Discovering Advantages eBooks Have.

I have always enjoyed reading. Reading for me is therapeutic, enjoyable, adventurous, challenging in helping me improve skills and so much more. Often times I want to pull out a book and re-read it for some of the great nuggets I received from it. Problem is, I may not be around that certain book at the time. Maybe, I am waiting in line for the doctor or my kids to get out of school and want to feed my mind but I didn’t bring a book. This is where the advantages ebooks have in my reading. They can go everywhere with me!

Advantages eBooks have to me.

I have gone almost totally with ebooks for many reasons. Here are just a few of those reasons.
– I can take them anywhere without the extra weight and cumbersome of real paper books.
– I have them with me regardless if I have just my MacBook Pro, iPhone, or iPad.
– With the Kindle app, I no longer need to type up the nuggets that I underline in my books and file them away. Instead, Kindle does it for me and I can pull them from where ever I am through my Amazon account.
– I can share books with others, and not worry about them getting ruined or lost.
– I can move all my thoughts and ideas that I make note of in each ebook, and file them away in what I call my digital brain: Evernote.
– I can share in twitter and Facebook nuggets and thoughts from each book with just a click or two.

I am sure if I thought about it, I would discover many more reasons.

eBook reading strategy

With almost any book today having a digital copy and paper version I have discovered a reading strategy that works for me. I do still enjoy the feel of the paper in between my fingers and who doesn’t love the smell of a good paper book. I also do still enjoy sitting down and reading a good paper book with a cup (or two or three) in my hand while I read about how I can develop the 5 Leadership Skills to become a successful leader.

So my strategy to feed my paper book fetish and my practical, convenient reading side involve both.

Since all books are usually cheaper in the digital version that is how I start when I buy them. This allows me to save money on those books that are not as good as I was hoping but allows me to spend little on great books and the years of experience that I gain from each author.

Advantage eBooks have also according to my wife is that I don’t use all the shelf space in our house on my books alone. Moving is not as difficult either.

Now that I own the ebook and I have read it, if it is a great book then I will go and purchase the paper version as well. Great books are books that I enjoy reading yearly, like Peter Drucker’s book titled The Effective Executive or any of John Maxwell’s books like the 5 Levels of leadership. These are books that I have both electronic and in a paper version. I read these books every year like clockwork because they are filled with that many nuggets for me.

Reading books with this simple but very cost effective method saves me not only money but, having to take as many trips to second-hand bookstores to donate books that I didn’t receive as much value as I wanted from them. Not to mention the frustration that you suffer when you spend so much money on a book to only be disappointed that the title of the book was worth more than the content inside the book.

eBooks on my current reading list

Click on any of these if you would like to read these ebooks yourself.

1. Think in Systems

2. Talent Wins

3. Team of teams.  New Rules of Engagement  for a complex world

4. Leadership Coaching. Tony Stoltzfus

5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

It is my hope that through this post you are discovering the advantages of ebooks. You have possibly learned a new system of reading books that will be more economical for you and give you access to all the great teaching you get from your books just right at your fingertips.

Any other eBooks you would recommend for me or this community to read? Why are you recommending this book?

Proper use of To-Do List is a Leadership Development Skill

I have read a lot about creating a To-Do list and supposedly the advantage of them. I am not a big advocate of strictly using them. Here is where the To-Do list can become dangerous or at least very hard and miserable for those trying to use them successfully. A sloppy to-do list is a source of stress and wasted effort that many, like myself, have found as we build upon our leadership development skills. And often times this crash and burn with To-Do list end up with leaders abandoning their list for another great idea they hear about from those who have trained themselves in the proper way to use whatever that tool is they are selling or promoting.

List Taking Can Work
To keep from the above crash and burn, let’s just spend a little time training in this Leadership Development Skill to properly use a to-do list. Let’s look into how we should not use it instead of bailing on it all together and attempting yet another tool thrown to the waste side. Let’s begin with the understanding that an unorganized and unfocused to-do list is a bigger productivity hurdle than not having a to-do list at all. If you don’t have a to-do list at all, you simply do the most urgent item in front of you. It might not be a stress-free method but it’s immediate and can appear uncluttered. A “War and Peace” size to-do list, however, is confusing, it doesn’t show you what is important and urgent, and it spreads your time and creative energy thinly over incomplete and unprocessed items.

