• 3 Building Blocks to a Culture of Empowerment

    Every leader is tasked not only to set a course for the future but to develop and empower those they are asked to lead. Here is a straight forward look at what I teach our leaders at Fathom Church. 
    3 Building Blocks of Empowerment
    • Authority: The right to lead - not just manage.…TRUST is vital.
    • Responsibility: The weight of authority - not just tasks….INITIATIVE is necessary.
    • Accountability: The environment of healthy teams - the expectation of progress. GOALS & REVIEWS are essential.
    4 Steps to Empowering Your Team
    1. Put it on paper. Map out where you are and where you want/need to be. It makes it so much easier to think about how to get from point A to point B when you can visualize the process. 
    2. Talk it out with a trusted leader. This doesn't have to be your direct report. In fact, I believe you will enjoy the conversation more if it isn't your direct report.  Decide who you want to talk about it with and set up a time. It won't happen unless you schedule it.
    3. Schedule facetime with some people you want to be a part of taking the next step. This isn't a big all call meeting. This is 1, 2, or 3 people within/ or not yet within your department that you like being around and think would add a lot to the team at a larger capacity. You often think to yourself, "Man, they could add a lot to the team" or "If I could only get them to do more..." Well there is a decent chance they are just waiting on the opportunity to do more. Have a written down agenda that they know nothing about. Let them know why you are having the meeting because you trust them and you need help taking the department to the next level. Let God lead your time together. 
    4. Pray for the right timing. Timing is such an interesting topic when it comes to leadership because God's timing is always so unique and His is perfect. Pray for the right timing to hand off authority, responsibility and begin a goal setting and review routine. We shouldn't delay in making these decisions nor rush them. Its all about God's direction and timing.
  • The Mission of the Church

    Recently I was asked to email a short response to this question by a friend working on some school work. What is the mission of the Church? I responded with this short, uncomprehensive, emotional response to what God is speaking to me currently for our church. Thought I would share it.

    "The mission of the Church is more deep than it is broad. I believe the American Church has gotten these two backwards. It has attempted to offer a surface level understanding and message of Jesus in many superficial programs and ministries rather than embracing the words of Jesus to live out the love of God as a faithful Christian community. At Fathom Church, we have simply enabled the Great Commission (Matthew 28.19-20) as our "mission statement". Go! Go out. Go upstream in your field of calling; your field of harvest. Go obey. Go point people to Jesus. Go radically obey in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Let God supernaturally redeem your family, your office, your community by acting as a very practical vessel of His all sufficient mercy and grace.

    Shut down the programs. Shut down the busyness. Shut down the idea that we have something to give the world. And resurrect Jesus. Resurrect His simple message. Resurrect the truth that He is all we will ever need.

    In this the Church finds truth, mission, purpose, passion, compassion, true grace and real rest."

  • Help! I'm not creative and I can't measure up!

    Industry standards today require an incredible amount of creativity to stay alive and viable in the 21st century global marketplace. Whether you are a global business or a local coffee shop, for profit or not-for-profit, times are a changin'. I want to spend a minute sharing some of my thoughts specifically for people and leaders who are not extremely creative but need creativity to generate new business, rebrand, and/or change the world.

    I've had so many people tell me, "I'm just not creative like that." I always have the same response, "Yes, you are. You just don't know how to organize and communicate it."
    It's true, some people are just naturally more creative. Its genetic. Its how our brains work. I'm not saying everyone is creative or should even attempt to be creative. What I am saying is creativity is subjective art. (read my post on (You're an art critic and didn't know it ). This means that as a leader you have to learn to communicate what you think is good and bad art, creativity at work.

    3 Tips for the Right Brain Leader

      1. Know when to use specifics and when to leave a blank canvas. In working with graphic designers over the years I have learned this fine art. I used to give too many details that would box a true artist in so much that they couldn't create anything that they would actually like. With creatives, share as few as words as possible to provide clarity. This means you better think through your words wisely!

