Tag Archive - choice


What do I do with that One Particular Person the Team?

I’ve talked to all kinds of church leaders serving in all kinds of churches across the country about building the right teams with the right people to make the unique vision that God has given them for their church become reality. Inevitably the conversation seems to always drift towards talking about this one particular person on their team. The question has come up so frequently that you probably have this person on your team as well.

The conversation usually goes something like this, “I’ve got this one person on the team. They’re really talented, they’ve produced some good results but there’s something about them.” Sometimes the church leader will be courageous enough to be really honest and say, “I’m not sure I even like them being on the team anymore. Sometimes I even find that I make excuses to myself and others for their behavior.”

They seem to do just enough to stay around. They’re dysfunctional but not overtly so. The fear of exiting them from the team is heightened often in a church because they have relationships with some important people and letting people go in a church setting seems to always be messy, sometimes even risky. Then there’s the energy and time that would be spent to find someone new and get them up to speed. Many church leaders in this situation end up feeling stuck.

Then the final question comes, “I’m not sure what to do with them. What do you think?” Well, you’re not alone, everybody has this person on their team…and I’m glad you asked. But one of the things that separates good teams from great teams is great teams deal with these people instead of letting them stay around forever and hold the team back.

The key indicator that you have this person on your team is that they don’t take personal responsibility when the conversation comes up.


When you’ve tried to talk about this with them in the past they just deny it. It’s not just that they see things differently than you do, they refuse to see what you see. Often in church world we do this to ourselves. We do a better job of letting stuff build up over time and not coach specifics in real-time so we’re left to discuss vague generalities instead of measurable specifics.


Another common response when the conversation comes up is deflection. They start rattling off a list of excuses that deflect responsibility of their behavior to their circumstances or other people around them. The tough thing is that if you listen to them long enough there is often a shade of truth in their deflection and some of their excuses begin to make sense. Which usually leads to them staying on the team a little longer.


Another way people respond poorly is by “shooting the messenger.” When confronted with feedback they aren’t ready to hear or are unable to accept it’s not uncommon for people react in a manner that is disproportionate to the conversation. That often comes out in anger.

Talking to this kind of person won’t help the situation. Many of you have tried and it hasn’t gotten you anywhere. You can’t coach this kind of person because they don’t want to receive any coaching. So, what do you do when you have this kind of person on your team?

Specific consequences

When dealing with these kinds of team members you’ve got to come to terms with what they actually need from you as their supervisor. They need you to provide clarity and specifics on what it is you expect them to change, as well as clarity and specifics on what is going to happen if they choose not to make those changes. They cannot be successful unless you provide that to them. That’s your job. There a number of natural consequences that they may experience including being placed on a 30-day performance improvement plan, a suspension, or it could even be as severe as losing their job.

Give them a choice

Once you provide them with options you’ve given them the power to make a choice. At that point, they get to choose whatever they want. That’s their part. They can change their approach and their behavior and avoid discipline or not. Whether they choose door #1 or door #2, it’s their choice, and you’ve given them the opportunity to be a part of the team or leave the team.

Follow Through

If they don’t follow through, you need to. Simply put, do what you said you were going to do. If they choose to continue their poor behavior and approach, they are communicating to you that they no longer want to be on the team. So, give them what they want.

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


global leadership summit 2012: jim collins

Jim Collins, researcher and best selling author of the leadership books Built to Last, Good to Great, and How the Mighty Fall, shared a message at the Global Leadership Summit. Here are my notes from his talk:

