Leadership Insights from the Tech World

I saw this article over at the Nerd Business website that is a collection of 22 quotes from the leaders of high tech businesses. Reading through the quotes I found a few that really stood out to me and got me thinking about leadership and how that works in a church context. Below are a few of the quotes and my comments on what I thought about what each leader said. One of the overarching things that stood out to me was the fact that each of these leaders did not settle for the ordinary and each realized their role in leading their organization to success.

The Importance of Character
“As a leader, you’re not allowed to go out and have beers on Friday night and break character.”
Scott McNealy
Co-founder, Sun Microsystems

Character is one of the things a leader has that no one can take away from him/her. It is character that should be at the center of all our decisions and it is character that causes us to put the good of others ahead of the things we feel we have a right to do on our time off. It is this awareness of what we represent and who we represent and how we respond to it that shows our integrity and character. In ministry I am never off duty nor should I be. If I claim to be one person in public but then choose to act a different way when I am “off the clock,” which person am I really? Am I playing a part? Or does my life have a value and integrity that stands the test of consistency? The world doesn’t need people to who could break a character they are trying to be, we need people who have character that no one can break.

Growth and Change
“Your advantage at a startup is that you can demand employees who crush it and who are above-average, and compensate them with stock options. Average people should work at average (by which I mean big) companies. Big companies actually run better with average folks, because those people don’t rock the boat.”

Jason Calacanis
Founder, Weblogs

How we empower people will directly impact the results we get. It is true that most big companies and churches have a hard time moving on a dime and allowing employees to make the changes necessary for things to really happen. I have been at two large churches and a large company before that and I have have seen how difficult it is to move the titanic to get anything to change. Yet change can still happen in large organizations and you can still get above average people to work in those organizations as long as you allow those people the opportunity to make changes, take risks, take care of them, give them what they need and get out of their way. Sure not every idea is a good one but if you don’t provide the environment to find out, then you will try nothing new and by definition that means you are falling further behind and become less and less relevant.

Decision Making
“The company that consistently makes and implements decisions rapidly gains a tremendous, often decisive, competitive advantage.”
Steve Blank
Founder, Epiphany

One of the most frustrating things any employee can experience is the meeting after the meeting syndrome. This is where no real decisions are made in the meeting you were just in so there needs to be a meeting after the meeting to determine what might or might not happen. The delay in decision making is one of the primary killers of innovation in any organization. That indecision can usually be linked to fear of trying new things or too many structures in the organization to go through to get anything done. The sitting around and waiting that usually follows from such delays usually has the effect of losing good people who want to make a difference but can’t stand to deal with a lack of decision making. Meanwhile other places who make fast decisions are usually quick on the draw and get things done. In the church world this is, as my Pastor Rick Warren says, “riding waves” that come your way and being quick enough to catch the waves early instead of when they have already reached the beach. Riding those waves usually leads to moments that could never be recaptured and because they come with no warning require a great deal of faith.

Well these are a few of my thoughts on some of the quotes. You can read the rest in the article.

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