      2. Give hard deadlines with ample time to create. Creativity takes time. If you are going to have a creative strategizing session, give an agenda several days in advance. Let it simmer. Let people think about it in the shower and on the way home from work. That's where the good ideas usually come from anyway. Don't throw a topic on the table and talk for twenty minutes and expect that to be the best idea your team can offer. You sell your possibilities way short by doing this. Let it boil in the pot for a while but like pasta, there is a small window to bring it home with a hard deadline.

      3. Trust instincts. Both yours and theirs! A lot of right-brain leaders either trust their own or their teams instincts exclusively. Don't be so prideful that you have to squash every idea that isn't yours. And don't be so lazy and spineless that you won't speak up and go with your gut.

    Whatever your business/organization setup is, make time and processes that the get the most out of your team. I wonder how many great ideas have been lost out there?

  • Finishing

    I grew up in love with the game of basketball. I was the short white kid who couldn't shoot. Doesn't sound like these hoop dreams are headed for success right? Well regardless of what my future held playing the game, I loved it. I still do. I spent hours every night as a kid and teen playing on any court I could find. I was a natural passer, ball handler, defender and leader; a classic point guard. As I developed my weaker areas like shooting and rebounding, there was one hurdle I couldn't get over...finishing. I would use incredible technique dribbling (I mean, And1 baller wanna be at its best) and making it to the basket only to watch the ball clank off the rim one more time. I couldn't finish. It was the death of me. Everything was perfect until the ball didn't go in. I soon found out this flaw was wrapped up in much more than basketball.

    As a creative I find myself surrounded by people a lot like me. People who have big dreams, big opinions, a good heart and an inability to finish. So what must the creative develop in order to finish projects, pieces, and dreams?

    3 Keys for the Creative Person to be a Productive Person

      1. A hatred for unfinished projects and a passion for follow thru. Nothing changes unless something changes. This mindset=step one. 

      2. A "get it done right now" attitude. I don't believe myself when I say I'll do it tomorrow. Half of what gets done every day doesn't make it to the to do list.

      3. An intense system for life organization. The only reason I'm effective at anything is that I organize and track projects. I have to follow up on myself because I usually don't finish tasks like I want to. I'm not near as good as I think I am. This is quality control for my life.

    Here's the amazing news- finishing feels great. I've learned to finish now. Still probably can't on the court, but in life, when it matters, I do. The idea of rolling the boulder 75% up the hill every day only to let it roll back down again is the epitome of frustration, self doubt, and hopelessness. So here's to finishing. Here's to success and realized dreams.
    Let's go finish something!

  • You're an art critic and you didn't know it

    "Those uniforms on that team look ridiculous!"

    "The paint on these walls looks too dark."

    "What do you mean you hate this shirt? This is my favorite shirt!"

    "This guy is too boring to listen to."

    You see, you are an art critic and didn't know it.

    We are surrounded by art. Some generic. Some bad. Some original. Some provocative. Some boring and some inspiring.

    Clothing. Color. Communication. These are all arts that should join the traditional gamut of music, movies, and "museum art".

    You may disagree but creativity (or lack thereof) has even gone into developing the names of the colors on your wall. And most importantly, it matters.

    It effects the way you feel, the way you think, the way you buy.

    Your stress level, your creativity, and your motivation all have been effected either positively or negatively by the art that surrounds you.

    You know how you feel in your favorite outfit? Confident. Its Art. From creative thought to expression, development, marketing, purchasing, and finally you wearing it and feeling confident.

    So what's the point in this unrequested "defining art" symposium?

    Own it. Don't let the word ART scare you. Just because you don't consider yourself creative or an artistic doesn't mean you can't be or shouldn't be.

    Art should be less about the commercial appeal, or what the critics say, and more about what you release, learn about yourself and share with the world in the process.

