There’s a book I like by Seth Godin titled Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? It’s about providing real value in any team or organization so that you become indispensable. I learned a lot from the book and I refer to people constantly.
But the reverse question occurred to me today. ARE YOU DISPENSABLE?
Yes, I agree that you want to work hard and be excellent at what you do so that you provide a valuable service to others. But if you’re trying to build something greater than yourself the goal should be more than being indispensable. Because if you’re indispensable, what happens when you INEVITABLY have to leave? Does everything collapse around your departure? Is that success?
A friend of mine recounted recently how he realized he had a wrong mindset when he was assigned a project with one company that he had learned and mastered completely but failed to teach to anyone else. When he was reassigned to another company, he watched his pet project fail as the people who took it over did not know it as well as he did. He was indispensable. But his project failed and all the earlier time spent on it was wasted. Is that success?
Steve Jobs died and Tim Cook has taken over. At this point, Apple under his administration has not wowed the world at the level that it did under Jobs. Steve Jobs seems indispensable now. But if the company fails after he’s gone, that doesn’t mean much does it? Is this success? We’re about to find out.
Last Saturday, at a gathering of our discipleship group leaders at Victory Fort, we were shown a video of a woman who started one discipleship group which eventually grew to 10 discipleship groups. Since then, she’s moved out of the group, keeping the relationships but letting the next in line people lead. It’s gotten bigger without her. She wasn’t indispensable. She built something that went beyond her. That’s success.
Dan Monterde, one of our campus directors, approached me last year looking for a new responsibility. He had grown our campus ministry in Metro East from five people to over a thousand. But at that point, he felt that Jeff Dacumos, the next-in-line, could lead just as well if not better than him. So he stepped down, turned it over to Jeff, and now serves in a number of other capacities. He built something that the next generation could run with. That’s success.
Robert Gonzalez, another one of our campus directors, is a similar story. Just this year, he stepped down from leading his large team of campus missionaries to focus on preaching and discipling young people. With the agreement of yet another veteran, Patrick Mercado, he turned the reins over to Brian Sebastian – a young man he led to Jesus personally and is fifteen years younger than him. Already we’re getting great feedback on Brian’s leadership. But what struck me most was a conversation with Robert where he shared his high hopes for Brian. Robert raised up a new leader who now works with him. That’s success.
So in this era of social-networking, which is often little more than self-promotion. What’s your definition of success? Does it live and die with you? Or will it go beyond you? Will you give your very best in your current season seeing success and growth, then turn it over to those who come after to see them take it higher and farther than you?
Are you dispensable?
Posted by Joseph on Apr 26, 2013 in Leadership, Thoughts | 6 comments
“Hindi bagay” is a Filipino phrase that means something “doesn’t match.” And there are few things more out of place, more ill-fitting, more off, more painful to observe, more useless, and more ugly than a leader who is sulking. For my Filipino readers, ang lider na nagtatampo.
Everyone has sulked at least once in his/her life. For some people it’s more becoming than others. Like sometimes when my wife does it to me it’s adorable.
But it’s never adorable when a leader does it. It’s not just ugly and pathetic, it’s twisted and perverted. Perverted means to corrupt something from the original course
Here’s why: leaders are meant to lead! To fix problems not throw tantrums until they get their way. Leaders are there to make the first move, not play hard to get. Leaders are there to encourage the cowardly, motivate the lazy, and activate the passive.
Sulking is the complete opposite of leadership because it’s cowardly, lazy, and passive. It’s waiting for the other person to initiate the reconciliation. It’s putting our own hurt feelings over the good of the team. It’s resigning from taking responsibility.
We aren’t always in leadership situations. Sometimes we’re followers. But when you’re the leader, don’t resign from your post. When there’s something wrong in the team, do something about it.
Of the five options here, four are for leaders and one is used by toddlers. Which one are you?
Recently, there was another chapter in that on-going debate about the greatest NBA player. Michael Jordan, when asked who he would pick, Kobe or Lebron, said, “Five (titles) beats one every time I look at it. And not that (James) won’t get five. He may get more than that, but five is bigger than one.”
Of course, what Jordan didn’t say, but we all heard loud and clear was that he remains at the top of that list with his own 6 championship rings.
Lebron, the King (of Being Defensive), replied, “(Jordan) said he would take Kobe over me because … five rings are better than one, and the last time he checked, five is better than one. At the end of the day, rings don’t always define someone’s career. If that’s the case, then I’d sit up here and say I would take (Bill) Russell over Jordan. But I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t take Russell over Jordan. Russell has 11 rings, Jordan has six. I wouldn’t do that.” (But you just did, Lebron.)
I’m not trying to weigh in on who is truly Jordan’s replacement. It is an interesting dynamic that this debate doesn’t go away. It’s clear that for everyone involved the concern is for themselves and their own legacy.
The truth is a labratory-like comparison between the players is impossible. Each has their own season and brings their own unique contribution.
