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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Faith Based Leadership

    Water and Trust – Priceless

    What is your most valuable and powerful commodity? Many of you might say money, your home, or investments. As important as those are, I believe your most valuable commodity is water. This may surprise some of you, but think about it. If you live in America, you are rich in this natural resource because you generally have access to clean water, and use it constantly throughout the day.

    I admittedly use water like I have an unlimited supply. I take wonderfully long hot showers, I run the water constantly while performing tasks like brushing my teeth or rinsing off dishes. I put small loads in the washing machine. During the summer I water my lawn at least every other day.  I buy bottled drinking water because I like the taste. I pay for all of this water usage, but the cost is easy to rationalize because of its importance to me. Yet, I take the availability of water for granted.

    Over 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, however, millions of people in underdeveloped or war torn nations lack access to clean drinking water, and suffer from sickness and diseases as a result. Water is basic need and a common commodity throughout the entire world, but uneven supply and cultural differences in demand result in great variability in the cost of obtaining it.

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    Trust

    Thinking about the value of water to the environment led me to focus on organizations as an entity or environment, and to ponder the most basic yet valuable thing needed to make them function. It occurred to me that trust is that fundamental element. Trust is the foundation upon which all positive relationships are built. Steven M. R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust (2006,  CoveyLink, LLC) describes trust as a requirement for the credibility and empowerment of organizations, financial systems and human interactions.

    Like water, we sometimes take trust for granted in how we communicate with our employees, our customers, our shareholders or our stakeholders. There are plenty of examples in the past decade of corporate CEOs and financial leaders who abused the trust of the people they served, and many paid for it with their jobs, their bank accounts, their freedom, or their health.  Organizational leaders may wrongly assume that their employees will remain loyal and inspired to put forth extra effort for the success of the team, in spite of failure to acknowledge the employees own needs.

    Like water, we sometimes use trust as if there’s an unlimited supply, until one day we find ourselves in a crisis of short supply.  The cistern of trust, like a cistern of water, is depleted because it’s constantly being used without being replenished.

    Like water, lack of trust may result in organizational sickness or malfunction. Low trust breeds insecurity, instability and incapability. Ultimately the inner glue that binds a team together dries up, and it falls apart.

    Like water, trust is a basic human need. It’s used to build relationships and connections between people as a basis for accomplishing goals and objectives.

    Like water, trust can be gained by gathering it. The steady consistent drip of a faucet will ultimately fill a bathtub. The steady consistent actions of leaders will build a reserve of trust.

    Like water, trust is a precious commodity.  A certain amount of it must be saved and preserved for a drought or time of need.

    Like water, that same pool of trust can quickly dissipate.  Strike a big hole in the side of a container of water and it splashes out onto the ground never to be gathered again. Similarly, a single significant despicable act can destroy trust forever.

    Building A Reservoir of Trust

    How do you build trust in your organization? Do you fully recognize its value and treat it as a priceless commodity, or do you take its existence for granted? Building trust requires the active demonstration of care and sincerity between people. It provides refreshment to the soul, and like water it lubricates and smoothes the rough patches in our daily interactions. Trust overlooks inadvertent slights and missteps. Trust looks for the good, and assumes the best. What’s the trust level in your organization?

    Copyright 2011 Priscilla Archangel

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    Butterfly Faith

    In the early 1960s, meteorologist Edward Lorenz presented his scientific findings that a “small change at one place in a nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state”[1]. This became known as The Butterfly Effect, or the law of sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Put simply, the theory is that a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the earth can cause a hurricane in another part of the earth. Like a domino effect, the flapping of its wings sets wind currents in motion, which coupled with its position and a myriad of other factors and atmospheric conditions, can impact in the weather thousands of miles away. This small movement is barely enough to create a breeze felt by a human being, yet significant enough to create wind currents. A motion casually made, often taken for granted, yet it has a powerful impact.

    The Butterfly Effect

    I first learned about The Butterfly Effect from reading a short book of the same name written by Andy Andrews, a New York Times best-selling author. His point was to convey how much each person’s life matters, because of the impact it has on others. An action, a spoken word, a decision, that I perceive to be insignificant can have a ripple effect on millions of people, either positively or negatively.