    But just because you are producing it doesn't mean its worthy to be shared in public forum. Be very careful before you launch your art to the world. Be prepared to not be received, to be criticized, and be laughed at. Know that there is a great risk/reward relationship in expressing art. Its the hand that feeds you and can strangle the life out of you too.

    Own it for yourself first before inviting others to enjoy it.

  • Hey Dreamer! Find your space.

    Something I am learning every day is how to find my space. Not just my outer space but my inner space. Let me explain.

    Steve Jobs was a dreamer. He was extraordinarily successful because he found both his inner and outer space. He co-founded Apple (Macintosh) computers and was later fired by the company he created. Several years later he was asked to rejoin the company and lead them to greater success in the new millenium. He did just that with the releases of ground breaking mobile entertainment and computer technologies. If you learn more about his story you will find that he was the perfect candidate at the perfect time to dream and create in his field, or "outer space". Look further and you'll find that it was the inner struggle (or space) to overcome and succeed that transformed a success story to a legend and icon.

    Michael Jordan transformed the game of basketball. The NBA was a big man's game. Most legends of basketball were 6'9 or taller. Very few players like Oscar Robertson (6'5) and Jerry West (6'2), whose careers both lasted from 1960-1974, came along to make an impact on the game, and certainly none at the caliber in which Jordan did. The game progressed from a big man's game to one where teams had to have incredible athletes at the two and three position to guard the likes of Jordan. American basketball hit the global market at a much greater level with the Nike and Jordan brands because of his success. There was outer space open for this legend to succeed. There was no one to stop him. He was cut from his high school team but overcame that failure and many more to become basketball's greatest player ever.

    Understanding that you hold the keys to achieve your dreams begins by understanding yourself. Understanding the connection between who God created you to be, where you've come from and where you want to go is what I call the foundation of the inner space. Today, you may see your past history with pain and scorn but it could be your foundation for the inner space that God will use to ultimately fulfill you. Once you see this incomplete portrait you can look around, see the outer space in which your passion and skills can flourish, and then finish this incredible painting that God dreamt long before you were born.

    Find your space.

  • 1000 Rotten Eggs

    I don't know if anything sounds worse than being in a room with 1000 rotten eggs except knowing that you are the one that produced them.

    I have a practice of taking Thursday evenings and Friday mornings to be devoted completely to unhindered God releasing creativity through my simple brain and heart. I write down crazy idea after crazy idea. From website ideas to business ventures in fields that I have nothing to do with. From new album ideas to fun things to do with my family. As a creative, this is a major release for me each week. I am also finding that something is happening in this process.

    Last night I briefly developed, in writing, a business leadership mentoring venture. I won't go into detail because a.) I'm secretive like that b.) it's not the point of this post and c.) you probably don't care. What I realized as I looked back over the dated folder of ideas that have sprung forth is that they seem to get better and better the more I allow myself to write and release them. The purpose is more powerful. The model is more fluid. The appeal reaches further. I am more confident to create something incredible for the world.

    This small moment gave me insight into a tiresome process we each must go through. We all desire to be respected and known for something great but the painful process of creating failure and flops is daunting enough to make any man give up. So remember this on your rollercoaster journey, you may have to lay 1000 rotten eggs to lay 1 golden one. And when you do lay that golden one, that is what you will be known and remembered for. Happy laying my friends.

  • 3 Things to Expect When You Don't Know What to Expect

    1. Expect to be wrong. It is great to have a worse and best case scenario going in your brain for any event or venture. The pain of shattered expectations can be absolutely devastating but we set ourselves up for this sorrow (and often blame everyone else). This expands your expectations beyond narrow-mindedness to where your heart and mind are as fully prepared as possible for any outcome.

    2. Expect for it to take longer and cost more. This simple leadership practice is elementary for business and construction leaders but us everyday folk often miss great basics like this. Shave your budget multiple times. Recalculate the travel time over again. Inform the troops that we have to stay flexible. Be a penny and minute counter. Always pressing for efficiency and great work ethic.

