you ever made in your life?
  28. What is the one thing you like the best about yourself?
  29. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  30. What is the one character quality you value most in a person?
  31. What did you always want to be when you were young?
  32. Who is your favorite biblical hero of faith and why?
  33. Where do you expect to be living 20 years from now?
  34. Suppose you only had 6 months to live, what would you do with your time?
  35. What person in life do you feel the closest to and why?
  36. When was the last time you cried in front of another person?
  37. When was the last time you cried by yourself?
  38. What has been your biggest disappointment in life?
  39. What has been your biggest failure in life?
  40. What will you be when you grow up?
  41. What was it like growing up in your family?
  42. As a child, how was your relationship with your mom?
  43. As a child, how was your relationship with your dad?
  44. What percentage of your time do you spend on business, personal, and family time?
  45. What have you learned from your greatest success in life?
  46. What have you learned from your greatest failure in life?
  47. If you could invite any 5 people (living or dead) to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
  48. If you knew you were going to die today, what would you most regret?
  49. What are your personal expectations of your family members?
  50. What are your professional expectations of your business associates?
  51. What person in life do you admire most and why?
  52. What would be the perfect evening for you?
  53. What is your most treasured memory?
  54. Have you ever felt or experienced hate in your life?
  55. Have you ever felt or experienced unconditional love in your life?
  56. When was the last time that you were personally involved in a conflict?
  57. How was your last personal conflict resolved?
  58. For what in life do you feel most grateful?
  59. When was the last time that you felt powerless in your life?
  60. What are the God-centered ambitions in your life?
  61. What are the self-centered ambitions in your life?
  62. Who has been your most influential example of godly leadership?
  63. What are the greatest honorable ambitions in your life?
  64. Will you forgive me?
  65. Who in your life do you need to forgive?
  66. What was the low point of your life last week?
  67. What was the high point of your life last week?
  68. Do you have a written plan for your life?
  69. What is holding you back from writing a personal life plan?
  70. As a leader, what do you stand for?
  71. How can I best serve you?
  72. When was the last time you had a WOW experience?
  73. Where is your favorite place to be alone with God?
  74. What compelling God-centered ambitions do you have for your business?
  75. What compelling God-centered ambitions do you have in serving God?
  76. How well do you maintain self-control when things go wrong?
  77. How well do you handle criticism?
  78. When was the last time you profited from criticism?
  79. What can you do to turn your disappointments into creative new opportunities?
  80. Do people trust you with difficult and delicate matters?
  81. Can you accept opposition to your viewpoint or decision without taking offense?
  82. How well do you cultivate friendships?
  83. Can you hold steady in the face of disapproval and temporary loss of confidence from others?
  84. Do other people’s failures annoy or challenge you?
  85. Do you direct people or develop people?
  86. Do you shun or seek the person with a special need or problem?
  87. Do you more often criticize or more often encourage people?
  88. Who do you say Jesus is?
  89. If you met Jesus today, what would you say to Him?
  90. What are the obstacles that keep you from praying?
  91. When was the last time that you felt rejected?
  92. If you were stranded on an island, what 3 books or magazines would you most desire?
  93. If you were granted a wish and could instantly and permanently acquire one leadership quality, what would it be?
  94. If your reading highlights were turned over to a psychologist for character analysis, what would they conclude about you?
  95. How long does it take you to overcome the feeling of failure?
  96. What do you do or where do you go for renewal from fatigue?
  97. What changes in your life have been difficult for you in the past year?
  98. How do you deal with people who believe they are never wrong?
  99. How can you better direct your energies to do the work God has for you to do on earth?
  100. As you look back, how have you seen God at work in your life preparing you for leadership?

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership Work Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, 100 Powerful Questions For Growing In Life And Leadership, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

True Team Work Makes The True Dream Work

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Rafting Rapids 5 (2)I’ve heard it said that team work makes the dream work and I believe this is true provided that the true dream work is done with true team work. So, let me ask this question: What do you think makes the difference between true “team” work and just work on a team?  You see, almost everyone who works, works on a team of some sort. However, just because a person works on a team doesn’t really mean that there is true “team” work on the team.

The Difference Between A Job With A Purpose And A Job With A Payday In True Team Work

I believe that true teamwork involves team members who view their work as a job with a purpose; whereas, work on a team involves team members who view their work as a job with a pay day. Additionally, I think the one thing more than anything else that can ruin true teamwork is a spirit of entitlement among team members who just work on a team. A person with an Entitlement mentality says, “What can I get from working on the team?” A person with a Purpose mentality says, “What can I give to the work of the team?” As soon as people begin to think more about what they are supposed to get individually from working on a team, they forget the true reason for being on the team in the first place which is to accomplish a common greater purpose. True teamwork is always about fulfilling purpose BEFORE it is about the reward for team members.

Unfortunately, many of us often show up to work with the Captain Blue syndrome…

“Here I am, Captain Blue,

There is nothing, I can’t do.

No problem too big,

No problem too small,

Just call me,

I’m smarter than all.”

Have you ever felt like that? I think there is a little super hero attitude inside each of us because we all want to show up and save the day; however, I know it’s hard for us to hear, but the truth is, “There is none of us as smart as all of us.” We can save the day so much better when we do it together as a super team rather than a super hero. I like what Coach John Wooden, great hall of fame USC basketball coach, says about individuals and teamwork. “Individuals win trophies…teams win national championships.”

Do you realize that in a game of basketball, a player may only have the ball in their hands on average, about 2 or 3 minutes in a 40 minute game? This means that the real game of basketball is played away from the ball and great coaches coach players to excel when they don’t have the ball. What players do for the other 37 to 38 minutes when they don’t have the ball is what makes the difference in true teamwork. One of the greatest gifts that God gives to us is the gift of a true team.

The Difference Between Entitlement Mentality And Purpose Mentality In True Team Work

In Matthew 20, Jesus shares a parable with His disciples that illustrates an acute example of workers with an Entitlement mentality rather than a Purpose mentality.

“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.

At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.

At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’ They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’  “The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’

That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’

He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’ So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

As members of a team, when we focus on what we deserve versus what we get to do in accomplishing a shared purpose, true teamwork suffers and unfortunately, we will likely end up last in the bigger purpose of the team.

The Difference Between Hard Work And Team Work In True Team Work

In Ecclesiastes 4:4-9, King Solomon shares some great insights about “hard” work and “team” work.

“Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin. [Well, you know what, that’s not fair so I’m just going to do it my way] And yet, better to have one handful with quietness [teamwork] than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.

