Why Do Those You Lead Say 'Yes'?

leadership.jpgIf you are a leader, you ask people to do things every day. Hopefully they say yes to your request and things get accomplished, but have you ever stopped to think why they did what you asked? If not, you should, because the answer to that question will go a long way in determining how successful a leader you are or will become.

Early in my management career I learned there are basically three reasons people will do what a leader asks them to do. The first one is pretty obvious: You’re the boss! This is known as position power. Because of the position you hold, your employees have to do what you ask.

While every leader uses position power, especially when coming into a new position or organization, over reliance on it can lead to an unmotivated or even resentful work force. Employees will begin to do just enough to comply and the bolder ones may even begin to look for ways to subtly undermine their leader – neither of which is good for the long-term health of the department or organization.

The second reason a person will do what a leader asks of is based on what could be described as a cost/benefit analysis. Although this may sound complicated, it really isn’t. Basically the employee considers the benefit of doing what you’ve asked versus the cost of not doing it. If doing what is asked benefits the employee, or if the cost of not complying is too steep, then he/she will do what is asked. However, if they don’t think they will benefit and/or they deem the cost of not complying acceptable, then they usually won’t. This typically happens when people feel their leader/organization does not care about them. As a result they begin making the majority of their work decisions based on what is best for them, not the organization.

The third reason a person says ‘yes’ to a leader is really the sweet spot of leadership and this is personal power. In other words, people are willing to do what you ask of them because of a personal relationship that has been established. Having this personal relationship does not necessarily mean being buddies with those you lead. What it does mean is that they respect you and trust that what you are asking of them is the right thing to do. Gen. George Patton and Coach John Wooden were both great leaders.  One was feared by his men and the other was loved by his players, but both were respected, trusted and followed.

While initial respect comes with the position, long term respect and trust must be earned over time. Are you the real deal? Does what you say line up with what you do? Do those you lead sense that it’s more than a job for you? Do they see you living out the mission? If the answer to these questions is yes, then your people are following you because they want to. If not, then they are probably following you because of your title or because it’s in their own self interest. Either way, it’s not a recipe for long-term leadership success.

So…why do the people you lead say ‘yes’?

Is That Glass Half Full, or Half Empty?

glass.jpgI have always considered myself to be more of a glass half full kind of guy. I would rather look at things with optimism than to always live with the pessimism of a half empty glass. My wife, on the other hand, considers herself a realist. When asked if the glass is half full or half empty, she’s more likely to respond with “what’s in the glass?”, or “who’s going to wash the glass?”. Gotta love the reality of those responses!

What about you? Are you a glass half full or half empty kind of person? How does what you hear, or read, impact the way you view the glass?

I came across this parable online a couple of weeks ago and thought it was a great example of the power negative words can have on our perceptions.

There was a man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs. He was hard of hearing so he had no radio. He had trouble with his eyes so he read no newspapers. But he sold good hot dogs. He put up signs on the highway telling people how good they were. He stood on the side of the road and cried: “Buy a hot dog mister?” And people bought.

He increased his meat and bun orders. He bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade. He finally got his son home from college to help him out during break.

But then something happened. His son said, “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio? Haven’t you been reading the newspapers? There’s a big recession. The world economy is terrible. The domestic economy is even worse.”  Whereupon the father thought, “Well my son’s been to college, he reads the papers and he listens to the radio, and he ought to know.” So the father cut down on his meat and bun orders, took down his advertising signs and no longer bothered to stand out on the highway to sell his hot dogs as often.

And his hot dog sales fell almost overnight. “You were right, son,” the father said to the boy. ” We certainly are in the middle of a great recession.”

– Author unknown

What Goes on Behind the Scenes in the SBC Exhibit Hall?

As many of you probably know, the Southern Baptist Convention kicks off with the Pastor’s Conference this Sunday in Louisville, KY. A big part of the convention is the exhibit area where SBC entities, colleges, seminaries and other assorted folks have displays set up to interact with the messengers attending the convention.

LifeWay Conference Centers and Camps are no exception. Below is a brief video showing a little of what goes on behind the scenes to get the exhibits ready. Enjoy and be sure to stop by and see us if you’re going to be in Louisville next week!

Behind the Scenes at the SBC from Byron Hill on Vimeo.

My Favorite Guest Survey Question


As many of you who have stayed at Ridgecrest or Glorieta before already know, we send out an electronic guest survey to all of our guests for whom we have an email address. This survey asks for feedback on the entire guest experience and we are constantly utilizing this constructive feedback to improve our service.

Of all the questions the survey asks, this is my favorite:

“Beyond the facilities and service, it encourages us to hear how the Lord worked in your life during your stay at our conference center. Do you have a comment, testimony or experience you would like to share with us?”

Every month, when I’m reviewing our service scores, I love to take a few minutes and read how God worked in the lives of our guests. Below is a sampling of the responses we received for the month of May. I found these to be a blessing. Hopefully you will as well.

  • I went to the prayer garden for the first time and really felt the presence of God there. I was able to open my heart, then to really “be still and know” He is God and was there.
  • Whenever I come to Ridgecrest I find God’s peace there. The surrounding mountains, the calm and the opportunity to hear from God without a whole lot of local traffic and people who have other priorities than Christ makes it a place I’ll come to again and again.
  • Being among friends with whom I worked in Africa was a highlight of this year. It refreshed my soul hear how God is working in difficult places around the world.
  • It is very spiritual there. You can see and feel the Holy Spirit working in the staff. The Rally 2 Ridgecrest event was a life-changing event for me.
  • My wife and I were extremely blessed by our stay. The atmosphere is conducive to prayer and meditation. The campus offers an environment that makes one feel that God is all around them. We simply loved our time spent there.
  • Personally, it was good to have a facility that took care of my needs and allowed time to reflect on my relationship with God and appreciate the beauty around us and the friendly inviting atmosphere. I have not experienced that anywhere else and I have been to lots of retreats over the years.

