Archives For May 2013


“For warriors it is essential to keep the spirit of combat in mind twenty-four hours a day, whether walking, standing still, sitting down, or reclining, never forget it. A warrior who wears two swords at his side but does not put the spirit of combat into his heart is nothing but a peasant or merchant wearing the skin of a warrior.” ~  Code of the Samurai (Bushido)

Over the past several months I’ve been engaged in a study of war. I wanted to better understand, if I could, the tactics of war and see what they might have to teach about the nature of the spiritual war we face every day as faith leaders.

Granted, I’m no scholar in the tactics of warfare, and my study has strictly been a layman’s attempt. But I have taken a deeper look at several major conflicts in history ~ including WWII, WWI, the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, the Peasants War (from the Reformation), and even as far back as the Greek war against the Persians. It’s been a fascinating, albeit deeply sobering, ride into the darker side of human nature.

So in honor of Memorial Day, I thought I’d share the 10 primary insights I’ve gleaned from my study. I call these the 10 Rules of Warfare. I’ll leave it to you to discern how each of these may apply to the spiritual battles you face as a leader every day, but I’ll offer a few of my own thoughts here and there too.

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“Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing.” ~ Saint Augustine

As I mentioned in last week’s post, a leader’s blindspots are her worst enemies. After all, its the obstacle you can’t see that’s most likely to take you out.

Continuing along the same line, I thought I’d share five common behaviors I see leaders do that undermine their team’s trust. Keep in mind that these are blind-spot behaviors for most leaders ~ that is, they do them innocently, and do not realize the impact they have on the team’s trust.

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“Mirrors that hide nothing hurt me. But this is the hurt of purging and precious renewal – and these are the mirrors of dangerous grace.” — Walter Wangerin Jr.


Through my coaching work with leaders, I’ve uncovered a secret. Here it is:

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“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” ~John D. Rockefeller


What do these have in common?

Burn out
Fuzzy goals
Scope creep

In my work with leaders and their teams, I find these are all symptoms of the same root issue:


  • The leader and/or team lacks the willingness to say “No.”
  • The leader and team lacks any clear process for discerning when to say “yes” and when to say “no” to current or potential projects.

Thankfully, there’s a simple solution.

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