Leadership Development

Healthy Communication – Summit Life Today

“It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.” ~ Yogi Berra

First seek to understand before you seek to be understood.  Stephen Covey lists this simple principle among his list of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.  It’s in understanding that we gain insight.  When we seek to understand, we go deeper into the issue and begin to answer: “Why?”

How good are you at listening…really listening? 

Erin KnappHealthy Communication – Summit Life Today
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Leading Up – Summit Life Today

“Perhaps nothing in our society is more needed for those in positions of authority than accountability.”  ~ Larry Burkett

You are never going to agree with all the decisions the boss makes, even if you’re the boss!  There are a lot of important decisions that have to be made each and every day.  Most of these decisions will be fairly clear cut, but many will require more careful consideration.  Some of the choices will fall into gray areas that will be hard to call, much like a pitch in baseball that curves knee high over the corner of the plate.  Wise leaders don’t try to make all these calls themselves.  They often rely on the collective perspective and wisdom of a leadership team.

Erin KnappLeading Up – Summit Life Today
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More than Survival – Summit Life Today

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere to go.  My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln

Have you ever participated in a team building survival exercise?  You are given a scenario in which you are either stranded on an island, lost in a forest or find yourself in the aftermath of a natural disaster. The facilitator describes your situation and particular survival challenges, and then you are given a list of items that are available to you.  You and your team are charged with putting the list in the right order to give you the best chance for survival.  The objective is to get your team to agree on the most important things that need to be at the top of your list.  

Erin KnappMore than Survival – Summit Life Today
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Unthinkable – Summit Life Today

“That Jesus of Nazareth died upon a cross is mere matter of history; that He who did so die was the Christ the Son of God is entirely a matter of revelation.” ~ Sir Robert Anderson

Major “unthinkable” events have happened throughout history.  Tragedies such as the Titanic sinking, the attack on Pearl Harbor, John F. Kennedy being shot, the Challenger Disaster and the 9/11 terrorist attacks represent just a few “unthinkable” events of the past 100 years.  In the days before each of these events, no one was thinking such a tragedy could ever touch their life.  For many of us, we have experienced our own personal “unthinkable” events.  Every detail of those days is forever etched in our memory.  The Apostle John late in life reflects back on his days with Jesus just before the crucifixion.  Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to a cheering crowd and the idea of him being crucified that Friday was truly unthinkable. 

Erin KnappUnthinkable – Summit Life Today
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Good Roots – Summit Life Today

“Storms make oaks take deeper root.” ~ George Herbert

Healthy trees have healthy roots.  Water and nutrients are drawn in by the root system in order to properly feed and nurture a tree.  There must always be an ample supply of all the right things.The essentials for growing a healthy tree include being in a good location for sunlight and water and having the proper kind of soil that will support the roots. The book of Psalms actually opens with a healthy tree illustration that applies to us as Christian leaders.

Erin KnappGood Roots – Summit Life Today
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Keep It Simple – Summit Life Today

“Many of those who once were so passionately in love with Christ now run about pursuing their own interests. They’re burdened down with stress and problems, chasing after riches and the things of this world.” ~ David Wilkerson

Stress is the fruit of complexity.  As leaders, we are prone to take on too much because we often fall into the trap of underestimating a challenge and overestimating our margins.  All plans seem to work well on paper.  The plans we write on paper are two dimensional and usually have well defined margins.  The plans we implement are three dimensional with margins that begin to blur.  That third dimension is made up of people, budgets, timelines and the unexpected.  None of these consider our margins.

Erin KnappKeep It Simple – Summit Life Today
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What’s Luck Got To Do With It? – Summit Life Today

“I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Are you lucky?  Both of my parents were born in Ireland and I grew up hearing the phrase:  “It’s the luck of the Irish”.  I often hear people say things like: “Wish me luck” or they may wish others “good luck” before a sporting event, a sales call or even on the day of their wedding.

Don’t we want all the things that are out of our control to magically line up in our favor?  Luck is what a lot of people hope for to resolve circumstances that are beyond their control.  If everything goes well, we’ve had “good luck” and if it goes poorly, it was “bad luck”. 

Erin KnappWhat’s Luck Got To Do With It? – Summit Life Today
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Navigating Change – Summit Life Today

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

You’ve heard it said that “Two things are certain in life: Death and Taxes.”  I think we can add a third item to the list: “Change.”  Change is inevitable. If you are trying to grow your organization, there is no way to avoid dealing with change. How you navigate change will in turn change your future one way or the other.

Erin KnappNavigating Change – Summit Life Today
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Planning and Patience – Summit Life Today

“Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work.” ~ Peter Marshall

The defining difference between someone pursuing their dream and someone just dreaming is evident in the things they do day after day.  You know people who are “dreamers”.  They love to talk about what they are going to do but never seem to get around to doing anything about it.  In order for a dream to come true, you must have a clear vision and a disciplined plan.

Erin KnappPlanning and Patience – Summit Life Today
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Positive and Productive Cultures – Summit Life Today

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”  ~ Sam Walton

People oriented leaders seek to create a positive culture in their organization.  They often describe their team as being like “one big happy family”.  Unfortunately, these positive cultures can often settle for production levels well below their true potential.  Let’s face it, if the work doesn’t get done, the organization won’t be successful.  If the organization isn’t successful, it doesn’t matter how friendly everyone is, good people will lose their jobs.

Erin KnappPositive and Productive Cultures – Summit Life Today
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