Craig Groeschel - Celebrating 100 Episodes, Answering Your Questions
— Hey, it's great to have you back for another episode of the Craig Groeschel Leadership podcast. And guess what? This is not any ordinary episode. This happens to be, are you ready,? The 100th episode of the Craig Groeschel leadership podcast today in honor of 100 episodes, I have Sam Roberts with me.
— Such an honor to be here and appreciate you inviting me.
— One of my closest friends, one of the best leaders I know, and I think it was actually you, that helped talk me into doing this a little over five years ago. And so thank you for your contribution. I'll tell you a little bit more about Sam, but before I do that in honor, of our 100th episode, our team has put together a gift to invest in your leadership. Our top leaders went and selected the 100 top leadership insights from all of the interviews and all of the episodes. And we want to send that to you. If you're wondering, how do I get the top 100 leadership insights, go to life.church/leadershippodcast and sign up for the leader guide. We'll send you the leader guide each month with discussion questions, additional bonus content and resources to help invest in your leadership. So go and sign up for the leader guide today, and we'll send you the top 100 leadership insights, but we wanted to do is we wanted to focus in on your questions. We have literally hundreds and hundreds of questions that come in from all over the world, monthly to our email. And so what I thought I'd do, Sam is first of all, compliment you on your leadership. You're one of my favorite leadership stories, just to give our audience a little bit of background to you. You were attending our church back in 1997...
— ...or so you were married to Jamie, no kids yet, at this time...
— No kids.
— ...and you were serving in the two year old room...
— Sure was...
— ...you had a business degree, no formal ministry experience. And we saw something special in you. And this is one of the things I love to talk about in leadership is just recognizing gifts in people that are often overlooked. And we saw something special in you, invited you to join the team. And here we are 20, how many years later?
— 23 years.
— It's been 23 years later. And you're one of the top and most tenured leaders in our organization. And Sam oversees currently 36 physical life church locations. That would total into hundreds of employees that are under your leadership and your leadership spans now into 11, going on 12 states. And so I thought you could add a lot of value by not just asking the questions, but really bringing some of your insight as well.
— I appreciate that. And it's funny when I think back 23 years ago, it's because of many of the things that you called out in me as a young leader at 22, and you spoke into my life that actually grew me into the leader I am today. So thank you very much.
— Well, I can't take credit for that, but you are fantastic and in your leadership, so why don't you dive in and you can ask some personal questions and then get to some of the questions and these are not scripted. I'm just going to let Sam flow so we haven't worked on them. And so I hope you are a kind of ready.
— Perfect. Well, first of all, you know, you don't talk about numbers on the podcast. You don't receive compensation for this and you give generously from your time and from your heart to develop leaders. And I know that's because it's an important piece of who you are. So on behalf of the entire audience, I just want to say, thank you for developing us. So we talked about me starting out 23 years ago, calling things out in me, but you're doing that very same thing to tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people as we take in this content that you so freely give. So thank you.
— One of my favorite things to do, thank you.
— Very, very much. Now I mentioned you don't talk about numbers, but well, since you don't, I am, and I will just say, you've got the number one podcast that's been rated in business management category for apple podcasts. You've got CEOs of fortune 100 companies listening to the podcast. You've got professional athletes, people of faith, business leaders, tens of millions of downloads and over 20 million all time plays. So on behalf of everyone, congratulations, that is tremendous. So the first question would be hearing all of that. Did you ever think back in January of 2016 when you're like, let's do this thing, let's start this podcast that you would have that level of impact?
— Yeah, no, I mean, it's kind of embarrassing to think, but number one is I put it off for probably three or four years of wanting to do it, but just not having kind of the courage to start a podcast. And then I didn't know if anybody would care, if anybody would listen. And if I would even have the ability to create years and years of content, what if I run out of ideas after sharing a few. So no it is vastly exceeded my expectations and I just really have such a love for our leadership community and, you know, the really the best way it grows is by word of mouth. And so I'm just thankful for leaders and nonprofits and businesses, you know, across the world that have said hey, this was helpful to my leadership, invited their coworkers or other people to be a part. And so it is at the top of the list of things that I think would be important that we do in building leaders. And so the fact that it's impacting leaders is really special to me, humbling. And like I said, it's at the top of the list of things that I value.
— It's truly amazing. So a hundred episodes, I mentioned it started way back in January of 2016, which for all of us feels like forever ago.
— And a lot's changed in that time. And so I'm just curious, looking back over a hundred episodes. Is there anything that comes to mind you would say, you know, you would want to, as you look back, you'd want to amend or add to, or create a little bit of additional content around.