  • The X-factor of great leadership is humility combined with will
  • Fanatic Discipline: excerpting a sense of control in a world that increasingly seems out of control
  • Discipline keeps you from over extending yourself and getting wiped out by the next big storm
  • The principle of the 20-mile march turns great intentions into productive results: consistent consecutive performance
  • Most leaders fail to fire enough little shots to try new things & they have a propensity to fire big uncalibrated shots that lead to failure
  • More and more innovation without discipline leads to failure
  • Productive Paranoia: leads to preparation and buffers the things you do before times are tough
  • The signature of mediocrity is not unwillingness to change. It is chronic inconsistency.
  • Creativity is natural, discipline is not…
  • What’s rare is the ability to marry creativity and discipline without destroying creativity
  • It is how you manage with discipline in the good times that allows you to be strong when people most need you most
  • The greatest danger is not failure but to succeed and not know why
  • Life is people and time with people you love
  • An organization is not truly great if it can’t be great without you
  • Luck = a specific event that 1. You didn’t cause 2. It has a potential significant consequence 3. It was a surprise
  • Great winners in were research were not “luckier” all of us get these events, its what you do with them when they come
  • Greatness is not a matter of circumstance but a choice
  • A great organization possesses 3 things: 1. A superior performance relative to the mission 2. They make a distinctive impact 3. They achieve lasting endurance beyond any one leader

Posted in Leadership


chic-fil-a leadercast patrick lencioni

This is the last of my notes from the Chic-fil-A Leadercast. Hope they were helpful! In the final session Patrick Lencioni, founder and president of The Table Group and author of 9 best selling books, killed it! Enjoy the notes.

The single greatest opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage is free, accessible, and untapped

Why we resist simple change:

  1. Sophistication bias: the solution is not complex or sophisticated enough
  2. Adrenalin bias: we need it to be a quick fix now
  3. Quantification bias: because I can’t quantify how important organizational health is, I won’t do it

Organizational Health =

  1. Minimal politics and confusion
  2. High degree of moral
  3. Good people rarely leave healthy organizations

It is impossible in this day and age to build a competitive advantage based on knowledge. But you can build a competitive advantage by building a healthy organization. Every team has a enough experience, talent, and industry knowledge…what they don’t have is a healthy organization.

Building a healthy organization

#1 Build a Cohesive Leadership Team:

Great leaders are vulnerable and this is how you establish trust, predictive trust is different than vulnerability based trust / if a leader on the team can’t be vulnerable first he won’t have a culture of vulnerability and trust on his team / when you’re a leader people see you sweat first

#2 Create Clarity:

6 questions to align around: (bummer I didn’t get them all) why do we exist, how do we behave, what’s the most important thing for us to do right now, who around this table needs to do what next / great organizations define what the 2 or 3 things are that drive them and then they’re relentless about them.

#3 Over-Communicate Clarity:

People have to hear it 7 times before they remember it, great leaders never get tired of repeating themselves, if you’re people can’t do a good impression of you when you’re not around then you’re not saying it enough, if you want to be cool then don’t be a leader

#4 Reinforce Clarity:

Put structure and process in place to support this, how you hire, fire, reward people, institutionalize your culture without bureaucratizing it. How do you hire/filter to fit your culture?

Posted in Leadership


chic-fil-a leadercast dr. sheena iyengar

If you missed the Chic-fil-A Leadercast I hope these notes that I’ve been posting this week have been helpful for you. Just two more posts left. These are my notes from Dr. Sheena Iyengar, author of The Art of Choosing and Professor of Business in the Management Division of the Columbia Business School.

 What makes a leader?

Is it Fate, Chance, or Choice?

Tip #1 We are the sum of our choices

Tip #2 Effective Leaders see choices through the eyes of others

  • People are overwhelmed by choice
  • People are more attracted to choice and options but are more likely to make a choice with fewer options
  • The more choices we have the more we delay making a choice, the worse choices we make, the less satisfied we are with our choices
  • On-line Resource: Choosing Exercise
  • Effective Leaders are choosy about choosing
  • Choosing is an art
  • A Leader is someone who can live with nothing, yet have everything

Posted in Leadership


chic-fil-a leadercast soledad o’brien

Below are my take aways from listening to CNN Anchor and and author Soledad O’Brien.

  • Leadership is about justice about standing up for people who can’t stand up for themselves
  • Leadership is about leading to a preferred future
  • Leadership is about departing from the script, blunt confrontation, and a commitment to lasting change that takes time to realize
  • Leaders don’t shut out people they disagree with. That’s not being a leader, that’s being an obstacle.

Posted in Leadership
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