Creating a Championship Culture

What is the culture of your organization?  Do those that you lead understand what the culture of the organization should be?  The word culture is being used a lot these days, but do we really understand what culture  is all about?

Culture Defined

Culture is the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.  It is the attitudes and behavior characteristics of a particular social group.  A leaders primary responsibility is to create a culture that gives the opportunity for others to succeed.

Look at the attitude and behavior of your organization, department, group, and yes even your family and ask yourself if those behaviors and attitudes align with your values and purpose.  In order for a culture to be created you must first clearly define your purpose.  The “why” has to be clearly defined before you can do anything else.  If you are struggling to clearly define your “why” I would recommend you read the book “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek.  When you understand your “why” you can endure any how.

Once your “why” is clearly defined, then you must set your values.  You need a value system in your organization, department, group, family, church, etc.  A very wise man by the name of Pastor D.G. Hargrove once told me “knowledge creates interest, interest creates values, values creates desires, desires create priorities, priorities create direction, direction creates destiny.”

 

The Coach

Think with me about the job of a “coach”.  I believe this is one of the most challenging professions a person could enter in to especially on a professional level.  The coach has an unbelievable job of taking superstars and getting to play as a team.  Superstars can be so ego driven that they become a detriment to the team as a whole.  The coach has to get them to understand it is not all about them as an individual, but the team.  The coach must communicate that the team has a better chance to be successful when they run the same play together, but from their respective position/role.

Each individual must be on the same page every single play in order for success to come. Setbacks happen when the individuals on the team are not on the same page.  If you are the “center” you can’t be the “wide-receiver” at the same time.  The success of the play boils down to each individuals success at their respective position.

 

A Championship Culture

When the player comes into alignment with the coach, and begins to embrace the culture that the coach is putting into motion, then what evolves is a championship team.  When coach, assistant coaches, players, and team personnel all get onto the same page great things happen.  Each individual has a specific job to accomplish.  If the equipment manager doesn’t do their job it greatly impacts the whole team.  No matter how unimportant you may feel your job is, if you don’t do your job with expertise you will impact the team as a whole.  In fact paying attention to the smallest of details is what creates a championship culture.

Clear alignment and accountability creates momentum and strength.  Championship teams, and organizations have a very clear and concise mission, purpose, and values that create accountability to everyone on the team.  There cannot be any gray areas in a championship culture.  Take guesswork out of the equation.  Be clear, concise, and straightforward.  You can create a championship culture.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes time.  Be persistent.  Be diligent.  The next thing you know you will look up and have a championship culture!

Order Your Day

Do you ever feel like your days are disheveled, full of chaos, with interruptions everywhere you turn?  Does your day happen to you or do you happen to your day?  Does your day cause you to be reactive or proactive?  I want to share with you 4 things that will help you bring order to your day.

 

Put The Big Rocks In First

Steven Covey made the “Big Rocks” illustration popular in the 1980’s.  The gist of the illustration is this:

A presenter takes several large rocks and fills a gallon jar to the top.  He then pours in gravel, sand, and water to fill all the remaining space.  The presenter then asks the audience, “What is the lesson of this illustration?”  The audience thinks the answer is that you can always squeeze more into your schedule if you really try.  The presenter corrects the audience by saying, “The lesson is, if you don’t put the big rocks in first, they’ll never fit.”

Too many times we let pressing matters squeeze out what is really most important in our lives.  Here are a couple of the big rocks that are in my life:

1. God – I endeavor to live my life by Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  As a christian the biggest rock in my life is God.  If I put Him first, then everything else I need He will add to me.  My vertical relationship is of utmost importance in my life.  If I can get this relationship right, then the horizontal relationships in my life will work out just fine.

2. Family – Family is the next biggest rock in my life.  Spending quality time with my wife and children is very important to me.  Eating a meal around the kitchen table 4 or 5 nights a week is priceless.  Sometimes my travel schedule doesn’t allow this, but when I’m in town I enjoy dinner time with my wife and children.  We put the cellphones up during meal time, and we have face to face conversations.  This time we have together is priceless.  Often when we go out to eat we see so many families on the mobile devices from the time they sit down at the table to eat until the time they leave.  They seldom say a word to each other.  We are so connected yet disconnected to the ones that really matter.  Invest quality time into your family and you will reap great benefits as a result.

So what are the big rocks in your life?  Do the big rocks fit?  Or are the big rocks being squeezed out by things that don’t really matter?  Put the big rocks in first!

 

Silence The Smartphone

You might not be a smoker, alcoholic, or a meth-head, but you constantly look at your phone for the same reason the addict takes another hit or drink: dopamine.  Here is what  The Atlantic revealed that some amazing science had to say:

“We now believe that the compulsion to continually check email, stock prices, and sporting scores on smartphones is driven in some cases by dopamine releases that occur in anticipation of receiving good news.  Indeed, we have grown so addicted to our smartphones that we now experience “phantom smartphone buzzing,” which tricks our brains into thinking our phone is vibrating when it isn’t.”

