Some books you read fast and simply enjoy. Some books you savor like a Frango mint melting in your mouth. Axiom is a book worth savoring. Usually I get a book and devour it. I took a speed reading course in college, and it has served me well. Except when it comes to books like Axiom, then it’s time to slow down, savor and soak it up.
I read Axiom in 2008 after attending the Leadership Summit Simulcast. In this book, Bill Hybels shares 76 powerful leadership proverbs in 2-3 page chapters. That’s why instead of zipping through 10 axioms each night, I read 1 axiom a night and reflected on its meaning for my leadership. Each axiom helped me learn leadership wisdom that guides my leadership today. As an added bonus reflecting on each axiom developed within me a daily habit of reflection time. Before Axiom it was an unattained goal, but not a daily habit. Taking time each day to reflect on the day and 1 axiom a day built the habit in me. I followed Axiom with John Maxwell’s Daily Reader, and am now using The Daily Drucker.
So in reviewing axiom instead of simply reviewing the whole book, let’s slow down. Let’s look at the 4 categories he uses and my top Hybels’ axioms from each category. Today, category 1: Vision and Strategy. There he shares 20 axioms. Here are my top 5:
1. Language matters. Rick Warren taught me the power of a pithy statement. John Maxwell taught me the power of principles that build off each other. Bill Hybels taught me the power of language. Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.” Greater impact is made when using the right words to communicate effectively and plant vision deeply.
2. Vision leaks. That’s true for followers, it’s dangerous when it happens to leaders. Vision buckets have holes. Nehemiah faces this in rebuilding the wall. Leaders deal with it in building lives. This axiom taught me to leverage moments that tie into our vision of passionately transforming lives to be like Jesus. They are the “this is why we do what we do” stories. Those who go on mission trips come back and tell their mission stories because lives are passionately transformed to be like Jesus, especially those who go on the trip. This is why we do what we do.
3. The value of a good idea. Leaders capture ideas. They may come in the middle of the night, or usually for me, in the middle of a shower. Once you have an idea, you don’t want it to float away. Whether it be a new way to serve in our community, or a better way to use language. Write it down. Capture it. Kent Hunter taught me to carry 3×5 cards, and Michael Hyatt the power of Evernote. Find what works for you, and write it down. Mull it over. Let it brew, then let it fly.
4. Build a boiler fund. The power of this one I learned in the Great Recession. We had built some reserves ahead of time, and seeing the economy cycle down made tough decisions early that helped weather a bumpy ride. Without a boiler fund, tough decisions would have been tougher. We’re still learning the value of saving ministry dollars and funding future challenges.
5. Six by Six execution. In the next 6 weeks what are the 6 most important areas to address my energy and attention. If I accomplish these 6, it will make the greatest contribution at CLC. 6 by 6 helps me get important work done when others urgency bells are ringing. 6 by 6 keeps my eye on the goal with a time factor that helps me stay on task until the job is done.
These 5 Bill Hybels axioms on Vision and Strategy continue to build my leadership capacity. What axioms on vision and strategy develop your leadership?