It is always interesting to reflect on a year just completed. I do three things when I reflect:
First I relish accomplishments. Among the most interesting things I did was to follow through on a commitment to blog as a way to exercise my thinking, and engage others in conversation about critical leadership concepts. So how did this work? Well, the stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here's a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 296 steps to reach the top. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2010. If those were steps, it would have climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa 3 times
In 2010, there were 12 new posts, not bad for the first year! There was 1 picture uploaded, taking a total of 75kb.
The busiest day of the year was October 9th with 24 views. The most popular post that day was Finding a Mentor.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were leadership-praxis.com, facebook.com, leadership-praxis.squarespace.com, employmentfor.com, and cordless-homephone.info.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for ray wheeler blog, test "developing leadership" leadership power influence creating vision strategic direction shaping culture values leading change, servant leadership, and ray wheeler dmin. california.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
Finding a Mentor October 2010
About June 2010
Leadership Capacity in the Missional Church November 2010 2 comments
Missional Churches: The Problem with Definitions December 2010
Servant Leadership: Increasing Performance October 2010 1 comment
What Did I Learn?
Second, I think about what I learned. The most significant thing I learned in the last year was the joy of exercising my own voice and finding a greater focus in how leaders develop. The successes and failures (I had a couple of great failures in 2010 one of them resulting in a tongue lashing by the CFO of great client) of 2010 encouraged me to continue...leaders and organizations need what I have to give. Set backs are neither fatal nor losses, they are opportunities to find greater focus and drive. Successes are great affirmations of direction but also provided me with opportunity to see how interdependent my skills and knowledge is to those around me.
The most important leadership development insight was the affirmation in practice that leaders don't develop linearly they develop in simultaneity. Spiritual, personal and skill formation all occur simultaneously in a leader and it is in stopping to reflect on the focal point of each situation that a leader has the opportunity to leverage development. However, I have also discovered that many leaders withdraw from spiritual development. The commitment to rationalism seems to diminish the potential of many leaders leaving them "soul-less" in how they approach challenges and relationships. The greatest leaders I have opportunity to engage are those who integrate spiritual, personal and skill development. I saw a great example of that this year in a new college that seems determined to approach education from an integrated perspective see http://www.stkath.org. I am excited to see the kind of leaders that emerge from this institution.
The third thing I do is prayerfully consider how my focus will sharpen. In 2011 I will give greater attention to my coaching practice and my writing. The classroom and the consulting I do in the non-profit religious world confirms the need for a new book on Church Administration from a Missional Perspective. The skeleton of this work is done, I have a couple of chapters completed. The draft will be completed in 2011 and published. There are several support pieces to this book that I am working on now with several of my students that will provide a great learning tool for those preparing for service in the church.
I have a couple of articles in the works that will also be published this year. One looks at leadership development in the principle of simultaneous development. I see the application of this in both the private and the non-profit sectors. Once leaders understand that difficulty or feelings of inadequacy are actually boundary opportunities in development a whole new world of growth and empowerment in leading occurs. This is as true for line managers in a manufacturing firm as it is for C-Suite in healthcare (the range of my current client base).
In an unrelated goal I plan to play more in 2011. Janice (my wife of 36 years) and I are enjoying our relationship. I have several great dates planned for 2011. So we will not only invest in our own relationship and enjoy life together but we are also praying (yes we talk to God and what's more God does talk back) about what young leaders we should invest in this coming year. We had some great mentors as we grew up professionally and personally and we look for opportunities to invest as a couple apart from our professional commitments to develop others. I expect some exciting and challenging times ahead.
I also look forward to those times I am enriched by and get to enrich my own children - all professionals now and out away from our home. I am proud of their character (and they have accomplished some great things). They are developing into the kind of leaders and individuals one would want to know and more importantly one would dare to trust - this is an uncommon characteristic too often in some of the work places my work takes me.
I am thankful for the clients who have trusted me this last year. I cherish that trust and remain committed to service that is characterized by the professionalism, attentiveness and competence that they have come to expect from me.
Finally, I am thankful for the love, discipline, insight, and joy that exudes from knowing God in Jesus Christ. I am unabashedly Christian and I am unashamedly a learner. I have learned and experienced much of God's grace but have so much more to learn, to know and to share. I love the visionary statement of Paul in his letter to the Ephesians "For he [Jesus Christ] is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us...that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility..." (2:14-16) Here is my vision for humanity, it is reconciliation not hostility. May 2011 see this move even closer toward reality for everyone I have the privilege to work with.