I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, ‘Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?’ It is all so meaningless and depressing. Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

When we put others first and work together as a true team, we are stronger, safer, and can accomplish so much more than we can by merely working hard and alone.

The Difference Between Sameness Mentality And Diversity Mentality In True Team Work

Besides entitlement mentality being a significant ruin to true teamwork, I also think Sameness mentality is as equally damaging to true teamwork. True teamwork is not about people holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” together having no conflicts and no differences on the team.  That is not an accurate picture of true teamwork. In fact, I believe true teams often have and should have great conflicts and great differences on the team because God has made everyone different. It’s our differences that make us stronger as a team…provided that each team member mutually respects the differences of one another and can embrace conflict in a healthy way that produces greater results for the common good of the team. As soon as a team embraces a sameness mentality through a covenant of peace inspired by a fear of conflict, mediocrity will surely supplant excellence.

The reason we are servant leaders who foster an environment of teamwork and mutual respect is not for us to have peace through sameness but rather for us to have excellence through diversity. We do this in a healthy way by mutually respecting our differences that make us strong and speaking truth in love during conflict that produces a greater common good.

The Difference Between Individual Uniqueness And Team Unity In True Team Work

When I first went to work in the oil and gas industry, I was told by a veteran in the company that a certain two people were like oil and water, meaning they did not get along well. So I figured I should stay clear of that interpersonal issue. After working in the industry for some time, I learned that oil and water does indeed not mix; however, I also learned that each compound had certain individual qualities that were beneficial to a greater good. For instance, because the properties of oil and water did not mix, the oil company could inject water into a lagging oil well to push greater volumes of oil out of the well through a water injection well. This taught me the leadership lesson that even though two people may not get along well, they each have unique strengths and gifts that can be used together for a greater common good.

Now in all of this, what I’m NOT saying is that we should NOT strive to protect and maintain a spirit of team unity as we respect our differences and embrace conflict in a healthy way. While we are all wonderfully and beautifully made with unique differences, as believers and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we all have the same Holy Spirit living inside of us. Therefore, we can experience perfect unity in Christ even though we are each uniquely different in Christ. Does that make sense?

In John 17:20-24, Jesus prays to the Father, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”

Based on the prayer of Jesus, our perfect unity in Christ as a team has huge implications for the world and our commission. In fact, Jesus prays that our unity in Christ will be so perfect that the world will know that God the Father sent Jesus to the world and that He loves the world as much as He loves Jesus. Wow! True teamwork with a spirit of unity in Christ matters greatly to God. We know this is true by Jesus’ prayer as well as His promise in Matthew 18:19-20 where He says, “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

Shared Purpose Makes The Difference In True Team Work That Makes The True Dream Work

Since true “team” work is about shared purpose through the mutual respect of one another’s differences that make us stronger as a team, I’d like to share an acronym for PURPOSE that can help build greater levels of true “team” work on a team. I’ve learned these lessons by riding bikes over long distances with a group of cyclists.

P – Power: Where there is shared purpose, there is power through momentum.

U – Unity: Where there is shared purpose, there is team unity in the same direction.

R – Respect: Where there is shared purpose, there is respect among team members.

P – Provision:  Where there is shared purpose, there is provision for sharing the load.

O – Order: Where there is shared purpose, there is order in forward movement.

S –  Sustainability: Where there is shared purpose, there is sustainability through recovery.

E – Encouragement: Where there is shared purpose, there is encouragement for the journey.

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

True Team Work Makes The True Dream Work Copyright 2013, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, True Team Work Makes The True Dream Work, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Learning: The Greatest Growth Factor For Leaders


Learn And Lead

Learning Comes From The Direct Investment Of Others

Do you know that everything you and I know today is the result of someone else’s investment in us? I am able to write, speak, and teach about learning because of the people who have freely invested in my life in one way or another. Some people have invested in me directly through personal coaching, mentoring, and teaching. People like my father-in-law, who believed in me and personally invested in my education so I could possess the triple-crown in business education: a Finance degree, an MBA, and a CPA. He told me one day as we were sitting in his garden room talking about college and my future, “Gary, I think you’re smart enough to get your MBA and your CPA. You should think about it. Don’t let money stop you from getting an education. Once you have it, no one can take it from you.” And I was thinking to myself…what in the world is he thinking…an MBA and a CPA… Honestly, it was hard for me to get my head around that idea at that moment; however, many months later that seed sprouted into motivation to actually do it.

My grandfather is another person who consistently inspired me to be more, learn more, and do more. He was always there to encourage my business ideas and fan into flame my entrepreneurial spirit. He would say things like, “That’s a great idea! It will take some hard work, but if you put your mind to it, you can do it.”  One time I was at work and I couldn’t remember my home phone number because my wife and I had just moved to a new home. So I called my grandfather to ask him for my phone number. He told me, “Boy, I may not have as many degrees as a thermometer like you, but this much is sure, I know my own phone number…”

My mom and dad are also people who invested in me by sacrificially supporting my education in private schools so that I could be well prepared for college. My dad would always tell me, “Son, I couldn’t afford to go to college, but I want you and your sisters to go so you can have it better than me.” I was the first person in all of my family to graduate from college and then my sisters as well as my mom followed behind me.

And lastly, but certainly not least, my Pastors have invested in me even at the lowest points of my life. They helped teach me how to daily live for Christ, love my wife, and lead my family. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why I’m now in full-time ministry. I was invited into my Pastor’s small group and I just wouldn’t leave so they had to put me on staff. All kidding aside, I am so grateful for my Pastors and all the people that God has put in my life to help me learn, grow, and develop as a person and a leader.

Learning Comes From The Indirect Investment Of Others

Besides those people who have invested in me directly, there have also been others in my life who have invested in me indirectly. People like Mike Murdock who wrote the book, One-Minute Businessman’s Devotional, that helped transform my thinking about business in the kingdom of God. John Maxwell, who has helped me learn how to develop myself as a leader and also develop the leaders around me. Norman Vincent Peale, who taught me the value of always possessing a positive attitude especially as a Christ-follower. Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, who taught me how to build an organization to last through values-based convictions. And Stephen Covey, who taught me that you learn 95 percent of what you teach to others. In fact, that is one of the reasons I so much enjoy teaching others. Each time I have the opportunity to do so, I help people learn and grow and I also learn and grow at the same time. This life principle leads me to the importance of living a Learning Team Value at work and even at home.

