Initiative: An Indicator of Influence-Drucker Challenge Essay Competition [Pt. 3]

Peter Drucker ChallengeThis is the third and final post in a blog series outlining my essay submitted for the 2013 Drucker Challenge competition. Part 1 can be accessed here and you can read Part 2 here.

As an intellectual disciple of Drucker, I am very excited to share these posts with other fans of “Father of Modern Management”. The title of my paper is “Leadership Lessons from the Stories of Shakespeare, Steinbeck, and Shaw: What Fiction can teach Executives about Effectiveness”.

All the top ten finalist, including mine at number 9, can be downloaded here at the Drucker Challenge website.

One of the keys about leadership is lifelong learning. In the months since I submitted my essay earlier this fall, I have learned and grown a tremendous amount more. One of the books I’ve read is “Leadership Excellence: The Seven Sides of Leadership for the 21st Century” (2012) by Basketball Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Pat Williams. William’s book is a synthesized work of all the best leadership literature covering ancient classics like Lao-tzu’s “Tao Teh Ching”, “Arthashastra” by Chanakya of India and of course the Gospel accounts of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

In his book Williams cites leadership lessons from both Shakespeare and Steinbeck. In what he calls his “Second Side of Leadership-Communication”, Williams writes of the power of narrative in Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel, East of Eden (1952). In his fictional work, Steinbeck states that “If a story is not about the hearer, he will not listen. And I here make a rule- a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting- only the deeply personal and familiar” (Williams, p. 98). Later in his chapter on the “Sixth Side of Leadership-Boldness”, Williams writes of the English ‘Bard’ “William Shakespeare offers great leadership advice in his paly Julius Caesar… You cannon argue with his leadership logic”. Quoting the infamous character, Marcus Junius Brutus, Williams echoes the assassin’s speech, “On such a full seas are we now afloat; and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our venture” (Williams, p. 252). Boldness, or the willingness to act as alluded to by Brutus, is one of the characteristics that set leaders apart from followers; for leaders always go first.

In addition to the bibliography listed at the end of my essay, I would also highly encourage you to check “Leadership Excellence” as well as out two newly released books by adamant “Druckerites”. The first is titled The Practical Drucker: Applying the Wisdom of the World’s Greatest Management Thinker (November, 2013) by William A. Cohen, Drucker’s first Executive Ph.D graduate. While this book is obviously meant for application in the immediate, the second work, “Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way: Developing and Applying a Forward Focused Mindset” (October, 2013) by Bruce Rosenstein is intended to help you live into your desired coming reality. I highly recommend both works, as well as all the authors’ previous books on Peter F. Drucker.

Initiative is usually indicator of influence. It is therefore with this backdrop, that I’ll continue my essay with the managerial contextualization of the Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics, George Bernard Shaw. Enjoy part 3.

George Bernard Shaw: Man’s Continual Improvement

“Knowledge people must take responsibility for their own development and placement… You have to reinvent yourself.” (Drucker, 2004. pg. 27)

Man and Superman:

While George Bernard Shaw’s play Man and Superman (1960) turns the typical Don Juan story on its’ head by having a female pursuer, the ideas of genetic adaptation in hopes of designing the perfect male specimen through preceding generations, takes what Drucker meant with the intellectual and social and applies it to the physical desire of man’s continual improvement. Tying the themes of Shakespeare together with that of Steinbeck, Shaw’s letter to Arthur Bingham Walkley in the introduction of Man and Superman, the Irish author states that “Philosophically, Don Juan is a man who, though gifted enough to be exceptionally capable of distinguishing between good and evil, follows his own instincts without regard to the common, statute, or canon law; and therefor , whilst gaining the ardent sympathy of our rebellious instincts, finds himself in mortal conflict with existing institutions” (pg. 239). While romantic in its nature, Man and Superman confronts leadership lessons such as sacrificial love, continuous improvement, and completing a mission through a set of objectives.

