Issue No. 347 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting quotes Bill Hybels who champions a multi-discipline approach to the books he reads, including the military and politics. And this reminder: click here to check out my 20 management buckets (core competencies).
Bill Hybels is a big fan of leaders who are readers. Here’s his wisdom on “Read All You Can” from Leadership Axioms: Powerful Leadership Proverbs.
“The older I get and the longer I lead, the wider my knowledge gap becomes and the more aware I am of all that I don’t know about leadership. But then there’s Romans 12:8, which says I am to ‘lead diligently.’ How am I supposed to lead diligently when there is so much left to learn?
“Leaders have a responsibility before God to constantly get better, and one of the most reliable ways to do so is to read. Great leaders read frequently. They read voraciously. They soak up lessons from the military, from academia, from politics, from nongovernmental organizations, and from church leaders who are leading well.”
And let me add my two cents: Leaders also soak up lessons from camp directors—and this issue’s insightful niche book, Be the Director I Could Follow, by Earl D. Taylor. The author invited me to write the foreword—and I’ve listed six reasons you should read the book.
Harvard Business Review’s classic article, “7 Surprises for the New CEO,” is a wake-up call for both corporate and nonprofit leaders—including camp directors. Surprise Number Five is a shocker: “You Are Not the Boss.” Few articles and books equal the honesty and warnings from these co-authors.
So I was blessed and privileged when Earl invited me to write the foreword to Be the Director I Could Follow (A Camp Director's Manual). His written labor of love—transparently delivered with warts and all—is a valuable survival kit for new and growing camping leaders [and all leaders] who will find not seven, but dozens of surprises in their leadership journeys.
Oh, my. How I wish Earl’s wit and wisdom had been in print decades ago when I invested 11 immensely challenging (but thoroughly satisfying) years as a camp director in Illinois and Washington. I would have read this book every week!
Then when I was privileged to lead what is now called Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA), I would have gifted his book to hundreds of struggling (but amazingly committed) men and women who loved Jesus and led remarkable camping ministries.
Be the Director I Could Follow is a feast for new leaders and old leaders. In addition to Earl’s savvy smarts from his in-the-trenches school of hits and misses, he’s invited four of my Christian camping heroes (Dick Angelo, Brian Ogne, Enoch Olson, and Tom Robertson) to serve up their common sense approach to leadership. Brilliant!
Here are six reasons you MUST read this book—and share it with your team:
1. Twitter-Worthy Quotations Sprinkled Throughout the Book. Amazing stuff! Like John Maxwell’s insight: “The only thing a title can buy is a little time—either to increase your level of influence with others or to undermine it.”
2. Brian Ogne’s Four Principles of Funding Your Ministry. My favorite: “People give money to success, not to distress.”
3. Tom Robertson’s Transparent Confession. “…I needed to settle the glory issue. Either I got it or God got it. I was not meant to carry the glory belonging to God. It was so freeing to lay that burden down.”
4. Enoch Olson’s Sacred Task. “As the visionary I had the sacred task of proclaiming a vision of a future that did not yet exist ... for a people with the means to bring that future into a present reality.” (Note: Enoch wrote his chapter at age 85 and noted, “With the help of many, my style of leadership is still improving which means it is a growing process. There are real reasons why some leaders succeed and others fail.”)
5. Dick Angelo’s 7-Day Prayer List. “The best practice that a young or old director can get into is to take all the cares of the week, make a list of them, and daily spend time in prayer over them. Keep that list at least a week ahead all the time. That way, one prays for the need today, as well as always praying for the needs of the next several days.” Yikes! How did I miss this discernment insight? While grace abounds, I wish I had started this 50 years ago, not this week.
6. Earl Taylor’s Metric That Matters Most—the Happiness File. “I do keep a close watch on the finances of the camp; without enough money, the camp begins to flounder and morale and facilities go downhill. Staff likes to be paid. But I have an even more important system to measure the success of the camp: it is called my ‘happiness file.’ In my desk, I keep a file of all the good reports I hear from parents, churches, and campers.” Great insight—great idea!
Recently, I heard a millennial youth leader share this at a large conference: “Next month I turn 30—and it will be the fifth anniversary of that moment in my life when I discovered I didn’t know everything!”
None of us know everything—but that realization is critical. I just learned a lot more—and had several important nudges-in-my-ribs from the Holy Spirit as a result of reading Be the Director I Could Follow.
To order from Amazon, click on the graphic below for Be the Director I Could Follow, by Earl D. Taylor.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) Bill Hybels preaches that leaders should read outside of their professions and disciplines. What book have you read recently that fits this admonition?
2) Earl Taylor notes that he reads about 30 books a year. In the appendix, he lists 75 books that are on his Kindle, including A Year With Peter Drucker, Execution, Necessary Endings, and Leaders Eat Last. What is your reading goal for this year?
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In Earl Taylor’s book (above), he begins Chapter 9, “Become an Innovator,” with this powerful quotation from Antonine de St. Exupery:
“If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
While that’s a great quote—it doesn’t work for “Drivers.” Instead, customize your “leaders are readers” motivation plan to your team members based on the four social styles: Analytical, Driver, Amiable, Expressive. Each style will respond to a different motivational approach.
For example, Expressives will want to win a reading competition, while Analyticals will value content. Amiables will read if it will help their relationships with you. Drivers will prefer shorter page counts with bottom line, end-of-chapter summaries. While you should understand your own style—and what motivates you to read—don’t make the mistake of thinking “one size fits all.”
For more resources from “The Book Bucket,” Chapter 5, in Mastering the Management Buckets, visit this webpage which includes three master lists of book recommendations.
P.S. Read John’s recent blog on board governance: "The Widow's Mite Is NOT the Gold Standard of Giving."
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