There are few things I like better than a tall glass of ice cold sweet tea. The fact that I’ve obsessed on Duck Dynasty since Christmas has only strengthened my craving. The sweet tea at Chic-fil-a is currently in first place, followed by Cane’s, followed by homemade with real sugar…and lots of it.
I’ve found the trick the tea making process is to stir in the sugar in while the water is still boiling. Its like black (tea) magic. (I know this is not new information…I’m just behind)
If you are like me and have enjoyed this beverage at one time in your life when calories didn’t matter, you will have noticed that there is a portion of the sugar that remains on the bottom of the glass if it goes unstirred for too long. Part of the fun of sweet tea is getting your mixture just right. Once the sugar settles to the bottom of the glass, you mix it back up in order to continue dissolving the crystals. So, iced tea is this brilliant process of sipping and stirring…sipping and stirring. Beautiful right? uncle Si would be proud of us.
A few weeks ago in a videoconference on the subject leadership development, the presenter Kadi Cole of Christ Fellowship Miami connected some important dots for me. One of the leadership principles she discussed was the process of transferring DNA throughout your entire organization. The main point of that section was that a critical function of leaders is to “stir the tea.” She used the iced tea analogy as a way to communicate that vision, values, and strategies tend to settle over time. It is the job of the leader to bring these things ideas back to the front of the organization’s collective mind on a systematic basis.
Proverbs 29:18 is life verse for leaders. “Without vision, the people perish.” My version says: “where there is no prophetic vision, the people cast off all restraint.”
How is your vision casting among your team? Do they know your mind? Do they have an organizational trajectory? If not, it might be the time to stir the tea and remind your team of the vision. Drink up!
Wikipedia is so helpful. I mean really people… I wanted to know why they call it a Caesar’s salad. Was it a Greco-Roman thing? Did Julius have something to do with it? Answer: no. Was the creator Italian: yes. Was it created on Independence Day in Tijuana, Mexico…yes!
In 1924, Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant and restaurateur, was informed that his Tijuana establishment had run out of food. Caesar scrambled his staff to pull together all the odds and ends he could find. He then proceeded to march those ingredients out to the patrons and “hand toss” his concoction right at their table! You and I eat Ceasar’s salad today because some guy came through in a pinch and utilized his ingenuity to solve a problem.
As leaders who are committed to God’s glory being the end product, how much more do you think He is going to give you just what you need at the right moment?
The same God who can count the craters on the dark side of the moon, understands the social dynamic in your office. The same God who numbers the spikes and tentacles on some undiscovered creature in the deepest part of the sea is right there in the details of your decision making. The same God who holds all this molecular stuff together around us with a thought, has answers to your problems, questions, and deepest fears.
Let your leadership be informed by the ultimate creator, clothed in answers beyond our imagination. Let Him do something new in you today.
In a little league game this past weekend, I heard someone say “the umpire is always right…don’t argue with him.” The fact that he looked like an over-grizzled version of Nick Nolte took away my desire to question his call at the plate. I took the call without incident(even though my kid was safe :) and let the game keep bouncing right along.
The longer the game progressed, the more I kept thinking of the job of the umpire or referee in sports. They are called on to evaluate the facts and rule judgments in the matter of milliseconds. They are called on to make decisions and move on without regret or hesitation. The moment they show a sign of indecision, the crowd can smell it. It’s not pretty. If I were to be put in the position of making those kinds of calls, especially in sports I’m unfamiliar with, I would be headed for a nervous breakdown right there. For that matter, I don’t even like to keep the official scorebook at the games because I might miss something. It would be ulcer time for sure…Jack!
King Solomon was called on to make a tough decision in 1 Kings 3:1-28. The short version is that two women and a young baby were brought before him to settle a dispute. Both the women claimed ownership of a baby. It was a classic case of one person’s word against another. In verse 24, Solomon decides to solve the problem in a very simple way…he says“somebody bring me a sword.” If you listen close enough when you read the text, you can almost hear the sound of all the heads turning in shock toward the king. Solomon, in his God-given wisdom gave the command to split the baby in half for both women to share! It was in that moment that the people began to revere Solomon’s leadership and wisdom. Why, you ask? Because the woman that begged the king not to put the sword to the child was proven publically to be the mother and was given her child back.
As a leader, you are going to be asked to make split second decisions and stick with them. In those moments, you will not only be accessing your personal experience, training, and an acute sense of situational awareness, but the God-centered leader will be listening for wisdom as she calls. Proverbs 8 is a masterpiece of wisdom personified. If we are going to lead, we can’t take another step without His wisdom, as old as the ages, to help us make the right call. Solomon’s wisdom was the Lord’s gift to Him, and it His gift to you too. Read the rest of Proverbs 8 and be encouraged by what Lewis’ Aslan often refers to asthe deep magic. May the Lord grace you with His wisdom today!
Proverbs 8: “For whoever finds me, finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.”
Would you believe that just a few hundred years ago, scientific and religious thought placed the earth at the center of our solar system? This geocentric theory had been around since antiquity, but with the coming of the 16th century’s Renaissance new ideas were being advanced across Science, Religion, and Art.
In 1543, “Nick” Copernicus published his work entitled On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies. In it, he advanced a new idea of a heliocentric (sun-centric) solar system. Needless to say, it was “earth shattering” (sorry) On this side of the Renaissance and after all the solar system models we made in grade school, that the earth would have ever been placed at the center of all our revolving planets…(and Pluto which has gotten the planetary shaft in recent years.)
As leaders, we live out the balancing act of applying resources to solve problems. Good leaders know how to put the right things in the right places. Repeated daily doses of this can have unexpected repercussions. As a recovering control freak and founder of CFA (Control Freaks Anonymous), I can attest to the fact that when/if I lead with me at the center, things begin to spin out of control….which only feeds the need to micromanage!
Proverbs 1.7 remind us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
A control freak’s basic need is to manage their environments in such a way as to minimize risk. At its core, you find deep fear of failure. No risk, no failure, therefore I won’t leave anything to chance and will hover over every detail and person on my team.
Making the shift from a universe that is stephencentric to one that is theocentric (God Centered) is a daily process with revolutionary results. Being led with a humble heart and a healthy fear and respect for the Creator, allows you to lead not as a dictator! It allows your leadership to point to something greater than yourself and motivate your team to follow something greater. The greater your followship, the greater your leadership.
The placement of God in his rightful position can have some crazy implications. You might see your team win without you. You might have to get out of the operational details. You might have to actually trust the Lord and trust your team. Terrifying isn’t it?
Welcome to my world! But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Take a revolutionary risk todayand see the Lord come through at just the right time. I guarantee you, it’s worth it.
(oh, and I’m not really the founder of CFA, just a very active member…:)) Hi, my name is Stephen, and I’m a control freak.)