Learning Comes From Giving As Much As It Comes From Receiving

To practically live a Learning Team Value, leaders must be servant leaders who participate in continuous training, development, and coaching.  And to do this really well, I believe you and I must learn an important kingdom principle found in Matthew 10:8, “Give as freely as you have received.” You see, each of us is a well of learning from others and as we are freely filled by the investment of others into our lives, we have the responsibility to freely give to others what we have freely received. Otherwise, you and I will become like the Dead Sea, dead and stagnate, always taking in, but never giving out. As Christ-followers, we are not designed to be takers only. No, we are designed to be givers like Jesus. However, none of us can give away what we don’t possess. Therefore, we must be life-long learners, continuously filling-up our well so that we have something to give away to others. A leader or a person that is no longer learning is a leader or person that is no longer growing. A leader or person who is no longer growing will soon have nothing new to invest into others.

So let me ask these two personal training and development questions. 1) Who are your mentors?  And, 2) who are you mentoring? If you don’t have any mentors, directly or indirectly, you are not receiving, you are not learning, and you are not growing as a leader. Furthermore, if you do not have anyone whom you are mentoring, then you are not giving away what you have freely received and you are at risk of becoming a stagnate fruitless leader.

Learning Comes From Mentors And Mistakes

Now when it comes to having mentors in your life, some of you might be thinking to yourself that you don’t really have any mentors. I have at times thought the same thing; however, as a Christ-follower, I have come to know that believing such a thought is actually believing a lie. The truth is that you and I have the greatest, ultimate, Mentor, anyone can ever have in life. He is the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Counselor in ALL of life. John 14:15 states, “And I [Jesus] will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth” and John 14:26 states, “But when the Father sends the Advocate as My representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

The issue for you and I is not whether or not we have a mentor or mentors. The issue is whether or not we will pursue the ultimate Mentor in our life and the other mentors that He divinely appoints in our lives. Let me encourage you. There is great benefit from pursuing the Holy Spirit as our ultimate Mentor in life as well as the human mentors that He places in our life because there are only two ways we can learn in life. We can either learn from our mentors or we can learn from our mistakes. Learning from mentors provides the opportunity to learn from revelation; whereas; learning from mistakes provides the opportunity to learn from tribulation. Let me tell you. I’ve learned both ways and I can personally testify that learning from revelation is so much better than learning from tribulation.  Although, I am glad to say that learning from both ways can produce fruit in our lives when we apply what we learn.

Learning Comes From Applying What Is Learned

In fact, I don’t believe that true genius is found in learning alone because really everyone can learn, but not everyone is a genius learner. I believe people who are truly genius learners are people who not only learn, but actually go the next step and apply what they learn. Unfortunately, far too many people never take the time to take the extra step and apply what they have learned.  In Luke 8:10, Jesus tells His disciples [His disciplined learners], “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’” As disciplined learners in the kingdom of God, if you and I do not apply what we learn through revelation, then we are no better off than those who are ignorant through lack of revelation. As stated earlier, we have no excuse for not learning through revelation because we have the Holy Spirit as our ultimate Mentor to lead us, guide us, and teach us. Pursuing Him today and everyday of our lives will produce great learning and great fruit in our lives.

Learning Comes From Having A Will To Learn

As an undergraduate student in college, sadly, I must say that I did not live up to my full potential as a student. I graduated with a 2.8 GPA which was ok, but was far lower than my High Honors GPA in high school. So when I found it difficult to land a good job upon graduation, I began to consider how I might learn from my mistakes as I decided to go to graduate school and obtain an MBA. Because I did not want to make the same mistakes in graduate school as I did in undergraduate school, I set out to make straight A’s and studied how to do it. In fact, my mother-in-law gave me some cassette tapes titled, “Where There’s A Will There’s An ‘A’”. Do you know that learning takes a lot of effort, but wise learning takes so much LESS effort. Let me tell you, wise learning begins with learning from others.

Here are 5 simple things I learned from the tape series that helped me to make all A’s and just one B in graduate school.

  • Arrive to class early and stay late paying special attention to the material in the beginning and the ending of class because teachers often cover the material that will be on the test in the beginning or ending of class if they failed to cover it in the previous class or during the current class.
  • Sit in the front of the class because there are less distractions and you will learn more about the material than you will about who is wearing what and what kind of hairstyle people have.
  • Never eat a big meal before a test because the digestive process will take your physical energy that could be better used for the test. Instead eat a candy bar or drink a caffeinated soda.
  • Write special notes in the margin of your book to highlight important material for the test and read those handwritten notes before the test.
  • And here’s a bonus tip that wasn’t in the tape series, but I learned from the Ultimate Mentor, the Holy Spirit. Pray before each test for God to bring to remembrance everything studied in preparation for the test.

Learning Comes From Revelation Given Away

Do you see what I just did? I learned something that helped me to make all A’s and one B in graduate school and I freely shared it with you. I received revelation that helped me to learn and grow and I gave revelation away to help you learn and grow. I was mentored and now I am mentoring others. To live out a Learning Team Value is really that simple!

This is what the Bible says about being a wise learner and learning from revelation. Proverbs 9:9-12 states, “Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.” This is great wisdom for you and I today.

Learning Comes From Being An Uncommon Mentor

How many of you would like to be an uncommon mentor capable of instructing the wise so that they will become even wiser?  Being an uncommon mentor is not easy because an uncommon mentor will risk the approval others to see their potential fulfilled.  I like this quote from Coach Tony Dungy that I recently read: “I wasn’t there to be their Boss. I was there to help the players get better.” That’s what an uncommon mentor does. Uncommon mentors are not in your life to be your best friend. They are there to help you get better and fulfill your potential in life.

According to Mike Murdock, there is a big difference between a best friend and an uncommon mentor.

  •  A Best Friend loves you the way you are.
  • An Uncommon Mentor loves you too much to leave you the way you are.
  • A Best Friend is comfortable with your past.
  • An Uncommon Mentor is comfortable with your future.
  • A Best Friend ignores your weakness.
  • An Uncommon Mentor removes your weakness.
  • A Best Friend is your cheerleader.
  • An Uncommon Mentor is your coach.
  • A Best Friend sees what you do right.
  • An Uncommon Mentor sees what you do wrong.

Learning Comes From Being An Uncommon Protégé

In the pursuit of learning, an Uncommon Protégé will pay any price to stay in the presence of an Uncommon Mentor and learn from them. And when they do, great blessing, favor, and anointing from the Uncommon Mentor is transferred to the Uncommon Protégé. This type of transference is seen in the Bible story about Elijah (an Uncommon Mentor) and Elisha (an Uncommon Protégé).