— Yeah. So interestingly enough, I didn't know anything really about podcasting. And so what I thought I tried to think is as a listener, how would I like to listen to leadership content? And some podcasts are long form. Meaning there are people that will do two hour interviews and I'll listen to those and those can be helpful. But I thought what I'd like to do is create content that really values the leader's time. So this episode may be longer because we're interviewing, but generally my target is 20 minutes and I envisioned and hoped that there would be people sitting in a meeting maybe once a month, that would devote 20 minutes to listening to podcasts and then give them plenty of time to discuss and develop their leadership. Looking back if I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I would change what I taught on early, because what I found is there are so many people that may listen to episode number 72 and go, I like this and they'll start over at the beginning. And what I would've done is I would have done more on people, development, talent recognition, how to appreciate people. I would have done more people type leadership development early on because that to me is the most important. And then I would have let some of the other topics evolve. Cause I didn't realize how many people would listen sequentially every time an episode drops, I think, oh gosh, I wish I could have added this, this, this, and this. And so I have tons of new ideas, but
— Sure, well that's a great kind of question. It kind of eludes into my next question. If this is maybe your 100, but somebody else's first and they were like, that was fantastic. Where would you encourage some new leaders to go back and begin to listen to some of these 100 episodes? Where would you encourage folks to start?
— Some people like to go from the very beginning, I would say there are some episodes that probably stand out to me. I think one of them is called how to become a leader that people love to follow. And the reason that one's helpful is really it's teaching us to become youth centered leaders, not me center leaders, meaning what I don't want is I don't want my leadership to be about me. What I want to do is celebrate your leadership, help fulfill your dreams and point toward the mission. Not to not point toward me. So I think that one is helpful. There are other ones, a lot of people seem to like that are trying to influence up meaning they are a leader, but they have a leader that they're trying to influence. So there's a couple of them on leading up that I think were really helpful. There's one that is, I think is incredibly important that at this called defeating the four enemies of growth from a systematic standpoint, there are hurdles in scaling, any type of organization forward. And I think that's a topic that's not often taught on our thought about. And so I would put that one up and probably my top five most recommended episodes.
— There's so many to choose from out there for sure. So I'm curious, what is something for you that people may not know that is really special about our listening audience?
— I would say a couple of things. This is a random stat that we discovered when our team was doing research. One of the things, what time of the day do you think is the most common time that people listen to this podcast? And the answer is very early in the morning. And I thought to myself, this is a disciplined audience. And what we know about great leaders is most great leaders, generally have a specific and targeted routine in the mornings. And so certainly it's not wrong to listen to anytime of the day, but that told me there were a lot of people out there that are listing at a really early in the day, which I thought was just interesting. I think the other thing that's special to me about this audience is, that means so much, is I'm obviously a pastor and I'm faith centered and all that I do. But what I really wanted to do is create content that would value and impact and help people no matter what their faith background. And so we have tons and tons of companies and CEOs that may not share in my faith beliefs, but trust me enough, not to be pushy about anything, but to bring quality content that could help their organizations. And so they show it in organizations and businesses with all types of people from different backgrounds. And that trust means a lot to me, it's something that I value. I want to respect. I want to earn and keep and our goal, you know, I'm not ever going to be shy about my faith, but I'm also not going to push it in an inappropriate way. And so that's something that I hoped I treasure, I don't take lightly and I want to continue to add value to people in every type of organization.
— That's fantastic and I think you do a great job balancing that. So we're going to shift now to some questions...
— Bring 'em on, come on.
— ...from the listeners. So we're going to start with a question from Ethan and Ethan says, what's your advice on consuming content? There's so much available. Podcasts, books shows, videos, articles, courses. How do you choose what to study and focus on?
— Yeah, that's a great question, Ethan. And you're right there. There's so many different things. First of all, I would say I would be strategic with my leadership development and consuming content would be a part of it, but I wouldn't let that be my only leg on the leadership table. So I would really watch holistically what type of content we consume, meaning it's really easy to spend way too much time on social media, watching what I call more like entertainment based YouTube videos, or binge watching, whatever it is, Hulu, Netflix, whatever you watch. And so I would look at content consumption holistically and say, there's nothing wrong with some entertainment, some kind of what I call healthy distraction. But for the most part, I don't want to waste my life watching unless it's adding value.
— So if it is entertainment is strategic entertainment, meaning I planned for this, but it's not mindless entertainment. And then I want to consume strategic content that helps me and the great thing about the world we live in now, Sam, is you can learn about anything you want. So you pick a targeted area that you want to grow, and you want to learn how you can take a masterclass on anything you can learn just about any, anything on videos or podcasts about whatever specific area of your leadership and that I would just make that a regular part of my leadership growth plan. I would recommend you take what's normally downtime and convert it to growth time. So if you're just on the treadmill, rather than just listening to music, I'd say, listen to a podcast or listen to a good book, same on your commute. Listen to a podcast, listen to a book, play some background content that's super helpful. And then I would say that the content absorption is one part and then I would take it into like, let's talk about mentoring. Let's talk about experimenting with our leadership gifts. And let's talk about practicing non-related growth areas that just stretch our mind, stretch our thinking. And then occasionally what you want to do is get outside of your comfort area of content consumption and just listen to something that's way off the wall.
— Yeah, that's good.
