Micromanagement: Leadership Style or Pathology @TheHighCalling

Occupy movement protest 3/30/12, Union Square Park, New York City. Photo by Christine A. Scheller, Explorations Media, L.L.C.

Micromanagement. The term screams negativity, but is the practice inherently pathological or a misunderstood approach to organizational leadership? For answers to this question,The High Calling asked three leadership experts to weigh in.

“Micromanagement is, by definition, a pathology,” said L. Gregory Jones, senior strategist for leadership education and professor of theology at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina.

Jones notes, however, that the tendency to micromanage can emerge from passion for an organization and its goals. “Wise leaders know how to hold both the broad vision and the execution together. People with vision but no execution may have great ideas but nothing really happens and people who have great execution but no vision often get stuck in ruts of continually doing the same thing while failing to adapt to changing circumstances,” says Jones. “What we need is not ‘micromanagers,’ who end up getting into other people’s business too often and in the wrong ways, but rather integrative leaders who can move smoothly back and forth between the big picture and the details that are necessary to ensure effective execution.” …

Read the rest at The High Calling.

What I Wrote This Week @UrbanFaith: January 9-13

Hitchhiker, NYC

  • Religion Wins Big; Pastors Protest Loss: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that religious schools can fire ministers and more New York City pastors were arrested while protesting fallout from the court’s decision not to hear a Bronx church’s appeal.
  • Politics Are Personal: In her new book ‘Left, Right, and Christ,’ Lisa Sharon Harper models a civil and redemptive discussion of divisive political issues. She spoke to UrbanFaith about Christians in the public square, and the dangers of winning political and religious debates but missing the truth.
  • Pastors Protest School Worship BanSome New York City pastors are protesting the Board of Education’s ban on worship in public school space as the ban threatens to spread beyond schools.

Michael Hyatt: A Conversation About Leadership and the Future of Publishing @TheHighCalling

Michael Hyatt is a New York Times best-selling author and leadership expert. He is also board chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the largest Christian publishing company in the world. Hyatt left his position as CEO of Thomas Nelson earlier this year to focus on writing and speaking, and the company is now in negotiations to be purchased by HarperCollins, a subsidiary of media giant News Corp. Hyatt told The High Calling his only involvement with the current sale is in the capacity of board oversight, but a few years ago, he guided Thomas Nelson through the transition from being a publicly traded company to one that is privately held. We spoke to Hyatt about the future of publishing in the digital age and about what it takes to be a good leader. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Read the interview at The High Calling.

What I Wrote This Week @UrbanFaith: September 19-23

Hitchhiker, NYC

Faith at Work, Part 7: Putting It All Together @TheHighCalling

glory 4

Figuring out how to integrate our faith with our work is a primary interest for the High Calling community. In our series about the work of Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow David W. Miller, we learned about four ways people do this and about a Hebrew concept that Miller says undergirds the Faith at Work movement.

Investigating the Sunday/Monday Gap

In the first article, we learned that Miller was flourishing in his career as a senior executive and partner at a London bank, and felt called to that career. But he seldom, if ever, heard clergy talk about how to integrate faith and work, even as he intuitively viewed work as part of God’s created order. If work mattered to God, why weren’t clergy talking about it?

To his surprise, Miller gradually discerned a new calling to attend Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned an MDiv. and then a PhD. in Social Ethics, focusing almost exclusively on the question of integrating faith and work. This question continues to be central to his teaching and research at Princeton University, and to his consulting work with CEOs and businesses.

“I suppose people are drawn to study things either because they’re really good at it or because they’re not really good at it. I was drawn to this subject of integrating faith and work because of my own professional experience of asking how to overcome the Sunday/Monday gap,” said Miller.

A Theological Foundation

In the second article, we learned that the Hebrew concept of avodah provides a theological foundation for Miller’s work. …

Read the whole rest at The High Calling.

Who’s at Fault in the Debt Ceiling Debate @NJShorePatch

Former New Jersey Secretary of State DeForest Soaries says the vitriolic debate is a reflection of a new, negative era of Republican leadership.

