Malcolm Tyree

A collection of thoughts on things that matter

Archive for the category “Business”

Conflict – Trust Building: why tension can improve trust

In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni identifies conflict as being essential to great team work.  The problem is many of us see conflict as a bad thing, but when we’ve proven we can trust each other, conflict is something that helps us build each other up.

Instead of conflict being about tearing each other down, we need to see how conflict sharpens us.  When someone disagrees with one of your ideas or plans, remember they are not saying they don’t like you.  Instead they see a short coming in your plan or a flaw in your idea.  More often than not, they’re wanting what’s best, just like you are.

If you are slow to engage in conflict, choose to trust.  Trust that the person will receive the critique with a teachable spirit.

If you are on the receiving end of conflict, choose to trust.  Trust that the person you are in relationship with is working for your good.

The Hebrew Proverb captures this best:

As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
(Proverbs 27:17)

Conflict – Overcoming the Appeaser: why conflict is good

Winston Churchill was one of the more amazing personalities during the 20th Century.  His leadership for Great Britain and the world still inspires many today.  Before Churchill became Prime Minister in 1940, England along with most of Europe failed to deal with Nazi Germany properly.  For many in leadership, the Great War, World War I, was still fresh on their minds, concluding just short 21 years before the invasion of Poland.  Seeking to avoid the war, world leaders sought to appease Adolf Hitler.  As a result the world was drug into a second world war.

Out of that experience and many others, Churchill’s words ring true:

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

In too many instances, we allow the crocodiles of life to stay too close, instead of eliminating them.  To deal with a croc requires conflict.

What keeps you from dealing with the crocodiles of your life? 

Remember, crocodiles left around have a tendency to come back and eat you.

Conflict – Seeking Revenge or Forgiveness: An attempt to make things right

N.T. Wright has said: “If confrontation has to happen, as it often does, it must always be with forgiveness in mind, never revenge.”

Why do you think it is so difficult to seek forgiveness in a confrontation?

Why is it so easy to seek revenge?

What rules can you apply to relational conflict that will make forgiveness more likely than revenge, when all is said and done?

Here are 6 rules I’ve suggested when it comes to conflict:

 1. Respect your the other

2. Practice the proper time & place concept of a fight

3. Use a time-out to cool down so you don’t cross the line

4. Don’t get caught up in the past or use names

5. Stick to the real issue

6. Be willing to lose

Few of us actually enjoy conflict, even fewer of us work to resolve issues and find forgiveness for the wrongs in our life. More often than not, when we engage in conflict, we are hoping to be proved right. After all vengeance is our attempt to make things right by our own power.

We see time and time again that vengeance might feel good in the moment but it often destroys not only the most immediate relationship, but many others along the way. Forgiveness on the other hand restores relationships.

Saying, “I’m sorry,” has a way of making things right that vengeance can’t even fathom.

Conflict – It’s Inevitable: Choose Your Sides Carefully

It happens in every household: “Mom! Dad! He won’t stop!”  Something has happened with the kids, a conflict has emerged, and now one or the other is calling in support for their side.  It drives parents crazy but it happens again and again.

The scary thing is it doesn’t stop with kids!  As adults it is less likely someone is going to call for mom or dad (less likely doesn’t mean never), but it doesn’t stop someone from bringing a “friend” into a conflict to support their side.  Sometimes a person can even be drawn in to the conflict unwittingly.

Here a quick word of advice about conflict – choose your sides carefully.

Odds are, after the conflict is over, you will find yourself in relationship with both sides.  Try to avoid making that an awkward place to be.

How do you avoid being drawn into a conflict?

What secrets do you have to keeping a relationship with both sides of a conflict?

A Quick Review of the Books I Consumed in 2014

Books have a way of opening our mind to experiences beyond our day to day lives. They allow us to think from different perspectives and glean from the learnings of others. I do enjoy fiction books, I principally take in non-fiction works.

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Here is a run down of the books I’ve worked through in 2014.

41 – George W. Bush’s look at his father’s life. – This was a fun and insightful look into this family which has dominated the political landscape for a generation or more. Without a doubt, George H. W. Bush has lived an amazing life and W paints the story well. I took a particular liking to the way W describes the family’s time in Odessa and Midland, Texas. Oh, if you’re looking for great quips, W quotes Barbara Bush in all her honesty and humor.

You Heard Me – Colin Cowherd of ESPN rants about his observations on life and sports. I like the way Cowherd is able to draw understandings about systems and approaches to life through breaking down sports. His unique perspective of being on the other side of sports industry helps us to see, it’s just life. If you like his radio show, you’ll enjoy the book.

Daring Greatly – Brené Brown’s stellar work on living life full on is my book of the year. Brown works through the paralyzing nature of shame and how it keeps us from living full lives. Her insights into vulnerability and courage will make you weep and inspire you to dare greatly.