Define the Boundaries of Your To-Do List
If asked what your to-do list was for, you would likely respond, “for writing down stuff I have to do.” But if asked what it wasn’t for, what would you say? Everyone has the “put stuff you want to do on the list” part down pat, but by not defining the boundaries and limitations of the to-do list you condemn it to become something it isn’t and cannot effectively be.

Your To-Do List Is Not a Dumping Ground:
You should not be using your to-do list as your brain dumping area. Writing down all your stray thoughts, pieces of information, and ideas is a great habit I stand behind and promote to my Kidology Coaching Students, or personal/business coaching, but if you’re capturing right to your to-do list then you’re throwing yourself under the bus before you even get started.

Your to-do list must remain separate from whatever capturing process you use. Did you get that? Let me say it again…Your to-do list must remain separate from whatever capturing process you use. Go through your list and convert the “dumped” items into actions that belong on your to-do list or remove them and add them into another folder or folders into like Evernote by far my number 1 capturing, note taking, file, dump, create zone tool I use.

Your To-Do List is Not a Wish List:
Do you need to contact two department heads before Monday regarding projects you’re working on with them? That’s a to-do list entry. It needs to be done. You want to have your desk cleaned by the end of each day, that does not belong on your to-do list. It is not wrong to have these “wish” projects, but they do not belong in clouding your to-do list up. Again create a wish folder in Evernote and leave the to-do list simple.

Your To-Do List Is Not for Ambiguous Tasks:
Never put a “task” on your to-do list that isn’t something that someone else could just pick up your list and run with. “Computer stuff”, “clean up”, is ambiguous and not easily converted into action by others. If your assistant had to take over your to-do list for the day because you were absent, how exactly would they deduce what they were supposed to clean up? Absolutely do not rely on your memory for filling in the gaps of your to-do list. Not only is it a bad practice—memory is imperfect—but it’s a waste of your time. You shouldn’t have to spend 1-2 seconds remembering exactly what you were going to clean up every time you look at your to-do list. Your to-do list should only contain items which can be acted on in an immediate and clear manner.

Have The Best Of Both Worlds

In my experience, I have coached many through the leadership development skill of running a proper to-do list. It is a skill and one that we can all learn if we are good with scrapping some of our misguided practices of creating a sloppy to-do list. Have the discipline to keep your to-do list down to 3-5 items a day and file the rest to a mind dumping area, like Evernote.

What do you think will be the hardest part of this skill for you to implement? Why?

What are the tools you are thinking of using to create your to-do list and your mind dumping list?

Leadership Development Skills – 5 Levels of Leadership

The middle of 2018, my wife and I were laid off from our ministry jobs. In one day we lost my pastoral job and her admin job at our church. This created some time where I would use to help build into my leadership development skill toolbox. One of those tools is a book I turned back to by John Maxwell titled: 5 Levels of Leadership. This book is one that was used greatly to help aid in my leadership development skill sets.

One leadership development skill I developed thanks to coaching I have had over the years is when finished with a book I ask myself “How can this help me in being a better leader”? The answer to that question for me is what I am going to quickly hit on in this post.

Leadership Development Skills Overview

Level 1-Position. Anyone can be appointed a position but does not make them a leader.

Level 2 -Permission. People follow because they want to. You have developed trust.

Level 3 – Production. Here is where people will follow because of what you have done for the organization.

Level 4- People development. Here the leader becomes known to not just get things done but they invest in others and help them develop.

Level 5- Pinnacle. This is a level that only naturally gifted leaders make it to. Here people follow because of who the leader is and what they represent.

The Question: How Does This Make Me A Better Leader?

As I was rolling these levels over and asking myself how can this help me become a better leader I had a few thoughts.

As a leader, we lead a variety of people and have the opportunity to influence many different generations but our influence will shorten out if we are not working on our leadership to help lead all those different generations. We can not just stop with a position that we have been given.