“Compared to the Tea Party, Gov. Whitman was a Democrat,” said the Rev. Dr. DeForest Soaries Jr. when I interviewed him Monday about the federal budget debate for UrbanFaith.com.

Soaries was New Jersey Secretary of State under Christine Todd Whitman and a two-time political appointee of George W. Bush. He is pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, and said he weaves instruction on financial responsibility and economic opportunity into every sermon he preaches.

He is also author of dfree: Breaking Free from Financial Slavery. The book and First Baptist’s personal finance program were featured last fall in CNN’s Black in America “Almighty Debt” documentary.

“I had no philosophical or ideological conflict working with the Republicans in New Jersey because, prior to Chris Christie, the Republicans in New Jersey were very moderate. In fact, the Republicans in North Jersey were actually more progressive than the Democrats in South Jersey,” said Soaries.

He was reacting to a federal budget fight that brought the United States to the brink of defaulting on its loans for the first time in history. …

Read the rest at Manasquan Patch.

Faith at Work, Part 1: Personal Journey Becomes Professional for David W. Miller @TheHighCalling

glory 4

Laity Leadership Senior Fellow David W. Miller was flourishing in his career as a senior executive and partner at a London bank, and felt called to that career, but he seldom, if ever, heard clergy talk about how to integrate his faith into his work. He became intrigued by what he calls “the Sunday/Monday gap.”

What began as a personal pursuit of that topic became a second career after an 18 month discernment process under the mentorship of Anglican clergyman and author John Stottled him to return to the United States to attend Princeton Theological Seminary.

“It wasn’t like I wanted to renounce my past and absolve my sins. I loved what I did and felt that it could be done in a God pleasing way and it was just as important to have people of faith in the marketplace as it was in the mission field,” said Miller.

“I suppose people are drawn to study things either because they’re really good at it or because they’re not really good at it. I was drawn to this subject of integrating faith and work because of my own professional experience of asking how to overcome the Sunday/Monday gap,” he said. …

Read the rest at The High Calling.

Family Recipe & Entrepreneur Program Help Baker Bounce Back after Lay Off @NJShorePatch

Seannee Harris combined a cherished family recipe with education to launch dessert business.

Dees Cakes at Dessert WarsSeannee Harris comes from a traditional family that places a high value on education, but when she was laid off from her auditing job at Merrill Lynch in 2008, she capitalized on a third generation family cheesecake recipe and took classes through the New Jersey Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to launch Dees Cakes in Freehold.

Although she’s only been in business for a year, Harris’s cheesecake was a judge favorite at the Dessert Wars competition at Branches Catering in West Long Branch May 24.

“We didn’t take the title, but we felt like such winners that day. It was an overwhelming positive response,” said Harris.

Entering Dessert Wars was part of a business plan that includes pursuing wholesale business first.

“The whole point of wholesale business first is for me to build capital behind the scenes until I can open my own retail store,” said Harris. …

To read more about this entrepreneur’s intelligent approach, go to Manasquan Patch.

Avenue Takes Top Prize at Chef’s Challenge @LongBranchPatch

Tre Amici Executive Chef Matthew Zappoli at Chef's Challenge, Long Branch,  April 2011

Chamber of Commerce hosts second annual Chef’s Challenge at Ocean Place Resort.

Seafood was the dominant theme at the second annual Long Branch Chef’s Challenge held last night at the Ocean Place Resort and Spa.

Executive Chef Dominique Filoni of Avenue took the top prize. His wild black sea bass with maitake mushroom, bok choi, and sesame oil in a lemongrass ginger fish broth won the judges over with its simplicity, texture, and flavor.

“It was perfectly cooked. You wanted to go back for more,” said judge Debbie George who is account director for Food & Wine magazine.

“Simplicity and flavor and texture were the three components to success,” said judge Chris Brandl, chef and owner of Brandl restaurant in Belmar.

“I’m not a big a seafood person. Even the fish had nice crispy ends and soft insides,” said judge Michael Sirianni, director of the Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park. …

For a taste of this fun event, go to Long Branch Patch.

