Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Helicopter Leading

My Dad bought a remote control helicopter. It is fun to direct it around a room. Especially, around the head of one of my brothers. Of course my brothers get annoyed at this hovering. Which has lead to the term helicopter parenting; parents who do and control everything for their children. They hover over their children at all times.

Tim Elmore of Growing Leaders has a great three part blog on the subject. He uses three words to change our focus; describe, connect, interpret. The discussion is centered on parenting and leading youth. But it can work with leadership at any level. Here are the points Tim Elmore makes:
  • Describe do not prescribe. Describe what the desired outcome will look like. Description allows someone to find their own path with all the struggles involved. Instead of laying out each step there is a chance to be develop creativity and ambition.
  • Connect without controlling. If we try to make everything safe, removing all chance of failure, the person being lead never has a chance to gain from experience. The lessons learned in failure or having to change plans are all lost.
  • Interpretation has replaced information. My six year old is able to Google most information he wants. Information is available to almost everyone. What people need is a way to interpret the information.
Two truths apply: everyone has a worldview and the value of struggle. God describes the lack of worldview beautifully; "Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth." Ephesians 4:14-15.

How are you giving the people you lead a way to interpret their world? Do they understand the values that are important to your family or organization? Take time to talk about the values that matter to you. Reinforce those values when they are demonstrated by behavior.

The second truth involves challenges. God lays out a process in Romans 5:3-4. Difficulty with perseverance develops character which leads to hope. How are providing challenging opportunities for those you lead? Then you must step back and let them struggle through the challenge. It is the best way to develop character, self esteem, and new skills.

Of course all of this must be accomplished through relationship. You must connect before you can be heard and expect them to take on the challenge. How much time have you taken to listen this week to those you lead?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Rainy Bike Ride

11-8-12 Adventures at Grace with Ben from Grace Adventures on Vimeo.
Follow Ben VanderKodde as he video blogs about leadership. Ben Vanderkodde is a speaker trainer that presents all over the midwest. To inquire about him speaking visit

Monday, July 16, 2012

Canoe Tipping

05-24-12 Adventures at Grace with Ben - Web 720 from Grace Adventures on Vimeo.

This is a story of compassion and dedication that I was witness to early this summer.  I was impacted and I wanted to share it with you.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weed Whip Learning

05-23-12 Adventures at Grace with Ben - Web 720 from Grace Adventures on Vimeo.

Here is a fun story that I experienced this spring. Okay, I really caused it. Really, it was completely my fault and I knew better!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Focus on God even in the busyness

I am wrapping up a busy week. A few things that have been included: I have spoken 5 times at 4 different schools, I have recruited at 2 colleges, I have attended too many meetings, I have driven for hours, and I have put all 4 of my children to bed by myself 2 different nights, attended church Wed night, played volleyball, played basketball, jogged on the treadmill, made a 280 piece puzzle, wiped a 4 yr-old's pee off the bathroom walls, did dishes, folded laundry, taught Sunday school, organized shoes in the back hall, recruited volunteers, wrote a reference, began planning a high school leadership retreat with 2 other organizations, went on a valentine's date with my beautiful wife, spoke for a 2.5 min video, etc...
I am sure that you could jot down a similar list if you took the time.
Psalm 63:1 and 3 says
"Oh God you are my God, earnestly I seek you,
My soul thirsts for you.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips glorify you."
Has this been true in my life? Have I been thirsting for God? I think the answer is yes and no. Yes, I have had a few great conversations with him early morning while driving, and yes, his word has been on my heart and my mind, but at other times, I am fully focused on myself, the problems, the challenges that I am facing. What is coming next, and what I need to do to get it done.
I need to remind myself to step back and see the big picture. My life is about him. He is my source of power, he is my source of encouragement. He is in control.
Deut 32:3-4 says:
I will proclaim the name of the Lord,
oh praise the greatness of our God
He is the rock, his works are perfect,
his ways are just,
A faithful God, who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.
So listen in as I remind myself: take time to spend reflecting on God. Don't get too busy. He alone brings fulfillment, and his way is the right way.