Saturday, August 23, 2008

Golf Lesson 6

Ryder cup coach, Tony Jacklin, offers this advice to team coaches: Pair players who will inspire one another.

Personal chemistry and project requirements should play a role when leaders put together a team. I made one of my biggest leadership blunders by trying to deny this principle. I figured that if two people were qualified and available that they would be able to function as a team.

Paul decided that John Mark was not the best choice for the team he was building to go on a mission trip. When there is a known problem, even a temporary tension, it is best for the ministry to avoid teaming those people up. John Mark and Paul did team up later under different circumstances.

What do you consider when you are putting together a team to accomplish ministry? A good coach will consider how the team members will encourage or discourage one another.

Just Thinking.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Golf Lesson 5

Ben Crenshaw, 1999 Ryder Cup winning coach, give advice to team coaches. He says, "A good captain is a good listener. You have to listen to what the players and the caddies say. They're reacting to the golf course nd breaking it down. I was all ears the whole week.

The same is true of ministry leaders. We must be all ears as we interact with those who serve with us. They are reacting to the area of their ministry and breaking it down. Getting the proper input "from the field" is crucial to making wise strategic decisions.

Are you listening as you are leading? Where do you receive your feedback that allows you to make wise stategic decisions? Note: Crenshaw listened to the caddies, too. All those engaged in the work have important information that could be the difference between victory and loss.
Just thinking.

Golf Lesson 4

Billy Casper, 1979 winning Ryder Cup coach, had this to say about coaching a winning team: Remind them what the Cup is about.

He showed the team old Ryder Cup footage and comments from previous winners. Sort of like staying in the Word, where we are reminded what God's mission is all about. It is good to visit past footage of God at work and hear the testimonies of those who have gone before us.

As a coach, it is important to remind our team what the mission of the church is all about. Our mission is certainly more important than bringing home a trophy for beating the European team at golf.

How often do you take time to really embed the vision in your team? Maybe video testimonies of changed lives. Old footage of where God has brought you from. Current footage of the mission field at the doorstep. Billy Casper would say, "Remind them what it is all about."

Just Thinking

Golf Lesson 3

The Ryder Cup is one of the few events that takes people from an individual sport and makes them into a team. Ryder Cup coaches have a real challenge. European coach, Seve Balleseros (probably didn't have to tell you he was a European coach), lead his team to victory in 1997.

His advice to team coaches is: Don't be afraid to bench your stars. No matter how good someone is, there are times and situations where they need to take the bench. This is a real test as to whether someone is a team player or not. Can you look objectively at the goal of the team and put it before personal participation and glory?

Do you ever change up who you pull into the room or take along to the conference depending upon the bigger team goal? Do you bench a star when he or she is sideways in their walk or having a period of being off the mark? If you are not afraid to bench the star, it will help in the star's personal development, it will help in team development, and it will send out a major signal that you are serious about the vision.

Just Thinking.

Golf Lesson 2

I want to continue sharing some leadership principles I learned from Ryder Cup team coaches. This one, from Tom Watson, is crucial:

Be Prepared to Improvise. He said we must match up the team players, have a strategy for offense and defense, and prepare for the event. Five minutes into the game, throw all that stuff aside and do what you have to do.

This doesn't mean you don't follow what you planned. It means what you planned should not paralyze you when something unexpected shows up, and it will. Moving from being an individual player to a team player also increases the variables that are out of your control and beyond the scope of any plan, no matter how well it has been thought out.

Is your team prepared to improvise on the fly. It will release the event and allow it to reach its full potential because it will not be restricted by the fear of the unexpected and the limitations of a plan.

Just Thinking.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Golf Lesson 1

I don't play much golf. I love it, but time and money prevent me from playing. I do read golf magazines and watch the golf channel to keep my game sharp for the few times I go out with out-of-town visitors.

I have found several good leadership principles in golf magazines. With the Ryder Cup coming up, I am especially interested in things the team coaches have to say about leading and motivating guys who play as individuals all season long and now must play as a team. I thought I would share a few over the next couple blogs.

Ben Crenshaw, coach of the winning 1999 team, says: Don't over strategize. "Give them a candy bar and a sandwich and tell them to play well. You don't want to tell them too much. Don't overboil it."

As a person with a temperament that leans toward strategizing, I really need to take that to heart. Trust the talent, adjust on the fly, and keep it simple.
Somewhere between "wing it" and "perfect it" is a leadership style that aggressively pursues excellence.

Just Thinking.