    Come to think of it, some of the most powerful and controlling forces are also the smallest ones.  The rudder on a ship is a small flat plane that directs the flow of water past it which in effect turns the ship

    [2]. The tongue is a small part of our bodies, but when it speaks, it can start a war between nations, or kindle a great love between two people.A mustard seedis only 1-2 mm in diameter, yet Jesus said, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can speak to a mountain and cause it to move (Matthew 17:20).Each are small objects, but with a powerful outcome. Well if each of these objects can have such a major impact on its surroundings, how can you use even a little bit of faith to impact your environment?Faith is “confidence or trust in a person or thing; belief that is not based on proof”[3].It’s the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

    The Ripple Effect of Faith

    As a faith centered leader, how can you exert your faith for a business goal, an organizational objective, or a team priority. How can you focus your thoughts, your intangible ideas and abstract wanderings, on a desired outcome with sufficient confidence that it will indeed come to pass?It’s simply a matter of perspective.Too often we’re caught up in the moment of a seemingly insurmountable challenge; our scope of sight is too limited; our belief in the future too vague. We fail to grasp the significance of the impact of our faith; mountain moving, hurricane creating faith.

    My prayer for you today is that God will open the eyes of your spirit, granting you understanding and insight to see a future positive potential in yourself, your team, and your organization that you’ve never before grasped. That you will no longer accept what is, but you will instead believe what can be. That your faith will be as vast as the wind currents created by the rippling of a butterfly’s wings. That your faith will be strong enough to move mountains. That your faith will multiply your present resources. My prayer is that you will have the faith of a butterfly to set in motion actions that will cause a tsunami of blessings to people that you will never know, but by their very act will create a brighter future.


    [1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect

    [2]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudder#Trim_tab

    [3]www.dictionary.com. October 18, 2011

    Photo courtesy of IStockphoto

    Copyright 2011 Priscilla Archangel

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    Perseverance

    “That can’t be done.”

    “It’s impossible.”

    “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do.”

    “You’ll have to learn to live with this.”

    “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

    Hopefully these words aren’t familiar to you, but they are to too many people. They’re all words of hopelessness. They’re used when people accept failure, living with limitations, or dealing with less than God has planned for them.But here are two stories of men who displayed perseverance in the face of hopelessness.

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    Failure is Not an Option

    Consider the story of Sean Maloney.Sean was positioned to become the next CEO at Intel when he suffered a paralyzing stroke in 2009.According to a recent article in Fortune Magazine, Intel’s Sean Maloney: The man who couldn’t speak, Sean was a workaholic, who balanced a grueling travel schedule, with the demands of his job, his wife and children (including a newborn with health problems), and his love of extreme sports, particularly racing his scull.The stroke left him unable to talk or fully utilize the right side of his limbs. He began rowing his scull again just days after leaving the hospital, though at first he simply rowed in circles because his right arm was very weak. He was determined to prove to Andy Grove and others at Intel that he could recover and resume his normal duties, and thus began the grueling process of training the right side of his brain to control his speech, normally a function of the left side of his brain.Ten months after his stroke, he returned to work, but his speech is still “slow and robotic” as if he has to think harder about each word before he speaks.

    While Sean continues to work toward regaining his full capabilities, he’s probably come farther faster than people expected that he would.Before the stroke he pushed himself and others hard, and that set the pace for him to continue that after the stroke.Sean was recently appointed as chairman of Intel’s China operations.When I finished reading this article, I was most struck by his perseverance in the face of a seemingly impossible challenge.

    Bravery over Safety

    Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer exhibited similar perseverance when he “saved the lives of 13 U.S. troops and 23 Afgan soldiers” in 2009 in Afghanistan.USA Today reported on Medal of Honor recipient saved 36 lives during battle. He and his team went into the Ganjgal Valley to meet with leaders of the local village, and were ambushed by Taliban insurgents. Meyer and his comrade had been assigned to remain at the mouth of the valley with several vehicles. Once they saw their colleagues being attacked they defied orders and drove into the valley in a Humvee with Meyer manning a grenade launcher in the turret.Five times they drove into the valley rescuing solders, and bringing back the bodies of those who died.Later Meyer said he fully expected to die…it was only a question of when, not if. He calls this the worst day of his life, but without his act of bravery and perseverance, many more would have died.As a result, he was recently awarded a Medal of Honor by President Obama.

