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“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” So began a brief talk by Dr. Owen Phelps at the first Benefactors Mass & Brunch for the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute on Saturday, Aug. 10, at St. James Parish in Rockford, IL. His words echoed those of Dick Kunnert, a Yeshua board member, Senior Fellow and Master Facilitator who served as master of ceremonies at the brunch. Before the brunch Father Dave Beauvais, also a Yeshua board member, served as celebrant and homilist at the Mass. In addition to leading prayers for all of the Institute’s benefactors, he took the occasion to thank t...

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(Lord) when did we see you … in prison, and visit you? (Matt 25:39) Maybe it’s hard to picture a county jail as God’s vineyard. But a team of Lead Like Jesus Facilitators in Rockford, IL, will tell you that’s exactly what it is – and that it inevitably yields a rich bounty for the Lord. They should know. For the last nine years, they’ve been regularly facilitating Lead Like Jesus Encounters for Winnebago County Jail inmates. In all, they have led 86 Encounters that have reached more than 1500 incarcerated men. The team uses ecumenical materials from Lead Like Jesus, but the ...

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Whenever people interact, some conflict is inevitable. We can’t avoid it. In fact, trying to avoid all conflict can be a trap that impedes the development of healthy organizations – including parishes. When handled well, conflict can actually become an opportunity for greater parish growth and health. Thus, leaders need to see each conflict as an opportunity for improvement. It helps them to realize that there are two kinds of conflict -- task conflict and relationship conflict. Relationship conflict is the toxic version. But interestingly, it often arises because we don’t adequately address t...

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One of our friends and advocates, Father Mike Mendl, SDB, recently referred us to a concise article about three leadership styles: Dictator; Best friend; and, Ghost. The first two styles are self-explanatory. To learn more about the third, you’ll have to read the article – which we highly recommend. The author quickly outlines the pros and cons of each leadership style, giving the reader a handy guide to navigate each of the styles. Of course, it’s important to remember that these three styles of leadership don’t begin to cover the options a leader has in relating to his or her ...

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The Yeshua Institute’s first Benefactors Mass & Brunch, scheduled Saturday, Aug. 10, at St. James Parish in Rockford, IL, will feature Javis Mugagga, our Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Master Facilitator from Uganda. Mugagga oversees Encounters and special programs for seminarians, high school and college students, and married couples. Most of the programs are in Kampala, but his outreach to seminarians covers all the archdioceses and dioceses in Uganda. Father David Beauvais, a member of the Yeshua Institute Board of Directors and a Master Facilitator, will be celebrant at the Mass, which begins at...

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‘Offering advice is a sign of good leadership, and asking for advice is a sign of intelligence. If the exchange goes well, both parties benefit.’ By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute By now we should all know that how we do things is at least as important as what we are doing. In fact, sometimes the how is more important than the what. That’s the case, according to Harvard researcher, when it comes to asking for advice – and giving it. Asking “Can I pick your brain?” is not the best way to get the process started. “The whole interaction is a subtle ...

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There are two kinds of change: technical and adaptive. As a rule, the former is easy and the latter is complex and difficult. But adaptive change is the kind of change we need in our parishes today. And it’s also the kind of change Pope Francis is constantly calling us to. Dr. Dan Ebener discusses the complex realities of leading adaptive change in parishes and how to foster the virtues that permit us to guide our parishes in stormy seas in the fifth of a series of eight webinars offered free by the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute. In the series, Dr. Dan Ebener focuses on the insights o...

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As the nation – indeed, the world – celebrates the 50th anniversary of a “small step for man, a giant leap for mankind,” Yeshua Facilitator David Coe shares the story of another kind of small step that turned out to be a great leap both for a single man and for many of his neighbors. The story of John, is the story of a man who decided to let the Spirit lead him and found his life turned wonderfully upside down. John was an ordinary middle class guy, happily employed and reasonably secure. But then one day he was reading a history of the early church and he felt uncomfortable that he wasn&rsqu...

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Every parish is a manifestation of the Body of Christ – which is to say it is a living, breathing, organic and interdependent reality that requires the development of interactive communications skills throughout the body. These skills include facilitation, listening and dialogue. Fostering these vital interactive skills starts with those in ministry and administrative posts, who model the behaviors that build up the parish body so that it is a source of inspiration, guidance and engagement for parish members. In the fourth of an 8-part free webinar series, Dr. Dan Ebener focuses on the insights of his newest...

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By Owen Phelps Director, Yeshua Institute I heard the words again Sunday in Verona, WI. One of my granddaughters, Nicole, was giving a graduation speech before an audience of several thousand. It was quite an honor because she had been chosen for this task by her classmates. If she was nervous I couldn’t tell. Her voice was strong and expressive. Soon enough I heard some very, very familiar words. They were absolutely unexpected ... and brought a tear to my eye. Her words took me back to a night many decades ago when I was a young father back home visiting my parents and siblings for the holidays. As was ...

