Dick Hardy

Dick Hardy, Pastoral Leadership Consultant, writes:

From time to time all of us have situations that create the opportunity for a challenging conversation. No one likes it, but it’s a reality – unless you’re a monk!

With the advancement of technology over the last decade, it’s easier than ever to ignore a phone call and therefore ignore a conversation you know that you need to have but would rather avoid.

I suppose most folks reading this far do return phone calls, right? If so I say, ‘Hats off to you!’ At the same time, maybe you’re the type who would rather ignore the call and wait until they call back next time, but will you answer the phone then? Really you just hope they go away!
Leadership and ministry necessitate a level of professionalism that includes returning phone calls and being willing to speak truthfully despite how hard it may be. Is this an area where you could improve?

Regardless of the nature of the phone call, it’s always courteous to return it if you cannot answer it immediately. Here are four reasons why you should return phone calls:

1. You can help someone out
Unless it is a social call, when someone calls you they want something or they have information for you, right? When they want something, you may or may not be able to help them. In most cases, if they are calling you, likely you will at least partially be able to help them.

Yes, it requires your time, but if you have ability to help someone you should.

2. You demonstrate professionalism
One of the most disrespectful actions happens when one person reaches out to another who never responds. If someone leaves you a voicemail, call him or her back. Having the courtesy to return phone calls exhibits a strength and professionalism that all people in leadership and ministry must attain.

To do any less is unprofessional and disrespectful.

3. People can handle your response
It’s hard for many leaders to say ‘No.’ That is a big issue. So rather than return a phone call and say that word we don’t want to say, we just don’t call them back at all. ‘They’ll get the picture,’ we tell ourselves. Sorry to tell you but that lacks professional courtesy.

In fact, I’ll call it just plain wimpy! Whatever the situation, people can handle your response. Don’t allow your fear to reject someone’s request prevent a return phone call.

Mobile phone

4. You don’t know the future
I know pastors who only return calls to people or other pastors they know or are considered ‘somebody’ in the church world. In essence, they are communicating that anyone ‘less important’ is not worthy to take up their time.

Here’s the thing – you don’t know the future! Someday the ‘less important’ individuals will have something to offer. I’m reminded of the Lowell Lundstrom song from when I was a kid, ‘Be nice to the little guy on his way up because you’ll meet him on your way down.’

Leadership and ministry are all about people, and one form of communication among people occurs through phone calls. Returning phone calls is essential to your success as an individual, and your professional reputation rests on it.

How can you go wrong? Even in the hardest of conversations, at least you can know you have done what is right. In the end, you will be glad you did!

Question: Had a situation in the past where you were thankful you returned a phone call?

Dick Hardy, Springfield, Mo, USA, believes that leaders can grow and church doesn’t have to be what it always has been. See Resources for his dynamic book, Right Turns. The Hardy Group highly recommended link: http://www.thehardygroup.org



David Cheah

Graphics consultant David Cheah shares:

I came across this article recently – Infographic The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology

http://www.infographicscreator.com/2014/05/22/infographic-the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-teachers-who-use-technology/ – and decided to do a take on what these habits could be for Highly Spiritual Teachers who use technology effectively.

I think they would share very similar traits with those in the article, just with a bit more emphasis on soul-healing and spiritual-unravelling. Just my thoughts, so feel free to chip in with comments and remarks.

Habit #1: They are always inspired (and inspiring)
Firstly, they are always in search of divine inspiration and seek to stimulate and engage using technology for the right reasons and outcomes. And more often than not, the outcome is to point to spirituality and challenge their mentees (is there such a word?) to ask questions and seek further enlightenment.

People see them and what do they see? – A spiritual sojourner.

Habit #2: They care
That one word says it all – care. They care that their audience learn, are interested and inspired enough to do something about what they’ve seen or heard. They enthuse, cajole, encourage, rebuke and mentor incessantly to get the point across. And their points must always open new doors, new thinking and bigger perspectives.

It all starts from a spirit of caring. They are addicted to spirituality and everything they do imparts a little bit of that addiction to the people they meet and touch.

Habit #3: They are magical
Everything they do, they do it with panache. That’s crucial because confidence is contagious, and when you’re taking people outside their comfort zones, you need to imbibe in them a sense of ‘I can do it too’ – otherwise, that becomes a form of dis-empowerment.

What’s the definition of magical? Well, it’s only magic because you don’t know how it’s done, right? Try http://www.iphoneincanada.ca/news/ios-magician-magic-wipe-app/ – anyone can do magic with technology… And magic is literally the magic wand to break down the barriers of ignorance.

Habit #4: They are absolutely, fantabulously, madly, truly and deeply serendipitous
Did I emphasise that enough? There is no greater responsibility and opportunity than that which arises out of a questing mind and heart. Serendipity – a talent for making fortunate discoveries while searching for other things. And we all have to make our own luck these days, right? So, to improve our luck, we must have at our fingertips (literally) a huge toolbox of ideas, resources and cool stuff to keep stimulating and engaging questing young minds.

A highly spiritual educator who uses technology effectively is always collecting, organising and looking for opportunities to turn the spark into a flaming inferno. There are many tools around to help you.

Habit #5: They are seminal
There are too many useful and appropriate definitions for the word seminal for me to list here, but if you’re keen to explore – click here. What I am interested in though is to focus on the ability and opportunity to ‘seed’ for the far future. Think back on your own journey, who and what was the scenario that had made a significant and lasting impact on your values and character?

How did technology play a part? In my own journey, these ‘seminal moments’ have been seeded long ago and are triggered when I face certain life-scenarios. As educators, we have the opportunity to do the same and create a future legacy. But, how will we do it? Begin with the end in mind and discover what makes people think.

Habit #6: They are vulnerable
Now, this may seem weird and counteract habit no 3 but like Woody said of Buzz in Toy Story, ‘That’s not flying, that’s falling – with style!’ Vulnerability is honesty, transparency and authenticity. The worst thing you could do as an educator is to try and show that technology is perfect and works exactly how it should all the time.

The same goes with spirituality. When you add them both together, you need to be vulnerable and open to learning yourself. This stance will be mirrored and give your mentees (that word again!) the opportunity to be vulnerable too and seek enlightenment. Being human is part of the spiritual journey. In my experience, the best way to involve and bring the learning into the personal and intimate realm of the audience is to encounter problems and together, we overcome them.

Tech failure or issues are cheap, and they happen all the time. But, in taking the audience on the journey and getting them involved, they learn and gain the confidence that you’re like them, and they’re like you. That is the best form of empowerment I’ve ever known.

Habit #7: They always end with the why
I am a firm believer that as an educator, the class or workshop is the beginning, not the end of learning. That’s why I think every educator should use technology to stimulate and engage, but the trick is to keep the engagement going after the class or workshop is finished.

And that’s the reason I say, ‘Educators must always end the learning with a why.’ And the ‘why’ must be able to be personal and different for everyone. To do this, educators need to think about the What-How-Who-Why in the lesson and utilise the technology in a way that leads the learners along that path.

Want to change the world?
And there you have it, my thoughts on the matter.

If you’re looking for more guidance and tips, here’s a PDF Apple has just issued for Teachers  

Click to access L523172A_EDU_App_Guide_062013.pdf

– it’s a guideline for using the iPad and what you should consider when selecting the right apps to use. Very comprehensive and refreshing, if you ask me.

Mobile surfing

Here’s an additional bonus for those of you who wants to change the world – it’s a design toolkit for educators developed by one of the leading designers on the planet, IDEO – follow this http://www.designthinkingforeducators.com/. Enjoy!




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