2 Kings 2:2-10 records the account stating, “Then Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!’ So they went down to Bethel. Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent!’

Then Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!’ So they came to Jericho. Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?’ So he answered, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent!’

Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!’ So the two of them went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?’ Elisha said, ‘Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.’ So he said, ‘You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.’”

In reading this story, why do you think the other prophets didn’t pursue Elijah like Elisha did? I believe it’s because they thought they already knew everything and didn’t need to pursue Elijah. In each of the cities, the other prophets told Elisha (all paraphrased by me for emphasis), “Hey man, what are you doing following that old man around…don’t you know that the Lord is going to take him away today? Why are you wasting your time with an ‘old-timer’ like that?”

The reason is that Elisha wanted a double portion of Elijah’s anointing and would do anything to stay in Elijah’s presence and learn from him. As a result, the Lord honored his pursuit and gave Elisha a double portion of Elijah’s anointing.

In living out a Learning Team Value, you and I must NOT be protégés like the other prophets in this Old Testament story. We must be Uncommon Protégés like Elisha and do whatever it takes to be in the presence of Uncommon Mentors and learn from them. And when the double portion anointing of the Uncommon Mentor transfers to us, we must then become an Uncommon Mentor to someone else. This is what it means to be servant leaders who participate in continuous training, development, and coaching.

To His glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Learning: The Greatest Growth Factor For Leaders Copyright 2013, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Learning: The Greatest Growth Factor For Leaders, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Possessing A Positive Attitude


Attitude ConceptIn all my years of leadership, there is one thing I have consistently experienced and that is…you learn 95% of what you teach. So as I write about the team value of positive attitude, be certain that I am writing to myself as much as I am writing to you. As the author of this post on Possessing A Positive Attitude, it might surprise you to learn that there are days when I have a negative attitude lurking inside of me all ready and willing to express itself. And by the way, so do you.

Possessing A Positive Attitude Can Do Great Good Or A Negative Attitude Can Do Great Harm

The really neat thing about the attitude lurking inside of me and you…and the really scary thing for that matter…is that my attitude, your attitude…has the potential to do more good or harm than we probably realize or even fully appreciate. Let me share with you what Chuck Swindoll has written about Attitude:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company… a church… a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes”

Possessing A Positive Attitude Is A Great Responsibility And A Great Choice

When I think about people and the kind of attitude we have towards our own attitudes, unfortunately, I see far too many people having a half-hearted attitude. A couple of months ago, I came across a little quote that I think will help illustrate the kind of attitude many of us have about our own attitudes. It is this: “No sense in being pessimistic…it wouldn’t work anyway…” So what am I saying? I think we all know that we should have a positive attitude, but unfortunately, like the author of that quote, we don’t fully own the responsibility for our attitude.

Do you know that if you write down the word A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E and note underneath each letter the numerical place in the alphabet that each letter represents (ie. A = 1 since it is the first letter in the Alphabet; hence, 1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5), the sum total of the numbers equals 100? This is a pretty interesting little fact that serves to remind us that we are each 100% responsible for the choice of our attitude – positive or negative.

Possessing A Positive Attitude Is A Great Team Value And A Great Heart Conviction

As servant leaders in the kingdom of God, you and I must possess a positive attitude because our attitudes are infectious. This is why I prefer to have the unofficial title of CMIHL [Chief Make It Happen Leader] over my official CAO title [Chief Administrative Officer] in my organization. My CAO title defines my official responsibilities as a Chief Administrative Officer  – what I am supposed to do in the organization, but it really doesn’t define much about the way I will choose to do what I am supposed to do in the organization. You see, being a CMIHL says a lot about how I will choose to do what I am supposed to do as CAO. As a Chief Make It Happen Leader, I choose to serve others with a positive attitude to make things happen for our team, our members, and our guests. Being a CMIHL is actually all about serving others with a positive attitude.

And guess what? Every person on a team has an official job title that defines what they are supposed to do in their job; however, a team value for possessing a positive attitude with a corresponding heart conviction will actually help inspire each person on a team to be someone who will serve others with a positive attitude. The Team Value is: Positive Attitude. The Heart Conviction is: We are servant leaders who possess a positive attitude.

Possessing A Positive Attitude Ignites Great Promotion And Great Potential

This means that we must not only focus on our technical competencies in our job, but also our behavioral competencies and this is where the rubber meets the road. You see, it’s relatively easy to coach people on their technical competencies in a job, but when you start getting into the areas of their behavioral competencies like attitude, people get nervous because you are touching upon who they are on the inside. Joyce Meyer says that, “Attitude is your thought life turned inside out.” The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7 “As a person thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Let me illustrate by the wings of an airplane what it means to develop ourselves both technically and behaviorally. Years ago, when I was at a church leadership conference in California, I heard a great leader illustrate how truth and grace (representing 2 wings of a plane on the journey of Christian life) intersect at the cross. He said that if Christians only approached life in truth without grace, they would be flying on a plane with one wing of the gospel and having a perspective that everyone would be going to hell. On the other hand, if Christians only approached life in grace without truth, they would also be flying a plane with one wing of the gospel, but in the opposite direction and having a perspective that life could be one big party with no boundaries. However, in the Christian life, perfect truth meets perfect grace in Jesus at the cross which totally frees the Christian to soar in the journey of life on the two full wings of the gospel: perfect truth and perfect grace.

As I pondered this teaching, I came to realize that the same airplane illustration could be used to describe the importance of developing people, technically and behaviorally, on the journey of leadership and people development. As leaders, if we only focus on developing people’s technical competencies, then people end up flying on a plane with one wing going round and round in circles and never really achieving their full potential. For instance, if someone is an interpreter and has developed their language skills to the level of being able to fluently speak 10 different foreign languages, but they never develop a positive attitude in life, they will keep going around the same mountain of personal failure and disappointment. It may be true that such a person is technically competent to fluently speak 10 different languages; but, if they possess a mean, rude, negative attitude…having the ability to speak 10 different languages only means that they can be fluently rude in 10 different ways. Such a person will never be promoted in life no matter how many languages they learn to speak. Does this make sense?