— in some other field unrelated field that stretches your mind gets. I'll read or listen to some stuff that people go, why would you listen to that? And if it's one of the top 15, 20 books on Amazon, unless it's fiction or a kid's book, I'm almost all the time going to read it because I want to read what other people are being influenced by whether I agree, whether it helps me or not. It puts me in a different gear.
— I love that, cause the idea of developing and having content from somewhere else. So you don't get into that echo chamber of always hearing the same thing over different voices are so powerful. That's great stuff. So now from Brooke, she asked a great question. And so interestingly, she goes, how do you lead someone you don't trust?
— How do you lead so many don't trust? So I'm going to ask you Sam, with all your employees, how often do you work a long time with someone you don't trust.
— For someone I don't trust fundamentally do not trust them. I don't work very long with them.
— At all.
— Yeah. So Brooke, I would say, I think that would be the answer. Now what I would do, Brooke, is I would ask you some questions. If we were sitting across from each other and I would ask you, why do you not trust this person? And I think this is really important because if you told me, I just don't have a good feeling about them. That's really different than if you tell me, they gave me their word three times and broke their word,
— So if you just don't have a good feeling about someone that might actually mean you just, not that you don't trust them, it's that you don't know them.
— Or maybe you don't like them. And as a side point to be a great leader, a lot of times you have to really appreciate people that you don't like. This is super important. There are people that I drive them crazy, but they respect what I'm able to do. And the same thing, I have people on my team, like I don't ever want to really hang out with them, like, you know, deeper in the organization. But just because we don't have chemistry, doesn't mean they're not effective. And so what we want to discern Brooke is, is does this person lack character? And that's why you don't trust them. If so, then you're going to lose credibility. If you don't remove a person that lacks
— Lacks character, if it's a personality difference, what we tend to say is, we tend to say that trust is given. Mistrust is earned. In other words, in this organization, we're going to trust you and trust you and trust you. You don't have to own our trust. We trust you as it gets given. If you start to abuse the trust, if you don't keep your word, if you don't deliver, if you don't follow through, then you've earned mistrust. So if this person has earned mistrust, then what I would say, Brooke, is you want to confront them on it, coach them, tell them clearly, if it doesn't change, then we're going to have to make a change. And if it doesn't, then you remove that team member. But if you communicate it clearly and help them succeed, they might succeed. So don't write them off immediately. But if there's a lack of character that you can't, you can't keep that.
— Absolutely. So Chuck asked this question, he says, as a leader, how do you balance authority with approachability? I want to foster a trusting kind work environment, but still be strong and decisive.
— I would say that those are not mutually exclusive, meaning to if you have authority. That doesn't mean you're not approachable. In fact, being somewhat approachable in many ways would enhance your trustability, which therefore would compliment your authority. So by nature, when you walk into a room and our organization, there's immediate respect because you are one of the most tenured, most trusted leaders. So immediately some people would be intimidated by you. If you don't do anything to disarm them being intimidated, that actually doesn't help you. It puts them at a place where they're nervous, where they may not tell you the truth. They may tell you what they want to hear. So leadership by position communicates authority, generally. That's kind of just there. What I would do is I'm not going to work a whole lot on flexing my authority. Like I want you to know I'm strong and confident. Here's where we're going. What I'm gonna do is I'm really gonna work on my approachability. when I walk into a room, rather than people being afraid, which they might be, what I want to do is bring some fun, some levity into it, call them by name when I know it, ask them about something they're doing, celebrate something in their leadership. And what that does is that creates a chemistry, which then creates two way communication, where they're going to tell me really the truth or what we need to hear. So I would never say that being approachable, diminishes your authority, being approachable doesn't mean that anybody can walk in our office anytime of the day and take up an hour. That's not the same thing, but what we want to do, we want to be, we want to bring the human side of leadership and that's going to create trust and chemistry. That helps move the organization forward.
— I think that's so good. Very good. Now we're going to pivot just a little bit to something a little bit more lighter, harder to casual, but equally as important many people have said that, you've mentioned you eat a lot of the same meals over and over, and it's so boring. Why do you do it? And what are some of the dishes?