Arms and the Man:

The thematic elements of this second play by Shaw are inherent of his philosophy concerning social issues and specifically war. Shaw, like Drucker, was well aware of the atrocities of war resulting from dictatorship. In Shaw’s story, the author uses mercenaries, deception, and manipulation in his plot-line to show how what Drucker called “mis-leaders” thrive on lording their power over people. Drucker knew all too well the horrors of a dictatorship. In his landmark book Management Drucker offered his solution for preventing the tyranny of mis-leadership. He writes that “the alternative to autonomous institutions that function and perform is not freedom. It is totalitarian tyranny… If the institutions of our pluralist society of institutions do not perform in responsible autonomy we will not have individualism and a society in which there is a chance for people to fulfill themselves… Tyranny substitutes one absolute boss for the pluralism of competing institutions. It substitutes terror for responsibility… Performing, responsible management is the alternative to tyranny and our only protection against it” (Drucker, 2004. pg. 12). In Shaw’s first play, we see the desire for relationship and perfection between two people. In this second story by the great playwright, we see again elements of the romantic couple in the first. However, instead of two lovebirds, the need for relationship, continual improvement, and autonomy are based at the societal level.

Conclusion: Innovation, Inspiration, and Imagination

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are thus needed in any society… they promise to keep the economy, industry, public-service, or business flexible and self-renewing” (Drucker, 1985. pg.254).

In Peter Drucker’s book Innovation and Entrepreneurship (1985), Drucker’s thinking again showed decades before his time. The basis of the book is that through innovation, inspiration, and imagination, the individual will propel themselves toward new knowledge, which would result in the application and advancement of organizations thus moving a society forward.

Moving from the Individual to a Society:

“In an entrepreneurial society individuals face a tremendous challenge, a challenge they need to exploit as an opportunity: the need for continuous learning and relearning… The emergence of the entrepreneurial society may be a major turning point in history” (Drucker, 1985. pg. 263-265).

Drucker encouraged management’s foundation be built on the responsibility leaders have for making life better, for both the individual and society. This happens in part through accountability, performance, and measurable results. But having a skilled hand and enlighten head are not enough. Leaders need to have a heart for their people. When executives are equipped for effective management and ethical leadership, not only through technical training, but also with inspiration from the liberal arts and supplemented with humanistic insights from fiction literature, our leaders will be able to raise their people’s vision, improve performance, and increase an organizations potential.

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Work, Worlds, and Wrath: What Steinbeck’s Words Reveal about Drucker’s Wisdom-Drucker Challenge Essay Competition [Pt. 2]

Peter Drucker ChallengeThroughout this three part blog series, I am sharing the essay I wrote for the 2013 Drucker Challenge competition.

My essay, titled “Leadership Lessons from the Stories of Shakespeare, Steinbeck, and Shaw: What Fiction can teach Executives about Effectiveness” won 9th place out of the world’s top 10 finalist, from out of nearly 200 submissions by young entrepreneurs, students, and managers.

In part 1, I introduced management as a liberal art, encouraged leaders to become veracious readers, and analyzed two classic plays by William Shakespeare, “Julius Caesar” and “Macbeth” in order to mine leadership principles Peter Drucker advocated throughout his body of management articles, lessons, and books.

In their hefty work, “Peter F. Drucker: Critical Evaluations in Business and Management, Volume 1” (2005) editors John Wood and Michael Wood stated that Drucker encouraged executives to read Shakespeare during the summer months and had admitted that he himself had “just finished reading all 37 [Shakespeare] plays for a third time” (p.370).

I am not the first author to combine and synthesize the works of William Shakespeare with Peter Drucker. In an online review of the book Shakespeare in Charge: The Bard’s Guide to Leading and Succeeding on the Business Stage” (reprint, 2001), Amazon top 500 reviewer and speed reading guru, Donald “Jesus Loves You” Mitchell begins his critique with the opening lines “I generally do not like business books that are built around historical or fictional characters. The analogy in most cases is superficial and of little interest. On the other hand, I love it when Peter Drucker draws on examples from a hundred or more years ago. Interestingly, this book permits a timeless series of reflections that feels a lot like reading a Drucker example.”

While many similarities between the twin duo of literary icons, Shakespeare and Drucker, can be discussed perhaps endlessly, in this second post, I want to continue with my essay in showcasing how Peter Drucker’s timeless wisdom parallels the voice of one of America’s most famous writers and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, John Steinbeck.

John Steinbeck: The Meaning of Work

“It is perhaps the biggest job of the modern corporation –to find a synthesis between justice and dignity, between equality of opportunities and social status and function” (Drucker, 2004. pg. 193).

Peter Drucker understood the importance of work and finding meaning in work to improve not only the human condition at the individual level, but also in the community. Work provides achievement, and to some degree, an identity.  Be it manual labor in a field, or among “knowledge workers”, a termed coined by Drucker in his 1969 book The Age of Discontinuity, the themes of a functioning society like productivity and managerial responsibility are the same.