My favorite city restaurant won, but the braised veal breast with porcini marascapone polenta from Sirena RistoranteSirena Ristorante entry, Chef's Challenge, Long Branch, April 2011 and the black grouper over Asian coleslaw with a smoked mango puree from White MarlinWhite Marlin entry, Chef's Challenge, Long Branch, April 2011 were delicious too. I also enjoyed a couple of beers from 21st Ammendment Brewery that were being featured by West End’s Court Liquors: the Back in Black black IPA and the Monk’s Blood Belgian dark ale. I’m generally not a fan of microbrews, but these were both delicious.

Lessons from Elite Leaders: What Have We Learned? Part 8 of 8 @TheHighCalling

Highlights from the series.

For seven weeks, The High Calling has engaged with the ideas Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow D. Michael explored in his new PLATINUM Study on elite leaders.

In “Limits, Accountability, & Marriage,” we learned that setting limits on ambition, being accountable to peers, and getting married are important contributors to career success. A regular practice of Sabbath rest, for example, differentiates people who are successful over the long haul from those who experience significant difficulty creating life/work balance. We also learned that small groups can provide the kind of personal support leaders need, but only if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to our peers. Finally, we learned that a strong social support networks like marriage are vital to managing the challenges of demanding leadership roles. …

Find out what else we learned at The High Calling.

Who knew the Ivy League gem offered a wealth of free public religion events?

As a girl growing up in Point Pleasant Beach, I didn’t give much thought to Princeton University. It was the 1970s and I was, shall we say, distracted. If I thought about our state’s Ivy League jewel at all, I saw it as an inaccessable, dusty treasure chest full of academic stuffiness and snobbery.

If we’re lucky, we grow up and find out the world’s gems are much more accessable than we ever imagined. What a delight it was then, a few years ago, to learn that Princeton has a thriving faith community and offers a bounty of free public religion events.

It’s a pleasant 45 minute drive west on Route 33 and across Route 1 to the university from coastal Monmouth County and a great way to spend an afternoon or evening while enriching one’s understanding of the religious landscape. …

Read about some upcoming events here. Plus, where to park, eat, and shop in Princeton.

The Politics of Hunger @UrbanFaith

Ambivalent about exercising your patriotic duty on Tuesday? I was too, until I interviewed the winner of the World Food Prize and learned why this election is so important to hungry Americans. Here’s the intro:

Hunger is a devastating problem in third-world countries, but according to Bread for the World president David Beckmann, one-quarter of all African Americans live in poverty right here in the U.S. That’s why he believes vanquishing poverty should be at the top of our “Christian” political agendas — and why he’s urging people to vote on Tuesday.

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World and the recent winner of the 2010 World Food Prize. In addition to being an anti-hunger activist, he is a Lutheran minister and an economist who formerly worked at the World Bank. His latest book is Exodus from Hunger: We Are Called to Change the Politics of Hunger. UrbanFaith columnist Christine Scheller interviewed Rev. Beckmann about his work, hunger in the African American community, and why we should be aware of the federal policies that influence issues of poverty in America. …

And a compelling exchange from our conversation:

I tend to think that living in the United States, hunger is more invisible. How has it changed you working for the World Bank and Bread for the World?

What’s most striking is that the world as a whole has made remarkable progress against hunger, poverty and disease. I believe in God and I see that hundreds of millions of people have escaped from poverty in places like Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Brazil and Britain. That’s why, for me, it makes sense that this is God moving in our history. And then I come back to the U.S.A. where we haven’t made any progress against hunger and poverty since about 1973 and it informs, I think, the U.S. situation. If Brazil and Bangladesh can reduce poverty, it’s clear that we could do it in the U.S. We just haven’t tried for a while. But we did try as a nation. In the ’60s and the early ’70s, we had economic growth and we had a concerted effort under both Johnson and Nixon to reduce hunger and poverty and we cut poverty in half. So it’s doable here too. … I think the fact that we work on world poverty and domestic poverty together makes it all much clearer that our problem in this country is lack of commitment.

Read the whole thing here, and don’t forget to vote.

This interview was reprinted with permission at The Huffington Post on November 2, 2010.