— So that's a funny question. And I want to start with boring because I think boring is way underrated. I'm working on a book on discipline right now. And one of the title ideas we had was boring your way to success. And nobody liked that, but me and it probably was probably a bad title, but I think boring is being boring in a good way. And doing the right things is when you find really effective anything, great athletes, they've typically real boring routines, great artists. They typically have incredibly boring routines, great leaders, they do the same right things over and over and again. So in my, my diet, I'm really strategic about it, and it is incredibly boring, but in the predictability of it, to me, there's freedom. Meaning I never have to fight off the wrong things because I typically always have the right food in front of me. They ask what dishes that I eat. And I'll be careful to answer that because I'm not a nutritionist at all. And so I'm not giving nutrition advice at all. Everybody's body is different, but in my body, after years of experimenting, I've got a real two dialed in routine. I do high water consumption early in the day. Ridiculous high water consumption. You see that because I go to the bathroom three times at our Monday morning meeting, and then I do high protein, low carbs. I do healthy carbs. So I do oatmeal in the morning with berries. And I do that almost every single day. It's boring, but I never get tired of it. And then I do healthy nuts as snacks. I do a protein shake and then I'll do either chicken, salmon, some type of lean meat for lunch and for dinner. And then I do rice or sweet potatoes. And then what I'll do is I'll have like, I'll eat this I'll order the same two meals I have them brought in. So they're in little containers and I eat in my office. I eat at home and I'll do those two for six or nine months. And then I typically bring in two kind of different ones. I'll do it for six or nine months. And people make fun of that all day long. And they probably should cause that's, that is kind of weird, but I don't have to think about where am I going to go? I don't have to think about what am I going to eat? I don't think about anything. I mean, my team brings in their, I eat it to keep, keep going. And then I feel really good.
— Well, I can definitely affirm that he is very boring in regards to his routine. And it is the same snack, the same drink all about the same time and very predictable
— Do you guys make fun of me behind my back?
— Of course we don't do that. All right, let's move on to the next question. From many listeners, it says are pastors and the top questions we get from pastors are about how to prep sermons. So they're wanting to know how do you go about prepping your sermon, but this could equally be as important for someone prepping a presentation or a talk. So.
— What goes into it that?
— Yeah, so a lot goes into it. It could be a leadership podcast. My dollar preparation is a little bit different for a podcast, but what I will say is the amount of work I put into prep would probably shock people. And when you're only doing 20 minutes versus 40 minutes, I would say I actually put more time into prepping a shorter message, often than I do a longer one because in a shorter one, I you're editing out and you're being really selective and you want every word to count. And so a lot goes into it. If I'm doing a sermon message, I typically I'll start with a topic or a text, meaning I'm going to talk about pride, or I'm going to talk about Matthew chapter six, verses whatever. And then what I do is I'll do kind of, they call it the, my people have made fun of me. They call it the beautiful mind phase, where I go and research. And I put everything down on paper and it'll start out. It'll be 12 to 15 to 20 pages of other verses, ideas, historical context of the verse, randoms types of illustration. That all goes down on a page. And then what I do is I sometimes I'll print it out. Sometimes I'll just look at it and I kind of let it, I call it letting it talk to me, or I read through there. I look for connections and I look for the bigger thoughts. And then I start editing out and leaving in. I don't throw anything away in the early phase because I may come back to it, but I let the big thoughts start emerging. And then I start trying to organize, and this is kind of hard to explain, but what I'll do is I'll spend about half the time structuring a message. So I get the flow down and then I'll spend about half the time polishing it. And so a big percentage is just getting the structure. And then what I'm doing is I'm looking at, does this speak to you? Where are you in it? Does it flow? One of the things that I do that I've found is a little bit unique and I always, always, always, always do this. I do it with podcasts. I do a sermon to do with leadership talks, is I bring in groups of people. Usually three people, no more than five. And I talk through the message with them. And what I'm doing is I'm looking for feedback because I can get feedback after I give it, but that's too late. So I'm looking for pre feedback. And what I want to know is what do you like most about it? What do you like the least? A lot of times people won't tell me 'cause they don't want to hurt my feelings. So I'll tell them I need to cut 10 minutes down in this message. What would you cut? Suddenly they'll tell me. Another question I'll ask them and I'm about to blow my secret because I'm going to give it away, but I'll ask them percentage wise. How close is this to being finished? If they say 60%, that means they don't really like it. If they say, oh, 98%, you could, you could teach it tomorrow. That means they like it. So I'm trying to get from them what they may be afraid to tell me otherwise, what do you love? If you're going to spend more time on it, what do you love? And so it's a process of research of organizing, of editing for flow and then of getting pre feedback. I think it's one of the most helpful things I do. I would be afraid to present. So by the time I teach a podcast that our listeners will hear, I will have been through that with three or four groups of people helping me wordsmith, edit out, eliminate and accentuate what stands out as being most helpful.
— I think the one thing I would throw in there is that when Craig says he brings in three to five people, it's not always the same three to five, and it's a whole different demographic and social makeup of people that he's literally getting feedback from. And he will take, you know, you've been doing this for years and years, but you will take a piece of feedback from a 19 year old intern and cut an entire point because you don't think it fits. And it's amazing to watch.
— Yes and what I've found is that people that are most different from me are often most helpful. If I sat down with you, you would add tremendous leadership value. You'd have add historical value, mean like, oh, there's this story you told 10 years ago.
— But we're both men. We both been in the organization about the same amount of time. We both read most of the same books, we have about the same amount of kids and we're in a similar stage of life. You bring in to me, you know, 22 year old lady, who's been on the team for a year and is not married yet.
— You know, or a mom that has three kids in diapers or someone from a totally different part of the world from another country or different backgrounds, whatever they add a ton of insight. And it will often say, well, in my context, have you thought about this? And that's just ridiculously helpful to me.
