Ron's Material Leadership Blog

It is my sincerest hope that the stories I share are helpful to others. I have experienced first hand that many people toil in obscurity, searching for answers, ashamed to reach out and ask for help. This blog will contain experiences and wisdom that I have gained over the years that I hope will offer guidance in dealing with some of life's challenges.

Why the name material leadership? If you are curious the answer is on my website.
The link on the side bar.

Lead well


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Interview 3: Coming Soon!

This past weekend interview number three was completed. I believe it will take a few weeks to truly capture the essence of the discussion. The man I interviewed is a well known author and consultant. His work was instrumental in how my perspective on leadership is framed. The interview was a study in contradiction yet not. It was actually an authentic leader living his purpose. You see he interviewed me for the first twenty minutes of our conversation. He wanted to be certain to capture the essence of what I was searching for. He wanted to know me first and answer me second.

The conversation was a blur he spoke with such wisdom and authenticity that I found myself just listening. Every now and then I would jerk myself out of the student role long enough to ask another question. I felt as if I were listening to a master story teller, a man of great wisdom. I took a different approach with this interview. I provided my guest with a scenario and asked him to analyze the actions taken against his model. From this discussion I was able to learn even deeply about his model and how it plays out in the real world.

We talked about the motivation for his work. He told me about an injustice perpetrated against the Malay people as recounted in a book by M Scott Peck. His passion was evident even now as he recounted his emotional reaction to a book he read over 15 years ago. It was clear that tragedy was a significant framing concept in his work. His efforts to teach a beacon of how to transcend tragedy in our day.

I know you will want to read this post as much as I want to write it.

Lead well


Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Purpose filled Winter

Hi everyone

This winter has turned out to be one of the highest demand times of my life. I have to say I am fully engaged with work, with family, with church, with volunteering, with school, with hobbies, with fitness and with blogging. Unfortunately because it is last on the list the frequency with which I blog has decreased.

“High Capacity Season”

I get tired just thinking about the list above. It is certainly exhilarating yet it wears me down. This is where faith and fitness come in. These are my recharge activities. With out my time in worship and prayer, without time in exercise I simply could not keep up the life I am leading. With these activities I can continue on like the Energizer bunny I just keep going and going and going. The important issue though is that the only reason I can sustain this relentless pace for weeks and months on end is that all of what I am doing is aligned to my purpose.

“Check Your Alignment”

I shared my own purpose with you a few months back in a post called Finding Your Leadership Purpose. For me it is:

To make a difference in the lives of those I meet through my faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the what, the how comes to life in my values; faith, family integrity, teaching, and learning. If you look at the list of activities I mentioned above you will see a clear link between each activity and the list of values. I translate integrity as a core aspect of leadership by the way.

“Stay the Course”

Most everything I do stems from or is related to one of my values and fits my purpose. Recently I was asked to take on a significant leadership role in a community outreach event. The event was massive, large budget thousands of lives touched. On the surface of it, the event fits neatly into my values and mirrors my purpose. To make matters more difficult the man who asked me to help him is a mentor to me, helping me grow in my faith life. What was my response to this friend and brother? I prayerfully said no.

“No, I cannot”

How could I do that you might ask? Well it was not easy yet I realized that as aligned as this event would be to my purpose, it would undermine my effectiveness in nearly all aspects of my life. The commitment asked for was beyond the resource I had available by so much that I would have had to walk away from nearly everything else I am doing in the next three months. Had I been given a sense through prayer that I needed to do so I would have. I was not and so I respectfully declined the opportunity.

“Learn More about No”

In my other blog I wrote a leadership tip on saying no, it really is a critical tool in a leader’s arsenal. I encourage you to join my mailing list there at developing leaders and consider it thoughtfully. I promise not to spam you.

Lead well


My Favorites

Thoughts on a Recent Read

The Dip by Seth Godin

This was the first of Mr. Godin’s books I have read and I must say it will not be the last. I enjoyed this book and found its message wise and on point for our age. The premise of the book is that there is a time to quit a role, project, effort and a time to stay. When we have the opportunity to be the very best and are willing to pay the price, it is time to stay. When it is clear that staying will result in mediocrity or worse yet (Mr. Godin’s term for a dead end) a cul-de-sac, it is time to move on to something where we can be our best. The dip is the place in between. The place where we face opposition, adversity and discouragement. It is here that many wrongly chose to give up when greatness is not that far away for the brave souls who persevere.

Complexity: Low

Length: Short

Compelling: Very much

Worthwhile: Definitely