    3. Expect to learn. Why are Edison, Einstein, and Jordan known for their success? Because they refused to fail. They each had unstoppable determination and a willingness to learn. Colin Powell said, "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure." Failure doesn't sting as bad when you realize how much you can learn from it.

  • Organization for Creatives: Disciplined for Excellence

    I'm sure you've heard that mastery of your craft takes 10,000 hours of practice. That means that you are a master at sleeping, eating, and pooping. Aren't you so accomplished?! In all seriousness, the one area you are most naturally talented in takes disciplined practice to truly master it. Beyond talent to true mastery. I played sports in school, mainly basketball and football. I was OK. Never anything to write home about. I remember being surrounded by some of the most naturally gifted human beings I've ever seen. I wish I could say that all of them made it big and went on to be professional athletes. Some of them did. Most of them didn't. It had nothing to do with talent. It had everything to do with discipline. Remember this, nothing can hold you back except you. Here are a few thoughts to chew on about discipline:

    1. How bad do you want this?
    2. How much practice time do I need to schedule in my week to become a master in 5 years? 10 years? Take the time and do the math to see what this will really require of you. Remember to do a honest subtraction of time practiced already.
    3. What can I eliminate from my schedule to allow time for my passion? Chances are, there are several. Pick a few. You may just need to limit those other areas to find the time you need.
    4. Study, read, be mentored, work hard, pray hard. God will blow your mind when you let Him write the equation for success.
    5. What does success mean to me? Is this how God defines success? Will this fulfill me?

    I hope the past five days have been encouraging to you personally and professionally. Please share this blog series with friends and colleagues as I hope to encourage the masses in their journey.

  • Organization for Creatives: 4 Tools of the Trade (4 of 5)

    I want to to be very short and to the point with unveiling 4 Tools of the Trade to revolutionizing your organization and eventually your life and craft.

    1. You: One of my mentors has told me on numerous occasions, "your greatest asset is you." That is to say that nothing in your life is more valuable than your passions, skills, and time at work. You have tools. Leverage them in everything you do to get yourself where you want to be.

    2. Not-To-Do List: Almost every human creature in America has written a to-do list before but very few have written a not-to-do list. So much our time is wasted on things that are unnecessary or things we hate doing. Make an ongoing list of things you want to stop doing. Don't just randomly stop one day - especially without your supervisors permission if they are business tasks you are required to do. But talk with your superiors, explain why you feel this is pointless/inefficient, offer a solution at the right time and in the right way and you just may be able to cross the first item off of your not-to-do list.

    3. Evernote: Evernote is an app I use for organization (available on all iOS, Android, Mac & PC). It isn't the sexiest design you will ever see but it allows me to store everything in my life in a very organized way. There is also a desktop client to work seamlessly from the office or on the road. No more double typing and note taking. You can record audio and snap pictures then send any notes, pics, or sound clips to collaborators on any of your projects. There are tons of note taking and to-do apps out there like Wunderlist, Wunderkit, ActionMethod, AnyList, and Weave are a few I have downloaded. Whatever works for you and, most importantly, whatever you will actually work on is what you should use. It's time to use those to-do list for more than shopping and errands.

    4. Mentors: Assemble a team of mentors for specific areas in your life that you want to continually improve in. Meet with them from anywhere between one and four times a month. Most of these relationships will probably have to be more short-term due to schedules and depending on frequency. You can chat on the phone on the drive home on Thursdays, have a late Wednesday night video chat, simply follow a blog or podcast or read their book. Technology has released information and knowledge for our generation. If you aren't leveraging all that is out there in some way you will probably be left behind in your field. A mentor can be a great sounding board but please don't talk the whole time. You are there to learn from them. You have two ears and one mouth. Remember this when meeting with a mentor.