Set some boundaries with your smartphone.  For instance don’t bring your smartphone to the dinner table.  Focus on the conversation around the dinner table, not your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feeds.  You really don’t need to check your email, texts, or other notifications every couple of minutes.  Your smartphone can get your day out of order.  It can interrupt your train of thought on a project or the task at hand.  Don’t let your smartphone rule you, you rule your smartphone.

 

Move Away From Multitasking

Multitasking is actually counterproductive.  If you are trying to do several things at once you are really not as productive as you think.  Here is what Adam Garlic from Stanford University had to say about multitasking: “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.”

Try focusing on one task at a time for just one week, and see if you are more productive.  I used to multitask all the time, but then I started focusing on just one task at a time, and became so much more productive.  When you become laser focused on a task all of your energies are going into that task.  When all of your energies go into a task you will accomplish that task ahead of schedule.  Master your task!

 

Take A Bite At A Time

Srinivas Rao once said, “Our daily habits are the foundation on which our lives are built. So don’t underestimate the impact of the little things you do repeatedly.  They’re the catalyst for the most significant change that occurs in our lives.”

Progress comes in small steps.  Learn to climb the mountain one step at a time.  You don’t have to eat the whole steak in one bite.  Slow down and savor the taste in every bite.  Whether you are running a marathon, reading your Bible through in a year, writing a book, or starting a business, you do all of these things “a bite at a time”.  Success is not an overnight thing, but rather a process of doing the little things that matter most day after day.

 

You can Order Your Day by taking these 4 steps.  Give yourself a week challenge or a 30 day challenge to put these principles into place, and see for yourself how much more productive you become.

 

 

TIME

There are 365 days a year which is broken down into 12 month cycles.  Those 12 month cycles are broken down into 52 weeks.  Those 52 weeks are broken down into 7 day weeks.  Those 7 day weeks break down into 24 hour days, which breaks down into 1 hour cycles, which breaks down into 60 minutes, and each minute is broken down into 60 seconds.

Whether you or I like it or not the clock just keeps ticking.  Calendars, clocks, and watches of all kinds helps us to keep track of time.  We are “racing the clock” to meet deadlines, appointments, and schedules.  The technology available to us is supposed to help us be more efficient so we can get more done, but often times it causes us to over schedule, over commit, which leads to ultimately over promising and under delievering.

 

I just wish I had more time

We have all said it: “I just wish I had more time” to do all that needs to be done.  The truth of the matter is you have plenty of time.  You have the same 60 seconds a minute that the next individual has.  The problem is that we don’t need more time, but we need to learn how to prioritize our time.  How we spend our money is often a good indicator how we spend our time, and how we spend our time is often a good indicator of how we spend our money.  Learn to prioritize your time.  Look at what is important, and begin there.  Here is an idea: when you are at work you should be working.  Don’t just work hard, but work smart.  Your time, and energy is too valuable to waste.  Once that 8 hour work day is gone it can never be used again.  Do work that matters.  Do work that makes a difference.  Think of it like this: you are hired to do a job for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  You have been hired at a rate of $15/hour.  What you have essentially done is traded your giftings, talents, and abilities for $15/hour.  If you work 40 hours a week you will earn $600.00 for that week of work.  Now suppose you want to be like everyone else and have the new iPhone 7 plus with 256 GB of memory; you would pay $969.00 for that phone.  It would take you 64.6 working hours at $15/hour in order to pay for this phone. Or in other words you are allocating a little over 8 working days of your life just to have a phone like everyone else has.  8 working days that you will never get back again.  8 days of your giftings, talents, and abilities just to have the latest technology.

Prioritize your time with what matters most.  Work to provide for your family.  Spend quality time with your family.  Spend quality time on your relationship with God.  The clock is ticking.  Maximize every moment of time you have, because once that moment is gone you will never get it back.

 

Your calendar shows what is important

Use your calendar wisely.  Schedule date nights with your spouse.  Schedule quality time with your children.  Schedule time every day with God.  Mathew 6:33 says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

When we steward our time correctly we actually get more done.  Your calendar gives you the ability to say “no” when necessary in order not to over commit yourself.  Schedule travel time between your appointments or events on your calendar so that you arrive on time.  My father taught my brother and I growing up that “to be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is not to be.”  Let that sink in for just a minute.  If you are running a meeting with 30 people in the room, and the meeting is to start at 9:00am, and you don’t start the meeting until 9:01am, then what you have just done is wasted 30 minutes of time that you will never get back.  It may not seem like a big deal at the moment, but start the meeting 10 minutes late and now that number of minutes wasted as grown to 300 minutes.  That my friend is a big deal.

The time you have been given is very valuable.  Once it is gone you can never have that time again.  Make every moment count.  A calendar is to your time what a budget is to your money.  Be intentional with the time you have.

 

18 Minutes

I highly recommend you get and read the book “18 Minutes” by Peter Bregman.  18 Minutes provides a solution to struggles and frustrations.  It’s a comprehensive approach to managing a year, a day, and a moment so that your life will move forward in a way that will keep you focused on, and doing, the things that are most important.  The book is broken down into 4 parts: “Pause”, “What is this year about”, “What is this day about”, and “What is this moment about”.

