Tag Archives: success

An Excellent Failure (ANECDOTE)


Success is 99 Percent FailureI was at a meeting with some of our leaders from part of my ministry a few weeks ago, and we were discussing the topic of failure and how it is perceived within our organization.  We agreed that there is an unspoken rule that failure is NOT okay.  We will go to great lengths to prevent failure or even to cover it up and make it look like success when it does happen.  
 
Why do we do this?  It’s not biblical.  Jesus let His disciples fail on a regular basis.  Here are a few examples.  They failed when they:
  • Tried to cast out an unclean spirit from a boy
  • Were asked to feed the 5,000
  • Argued about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom
  • Walked on water
  • Tried to stay awake and pray with Jesus before His arrest
  • Defended Jesus against the soldiers
  • Denied knowing Jesus
You may think I’m cynical, but I believe Jesus even set them up for failure on certain occasions.  He knew that they wouldn’t succeed, but He let them try anyway.  Why?  Because failure gives birth to growth and learning, maturity, character, humility, a teachable spirit, dependence on God, empathy for others, and even innovation, transformation, and revival!  We learn sooooo much more from our failures than we do from our successes.  Are we missing out on God’s best for us when we work so hard not to fail?
 
Recognizing this problem in their culture, here’s what one region of our ministry did.  They flipped failure on its head.  Instead of hiding failures, they required their leaders to celebrate them.  In every leader’s performance appraisal for the past few years, they have had to share an “excellent failure” for which they were personally responsible.  An “excellent failure” is a failure that taught you something, that gave you a new perspective, that prepared you, that matured you, that shaped you to be more like Christ.  It’s a failure that produces a harvest in your life or ministry.  
 
And for it to count, you have to own it.  You’ve got to identify what you did or did not do that made things go wrong.  You’ve got to say, “I failed,” or else the failure has no power to change you.  You can’t dilute it by saying “we” or “my team” or “because they.”  There may be truth in those statements, but the failure won’t be transformational for you until you acknowledge your part.
 
So, what do you think?  Do you have the courage to own your failure?  Are you willing to put your name on it and see what God is willing to do with a transparent and humble leader?
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
 
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. ~ John 12:24
 
For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again… ~ Proverbs 24:16

 

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Filed under Failure, Humility, test, Transformation, Transparency, Trial

Needs Analysis (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures, and use the form to do a needs analysis of the situation.

Matthew 17:14-20         Mark 9:14-29       Luke 9:37-43

Symptoms

  • What are the main issues?
  • What isn’t working well?
  • What is obvious about the problem(s)?

Suffering

  • What pain is it causing?
  • Who/what is impacted by the performance gap?
  • What is it costing individuals, the team or the organization?

Significance

  • What are the organizational goals that are being impacted by the lack of performance?
    • (If possible, tie these in with the organization’s strategy, vision or mission.)
  • What is the potential cost to the organization if the goals and outcomes aren’t achieved and the performance problem isn’t addressed?

Success

  • What is the desired performance?
  • What does success look like?
  • What are the expectations?
  • How will we know when we get there?

Status

  • What is happening now?
  • What level of performance is currently being achieved?
  • What are the gaps between the desired performance and the current performance?

Sources

  • Why is the gap happening?
    • Know, Grow, Whoa, Mo, Go
  • Who or what is responsible?

Solutions

  1. 1.    Suggest
  • What do you recommend?
  • Who should do what by when?
  1. 2.    Select
  • Typically done by key leaders or stakeholders.
  1. 3.    Start
  • Typically done by key leaders or stakeholders.
  1. 4.    Status (Celebrate or Start Over)
  • Return to the Status step to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution.

 

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Filed under Apostles, demons, Devotion, Disciples, faith, Healing, Jesus, leadership, Management, Needs Analysis, Overcoming obstacles, Performance, Problem solving, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, test

Cross-Cultural Leadership (DEVOTION)


In your groups, read or skim the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Exodus 2:11-22
  • Exodus 3:7-22
  • Exodus 4:10-19, 27-31
  • Exodus 5:1-23
  • Exodus 6:1-12
  • Exodus 7:8-13, 22-24
  • Exodus 12:31-38
  • Exodus 14:10-31

 

  1. What cross-cultural challenges did Moses face in each instance of his leadership?
  2. How successful was he in dealing with them?
  3. How did his early failure impact his future efforts?
  4. What helped Moses to be successful in his later efforts?
  5. What lessons can we take from his experience?

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Filed under conflict management, Conflict Resolution, culture, Decision making, Devotion, leadership, Management, Moses

Ups and Downs of Teambuilding (GAME)


Time
25-45 minutes

Description
This is game that helps participants understand the dynamics of teams.  It uses Bruce Tuckman’s “Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing” model and combines it with the children’s game of Chutes and Ladders ® (a.k.a. Snakes and Ladders).