Now the same is true on the behavioral side of leadership and people development. If a person only develops their behavioral competencies and never spends any time developing their technical competencies, then they are flying on a plane with one wing in the opposite direction going round and round in circles and never really achieving their full potential. For instance, a pilot can be the nicest person in the world, perhaps bringing everyone on the plane homemade brownies from his wife; however, if he has only flown small commuter prop airplanes and doesn’t know how to fly large commercial jet airliners, I’m not getting on a commercial jet airliner with that pilot in the cockpit. It doesn’t matter how nice someone may be, if they are not competent to do their job, they will find themselves never fully reaching their growth potential.

BUT, when people develop their technical competencies and also their behavioral competencies, they actually build a plane with two wings that will allow them to soar to ever increasing heights of leadership development and growth potential. So let me be clear. Possessing a positive attitude is a huge component in developing an exceptional behavioral competency and as coaching leaders, we cannot ignore that aspect of personal development for each person on our team.

Possessing A Positive Attitude Overcomes Great Unmet Expectations

Now let me ask this question. What do you think is the biggest reason why people go around with a mean, rude, and negative attitude? Personally, I think one of the biggest reasons that someone will do this is because of unresolved unmet expectations in their life.  Proverbs 13:12 states, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”  Unfortunately, when someone is let down and they do not get that matter resolved in their heart, a bitter root can grow that causes them to possess a negative attitude towards life. For example, someone at work is expecting a promotion and it doesn’t come. Or maybe someone else gets the promotion. Either way, the expectation of being promoted remains unmet and furthermore, the longer that expectation remains unmet and unresolved in that person’s life, it can eventually turn into a sour root that begins to express itself in the form of a negative attitude towards life and people.

But I have good news for you and me! We do not have to let unmet expectations stay unresolved and turn into a sour negative attitude in our lives because the word of God gives us some great guidance in this area. Proverbs 4:23 states, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” When we properly guard our hearts, we are careful to not allow an unmet expectation to turn sour in our hearts and produce a negative attitude. I believe the best way to do this is found in Luke 6:37-38 which states, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.”

I find it hard to have an unresolved unmet expectation in my heart when I make a conscious decision to not judge someone whom has failed to meet my expectation.  The key word here is unresolved. While an expectation may be unmet, it doesn’t have to stay unresolved in my heart through judgment towards the person that failed to meet my expectation. Now add to that the extension of forgiveness towards them when I am hurt by their failure to meet my expectations, I find that this will pretty well insulate my heart from embracing a sour negative attitude towards life and others.

Possessing A Positive Attitude Is Possible With Our Great God

Furthermore, as bone-fide Christ followers, let me encourage you with 3 great reasons why you and I have no excuse for possessing a negative attitude in life.

1)    We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

2)    We have the Word of God and all of its promises are Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus through us.

3)    We have the ability to pray and commune with our heavenly Father anytime, day or night.

Writing to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” Regardless of our circumstances in life, the apostle Paul tells us that we have a great power from God that shines in our hearts. This great power is the Holy Spirit which empowers all Christ followers with the ability to have a positive attitude despite any negative, adverse, or challenging situation in life. Furthermore, Jesus Himself tells us in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” With faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit living inside of us, you and I have everything we need to possess a positive attitude in life!

To the glory of God, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Possessing A Positive Attitude Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Possessing A Positive Attitude, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part One


Praising GodOne day on the streets of our city, a young man about the age of 20 was asked this question by an interviewer: “What is a leader?”  The young man thought about it for a minute and responded, “I think it’s a little more than a gallon…”

Well, I don’t think this is exactly the definition that the interviewer had in mind. The shortest definition for leadership that I’ve ever heard is that “leadership is influence” taught by John Maxwell. Great military leader, Bernard Montgomery, defined leadership as “the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose, and the character which inspires confidence.”

The Leadership Mandate From God

Regardless of whether or not you and I know the definition of leadership, in the kingdom of God, we are all natural born leaders because God created us in His image and He has given all of us a mandate to lead. Genesis 1:27-28 affirms our leadership mandate stating, “God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.’”

It is clear from the biblical account of creation that men and women are natural born leaders. However, to be a spiritual leader in the kingdom of God, it takes more than just God’s mandate to lead. Spiritual leaders in the kingdom of God are also anointed by the Holy Spirit to lead and they are appointed to lead in spiritual service by God alone.  J. Oswald Sanders says this about spiritual leadership, “Spiritual leaders are not elected, appointed, or created by synods or church assemblies. God alone makes them.” In John 15:16 Jesus told His disciples, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit.”

The Difference Between Natural Leadership And Spiritual Leadership

According to Mr. Sanders, there is a significant difference between natural leadership and spiritual leadership. Many of the differences are highlighted below:

  • Natural Leaders are self-confident              
  • Spiritual Leaders are confident in God
  • Natural leaders know men                          
  • Spiritual leaders know God
  • Natural leaders make their own decisions                       
  • Spiritual leaders seek God’s will
  • Natural leaders are ambitious                    
  • Spiritual leaders are humble
  • Natural leaders create methods                 
  • Spiritual leaders follow God’s example
  • Natural leaders enjoy command                              
  • Spiritual leaders delight in obedience to God
  • Natural leaders seek personal reward                                 
  • Spiritual leaders love God and others
  • Natural leaders are independent                            
  • Spiritual leaders are dependent on God

Regarding the process by which God qualifies spiritual leaders to lead in His kingdom, Mr. Sanders writes, “Often truly authoritative leadership falls on someone who years earlier dedicated themselves to practice the discipline of seeking first the kingdom of God. Then, as that person matures, God confers a leadership role, and the Spirit of God goes to work through him. When God’s searching eye finds a person qualified to lead, God anoints that person with the Holy Spirit and calls him to a special ministry.”

The Outward Physical Expression Of Inside Spiritual Growth

After my return home as a prodigal son back into my heavenly Father’s arms, the Lord began to privately develop my spiritual leadership as I intimately pursued Him in close personal relationship. However, during that time, to the casual observer of my physical activities on the outside, I may have seemed like just another Type A over-achiever; but, on the inside, God was doing a deep restorative work in my soul, preparing me for true spiritual leadership and service in His kingdom. People who knew me during those days might recall how much weight I lost and all of the physical training that I was doing in preparation for an Ironman triathlon. It took 3 years of training for the Ironman and most of that time, I didn’t tell many people that I was even training for an Ironman.

I first started training with 14 miles of outdoor riding, then training for the two-day 75 mile MS Tour Ride, then a back-to-back ADA century ride, then run training for my first half marathon, then a full marathon, then my first sprint triathlon, then an Olympic triathlon, then a half Ironman triahthlon, then a second half Ironman triathlon, and then the full Ironman triathlon. Then two and a half years later, the 3,000 mile Race Across America – the world’s toughest bicycle race.