Grapes of Wrath:

In the 2008 book Obscene in the Extreme the executive director of the Drucker Institute, Rick Wartzman presents a historical analysis of the political and economic revolution taking place in the United States during the 1930’s. The main themes of the American classic Grapes of Wrath (1976) include man’s inhumanity to his fellow brethren, impoverished leadership structures, the saving power of family and friends in fellowship, and the role of dignity in work. The fictional family, the Joads, who are driven from the land in Oklahoma represent the thousands of families who struggled during the Great Depression. In his book, Concept of the Corporation, Drucker writes that “we can only deny social status and function to the economically unsuccessful if we are convinced that lack of economic success is (a) always a person’s own fault, and (b) a reliable indication of his or her worthlessness as a human personality and as a citizen” (Drucker, 2004. pg. 193). In this book Drucker compares the business to a society that brings citizens together. It combines lessons drawn from politics and economics, while presenting management as the essential element needed to produce effectiveness both inside and outside the company.

Of Mice and Men:

Like Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck again addresses the economic and social issues of the 1930’s in his other classic in American literature, Of Mice and Men (1963). While the former dealt primarily with public discrimination, the latter’s focal concern is the loneliness that resulted from general labor as a hired farm hand. The story focuses on two main characters, the migrant working duo of George and Lennie. The two are an odd couple. George is a smaller man with sharp perception while Lennie is very large and has a mental disability. George looks after Lennie and the two are working to save up to buy their own farm. While George laments over taking care of Lennie, he knows Lennie is the only friend he has. In an unfortunate string of events Lennie accidentally kills a woman and George is forced to shoot Lennie in order to save him from the torture of an angry farm mob.

In his book, The Fabric of this World (1990) author Lee Hardy writes a section entitled “Peter F. Drucker: Respect for Persons, Management, by Objectives, and Responsible Work” and states that “the key as Drucker puts it, is to see people as resources rather than problems and to lead them rather than control them” (p. 167). These concepts of human dignity and the necessity of human relationships are critical in establishing leadership effectiveness.

Drucker, Shakespeare, and Managing Oneself- Drucker Challenge Essay Competition [Pt. 1]

Peter Drucker ChallengeEarlier this month, the 2013 Peter Drucker Challenge convened in Vienna, Austria at the Global Peter F. Drucker Forum to discuss the topic of “Managing in Complexity”.

The theme of this year’s Drucker Challenge essay contest mirrored the complexity concept in that the assignment was to address “Innovation and Inspiration Lessons for Innovatorsfrom the Arts and Sciences”. It seems that through both venues, the essences of leadership and managerial integrity during an age of information overload was an anvil to which issues of decision making and future vision casting were hammered out.

This year, I was honored to be awarded the 9th place winner out of the competition’s top 10 essays submitted. While I was unable to attending the gathering in Vienna, due to several teaching obligations, I did share in celebrating the event through the live feed broadcasted and by reading the various social media updates by seminar contributors.

The discipline of managers maintaining integrity and “managing oneself”– a notion of which Drucker was a pioneer champion, can be easily identified as a need in our ego driven and easily distracted consumeristic culture. Yet this is a serious problem that is unfortunately not isolated to our current time, but has persisted all throughout the ages of history. For example, in the Harvard Business School Press book, “Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leadership” (2002), authors Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky write that “a hunger for importance can make you discount obvious warnings that you are in danger. In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, when someone warns him from the crowd, ‘Beware the ides of March’ he discounts the warning, saying ‘He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass’. Caesar was cocksure of himself because he believed that he, rather than his office, was the center of everybody’s world” (p. 171).

To echo Heifets and Linsky’s point, the title of my essay is “Leadership Lessons from the Stories of Shakespeare, Steinbeck, and Shaw: What Fiction can teach Executives about Effectiveness”. And to continue the celebration of Peter Drucker’s legacy, I will be posting my essay on this blog in several parts. At the conclusion of the three part series, I will be making a link available in order to download the full work in its entirety. For now, I hope you enjoy part 1.

Introduction: Leadership, Literature, and the Liberal Arts

Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a man’s personality beyond its normal limitations.” (Drucker, 2004. pg. 108)

Peter Drucker believed that leadership, like management, and society should always be focused on improving the quality of life for both the individual and community as a whole. All organizations need effective and ethical executives that can lead them with technical knowledge and a humanistic touch. Since leadership is about motivating, equipping, and training people, there are many lessons from literature and the liberal arts that can shed insights to the human conscience and provide practical, real-world advice for lifting a person or team’s vision, improving their performance, and building the overall potential.