In part 1, Pause, you’ll set the foundation that will enable you to take the insights from the book and translate them into action.  This part will help you focus on the right things, translate those things into a daily plan, follow through with that plan, and master the inevitable distractions that threaten to undermine your efforts.

In part 2, What Is This Year About?, you’ll be guided to organize your life around the things that matter to you, make you happy, use your gifts, and move you toward your goals. In this part, I’ll share four elements around which you should focus your efforts over the year. We’ll look at some of the ways people tend to derail themselves from maintaining a clear focus, and I’ll offer some strategies to avoid those derailers. In the final chapter of this section, you’ll pull it all together to create your annual focus: the five areas where you want to spend the majority of your time over the next year.

In part 3, What Is This Day About?, you’ll learn how to translate your annual focus into an 18-minute daily plan, ensuring that the right things get done, concretely structuring your day so it’s productive, satisfying, and a measurable step toward fulfilling your focus for the year.

In part 4, What Is This Moment About?, you’ll learn how to master distraction—sometimes by using it, sometimes by avoiding it. Here you’ll learn how to get yourself motivated, how to follow through even when it’s tempting to give up, and how to protect yourself and your time by creating the right kind of boundaries. This section is divided into three subsections—Mastering Your Initiative, Mastering Your Boundaries, and Mastering Yourself—and is full of simple tricks, tips, and rules to help you stay on track.

Finally, the conclusion, Now What?, sets you on your way by sharing a foolproof method for gaining the critical momentum to move you in the direction you want to go.

 

Start Now

Don’t wait until tomorrow, because precious moments will be lost forever.  You can’t afford to wait.  Why put off until tomorrow what you could and should do today?  Start today!  Start right now!

AIR

Air is something that we all take for granted, yet it is vital to our mere existence.  We hear on a regular basis about air quality or the lack thereof.  Air pollution, air quality, air this, and air that, and we wonder why the big fuss over this thing called air.  We cannot see the air, but we are affected by the air.  Toxic air can harm us, while clean air can benefit us.

What is the quality of AIR in your organization, community, and home?

Have you ever stopped to think about the quality of AIR in your organization, in your community, in your church, and in your home?  What about the AIR in your relationships?  Is the AIR toxic or is the AIR beneficial?  AIR is something we take for granted, and pay very little attention to.  I was recently at a Stewardship Conference, and one of the speakers, Chris Hogan, got up and asked the audience about their AIR quality.  I had not thought about this until this moment.  You see without AIR we cannot breathe.  If we are not breathing then that means we are not living, and if we are not living it means we are dead.  AIR is vital and important to the quality of the organization, church, community, or family that you find yourself in.  Have you ever considered the fact that your organization, church, community, or home could be dying because of toxic AIR?  On the other hand good quality AIR can propel that organization, church, community, or home to higher heights than it has ever been before.

We give people AIR when we speak positive words into their life.

I want to share with you what Chris Hogan shared with us a few weeks ago at the Stewardship Conference.  Let us look at AIR at little more closely.
A = Appreciation
I = Inspiration
R = Recognition

Chris Hogan shared the above acronym for AIR, and I want to expound on it, and give you some tools that you can use to immediately begin changing the AIR quality around you.

Appreciation

When was the last time you genuinely showed appreciation to someone for something they had done?  When was the last time you hand wrote a “thank you” card to someone who went above and beyond?  People, including yourself are starved for appreciation.  A simple pat on the back, a handwritten “thank you” note will go a long way in showing appreciation to someone for a job well done.  Words are powerful!  Both the spoken word and written word can make a powerful impact in someone’s life.  Our words have power, and we need to learn to use them wisely.  “It’s hard to be hateful when you are grateful.  Wounded people can’t work hard.” ~ Chris Hogan

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21.  Don’t waste your words!  Use your words wisely!  Use words of appreciation to breathe AIR into your organization, church, community, and home!

 

Inspiration

Servant leaders inspire others around them to a cause or purpose.  Are you leading by inspiration or are you leading by dictation?  Are you inspiring those around you to be great or are you tearing them down with the words you speak?  A real leader knows how to inspire people to greatness.  Allow me to get real with you for a moment.  The real test is not whether you can inspire those you work with, but the real test is can you inspire those you live with.  Are you inspiring your spouse, your children, your grandchildren?  Or do you shred them to pieces with your words?  When you speak words of inspiration you are breathing clean AIR into your world, and their world.

Recognition

Chris Hogan stated: “Deliver words slow and intentional so people can receive them.”  Look for opportunities to brag on people.  People including your spouse and children want to be recognized for the job they are doing.  Use every opportunity you can to recognize someone publicly, and watch AIR come into the room.  This creates buy-in to what you are trying to accomplish as a leader.  Recognition can include paid time off, a gift card to a nice restaurant, cash money, and the list goes on.

As you exemplify this behavior challenge your team to do the same to those that they are leading, and watch the quality of AIR change in your organization, church, community, and yes even your home!

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