You might ask yourself, what in the world was he doing all that for? I can imagine that many people may have thought that I was trying to find an identity outside of Christ through over-achieving activities. I can truly understand how some might think that to be true of me during that time in my life. And to state the obvious, it does take a lot of effort to do an Ironman triathlon and ride a bike across America. However, for me it was more than just the effort and the rewards attached to those significant physical achievements in my life. By the sufficiency of God’s grace freely given to me through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I can say with purity of heart and a clean conscience before the Lord that I had nothing to prove or anything to earn by such physical pursuits. The truth is that all of my physical training at that time was simply an outward expression of my spiritual training on the inside as I sought to love Jesus with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, learned how to walk more closely with Him, and diligently pursued His kingdom.  

The Mirror Between Physical Disciplines And Spiritual Disciplines

While people could easily see my physical training on the outside at that time, unless you knew me well, most people couldn’t see my spiritual training on the inside during that same time. I was not only training in the physical realm through the pursuit and practice of physical disciplines, I was also training in the spiritual realm through the pursuit and practice of spiritual disciplines beginning with my water baptism, then my freedom weekend retreat, my daily prayer meetings with God, my daily devotions in the word of God, my writing of hundreds of bible verses on note cards to memorize in prayer, my weekly praise and worship to God with tears and weeping, my faithful participation in small group no matter what, my completion of the Biblical Foundations class, my faithful serving in the parking lot every other weekend, my leading of small group every week, my engagement in the prison ministry at Rayburn Correctional Center, my 1 day, 3 day, 5 day, 7 day, 10 day, and 21 day fasts, my mission trip to South Africa, my daily prostration on the altar of God as a living sacrifice crying out to God to know me, search me, and change me from the inside out.

The Spiritual Leadership Development Sharpening Process

What was God doing in me during that time? Through the process of developing the physical disciplines necessary to complete an Ironman triathlon and the simultaneous pursuit of the spiritual disciplines necessary for growing in Christ, I was learning the principle of Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.” Throughout the three years of training for Ironman, I did not train alone, but rather trained with one of my best friends in life. Committed to run the race of life together, we both trained for Ironman, sharpening one another, so that we could both strongly cross the finish line. And we did. Additionally, I can tell you that during those physical training days with my friend, I was also being sharpened spiritually with the help of my awesome Pastors. In their good hands, I was being taught how to pursue God and live for Him as a spiritual leader in His kingdom. I now stand today with a healthy fear of the Lord, amazed at His faithfulness in my life, and humbled by His grace to give me the opportunity to be a spiritual leader in His kingdom…a tremendous privilege I do not take lightly.

I share this personal story to emphasize that spiritual leadership development only happens through the diligent pursuit of a real personal relationship with God and other spiritual leaders in His kingdom. Must you complete an Ironman to become an impactful spiritual leader in God’s kingdom? Certainly not! But you must love Jesus with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength as well as seek first His kingdom and all of His righteousness in your life. As Christ followers, none of us are exempt from pursuing and practicing the spiritual disciplines necessary to grow us as spiritual leaders in God’s kingdom. If we truly desire for the Lord to mature us, qualify us, appoint us, and anoint us as impactful spiritual leaders in His kingdom, nothing less than loving God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength will do.

To His glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God– Part One Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Building Leaders In The Kingdom Of God – Part One , in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Chemistry Development – Rx For Execution

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There are some things in life that just plain go together and if they didn’t…well, life wouldn’t be the same. Imagine life without the following combinations:

  • thunder and lightning
  • macaroni and cheese
  • shoes and socks
  • soap and water
  • salt and pepper
  • questions and answers
  • songs and dance
  • bread and butter
  • and for my Grandma Clara’s sake, let’s not forget…spaghetti and meatballs!

For the Italian record, I’m really not sure how anyone could even think about having spaghetti without the meatballs? I realize I’m being light-hearted at the moment; however, there really is something dynamic that happens when things that are meant to be together actually do go together. And it’s the same way with any team. When a team of people are meant to be together and they actually do go together, great things can happen with such a team.

Chemistry Development Fosters A Spirit Of Team Unity

In Ecclesiastes 4:12 the Bible states, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” When a team has good chemistry, people on the team stand together which allows them to accomplish so much more than each person could accomplish working alone. In fact, the acronym for the word TEAM that I like best is – Together Everyone Achieves More. The truth is that good team chemistry fosters a spirit of team unity that can only be experienced when a team works together, stands together, and experiences team life together.

This does not necessarily mean that everyone must be clones of one another in order to have good team chemistry. No, I believe good team chemistry actually involves a sincere appreciation among team members for the real differences that each person brings to the team. God has created each of us with different strengths and talents which can be combined with other people’s strengths and talents to make any team stronger as a whole. Any wise investment advisor knows that there is strength in a diverse portfolio of investments. The same is true for a diverse portfolio of people on a team. Teams are strong because people on the team are created differently!

Developing Chemistry Maximizes Team Execution

In his writings, the apostle Paul teaches that the human body is the sum of all the individual parts of the body and that the body cannot function well without each different part working together. Specifically, in 1 Corinthians 12:14-21, he writes, “Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, ‘I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,’ that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,’ would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’

Imagine how difficult it would be to write a letter or enjoy a bowl of soup if a person was without a thumb. Although the thumb is only a small part of the body, it has tremendous value to the overall effective execution of the body. When considering all of the people roles on a team, do you know that each person on the team is like the thumb to the body in their value to the team? A team missing one person with the right strengths may experience great difficulty in effectively executing as a team. Understanding this truth, team members must exercise diligent care in finding the right people with the right strengths to fill all of the right roles on a team.

To help teams effectively do this, I recommend the following 4 practical steps to developing team chemistry:

  1. Include well-known personality and strength assessments in the talent recruitment process to gain a better understanding about the creative design of any new potential team member.
  2. Conduct team interviews in the talent recruitment process to gain greater insights about the interpersonal dynamics of any new potential team member.
  3. Assign an organizational mentor or sponsor to each new team member to assist them in learning the culture of the organization and help orient them to their role on the team.
  4. Host team talent reviews on an annual basis for senior leadership to assess each team member’s role clarity, organizational impact, and developmental opportunities within the organization.

Thank you and have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Chemistry Development – Rx For Execution Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint Chemistry Development – Rx For Execution, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Competency Development – Rx For Extraodinary

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Webster defines competence as: a sufficiency of means for the necessities and conveniences of life; the quality or state of being competent. So then, let me ask these two important questions:

1) Are you competent in life?