In the 2008 revision of Peter Drucker’s classic Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, and Practices, Joseph A. Maciariello, a longtime friend of Drucker’s, brings fresh life to Peter’s manga opus for another new generation of corporate and organizational leaders. In chapter 2: Management as a Social Function and Liberal Art, the authors outline seven basic characteristics of management that are applicable to any enterprise. First, they say that “management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant” (p. 23). Second, the authors note that “because management deals with the integration of people in a common venture, it is deeply embedded in culture.” While management and leadership are similar, they have intentions that are quite different. And although Drucker, the “Father of Modern Management”, never explicitly wrote a book on leadership, he nonetheless had much to say on the topic. In essence, management and leadership are two sides of the same coin. Both are needed in different ways for any organization to grow and make a contribution to the greater good of the society. As for a short distinction, management focuses on processes while leadership focuses on people. Therefore leadership, the heart of management, is also a liberal art.

Drucker wrote that because management “deals with people, their values, their growth, and development— this makes it a humanity. So does its concern with the impact on social structure and the community…Management is thus what tradition used to call a liberal art: ‘liberal’ because it deals with the fundamentals of knowledge, self-knowledge, wisdom, and leadership; ‘art’ because it is practice and application. Managers draw on all the knowledge and insights of the humanities and the social sciences—on psychology and philosophy, on economics and history, on ethics as well as on the physical sciences… For these reasons, management will increasingly be the discipline and the practice through and in which the humanities will again acquire recognition, impact, and relevance” (2008, pg. 24-25). Therefore, managers and leaders are transformational change agents for society. Their responsibilities extend beyond their organizations and into the world where people are, where life happens.

Leaders are Readers:

People create culture and culture creates societies. Culture consists of the shared values, beliefs, worldviews, and accepted behaviors among a specific people group. Traditionally, the most common outlet for expressing a culture came in the form of stories. Because people are innovative, imaginative, and adaptive creatures, any reflection on the work of some of history’s most influential writers is worth considering. Reading the famous narratives of the past is a great way to analysis the present, as well as, plan for the future. Therefore, fiction has much to teach executives about effectiveness.

The adage is true, “leaders are readers”. Anyone desiring to lead effectively will not only commit to hours of studying industry trends, the global economy, and local affairs, but will also allocate a significant percentage of time to enriching themselves through reading. A serious reflection on topics outside of a one’s industry, yet still relevant to a culture of consumers and contributors, will improve their leadership performance. And while reviewing news articles, data spreadsheets, and other factually based research is important for the immediate response, fictional narratives provide leaders with a larger perspective into the intrinsic nature of humanity.

In a recent IdeaCast titled “Read Fiction and be a Better Leader” from the Harvard Business Review blog, Harvard business school professor Joseph Badaracco shared his wisdom from years of teaching leadership.  In the interview, Badaracco states that “what makes literature so valuable in the classroom is that it helps students really get inside individuals who are making decisions. It helps them see things as these people in the stories actually see them. And that’s because the inner life of the characters is imagined and described, in many cases, by brilliant writers whose sense of how people really think and how they really work have been tested by time over decades or even centuries.” Badaracco goes on to say that “you could describe what fiction does particularly well is it introduces people to ethical complexities. And some of the complexities are around the ethical principles. Others are more emotional, psychological around things involving self-discipline, focus. They really see the large, complex, sometimes messy sphere of things that are genuinely ethical.”

In Steven Snyder’s book Leadership and the Art of the Struggle (2013), Snyder reflects on his former classmate’s work by saying that “Badaracco’s premise was that fiction opens a new portal on leadership, deepening the understanding of leadership as a human endeavor, a reality that is often absent in other leadership approaches. By delving into the raw humanity of these flawed yet often heroic characters, Badaracco guided his students to a compelling insight: leadership is a struggle by flawed human beings to make some important human values real and effective in the world as it is” (p. 5). In a similar vein to Badaracco’s interview, famed management consultant Jim Collins advocates the priority of reading of fiction. Under the articles section of his website, the disciple of Drucker applauds several long lists of recommend readings, of which management books are scarce. In the article entitled “Book Value” which originally appeared on Inc. in 1996, Collins states that “Executives should read fewer management books. I don’t mean that reading is a waste of their time; on the contrary, they should read more. The question is what to read. My own view is that only one book in twenty should be a business book… More importantly, outstanding leaders and thinkers often get their best insights by reading outside their primary field.” With just a quick glance at the large list, one can see that the majority of books recommended by Collins are either fictional or historical. Be they narratives or biographies, the principle is the same: people learn about themselves and others through reading about the lives of various characters.