What about you? Do you have a Ridgecrest or Glorieta story you’d like to share with us? If so, click here!

10 Items for Meeting Planners to Include When Requesting a Proposal


Whether your a seasoned planner or new to the job having a  stress free planning experience is always a goal.  When you have a meeting coming up and you need to request a proposal from a venue, here are 10 items you should always include with your request to make it as easy as possible for you and the venue to meet all of your needs.

1.  The Name and Address of your Ministry/Organization.
*Be sure to include your contact info and how you prefer to be contacted.

2.  The Title of your Meeting.

3.  The Dates of your Meeting.
*Include if your dates are flexible or set?

4.  What is the objective of your Meeting?

5.  How many Guest Rooms does your Meeting Require?
*Do you have history you can include from past meeting?
*What are the demographics of your attendees?
*Are there trends your aware of?

6.  What is the Daily Schedule of Meetings?
*Do you have any specific requirements?

7.  Do you require Exhibit Space?

8.  What are your Food and Beverage Requirements?

9.  What is your budget for Rooms, Meeting Space, Food and Beverage, etc.?

10.  Any additional information about your Ministry or this Meeting.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about submitting an RFP and as always if you have any suggestions or something that has worked for you in the past, please share it with us in the comments.

Why Ridgecrest and Glorieta are perfect for Spiritual Retreats

SpiritualRetreats_120x120.jpg Even though I work for LifeWay I feel compelled to share with you why I believe Ridgecrest and Glorieta to be the perfect places for Spiritual Retreats.  I get the pleasure of seeing the weekly testimonies shared with us about how these retreats have changed peoples lives.  Here are just a few quotes.

“Being at Glorieta has inspired me every time I have stayed there.  God’s beauty in creation and in the friendly faces of the staff send me off a changed person!”

“Without the intrusion of television my family and I were able to really spend quality time together as a family with the lord.  Our family grew closer together during our stay.”

“The Lord is definitely in this place!  I am still on a spiritual high and have been home for a week.”

If you choose to visit Ridgecrest or Glorieta.  I hope you will take full advantage of the many recreation opportunities and area attractions available.  But more importantly, I hope that you include in your plans to visit, time for God to work in your life.  I have always enjoyed getting up early and walking to the lake, campus is so peaceful in the mornings.  Whatever you choose to do, I know you will come away blessed.

Getting away on a spiritual retreat will transform your life, if you let it. In Matthew 6:33-34 we are told “But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself.”

Using the LAURA method for Effective Communication

At the Conference Centers we strive to effectively communicate with all of our employees and guests.

“Did you hear what I said” is something that I think everyone has uttered at some point in their life when communicating with someone else.  Something that I have found effective for me is to think of my friend  LAURA.  Now, LAURA isn’t an actual person I know, it’s just the way I have found to remember that there are two people in all conversations.

Listen – Listen to what the other person is saying to you.

Ask – Ask questions to clarify what was said to you.

Understand – Be sure you understand what was said, take a few minutes to absorb if needed.

Respond – Respond appropriately to the other person.

Ask – Ask more questions to ensure you responded appropriately.  If you did not, repeat the process.

How do you effectively communicate?  I would love to hear any strategies you’ve found effective.

7 thoughts for Parent's who Travel for Work

 As a working Mom, I often am required to travel with my job which used to cause a great deal of stress for my family.  I thought I would share with you a couple of things I’ve learned to make it easier for them and me while I’m away on business.

  • Lose the Guilt
    I am a working Mom, and there is nothing wrong with that.  I can love my family and love my career.
  • Accept Reality
    Travel is a part of my job, it’s the career I chose, but my family is always my top priority.
  • Stop the Sadness
    It wasn’t helpful for anyone when I would call and say “I miss you”. It only made him think about the fact that I was gone which would make him sad.
  • My Family was First
    I could still do a great job and it was OK for me to step out of a meeting for a couple of minutes to call him before his bed time, or leave the exhibit hall to call and tell him to have a good day at school. He needs to hear from me at those times and I wasn’t missing anything by excusing myself for those few minutes.

The Inman Family.jpgSo, what we started to do was to plan together a week or two before any business trips to get ready.

  • Who, What, Why, Where…
    I found that these questions were important to him.  It mattered to him whether I would be driving or flying.
  • Make it Fun 
    We always do an art project prior to my trip.  We draw boxes on a sheet of paper for the number of days I will be away and decorate it with stickers of a plane or car, the state where I will be, the phone number of the hotel I’m staying in.  We would try to color the hotel chain logo with crayons and color pictures of what I might be doing each day.  This just made if fun for him and he felt very comfortable with the answers to all of his questions about the upcoming trip.  As he got older we would draw two pictures, one for what I would be doing and one for what he would be doing.  I would pack our “art” of what he was doing and we would hang our “art” of what I was doing on the refrigerator so he could see it.  I would also put some extra stickers and drawings in an envelope for each day I would be gone so he could add them to our masterpiece while I was gone as a way to check off each day of my trip.
  • Home at last
    I always try my best to schedule my flight home so I am there when my son gets home from school, it’s a little thing but it makes him happy to get off the bus and see me there instead of all the questions to my husband about my arrival time when I’m not there.

I would love to hear from you about how you handle traveling as a working parent.