 2) What are you doing to develop your competency for sustainable success in life?

These two questions are important to ask because as a professional and a leader, competency matters in life in the same way that character matters in life. For example, a commuter pilot of small engine planes may have the greatest character and be an awesome friend; however, if that friend does not know how to fly a commercial jet airliner, there is no way I would board such a plane with that friend as the pilot because competency matters.

Competency Development Builds Extraordinary Influence

In his book, 21 Indispensible Qualities Of A Leader, John Maxwell states, “Competence goes beyond words. It’s the leader’s ability to say it, plan it, and do it in such a way that others know that you know how—and know that they want to follow you.” Simply put, competent people can be counted on when being counted on counts. As a result, competent people have extraordinary influence with others.

On the other hand, incompetent people have little influence with others because they cannot be counted on to do what they must do when it matters. In fact, Proverbs 26:10 states, “An employer who hires a fool or a bystander [an incompetent person] is like an archer who shoots at random.” If you and I are going to build extraordinary influence with others, we must develop competency that others can depend upon when it matters. Doing so will differentiate extraordinary influence in our life from ordinary influence in our life.

Developing Competency Makes An Ordinary Life An Extraordinary Life

Again, in his book, 21 Indispensible Qualities Of A Leader, John Maxwell shares that when it comes to considering the competency of people, there are three types of people:

Type 1: Those who can see what needs to happen.

Type 2: Those who can make it happen.

Type 3: Those who can make things happen when it really counts.

To me, this shows a clear pattern of competency development where the Type 1 person is only competent enough to see what needs to happen, but cannot make it happen. This competency level leads to a common and ordinary life. The Type 2 person not only can see what needs to happen, but can also make it happen. This competency level leads to an uncommon and extraordinary life. The Type 3 person not only sees what needs to happen and can make it happen, they can also be counted on to make it happen when it really counts. This competency level leads to an uncommon and extraordinary life with uncommon and extraordinary influence in life.

By the many examples in life of ordinary people becoming extraordinary people with extraordinary influence through their competency development, it is clear that the more competent a person becomes in life, the more extraordinary they become in life. But, it doesn’t happen without an intentional plan for developing competency; therefore, I recommend writing a Professional Development Plan that includes the following:

  1.  A personal commitment to growing in areas of real life application of the values of the organization in which you share a mutual vision of the future.
  2. Clearly defined personal leadership commitments to achieving the purpose of the organization in the areas of operations, finances, people, and service.
  3. Coaching leadership to help you learn, grow, and develop your competency as well as hold you accountable to developing your competency.
  4. Volitional submission to ongoing review and feedback regarding your competency development.

Thank you and have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Competency Development – Rx For Extraordinary Copyright 2012, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint Competency Development – Rx For Extraordinary, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Character Development – Rx For Excellence




What is character? The best definition that I’ve heard for character is: the person you are when no one is looking.  When leaders have character, they are big people on the inside and as a result people follow them on the outside. John Maxwell says that everything rises and falls on leadership and I believe that statement to be true. Plus, I also believe that a person’s leadership actually rises and falls on the foundation of their individual character and integrity. In fact, the courage of one’s convictions (character) plus the peace of one’s conscience (integrity) equals the foundation of one’s leadership (influence). Any cracks in a leader’s character and / or integrity will put the leader’s influence in serious jeopardy if those cracks are not effectively addressed and resolved. 

Character Development Matters Desperately In Our Personal Lives

We only have to look as far as the headline news to see the devastating effects of failed character in life and leadership. From corporate boardrooms to family washrooms, character matters desperately. In fact, John Maxwell offers the following about character from his book, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader:

1) Character is more than talk

2) Character is a choice

3) Character brings lasting success with people

4) Leaders cannot rise above the limitations of their character

Furthermore, author of The Enemies of Excellence, Coach Greg Salciccioli, teaches leaders what he has learned and observed over his life-time in coaching: talent most often exceeds the character necessary to support it. I believe this observation is primarily true because talent is a gift; whereas, character is developed. Unfortunately, if a person does not learn how to develop the character necessary to sustain their talent, it is only a matter of time before the enemies of excellence in their life take over and completely sabotage their success in life. The Bible states in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Developing Character Produces Personal Excellence

To safeguard our personal lives from the strategies of the devil to destroy us, we must develop character that produces personal excellence in the following 3 practical ways:

  1. Write a Personal Life Plan that includes a personal vision of the preferred future in the areas of Spiritual Growth, Relationships, Fitness, Finances, and Future.
  2. Develop daily routines to replace the energy expired each day spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally.
  3. Create a group of wise trusted advisors to give wise guidance and counsel in life.

Character Development Matters Desperately In Our Professional Lives

While character is critically important to a person’s success in their personal life, it is also critically important to success in their professional life. The influence of an organization rises and falls on the influence of its leaders and the influence of leaders rises and falls on the character of leaders. Therefore, to develop an organization with great influence, an organization must develop great leaders with great character.

Because God has kingdom purpose for organizations in the marketplace, the devil is keenly aware that he can sabotage God’s kingdom purpose in the marketplace by destroying the leaders in the marketplace. Therefore, we must understand very clearly, the stakes are high for kingdom leaders in the marketplace. In Matthew 11:12, the Bible states, “From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people have been seizing it.”

Developing Character Produces Professional Excellence

To safeguard the advancement of God’s kingdom in the marketplace from the strategies of the devil to hinder God’s kingdom purposes in the marketplace and destroy marketplace leaders, we must develop character that produces professional excellence in the following 4 practical ways:

  1. Write a Professional Business Plan that includes the God-ordained Vision, Purpose, and Values of the kingdom of God within the organization.
  2. Develop a clearly written Strategic Plan that identifies the compelling ambitions and objectives of the organization.
  3. Identify personal and specific leadership commitments for everyone in the organization that support the Strategic Plan of the organization.
  4. Implement a leadership coaching process that effectively develops people and unleashes the extraordinary God-given potential of everyone in the organization to make a real difference in life.

Thank you and have a blessed ”Make It Happen” day!

