Leading a Group to the Created Future

In leadership, it is important to cast a vision that is existent even in language. Language is more than a medium of communicating what is at present; it can be a medium for creating a future. To create a future in language, a leader starts with verbalizing a vision, and making it present in dialogues and conversations. The heart of leadership in a sense is the ability to connect, to converse, and to discuss. Without this capacity, the lifeblood of leadership is ceased. A leader takes a group to an experience of what is possible the very  same way an artist gives us a different way of seeing a combination of colors on canvas.

 

In leadership, crafting changes that will reap its effect in the future are always started with an initiative of bringing that plan to life first by subjecting it to discussions.  A leader must be able, through conversations and discussions, to bring his group into the experience of what the vision speaks of. Without the capacity to bridge the present situations with that of the transformation that will take place, he cannot convince the group to shoot at the possibility.

 

Some of the prerequisites of a great leadership are courage, the ability to stand firmly, and the capacity to keenly observe how people decide and act, how they perform—things that are triggered by how they view the world. We are opening up new territories every time we invest ourselves in the future that we ourselves created.

 

 

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What new territories are you desiring to explore?

Integrity Matters

The word “integrity” came from the Latin word “integer” which means whole, complete, and not missing any component or part. If you think about a bicycle, if it is missing a wheel or its brakes, it won’t be able to function as they are intended. Any disruption in the integrity of something’s design, however small, impacts its workability and function (Spirtos, 2013).

 

When the wholeness or completeness of who we are as humans are jeopardized, in some way, however small, it alters our life. We may be saying to ourselves, “It’s a one-time thing” or “no one will ever know,” but these compromises are already altering the baseline of our integrity. It changes who we are. Compromise drives us farther away from the commitments we have set for ourselves.

 

When this happens, we spend time justifying ourselves. We might be spending time defending, explaining, or blaming others. When our integrity is off, we find ourselves tolerating a level of unworkability in our lives. Most of the time, it is gradual and it only occurs in small increments.

 

We never seem to fully come to grips with how much impact it has on things that are not working in our life. But somehow, we can trace the problems back to the time wherein we compromised. We can track it back to when our baseline for integrity went down to 99% from 100%. Spirtos (2013) tells us, “A baseline that was once at 100% is now 99 or 98 or 70%—and while most people don’t notice it, the difference between 99 and 100% is everything— it is in that 1% that the quality of our life alters.” The choice to uphold integrity is up to you. This matter of choice is something uniquely human.

 

 

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Rate your integrity levels for this year.

 

 

Inner Conversations

We are in conversation with ourselves most of the time. We converse with our inner selves about what is going well, what is not, what others think, what we think, what we feel, the what ifs, the how-abouts, and so on. There is a voiceover in our heads, a running stream of thinking. It is not necessarily bad. It is just that we never really get to hear what we should hear, because of the inner voice inside our heads.

We listen only through the filter of what agrees with the inner voice in our heads. This so-called inner voice is a subtle, but pervasive presence. It causes us to miss out on the full possibility of the communication. Have you ever found yourself talking on the phone, while you are talking to someone in person? While you can carry out a conversation with two people at the same time, your attention and understanding for each conversation is divided. There is a huge possibility that you would miss out, not just on the verbal communication, but mostly especially the non-verbal cues as well.

Our conversations constitute who we are, and when we know that, it

shifts our relationship to the world, the way we define ourselves—

not merely in the way we think about ourselves, but in the actual

experience of who we are. Language is inseparable from who we

are, and what gives us access to the full panoply of being human—

of creativity, of love, of resolution, of achievement, of contribution.

It’s the home, the only home, of possibility. (Zraik, 2013)

 

 

 

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Listen to your inner conversations this week with intention and purpose. Discover what you find out about yourself.

A Whole New World

As the leaders generate those kinds of futures, it is almost always beyond what anyone can fulfill individually. This is why there is power in the group. The vision of a new possibility is fulfilled in the commitment and coordinated action of the group. Collective action is the foundation for an expanded possibility (Zaffron, 2013).

It takes courage to be a leader. It is common for a leader to face being thwarted. However, a leader takes the stand for the new future, even when it is only a possibility, not yet a reality, and even when it exists only in our language. Imagine yourself in the shoes (sandals) of these prophets. They are prophesying about a future that is described to be completely different from what the audience has experienced in the past and in their present. The courage of these prophets to declare new possibilities is definitive of their leadership strength. With every word, there is meaning. Language gives the world its meaning. Our speaking impacts the world to match our words. The reality, conditions, and circumstances of the future do not exist in facts. Instead, they exist only as products of the conversations we are having. Language becomes a fundamental access to fulfilling what matters, what is important, and what is possible (Zaffron, 2013).

