HybAxio 08-08-113 


Powerful Leadership Proverbs


Bill Hybels

Zondervan, 2008, 218 pp., ISBN 978-0-310-27236-6



Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, describes the convictions that guide his leadership.  Internalization of such profound nuggets can provide almost subconscious guidance through the myriad of interactions and decisions in the life of a busy leader.  "Seasoned leaders ought to be able to pinpoint their guiding principles on the important stuff of leadership and distill them down to memorable sound-bites that can be called upon at a second's notice to inform a critical decision." (Introduction)


1.  Language Matters

"The truth is, leaders rise and fall by the language they use."  "When you put the right words to a vision or a principle…it begins to live!  It becomes memorable and powerful."  "The very best leaders…wrestle with words until they are able to communicate their big ideas in a way that captures the imagination, catalyzes action, and lifts spirits." (17)


2.  Make the Big Ask

"When handled properly, people are actually quite flattered to be asked to do significant things for God."  (21)  "After making the ask, I always suggest that the other person take it before God and then get back to me in an agreed-upon amount of time." (23)


5 Vision: Paint the Picture Passionately

"Vision is…a picture of the future that produces passion in people." (30)  "Vision and passion are inextricably bound together in the life of a leader.  God made it so.  When you have eyes to see the vision that God has given to you, you'll know it because your heart will feel it so deeply that, over time, any lingering uncertainty will vanish." (31)


7. An Owner or a Hireling

"Wise leaders understand that the single greatest determinant of whether followers will ever own a vision deeply is the extent to which those followers believe the leader will own it.  …you can't fool people on this one.  They see and smell and sense just how deep your ownership goes."  (35)


8.  Hire Tens


11.  Build a Boiler Fund

Mismanagement is the cause of many organizational funerals.  Every organization must be profitable.  Build reserves into the budget and give them away if you have left over.  Make sure the ministry will thrive into the future. (46-8)


13.  Vision Leaks

People's buckets have holes.  Refill the buckets with every communication means available.  (52)


19 Institutionalize Key Values

"What you value in your church must be raised up, taught about, and celebrated on a regular basis." (67)


21 The Three Cs

To build a kingdom team, go for character, competence, and chemistry.  "Good character is tough to discern in a fifteen-minute interview.  You have got to do your due diligence…."  Check for competence only after someone passes the character test.  If you don't enjoy the person the first two or three times you are with a person, you probably won't enjoy working with them daily.  Once you find the right person go after them with determination and persistence.  Unless God gives you a clear signal to stop, keep extending the invitation.  (75-76)


25 No Eleventh-Hour Surprises, Please

Leaders like to know about problems while they're still small.  Leaders like to be prepared.  Last-minute grenades turn problem solvers into firefighters. (86)


31 Deliver the Bad News First

End on the upbeat.  (99)


36 Help Me Understand

Vs. "What were you possibly thinking?!!"  Control your passion.  Avoid being accusatory and polarizing the conversation before you truly understand.  (110)


37 Leaders Call Fouls

Sometimes in meetings, people are unkind and no one stops it.  Sometimes body language is the elephant in the room.  Here is Hybels' response: "I don't know how things go in other situations, but when I'm in this seat, we will all speak to one another with respect.  We won't interrupt each other, and we won't belittle each other's ideas.  Instead, we're going to listen to each other attentively.  We are going to choose our own words carefully so that the process will be as God-honoring as the outcome."  "Effective leaders call fouls." (112)


38 Real-Time Coaching

"One of the greatest gifts a leader can give to colleagues and direct reports is immediate input.  Don't wait seven days, or even seven hours, to point out what's working and what's not.  When things are going right, immediately say, 'Great job!'  And when things aren't going so great, quickly offer up some coaching to get things back on track." (116)


42 We Got to Do This Together!

"Next time you're in the midst of a kingdom fight, pray and fight hard, but at the end of the battle, make sure you honor the unique contribution of each individual who made the victory happen." (127) 


49 Is It Sustainable

"Personally, I don't want to launch something unless I have a strong sense that we can build it, resource it, and sustain it over the long haul."  "Fail to think through the issues and you'll fry your church and yourself." (137)


Four key areas that can help define the success of many local churches--evangelism, discipleship, student ministry, and compassion initiatives.  (156)


53 Find the Critic's Kernel of Truth

"A very wise man once told me that tucked deep inside every critic's attack is usually at least a tiny kernel of truth."  Find out what it is.  Insist on learning from these kernels of truth.  (159)


56 Speed versus Soul

"At a certain velocity, most speed-hungry leaders will run out of the wherewithal to lead well.  At a certain velocity, the soul will simply dissipate."  "Leaders have to adjust their velocity, or they will spend the most impact-rich years of their lives going fast but feeling empty on the inside."  Ask, "Am I gaining soul or losing it?"  Do you need to humble yourself and slow your pace?  Don't gain the world and lose your soul. (166-67)


58 Create Your Own Finish Lines

Set an end to your work days and live by it.


59 Let's Debrief

"One way to force continuous improvement is to practice the discipline of debriefing.  To 'debrief' something simply means to evaluate it from top to bottom.  It involves honestly assessing a recent activity or initiative and determining what went well, what didn't, and why.  Debriefings…are about learning from each and every leadership play in hopes of improving play over the long haul." (172)


60 Pay Now, Play Later

Do the critical tasks first. (174)


62 Never Beat the Sheep


67 Always Take the High Road

"Bless what you can bless."  (194)


68 Read All You Can

"Far too many leaders in high positions of responsibility neglect their need to read."  "Leaders have a responsibility before God to constantly get better, and one of the most reliable ways to do so is to read.  Great leaders read frequently.  They read voraciously." (196)


74 Admit Mistakes, and Your Stock Goes Up

"Admitting your mistakes says something profound about your basic integrity as a leader." (211)


75 Fight for Your Family.

"The first leadership test I have to pass every day, every week, and every month is that of leading my family well.  (212)


76 Finish Well

How you leave an organization is the way you will be remembered.  Do everything you can to leave on a positive, life-giving note.  (214-15) 





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