    Use these powerful tools to turn what was once a monotonous, inefficient, uninspired routine into a dynamic and life-giving schedule.

    If you haven't yet read days one through three in this blog series please go back and read each one to catch the entire understanding of this method of organizing.

  • Organization for Creatives: Target Routine (3 of 5)

    If you have checked out installment 1 and 2 in this blog series on writing your personal mission statement and setting goals you are ready for the most powerful thing you could ever do for your schedule, almost regardless of your field.

    I'm in a blessed position where I get to write my own shcedule. I realize not everyone is so privileged. I also realize not everyone is disciplined enough to handle this freedom/responsibility. Regardless if you are a self-starter entrepenuer or a pencil pushing, cubicle-bound servant of the man, this time management writing exercise can help you manage your passions, tasks, and responsibilities in the most effiicient way. 

    Let me see if this sounds familiar. You have one giant to-do list that includes groceries, work calls, errands, new recipes, bills to write, etc, etc, etc... It gets longer and longer. It never ends. You forget things on the list and a bunch of things never even make it to the list and stay incomplete. How's that working for you? My brain will just not allow me to process so many things together that are better evaluated and completed separately. I began separating all these unique tasks in the most efficient way for completing them around my schedule and personality.

    A target routine is like a really fun water slide. Each slide is unique with its twists and turns, you'll never take the exact same journey through the tube, and it will always quickly and efficiently drop you back into the pool to relax a little before climbing back up and giving it another go. A target routine is an efficent way to organize tasks throughout your week so that more things get done in less time. For instance, stop doing one errand a day, every day. Take two hours on Tuesdays and get all of them done at once. Add to your errand list throughout the week and have the discipline to wait until the set time. Very few errands are urgent. When a list is in place for a category in your target routine, you plan ahead, forget less tasks and have more time to do whatever you want. A target routine is made up of blocks of time, not specific times. Within my target routine I have space for things like mentoring and being mentored, reading, paying bills, family devotions, date night, rest, writing, and creative space for whatever I want to do. Remember, there is no right answer. They should all be different. based on personality, occupation and schedule. Hey Bosses! Try this in your organization. What if everyone in every position was more efficient at what they did because we all had a similar target routine?

    I AM FREE! I am not stressing about everything, all of the time anymore. I put it on the list and will knock it out at the right time. I control my time. My time does not control me. I control my schedule. My schedule does not control me. Make a choice. Make a plan. Make a target routine and be disciplined enough to stick to it. You will be surprised how much freedom there is in discipline.

  • Organization for Creatives: Goal Writing (2 of 5)

    I am going to make a couple of bold guesses to kick off this post. One. You are good at some things. Maybe even really good at something. Probably not an expert at anything. Two. There is a bunch of other stuff you wish you were better in. You stress yourself out over these areas. Am I close? Well I don't wish to make this about your strengths and weaknesses and how much time you should spend developing them. Read someone like Tom Rath for one perspective on that topic. However, I do want to challenge you to engage in a simple but thoughtful process of goal writing. Here are a few tips on how to approach this task in an efficient way. Again, like my last post stated...WRITE it down!

    1. Write down every category in your life that you would seek to have goals in. List them by importance. Personally, I have ten categories. I'll list them to give you glimpse into my world. Marriage, Family, Leadership, Financial, Giving, Physical Health, Reading, Music, Writing, Creative. This isn't the perfect's just my list. Make your own.
    2. Your personal mission statement should be represented in the categories in some way, shape or form. Your personal values will most likely be repsented in your goals.
    3. Now try writing 2-5 diverse goals under each category. Try to vary your goals in difficulty, expected time to complete, required consistency, and number of people that must be involved to complete. Diverse goals will keep you encouraged. If all your goals can be accomplished by you, you will probably be lonely. If all of your goals are long-term goals, you will end up discouraged and wanting to quit without a sense of completion.
    4. Be specific as possible. Give yourself deadlines. Idenitfy specific times and days in your schedule when you will accomplish these items. We will talk in detail about this in tomorrow's post.
    5. Check back once a week or at least every two weeks to see how you are doing. Take a few minutes to make notes on your progress, areas to focus on, and adjustments to make.