A Farewell to Mars – Brian Zahnd walks through his understanding of how Christ-followers should live an alternate lifestyle when it comes to war and violence. This book will challenge your patriotic and American system sentimentalities. Zahnd sees our worship of war and violence as being an act of idolatry.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt – Edmund Morris walks us through the extraordinary life of Teddy Roosevelt as he makes his way to becoming President of the United States. Seeing sickly Roosevelt overcome one adversity after another to become the man of courage and strength was exciting and it is easy to see why he is among America’s favorite Presidents. He was bull headed, fiercely devoted, and unwavering. Morris describes him as the embodiment of America at the turn of the 20th Century.

Zealot – Reza Aslan’s look into the life of Jesus was a insightful perspective into some of the political tensions and class systems of the First Century. I was intrigued in how Aslan sought to uncover the “true” Jesus, one he describes as more of a political revolutionary than a religious leader. For me, I found his description of James and Paul’s relationship to be some of the more challenging features. I does not appear to me that Aslan has a great appreciation for Paul’s contribution to the understanding of who Jesus was/is.

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek’s exploration into how a leader’s behavior influences his followers is extremely insightful. Using examples from the Military and other fields, along with working through the chemical reactions that occur within our bodies, Sinek paints a picture in which servanthood really is the best form of leadership, especially when the servanthood is inspired by a greater purpose. I highly recommend this book.

Divergent – Veronica Roth’s post-apocolyptic teen drama is filled with a gritty world that wrestles through relationships and morals. The way Roth wrestles with the temptation to play each of us in our categories is quite interesting, especially since we are a mix of so many factors and features, so of which are in great conflict with one another.

Short Stories by Jesus – Amy-Jill Levine seeks to unpack some of Jesus’ parables a part from the anti-Jewish sentiment that they are often interpreted through into the church today. She seeks to show us how First Century Jews would have connected the words to other stories, events, and situations of their day.

Overrated – Eugen Cho is one of my favorite guys to follow on Twitter. I appreciated Cho’s call for us to be more than just talk regarding our Christian convictions, but to actually recognize that some of the difficult situations we find ourselves in are a part of how God is providing an opportunity for our convictions to be lived out. Cho pushes us to do more than just love the idea of changing the world, but to actually live out the process, even though the only world that changes may be our own.

Planting Missional Churches – Ed Stetzer is another guy I follow on Twitter (along with almost anyone else interested in church planting and leadership). This book is a reminder that so much of what we have done in the past is try to extract Christ-followers from their neighborhoods and points of life and bring them into the church, when in fact we should be helping Christ-followers see how they are to be incarnational in the places they already live.

Family-Based Youth Ministry – Mark DeVries seeks to offer a different way of youth ministry because there is a rising understanding that the traditional youth ministry model is not producing adult disciples of Jesus. DeVries is challenging the short-term nature of Youth Ministry and is hoping to help us place youth ministry within a greater context of discipleship, particularly as a part of the family’s discipleship.

One Man, One Time – Kelly Barcol is a friend and fellow church planter and this is his story. Barcol takes a honest look at his faith journey and how it is so strongly related to the time that one man, one time, loved him enough that Barcol was able to see Jesus.

The Purpose Linked Organization – Alaina Love seeks to help individuals and organizations work within their strengths. This take on personalities and strengths was helpful for me to cast in a fresh light the type of personality, temperament, and perspective I have when it comes to work. I working hard to keep my preferences (purposes) in alignment while not imposing them upon others.

Flesh – Hugh Halter is one of those guys who is just flat out honest. Yes, Halter is a pastor and church planter, but he is also someone you’d expect to find at the MMA fight or at the local pub more than leading people to follow Jesus. I guess that’s what we really need isn’t it? More regular people leading other to follow Jesus. This is as much an autobiography as it is a how to book.

Viral Churches – Ed Stetzer & Warren Bird remind us that following Jesus should involve a multiplication of followers of Jesus. Essentially, as individual grow as disciples they in turn will lead others to be disciples, which will lead to the need for more congregations/churches. So the key for the church expanding and going viral is not programs and events, but disciples making disciples.

Counterfeit Gods – Tim Keller is one of the leading Christian apologetics in the United States. Living in the heart of a culture capital, Keller sees clearly how money, sex, and power control our lives making them gods that we pursue. Keller writes, “When we are completely immersed in a society of people who consider a particular idolatrous attachment normal, it becomes almost impossible to discern it for what it is.”

Better Together – Jim Toberlin and crew explore the dynamics of a church merger. Using case studies they identify the marks that lead to a healthy merger, while being honest in stating there’s not just one type of merger. The indicators are that more churches will merge in the coming years so this is a helpful read for those exploring or leading others through this process.