The truth is Kobe and Lebron are building on a foundation that Jordan and many others have built. They wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are today if it wasn’t for the generation that went before.
The truth is Kobe and Lebron are also dealing with massive amounts of competition that the new league has produced. Lebron is able to do things that previous generations only dreamed of, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s great for basketball.
I'm afraid some people are gonna ignore the rest of the blog and debate about this this topic in the comments section
We can have our own version of this debate too when we compare unfairly across generations – whether that’s colleagues or family members who have gone ahead of us or those who follow after.
I’m thankful for the men and women who don’t think this way, and instead honor those who have gone before and build up those who follow.
People often introduce me as being a better preacher than my dad. But I wouldn’t even be a preacher if it wasn’t for my dad and mom’s influence, coaching, mentoring, and nonstop encouragement in that area. For him, being the best preacher isn’t the goal. He’s just happy to see the next generation excel. Thanks Pop and Mom.
We look at our campus ministry now, LifeBox, and are thankful for how far it’s come in the past five years. CJ Nunag and I have had the joy of leading it, but we also know we are only building on what greater men have lain for us. God used men like Ferdie Cabiling, Rico Ricafort, LA Mumar, Gilbert Foliente, Marc Constantino, Dennis Sy and Christian Flores who have their own sets of skills and gifts that have been turned into priceless contributions today. When their turn came to pass it on, they did so graciously without needing to position themselves on the top. They’ve transitioned into other areas where they can continue to break ground and pioneer.
We look at the people who are coming after – students and staff who are so capable and committed. Like Lebron, they’re accomplishing great things at such a young age that we didn’t accomplish till much later. I preached my first sermon to 80 people at 15 years old. I was so nervous that I finished in eight minutes. But everyone stayed supportive. Mark Muleta, at the same age, preached to over four thousand people and hit a homerun. And we’ve got another one lined up for this year’s Ignite.
Just one of many young men and women who provide a glimpse of an awesome future ahead.
I’m excited for what these people represent because it makes me hopeful and really excited for the future.
At the end of the day, it’s a question of what we’re really after. If we’re after personal glory, then we will do everything possible to lift ourselves up and tear others down. If we’re after something bigger, something more meaningful, then we will honor those who have gone before and empower those who are coming after. All this leaves for us is to do our best in the season and time we are in right now.
As Gandalf the Grey said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
Are you honoring those who have gone before you? Are you empowering those who are coming up?
Posted by Joseph on Dec 5, 2012 in Leadership | 4 comments
I was in a meeting recently with a few officemates. I told one of them, “I’m feeling a little bothered by _______. Help me figure this out. Does this person really have an issue that we need to deal with or am I just being impatient?”
The answer I received back: That person does have an issue. But you are also impatient. Let’s wait for God to bring the issue to light.
I love working with people who know my shortcomings.
I am thankful that they know how flawed I can be and help me with my weaknesses.
There are many temptations to hide our mistakes, even from those who love us. Maybe we’re afraid of being rejected. Maybe we think they’ll stop respecting us. Maybe we think our relationship with them will change if we admit it.
But as many as those reasons are, there are better ones for letting quality people in close enough to know the truth.
1. They can help us now.
When we hide our sins, we’re saying, “I’m more concerned about my reputation than actually getting better.” That’s like saying, “I’m more concerned about looking healthy than really being rid of this sickness.”
The Bible says, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Provebrs 28:13) But by admitting our flaws to other people, we can get help. People who don’t admit their mistakes can’t be helped. How tragic it is to crash and burn with people all around who can help us. No, it’s better to admit it and get help.
Proverbs 27:6 "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiples kisses." Thankful for the wounds from these guys. And I really don't want to be kissed by them.
2. They can protect us.
Another benefit of being open with my flaws with my team is they can cover for me. CJ Nunag, our National Director in LifeBox, knows how impatient, impulsive, and insensitive I can be. It isn’t news to him. I admit stuff to him at work that other people don’t know about. He balances me A LOT.
But here’s an unexpected benefit: when other people complain to him about me, he can protect me. He can say, “Yeah, Joseph and I talked about that. I can assure you he’s sorry about it.” It stops the complaint right in its tracks. But CJ wouldn’t be able to do that if we weren’t open with each other. (And also coz he’s really a great guy.)
There are people all around you who wanna help. Let’s help them help us.
3. They probably know about it already.
Sometimes we think that admitting our mistakes will make people lose faith in us. As leaders, it can make our position insecure. But the truth is they probably know about it already. They’ve felt our shortcomings and the effects of our failures. So hiding it from them only shows there really isn’t any trust to begin with.
But try admitting it and you’ll be surprised that you actually gain respect from them. In the first story I wrote above, the person who said that to me is someone who I am clearly overseeing. And yet, because of our relationship we can talk with each other frankly. This hasn’t removed her trust in me as a leader, but it only seems to strengthen it.
I pray that we all can experience the freedom in having a set of relationships that know about our shortcomings and still love us anyway. If you don’t have that, message me in the comments. I’d love to introduce you to people who can do that. And to the One who can help you be that kind of person to others.
