How to Build the Perfect Team

I just read a fascinating article in the New York Times Magazine, something I'd recommend to all leaders and managers. "What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team" was written by Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and bestselling author.This article is an excerpt from Duhigg's forthcoming book, Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business. Honestly, this is the sort of book that I would pass by in airports and avoid like the p … [Read More...]

Harvard Crimson Upholds Value of Religious Diversity at Harvard

Harvard Divinity School began a new, online edX course today called: "World Religious Through Their Scriptures." This course seeks to help students develop more awareness of and sensitivity to religious traditions throughout the world.That HDS would do this is not particularly surprising. I was startled, however, to read the editorial piece in the Harvard Crimson (undergraduate newspaper) written in response to this course. The Crimson's positive editorial included a paragraph on the … [Read More...]

Finding Jesus at Work in The Atlantic

There’s a fascinating piece that has just been published in The Atlantic. It has the intriguing title, “Finding Jesus at Work.” The focus of this article is on workplace chaplaincies. [In] recent years, a number of companies have . . . hired spiritual leaders to serve on their staffs. Though slightly less trendy than nap rooms and yoga classes, workplace chaplaincies are another attempt to make workers more productive by catering to their “whole” selves. Sometimes, these chaplains serve as spiri … [Read More...]

What is Success, Really?

This week, in my Life for Leaders devotions, I am thinking about success. My inspiration is a passage from Genesis, a description of Joseph's work in the house of Potiphar. In this passage we read, "The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man" (Gen 39:2). What does this mean and what can we learn from Joseph's example?On Monday, I talked about "God as the Source of Success." Yesterday, my theme was "Challenging Our Idea of Success." Today, my topic is "Success and Trustworthy … [Read More...]

Nick Saban Canoes the Mountains and His Team Wins the National Championship

Okay, I admit that's an odd title. Please let me explain.A week ago, the University of Alabama football team won the national championship, beating Clemson 45-40. The turning point in the game was a surprise play, in which Alabama used an unexpected onside kick to grab hold of the momentum, not to mention the lead.If you've been following college football for a while, you know that this play was doubly unexpected because Alabama is coached by Nick Saban, who is one of the most successful … [Read More...]

Why Do We Love a Good Fire in the Fireplace?

I am one of those people who loves a good fire in the fireplace. I am certainly not alone. A crackling fire has an almost magic power to draw us in.Now part of that magic has been documented through a study published in a recent edition of the journal, Evolutionary Psychology. The title of this article says it all: "Hearth and Campfire Influences on Arterial Blood Pressure: Defraying the Costs of the Social Brain through Fireside Relaxation." Christopher Dana Lynn, an anthropologist at … [Read More...]

Leaders Need a Great Heart

Check out this excellent interview of Bill George, a prof at Harvard Business School.  Faith & Leadership asked George,  "What does it take to be a great leader?" He responded: To be a great leader today, you have to have a great head and a great heart. As Thich Nhat Hanh said, “The longest journey that you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart.” You might have a high IQ, but if you do not have an emotional intelligence, then you are not going to be successful. Quali … [Read More...]

Advent Devotion: Waiting for the Shepherd

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!” Psalm 80:1-2 Introduction to Advent Devotions This is the first Sunday in Advent, the beginning of the season in which Christians throughout the world prepare for a fuller, richer celebration of the birth of Jesus. Advent is a time of expectation, waiting, and hope. During the four weeks b … [Read More...]

God of Peaches

Note: The following devotion is from Life for Leaders, a daily digital devotional. You can subscribe to Life for Leaders at no cost here.When I read Genesis 1:11-12, I can’t help but think of my life in the Texas Hill Country. For seven years, my family and I lived in this beautiful region to the west of Austin and San Antonio. It features rolling hills, rocky outcroppings, winding rivers, and millions of oak trees. If you’ve never been to the Hill Country, I heartily recommend a visit. (On … [Read More...]

The Curious Meaning of “God”

This post is from Life for Leaders, a new daily devotional I am writing as part of my work at the Max De Pree Center for Leadership. You can learn more about Life for Leaders or sign up to receive a daily email devotional here. "In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters." Genesis 1:1-2 I began ​yesterday's Life for Leaders devotion​ by pointing to … [Read More...]

First Impressions of God

This post is part of Life for Leaders, a new daily devotional I am writing as part of my work at the Max De Pree Center for Leadership. You can learn more about Life for Leaders or sign up to receive a daily email devotional here. "In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters." Genesis 1:1-2  When was the last time you really wanted to make a … [Read More...]

Insights for Leaders: Gratitude that Defines Reality

"The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader." - Max De PreeDon't you love this quotation. Such wisdom in so few words. Later on, I want to think with you about what all of this means. How does a leader define reality? In what sense is a leader a servant? Even a debtor? At this time, however, I want to combine a couple of Max’s i … [Read More...]

Servant Leadership on Maundy Thursday

This post is part of Life for Leaders, a new daily devotional I am writing as part of my work at the Max De Pree Center for Leadership. You can learn more about Life for Leaders or sign up to receive a daily email devotional here.  "You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you." John … [Read More...]

“I’m Ba-a-ack”

To borrow and butcher a line from Poltergeist II, “I’m ba-a-ck.” After a long time away from active blogging, I’m beginning again as a part of a new professional season in my life.During the last few years while I was working for the H. E. Butt Family Foundation (AKA Laity Lodge, The High Calling), I had little time or energy for blogging. Most of my writing effort went into the Daily Reflections, devotionals that were emailed to more than 20,000 people each morning. For quite a while, Alissa … [Read More...]

Congratulations HEB! One of Best Ten Places to Work in the U.S.

Glassdoor just announced its 2015 Employees' Choice Awards for the Best Places to Work in the U.S. and HEB came in at #7. Congratulations, HEB.Now, if you've spent much time in central Texas, HEB needs no introduction. You know it as an outstanding grocery chain, with more than 300 stores in Texas and many in Mexico as well. But if "you're not from around here," as they say, then you might not know HEB. It's time for some learnin'.HEB is the acronym for the Howard E. Butt Grocery … [Read More...]

Does Place Really Matter? If So, Why?

In my last blog post, I asked the question "Does place really matter?" In our increasingly digitized, flattened, and shrunken world, does our physical location make a real difference?Most of those who answered this question, through comments, social media, or email, said, "Yes. Place does matter." I think most people have a gut sense about this. Even though we can communicate with people across the world as if they were right beside our ears, and though many people can work well when they … [Read More...]