Category Archives: Leadership

super bowl 2015

I’m not a football expert. My only play calling happens in Madden football, but here are six reasons why Pete Carroll made the right call:

1. During the 2014-15 season, Marshawn Lynch was only 1 for 5 in TD runs from the one yard line. Lynch was more likely to fail than succeed.

2. Seattle wasted a timeout early, which meant that they would have needed to pass at least once in that four-down sequence. Passing early in the sequence early could have surprised the defense.

3. Vince Wilfork, at 325 pounds and a five-time All Pro, made running up the gut risky. Failing on 2nd down run would force a timeout and a pass on 3rd down to stop the clock (to ensure the possibility of four downs). This would set up the defense on 3rd down to defend the pass.

4. Out of 109 passes from the 1-yard line in the 2014-15 season, there 66 touchdowns and only 1 interception (the one by Butler in the Super Bowl). Passing meant more than a 60% chance of success, compared to only 20% with Lynch running the ball.

5. A “wasted play” increased the chance of keeping Brady off the field. Because the Patriots did not take a timeout, the wasted play needed to be a pass because the Seahawks only had one timeout. Running out of time was still a concern.
6. A pick and slant is a very safe play; there is little risk of a sack and wasting more clock. Only a magical play could stop the Seahawks. Butler did what less than 1% of other players have done this season.

Criticizing Pete Carroll, in retrospect, only undermines the incredible play made by Malcolm Butler. Fewer plays are more impressive, and play call criticism distracts from an unforgettable moment in NFL history.

Stats source: http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/102175/inside-seattles-decision-to-pass-from-the-1

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I’m struck that commentators still fail to add a disclaimer — distinguishing between news and speculation. The real story here is us — namely, the nature of poor news coverage and the desire to skewer someone as soon as possible.

Whether this was accidental, willful ignorance, or purposeful, we as the public simply don’t know. In any case, there are far more possibilities than commentators would have us think.
My guess, and only a guess, is simply that no one checked the air pressure at all — just like we don’t empirically test balls in other sports.

Many merely assumed that everything was okay. If that’s the case, then ethically, negligence has always been considered a lesser offense than conspiracy.

There was a safe assumption (because few honestly cared), and according to Brady, the balls were randomly selected out of a bag. This process was described by Drew Bledsoe (Brady’s predecessor and former rival) during an interview today, and there’d be no reason to stop this process of random selection. The QB reaches in a bag and selects the ones he likes; no NFL quarterback has an air pressure gauge in his back pocket to test each football. He assumes.

Again, that’s not to excuse anyone — merely to remind us that the media is not exactly known for being perfect. In the meantime, we might guess, but we should hold back judgment. Maybe my guess is way off, but at least I label it as a guess. We should demand that reporters do the same.

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Regarding Brady and Belichick, my thought is that they were “willfully ignorant.” That still leaves them culpable to some degree, of course, but it allows them to honestly say that “I did not know.” For some reason, the reporters did not push that point harder. The “process” of preparing the footballs was still quite vague, even at the end of the press conference.

Brady said he selected the footballs out of a grouping. Of course, he’s not testing PSI (no one would expect that), but if there were 20 footballs, he could easily select the 12.5, 12.0, 11.5, or 11.0 ones. He would “not know” in a sense; he just knew that he selected ones that felt right. After months, the ball boy would never need to be told; he would simply know that deflated ones made his boss happy. It would seem that strange number — 11 out of 12 — would confirm this. No one was explicitly told to deflate them, but by “defined chance,” Brady happened to select the lower PSI balls from the group.

Brady may have been honest during the press conference. After all, he played better in the second half with the inflated balls, so maybe he didn’t notice during the activity of the game. I would normally be suspicious, but if the referees did not notice, then the difference is pretty subtle. He may have planned his willful ignorance before the game, but really, no one pressed him about that.

I’m surprised the referees haven’t been grilled more. It’d probably be too risky to deflate them on the sidelines, so my guess is that the “football checker” was also negligent. But who could blame him? It’s such an unexpected thing to happen that he probably just checked them by hand.

That’s a lot of speculation, but willful ignorance is a way to “tell the truth” and “ignorantly” cross the line.

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No one ever told me that my heart would feel this way.

Even the strongest Christians have their weak moments, but the sins of a friend can be depressing.  Indeed, many times, a friend’s sin weighs even more than our own sin.  We see evil from an outside perspective, and in small measure, we experience how God must feel.

It feels like heavy snow upon the heart.  You watch as a friend delights in the world and buries their life in sin.  You hope they will stop,  come around, and realize what they are doing.  You wonder what will happen next.  You wonder if they know God at all.  You pray that God will have mercy on another soul.

But rather than casting the sin out of our minds, acting as if it never happened, it is good to have heavy hearts.  Scripture tells us to restore sinners in a “spirit of gentleness,” as if we were surgeons operating on our own child.  When it comes to sin, we are dealing with something far more serious than we realize.