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It’s not easy to be a consistently committed Jesus-like S3 Leader – a servant, steward and shepherd. In fact, it’s impossible if we don’t work at it. One way to stay on the path is for us to conduct little self-exams regarding our motivations, our perspectives and our behaviors. Here are some questions to ask yourself about your motivations. As you consider them, ask yourself if you are doing them rarely, once in a while, frequently or consistently. In each case, if you aren’t consistent yet, try to move in that direction. If you conduct this self-exam on a regular basis, you can c...

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By Dick Kunnert Yeshua Fellow and Board Member (Editor’s note: Among the many ways he has served his parish and diocesan church over several decades, Dick was Victims’ Assistance Coordinator for the Rockford Diocese for many years.) After almost two decades of disclosures regarding the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, the challenges of Catholic laity persist and grow. Among the key questions we are asking: How do we understand the personal and corporate failures of the Catholic Church in our times? How do we handle our thoughts and feelings that arise from the sense of betrayal, both...

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By Owen Phelps, Pd.D. Director, Yeshua Institute I’m not often tempted to pat myself on the back. At my age, I should know better. It would make my shoulder hurt. (Don’t ask me how I know that.) Nonetheless, if I’m ever tempted to try – again – another simple but painful experience should deliver me from the temptation. Despite more than a decade devoted to teaching people how to be Jesus-like S3 Leaders, when it comes to me being one myself, I’m not there … yet. How do I know? There is a famous prayer composed by St. Ignatius of Loyola called Suscipe (Latin for &ld...

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It’s important for parish leaders to be actively engaged in forming a dynamic parish, but it’s not enough. Leaders also have to engage their parishioners – and that’s the focus on the third in an 8-part series of free webinars offered by the Yeshua Institute. Pastoral leaders need to foster a culture of engagement in their parishes. And the key to doing that is to foster voluntary ways that enhance the engagement of parishioners. But Dan cautions that the task can actually be more difficult when leading from a position of authority. In this webinar you’ll learn how to avoid the pitfalls ...

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After 35 years as a leader in business, mostly in the cable TV industry, Terry St. Marie has some sound advice to people taking on new leadership positions. We can distill it down to just a handful of observations: Even after a lot of formal education and careful observation, when you begin leading others you have a lot more to learn. So first and foremost, never lose your desire to keep learning. Then learn how to make stress your friend. Do a lot of “people learning” because no two people are alike and you’ll lose more sleep over people problems than anything else – and find mentors t...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute A Jesus-like Leader is an S3 Leader – a Servant, Steward and Shepherd. But before we get caught up in some abstract concept of optimal leadership, let’s put the whole idea in a very concrete context. Do you make the development of those you lead a primary part of your mission as a leader? That question is a great litmus test of your sincere commitment to be a Jesus-like Leader – a true Servant, Steward and Shepherd. Parenting obvious The answer to this question for those in parenting leadership roles should be as easy as it is obvious. Of ...

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The vital leadership challenge of Engaging Hearts and Minds in Your Parish is the title of the second in an 8-part series of free webinars offered by the Yeshua Institute. In the series, Dr. Dan Ebener focuses on the insights of his newest book, Pastoral Leadership: Best Practices for Church Leaders, published by Paulist Press. The book is targeted to everyone involved in parish leadership at any level – from pastor to active volunteer. Ebener is author of four books and dozens of articles on leadership – and teaches in the Master of Organizational Leadership Program at St. Ambrose University in Davenport...

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The Yeshua Institute has released an 8-part series of free webinars with the theme Better Leaders, Better Parishes. The Yeshua Institute has offered several single webinars in the past six months, but the release of this collection of webinars marks the first time that the institute has offered a complete series of programs on a single topic. Presented by Dr. Dan Ebener, the series’ content is based on Dan’s new book, Pastoral Leadership: Best Practices for Church Leaders. “We’re really excited to make this series so accessible for people in parish ministry all over the world,” says D...

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There are four things you can do to build healthy relationships on the job – and to help yourself grow from being regarded as a taskmaster to being considered a genuine leader. The difference? When dealing with taskmasters, we’re inclined to focus on and achieve minimums. With a leader, we tend to commit ourselves to doing our best. Over the long haul that’s a huge difference – so large it could be the difference between success and failure, or profit and loss. Joel Garfinkle, author of seven books, says the four key drivers in building healthy leader relationships are: Enhance trust ...

