Catalyst Leader Book Study, Week 3
Orange Leaders
July 17, 2013

I can’t count the many times I have made a decision out of my fear of failing. It is scary to put yourself outside of what you are comfortable with. I don’t want to make anyone angry with me! I don’t want to look bad! In this chapter, you will be challenged to push your […]

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I can’t count the many times I have made a decision out of my fear of failing. It is scary to put yourself outside of what you are comfortable with. I don’t want to make anyone angry with me! I don’t want to look bad! In this chapter, you will be challenged to push your fear of what might happen and lead with courage!

Chapter 5, Courageous

“Live a life that someone else would want to take notes on.” –Bob Goff

If you were at The Orange Conference this year, you were blessed to hear from a guy named Bob Goff. Bob is a lawyer, and recently wrote a book called “Love Does.” Bob is known for his extreme optimism and willingness to find “capers” (which is the word Bob uses when he means “adventures.”) Bob wooed his wife by slipping peanut butter and jelly sandwiches under her windshield wipers every morning; he took his children on a world tour to meet prime ministers and presidents; he became a consul for Uganda; he has pulled off numerous practical jokes. Although I don’t know Bob Goff personally, I feel like I do! Bob doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything, he lives life and wears his heart as a gigantic neon-flashing arrow pointing to God!

In chapter 5, Brad writes about a vacation he spent with Bob and the lesson he learned about courage in a very practical “Bob Goff” kind of way. I would write about it, but I think you should read it for yourself! (And just try not to smile and be inspired!)

Reflecting on his time with Bob, Brad writes:

“No matter what your calling or challenges you’re confronting, every leader must make a choice. You can sit on the mountaintop and enjoy the view, or you can leap into the free fall of riskiness. You can appreciate all you have accomplished or you can step off the ledge and take the plunge. Take it from me. The jump may be risky, but the decision to stay where you are is even more so.”

Brad gives some helpful tips for building a culture of courage in an organization, here are a few of them:

Set Scary Standards. Safe goals are set by safe leaders with safe visions. Give your people a goal that scares them, and you’ll produce leaders who know what it means to overcome fear.
Allow for failure. The road to success is many times put together through multiple failures. Allow for and even encourage your team to fail as they attempt to succeed.
Pursue the right opportunities. Not every risk is a good one. Be disciplined. Aggressively pursue a few things that make sense. Say “No” often.

At the end of the chapter, we are challenged to step in to all God has created us to be. Scriptures even tell us “Fear not” and “do not be afraid.”

Are you ready to jump?

What would you pursue today if you weren’t afraid to fail? If you knew for certain that you were the one to make it happen? Go do that. #CatalystLeader

Chapter 6, Principled:

In this chapter, we unpack the three elements of a principled leader.

Element #1 Humility

“A catalyst leader is humble and hungry, not arrogant and entitled.” #CatalystLeader

Humble leaders are willing to pass on the credit but absorb the criticism, push higher while making themselves lower, and put the desires of the team ahead of their own.

To test whether you are leading humbly, Brad suggests that we search our speech for these phrases:

“I’m sorry. That was my fault.” Apologizing for your mistakes will turn resentment into respect.
“Thank you.” or “Great Job!” A team that feels appreciated will work harder for you and remain loyal to you when times get tough.
“I’m listening.” President Calvin Coolidge once said: “No man ever listened himself out of a job.” Stop talking once in a while and simply listen to what your team is saying. You will learn about your organization and yourself if you’ll close your lips for an hour or two.
“I trust you.”
Your team needs to know that you have confidence in them and in their ability to execute their jobs.

Humble leaders don’t need praise, accolades, or credit in order to perform. They listen more than they talk. They may be lesser known but are often more influential. They lead without stopping for fanfare or pats on the back.

Element #2 Discipline

“Talent doesn’t win. Hard work, determination, and character wins. If you root your talent and ability in those things, then you have a powerful combination.” –Erwin McManus

Being a steadfast leader means doing what you say you are going to do. Your “Yes” is yes, and your “No” is no. Credibility is achieved through discipline and capability. If you begin a project, finish it—no matter how long it takes or how much energy it requires. Never stop growing and getting better. Be curious, committed, and coachable—always a student.

Brad suggests writing down critical questions once a year and then answering them honestly:

When I look at the sum total of my efforts this year, do I believe I’ve done my best work?
Have I finished everything I’ve started, or have I left a wake of piecemeal projects behind?
Did I give in to the temptation to cut corners, and if so, how can I protect myself from taking those shortcuts in the future?

Demand perfection from yourself, before anyone else demands it from you. Become an expert now, even before you need to be. #CatalystLeader

Element #3 Integrity

What are the areas in which you are most vulnerable?
Whar are your hidden weaknesses that could blow up in your face?

Once you identify these areas, establish an accountability system. Make the right thing easy to do and the wrong thing, difficult. Leaders can’t afford to be insulated, and accountability is one of the best way to guard against it.

“Who you are becoming is way more important than what you are doing.” #CatalystLeader

Who speaks truth in your life?
Who can honestly tell you when you are wrong and keep you in touch with reality?

“Your heart is the starting place for character, and it’s what gets God’s attention. Character is what your giftedness into influence, and unleashes God’s power.”
–Andy Stanley