Friday, November 02, 2007

Greatness: a challenge, a dispute?

The conference began today with an invited speaker from FranklinCovey. He gave a presentation of The Greatness Challenge. To sum it up, he defined greatness as:
(1) sustained superior performance
(2) intensely loyal customer
(3) highly engaged and loyal employees
(4) distintive contribution

And in order to do that, a great leader must work from the inside out, i.e. from within his own core of character to inspire, trust, clarify purpose, align systems and unleash talent. What he then revealed next was very interesting to me. Apparently, Franklin Covey had spent many years studying all the books he can get on success and discovered that for the first 150 years, the focus on how to be successful was character. Then in later years till our present time, the focus had shifted to personality. Leaders began to use external techniques to build personality. As long we look good on the outside, it's ok what you don't have on the inside.

We were then given 2 questions to discuss within smaller groups:
(1) Do you see a majority of your team members possess far more talent, intellingence, capabilities and creativity than their present jobs require or even allow?
(2) Do you as a leader hold the key to unlock that potential?

Before discussing it, I softly nodded to my colleague sitting by my side, indicating that I agree with the first question. She said, "no, I don't think so." But when it was opened for the discussion, she had changed her mind and said that it is true, that sometimes in our work, we are so limited by resources and time that we limit what we can do as a team.

I then added this one thing: it is also true because we more often than not, demand that our employees fit into our box, confining them to our own definitions of work and expectations. Immediately, a lady in the group voiced her disagreement and stated that she is open to her employees. There was a refusal to admit that sometimes we actually do that, and I am not even saying that it is wrong because I feel that we do need to have that box and those definitions, it's only how big that box can go.

But what I am trying to say that I begin to realise this one thing. I grew up within the teachings of God, my character is built upon through the years in my Christian home, in church, in Sunday School classes, bible study and so on and so forth. My standard and value is really so different from that of my colleagues. And I began to see that from what this person is sharing with us from FranklinCovey, the change is not going to happen in us until and unless there is humility.

The irony of it all is, in the midst of all this, I am also busy preparing for my Introduction to NT: the Gospel of Mark assignments, one of which is about discpleship: the very topic of greatness. Just take a look at Mark 9:33-35.

They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, "What were you discussing on the way?" But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.

Here I am in a conference when in the morning I am being told to take on The Greatness Challenge and then in the evening, in my room trying to work on my assignments, I read about The Greatness Dispute. Such irony.

Life is indeed a paradox:

Mark 8:35 35 "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it."

Mark 9:35 "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."

Mark 10:43-45 43 "But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."


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