Finding a book on Leadership theory, it is not that difficult. Theoreticians are ready, willing and often unable to give great advice for practical leadership. Bill Hybels is a guy who not only has the theory down, but has developed that theory through the day to day discipline of doing leadership. That’s why I love Axiom. Its a book on practical leadership. 76 powerful leadership proverbs that I learned to read and apply over a 3 month period.
In part 1 of this review we looked at Category 1 of Axiom: Vision and Strategy. In part 2, we looked at Teamwork and Communication. In part 3, let’s look at Category of Axiom: Activity and Assessment. Bill shares 20 Axioms, here’s my top 5:
1. Speed versus Soul. Leaders have have to lead at high speed levels. Decisions need to be made. Projects completed. The goal often is to go faster, higher, longer. But life at warp speed is not typically life at growth speed. Soul development takes time, often slow down, solitude time. Jesus says, “What would it profit one to gain the world, and lose his soul.” Soul growth is important, but not seen as urgent. I have discovered the necessity of carving out time on soul growth activities — a Bible reading plan, lectio divina, prayer, times of solitude, and perhaps most of all seeking the day to day promptings and leading of the Spirit. Those moments don’t come flying through my day, but pausing to catch His fresh breath and direction.
2. Are we still having fun? Helen Keller observed, “Life is a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” My goal for the people I lead is that they see this time as the best years of their lives. Life is hard work, but life is also fun. Often you have to dig a little to find it, but then fun is typically found by those wise enough to search for it. Are we still having a fun is a good question to ask to make sure I am not the only one having fun, but those I lead enjoy the work as well.
3. Facts are your friends. Not the spin doctor, not the long range plan, not the theory, not what you hope happens, but what is God really doing? Some Christians don’t believe in counting. Such a view always surprises me — haven’t they read Numbers? How about Acts? The goal is not the numbers, the goal is people and God wants to reach people. So how are we doing? And even more important what is God blessing? Facts reflect reality, and reality is where we live. I believe in vision and planning, but I’ve met too many people who know the right words to say but not the right way to lead. Facts reflect what is happening and lead me to ask, “What’s the next step along the way?”
4. The bias towards action. Leaders like to get in the game. Let’s get something done. There’s a world that’s lost, and needs to find its way home. That happens not with inaction, but with action. The light’s green. The fields are white for harvest. Time to stop waiting and get moving.
5. Never beat the sheep. Amen. No matter how bad the day, no matter how stinging the critic, never beat the sheep. That’s not how a servant leader leads, and we are called to be servant leaders. Jesus died for those sheep (and for us shepherds who are sheep as well). And if your a sheep, never bite the shepherd or the shepherd’s family. We are on the same team. Instead let’s learn to bless and build up, eternity is the impact we can make together with God.
Those are my top 5. What are some of your favorite proverbs on leading with action and assessment?