 

The Book of the Month Club is a powerful group that opens your mind to the strongest possibilities.  Go and join the club now!

 

Ask God for a vision of a new future that you can take a part of creating.

How Does a Situation Occur for You?

Why do we act the way we do? Why do people do what they do?  Zaffron and Logan noted that the First Law of Performance answers these questions. We do something because it makes sense to us. You act according to what you think will work. When you face a problem, your actions are intended to solve the problem, depending on how you interpret what is going on. Two people can experience the same event differently.

 

Think about this. Have you ever asked the question, “Why are they doing that? It does not make sense!” When others do something that is different to how we will react given the same situation, we are confused because it does not resonate with us. But, once we go into the world of that person and looked at how the situation occurred for him, we would experience that the same actions made sense.

 

The problem is each person assumes that the way things occur for him or her is the exact same way these events occur for the next person (Zaffron & Logan, 2009). But situations occur differently for each person. When we fail to realize this, the next person’s actions will seem out of place.

 

What do we mean by the term “occurring”? Zaffron and Logan described this to be the perception and the subjective experience of the person. The leader in us needs to understand that each person has his or her unique way by which he or she perceives and experiences the world. How a situation occurs to you includes your view of the past and that of the future.

 

It is wrong for us to relate with each other as if we are all dealing with the same set of facts. This makes them fall in reality illusion, which most of us have or are experiencing. Let’s test this. Think of a person whom you are not happy with right now. Describe this person in your mind. You might list down, “self-centered,” “does not know how to listen,” “too opinionated,” or “irrational.”

 

However, have you ever stopped to think that this is only how this person is “occurring” to you? How would that person describe you? Will that person use the same ways to describe you or does that person see you in a different way? In reality, none of us see things as they are. We only see things as they occur to us. How a situation or a person occurs to us determines the action we will do as a byproduct of this occurrence. Our performance will be dependent on the way a situation occurred to us.

 

You will take a big step toward transforming them-not merely trying to change them-if you see that you aren’t seeing them as they are. The reality illusion will try to convince you that you are. But just as it is for the rest of us, what looks like reality is only how reality occurs to you. (Zaffron & Logan 2009, p. 9)

 

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Who is someone you do not like? Transform how this person is occurring for you.

LEADING TRANSFORMATION

Individuals and groups, alike, experience problems. Whether you see yourself as a leader or not, you intend to address problems that come your way. We intend to change the situation into one that does not have to deal with problems. However, even as we do this, we find ourselves experiencing more of the same problems.

Once we solve a problem, another one shows up. Often times, as we try to fix problems, we do not experience expected results.  The reason why we are never problem-free is because the solutions we experienced only exist on a superficial level. There is something within us, a blind spot that is left untouched. This particular blind spot is often the perpetuator of the problem.

 

Zaffron and Logan (2009) tell us that for every problem, there is already a future that is already written about each of the problems we face in our subconscious. The future includes people’s assumptions, hopes, fears, resignation, cynicism, and even “lessons learned.” Even if most of us are unaware or in denial about this future, it is the context in which we try to create change for ourselves and for the groups we belong to.

 

When you ask a person what they really think will happen to them or to their organization, they live every moment as if it is destined to come about. One example of this is when an employee is reduced to going through the motions, never fully engaging in his company’s mission and vision, never taking on any politics that they believe is holding the company back. The context of their actions and their decisions is always based on a default future that they may or may not recognize.

 

 

 

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How do you see yourself rewriting the future?

Leadership & the Future

How do we create the future? How do we bring about transformation from

a past that we find less than desirable? A lot of us experience problematic contexts that we need to change. Changing the context we have been used to living in is not as easy as it sounds. We have been used to living under a certain paradigm that shifting into a different “space” truly means moving out of our comfort zone.   Erhard et al. (2013) discussed about the concept of a leader and the leadership function in temporal domains. The leader existed in a temporal domain of a created future. This future is described as one that fulfills the concerns of relevant parties that the leader and those being led come to live into. This future is a product of their being and action in the present.

 

Werner and his colleagues talked about how the “future” is the domain by which the concepts of a leader and leadership exist. In fact, the future is fundamental to leadership. Think about it, without the concept of the future, why would there be a need for leaders? There must be a “future” that the leader is leading his followers to.

 

Werner et al. noted that in order to be effective in understanding how we  can fulfill our responsibility as leaders, there is a need to deconstruct your existing frame of reference for the future. You need a new frame; one that offers you with the kind of access to the future that allows you to have power. You need a frame of reference that enables you to create your future. In this discussion, let me just request what Werner and his colleagues requested of us, let us create for ourselves the possibility by which we can accept our discussion about the future without preconceived notions about it from our past understanding and learning.

