In October 2010, 551 ducks died in the tailing ponds of Syncrude oilsands in northern Alberta. “Pictures of dead and dying birds flashed around the world and Syncrude was cast by its critics as an environmental pariah,” reported the National Post. How did a company respectful of its workers and the environment forever tarnish the reputation of Alberta oil sands? Recently my wife and I enjoyed a fascinating conversation with a retired Syncrude team leader, a guest of our our bed-and-breakfast. Here’s the rest of the story…
That’s right – good leaders know when NOT to lead. Most of the time leaders are responsible to stand up, speak up, and show the way. However, there are also times to step back. I remember twice in my tenure as pastor when it was better to let someone else lead …
One of the most requested subjects we get at the Masters level in CREST is how to bring change in organizations. Positive change is at the core of all visionary leadership, and yet it is one of the most difficult things to carry out. This blog is the story of one of our CREST Master in Christian Leadership grads and her reflection over tackling a tough change assignment.
I had not planned on being a “Change Agent.” Oh, I was good with vision that tweaked and refined. Wholesale change was not what I signed up for. Circumstances thrust me into the role of “Change Agent”, and it was scary. A number of things happened simultaneously, over which I had no control…
I was frustrated as I vented to a good friend, “What’s the matter with this church? This is a great vision, biblically-based, and exactly what we need. I’ve done the research. I’ve laid it out in careful detail. Why don’t they get it?”
We are all fundamentally wired to feel a need to belong somewhere and with someone. As teens we are very extreme and overt about our attempts to fit in somewhere. But honestly, it doesn’t stop when we hit adulthood.
One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
“Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” was his response.
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”
The first time I remember reading this I was in my twenties, reading Alice in Wonderland to my young daughter. I thought, “Well, duh! Of course.” Now, in my 50’s, I realize what a profound statement this is.
Recently I was on a trip outside my province. After a long plane ride I had come directly to a meeting. I met several people and had important conversations. Before the next meeting I went to the ‘men’s room’ and as I walked by the mirror I saw to my embarrassment that my hair was a mess. Here I was in meetings, acting perfectly normal, thinking everything is okay – while everybody else could clearly see my messy hair. It was an embarrassing moment. It became a learning moment, a perfect illustration of leaders who are not fully self-aware. There are many leaders walking around, acting normal, unaware that everyone else can see that something is amiss.
The North Yungas Road in Bolivia used to be known as the Highway of Death. Hundreds of people went over the edge every year. Mid-life can also be dangerous.
CREST is now launching a new version of our life and leadership program that is more accessible and affordable – CREST 3.0. In one year, find the foundation from which leadership influence flows. Get this clear, and everything else flows much more naturally.