If you want to add a spiritual element to this lesson, you can have participants review the Scriptures at the end of the lesson and try to determine what stage of team building they represent.  Add 30-45 minutes to the lesson if you do this.

Audience
Anyone who leads teams (but usually adults or youth)

Materials
•    If you want to use a regularly-sized gameboard, you can find one on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.  It’s called: “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Gameboard.ppt.”  (You will need something to act as game pieces for each player – maybe candy or coins or something else that is small.)
•    For a life-sized game, you will need masking tape, rope or some other material to mark off the gameboard.  How much you need depends upon the size of the gameboard.  I like to make it big when I do the game outdoors, so I typically use 22 ropes of about 20 ft each.  (If you have access to a tile floor, you can use that and not have to mark off the spaces.)  For the life-sized version, the participants become the game pieces.
•    Tent stakes (44 – if you are outdoors and using rope to mark off your gameboard)
•    Dice (two – the bigger, the better, if you are playing this as a life-sized game)
•    Sticky notes (100) to number the game spaces (if you are indoors and playing on a smooth surface)
•    Note cards (100) to number the game spaces (if you are outdoors)
•    Golf tees (100) to hold the note cards to the ground (if you are outdoors)
•    Colored marker
•    Printed copy of “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Spaces.doc”  (Available on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    (Optional) Printed copy of “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Cards.doc” (Available on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)

Preparation
•    Print or mark off your gameboard.  You need a 10 space by 10 space grid.  If you do the life-sized version, you should make the squares large enough for several people to fit in them, because it is possible for more than one person to land on the same space during a turn.
•    Number your spaces 1-100 using the sticky notes or the notecards and golf tees.  The numbering should go back and forth.  For example, the first row is numbered left to right (1-10).  The second row is numbered right to left so that the 11 space is right above the 10 space, and the 20 space is right above the 1 space.  The third row is then numbered left to right again, and so on.  (If this is confusing, take a look at the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Gameboard.ppt” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Use the colored marker to put a dot on all the sticky notes or notecards that have a corresponding note in the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Spaces.doc” file.  For example, space #3 has a note in the document that indicates that something good has happened and that the player can move up.  Put a green (or whatever color you chose) dot next to the number on the sticky note or notecard for space #3.  (You don’t need to do this step if you tape the game cards in the spaces.)
•    Print off the documents (mentioned above) that you need.
•    If you print out the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Cards,” you can tape these in the squares designated by the number on the cards.  This will prevent you from having to read them yourself.  You can tape them right-side-up or upside-down.  It’s up to you.
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We’re going to play a game that will help you to understand how teams grow and develop.”
•    “Bruce Tuckman developed a model that involves four stages.  They are, “Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.”
•    “Forming is the first stage, and it’s where everyone in a team comes together.  Everyone is on their best behavior and trying to make the new group work, but trust is low, because we don’t know each other yet.”
•    “Storming is the second stage, and it involves conflict and struggles.  Individuals may disagree over roles or methods or any number of things.  This can be a painful stage, but it’s necessary to help the team members get honest with each other and build trust.  If conflict is handled well, the team will be stronger when it comes through this stage.”
•    “Norming is the third stage.  The team is starting to understand and appreciate individuals more.  They are recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, and they are experiencing some success.”
•    “Performing is the forth stage.  The team now is at it’s highest level of productivity and synergy.  Team members are interdependent and work together to see tasks or projects completed well.  Leadership is often shared and assumed by the person who has the greatest strengths for each particular task.”
•    “If you look at any professional sport team that has won a championship, you can tell that maintaining the ‘Performing’ stage is very difficult.”
•    “Very few championship teams repeat the following year.  Fewer repeat the third year.  It’s just too difficult to stay in ‘Performing’ that long.”
•    “Factors outside the team may prevent the team from continuing.  Things like budget cuts, down economies, competitor tactics, new technology, time constraints, etc. can dethrone champion teams.”
•    “Likewise, factors inside the team also work against continued success.  Team members leave the team, experience personal crises, become dissatisfied, have conflicts and go through a long list of other problems and can’t continue to perform at the highest level.  There are also leadership changes, vision/mission changes, mistakes, failures, etc.”
•    “So, teams don’t stay at ‘Performing’ indefinitely once they get there.”
•    “More often what happens is that teams move up and down through the four stages – sometimes going from ‘Performing’ all the way back to ‘Forming’ (i.e., if an important team member leaves) or from ‘Storming’ to ‘Performing” (i.e., if a major breakthrough is experienced).”
•    “The game we are about to play will illustrate some of the factors (both inside and outside the team) that cause teams to move up and down through the levels.”
•    “It’s a game similar to the children’s game of Chutes and Ladders ® or Snakes and Ladders.”
•    “Have any of you played that before?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “The gameboard has one hundred spaces.”
•    “The objective of the game is to be the first person to reach the 100th space.”
•    “Players will roll the dice (two) to see how many spaces they move.”
•    “On some spaces, there is a green dot (or whatever color you choose.  If you taped game cards in each space, you can skip this instruction and just have the participants read the card when they step on the space.)”
•    “This dot indicates that there is either an “UP” or a “DOWN” on the space.”
•    “I will read out a note related to that space, and the note will tell you about something that has happened to your team.  Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s bad.  If it’s good, you will get to move up to another space.  If it’s bad, you will have to move down.”
•    “Once you get close to the 100th space, you will need to get a perfect roll to win.  That means that if you are four spaces away, you have to roll a 4, a 3, a 2, or a 1 to move.  (You can choose to roll only one die at this time.)”
•    “If you roll higher than the number of spaces left, you lose your turn and must wait in your place.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions?”  (Answer questions.  Then start the game.  Everyone starts off the gameboard.  You can have them roll the dice to see who goes first.  Highest roll is first, second highest is second…  After someone wins, have the group answer the debrief questions (next page) together.)
•    NOTE: If you have a large group, you might want to divide them into pairs and have one person act as the game piece and another roll the dice.  If you have a really big group, divide them into teams, have one game piece, one dice roller and a large fan club.