— So I'm just going to highlight something real quick here, because a lot of times people will ask me like, what's the secret sauce with life church and pastor Craig's leadership and what you just said hit on it a little bit, because it's your ability to bring people into the conversation and not just bring them into the conversation, but value their opinion. When we started this, we talked about you seeing something in me 23 years ago when I was 22 years old, young kid didn't know, come here from sic 'em. Yet you called things out of me and literally allowed me to have a voice at the table. Just like you do in your context of putting a message together or running the organization. You truly listened to the people that work around you and that, and, and value the voice. And that makes all the difference in the world.
— Well, let's chase this rabbit a bit, cause it's not about me, but would you agree? And I've often said this, that perhaps, perhaps the top most valuable tool we use to help us get better as an organization is giving and receiving feedback.
— Yeah. It's arguably certainly the top. And so if as the top leader, I don't demonstrate it, then it's not going to be valued. So I have to seek it and that I have to receive it. And that means so, so much the organization. And in the beginning days back when you were 23, we used to do stage drills where we bring you up and you, you might even tell a story or two, if you have one, but I would say, hey, cast vision for something or announce something or whatever it would be and then you'd do it for two or three minutes. And then I would give you feedback along with everybody else. And then you'd do it again.
— Anything stand out?
— Oh man, and I'll tell you, it's the thing that stands out. You start talking about stage time feedback. I started thinking, oh my gosh, there were so many times you would stop me in the middle of a message, but no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Do it again. Do it this way. Talk about this. And it was, I remember at the time it being so intimidating and so uncomfortable, but it was in the lack of comfort and that I actually found the greatest growth because you would speak the truth. And it was, it was difficult to hear, but sometimes feedback can be, it was loving, but you were directing for me to be better.
— Yes, yes.
— And I got better.
— And to withhold feedback from you is unloving,
— To give you the right feedback is loving. And so to just to chase another quick rabbit at most of our 36 locations that we have, we have a lot of young team members and most of them do stage drills today most weeks. And the reason we do this is there are multiple reasons. Most people would think because we're developing good communicators. And that is a good reason. But one of the biggest reasons we do this is because we're teaching them to give and receive feedback.
— I'd say the top benefit is that that team knows that everyone has my back. If there's something that I can do better, they're going to tell me, if there's something I did wrong, they're going to tell me I have the right to tell them. They expect me to tell them. I expect them to tell me so where we're intentionally craving, giving and receiving and applying helpful feedback. And that is a game changer in the organization. You're never going to have a great team that doesn't give, receive and apply feedback. And so that in one of the books that we recommend a lot is, I think, "Thanks For The Feedback" by Shane. If I'm not mistaken is a, is a really good book.
— Awesome. Well, that was some fantastic response there. And it's great application and stuff. We're going to hit another question here from Emmanuel. He says, how do you balance thinking about the future with executing in the present? So, how do you balance that?
— I would say that again, those things are not mutually exclusive. I think that at all the time we want to be in to some degree or another doing both. What tends to happen, I think is in most organizations, we get sucked in to the present. We get sucked into the urgent and sometimes oftentimes to quote Covey, "What's urgent, isn't necessarily what's most important",
— But to say only the future is important would be wrong. There's some things you have to do. If your house is on fire, you got to put the fire out. That's urgent and important. So as a leader, it was Gerber and the book, "The E-Myth Revisited" a book I highly recommend on systems and franchising and such. Gerber said, "You want to work in your business and you want to work on your business". So what we want to do is we want to work on what is right in front of us. That's in the now we're working, we're working in our business or in our ministry, but every now and then, and more often than most would think you have to get above it. And so we're not working in it, we're working on it and that's future. So those things, it, it is a tension. What I like to do, Sam, or what we do, is we like to go out of the normal place to work on the future. I don't want to do it just in our office. I don't want to be interrupted. That's also not an hour long meeting. That's usually for us a half a day.
— It's been a day. For some times it's a retreat two or three days for people, I would say quarterly or more we want to get away and think future, future, future, future, future. And then we don't just think future, but we walk away with assignments and accountability. Who does what, and when, and then we hold it accountable. We don't want to ever do. And we've been here before, right Sam, like, we'll meet at a meeting. And we got to decide in a quarter later, we have to decide. I remember one time we did it like three quarters. And so I think we all agreed. Next time, one of us are fired. All of us are fired.
— If we don't do something.
— We've got to execute.
— We do.
— And so we're not just going to discuss, we decide.
— I love this question from Markham. She says, so how do you answer this question? Do you have five minutes? This is a question that can often eat up my whole day, but I want to be available to my team.
— Yes, okay. Lots of thoughts around this. Do you have five minutes? And what we have to be able to do is we have to be able to say, no, I don't. That is a totally and completely fair, acceptable answer. No is a complete sentence. You don't have to give a reason. You may actually have time on your calendar, but not be emotionally ready for it. And so we have to be prepared to say, no, another thing we can do is we can say yes, in that moment. And what I would do a lot of times is not, well someone would say to you have five minutes and then we step into my office. The moment we step into my office, I lose a little bit of control because either I have to wait for you to leave, or I have to ask you to leave. Right?
