Leadership series: Marcus Buckingham

“Critique of Marcus Buckingham

This critique is on Marcus Buckingham who spoke on March 11, 2010 at the Southeastern University Leadership Forum.

The speaker’s main purpose in this presentation was to explain the differences between strengths and weaknesses. Often leaders become very frustrated with themselves because they can’t seem to perform at their best, Buckingham went into great detail, of why this is.

  • Marcus Buckingham presented two ideas that really captivated me. The first was this question of “why do we focus on trying to do or be better at weaknesses?” This question came as a shocking revelation; most everyone spends huge amounts of time trying to improve in areas that they are not good at. Buckingham was challenging the leaders in the audience to re-evaluate this way of thinking; he wanted the audience to consider the possibility that improving weaknesses are actually counter-productive.
  • Another great point that came out his discussion was closely related to the first, “we think that our weaknesses have the most opportunity for growth.” This is in fact completely the opposite of the truth, but most people look at their weaknesses and see tons of opportunity, when in fact it is actually wasted energy. The flip side is that in our areas of strength lies true opportunity for growth. In someone’s strengths/giftings, there is a multitude of opportunities and successes waiting to be had. This is a complete contradiction of society, where there are books on every subject for “dummies,” there are tons of programs and television ads that encourage you to improve in this area or that area, but maybe in fact the things you want to improve are truly areas you should work around. Great time spent in strengths equals great victories. This of course isn’t saying that people shouldn’t work on some areas of their life where they struggle against moral issues and such, but it actually applies and makes sense even in those areas too. If you struggle with certain “sins,” it would be better to find ways to avoid acting upon those urges, opposed to trying to face those sins and failing, it would be better to admit weakness and avoid being caught in those distresses.
  • I told Marcus Buckingham that this was one of the best presentations on this subject that I had ever heard. It is hard to pick one or even two things that truly inspired me from this presentation, but I will attempt to choose one regardless. I would say for me the most helpful part of this presentation was Buckingham’s points on “weaknesses.” I have spent countless hours and years trying to improve on areas that I am just not good at, and realizing that I am not good at them and accepting that is a truly liberating feeling. I have yet to reach this point but because of Buckingham’s inspiring words I feel that I am one step closer to lean on my strengths instead of my weaknesses.

“Your strengths aren’t what your good at and your weaknesses aren’t whatever your bad at.” This statement was incredible. At this point in the presentation Buckingham showed us how to break down a list of strengths and weaknesses and then create statements to live our life by. Often you can be great at something, but if you hate doing it, then it is actually a weakness. There are things in my own life that I am good at doing, but I don’t like doing them, therefore when I do them with a motivation of “have to,” then I am actually being counter-productive. Many leaders would greatly benefit from engaging in this practice of evaluation,  I can’t imagine how many leaders spend years of their lives attempting to be great at things they were never meant to be great at. How much more effective would each person in this world be if they simply did what God created them to do and stopped trying to be “great” at something that is truly a weakness.

Check out this great book by Marcus Buckingham:


Leadership series: Brian Houston

Critique of Brian Houston

Brian Houston’s main purpose for this presentation was to convince a group of current leaders, that as they move forward, they must continue to respect and honor their previous leaders and the foundations they laid.     He presented the idea with a simple sentence, “servant leaders think generational.”

  • Brian Houston presented two ideas within his presentation, to which I was unfamiliar with. The first one seems so simple upon reflection, but is often overlooked and not put into action. “Influence doesn’t come from doing things the way they have always been done.” This statement could change a lot of leadership styles within the church if it would simply be accepted and put into action. More often than not, many leaders especially in the church are afraid to think outside the box because they don’t want to fail, or they don’t want to upset people within the church. If a leader is truly going to be great, they are going to have to do things differently from how they are always done, otherwise they will simply become a copy of someone else.
  • Another great idea that Houston presented, to which I had not thought of, was that “books hold the danger of pointing back to what’s already been done.” This is completely opposite of what most leaders are taught through their educational years. It is a dangerous way of thinking, but in context it actually holds a lot of value. What Houston was saying, was that books are a great thing, but often we never look within for creativity, God has given each person an ability to create. When leaders rely simply on books and other people’s ideas, they are not creating anything new or unique.

Brian Houston was very passionate about emphasizing the idea that to be truly great, means that you must honor the leaders before you, but lead in a new and fresh way in the present. This to me was the most helpful thing that I pulled out of the presentation. Often it becomes so easy to rely on other leaders’ ideas and concepts and not be faced with the pressure of being original. This way of thinking will not make for the catalyst of change that people desire. Leaders have to be original and one of a kind, it is here that people following them will lean how to find their own identity.

