Monday, November 11, 2013

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job

My most recent read is The Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni. I picked this book up at the library book sale, and after completing my bookshelves I sat down to read this. As with his other books, Lencioni writes a parable that illustrates the business principle he is trying to communicate.

The three signs of a miserable job are:

(1) Anonymity: Managers need to know their employees, know who they are and what their lives are about.

(2) Irrelevance: Do your employees know who their work impacts and how?

(3) Immeasurement: Managers need to create clear expectation and measurable goals for employees.

The book does an excellent job of unpacking these through story telling, and the principles are clear and, IMHO, correct. For my role the biggest challenge to me is how to create measurable goals without removing the Holy Spirit from the role of a pastor. This is a serious challenge, but one I am putting thought into as I seek to become a better XP.

Well worth the read.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Of new jobs, new homes, and abandoned blogs...

After a LOT of work, my library shelves are all built, my books are unpacked, and I finally have a place to read again. I read a book the first night this was all completed, and I'm anxious to review it, but it made me realize just how neglected my blog has been...

Thoughts on my new role:

   - It's interesting how different it is being a technically minded executive pastor vs. leading the IT department as a direct part of my role. Although I am involved in setting direction for the IT work at LEFC, I necessarily have to allow my staff to make decisions and choices that I would not make. Leadership from this level looks very different than direct IT leadership.

   - I love to lead, it is what I was built to do, but it means having to make hard decisions, and those are... hard. Profound, I know. :-)

   - Staying connected to God is more important than ever.

A few comments on life:

   - It took a lot longer to get settled than I expected.

   - Building my own furniture is cool, but exhausting. I don't love the process of building as much as I love the final product of something built exactly the way I want it.

   - We need people. I could not have done this project without the help of my dad, his missionary friend from Germany, and one of our elders who has the skills necessary to mount the cabinet doors perfect on the first try...

   - I love Pennsylvania, and I love serving at LEFC.

I don't know what format this blog will take long term, but I expect to start putting book reviews here again shortly. I use them not only as reviews, but as my own reading journal...


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive

The hardest part of moving is getting your rhythms back (for example, I update this blog once every few months whether it needs it or not...). I used to read a lot, but after moving I've found it quite difficult. I am looking forward to getting fully moved in to our home (all our stuff is there, but there are boxes everywhere) and being able to create a space to read again.

Last night I got a chance to read a book that a friend of mine handed me: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable. The book tells a story of two companies who are competitors in the same industry. It's an easy read, and a compelling one. The fable is designed to illustrate the four obsessions and how they make a company effective:

   - Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team
   - Create organizational clarity
   - Over-communicate organizational clarity
   - Reinforce organizational clarity through human systems

This book was a great read for several reasons. First, it kicked me in the butt a bit as a leader, reminding me that I need to focus on the important things, the big things. It's easy to get bogged down by the little stuff, the stuff that doesn't matter long term. For me, this motivated me to re-engage some of the organizational techniques I used after reading Making Ideas Happen. Without a clear strategy to remain focused, it is incredibly difficult to keep the right things at the top of the pile.

The most gratifying thing about reading this book is that the tasks I've devoted the most time to since arriving are building and maintaining a cohesive leadership team, and creating organizational clarity. It's reassuring to know that we are on the right track, and I'm looking forward to reaching the point where we can add points three and four to the mix...

I found the fable more interesting and enlightening than the "business book text" style sections afterwards that tried to unpack the fable. Quite frankly these chapters seemed unnecessary, and were probably suggested by an editor who doesn't get the idea of letting people think for themselves.

Still, a worthwhile read.