Leadership development must cover all those we are responsible to lead.

In today’s world where we have the internet, it has become so easy to learn and grow in an area we want to. Check these out these few links that I found by doing just a quick Google search to further my development in leading different generations if that is where I was wanting to grow in my leadership.
Managing People from 5 different generations
Leading across the generations.
Working with 5 generations in the workplace

To stop at level one, Position, cannot be accepted if you want to lead. Get out there and grow.

Responsibilities Grow and Privileges Decrease

The higher you go the more time and commitment it takes to advance to a new level. Because of the time needed it will create a change in how we must spend our time. When days were once filled with chasing whatever projects came into our emails or calls that came in, we will find that often those times are strategically replaced with us building new and improved leadership skills.

Some of those skills to be developed or improved could include:

1. Earning respect.
As the workplace evolves to become more transparent, collaborative and mindful, leaders must be equally diligent to earn respect from their team. Leaders must hold themselves responsible and accountable for the effect their influence has on their employees and the organization as a whole. Leadership should be earned anew each day. – Sheri Nasim, Center for Executive Excellence

2. Empathy.
The future of leadership will revolve around our capacities to build emotional intelligence within ourselves as leaders, and those whose lives we touch.

3. Flexibility
The days of cubicles and 9-to-5 routines are winding down. Teams are quickly transitioning to work from remote locations, on their own time, on platforms that change every single day. Flexibility may be an old-school idea, yet it’s a principle leader will always need. Adapting to the changing technology and millennial-created cultures continue to keep leaders fresh and effective. – Hanna Hermanson, Dream Life is Real Life

4. Listening
The pace of work, innovation, and change continue to accelerate. Leaders need to be highly skilled listeners to stay ahead of the curve on what’s happening with their teams, their clients and their partners. That will require learning to listen on multiple levels, including being able to tune in better to the emotional soundtracks of those they lead, serve and work with. – Joe Casey, Princeton Executive Coaching

5. Communication and soft skills
“Soft skills” like communication, listening and public speaking have become crucial in the day-to-day leadership environment. Without effective communication, leaders are just figureheads. By focusing on interpersonal interactions, leaders can reach individuals where they are and connect. – Jennifer Oleniczak Brown, The Engaging Educator

Growing the 5 levels of leadership skills will produce the desired growth.

Each new level of growth will require new leadership development skills to be learned. My team building skills that I had to learn when I was just given a position of leadership and my team was a handful of people basically all my own age as compared to when my leadership has grown through the 5 levels of leadership that John writes about, are night and day.

These are only a few quick thoughts I took from this book and incorporate into my leadership skills. I do recommend this book to anyone who is wanting to go to another level in their leadership.

  • What Leadership Development Skills do you need to work on?
  • What is your game plan for working on those Leadership Skills?

Leadership Development Strategy – Move Authority by Reproducing Yourself

Often times those of us in leadership keep ourselves as the only decision makers and wonder why our areas that we lead don’t move as efficient as we want. Here is where I want to introduce possibly a new leadership development strategy of moving all authority away from us to where the info is. That’s right, our team can and should help make decisions with us and not just play “follow the leader” with us.

Teach Intent to the Team

In the video that I am adding to this post David Marquet takes on in a visual way the strategy of Leadership Development by moving authority by reproducing himself in his ship mates. By David doing this he was actively teaching them his intent for doing what he knew was best. His crew began to think like him and David began to understand why they at first thought the way they did. What a powerful tool if you as a leader can get your teams to understand and act on intent and not just rules and regulations.

Teach the Why for Organizational Clarity

The more clarity your teams have in the why behind what they do, what you do and your organization the better decisions they can make with you. The more confidence your teams will have in making decisions the more they will be willing to make in your absence. So if they understand your intent in your decisions, and they have clarity in the why your organization does what it does, the more often you will be able to not always be at work but be with your family or doing activities you enjoy. This freedom for you will result in more happiness from you and more excitement and ownership that your team will have in your organization.