— Right. So what I might do is if you said you have five minutes, I might look at my phone and say, okay, it's 12:06. We got until 12:11, go. Give me your best. And then at 12:11, I can look at my clock and say, hey, thank you, that was five minutes, I gotta go. And then I can walk away. If you're in my office, then I either have to kick you out or I have to wait for you to leave. So that's just a little tip. One of the things we train our team is that when you ask for five minutes, you're really asking for five minutes. And so I kind of had a joke with our team members. And I told this story, one guy came in and he said, I work in five minute segments, which sounds crazy. But I'll say, hey, I'll meet you at 12:25. And people are like, ah, not 12:30? Like, I'll meet you at 1225 because I can meet you at 12. I can be there at 12:25 and I'll be there 12:25. So that's the way my weird nerdy mind works. And so I told a story about a guy that said, can I have seven minutes of your time? And he came in and he started the clock. He presented something and it's seven minutes. He was done. He walked out. And so what he did is he earned my trust. If he asked for seven minutes or five minutes, any time I'm going to give it to them, people do that. They'll take it out five minutes, your time. And they take an hour. That's not fair. So if you're the person asking, you want to deliver on it. And the reality is most conversations we can have, like Sam, how many times have you brought really important things to me or I've come in with really important things to you. And they took more than five minutes. Like dozens of times, hundreds of times, we can solve really big issues in five minutes or less, seven minutes or less.
— For sure.
— And so the one thing we cannot read, we can make more money. We can come up with more ideas. We can hire more. We cannot create more time. And so we're going to respect other people's time and we're going to expect them and train them to respect our time as well. And that's not mean, that's good leadership.
— I think that's fantastic. And one thing I would add for the person asking, for those of us who maybe sit at not the top seat, but you're in a second or third seat, you're going to ask that question. Do you have five minutes? That if I walk up to Craig's door and I knock on it, but like, hey, do you have five minutes? I've cornered him. Because for him to say, no, it puts him in a position of, he doesn't intrinsically saying, I don't value you. I don't have five minutes to give to you. So he's almost always going to have to say yes.
— And it puts him in a very awkward place to say no, whereas I could text him and be like, hey, when you have five minutes, I need to be able to talk to you real quick or whatever. So that then it puts the ball over in his court and I don't corner him with it. So I think that's a good little tidbit for the listeners, especially if you're asking the question.
— And the way you ask it matters too, like is now a bad time?
— Correct. Gives me the ability to easily say actually yes,
— Absolutely. that helps me feel in control.
— So, next question here from Lafayette, the question is, beyond some of the common answers like drive and or work ethic, what are some attributes that young leaders should cultivate to become successful?
— Yeah. So for a young leader to become successful, you certainly want to be a self-starter. You want drive. I would say at the top of the list of any age, doesn't matter if they're young or old is we want to be teachable 100%. And one of the things I would recommend that any type of organization do is most companies, most nonprofits have organizational values. And they'll say like, we value integrity. We value customer service, whatever they have there, their loyalty, whatever it is, they have those. But a lot of them don't have what we call behavioral values. And what I really recommend that you do is you go and what we did years ago, where'd we learn this? Was it Lencioni?
— I think it was, I think it was Patrick Lencioni. And it was, I don't know, 15, 18 years ago where we sat down and we took our top 10 or 15 leaders in the organization. And we said, what behavioral attributes do they have in common? And we made a list and then we whittled it down to, I think, seven that we have organizationally and up at the top of the list is either humility or teachability...
— ...that it matters so, so, so, so much. So, and sometimes when you're younger, I know when I was younger, I didn't know what I didn't know yet. And so I was overly confident and probably had to grow in teachability. What one of the best things you can do is just come in and look for feedback, be humble. And I would take a, a humble seven out of 10, over a cocky nine out of 10 leader any day of the week, every day of the week nonstop. And so that's going to help you grow and help you succeed. And people love to teach others. And so I like to be around people. If I'm adding value, if you're teachable and I'm adding value to you, we've got a chemistry and you're getting better and I often get better as I teach. And so that's a great chemistry that can take an organization forward.
— Fantastic, love it. So next question here from Israel, said at what point do you let go and delegate a project? How do you manage the sacrifice of getting or doing exactly what you wanted and let someone else finish out your plan or project, especially when you care deeply about it.