    A few other notes of encouragement in this process if I may. If you realize after a couple of months that you are making zero progress in an area, consider three things. One. You aren't passionate about achieving this goal and it may not need to be on the list. Two. Your schedule isn't providing space for this goal to be achieved. If you are passionate about it. If the category is toward the top of the list. It's probably time to change your schedule. Three, table this item and move it to your bucket list. Just plan to do it later. In the meantime, remove the stress and anxiety of feeling like a failure when you look at the list and realize nothing is moving on this front.

    For those people of faith like myself, you may ask yourself "why no spiritual goal category of growth for Kyle?" The Jewish understanding for faith was much more profound than our modern Christian American understanding. We see faith as a token card to carry around in our wallet. To whip out when convenient. The Jewish understanding of faith was woven into every fabric of life. How you take care of your body is deeply spiritual. How you interact with your family matters to God. How you spend your money tells God everything about what is taking place in your heart. I encourage you to see each of your goal categories through a spiritual lens. Let me know how it's going.

  • Productive OCD: Purpose (1 of 5)

    I would like to say I am self-proclaimed OCD but that would be a lie. Many will confirm this fact about me. It's a bit odd to find creative types such as myself (a musician, songwriter, pseudo-inventor and innovator) that have a real understanding and passion for organization. Our type is much more prone to freedom and/or chaos. This isn't condemnation at all. In fact, we work best when in this environment. Try to get McCartney or Picasso and the likes of other great artists to work a nine to five with a boss and a dress code and we wouldn't be blessed with so much great art present in our world. Over the next five of days I am going to post a series of blogs to help revolutionize your future. You may be good, you may be great. But when you begin to apply these organizational pieces to your life it will clarify, streamline, and improve your potential for extraordinary success.

    While archery may be a fun excuse to launch an arrow into your neighbor's yard or chase off a pesky rodent, the ultimate goal is to hit a target that you are aiming or hunting for. You are hungry for something.You may just not know for what yet. Like those annoying conversations sitting in the driveway trying to decide what to eat with a group of friends. Everyone is hungry but no one wants to decide where we are going. Are you just scared to say what you want because you are afraid it will get shot down?

    Well step number one in organizing yourself for success is writing down your purpose. The key word isn't "purpose" here. The key words are "writing down". There is something indescribibly important about writing things down. If you cannot clearly communicate your purpose or goals, or strategy for achieving them, you most likely have not tried writing them down. I've found that BIG dreams take a lot of people and that means a lot of communication. Our innate desire in communication is for clarity to be present. Before you set out on a journey or go any further in one. Write down your purpose in traveling so that all that may be a part of your journey will understand why and where we are traveling. This isn't an organizational tip. This is a personal one. You, as a person, should write down your mission. How will you judge one month from now whether you have been succeeding at what you feel your mission or purpose is? Are you waiting for someone to tell you that you are failing or succeeding? Are you waiting for something to go wrong? Do you need to go bankrupt before you assess your mission? Does your spouse need to leave you before you reevaluate your purpose in life? No time to waste. Before we go any further, make sure you know where you want to go.

    Write your personal mission statement then write down your core values.

    I did this for myself. I wrote down my mission statement and then my core values as a husband, father, leader, pastor, and person. Several of the values and categories intersect but some don't so it helps to generate separate lists. I refer back to these lists often to see how I am doing. It may help to start with your values as a person then attempt to construct your mission statement from there. Don't be afraid to have several drafts and to edit them over a several month, or even yearly basis. At some point you won't want to touch it because you will know with confidence what your mission is So get to work and let me know how it goes.

    I will build on this in tomorrow's post on goals.