LEADERS ARE READERS – MY TOP TEN LEADERSHIP BOOKS

My friend Steve Barnett who runs St Andrew’s Bookshop has asked me to put together my top ten recommended books on Leadership. This is very hard! There are more books on leadership than anything other than romantic fiction. Thankfully as I never read the latter I have lots of time to spend on the former, so here goes (these are just Christian ones, when I teach on Transformational Leadership at Westminster Theological Centre I have many more eclectic, business focused and academic suggestions for students too). I’d love to know which ones you would add to the list? Leadership Axioms Bill Hybels Willow Creek’s founder distils decades of leadership at the sharp end on issues such as envisioning others, people skills, financing the dream and releasing the power of everyone. My favourite axiom? ‘Don’t say anybody else’s no for them.’ 76 short chapters to dip in and out of over and over again. Down to earth and actionable – itself a model for leaders and communicators. The 360 Degree Leader John Maxwell I was going to say I’ve read everything Maxwell […]


BE A BOTH/AND CHURCH – Dave Smith (Kingsgate)

Face the challenge – and seize the opportunity. How? Hold together attractional and missional Both/and Come and see and Go and share church From the outside in AND Equip to go from the inside out. Because we want to see the multitudes around us saved! COME AND SEE This isn’t new and invented by Willow Creek! It’s in the OT. Isaiah 2. The mountain of the Lord that many peoples come to it! Direction there = outside in. Temple, tabernacle. Jesus, the Word became flesh – tabernacle among us. So – ‘Come and see’ is there in the gospel. Jesus is the living temple. Acts 2, and 11. Multitudes converted to the new temple – US! Living stones. We have to rediscover the wonder of gathering as God’s people and increase our expectation of what can happen when people ‘come and see’ a church alive! Full of the presence of the living God in the gathering. This needs INVITATION. Someone bold enough to say ‘Come and see.’ We want to be part of God building something that people come and see. […]


QuickBlog; Your Brain’s Appetite

The brain’s appetite for energy is enormous. The brain represents only about 2 percent of most people’s body weight, yet it accounts for about 20 percent of the body’s total energy usage— about 10 times more than would be expected. When the brain is fully working it uses more energy per unit of tissue weight than a fully exercising quadricep. In fact, the human brain cannot simultaneously activate more than 2 percent of its neurons at any one time. More than this, and the glucose supply becomes so quickly exhausted that you will faint. Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School (p. 20). Pear Press. Kindle Edition. (These quickblogs are from things I read and find interesting – feel free to comment or share if you do too!) By the way the answer to how to fuel your brain better now is NOT to get some glucose from a can of soda. Exercise creates new pathways so your brain works more efficiently.  


How To REALLY Change The World?

I love a good TED talk and this one is awesome – you have to click on the link up there or here.  It turns so much of how we think about changing the world through charities and non profits (including the church!) on its head. Or perhaps the right way round? There are some very challenging thoughts from Dan Pollotta here. but I found myself saying “YES! YES! YES!” at various points. Here are my favourite quotes – what do you think? “People are weary of being asked to do the least they can possibly do, people are yearning to measure the full distance of their potential on behalf of the causes they care about deeply. But they have to be asked.” “When you prohibit failure you kill innovation.”  “We confuse morality with frugality.”  “Our generation does not want our epitaph to read, ‘We kept overheads low…. we want it to read that we changed the world.”  “Next time you look at a charity don’t look at the rate of their overhead, ask about the scale of their dreams.”


Have A Better 2018 The Tim Ferris Way – Without Resolutions

Fascinating post at the end of Tim Ferris’ 5 Bullet Friday about what he says when asked about New Years resolutions. My first book was called ‘The Don’t Have To Do List’ so this resonates – I’m going to try a PYR this weekend instead – not so much about people though, but reviewing my projects and priorities.  The truth is that I don’t make them anymore, even though I did for decades. Why the change? First, I realized that without accountability to someone else, resolutions rarely get accomplished. This led me to experiment with working with a close friend to mutually assign each other resolutions (with deadlines), which worked. Second, I have found “past year reviews” (PYR) more informed, valuable, and actionable than blindly looking forward with resolutions. It looks like the following and only takes 30-60 minutes: Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE. Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week. For each week, jot down on the pad any people and activities that triggered peak positive or negative emotions […]


Leader – Don’t Accept The Default!