— Okay, so Israel, so you're asking if you can take, essentially, if you could do something better, you know how to do it. When do you hand it off to somebody else? And I would say, I would answer the question by asking you, like, when do you want other leaders to grow? And when do you want your organization to thrive? Because the longer you do most of it, the less likely other leaders are to grow and the less likely your organization is going to be successful. So the answer is sooner, rather than later. There's almost never a time where I'm delegating something for the first time where I'm a hundred percent confident it's going to be done perfectly. But what I am confident of now, after lots and lots of learning to delegate is when I, when we delegate to the right people who have the right leadership inputs, before long, most of the right people will do what you were doing better than you were doing it, period, hands down. No, no doubt about it. That the reality is we cannot, we are not good at so many things. We may be good at a hundred things, but we're only great at three. And so there's another 97 things that we're doing that we're pretty good at, but if you give it to someone else, who's not quite good at it yet, but it gets better tomorrow and then better the next day and they specialize on that thing. One day they're great. And they're way better than you are. So I think it's John Maxwell, who always said like, when someone else can do it 80% as well as you can, it's probably time to delegate it to them. I love and respect John as a hero. And I would say lived by that. I would say now I would almost, and John might even agree, I would almost say if they can do it 70% as well with momentum, meaning there's potential there. What I've discovered is I'm just getting more aggressive at giving away earlier, even when they're not quite prepared, if you're around a bunch of 21, 22, 23 year olds, they're just not necessarily going to have the experience, but they can become great quickly. So I'd rather err on the side of over delegating than I would err, on the side of controlling. Now, when you do delegate a lot, you're going to have some message to clean up. That's just part of it. You've got to endure a little bit of the efficiency dip or performance dip for a little while in order to hit the next peak. And that's part of, you have a little bit of tolerance for the chaos and there's just, there's no way for somebody to get great without it. But yeah, it's a good question Israel and I would say the vast majority of leaders, are too controlling and not empowering enough. And so if we don't empower, they're not going to get better. If we don't empower, they're not going to stay. If we don't empower, we're not going to get a better organization. So if we're going to make a mistake, let's be more trusting rather than more controlling.
— So a little sidebar question would that one, I think one of the things I've seen through the years is sometimes leaders may not choose to delegate. Not because they care as much about the project, but they care about who gets credit for the project and those. So the inherent thing inside is the pride of I accomplished this. I built this and I, I, I, I built it all. So what would you say how to defeat that me, pride monster inside the leader of I've gotta be able to be the one to get the credit.
— So, I'll take a again, I'll chase a little rabbit. We have 36 locations and this weekend I'll likely visit one that I'm not speaking at when I am there. Will I get up on stage and do anything? What's the answer to that?
— The answer is no.
— No, I will not wave from stage, say hi from stage, preach from stage, give an announcement from stage. I'll do nothing from stage. Why is that?
— That is because you want to build in to the leader who is there and show that you support them and they're capable.
— Yes. So never in the history of the church on a weekend, on a Sunday, have I gone to another campus and gotten up on stage to draw the attention to me? Do you think I would like the attention? Is there any part of me that would like a little attention a the love, a little "Hey pastor, Craig, glad you're here".
— I'm sure.
— I'm sure, I probably would like that, right? But what do I like even more? What I like even more is having a leader who's been serving day in, day out, have me sit on the front row and celebrate his or her leadership. But I like even more is seeing someone else do even better. So this takes a little while to get there because by nature, all of us want the attention by nature. We want to be liked by nature. We want the credit, but what is way more fun? And to quote someone that I respect a lot "it's more blessed to give than to receive". It's actually more fun after a while to help others succeed in their leadership than it is for you to succeed in your leadership. And that's why, you know, like why I do this podcast. We're not selling any ads, aren't making money, whatever, you know, why do I do it? It's like, I love the stories when people get better in their leadership. Why are you still here? Why are other top leaders here, two decades into it? And the reason is because I celebrate your leadership, I applaud your leadership. You lead freely. And that brings great joy to me. And it takes a burden off me when we have great leaders that have it covered. I don't have to worry about it.
— So it makes my job easier. It makes our organization better, makes you happier because you get to grow into your leadership muscles. So it may feel counter-intuitive at the beginning, oh, they're going to get the credit. But ultimately we all share in the victory of doing something significant and I'd rather be a top-notch organization with other great players than be a big fish in a small pond, you know, really important without doing much. And so when, when we say everyone wins, when the leader gets better, that's so true. We all win when you get better, you all win when I get better. We win when our team gets better. And so it's really fun to help others succeed.
— It's so good. So in just a couple of quick wrap-up questions here for you, first of all, in a hundred episodes in five years, looking back, what are some of the things that you're most proud of.
— Behind the scenes? I'm proud of the team. As I look around this room, I wish I could introduce them all to you, but they're all working on cameras and audio and such. I'm a proud of our team, who they do so much of the work that makes this happen. I'm proud of our leadership community. Like I love, there's some of the loudest evangelists for leadership I see, I'm posting nonstop, nonstop, nonstop, and that brings me great joy. I think the thing I'm most proud of is every time I hear an individual leadership story that generally starts with some version, like I didn't see myself as a leader and then this happened, I listened and I applied it in some way. And it's interesting to me that when I go in different parts of the world, the thing I hear most about is I hear more about the podcast than I do about sermons, which hurts my feelings a little bit on the sermons, but it does bring me great joy that if we can, if we can impact empower leaders, we could do a lot around the world. So anytime I hear that, I didn't see myself as a leader and now I do, when I hear that there'll be another podcast in the first Thursday next month, I guarantee it.