  • “Culture makes a great servant, but a terrible master.” A lot of people fall victim to what is expected of them by their culture, family, history, etc… If these fears and doubts were overcome, than more leaders would be free to explore what is out there and to strive to be great. As mentioned before, Houston mentions that even your heritage does not define hold you back; a perfect example would be Martin Luther King Jr. He was able to use his heritage to become a great leader; it did not use or control him. To truly become a great leader, you must be willing to go where no other leader has gone before, while still honoring and respecting those that have gone before you.

Leadership series: Andy Stanley

“Critique  of Andy Stanley at the SEU Leadership forum”

This is a critique of the presentation given by Andy Stanley on March 11, 2010 at the Southeastern University Leadership forum.

Andy Stanley’s main point in this presentation as that you have to find the areas in which you are good at and stick within that area. Andy spent a lot of time explaining that often, great leaders become overwhelmed and less effective because they don’t want to pass opportunities off to other people.

  • I was not aware that delegating things you hate to do is wrong. Andy Stanley explained that there are jobs that he loathes as a person and a leader, and he feels that passing them on to other people is somewhat degrading to that person. The reality is, that often those people who feel gifted in that particular area will not only love the opportunity, but will do exceedingly well within that area. God has called everyone to specific jobs and tasks, sometimes answering the phone at a local business or church may be the one thing we are terrible at, but it may be the one thing that someone else is great at. This is a principle that Andy Stanley talks a lot about in his book, The Next Generation Leader.
  • Another thing that Andy Stanley talked about that I was previously unaware of, was that “the less you do, the more you help others.” This sounds ridiculous but in reality it makes a lot of sense. If you are constantly taking on all the jobs within your organization, not only are you overburdening yourself and thus becoming less effective, but you are taking opportunities away from others who would have done great in those positions. Leaders love to do everything themselves, and as a result they often do not leave much room for others to step in and try their hand at a task. This is a mistake that needs to be avoided at all costs.

I would say the most helpful part of the whole presentation was seeing how successful Andy Stanley is at utilizing those around him in a positive and uplifting manner. Often it is easy to pass responsibilities on to other people simply to avoid work, but to delegate and train those individuals is much harder. For Andy Stanley it is important that not only are those jobs delegated, but that those to whom they are give are trained to become leaders themselves. This is not something you see a lot of in a time when “selfishness” and “success” have run rampant. This philosophy is the complete opposite and emphasizes the importance of others and works to build them up to become “future leaders,” as Andy Stanley likes to call them.

“I am more valuable in my sweet spot and exploiting my strengths.” This quote really sums up what Andy Stanley was saying all throughout his presentation. If you are a leader and have become stressed, apathetic, and plain frustrated, it is vital that you step back and ask yourself if what you are doing is actually something you should be putting time and effort into. Often we can be good at multiple things, but if we do multiple things and neglect the “one thing” that drives us, then we are not being effective. This is all what Andy Stanley was saying through each story and illustration, and it would be best to take these ideas and concepts and put them into action. Leaders need to be effective and strategic, without being strategic your “effectiveness,” may in fact be hindering you in the long run.

Check out his latest book:

Top 10 from Public Relations

1. Twitter

  • This semester I learned how to use my twitter for socializing and for professional endeavors. I was able to connect with a lot of Professionals in the ministry and also connect with some friends and get to know what they are like on a regular basis. Twitter is a great tool for business, because it makes social networking so easy and fun to use.

2. WordPress

  • I use to have a blog which I kept up with regularly and often I would write a lot of emotional and “journal like” entries. There was nothing wrong with this approach, but I have learned to use my blog in a more effective way. I now use my blog for class, social connecting, and for professional reasons. I gladly put my blog on resumes, knowing that because of my Public Relations class this semester, I have learned to maintain an interesting and easy to navigate blog.

3. Hyperlink

  • This semester I have learned to use hyperlinks. Prior to taking this public relations class, I had no idea how to hyperlink. Now I have become very efficient in using hyperlinks to make connections. I am able to supply an abundance of information and also lead my readers to other amazing blogs that maybe better explain something I am struggling to convey.

4. Research

  • This semester I have learned to research topics in a different manner than I was previously used to. I was able to research topics and subjects through Public Relations News sites and other means. This has really helped me in many areas outside of the classroom and I’m really glad that I was able to learn how to use these new tools.

5. Writing skills

  • This semester I have improved in my writing skills, and have learned new techniques for blogging. I feel that I am more well prepared to enter the professional world, because I now understand how to write effective and interesting blog posts that can relate to a certain subject or field.