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Learn how to manage – even master -- conflict in all of your relationships during a free webinar Monday, April 29, at 1 p.m. Central Time, provided by the Yeshua Institute. Keith Borchers, founder and president of Evangelium Consulting Group, will share his knowledge and experience about how to use spirituality and trust to turn conflict into an asset instead of a liability in every relationship and organization -- from a friendship to a family, from a parish to a multinational corporation. Stomach pains? “For many people, just the mention of the word conflict can cause stomach pains,” Keith says...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute A couple of years ago I was sharing the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus with a Ministry Formation class when someone asked me: “What is the most difficult thing about helping people to become Jesus-like Leaders?” My brain told me I needed a moment to think about that. But my mouth blurted out an answer. “Getting people to realize and appreciate that God really does love them unconditionally.” And there it was. Out in front of God and everybody – or at least the 25 or so people in the room. I didn’t so much answer t...

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The Yeshua Institute is offering a free webinar that lay ministers and volunteers won’t want to miss. Called “You Are the Face of the Church: Ten Guidelines for Effective Ministry,” it will be webcast live Wednesday, April 10, at 1 p.m. CT. It will be presented by Ken Ogorek, a well-known speaker who also serves as Director of Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and is a consultant at Evangelium Consulting Group. Ken also served as recent president of the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL). He will provide participants with 10 guidelines for effective ministry and t...

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A Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter is scheduled Saturday, April 27, in Hendersonville, NC. “Everyone is a leader some of the time,” says Dr. Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Institute. “S³ Leadership Encounters are exciting opportunities to grow as a leader at home, at work, in your parish and in your communities while integrating your faith with your everyday life. The workshops have drawn praise from Catholic leaders and members around the world. In an Encounter, participants are introduced to the S³ Leading Like Jesus approach with a compelling mix of dramatic vide...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute At this point in Lent, with Easter coming quickly, it’s a good time to consider the challenge of letting go. It could be any number of things: Giving your children a little more independence and/or responsibility; Delegating some things to others at work who could be ready … or maybe not; Moving from your own home into a condo or assisted living arrangements because chores are getting to be too much. Whatever the circumstances, letting go is nearly always a challenge. So imagine what Jesus was feeling as his time to leave his disciple...

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One of our principles in The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus is “all of us are smarter than any of us.” And just to prove our principle, we have to tell you that it isn’t original with us. We borrowed it from Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager and co-founder of the Lead Like Jesus Movement. Thanks, Ken. Now we’d like to apply that principle to pastoral leadership – but we need your help to do it. Specifically, we need you to contribute best practices from your parish that we can share with the rest of our readership. If there is something that you or someone els...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Every once in a while there appears a book that pastoral leaders just have to have to both read and then keep handy on their bookshelves. Dr. Dan Ebener’s new book certainly qualifies. The fourth book he has written on leadership, Pastoral Leadership: Best Practices for Church Leaders is a book that anyone in pastoral leadership – from pastors to active volunteers – will want to read at least once, discuss with other people on the parish leadership team, and then go back and consult time and time again. It’s that good and it’s tha...

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A Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter will be held Saturday, April 27, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 208 7th Ave. W., in Hendersonville, NC. The Encounter is the Yeshua Institute’s keystone program for developing Jesus-like leaders at home, at work, in our communities and in our parishes. Dave Coe, a member of Immaculate Conception parish and a Certified Facilitator, will lead the day’s journey into the heart of being an S3 Leader – Servant, Steward and Shepherd – as Jesus led and taught his disciples to lead. The day-long program costs just $30, including lunch, sn...

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The Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute will offer a free webinar for ministry professionals called “You Are the Face of the Church.” The webinar will be presented Wednesday, April 10, at 1 p.m. CT by Ken Ogorek, Director of Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and a consultant at Evangelium Consulting Group. Ken also served as recent president of the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL), and is a well-known speaker on issues related to lay ministry, catechetics and organizational health. He will provide participants with 10 guidelines for effective ministry a...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute In sharing the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus, we introduce people to S3 Leadership: Servant, Steward and Shepherd. It’s the way Jesus led and taught his disciples to lead. It’s the way he wants all of us to lead – at home, at work, in our communities and in our parishes. Wherever we are, all of us are called to be leaders some of the time. So learning how to Lead Like Jesus is a critical skill for every follower of Christ. When we explain Servant Leadership, we note that the essence of this approach is behaving with the heartfelt con...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute It started out as an idea for how my wife, Jane, and I might do something together during Lent that would help us get to know the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles better – and also to better develop the heart and mind of Jesus, which is the real purpose of Lent. Then, the more I thought about it, the more I came to think that we ought to share our idea with you. Maybe its something you want to do with your spouse or a friend or even a small group that you’re in contact with on a daily basis. Here’s the idea: Through Lent we’re going to rea...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute The “vitals” regarding the Catholic Church in the U.S. today are not encouraging. Indeed, I’d call them downright scary. I’m not exactly sure how I would do it -- or even what it means -- but I’m tempted to recommend that we put the church on life support. For example, what would you think if I told you that less than a third of U.S. Catholics think priests are honest or ethical? That’s what a Gallup survey near the end of 2018 discovered No, I don’t have an axe to grind. And I’m not trying to throw brickbats ...

