Monday, June 01, 2009

What Axioms Guide Your Staff?

When Bill Hybels’ Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs came out, I debated whether to add it to my “must read” stack. On one hand, I’ve been enriched by everything I’ve consumed from Willow Creek. On the other hand, with 76 short chapters of pithy sayings, Axiom is not the type of book that I typically enjoy.

So once I started reading, I was pleasantly surprised by how much Hybels spoke to me in many of the chapters. In fact, I liked it so much that I bought copies for all of our pastoral and program staff, and made it the focus of a staff development day. We each read the book, and then came prepared to discuss which axioms we considered to be most applicable for our personal leadership development and which would most benefit our staff team collectively. It was a rich time of discussion, and I see it offering ongoing benefits.

Hybels accurately points out that axioms, when they are owned by a group, can become a powerful way to communicate and reinforce important values. I’m working on the axiom of “create your own finish lines” and “real-time coaching.” As a staff, we’re trying to adopt the axioms “excellence honors God and inspires people” and “vision: paint the picture passionately.”

I’ve also found it helpful to think about other important axioms for our church, both those that we currently practice and ones that we need to put in place. Currently I’m thinking about an axiom that might be expressed in the phrase “email doesn’t solve problems.” It might not be quite as profound as some of Hybels’ sayings, but it would sure make a difference in how we handle some “situations.” Pick up a copy of Axiom and as you read, make notes about the leadership concepts that will help you and your team go to the next level.

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