6. Crisis Management

  • One of my favorite topics this semester was Crisis Management. We were able to learn techniques that will help us avoid mega-disasters in our future careers. Things happen that often make our company or clients look  bad, and by knowing steps on how to handle these situations, we can minimize the damage.

7. Connecting with class mates

  • I have really enjoyed connecting with my fellow classmates this semester. It is awesome to go and read blogs that pertain to the same things you are talking about, but from different perspectives. I have see some great material and gotten to know some great people, simply by reading their blog posts. I hope that Professor Nixon will continue to require her students to read their fellow classmates blogs in the future, because it is one of the most effective assignments given for the class.

8. Realizing how much actually pertains to PR

  • I couldn’t believe how many fields, stories, companies, etc… are actually a part of Public Relations in some way. There are a lot of connections that I never would have made had it not been for this class. Public Relations is a broad field and very difficult to define, but it can easily be spotted in Media, print, and many stories all throughout the news. Whenever I see someone giving a speech, I now have to wonder if they are representing the company via Public Relations firm/dept. or if they are truly an employee.

9. Interviewing

  • I was able to interview a Public Relations professional this semester, and it was really enlightening. I learned a lot about Public Relations that I did not know prior to the interview. This was an awesome opportunity to learn not only interviewing skills, but also how to speak with someone in such a “high up” position. Being a student has a lot of perks, and one of my favorites is that I always have access to some great leaders and professionals simply because I have an “assignment” due.

10.Use of Media

  • Using images, video, etc… Really changes how people interact with your blog. this semester I have tried to include pictures in as many posts as possible, and the results are amazing. I have a consistent amount of traffic on my blog, I believe this is because it is more visually appealing than my previous blogs. When someone has something to look at or even something to compliment the post, it really makes the story more appealing and “eye-catching” for the reader.

Well these are my top 10 things I enjoyed about this semester in Public Relations Comm 2322. It has been fun getting to know all of my class mates, and learning under Professor Nixon, this blogging experience has been a real life changing activity for me, and I hope all of my classmates can say the same thing.

Leadership series: Joyce Meyer

“Critique of Joyce Meyer at the SEU Leadership Forum 2010”

This is a critique of Joyce Meyer, who spoke on March 11, 2010 at Southeastern University’s Leadership forum.

  • Joyce Meyer opened her presentation by titling it, “The courage to be a leader.” Meyer wanted to push for this idea that no matter what hardships are faced a Leader must push through in order to pursue their God given purpose and their dreams.
  • “All true success and happiness comes from trying to make someone else’s life better.” This statement really took hold of me and caused me to rethink the definition of success. Often time we are so consumed with this idea that success is measured in terms of numbers or money, but in reality maybe success is not entirely tangible. When you go forth in the effort to change other people’s lives, you actually are changing the world simply one person at a time. This in fact truly defines success, after all isn’t the goal to change the world for Christ?
  • Another thing that Joyce Meyer mentioned that I had not really thought of before, was that “fear used in the bible means, don’t run or flee.” This is a mind-blowing revelation, the believer is not being told that if you fear you are sinning, but is being told not to run. Basically Christians face many trials and things that can truly shake our faith, but the key is not to suppress emotions or feelings, but simply don’t back down from them. Joyce Meyer was telling us it’s ok to be afraid, but it is not ok to run away from what you fear.

The most helpful part of this presentation for me, was when she told the story of her journey to where she is now. It was amazing to hear of all the trials and failures that she experienced in order to get to where she is today. She spent a great deal of time discussing how she tried to find her identity in different things aside from the ministry. She spoke of how these were some of the worst times she can remember.

There was a specific trial of one year that truly tested her, during this year she stayed home and tried to act as a “stay at home” woman. Here she met some of the loneliest and frustrating days of her life. She went on to explain that through all of those trials and frustrations during that year, she came out of it knowing exactly who God had called her to be. This is like “gold” for a new leader, the encouragement and the model that Joyce Meyer set forth for the audience was priceless information.

  • “God will never help you be anybody but you.” These words spoken by Joyce Meyer ring through my ears and down into my soul. God has called all of us to do and be someone unique, not a copy of someone else. Joyce explained that often we get mad at God for not helping us do something, when in reality God is in heaven saying, “I never called you to do that in the first place, therefore I’m not responsible to bless it.” Of course I’m not trying to delve into the theological ideas of that statement, I’m simply acknowledging that God wants to help us with the things he has called us to, not to things that will only take us further away from our destiny. Leaders often struggle with this, because they want to be like so many other great leaders, and sometimes that go as far as dressing and acting like those individuals.
  • This is a mistake; we all have specific gifts and talents that can be used uniquely and in effective ways outside of being copies. This is probably one of the greatest struggles for leaders, but if they could learn this way of thinking, it would change their lives

Check out Joyce Meyer’s latest book:

    Flip camera

    I was looking through some of the top PR stories and this one came up immediately. It’s really interesting to see that this little device has become so popular. It’s small, compact, light, and according to another blogger, is able to film in HD. This is perfect for future movie cinematographers. I personally hope to get my hands on one someday in the near future.