Collins, who wrote forwards to two books by Drucker, The Daily Drucker (2004) and Management (2008), echoed his mentor’s own sentiments. In a Bloomberg Business week column, “The Drucker Difference”, Rick Wartzman, the executive director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University, wrote a piece in August 2009 entitled “Management as a Liberal Art”. In it he recalls what Drucker wrote to a friend in 1997. He cites that Drucker penned: “I am rereading each summer—and have for many years—the main novelists.” Drucker then added “I never read management books; all they do is corrupt the style.” As this example shows and others have been noted, any significant trend in management, leadership, and organizational or societal thinking can be traced back to Peter Drucker.

With this understanding of what leadership can learn from the liberal arts and literature, the remaining portion of this essay will look at six classic stories from three of the Western world’s most influential, fictional writers: William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, and George Bernard Shaw. Instead of retelling each story, the metanarrative themes will be drawn out, analyzed, and then compared to Drucker’s thoughts on the subject matter, thus providing leadership lessons applicable for effective executives today.

William Shakespeare: The Fall of Charismatic Leaders

“The desire for charisma is a political death wish. What matters is not charisma. What matters is whether the leader leads in the right direction or misleads.” (Drucker, 2004. pg. 50)

Peter Drucker did not consider charisma an important quality in leadership. Instead of focusing on exhibiting a dynamic personality, Drucker instead advocated the need for responsibility, transparency, and accountability. In his book, Managing the Nonprofit Organization (1990) Drucker states that the three most charismatic leaders of the twentieth century were the horrific trio of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Indeed, these men were not leaders, but rather “misleaders”. Much like Shakespeare’s stories of Julius Caesar and Macbeth, when leaders become consumed with their ego their ability to equip their people fails. Leadership then becomes about maintaining a position of power instead of empowering others. An unhealthy amount of charisma can lead to narcissism. Much like the Greek myth of Narcissus, for whom the sin of vanity is named from, many like him find their fate in tragic death.

Julius Caesar:

Essentially, the story of Julius Caesar (1971) is less about the man who ruled Rome and more about how his arrogant and charismatic personality was potentially the character flaw that led to his untimely death, a civil war in Rome, and the beginning of the end of the world’s most powerful empire. Caesar, a successful war general assumed a dictatorship over the populous. While Rome was still technically a republic, Caesar had ultimate say. Though the conspirators who plotted his murder did not approve of his authoritative style, many in Rome loved him for the joy that he gave the people. Nonetheless, to this author’s interpretation, Caesar’s demise was a result of his own haughtiness. It is rare that conceit produces consensus in leadership.

William Cohen, the first graduate of Peter Drucker’s executive Ph.D program, in his book Drucker on Leadership (2010) writes that of the “Seven Deadly Sins of Leadership” the Sin of Pride is the worst. Cohen writes that “the problem comes when leaders believe themselves so special that ordinary rules no longer apply. Generalized pride—as opposed to being proud of specific things—is the most serious leadership sin because it can lead to the other six. Sometimes even the perception of what the leader does while committing this sin will make things far worse” (p. 87). This was certainly the case with Julius Caesar. His victories in the political arena and battlefield gave him a pride that lead to his belief that he was invincible and even divine. Unfortunately this also led to his downfall. However, as Alan Axelrod points out in his book Julius Caesar CEO (2012) “if language is any measure, Julius Caesar set a cross-cultural, pan-historical standard of leadership. Not long after he was assassinated, the name “Caesar” became a synonym for ruler” (p. 2).