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The homilist at the Mass closing out the unprecedented Vatican summit on protecting young people from sexual abuse told his colleagues that the church needs a coversion not unlike the Copernican revolution that occurred in the 1500s. Nicolaus Copernicus discovered that the earth revolves around the sun – a revolutionary idea in a world that took it for granted that the earth was at the center of the universe. In a story reported by Catholic News Service, Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane told the pope and other bishops gathered at the summit that the church needs the same sort of revolution in it...

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The homilist at the Mass closing out the unprecedented Vatican summit on protecting young people from sexual abuse told his colleagues that the church needs a coversion not unlike the Copernican revolution that occurred in the 1500s. Nicolaus Copernicus discovered that the earth revolves around the sun – a revolutionary idea in a world that took it for granted that the earth was at the center of the universe. In a story reported by Catholic News Service, Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane told the pope and other bishops gathered at the summit that the church needs the same sort of revolution in it...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute This past Saturday I was on my way to teaching a diocesan ministry formation class about Leading Like Jesus when the car’s radio blared the news: by the action of Pope Francis, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was now no longer a priest either. In a statement issued earlier in the day in Rome, which is seven hours ahead of my local time, the Vatican said McCarrick had been dismissed from the priesthood after he was found guilty of several crimes -- including soliciting sex during confession and “sins” with minors and with adults, and “with ...

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When it comes to praying with the pope, there’s an app for that. It’s called “Click to Pray: Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network,” and Pope Francis introduced it Jan. 20 after praying the Angelus with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square. On the app people will find the pope’s monthly prayer intentions and requests. This month more than 4 million people have signed on to the free app. The prayer network, formerly called the Apostleship of Prayer, is a Jesuit-run outreach that has given Catholics the pope’s monthly prayer intentions since 1890.

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Shepherd leadership: Pope is on board

Posted on February 19, 2019 in: Articles

We believe that there is no better model for effective leadership than Jesus – and that he led as a Servant, Steward and Shepherd. That’s what we mean by S3 Leadership. At various times Pope Francis has spoken of leadership in the church in the context of servant, steward and shepherd – although we confess that we have been waiting for him to mention all three at the same time. We are still waiting. But in the meantime, he recently told bishops that they should lead as fathering shepherds, not overbearing administrators. He urged the bishops to follow the example of St. Oscar Romero, who modeled ...

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It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ [Jesus]. Phillipians 3:12 By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Whenever I think of the importance of learning – and growing – from mistakes, I think of a woman who was once on my staff whom I will call Alice because that wasn’t her name. Alice was pretty competent but she was woefully lacking in confidence. She blamed her psychologically abusive husband, whom she eventually left a...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute There was a time when the most common models in the work world were the solitary contributor and the very small team, usually no bigger than a family. In 1800, 83 percent of the American workforce worked on farms – small farms, family farms. One adult oversaw planting, cultivating and harvesting, perhaps with the help of children and possibly a hired hand. One adult handled preserving (canning) and cooking the harvest, perhaps with the help of children. Today ag workers make up just two percent of the workforce – and most of them are found on huge far...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Executive Director One of the biggest challenges we have at the Yeshua Institute is convincing people that everyone is a leader. “I’m sure your program is a great one, but it’s not for me.” “Why not?” we ask. “Because I’m not a leader,” comes the reply. We hear that all the time – and we always hear it from people who are, in fact, leaders. We hear it from parents. We hear it from teachers. We hear it from workers on the line. We hear it from retired folks. We hear it from stay-at-home moms. “I’m not a leader....

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute “Be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.” Ephesians 4:23-24 It’s still early enough in the New Year that maybe we haven’t abandoned all of our New Year’s Resolutions -- and perhaps we are still trying to chart our way through 2019. Thus, it’s a good time of the year to turn ourselves over to a little introspection. What does life mean? What does my life mean? What is my purpose in life? More immediately, what is my purpose in 2019? In...

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Almost lost between the feasts of Christmas and New Year is a Sunday with special meaning to Catholics. It’s the Feast of the Holy Family. “I confess,” says Dr. Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Institute, “that in all my years of growing up as the oldest of 10 children in a devout Catholic family, I never noticed that.” Today he looks forward to it as a great way to be reminded, as a New Year dawns, on what’s most important in the life of a parent – any parent. “Your roles as spouse and parent have to come first, before all other aspirations,” Phelps says. &...

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Most change slips past us virtually unnoticed. It’s only when we stumble across a huge change, often showing up as a crisis – or we look back on a period of several years and realize the earth has moved plenty under our feet. But as Bob Dylan proclaimed so many years ago, “The times they are a changing.” Yes, they are always changing, no matter how imperceptible that change may be. With most of the new year still ahead of us, Al Lopus, head of the Best Christian Workplaces Institute, focuses on the changes that will serve as major trends in the workplace in 2019. He outlines seven maj...

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2019: A new way of being church?