So that’s what I have consumed in 2014. I’m working through Rob Bell’s book The Zimzum of Love. This book is about marriage and how we feed it to strengthen it.

In case you are wondering, I finished most of these. I either read these via Kindle or listened to them through Audible.

I Love a Good Fight!

I’ll admit it, I love a good fight!

Sometimes my wife doesn’t appreciate my passion for this. Sometimes my kids find this exasperating. I’ve been known to wear out my colleagues in a meeting because of this. What can I say, I’m a passionate guy. 

Sometimes, I get carried away. I remember chaperoning a trip to Six Flags with some teenagers. The boys wanted to ride the “Tea Cups” and see how fast we could go. It’s hard for me to back down. I made sure we went as fast as I could get us. I was on the brink of throwing up, but I wasn’t going to quit. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was feeling queazy. On the next ride, one of the boys tossed his cookies because of the fight at the Tea Cups.

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Simon Sinek recently tweeted:

Fight against something and we focus on the thing we hate. Fight for something and we focus on the thing we love.

Wow! I’m not sure it could be said any better.

I recently read a blog about all the things the church is doing wrong. Ok, I’ve read several of those blogs (too many to link to). Without a doubt, these bloggers are right about almost everything they post. Some are posting out of their disgust of the church, others are posting out of their disgust for how off track the church has become. There are even a few that are posting as prophetic voices for the church. My favorites are those who are clearly posting because they love the church. Let’s fight for the church!

I along with many others have retweeted, blogged, and posted about #Ferguson and the racial challenges in our society. The fights displayed on this issues have stirred us. What we need to ask ourselves is have we stirred one another to know what we love or what we hate? I want to fight for equality!

I took the #IceBucketChallenge and didn’t fight against the negative sides of the trend. I fought for those need awareness raised about ALS.

Over the past two years, I spent a great deal of my time fighting in a struggling school district. The school district my family was a part of had a huge gap in parental and community involvement. I believe this greatly influenced the struggling test scores and overall impression of the school district. I fought for greater participation and involvement. I entered this fight with the PTA of our school, county, and state. Why did I fight? Because I believe in education and I believe in bettering things. I fought because I love seeing things get better.

In a couple of months, I plan to attend Fight Night with my wife. This marriage enrichment session with Les & Leslie Parrott should be fun. I will fight for my marriage.

This fall, I will enter into a fight with 9 others as we fight to award grants designed to help change the world.

Throughout my life, I want to be known as someone who fights, who loves a good fight! I want my fights to be for things, not against things. I want to be remembered for loving not hating.

Where are you fighting? Is it against something? Are you helping people hate? Or have you chosen to fight for something? Have you inspired them to love?

Go on, jump out there! Start a fight! But make it a good one!

(Think Mel Gibson, Braveheart, “I’m gonna pick a fight!”)

Share your thoughts in the comments. Tell me where you are fighting. Maybe I can encourage you in your fight.

Change the World | Jesus is the Subject

Have you heard? Church of God Ministries wants to help you live out your dream of changing the world! Through the contributions of an anonymous donor, General Director Jim Lyon has formed the Innovation Trustees to award grants (up to $20,000) to new and engaging projects across the North America that help change the world.

The Innovation Trustees are looking to empower individuals and small groups to try the bold ideas God has given them. For many of us, all we need is to know someone else believes in us. The Innovation Trustees believe in you. This belief is grounded in the words of Jesus, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the works I have done and even greater….” (John 14:12).

Watch this video by Geremy Dixon announcing what is going on.
Why would I promote this? First and foremost, I believe in finding new ways of equipping everyday people to make a difference in our world, particularly in the name of Jesus. Second, I’m one of the Innovation Trustees.
This second video is from McDowell Mountain Church as an example of a video application submission.
To apply for the grant, go to www.jesusisthesubject.org/change-the-world. Submit your grant application today! You can even do it via video. The deadline for submissions is September 15. Don’t miss this opportunity to change the world you live in! Share this news with your family, church, and community. This grant is not restricted to pastors, ministers, or clergy. The grant is open to all.

Don’t delay, apply today!

Change the World | Jesus is the Subject.

Busy or Purposeful? 4 Questions to Clarify Your Activities

Too often we’ve measured success by how busy we are.

The challenge is we can be busy without purpose.

Clarifying what you want to achieve is the way to move from busyness to purposefulness.

So whether it’s in business, ministry, parenting, volunteering, or whatever, clarify your purpose and you’ll achieve more than just being busy. Additionally, you won’t feel busy as much as you’ll feel fulfilled.

Here are 4 questions to ask to clarify your activities so you can fulfill your purpose:

1. 5 years from now how do I want my life to look?