Furthermore, we can be susceptible to the same sins, so Scripture warns us to “keep watch on yourself” (Galatians 6:1).  When we are apathetic or brash towards other people’s sin, we disregard Scripture and endanger ourselves, so God reminds us to feel the weight and tread lightly.

As you think of a friend or a relative who has made some poor decisions, take a moment to intercede for them and pray for your own strength

 

photo credit: i k o via photopin cc

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It is important to apply Colossians 3:23 to all aspects of life. In that verse, Paul reminds us that “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men.” In other words, our work should be defined by maximum effort and the right motives.

Many of us miss the mark in one way or the other. Some people become accustomed to their situation, becoming overly comfortable, and slow down in their efforts. They may have good earthly reasons, such as a lack of pay or a mean boss, but they forget the ultimate purpose of their work. Other people work hard, but for the wrong reasons. They work to please men instead of the Lord, and in so doing, get distracted from the goal.

A.W. Tozer pointed out that we often live out of fear. We choose the easy route (fearing hard labor) or the common route (fearing opposition from others). In reality, the best choices in life are usually difficult and unpopular.

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Barak Obama’s shining moment in the State of the Union debate, and possibly the only memorable moment for the public, was his insistent call for a vote on gun legislation. His tactic —  repeating how those affected by gun violence “deserve a vote” — emerged out of necessity and sagacity. Here are two quick lessons that we can learn from the address:

Necessity. Polarization (whether in the workplace, home, or church) prohibits meaningful dialogue, and those who sincerely want change will seek to build consensus. While some will critique Obama’s mention of real-life victims for emotional effect, the point is that real-life issues require a response rather than no response at all.

Sagacity. Effective leadership calls people beyond where they, but never beyond what than they can handle. Our violent-ridden and blood-infatuated society does not want to deal with the deeper issues at hand, but certainly all reasonable people can agree to vote. After all, if you can’t vote, what are you afraid of?  Using subtly for effect, understatement attempts to move people toward a response.

Apart from politics, all of us can learn from the rhetoric used in Obama’s fifth State of the Union address.  Whether you are a leader, a parent, an overseer, or a preacher, the 2013 SOTU should remind us of the need for consensus and the brilliance of understatement.

 

 

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Leaders should develop vision by “reading” three key areas:

Read situations.  Rather than ignoring the current situation, leaders should read the context.  Visions are not formed in a vacuum, apart from community, nor are visions cookie-cutters that can be applied to any situation.  It is essential to take into account the immediate context.  Vision not only looks to the future, but takes into account the present.

Read hearts.  Too many leaders die on the battlefield of their own ideas rather than taking into account the people they lead. An effective leader leads people towards change, but that change must start with reading people’s hearts, otherwise it might be change that people don’t really need.  Just as a heart surgeon asses the condition of a heart, so must church leaders asses a congregation before determining next steps.

Read people.  Church leaders must recognize that God’s Spirit is working within people’s hearts.  For that reason, vision should not be established by a single individual, such as a lead pastor.  Instead, leaders should value what God is already doing and trust that God will bring about the change.  To develop a vision, church leaders must ask questions, listen to people’s stories, determine strengths and weaknesses, and discover how God is already working within the community.

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2 Tim 2:14
Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.

Pastors and church leaders are called to be spiritual “reminderers.” The goal of ministry is not to invent new ideas or new teachings. Instead, men and women need to be reminded what God had already communicated. And when it comes to quarreling, a reminder is what we need.

The reminder not to quarrel is presented before God Himself. God is the authority here, not man. The reason for not quarreling is not ultimately for ourselves, in other words, but because of God.

Quarreling matters to God because it is against His own character. Within the Trinity, the three persons do not argue but exist in perfect unity. Love and respect are made possible in the world because love and respect first existed within God. Rather than condemning or quarreling with us, God displayed His love to the world. (John 3:16-17)

The warning in 2 Timothy 2:14 is not to quarrel about words. This does not mean we should drop out of school, burn our dictionaries, or stop discussing important matters. The warning concerns trivial arguments that damage others. Because of the sin that so easily entangles us, even healthy debates can go astray and, sometimes within seconds, turn into worthless quarrels. As soon as we depart from loving communication in order to prove a point, we sin against others and against God.

In other words, as men and women, we often engage in arguments that do not help the people around us, but ruin them. We need reminders not to quarrel because if we are honest with ourselves we sometimes prioritize arguments over people. As followers of Christ, however, we are called to re-examine our motives, cease from pointless debates, and pursue peaceful and constructive conversations with one another.

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Useful tips for meeting objectives in any organization, including the local church:

1. Define purpose and mission.
2. Assess strengths and weaknesses.
3. Write specific and measurable objectives.
4. Work towards general agreement.
5. Maintain a reasonable work load.
6. Develop strategies for using resources.
7. Practice accountability.
8. Design long and short range plans.
9. Be willing to change.
10. Measure progress.

(adapted from Kenneth Gangel, Feeding and Leading)