    Never Give Up

    Maloney and Meyer exhibited perseverance when all odds were against them.They were in life or death situations, and yet possessed the attitude, drive and determination to attempt what others thought was impossible.Whether they recognized it or not, God gifted them with these traits, then developed and positioned them for their defining moments.

    That level of perseverance can extend to any situation that we face. When naysayers tell us that something can’t be done, we can choose to accept their words, or to redefine our own reality. Leaders have a particular responsibility in this area, because their decisions affect not only themselves, but the team of people that they lead. Teams who think that they can accomplish the seemingly impossible achieve far more than those who assess a problem and their capabilities, and determine that they can’t.

    What about you? As a leader, the perseverance that you exhibit can change the lives and the future of many people around you. Had Maloney or Meyer paused to complain “why me?”, pondered their chances of succeeding, or examined their capabilities, they could have missed a valuable leadership opportunity. Instead they repeated specific behaviors over and over again until they got the result that they desired.

    Perseverance is your God given combination of:

    Attitude – If you think you can, then you will.

    Determination – Unwavering focus on the goal.

    Repetition –Repeating productive behavior over and over and over and over again.

    He freely gives us these gifts to use for the benefit of ourselves, our families, our teams, and our communities. So what are you persevering to do today, and tomorrow, and the next day?What seemingly impossible feat are you attempting to accomplish? Join hands with Christ, and be all that you can become.

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.Philippians 4:23 NKJV

    [God]… is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to his power that is at work within us.Ephesians 3:20 NIV

    Copyright 2011 Priscilla Archangel

    NKJV – New King James Version

    NIV – New International Version

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    Visionary Leadership

    Steve Jobs recently announced that he was stepping down from the role of CEO of Apple, the company he co-founded in 1976. Given his ongoing and unfortunate health challenges, this may not have been a surprise to employees, shareholders, and customers, but it was certainly a disappointment. Jobs has been the creative force behind successful technology including Macs, MacBooks, IMacs, iPod, iPads, iPhones, and iTunes. His latest is the iCloud, which according to a September 8, 2011 article in Fortune Magazine  is “a set of online services designed to tie all of Apples products together and make it easier for millions of people to access music, photos, files, and software across devices”. A short time ago he unveiled plans for a new headquarters for Apple in Cupertino, CA that will house 13,000 employees. The building’s ring shape design has led some to call it the iSpaceship. He also created Apple University as a tool to train mid to senior level managers on their management principles, vision and way of doing things. Thus employees have no doubt what Apple stands for.

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    Jobs created a legacy that has impacted the way millions of people across the planet communicate and interact. He utilized technology applications to enhance the way individuals live and work. He is quite literally a visionary. Though well known for his demanding and somewhat aggressive personality, he has the ability to communicate his image of the future in a manner so compelling that others rally around it. His creativity is undeterred by naysayers, and his focus is uninterrupted.

    Traits of Visionary Leaders

    As I reflect on the visionary leadership of Steve Jobs and others like him, they have several traits in common.

    • Visionary leaders have faith in their ability to create a different tomorrow.
    • Visionary leaders see a future that is unlike the present.
    • Visionary leaders convey a compelling picture of the future to others.
    • Visionary leaders push the boundaries of the expected into the unexpected.
    • Visionary leaders motivate people to perform beyond their normally demonstrated capabilities.
    • Visionary leaders listen to their inner voice of confidence, and ignore the external voices of doubt.
    • Visionary leaders see new products, processes, people and perspectives.
    • Visionary leaders have strongly held beliefs, determination and focus.

    Are YOU A Visionary Leader?

    In a similar manner, God has a vision for our future that is far greater than what we could attain on our own. He sees a future for us resplendent with blessings as we walk in His way to achieve His great plans for our lives. You can be assured that God’s vision is accompanied by the same creative powers He displayed when He formed the universe.