Macbeth:   

Shakespeare’s story of Macbeth (1971) mirrors the bloody assignation of Caesar and also the corruption of power in leadership. Macbeth, a Scottish Thane, is consumed with pride and ambition, so much so that he kills the Duncan, the King of Scotland and assumes the crown. However, once in charge Macbeth becomes incredibly obsessed with keeping his rule that he disregards any morality. Power hungry and paranoid, he ends up having anyone who threatens his kingdom killed. This leads to distrust among Macbeth’s own army and he is eventually assassinated. Again, it was charisma and pride that led to the fall of a once great leader. However, as Cohen points out, charisma is not always a bad thing in leadership. He writes, that “leaders should heed Drucker’s warning not to become misleaders, but charisma… is useful as a component of Drucker’s requirement to lead and motivate workers to peak performance” (p. 209). This type of leadership is what James McGregor Burns calls in his classic book Leadership (2010) transformational leadership as opposed to the traditional tyrannical type of transactional leadership.

Interview with Frank Viola: Questions on “Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ”

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God has used Frank Viola in an incredible ways to positively impact my spiritual walk and service in Christian ministry.

That’s why I am greatly thrilled to support Frank’s latest resource for encouraging the saints. During this interview, I ask Frank five questions regarding his new online discipleship course, “Live by the Indwelling Life of Christ.

The course consists of  a set of 10 audio sessions, accompanied with a workbook and action plans, to help you grow in your awareness of the Spirit of Jesus and offers practical handles to allow His activity flow from your life. Enjoy the interview and follow the links for more information.

(Joshua)

1.) Frank, I have read all of your books and know that they each address either the deeper Christian life or the biblical nature of the Church. How and where does your new online discipleship course, “Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ” fit into your current body of work?

(Frank)

It gives practical handles to the messages in Jesus Manifesto, Epic Jesus, From Eternity to Here, and Revise Us Again about how to live by the life of Christ which indwells us. It puts wheels on the biblical theology of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1), which is critical for both mission and discipleship.

(Joshua)

2.) In brief, how has your spirituality changed since you began living in the indwelling life of Christ that you describe?

(Frank)

The answer is best put in the words of Paul, “It’s not I, but Christ . . .” Learning how to live by Christ is one thing; living each day by Him is a journey.

I’m trying to get God’s people out of the starting gate by giving them some practical handles on this score. For me, it has alleviated the pressure of trying to do things in my own power, trusting in my own resources. It also shed light on the difference, because many Christians are trying to be good soldiers without realizing that the energy they are relying on is their own selves. They are eating from the tree of THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL instead of the tree of life. I lived this way for years and had no idea.

(Joshua)

3.) During the introduction to session 1, you mention that these messages are more intended for transformation and not necessarily information. What do you mean by that?

(Frank)

To my mind, most preaching today is simply informational. People take notes, the lessons sit in their notebooks, but it never moves into practical experience. I don’t mean “doing” something for God; I mean learning how to know and hear Him. That’s the root of all service.

The reason is because no handles are given. It’s all information aimed at the frontal lobe (or the emotions). My discipleship course gives practical handles that put listeners into the experience of what’s being taught. The goal is transformation. Information just swells the cranium; equipping transforms lives. The course focuses on the latter.

(Joshua)

4.) How should living by the indwelling life of Christ affect a Christian’s relationship with both fellow believers and unbelievers alike?

(Frank)

The DNA of the life of Christ is love. But we don’t really get love today. Love means treating others the exact same way we want to be treated in every situation. Only Jesus Christ can pull that off. So it remarkably changes how we talk to the lost and the found. The life of Jesus also leads us on how to approach each person and how to speak to their hearts in way where they receive or touch the very life we are living by. And that life is Christ.

(Joshua)

5.)    What is the one thing you would hope participants take away and implement after completing the “Indwelling Life of Christ” online discipleship course?

(Frank)

Well, I’ve heard people who took the course back in September say it’s totally changed their Christian walk. They feel that they now really know the Lord for the first time and have discovered how to follow Him . . . not just by reading the Bible and trying, but internally, how to follow Christ in the Spirit. This is the aim of the course and I hope that this becomes true for all those who take it.

(Joshua)

I highly recommend this unique course to every disciple of Jesus and I am excited to share this opportunity with all my blog readers.

It is important to note that this offer expires on December 31st, 2013 and the course will not reopen again until May, 2014.

You can read more about the course, including a synopsis of each message and endorsements from other participants, as well as register at a significantly discounted price here.

Game Plans or Blueprints: Moving from Frustration to Implementation with Innovation

Larry Osborne is the senior pastor of North Coast Church in northern San Diego. Widely respected for their innovation among the church world, North Coast was one of the first ministries to implement pioneering concepts like alternative worship services, multi-service and multisite locations, the introduction of video venues, church wide community projects, the famous sermon based and lay led small group strategy, and team leadership at the executive level. While many of these ministry methods are common now, they were at the time of implementation at North Coast, revolutionary.