Posted by Joseph on Dec 4, 2012 in Leadership | 0 comments
Today, a few of my colleagues and I took the whole day to plan and strategize about issues that we are experiencing as we grow. With any form of growth or improvement comes stresses and problems, some we expected, some unforseen.
While this was going on, we found ourselves often running from one pressing need to another. It felt like being a firefighter, where our priorities were dictated to by whatever was the biggest emergency. This is called the Tyranny of the Urgent.
Tyranny – cruel and oppressive government or rule
Urgent – requiring immediate action or attention
Do you find yourself running from one thing to the other? Are you constantly asking yourself where your time went? Do you find that you’re busy but still terribly behind on the most important things of your life?
It might be because you’re being oppressed by the Tyranny of the Urgent! Overthrow it immediately!
This is why we spent the day planning the year ahead, fixing our schedules, and prioritizing tasks. We had to resist the temptation to zoom in on particular subjects. We had to put off emergencies that cried out for immediate attention. We resisted immediate relief in favor of the things that we would be glad we did ahead of time.
Are there urgent things that plague you? People who constantly need your attention, but never seem to get out of that fix? Some situations really are urgent and are worth responding to immediately. But when you find that that’s all you do or there’s a particular relationship that seems to be only composed of the urgent, you might want to reevaluate.
Think of a typical work day. Where does your time go? Is it to things that will bear fruit in the future? Or is it going to repetitive things? Things that could be done by others? Things that could be taken care off for a long time with some planning?
What about media and internet intake? Technology is so powerful in making us think that EVERYTHING IS URGENT. That Facebook message must be replied to IMMEDIATELY. Someone tagged you -check it out now! Refresh, refresh, refresh – maybe someone posted something new.
We all suffer from this from time to time. And like true freedom fighters we must constantly rise up and overthrow the tyranny for the emancipation of our schedule, the liberation of our to-do lists, and the democratization of the overly-extended metaphor.
P.S. Great blog on the subject – BUSY
Posted by Joseph on Aug 27, 2012 in Leadership | 0 comments
Two Wednesdays ago, Marc Constantino, a good friend and pastor in our Victory church in Robinsons Metro East, talked with our men campus missionaries on the need to stay connected in relationship with one another. He talked about the reality of when people’s lives implode because they hide their character flaws instead of getting help. He made the statement, “Choose humility over humiliation.”
Everyone has their weak points. And we won’t get away with hiding them or pretending they don’t exist. Unfortunately, we are predisposed to present only the positive sides of ourselves. Think of what we tweet or put on Facebook. None of them are incriminating, except the incriminating pieces we’re okay with confessing.
That’s why Pastor Marc emphasized the need for close friends who know so much about you that they can warn you when you’re going close to danger and call you out when you’re in sin. This is called accountability.
Marc Constantino, crazy in life but dead serious about accountability
Here are some additional thoughts I wrote down to ask myself in connection to his message.
1. How long am I in this for?
Sinful things often promise short term gains, but cannot fulfill long term dreams. Every time we give in to sin or disguise our mistakes, we are making a decision for short term gains versus long term goal fulfillment. Often, by the time the consequences of our actions hit us, they’re at a much higher price than we expected. And whatever joys or pleasures we thought we gained have long expired.
Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel. Proverbs 20:17
2. Do I feel entitled to anything?
I’ve seen in myself that when sin knocks, it’s easier to give in when I’m feeling entitled to something. Maybe it’s when I’ve been doing a lot for others, or I’m envying someone else’s success, or just a hyper inflated sense of entitlement, but the justifications are similar,
“I really owe this to myself.”
“I’ve been doing so much for other people. I need some me time.”
“Everyone’s getting theirs, when do I get my share?”
Another twisted version of entitlement comes with being offended. It works like this – someone did you wrong so you are justified in doing wrong back. Like taking money from an office who you feel doesn’t treat you well. Or responding harshly to someone you suspect is doing you wrong. Here’s something I’m glad my parents drilled in to me:
I can’t control what other people do, but I have the Holy Spirit so I can control myself regardless of what they do.
3. Am I acting like the rules don’t apply to me?
How an entitled person sees the world
It’s no coincidence that people’s lives implode just when they seem like everything is going for them. That’s because success, wealth, and recognition can breed a feeling that we are playing by a different set of rules from everyone else.
Everyone has to account for their expenses, except you.
It’s not a good idea for people to drink so much, but you can control it.
Other people really should be more careful with members of the opposite sex (or same sex) but you aren’t as easily tempted.
Articles like this would be good for your friends, but not you. You don’t need accountability in your life.
I appreciate Pastor Marc for raising those uncomfortable questions with me. I proceeded to have a few penetrating but healthy conversations with friends afterwards and I’m thankful for them. Do you have people who you are accountable to?
Another great blog on the subject by Daniel Trinidad, campus director at Victory Malate.