Monday, April 13, 2009

mentored by Bill Hybels (part 2)

You can read part 1 & all about how I was mentored by Bill Hybels for 76 days by clicking HERE.
Today I just want to share some of my favorite axioms from Bill's book called Axiom. You can (& should) buy it HERE.
The book is conveniently divided into 4 sections & each axiom in that section falls under the main topic of that section. The 4 main topics are = Vision/Strategy, Teamwork/Communication, Activity/Assessment, & Personal Integrity.
Because You get SO MUCH when you are mentored by Bill Hybels, I'm going to just share some of my favorite takeaways from the 1st half of the book.

Language Matters - my bottom line takeaway is that word choice is HUGE to start an epidemic… for a movement to catch on & spread. This is something I overlook way too much as a leader. I need to remember that **my effectiveness as a leader often hinges on something as "inconsequential" as word choice…
Hybels says that “leaders rise and fall by the language they use.” *** “Sometimes whole visions live or die on the basis of the words the leader chooses for articulating that vision.” Wow! This is major advice coming from a great visionary.
He also says “The very best leaders I know wrestle with words until they are able to communicate their big ideas in a way that captures the imagination, catalyzes action, and lifts spirits.”
this process of word choice is VERY difficult & time consuming, but it seems like it is AS rewarding as actually choosing the general content! WOW!
*I think that as communicators we might tend to "wing it" when it comes to communicating vision! Since we're "pretty good" at communicating we don't put time into it, we just do it. We don't spend any time crafting our words. BUT, I have learned from Bill that LANGUAGE MATTERS, so I am going to be intentional about crafting my words before every communicating venue...
I've gotta remember Hybels' advice = “The right words can make vision talks soar.”

Make the Ask - “Leadership is a lot about asking. I realized long ago that ‘asking’ would always be a significant part of my leadership role.” (Hybels) & it seems like the longer I lead the bigger my asks will get!
This was some very interesting advice from Bill = “when handled properly people are actually quite flattered to be asked to do significant things for God.” -> “they’re almost always honored by a wise and well-timed ask.” This is so interesting to. Is this really true? I guess I can take it from Bill, eh? He said each time a big ask came in to him he was quite honored, not offended in the least. I think he's probably right = when the asks are done well, there is rarely a downside. [He goes on to give some very practical steps as to HOW to "ask well".]
I love the way he looks at this! = “If you’re chasing a bold vision, one of the greatest GIFTS you can give the people around you is to get in front of them… ask them to step up and do something great for God.” that's such an awesome way to think of it! It's a gift... to THEM.

Vision: Paint the Picture Passionately
- Here is an example of why the whole book felt like I was sitting at a coffee shop with Hybels and he was mentoring me personally... “Leaders [Patrick], don’t ever apologize for the strength of feeling you have for the vision that God has put in your life. Don’t hide your feelings about it. God meant for you to feel as deeply about His vision for you as you do about anything.”

The Three Cs - a lot of great lessons in here. the 3 Cs are Character, Competence, & Chemistry. This should be our guage for hiring peeps. in that order. “Good character is tough to discern in a 15 minute interview.” very true. We've got to get creative then.
Great advice = “Never apologize for looking for maximum competence in your new teammates, gifts and talents and capabilities that will take your ministry to the next level of effectiveness.” On the other side, if you get negative vibes the first 2-3 times you're with a potential hire… that’s a bad sign that you won’t ever get along with them!!!*** that’s big. Bill learned this painful lesson the hard way too many times.

Never Say Someone’s No for Them
- Bill says this is an odd tendency in even the best leaders… they ask God who would be the very best person on planet earth for the role… then they come up with the reasons why the person prolly won’t want to do it & they go after lesser qualified peeps who they can get easier! This is INSANE & we've gotta remember never to fall into this tendency.

Get the Right People Around the Table - “resolve to get the right people around the table. I figured if the right people were around the table, surely God would speak through them or through me or through our collective conversation and show us which direction to head.” I think there is good wisdom in that statement.
This is a BIG & interesting quote = “I really do believe that every serious problem known to humankind is addressable and solvable when the right people are invited into the dialogue.” This is CRAZY intriguing to me. I'm still not sure that I totally agree yet. I think I want to though. What do you think of that above statement? I know what Bill thinks of it because he said “I believe in this principle like I believe in gravity.” Wow. He believes it pretty strongly... or else he falls down a lot.

Pay Attention to Greetings and Goodbyes - the "problem" = Leaders are wired to have a HUGE bias toward action = “most of them [leaders] get up every morning with freshly stirred, God-given passion for moving every player in their organization one step closer to mission achievement.” VERY true and if you are a leader you can vouch for that. "Therefore, leaders are usually ¾ steamroller & ¼ compassionate colleage."
[this is interesting to me… is this a cop out or just fact of life I should let go? Should I struggle with it or no?] Example = when leader walks into a meeting they have “only one thing on the brain: mission advancement.” - so, because a leader’s mind is singularly focused on “task,” the other people in room can be easily overlooked. SO...
***“The most important part of every meeting is your greeting and goodbye.”
Hybels cheats this tendency by = “I make it a habit to do a personal, enthusiastic, genuine, warm, highly relational, look-you-in-the-eye greeting to every single person sitting around the table before I even think about starting the meeting.”

Deliver the Bad News First - “what you leave with someone at the end of any given communiqué…sets the tone for how they feel about the future of the organization or endeavor.” This is a big idea & fascinating & really BRILLIANT!
The KEY = “The difference between great communication and not-so-great communication often comes down to where you place the bad news.” I’ve gotta DO this & learn to master this!

What are your thoughts? Which axiom was your fav? What thoughts do these axioms provoke in you?


thesawhooks said...

WOW...running to get book...seriously...good stuff! Thanks so much for taking time out to post about it. I think my favorite is "Never say someone's "NO" for them". I am BAD at that! - I think it also coincides with the asking questions as a leader. I don't ask - b/c I'm afraid of "No"... :) GOOD stuff...So much more - but I'd hate to take up the ENTIRE section of comments!

patrick mitchell said...

sweet. glad you were digging it. I'm about to post my final takeaways from the 2nd half. Hope you like the book!