Posted on December 11, 2018 in: Articles

Be the change you want to see By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute There’s an evangelical church in my part of the world that likes to talk about “a new way to do church.” I get it. It’s an ultra-modern (or is that “post-modern”) way to speak. It will come in handy when we find time to “do lunch” together, right? Okay, I’ll spare you all that fad talk. But I do want to focus on a new way of being church that may be coming to your local diocese or parish soon. It’s a way of being church that Pope Francis has been promoting since long b...

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Matt Johns, a remarkable young person, will be our guest on the Yeshua Institute's free webinar Tuesday, Dec. 11, about “Attracting Young People to Greater Faith Development.” Matt is Assistant Vice President of Disaster Recovery Communications and Compliance at Catholic Charities of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese.  While that post has him focusing on things like recovery after Hurricane Harvey ripped the Texas coast, “disaster recovery might be exactly what we’re talking about when we discuss the relationship of young people to their church today,” says Dr. Owen Phelps, Dire...

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It’s been a rough year for Catholics. The retired former head of the Archdiocese of Washington resigned as a cardinal under charges of sexual abuse of a minor. Then the Archbishop of Washington resigned his post after charges he did not do enough to protect minors from predator priests in the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh before he went to Washington. In company with questions about leadership in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General released a searing report on clergy sexual abuse in 6 of that state’s dioceses – and how it was often mishandled by their leaders. Through it all we mourn the pain...

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The Yeshua Institute will sponsor a free webinar about “Attracting Young People to Greater Faith Development” on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The focus will be on reviewing highlights of the recent Bishops’ Synod on Young People and examining how a summer camp in Houston has helped teens connect their lives and their faith. The webinar will begin at 1:30 p.m. CST (2:30 p.m. EST, 12:30 p.m. MST and 11:30 a.m. PST). Dr. Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Institute, will discuss Catholic outreach to young people with Matt Johns, who is on the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’ Catholic Charities staff an...

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The Yeshua Institute will offer a free webinar to help parents use Advent to keep the birth of Jesus the focus of Christmas in their homes. Called “O Come Divine Messiah --  Advent Traditions to Prepare Your Family for Christmas,” it’s a parent-to-parent presentation scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 2:30 p.m. EST (1:30 p.m. CST, 12:30 p.m. MST, 11:30 a.m. PST). If the date or time is inconvenient, still register to get a link to view the webinar at your convenience after its live telecast. The webinar presentation will last about a half hour, with time extended to answer any questions that viewers...

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By Dan Ebener EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is the last in a series on parish leaders based on a new book by Dan Ebener, Pastoral Leadership: Best Practices in Church Management. We’ve had an opportunity to preview the book and highly recommend it to anyone involved , formally or informally, in parish leadership. Dan has been developing leaders for organizations since 1976. He teaches at St. Ambrose University and works part-time as Director of Stewardship & Parish Planning for the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa. * * * Foundational paradox Pastoral planning is a time for the parish community to come t...

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The Yeshua Institute will offer another free webinar – this one on how to help your family make the most of Advent in preparing for the birth of our Savior on Christmas. Its title: “O Come Divine Messiah --  Advent Traditions to Prepare Your Family for Christmas.” It’s scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 2:30 p.m. EST (1:30 p.m. CST, 12:30 p.m. MST, 11:30 a.m. PST). It will be co-hosted by three active Catholic parents: Erin McLevige, mother of four girls ages 5 through 12. Erin, who has a BA in education and a MA in early child development, is also a catechist. She taught in Phoenix, AZ,...

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Join the crowd gathering for the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute’s first ever free webinar this Thursday, Nov. 15. As of Tuesday, about 50 people were registered to participate. With the title Gratitude is Great Medicine, the webinar will highlight research which shows that when we regularly reflect on and express our gratitude, we improve our lives, our health and perhaps even our longevity. “A ton of research shows that just practicing gratitude for as little as 15 minutes a week improves our outlook, our health and our performance,” says Dr. Owen Phelps, Director of the Yesh...

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By Dan Ebener The Church is a voluntary organization. People voluntarily join, attend, contribute and participate in a church. That is why engagement is such a watchword in today’s Church. Voluntary participation cannot be coerced. It comes from the heart. Lay engagement means that the parishioners are intrinsically motivated to fully participate in the life of the parish. To get engagement, leaders need to get buy-in. Like any other matters of the heart, buy-in cannot be dictated. But it can be encouraged. Take the ministries of evangelization and stewardship for example. Stewardship is giving from the hear...