2. What are my 5 to 7 core values?

3. What am I doing that I need to stop doing in order to live within my values and my vision for my life?

4. What will I start doing to achieve purpose and not just be busy?

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My 2¢ on Church Leadership: Entrepreneur and Shepherd Together

Someone told me recently that they were having a hard time figuring out if I should be leading a church or in a think tank group. I’m certain that it was a compliment and a concern at the same time. The statement has stuck with me and I’ve decided that I really like being a part of the ideas for the future, but I want to be a part of bringing those ideas into reality. Does that make me an entrepreneur?

In a recent post, Carey Nieuwhof has built on a dialog with Karl Vaters about the how the church is in need of a shift, particularly in the way we value size and leadership.

Why We Need More Entrepreneurial Church Leaders, Not More Shepherds | careynieuwhof.com.

Carey has proposed the elevation of the value of “spiritual entrepreneurs” versus the traditional elevation of those who are “shepherds.” As I have dialoged with two friends on this issue, one suggested changing the term shepherd to “chaplain” and the other suggested we needed to see more “entrepreneurial shepherds.” Both of these guys are leaders in the church and so one could assume these two are pushing back on the change by trying to find a midway point while conceding a need for change. Like many situations, I can see multiple sides.

My first thoughts on Carey’s post was “why can’t we do a better job of teaming up entrepreneurs and shepherds?

Typically, we see entrepreneurs as risk taking, convention breaking, action-oriented leaders. While shepherds are seen as care giving, tradition guarding, consensus-oriented leaders. Is there a way to combine those two?

Some might search for combining them into one person. I think that is a lofty, idealistic goal that won’t work. I do think we can work hard to team up a entrepreneur and a shepherd.

When was the last time you tried to dive your car with only the gas pedal? How about the brake only? We know this is foolish! To drive, it requires a healthy use of both the brake and the gas pedal. There is often a coordination between the two of them, and possibly a third (the clutch).

Clutch, Brake, Gas Pedal

I remember learning to drive a standard transmission in Clarksville, TN. There was a particular hill heading into downtown that had a stop light at the top of it. I was paranoid that I would be caught at that light! I was afraid that I would not be able to properly coordinate the clutch, brake, and gas (three pedals, two feet) in order to take off when the light turned green. Eventually, I was faced with the challenge. Fortunately, I had been driving long enough by the time this arose that I was able to move ahead without sliding back into the car behind me.

It is true for too many years, the greater church has been riding the brakes. As shepherds have led through consensus and care, it has gone slower than many (like myself) would prefer. Those of us with a “heavy right foot” have been pining for the chance to open things up and see how far and fast we can go! As the culture shifts around the church, it feels like maybe we should just lay on the gas! I get it.

Yet, what if we need to work in tandem rather than in opposition. If you are wired as a shepherd can you help an entrepreneur? If you are an entrepreneur, can you help a shepherd?

As we read through Ephesians 4, the entrepreneur (the gas pedal) is closer to the apostle and evangelist. The shepherd (the brake) looks more like the pastor and teacher. I maybe wrong, but I think the prophet is the clutch. The point is, Jesus appointed each for his church so that the church would be fully equipped for the mission.

It’s time we stop elevating one over the other. It takes each of us. Today, we need to be innovative and bold about trying new things and reclaiming what hell has stolen from the kingdom. We also need to keep in mind that the church is a community designed to be caring and compassionate for those inside and outside our assemblies and fellowships.

How radical would it be for congregations, denom groups, networks, etc. to be intentional about pairing up entrepreneurs and shepherds. What would the church look like under those circumstances?

Count me in! I want to pair up! Any shepherds up to joining up?

Floor Routines Gone Bad

YouTube has quickly become the location of many of our stories in life.  This compilation video of girls’ gymnastic floor routines is helping us see how our stories need proper context to be understood.


Hideous Choreography Gymnastics Montage – YouTube.

As a communicator one of the most important things you can do is ensure your audience understands the context surrounding your story.  If you fail to set the context properly, the audience is disoriented and you or your message look out of place.

Here are the A-E’s of elements to consider when setting context:

  • Acronyms or Abbreviations – Have you made sure everyone knows what you mean when you use short hand.  After all, what you mean by CYA could be different than what I mean.
  • Background – does your audience understand the proper background related to your story. This helps eliminate a number of confusions because your audience understands the time and place of your story.
  • Characters – Is your audience aware of who the protagonist and antagonist are? Do they know who they should root for or against?
  • Difficulty – In gymnastics, the scoring system is based upon the difficulty of the routine.  If your message requires a degree of expertise or concentration, let you audience know.  Alerting the audience to the need to “put their thinking caps on” is helpful.
  • Ending – Though I enjoyed the video, I felt like it was a bit long.  I think it should have been three minutes versus five.  I’ve sat in presentations where I thought we were at the end of the story, but we weren’t.  Give your audience an expectation regarding the ending and live up to it.

What advice do you have regarding setting the context for your presentation?

What is the worst example you can recall of a message that lacked context?

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