— That's very special. One of the things I think about and interesting hearing you saying that is as I think back, and obviously we've been together 23 years and having heard the story of where you came from. And I know many people who listen to the podcast, get surprised by the you're in fact, you're a pastor and you lead a church and I never really thought you would have had great leadership content. You could say it's quite unlikely. And if you look at your story, your story is very unlikely that you would be used to the manner that you've been used. And, but many times, as you mentioned, we're people of faith. And we believe that we serve a God who will take the most unlikely and make them very likely to be used by him and used to do great things. So the question is this, there are leaders who are listening right now who are scared to death, feel very unlikely to start that business or to chase that dream, or have been promoted into a position that they just feel they're way in over their head. And so unlikely. How would you like to encourage those leaders today that maybe they are the perfect person for that role?
— Yeah, so that's an emotional question to me because I get that feeling of not feeling prepared and we all have our excuses, we're all to something, too young, too old to male, to female, to uneducated, to whatever we all have our reasons. And not only was I hesitant being like, how would a pastor speak into the lives of business leaders? So that, that was intimidating to me. But not only that, as you know, Sam, I was a pastor who didn't make ordination the first time. I was rejected and turned down for that. So like my, even my field. So I get it. I mean, I totally get it. And what I would say would be several, try to keep it simple but when you feel like you're in a place that you're not quite prepared for, if you can handle my spiritual side of it is I don't think he got there by accident. I think there's someone a lot more powerful than you that brings you to the places where you are. And so if you're there, you're there for a purpose. If you feel like it's too much, that's actually a great thing because the moment we're comfortable, we stop growing. Growth and comfort never coexist.
— It's good.
— So the only way to get better to be over your head. So if you feel that way, you're in a great posture. The other thing is, I'll tell you, is that people don't look at you the same way that you do. You feel every sense of insecurity, but they feel like you're there because you're supposed to be there.
— Right. And so I would just say, don't deny the insecurities. That's part of what makes you likable. It's you're narcissistic. If you're arrogant, you're not going to be trusted. If you're humble. If you come in saying, hey, I'm new to this job and I want to learn from you all and I want to help you succeed. And so let's talk about what we want to do together, and I'm going to help you make a big difference and together, you know, we were coming up with the you attitude. they're gonna love you and they're gonna follow you. And we've said before, but the one of my favorite quotes is "Some leaders will try to make you think that they're important. The best leaders will try to help you see that you're important". So when you come in as a leader, it's not about you. It's not about you. We're all going to be insecure. We're all going to feel a little bit unprepared. What we want to do is we want to make it about the people around us and about the vision or the mission that we're here to accomplish. And when you pour into them, Amy today is going back to a restaurant where she met a lady. I think her name was Lynn and Lynn told her that she never saw herself as a leader. Her husband ended up, they ended up divorcing and suddenly she had to support herself. Someone put her onto the podcast. She started listening and she recognized, I do have leadership gifts. She started a restaurant or like a little pie shop. And now is thriving because she saw herself in a different way.
— So I would say this, don't let any of the voices of insecurity talk you out of who you are. You have what it takes to do what you've been called to do. You are where you are for a reason. So just step into it, take a step forward. Believe that you have what it takes, believe in the people around you love them, embrace them, celebrate them, and then together you can accomplish something that's really, really, really special.
— Hmm. Well, having said that, I would just say, thank you for stepping into not listening to those voices of insecurity that tried to talk you out of doing this podcast.
— Because you have grown all of us and so many ways. Thank you for taking the time you are a servant leader. And that's the greatest that lead are those that serve and you are chief servant. And we thank you for it. Thank you for serving us today and by answering our questions and helping us to get better.
— Well and I would say thank you to you for giving your whole life to this ministry. When you started, you were so gifted. I thought, I hope we can keep them for five years. I was 28. You were 23 or whatever. And you know, your faithfulness has been, it has been a gift to us. And your leadership is some of the best that I've seen.
— Thank you.
— Much love to you and to our leadership community. It's with the most sincere expression of love that I would say thank you for trusting us to bring content that helps you. If it does help, it means a world to me when you post. If you can write a review wherever you consume the content that helps get the message out and gives us more exposure and be sure and subscribe wherever you watch, we do have the 100 episode gifts for you. And so that top 100 leadership insights. If you go to life.church/leadershippodcast, just ask for the leader guide, we'll send it to each month and we do have some bonus episodes coming up. I'm excited to share those with you. And then we do drop a new teacher on the first Thursday, every month. We end it a couple of ways. Sometimes we say it this way, be yourself because people would rather follow a leader that is always real than one. Who's always right. Sometimes we ended this way and say, everyone wins when the leader gets better.