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Marcel Schwantes, principal and founder of Leadership From the Core, says love is reason some leaders and their organizations are thriving – and, he adds, “practical love” is a characteristic of the very best, most effective leaders in the marketplace. Here’s why. “Top-down bosses who spread fear are notorious for killing intrinsic motivation,” Schwantes explains. “And when that happens, good-employees-turned-order-takers stop exercising the very traits employers wish to see in their people -- that of being proactive, creative, and motivated self-starters. Holding peo...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute At last! Praise the Lord! A Catholic employer has finally earned a place on Forbes magazine’s list of the 500 best places in the U.S. to work. For eons I’ve been publicly lamenting the lack of Catholic employers’ on Forbes’ list. Now that era has ended. Congratulations, OSF Healthcare. OSF HealthCare has been named one of the best employers in the country for 2018 by Forbes magazine -- and was the highest ranked Illinois-based company earning the distinction. Alleluia! The Peoria, Illinois-based integrated health system is owned a...

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The Yeshua Institute has added a new presentation to its website called “Source and Summit of our Worship” to help people understand the parts of the Mass in the context of the whole liturgy. (Just click on the link and scroll down. The first presentation on the page, called “The Role of the Laity: On a Mission,” may also interest visitors to the site.) People can download the presentation as a PDF file or click through it on the website using their page down button or the navigation arrows on their keyboard. To date the presentation has proved popular with people and organizations who were se...

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The Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute’s first ever webinar is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15 – and it’s free. With the title Gratitude is Great Medicine, it will highlight research which shows that when we regularly reflect on and express our gratitude, we improve our health and our prospects even as we enhance our outlook on life. “A host of research shows that it’s not just a matter of improving our attitude,” says Dr. Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Institute, author of The Secret of Wealth, and host of the Nov. 15 webinar. “When we regularly call ...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute As luck would have it – or perhaps even better, Providence – the matter of Emotional Intelligence or its measure, Emotional Quotient (EQ), comes up in two of the featured articles we scheduled for this issue. I’m good with that. Grateful, even. Because I don’t know if there’s a more important consideration when it comes to trying to be a Jesus-like Leader. As you know, when we talk about Leading Like Jesus, we talk about S3 Leadership – leading as a Servant, Steward and Shepherd. In fact, to consistently lead in any of these co...

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By Dan R Ebener Emotional intelligence has been described by Daniel Goleman as a more accurate predictor of leadership success than technical or cognitive skills. In fact, your emotional quotient (EQ) is a better predictor of success in life and leadership than is your intelligence quotient (IQ). A high EQ unleashes your full IQ potential. A low EQ limits your potential because fear, anger, worry, prejudice, jealousy, anxiety and ignorance will limit your performance. IQ is described by Goleman as a “threshold competence”. It gets you in the door for an interview, and possibly gets you hired. But EQ is...

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By Dan R Ebener Mindfulness is thinking about our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Mindfulness helps us to capture the moment, be aware of our sensations and conscious of the activity in our brains. It reminds us to awaken mindfully, walk mindfully, pray mindfully, pause mindfully and wait mindfully. When leading others, mindfulness helps us to listen intently to what the other person is saying, hearing that person as if for the first time, being fully present to them, letting their words soak in and intuiting their emotions with gentleness and care. We pay attention to what we are sensitive to. For example, s...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute My wife Jane and I recently returned from a week in the St. Louis area where we watched six of our grandchildren participate in various sports. It’s a thrill to see them take part, and clearly it’s special for them when Grandma and Grandpa drive five hours to watch them perform. There’s more than a little deja vu in this for us since all five of our children participated in sports at some point in their academic careers. In all cases, I have taken special joy in photographing them – using the experience I gained as a newspaper photographer...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute We all have mental images of leaders – and most of them are not worth the cost of contemplating them. Forget all the notions out there are about natural leaders being tall, well-built, square-jawed, macho men. Yes, there are a lot of those kind around. But studies show that they’re no more likely to be effective leaders than the rest of us – including, obviously, women. Seldom do we hear praises being sung for the value of humility in effective leadership – although I have to note that we are, in fact, hearing those praises ever more frequ...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Donald Trump Jr. has been playing the canary in the coalmine for a certain segment of the American male population. In a recent interview with DailyMailTV, commenting on developments in Senate confirmation hearings regarding his father’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Trump Jr. said that the #MeToo movement has him more worried for his three sons than for his two daughters. Yikes! As the father of three daughters and two sons – as well as the grandfather of 13 girls and 4 boys – I contend that Trump Jr. has it exactly wrong. More c...

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By Dan R. Ebener Leadership is a collective activity. It relies on people. Relationships are the stuff of leadership. A congregation is a web of relationships. To practice the people skills needed for leadership, ask yourself: What kind of a human being do I need to become… so that I can practice leadership? As Catholics, we are committed to inner change. Jesus calls us to form our hearts out of His love (Luke 10:27). Ashes during Lent are but one example of how we acknowledge that we are committed to change our hearts, our minds and ourselves to become better human beings. Research shows that we can become...