 

Talking about the common frame of reference for the “future,” we can probably come up with different kinds of futures. This is true. There are different kinds of meanings to the term. It can refer to a goal one is working toward. It can be a hope or a dream you have. A future can also be a scenario that one fears or worries about; one intends to avoid. Werner et al. noted that one future that does not exist is one that is “certain”. Most of us can agree that the future is never certain. But how many of you believe that “the future always exists only as a possibility” (p. 566).

 

 

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What context have you set for yourself?

A World that “Works”

Often times people displace them by engaging in things they don’t like, getting mixed up in affairs they don’t believe in or expressing things they are not convinced of themselves. There’s no such thing as “I have no choice.” or “I’m still waiting for something better to come along.” You have the power to make changes and transform your life. As a space for transformation you are not bound to or counting on anything else.

 

You are a space by which your life happens. Know that you can create space for transformation. You have the ability to go from whatever kind of life you lead today to the life that you’ve always intended.   In fact, everything in your life depends upon you. With this in mind wouldn’t it be silly to engage in things that you don’t like or torture yourself in order to make a living. Do what you are passionate about and put all your effort in that. That future is something that you deserve. Why displace yourself by engaging in actions that you don’t intend to engage in?

It just doesn’t make sense. Maybe you’ve encountered a complaint between you and a client at work. And although you see the point of the client, you bring yourself to say “Just doing my job, ma’am/sir.” That’s not how it should work. If you truly believed in the cause that you were supporting you would be able to give more evidence than simply your job description. Do the things that you love and you will find your transformation will come naturally as you go.  The context of leadership is about making the decision to be the better you. You are a space by which your life unfolds. You are the one that sets the condition for change in your own life. Accommodate others in your model of a better life. Set your eyes towards a way of living that benefits everyone.  Transformation isn’t about getting ahead of others or doing better than others. It is about surpassing you and inspiring others. Contribute to the world with the use of your talents and encourage others to be open to their own transformation.

 

 

 

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Have you set the intention to contribute to the world?

The Group Word

It is impossible to listen to the person, situation, or circumstance in a new and open manner if the only voice you are listening to is one that is predefined with past opinions, interpretations, assigned meaning, certainties, concepts, and beliefs (Platt, 2007). You hear you “already-always-listening” before you hear anything else. This creates in you an auto-response to whatever you encounter in life. Thus, it drowns out newness and possibility. The inability to experience and receive newness and possibility will cause you to fall into a rut and make you feel stuck in an uninspired life.

 

An “already-always-listening” will also drain the life out of your relationships. No matter what you talk about with another person, you will not receive anything fresh or intimate. The ambience for your conversation will be predetermined. You engage in the conversation for the sake of conversing, and not because you are truly engaged in it. The entire conversation becomes a chore, rather than an opportunity to take the relationship to the next level.   Promoting and contributing to a “you and me” world says you need to eliminate the “already-always-listening”.

 

Always already listening stops people from contributing to you and as a result, you also stop contributing to others. There is a voice inside of you saying, “I already know this.” You must show how to respond to this inner voice with a “Stop telling me what I already know.”

 

In conversations, do you show up for people as one who cares for them? It is one thing to say, “Yes, I care,” and it is another to show them you care. Iqbal (2013) tells us, “Genuine listening is the foundation of caring and relationship.” When you listen to others and do it as if they are a person of worth, it shows you care about them and your relationship. When you listen to them as a person who matters, then you reveal you truly value the relationship. Stop everything that you are thinking, saying, and doing, and listen. Genuine listening means you create a space for the other person to show up and to express himself or herself to you fully. When they feel that you have “gotten” them, then they would feel that you have valued the time you have spent in a conversation with them. When they feel that you have gotten them, then they will feel connected with you, and vice versa. This is where intimacy is built.  The listening is the background that gives meaning and shapes that which shows up in the foreground.  Too many of us get busy on ‘fixing / dealing with’ the foreground (the events that occur) and few of us work on the background: the listening.  Yet, the power, the leverage, is in the listening! (Iqbal, 2012)

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What do you think have you missed because of the lack of always already listening?

A Good Leader Rids of “Always Already Listening”

Most of us do not realize that the kind of listening we have is akin to a station on your car radio; it is already preset (Platt, 2007). Most of us presume how things will go from then on. It is usually based on the sum total of your opinions, interpretations, ascribed meanings, certainties, positions, beliefs, concepts, and what you already know to be true. Werner et al. (2013) calls this your “already-always-listening”.

It is significant for us to be aware that when we listen, we usually do not listen as if we are empty vessels, ready to be filled with information and understanding. Our listening is almost never in a blank state. Erner et al. (2013) pointed out, “We assume that whatever someone says to us (that is, what enters our ears) registers in our listening (lands for us) exactly as it was said” (p. 43).

