Archive for September, 2010

Leaders Walk Their Talk


“Leaders walk their talk,” Warren Bennis once said.  “In true leaders there is no gap between the theories they espouse and their practice,” he continued.  Right now the importance of “leading with practice” can hardly be over emphasized.  Simply put: leaders grow through the ranks by “practicing what they preach.”  In fact, by leading with practice, the preaching is beside the point.

We hear much about leadership theses days. John Maxwell, probably one of the better known authors in the area of leadership says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” So the question must be asked what is a leadership? How do we identify a leader? Is leadership always good? What type of leader should we NOT follow? Am I a leader or do I have leadership potential? Can leadership be developed? These questions will be addressed in future posts.

One definition of leadership is the act or process of leading. Christian leadership demands additional elements. First and foremost is faith in Jesus Christ and having an ever-growing relationship with our Lord. Good leaders must first prove themselves to be good followers. That includes first becoming an obedient follower of Jesus.

In the span of my career I’ve had hundreds of people who reported to me over the years. There have always been those who were anxious to be the boss or get into management who had yet to prove they were good followers. One particular fellow comes to mind. His name was Larry. I was a hard lines merchandise manager in a big box store where my team had elevated the volume of business per square foot to the point that it was all we could do to keep up. Our store had gone from the bottom ranking of sales and profitably per square foot in our district to the top in about two years.

This particular day I had directed Larry to set up a large display in one of the bargain aisles that morning. By midmorning it needed to be dismantled and replaced as the majority of the goods had been sold. I paged Larry and told him the display he set needed changed already. I gave him some direction about what to do with the remainder of the merchandise and what to put in its place. Larry’s response was that he had just barely finished working on getting that display set up and he did not want to go through the work of taking it down and putting a new display in its place again already. This was not the first problem like this I had with Larry. Larry was not a good follower.

I quietly asked Larry again and again he was uncooperative. I asked Larry to come see me and give me his name badge and clock out. He said why? I said because he didn’t work here any more. Since Larry was not willing to follow and this work still needed done that meant I was going to do it and if I was going to do it I no longer needed Larry. “I’ll meet you at the time clock to retrieve your name badge and clock you out.” He said, “You can’t fire me.” I said I already did.

I met Larry again maybe a year or so later. Larry had gotten a job at another company and I ran into him while my wife and I were shopping there. Larry saw me and quickly approached with a big smile on his face and shook my hand. “Mr. McDonald  I want to thank you for firing me. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. If I would have kept on going like I was I wouldn’t be where I am now. I realized I needed to make some changes and when I got a job here I decided to follow your lead and I worked very hard and became a great employee. And guess what? I was promoted and now I am an assistant manager.” Larry learned his lesson and became a good follower which helped chart his course on the way to leadership.

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Dear  Friends:

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Dennis McDonald


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Labor That Works Miracles by Jim Rohn

Labor That works Miracles by Jim Rohn..

Two thousand years ago on April 15th one of Jesus’ disciples came to him and said it was time to pay taxes (that’s how I know it was around April 15th), but they had no money. In response to his disciple’s statement Jesus said “no problem”.  Now why could he say “no problem”?  Well, word had it that Jesus was a miracle worker.  If you hand a problem to a miracle worker what they are inclined to say is “no problem”.  You’ve got to hang out with people like that.

I belong to a small group and we do business around the world.  These guys are all miracle workers.  What an incredible group.  If you hand any of them a problem guess what they say, “no problem”.  How many books will they read to solve a problem?  As many as it takes.  If they need to consult – how much consulting will they do?  As much as it takes.  How early will they get up?  As early as it takes.  “No problem”… you got to hang out with people like that.  You cannot believe the thrill of being associated with miracle workers, people who will do whatever it takes to get the job done and perform miracles.

When asked about paying the taxes Jesus said it was “no problem”.  In fact, he said it was going to be easy – he told the disciple to just go fishing.  Now it couldn’t have been any easier than that, especially for this disciple whose name was Peter, because Peter was a fisherman.  Now if you can fish and you should fish and you don’t fish – then that is why you do not get a miracle.  But Jesus told his disciple to go fishing and the first fish that he caught to look in its mouth.  Peter, who was used to strange things happening, agreed.  Well, the first fish Peter catches, he looks in its mouth and finds coins.  Peter then adds up the coins and they are exactly enough to pay his and Jesus’ taxes.

“Wow!”, you might say, “That is a miracle!”  Here is why we call it a miracle – simply because we don’t quite understand how it works.  That’s all.  Doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, it just means we don’t quite understand how it works.  Which is true of all miracles.  In fact, for most of us – our whole life is a miracle.

How about this miracle…God says if you plant the seed I will make the tree.  Wow, you can’t have a better arrangement than that.  First, it gives God the tough end of the deal.  What if you had to make a tree?  That would keep you up late at night trying to figure out how to make a tree.  God says, “No, leave the miracle part to me.  I’ve got the seed, the soil, the sunshine, the rain and the seasons.  I’m God and all this miracles stuff is easy for me. I have reserved something very special for you and that is to plant the seed.”

I have found in life that if you want a miracle you first need to do whatever it is you can do – if that’s to plant, then plant; if it is to read, then read; if it is to change, then change; if it is to study, then study; if it is to work, then work; whatever you have to do.  And then you will be well on your way of doing the labor that works miracles.

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Living Free and Pressing On

Dennis McDonald