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Tips for exercising emotional control

Posted on September 18, 2018 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute A good many people are telling us today that it’s essential to express our emotions. And in the broad scheme of things they’re right. But that doesn’t mean we should express all our emotions everywhere and all the time. In fact, the contrary is true: We should express our emotions selectively – with respect to both our feelings and the audiences with which we are dealing. Others deserve to be treated as more than just dumping grounds for whatever happens to engage our passion at the moment. It’s especially important for leaders to...

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By Dan R. Ebener Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of articles by Dan Ebener on leadership in the Catholic Church. They are excerpts from his latest book on leadership, to be published this fall. * * * Pastoral leadership is a vocation. Anyone can be called to leadership. It is part of what Lumen Gentium called “the universal call to holiness,” a phrase quoted by every pope since Vatican II. Recognizing this universal call raises the hope that the challenges of leadership can be embraced by clergy and laity – and that change will happen in the Church and the world.   ...

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On values: 80+ priest keeps it simple

Posted on September 18, 2018 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute I have a friend and colleague with a remarkable leadership track record who says when it comes to values, he likes to keep it simple. In over 50 years of priesthood, this man has distinguished himself in pastoral, diocesan and community leadership. And at over 80 years of age, he’s still going strong – continuing to provide a regular schedule of counseling services and to serve on a variety of charitable and civic boards. We’re truly blessed to have him on our Yeshua Institute’s board of directors. His name is Father David Beauvais. Som...

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Third in a series By Dan R. Ebener Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles by Dan Ebener on leadership in the Catholic Church. They are excerpts from his latest book on leadership, due to be published later this year. * * * Some people figure that only those with titles and positions can be leaders. With the Great Commission (Matt 28:19), Jesus calls all disciples to become apostles. He commissions every one of us to lead. Pope Francis believes that everyone can be a leader – pastor and deacon, women and men, young and old, parish council and finance council. Throughout his papac...

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Good leaders don’t let problems fester

Posted on September 04, 2018 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps Director, Yeshua Institute One of the many great blessings in my life was the opportunity to lead a chain of weekly newspapers at the tender age of 27. It was a great blessing for me, but probably not so much for many of my colleagues on the payroll. They had the mixed blessing of being on hand to see me grow – struggle upon struggle – as a leader. Sometimes the hard lessons landed hardest on me. Sometimes they landed harder on my colleagues. One of my most prominent weaknesses – from a long list of weaknesses – was my inclination to let problems fester. To my credit, I...

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When you hire someone today, it’s ever more likely that you’ll be hiring someone who is a member of Generation Z – people born between the mid-1900s and mid-2000s. After all, they represent about a third of the workforce. To improve your chances of making a good hire and then cultivating a healthy, productive long-term relationship, it’s helpful to know a bit more about what they are looking for – even expecting – from their employers. Media-strategy firm MNI Targeted Media conducted a survey of college students that focused on their buying trends and preferences – but whose ...

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By Dan R. Ebener Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles by Dan Ebener on leadership in the Catholic Church. The articles are excerpts from his latest book on leadership, to be published this fall. * * * The pastor concluded, “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” The people replied, “Thanks be to God.” The end of each Mass is a new beginning. As the people of God, we are welcomed at the beginning of each Mass to “come and see” (John 1:39 and John 1:46) as disciples, members and stewards. By the end of the liturgy, we are beckoned to “go a...

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By Owen Pheps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute For the past 16 years, since the clergy abuse sexual crisis first exploded on the pages of the Boston Globe in January, 2002, I have scrupulously avoided personally commenting on it. However, as head of an organization devoted to developing Jesus-like Leadership among Catholic members and leaders, it’s impossible now to avoid commenting on the egregious leadership failure of Catholic bishops documented in a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report. The force of the report rattled the church – its members and its leaders – all the way to the Vatican....

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute It’s that time of the year when we’re most likely to see newcomers showing up at our office or shop doors. As school terms end, students migrate from classrooms into work settings and become new members of our work teams. Older adults may think of summer as a traditional time to let our hair down and enjoy life, but for new people on the job it’s often a time of supreme stress brought on by quantum doses of uncertainty. If we’re concerned about helping them get off on the right foot, it’s a good time to discover or remember and th...

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Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) is offering a free 7-part webinar series on Jesus-like leadership presented by Dr. Owen Phelps, author of The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus. The webinar series, valued at $199, is being offered free to anyone who purchases the book and its companion workbook at this link. Those who already have the book and workbook can register for free too by requesting access at tstewart@osv.com. Positive impact “How effective are you at making a positive impact on the people around you?” asks OSV in an announcement about the special offer. “Discover the power of Chr...

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By Dan R. Ebener Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles by Dan Ebener on leadership in the Catholic Church. They are excerpts from his latest book, Pastoral Leadership: Best Practices for Church Leaders, due to be published later this year by Paulist Press and the Villanova University Center for Church Management. * * * This series, Pastoral Leadership: How to Lead in a Catholic Parish, reflects on 17 years of conversations about leadership. That’s how long I’ve been teaching in the Master of Organizational Leadership (MOL) program at St. Ambrose University. While I may be the m...