In his new book Innovations Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail”, Larry Osborne brings his adventurous heart and sage advice to benefit not only the Christian market, but also both public and private organizations as well. His book has a variety of endorsements from business and church leaders alike, that include quite a diverse list of influential names. Because innovation is one of the forefront tasks of any leader, “Innovations Dirty Little Secret” will provide leaders; both novice and veteran, with the inspiration and affirmation needed to introduce change, develop new products and programs, and leave a legacy within an organization that reinvents itself continuously. Like the title to this blog post suggest, flexibility such as that held by a coach running a game plan, is of higher value in terms of innovation as opposed to the rigidity of an engineer’s blueprint. Therefore, leaders of serial and sustaining innovation tend to operate more like a fluid artist than a constrained scientist.

Innovation, as Osborne defines it, is twofold. It  “(1) must work in the real world, and (2) be widely adopted within a particular organization, industry or in the marketplace” (p. 41). With this understanding in mind, it is obvious to any moderately alert church attender, that Osborne’s innovations at North Coast were light years ahead of their general acceptance in ministry circles.

So what is “innovations dirty little secret”? It is simple. Plainly stated, most innovations fail. Throughout the rest of the book, Osborne goes on to explain why and how leaders can learn from their innovative failures in order to assure success in subsequent attempts.

“Innovations Dirty Little Secret” is comprised of seven parts, each with a number of chapters highlighting the same theme. Some of my favorite sections include chapter 11- “The High Price of Failure” and it’s explanation of the three types of leadership felonies (the spotlight cures, the curse of hype, and the curse of leadership ADHD), chapter 15 – “When You’ve Hit the Wall: Breaking Through Barriers of Competency and Complexity”, and Part 6-Whey Vision Matters. Osborne, who is a master at offering sound bites that contain both breadth and brevity, quips his memorable, managerial anecdotes throughout the book, with phrases like: “serial inventors don’t take crazy and wild risks” (p. 30), “leaders, win awards for solving problems” (p. 44), and “the only thing you and your leadership team can know for sure about the future is that it will be different from what you think it will be” (p. 83).

Each chapter either ends with a list of reflective questions to dig deeper in the content covered, or yields a concluding summary of the main points listed. In addition, Osborne uses illustrations from a variety of inventors including Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Jeff Bezos, and Howard Schultz.

Therein lays the strength of this book. Osborne is not a mere theoretician, but a practitioner with over thirty year’s experiences. By weaving his story, and that of North Coast’s, with other examples throughout history, Osborne shows how regardless of industry, innovation requires certain elements to succeed. In the same vein, there are a number of practices that will actually sabotage organizational change and innovation rather than accelerate it. For this reason, Osborne’s book is a must read for those looking to take their organization to the next level with imagination and innovation.

larry

“Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ” by Frank Viola

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God has used Frank Viola in an incredible ways to positively impact my spiritual walk and service in Christian ministry. Frank’s books, blogs, and audio messages have deepened my sense of awareness of God’s presence in my life and have also created biblical paradigm shifts in how I understand the purpose and nature of the Church. God has blessed Frank not only with a powerful writing ministry but also with the demonstration and experience of practice and a persuasive gift in teaching, that honors the Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s why I am greatly thrilled to support Frank’s latest resource for encouraging the saints. His new online discipleship course is a set of 10 audio sessions, accompanied with a workbook and action plans, to help you Live by the Indwelling Life of Christ.

As Frank explains, these messages aren’t just for education so that the listener is informed, but rather are meant to be equipping talks that lead believers into being spiritually transformed.

Frank teaches with scriptural clarity, the story of the New Testament that both captivates and motivates Christians to live their life in Christ today. Through a chronological tour of Paul’s letters and a concluding examination of Jesus’s life through the Gospel of John, Frank presents fresh content and insights to spiritual formation that are applicable to individuals believers, organic faith communities, and churches of all shapes, styles, and sizes.

I highly recommend this unique course to every disciple of Jesus and I am excited to share this opportunity with all my blog readers.

It is important to note that this offer expires on December 31st, 2013 and the course will not reopen again until May, 2014.

You can read more about the course, including a synopsis of each message and endorsements from other participants, as well as register at a significantly discounted price here: http://frankviola.info/henry/