    Each of us may have an aspect of our lives where we have the potential to become visionary leaders. Whether the vision is for our children, our spouse, our organization, our community, our business, our government, or our selves; God can give us the vision to see far into the future and visualize possibilities that others might consider almost improbable. The question is, will we glimpse that future and fall back in fear, or look boldly forward and step toward it. Will we meditate on our lack of _______ (fill in the blank) to accomplish that vision, or will we move forward undeterred by all the signs that point against it.

    Just as Steve Jobs vision impacted the lives of millions of people, God’s vision for you can change lives as well. Whether it effects a few or many people, it’s no less important. So seek God’s vision for your life. His vision, His eye is guiding you into His greatness.

    I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8 NKJV

    Copyright 2011 Priscilla Archangel, Ph.D.

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    Leadership in the Midst of Tragedy

    One decade ago at the age of 44, Jimmy Dunne reports that he was the “happiest guy in the world”. Sandler O’Neill, the boutique investment firm he ran with two partners, one his mentor and the other his best friend, was very profitable. Their office in the World Trade Center employed 171 people. An avid and skilled golfer, he was on the golf course and contemplating his exit from the business when an airplane hit their building. SandlerO’Neill’s Journey From Ground Zero in the September 5th issue of Fortune Magazine describes how Jimmy, as the only surviving senior leader of the company, moved through this difficult period and exhibited profound leadership in the midst of tragedy. He focused the remaining 60% of the members of his team on rebuilding a stronger company. Though he lost many of his key staffers along with their institutional knowledge and all of the firm’s data, he was able to convince experts from other firms to join or support him in regaining their professional footing. Sandler O’Neill’s annual revenues and profits have now multiplied and staffing has doubled since that time.

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    Tragedy That Transforms

    How you respond in the midst of a tragedy, particularly one of epic proportions can mean the difference between life and death for individuals and organizations. Survivors of 9/11, those who narrowly missed being in their normal place at the wrong time, and family members of those who were killed, have told stories of how the experience changed their values, their work, and their family relationships.  Some married the love of their lives, others discovered their true calling and changed careers, and still others started businesses based on discovering the things that they loved to do.  Many found ways to give of themselves to others. They found ways to do good by doing well. These are the people who were able to constructively move forward, learning from the experience, reflecting on their past to build a more relevant present and future. Others sadly were frozen by the experience, as it shattered their core and covered them with guilt for escaping when others did not.

    Individuals who were able to survive a tragedy like this, to regain their footing and re-build on their life altering experiences took specific actions.

    • Focus – They identified a goal and worked toward it.  They threw their energy into repairing what was broken, restoring what was lost, and recreating a new future for those around them.
    • Future – They acknowledged the past but didn’t live in it. They permitted themselves to move beyond grief to growth.
    • Family and Friends – They reexamined values and drew closer to family and friends, building stronger relationships, and caring for others more.
    • Faith – They renewed their faith in others and in God.

    In short, they led themselves and others forward with bravery and boldness. If someone had told one of the survivors that they could achieve more by pushing through tragedy, no one would not have signed up for it. No one would have ever wished for such tragedy in their lives. But realistically we all will have tragedy of some sort in our lives. The question is what we do as a result of it, and how it shapes us.

    God’s Love in the Midst of Tragedy

    Romans 5:3-4 reminds us, that tribulation in our lives “produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  Withstanding tribulation, tragedy, persecution or burdens will result in patience, endurance, and fortitude. This strength in turn builds a measure of character that can only come from experience. That experience builds confidence and a pleasurable expectation of hope for your future.  And that hope is founded in the certain knowledge of God’s love for us.

    Faith Centered Leaders bring others with them on the journey of learning from tragedy and building a stronger future. The more life changing the tragedy, the greater opportunity for growth. None of us are promised smooth sailing throughout our lives. We are however promised that the love of God will carry us through any tragedy that may occur. Romans 5:5 tells us that we won’t be disappointed as we experience the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, our Comforter.

    Whatever tragedy you may experience in your life, step up and lead yourself and others through it, to experience God’s amazing love.

    Copyright 2011 Priscilla Archangel

    Scriptures are New King James Version

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