 

It is one thing to hear what is being said and it is another to actually listen. Our hearing depends on the physical state of our ears. On the other hand, we usually do not know that there are things that constrain and shape what registers for us in our listening.  Erhard, et al. called it the “already-always-listening” because first, it’s already there in our listening. At the same time, it is always in your listening.

 

Some people have an “already-always-listening” towards heavy metal music, labeling it as pure noise, every time they hear music in that genre. They have not stopped to identify the constrains that were placed there by their “already-always-listening.” It does not just apply to musical taste. More importantly, it is important to identify people in your life for whom you have an “already-always-listening” before the person even opens their mouth. It can be your mother. It can be your spouse. It can be your children. It can be your boss. It can be your employee. The point is “already-always-listening” is likely to be a negative judgment, evaluation, or opinion that you have about that person. Your “already-always-listening” for that person is bound to constrain or shape your listening, no matter what that person says. This prevents you from recreating for yourself what was said to you in an accurate manner. In short, you will only receive what you think you already know, not what the other person is really sending to you.

 

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Do you still have always already listening?

The Group Word: The Church

The Group Word for the 12 Apostles is the same Word that Jesus intends for us to have as a church, one body of believers. These were Jesus’ final words before he went back to his Heavenly Kingdom.  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

 

Jesus left this Word not just for the disciples he left behind. It is the mission of the church up to today.  No matter what strategy is used throughout the years that Christianity is being shared, the purpose is still the same. Believers are called to share the Gospel and to point people to Jesus. Believers are called to help others how they can be Disciples of Christ. Discipleship is done within a group, within a body of believers.  No one can ever really be a Christian by themselves. There are no lone Christians. The Bible says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

 

In another verse, the Bible says, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). The Group Word glues together the members of the group as one. Believers may come from different parts of the world, they may have different socio-economic backgrounds, they may have different interests and hobbies, but the Word of God unites them.

 

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Have you ever felt like you intended to be a lone Christian and that you did not intend to belong to the church body? Why did you feel like this?

 

12 SPIES

After the Israelites were freed from Egyptian bondage, they journeyed toward Mt. Sinai, in accordance to the Group Word that they have received from Abraham, which was delivered by Moses. The Lord provided food, water, and protection in the wilderness (Weliever, 1998). After being numbered and organized, they were not ready to enter the Promised Land. Like any endeavor, there must be a collective intent to accomplish a goal. They co-initiated. There must also be planning and preparation. The Israelites set out to survey the land (Deuteronomy 1:20-23). This was in line with co-sensing. They were set to observe what they were going into. They intended to open their minds and hearts to the task at hand. After 40 days, the 12 spies that were sent out returned and admitted that Canaan was a wonderful land. However, they expressed doubt that they could conquer these strong people. Only two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, said they were able to take the land (Numbers 13-14).

 

While the 10 other spies correctly saw the height and strength of the inhibitors of the land, they lacked in the sensing department. They only saw the obstacle. While they saw that the land was indeed bountiful, the 10 other spies could not see the most important thing. It was God who will enable them to claim this land. They took for granted the fact that they were not going to do this by their own power and might.

 

Scharmer (2007) said, “When sensing happens, the group as a whole can see the emerging opportunities and the key systemic forces at issue.” Joshua and Caleb were the ones who were able to successfully sense the issue at hand. They did not just sense the obstacles, they sensed the source and they sensed the rewards of the victory that was promised to their Nation (group), a promise that was passed on from the time of Abraham.

 

Weliever (1988) described Caleb and Joshua to be different. They had a different disposition and a different attitude toward God and his work. They saw themselves as co-creators with God for the promise that was given to the Israelites. They said it themselves: “We are well able to overcome” (Numbers 13:30, emphasis added). These were the attributes of that these two young men had:

 (1) Faith. They said, “We are well able to overcome” (13:30). They

believed in themselves, in their fellow Israelites and most

importantly in their God.

(2) Confidence. Concerning the Canaanites Joshua said, “The

people are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and

the Lord is with us” (14:9). They had the confidence in the outcome

of this undertaking, because they knew they were doing the will of

God.

(3) Courage. Joshua said, “fear them not” (14:9). He was not afraid

of the giants, the walled cities or the strength of the people.

(4) Action. Caleb said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it”

(13:30). Positive people say, “Let’s go and do it now!”

(5) Thankfulness. They understood the land was a gift from God, a

blessing due to his delight in them (14:7-8). True appreciation for

one’s blessings will lead to action and obedience. (Weliever, 1988)

 

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What can you learn from the behavior of the spies?