What internet browser do you use? Why would it matter? I was reading a fascinating book, Originals by Prof Adam Grant, a fifteen year study on creativity, looking at who makes breakthroughs in every area of life, science, the arts and business, nobel prize winners and so on. He cites a study of an office, a sales environment – where they picked out fairly easily the individuals who were pushing things forward. People who had longevity in post, stuck at their tasks longest and who ‘took the initiative to see the vision fulfilled.’ They looked for similarities. They couldn’t find any. There were all sorts of backgrounds, shapes and sizes. Then on a whim someone looked what internet browsers everyone used – and was stunned! Because the ones who used Chrome or Firefox stayed at their jobs 15% longer than those who used Internet Explorer or Safari. They missed work 19% less. They also performed way higher – making shorter calls, but lots more sales. They rated themselves happier, their customers rated them better. So what made the difference? They […]


The Most Hated Machine At The Gym – Measures To Motivate

I started my talk at the LAUNCH conference by talking about this machine. Two years ago, overweight and with blood pressure on the rise, I stepped on it and held the handles. There are lots of machines in the gym but I hated this one, because the readings were not pretty. I was 50 but the machine said I had the body of a 51 year old. What do you do? Resign yourself to the inevitable? Go to the cafe at the gym and buy a donut? Resolve to never go on that machine again? Or – CHANGE. I stopped some things, and I started some things. That’s a strategy. Dietary changes. I got coached toward a new exercise plan – and worked it. I stopped drinking alcohol (that’s a lot of sugar!). I drink a lot of water. This changed my results. I went on the machine today. 2 years on, my ‘metabolic age’ is 36. If I carry on, in a few years time I’ll be 21!  Maybe not. But with all the hard work of the conference […]


5 Keys To Lead Yourself And Others – Floyd Woodrow TEDx Video; Skills Of Leadership

Before we’re even 2 minutes into this TedX talk, Floyd Woodrow starts to unpack the 5 key virtues leaders need to unleash potential. There’s so much packed into this, imagine how much you’d get out of a day being coached by this incredible leader? I just got off the phone with this former SAS Major to discuss the training days he is doing for us and I was so excited to be planning ‘The Warrior, The Strategist And You’ event here in Manchester’s Hotel Football event on 2nd December. Take one day before this year ends for you and your team to get the direction and map you need and the action steps that will take you forward into 2018 and beyond! The whole of Ivy’s leadership is booked in so we can plan how we move forward together and I‘d love you to join us. This event is not a ‘religious’ thing but open and accessible to everyone wherever you want to lead, and whether you or your guest would describe yourself as a person of faith. Lunch provided – […]


‘Become a PASSIONARY!’ Get Ready For Jossy Chacko. (1 minute video)

“There are opportunities all around you to enlarge your vision! But only people who have a vision of growing and multiplying will see it. If your vision is just to keep what you have you will not see those opportunities around you.” So says Jossy Chacko, one of the keynote speakers I’m delighted will join us at LAUNCH (in partnership with Exponential), here in Manchester, November 13-15th – just seven weeks from now! The link below is a snippet from what many called a standout talk of last year’s Willow Creek leadership summit. Watch the short clip to find out what a ‘Passionary’ is, and join us with your team at to LAUNCH – to become one!


VIDEO: What can we learn from the Special Forces about building teams that win?

This is from my recent teaching at the Ivy’s staff and elder’s day. It creates a summary of the incredible learning from a great leadership book we are embedding in our culture; One Mission by Chris Fussell. In this video I outline issues such as; What’s wrong with traditional management? Why worked in the C20th that’s not working today? How do we go beyond creating and filling roles in organisations and instead create an organic culture where people volunteer their best? How do you resist silos and create a hybrid ‘team of teams’ that wins; a networked bureaucracy? What is ’empowered execution’? The power of defining and aligning around your ONE MISSION. I believe this has the potential to be one of the most important leadership texts of our day, I encourage you to buy it and implement its learnings in your business, organisation OR CHURCH!