Debrief Questions

1.    What can the game teach us about team building?

2.    Why is it so difficult to maintain the “Performing” stage?

3.    On your team, what internal influences (things inside your team) could send you back down? What can you do about it?

4.    On your team, what external influences (things outside your team) could send you back down?  What can you do about it?

5.    How can you move your team to the next level (or keep them at “Performing”)?

Biblical Reflection
Review these Scriptures, and try to determine which stage of teambuilding they represent.

o    Matthew 4:18-23
o    Matthew 8:23-27
o    Matthew 9:9
o    Matthew 10:5-10
o    Matthew 14:10
o    Matthew 14:15-21
o    Matthew 16:21-23
o    Matthew 17:1-8
o    Matthew 17:14-18
o    Matthew 18:1
o    Matthew 20:20-24
o    Matthew 26:6-9
o    Matthew 26:14-16
o    Matthew 26:31-34
o    Matthew 26:47
o    Matthew 26:56
o    Matthew 26:69-75
o    Matthew 27:35
o    Matthew 28:16-20
o    Mark 3:13-19
o    Mark 6:45-52
o    Mark 8:27-30
o    Mark 9:33-34
o    John 6:66-69
o    John 21:15-17
o    Acts 2:1-7
o    Acts 2:46-47
o    Acts 3:1-10

Biblical Reflection: ANSWERS
Review these Scriptures, and try to determine which stage of teambuilding they represent.

o    Matthew 4:18-23 (Forming)
o    Matthew 8:23-27 (Storming)
o    Matthew 9:9 (Forming)
o    Matthew 10:5-10 (Norming)
o    Matthew 14:10 (Storming)
o    Matthew 14:15-21 (Storming)
o    Matthew 16:21-23 (Performing then Storming)
o    Matthew 17:1-8 (Norming)
o    Matthew 17:14-18 (Storming)
o    Matthew 18:1 (Storming)
o    Matthew 20:20-24 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:6-9 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:14-16 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:31-34 (Norming)

o    Matthew 26:47 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:56 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:69-75 (Storming)
o    Matthew 27:35 (Storming)
o    Matthew 28:16-20 (Norming)
o    Mark 3:13-19 (Forming)
o    Mark 6:45-52 (Storming)
o    Mark 8:27-30 (Norming or Performing)
o    Mark 9:33-34 (Storming)
o    John 6:66-69 (Forming)
o    John 21:15-17 (Norming)
o    Acts 2:1-7 (Performing and Forming)
o    Acts 2:46-47 (Performing)
o    Acts 3:1-10 (Performing)

Debrief

o    “What do you notice when you look at all the stages?”  (If they don’t mention it, point out that most of the examples are “Storming.”  This is from as fair a sampling of the Scriptures as I could do, so I think it is representative.)
o    “Why do you think that is?”  (Listen to responses. Then, add the next point if necessary.)
o    “Jesus often allowed his disciples to go through ‘Storming’ times.”
o    “Probably these experiences were designed as a tool and a test for them.”
o    “As a tool, the experiences shaped them to be more like Christ.  They cut away the pride and the selfishness.”
o    “As a test, they revealed the character of each disciple’s heart and indicated whether or not they were learning from their experiences.”
o    “The disciples didn’t experience extended periods of ‘Performing’ until after Pentecost, and even then, they still went back to the ‘Storming’ stage on occasion.”
o    “Failure is a much better teacher than success.”
o    “All these ‘Storming’ times prepared the disciples for the incredible ministries they would have one day.”
o    “So, when you are leading a team, don’t be afraid to allow them to make some mistakes or to experience failure.”
o    “It will most likely teach them more than any successes ever would.”

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Filed under Game, Games that Teach