Pointers in Proverbs

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“A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree”  – Proverbs 11:28   Values drive behavior. What we decide is most important in life will control and direct us. Jesus said it best: “Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart’s going to be.” It follows then that nothing is more important to a leader’s effectiveness than values, and that makes where we find our values critical. Surveys indicate that as many as 80% of Americans believe that our society’s values are in transition, that in fact our culture is suffering a [...]

WHERE DO YOUR VALUES COME FROM?2015-08-01T11:42:03-05:00



“He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame” -Proverbs 18:13   In his 2002 best-selling book “The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership,” former University of Southern California president Steven Sample observes that the average person suffers from the delusion that he’s a good listener. “Most people, however, including many leaders,” Sample writes, “are terrible listeners; they think talking is more important than listening. But leaders know it is better to listen first and talk later.” He suggests not only that we make the effort to listen, but also that we do so “artfully,” practicing what he calls [...]

LISTENING GRAY2015-08-01T11:42:57-05:00

Beware of Your Shadow Mission


“Those who will not be moved from doing right will live, but those who pursue evil will bring about their own death” – Proverbs 11:19 *What is a leader’s greatest fear? Failure? Mutiny? Criticism? All are possibilities, but I would suggest that the leader’s greatest fear is, or ought to be, not something that we do, which is recoverable, but something that can happen inside us. Let me explain. Jim Collins in his monumental book, “Good to Great,” describes several characteristics of CEO’s who took their companies to the highest level of excellence. He calls these rare individuals “Level 5 Leaders.” [...]

Beware of Your Shadow Mission2015-08-01T11:43:21-05:00



“The evil man gets rich for the moment, but the good man’s reward lasts forever” – Proverbs 11:18 In “LeadershipLessons from West Point,” a collection of essays published by The Leader to Leader Institute, Lt. Col. Sean Hannah, at the time Director of leadership and management studies for the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point, writes, “Authentic leadership occurs when followers idealize their leader and internalize the leader’s vision and ideals.” […]

AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP2015-09-08T12:59:07-05:00

What Is Your “20-Mile March?


“She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life” – Proverbs 31:12 *Proverbs 31 is a verbal portrait a mother paints for her son the king to help him in his choice of a wife. The woman depicted in this passage embodies the core behavior of fanatical discipline. Every day, day after day, this wife brings her husband good, not harm. The context describes a virtuous woman motivated by her love for God to “march 20-miles” (see below), i.e., to be industrious, frugal, efficient and productive with tremendous consistency. As a result she achieves a truly great enterprise: [...]

What Is Your “20-Mile March?2015-09-08T13:01:10-05:00

The Reason For The Season


“The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases” – Proverbs 21:1 *In America today Christmas has become a Santa-ized, materialized blur. In many quarters what is seen as just another celebration is referred to in PC terms like “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings,” rather than as “Christmas.” As a result, it’s easy to lose touch with the event that’s the reason for the season. My goal with this article is to use the answer to a Christmas question to reconnect us with what the Bible asserts is the reality of [...]

The Reason For The Season2015-09-08T13:03:44-05:00



  “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired” – Proverbs 17:22 Would you agree that attitude drives success in life? Lou Holtz, former premier football coach, today is a highly sought after motivational speaker who inspires people well beyond the realm of sports. Such a successful man surely started out with some kind of “right stuff” giving him a leg up on the rest of us, right? Wrong. Holtz came from a broken family. He stumbled out of life’s starting blocks like many of us did. Yet, he became a remarkable person. How come? [...]




“Pride lands you flat on your face; humility prepares you for honors” – Proverbs 29:23 *There’s an old story about a Navy warship that’s navigating through dense fog one night when directly in their heading a distant, faint light appears. As they continue, the light grows brighter. At length the captain appears on the helm to assess the situation. About that time, a voice over the radio calls on the vessel to adjust its course. The captain, an admiral, refuses to yield. Getting on the radio he demands, “No, you adjust your course.” Several transmissions follow between the admiral and what [...]

YIELDING TO LIFE’S “BIGGER THINGS”2014-10-08T12:25:15-05:00



  A gentle response turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger – Proverbs 15:1At I listened in a recent seminar to Joseph Grenny present from his book, “Crucial Conversations,” I thought, “Wow, what a relevant topic!” All of us at one time or another have found ourselves needing to bring up important information at meetings, or to speak with a direct report about his subpar performance, or to work out a problem with our spouse. Sometimes we’ve engaged in these conversations, and it didn’t go well. Other times we did nothing because we refused to choose between telling the [...]

“CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS”2015-07-20T17:09:53-05:00

The Most Dangerous Mistakes that Leaders Make


 What are the most dangerous mistakes that leaders make? Patrick Lencioni, author of ten business books with more than three million copies sold, spoke to this topic recently at a leadership summit that I attended. What follows is a recounting of Lencioni’s “most dangerous mistakes I see leaders make” plus a few comments of my own. Becoming a leader for the wrong reason, according to Lencioni, is one mistake leaders commonly make. More than a few go into leadership because of what they believe being the leader will do for them. In Lencioni’s view people who become leaders for wrong reasons [...]

The Most Dangerous Mistakes that Leaders Make2014-10-08T11:47:10-05:00