Character Development – Rx For Excellence Copyright 2012, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint Character Development – Rx For Excellence, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

The Make It Happen Moment ® Coaching Leader

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Seabiscuit and Tom Smith

Quote: “Coaching leaders want great people to develop in great ways, and they want to be an integral part of the process! – Daniel Harkavy

In the movie, Seabiscuit, there is a scene where Charles Howard, the eventual owner of the extraordinary racehorse, meets Tom Smith, the talented and renowned horse trainer.  The setting takes place at night over a campfire with an injured racehorse tied to a tree on the perimeter of the campsite.  Earlier that day the horse had badly injured its leg in a race.  Instead of shooting the horse, Tom decided to help heal the horse’s leg and nurse it back to health.  That evening at the campfire, Charles Howard (CH) and Tom Smith (TS) meet for the first time with the following transcribed conversation:

CH: “Hi there!  Charles Howard.”

TS:  (with a hand shake) “Tom Smith.  Would you like to sit down?”

CH: “Nice to meet ya, Tom.  (Looking at the injured horse) “What’s in his bandage?”

TS:  “Oh that.  That’s Hawthorne root.  It increases circulation.  You want to sit down?”

CH: “All right.  Thank you.  Will he get better?”

TS:  “Already is.”

CH: “Will he race again?”

TS:  “No, not that one.”

CH: “Then why are you fixing him?”

TS: “Because I can.  Every horse is good for something.  Why he could be a cart- horse, or a lead pony, and besides he’s nice to look at.  You don’t throw a whole life away just because he’s banged up a little.”

From this conversation, Tom Smith is demonstrating a real passion for horses because he is willing to go the extra mile to help “fix” the injured horse.  Tom simply loves horses and believes in his heart that every horse is good for something, even if they are “banged up a little”; therefore, his genuine passion and love for horses makes him a superb horse trainer. 

I highlight this scene in Seabiscuit because I believe great coaching leaders are a lot like Tom.  They may not have a passion and love for horses, but they most certainly have a similar kind of genuine passion and love for people.  Great coaching leaders realize that every person is good for something, endowed by their Creator with special gifts and talents, designed with a unique purpose to contribute to life.  As a result, they are able to see potential inside of others, even when they are not at their best, believing in faith that their fullest potential and purpose can be realized in life.  The apostle Paul says in Romans 8:37, “Yet in all these things [challenges of life] we are more than conquerors through Him [Jesus] who loved us.” With a spirit of generosity and humility, may we be willing to serve others with loving-kindness by going the extra mile to help people learn, grow, and develop into the extraordinary people they are capable of becoming in God’s grace.

The Make It Happen Servant Leadership Value: “Make It Happen” People Are Led By Servant Leaders!

Have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Edited by The Make It Happen Moment ® Editorial Team

The Make It Happen Moment ® Coaching Leader Copyright 2010, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint The Make It Happen Moment ® Coaching Leader, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Writing A Professional Business Plan

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Alice In Wonderland

In Carroll Lewis’ fable, Alice In Wonderland, Alice finds herself lost and asks the Cheshire Cat this question, “Can you tell me please which way I should walk?” To which the Cheshire Cat responds, “Well, it depends on where you want to get to.” Thinking upon his comment, Alice states, “I guess it really doesn’t matter much.” “Then,” Cheshire Cat responds, “it doesn’t really matter much…which way you walk.”

Although this little excerpt from Alice In Wonderland is only an illustrated scene from a fable, many business professionals actually lead their professional lives and their businesses with the same approach as Alice – not knowing which way they should walk and no professional business plan to help them get there. To help business leaders and professionals avoid the tragic consequences of wandering in the business marketplace without any real direction, the following Professional Business Planning template will provide excellent guidance in the preparation of a written professional business plan that contains five critical elements for success in business: Purpose, Vision, Core Values, Team Values, and Strategic Objectives.

A.     The 1st Critical Element of Success in Business is Defining the PURPOSE of Your Business

Purpose is the unequivocal reason why your business exists.

Colossians 3:23-24 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

To help you reflect upon the God-ordained purpose of your business and define it in written terms, please answer each of the questions below:

1)      What would happen if your business ceased to exist?

2)      Why is it important for your company to continue to exist?

3)      If you had enough money to retire tomorrow, would you still continue working for your business? If so, why?

Considering your answers to the questions above and reflecting on the statements below about purpose, write down the purpose for your business that is worth your very best efforts to bring God glory and benefit others:

  •  Your purpose is your God-ordained reason for existing in the business world
  • Your purpose reflects the God-ordained reason for doing your work
  • Your purpose captures the soul of your values and beliefs in God expressed through your business
  • Your purpose answers the question, “Whom do I exist to serve, with what, and why?”

B.      The 2nd Critical Element of Success in Business is Having a VISION of Your Business Future

Vision is the mental picture of the preferred future for your business.

Habakkuk 2:2 “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.”

Thinking about the preferred future for your business, in each of the 4 areas below describe what you would like your business to be and become in 10 or 20 years?

  • Finances
  • People
  • Operations
  • Service

C.      The 3rd Critical Element of Success in Business is Defining the CORE VALUES of Your Business

Core Values are the uncompromising convictions and beliefs that your business stands for in the community.

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

What are the 3 to 5 convictions you have about your business that you are unwilling to change no matter what as you build your business for the glory of God and the benefit of others?

D.     The 4th Critical Element of Success in Business is Communicating the TEAM VALUES Within Your Business

Team values are the undeniable convictions and beliefs that and you and your team members stand for in your business.

Philippians 2:14-15 “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”

What are the 7 to 10 undeniable convictions that you have about your team that you are unwilling to change no matter what as you build your team for the glory of God and the benefit of others? If you have read The Make It Happen Journey, you may be encouraged to build your team with the 9 Make It Happen Team Values defined in the book.

E.      The 5th Critical Element of Success in Business is Developing the STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES of Your Business

Strategic objectives are the compelling ambitions of your business that clearly meet the following criteria:

  • Big Holy Awesome Goals
  • Unifying Points of Teamwork
  • Catalytic Components for Activating Team Spirit
  • Directed Towards Achieving Greatness In God as a Team
  • SMART (Specific, Measureable, Action-Oriented, Results-Oriented, Time-Oriented)

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

What are the 5 to 7 compelling ambitions of your company that will inspire your team members to achieve greatness together and accomplish God’s purpose for your business in the next 2 to 3 years?

Have a blessed ”Make It Happen” day!

Writing A Professional Business Plan Copyright 2012, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint Writing A Professional Business Plan, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Related Resources:

1)      Coachwell Article: Strategy Part One – Strategy Formation

2)      Coachwell Article: Strategy Part Two – Strategy Function

3)      Coachwell Article: Strategy Part Three – Strategy Execution

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