    Chapter 7-16 overview

    This is an overview of Chapters 7-16 of Public Relations Strategies and Tactics.

    Chapter 7: Communication

    Once a plan is developed and the strategies are worked out, how do you communicate your message? The easiest way to break down the basics of communication is into a simple and easy model:

    • Source—>Encoder—>Signal—->Decoder—>Destination

    Active vs. Passive audiences

    • Active-are in search of the information you are providing.
    • Passive-simply notice your information (advertisements).

    Chapter 8 Evaluation

    • Whenever you implement a plan or invest time and effort into a project it is vital to evaluate whether or not the investment was wort it. Some people call this the Cost benefit factor. By evaluating strategies and plans, a lot of wasted time and energy can be avoided. Public Relations professionals should see there time as valuable and should avoid wasting it at all costs.

    Chapter 9 Public Opinion and Persuasion

    • Working in the field of Public Relations it is extremely important that you have a clear understanding as to how people are persuaded and general opinion about your client. There are certain tactics, ideas, thoughts etc… that evoke rage, anger, joy, positive and negative responses. By better understanding the public opinion of the area to which you are marketing, you will be more effective in your approach. Persuasion is a powerful tool and understanding who people follow and why is an absolute necessity to breaking down these two strategies.

    Chapter 10 Conflict management

    • How do you handle a conflict? How do you handle crisis? Public relations professionals have to deal with crisis and conflict all the time. There will always be negative news, reports etc… about your company or client, when this occurs how you handle the situation can make a world of difference. Poor responses equal poor results. When a situation is handled properly, it can actually turn into a blessing and can shed positive light onto your company.

    Chapter 11 Reaching a Multicultural and diverse audience

    • One strategy and tactic for one specific group of people will not reach every age group or generation. It is extremely important to understand what age, race, generation, etc… your company is reaching out to. With every culture and sub-culture there are numerous likes and differences among the people. It is important to have multiple strategies to reach each one of these groups or at least narrow the group you are pursuing and making sure your tactics are appropriate for that audience.

    Chapter 12  Public Relations and the Law

    • Just because you work in the Public Relations field doesn’t mean that you can simply ignore laws that pertain to everyone. Public Relations professionals are constantly writing, filming, photographing etc… and all of these materials they use need to be copyright free. Also when they are dealing with clients it is important not to lead them to market in illegal ways or use illegal methods. It is a responsibility of the PR professional to make sure the services he is providing are the best and legally sound.

    Chapter 13 New Technologies in Public Relations

    • A lot has changed since Public Relations first came to be. One of the most common and reoccurring changes seems to be the tools used. Internet, computers, cell phones, etc… are all vital tools being used in the PR relations field. Technology is constantly changing and it is vital that all PR professionals keep up with the changing technology and learning to use these tools can further your career and make you more efficient. Learning to use tools more efficiently will make you more viable and desired by other companies.

    Chapter 14 News releases, Media alerts, and pitch letters

    • Without News releases, Media alerts, and pitch letters, there would not be much word of mouth. These tools are used to spread news about a product or company quickly and create a “buzz.” It is so important that a Public Relations Professional be efficient at these three methods, and that he/she be aware of the certain models and templates used for these venues. When used properly, these can be quite effective and have the potential to reach multiple audiences of all ages and cultures.

    Chapter 15 Radio, Television, and the Web

    • Radio, television and the web provide multiple venues that a public Relations professional can offer to their client for marketing purposes. Radio allows for interviews and  special events to be announced and heard by multiple audiences. Television is a great form of marketing with commercials, talk show interviews. The web offers the best of many worlds with articles, blogs, videos etc… These three methods hold to be among the top venues for marketing, but word of mouth is still the most effective.

    Chapter 16 Media, Interviews, News conferences, and Speeches

    • Public Relations professionals have many responsibilities including preparing speeches for all kinds of events. Speeches are a vital part of the job as well as being well spoken and prepared to be interviewed. Interviews can be quite intimidating, but are extremely beneficial when approached in the correct manner. Media interviews are very beneficial to your client, and can spread positive news out about their product or services. Public Relations professionals need to be well rounded in all these venues and know how to effectively communicate in multiple settings.