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More background on this at CMS Pioneer Mission Leadership Training
I can see an immediate use for this as part of an RE day we're running soon.
For the last year and a half The Financial Times has been asking business leaders a few questions, including, "What are your three worst features?" On the BBC web site in "The seven deadly sins CEOs won't admit" Lucy Kellaway looks at the findings.
There seems to be a general trait of spinning failings as strengths. Control-freakery can be presented as attention to detail or passion for the core vision; impatience might be justified as sustaining a cutting edge or ensuring you ship on time. You think you're focused - your team see you as a bully. You know the kind of thing... you've probably struggled at some point with this kind of leadership. Perhaps, deep down, you know you're that leader.
"In the past 15 years of studying them, I've drawn up a list of the seven most common deadly sins. They are control freaks. They are vain. They are ditherers. They don't listen. They are bullies. They are afraid of conflict. And they can't do small talk. I suspect the real problem is they don't know what their faults are. A decade of psychobabble, coaching and 360-degree feedback has made no difference."
Ouch. I recognise some of myself in a few of those. But here's what I think is at the heart of the matter;
"It has not changed the most basic truth - people never speak truth to power."
Within CYO we've had a system for many years where team members have a pastoral mentor from local churches that they meet with once a month. These people are in first or second tier church leadership and have complete permission to speak to any other team member, including me, about any concerns they have. And any team member can speak to any of our trustees if they wish. Of course, as a first recourse we still encourage people to be open with each other, incuding about any behaviours that are challenging. But giving people an alternative safety valve helps them feel safe, and means I can't hide behind a positive spin on a negative behaviour.
How do you manage your 'blind side'?
Update - I gather there's a chance you will find AoF busking (with permission!) in these places on the afternoon of the gig.
Friday 1st July - Hooga, Chelmsford
Saturday 2nd July - The Pickerel, Stowmarket
Sunday 3rd July - Bar 62, St Albans
Monday 4th July - Barrio Central, in Soho
Tuesday 5th July - The Herschel Arms, Slough
Wednesday 6th July - Global Café, Reading
Thursday 7th July - The Porter, Bath
Friday 8th July - The Emperor, Cambridge
Fewer numbers; greater depth. We're contiuing to see students engaging seriously with Sanctum in lessons and, in answer to our prayers, numbers at break and lunch time have consistently been 8-10. In amongst the deep conversations about life and faith there's also been loads of humour. Yesterday one boy wrote on the Big Question activity; "Why did you make me so damn sexy?!" which turned into a discussion with his mates responding in terms of how God made us and how he sees all of us.
Today I chatted with Alan over the 'character' activity. He'd chosen as his top three attributes, "Love", "Joy", and "Strength". Alan saw strength as something that's more than just physical but also mental which led on to a conversation about whether it's possible to have spiritual strength. His conclusion was that he really hoped to have a strong faith as he grew up.
Later Stu, a Year 13 who has only one A level exam left, came in during a year 8 lesson simply to spend time at the prayer wall leaving a prayer for a friend who's going through a difficult time.
We've also had some of the secretarial staff popping in and taking part. With two days still to go I'm excited to see how this week concludes. If there's one thing that's proved true, it's all about the individuals.
(Names have been changed)
The summer season of Sanctum kicked off on Monday at Colchester Royal Grammar School, our third annual visit here.
A few weeks ago we prayed about this visit of Sanctum. Although we probably shouldn't be surprised by these things, all three of us felt God was saying exactly the same thing about our approach this time, "It's not about the numbers." This has two practical implications. The first is that we've chosen activities that have a particularly personal application. The second is that we're limiting the maximum number in the room at break and lunch times to 10 and not recording the number of students visiting.
As a result there's a very different feel to the room. People have really engaged with it and we've already had some good conversations with quite a few students. One of the surprise successes, in terms of activities that young people report to be meaningful and helpful, is the prayer beads. Take a glass bead, hold it as you pray, then add it to others in a bowl.
The CO1 Youth Cafe opened recently in Colchester in the redundant Holy Trinity Church right in the centre of the town. It's a triumph of faith in a vision and persistence in implementation as it's taken over ten years to get to this stage, but finally the doors are open.
It's now our venue of choice for meeting people in town and, athough slightly biased, I can heartily recommend it. The obvious sense of space and natural light give it an ambience that no other cafe can match and there are also tables and chairs outside, under the shade of the ancient yew trees and overloked by the splendid Saxon tower.
We (CYO) are looking forward to working with CO1 as the project develops over the next few months.
For history buffs, Holy Trinity Church is one of the oldest buildings in the town, parts of which date back to about 1000AD.