Create Environment for Thinking

With all the previous progress discussed so far this will then begin to create an environment for thinking. This individual team member thinking will end up producing more solutions and fewer problems in the long haul. With each potential obstacle that may try to rear its ugly head, the more individuals that will be available and willing to tackle those obstacles and in such a way that your intent that you would have carried into the situation yourself in order to accomplish your organizations “why” will be done with excellence.

Watch this video summary





Books that change your life

Books have always proven to be a significant part of my growth in leadership. Books have changed my life significantly. I can pick one book up that teaches time management and become a student of a great time manager. One who may charge thousands of dollars for their time and it is costing me only $20 for the price of the book. Next, I pick up a book over team development and gain insight from a leader who has been at this for 30+ years. One who can speak as an authority with proven experience.

The following list of books is to only suggest some of this life changing books from my life and will hopefully get you started in reading the same ones or exploring some of your own that will provide change for you.

Overall Life Changing Book

For me, I just would not be doing this post over Books that change your life if I did not start with the number book that challenges me every time I pick it up to read it – the Bible. Here is “the book” that is filled with challenges, encouragement, ideas, life stories, goals to strive for, and so much more. This is a book that I read daily and miss it if I do not make the time to read it. Every year I enjoy reading it in a different translation which often times put a new understanding on parts of it for me. This is by far the book that continues to keep on giving to me.

Leadership Books

Here is a topic that even though I could add numerous books to, which you can read my books read over in Goodreads, I am going to keep this post down to adding only a couple books to.

First book that Ill mention is John Maxwell book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Learn these 21 laws that John teaches and you will so much of the leadership that you come across really do involve these 21 laws.

The Effective Executive a book by Peter Drucker. Here is a prime example of a book that I can pick up every year and re-read to refresh myself on some important keys to management that a world-class management guru, Peter Drucker, teaches and would be able to charge more than I could afford to attend one of his conferences (if he was still alive) but his teaching are within reach for me through his books.

Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. This is one of those classic books as well that dives into all kinds of leadership topics and philosophy. This book has 2 versions. The first version I discovered years ago as part of a book club I belonged to is written for the whole leadership community. The newest version that I discovered a few years back is written if you are a Christian. It takes all the principals from the first and helps to translate it into a Christians world as well.

Marriage Books

Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley is the book I am going to mention here. I know there could be numerous books that maybe I should mention here but I want to go off the beaten path a little and give a book that maybe you would not have thought of or even found if searching on this topic.

This book is one of those quick reads but packed with great content. The biggest piece I got from this book which changed my life was, we all will cheat people from our time every day. There is always going to be people who feel they should have gotten more of our time. So it is not “if we will” cheat people of our time, but, choosing who we will cheat of our time. This is where priorities need to be set up. This lesson alone is where I came t firm decisions that my God, my wife, and my family would not be cheated and so I arrange my whole schedule around not cheating them.

Ministry Books

Because I have been in full time pastoral ministry for over 27 years as of the time I am writing this, I could really list a ton of these books, but will limit it to just a one.

7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley. Here was a book when first read I thought I would not enjoy as the first half of the book is setting the stage for giving the leadership lessons in the second half of the book. It uses a baseball team analogy which even though I thought that would lose me (I am not the biggest baseball nut) it was actually written in a way that kept my interest. So many lessons where gleaned from this book that have created a solid foundation in my ministry leadership that I still use to this day.

Leadership Change Books

This last category that I will mention is over the importance of changing properly in leadership. Don’t get stuck!

Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. This book was a great challenge over how we are creatures of habit and how it can stunt our growth.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. Many lessons in this book but one that I will mention here would be, that for each level of growth it takes different and more learning than we currently have.

The price of these books have more than paid for themselves.

Books that can change your life, I have only mentioned a few. I am confident that the teaching, the lessons, the experienced shared, the thoughts and dreams that came from each one of these authors would financially be out of my reach. Some of these authors are not even around anymore for us to learn from outside of books. Through their books though, it is financially possible now.

This is why as part of being a productive leader you must use your ABC’s (Apps, Books, Coaching). Books that change your life are a must have tool. Now go and enjoy a book.