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By Chris D’Souza NOTE: This “Father’s Day Pledge” is taken from Good Fathers to Great Dads: A Relational Approach to Fatherhood by Chris D’Souza and Adrian Stevens from India. It is used with permission again this year after first being published here a year ago. Dads might want to print it out and post it on their bathroom mirrors for daily renewal. * * * I solemnly resolve before God and my family to always keep in mind the dignity and responsibility of my calling as a dad. I will always be grateful for the gift of my family and the privilege of fatherhood. I thank God for the le...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute NOTE: A version of this reflection was published here two years ago. Here Owen adds a few details and makes some minor changes in style, but the substance survives across the years. * * * My mom was an incredible woman. After she gave me life, she nurtured me physically and emotionally for as long as she lived. As time passed she also gave life to nine more children, my siblings. As a tribute to her wisdom, patience, persistence and selfless model of love, all of us are close – as we are with the more than 100 descendants who have emerged from our own union...

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Dan Cable, a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School and author of the new book Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do, recalls the story of how a company changed its culture – and dramatically increased its productivity – with a simple question. Instead of drilling down on data and micromanaging its drivers, which was fostering progressively poorer performance, the leaders were told to ask their drivers: “How can I help you deliver excellent service?” The incident is just one of many that Cable recounts in making the point that servant ...

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NOTE:  At the start of the year, we published a list of nine “core principles” around the notion of Leading Like Jesus. The article got a lot of reader feedback – all positive – so we decided to probe deeper by focusing on each principle individually in subsequent issues of The Catholic Leader. In this issue we focus on Core Principle 9.  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute In this day and age we like to think of ourselves as well-informed by the sciences and devoted to the scientific method. But our worldview – our perspective on reality – keeps betray...

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It’s no surprise that the last presidential election found us a very polarized American people. And that extreme polarization has persisted -- reportedly ending long and deep friendships and even shattering formerly close families. So it should  come as no surprise that the divisions – over a host of issues – would find its way into our workplaces. Karen Firestone, president and CEO of Aureus Asset Management and author of Even the Odds: Sensible Risk-Taking in Business, Investing, and Life, has four tips for team leaders who want to keep the peace and foster productivity in these argumentat...

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Beginning in June, The Catholic Leader will switch to its summer schedule of publishing only once a month. That will give both you and us more time to enjoy the summer with family and friends – and especially savor the great outdoors if you live, as we do, in an area that plays host to all four seasons. (Actually, it seems as if we will get no more than three seasons this year because Mother Nature pretty much skipped spring where we live.) We don’t have firm dates for our June, July, August and September issues yet because we’re still working out what our calendar will look like through the summer ...

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Let us pray for you

Posted on May 22, 2018 in: Articles

We have launched a new ministry that we hope will eventually include every reader of this e-newsletter, as well as many more people who encounter us on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. Why? We want to pray for you. In fact, we want to enlist a whole vast team of people who will pray for you. And we’d love to benefit from your prayers too. We address all these things with our new Yeshua Prayer Ministry – and we hope you’ll check it out right now. Power of prayer We certainly believe in the power of prayer. And we know that the history of the Yeshua Institute is nothing if not a collec...

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“Loyalty is almost always listed as a top virtue, like honesty and trustworthiness,” says Paul Sean Hill, author of Leadership from the Mission Control Room to the Boardroom. But he hastens to disagree. He says personal loyalty doesn’t belong among the top three virtues – and maybe not even in the top 10. What matters is loyalty to the mission. “Loyalty is a leadership trap. Or it can be if we’re not very deliberate about how we define and apply it,” he says. Hill tells the story of working for a boss who wouldn’t give his boss helpful feedback because he didn’...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute   In the course of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to give many college graduates their first professional positions. I hoped they learned from those experiences. I know I did.   If you find yourself in the ranks of Newly-Graduated and Newly-Hired (NGNH) this year – or if you know someone who is – please indulge me in sharing what I learned from them with the hope that it will make your new position less stressful and more satisfying.   Of course, no two NGNHs are alike – at least not the ones who crossed our thresholds. Each...

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NOTE:  At the start of the year, we published a list of nine “core principles” around the notion of Leading Like Jesus. The article got a lot of reader feedback – all positive – so we decided to probe deeper by focusing on each principle individually in subsequent issues of The Catholic Leader. In this issue we focus on Core Principle 8.  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Jesus compared his relationship to himself and his followers as one of a vine and its branches (John 15:5). St. Paul described the Christian community as “the body of Christ” (1 Cor. 12...

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With this issue of The Catholic Leader, we’re launching a new ministry that we hope will eventually include every reader of this e-newsletter, as well as many more people who encounter us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Why? We want to pray for you. In fact, we want to enlist a whole vast team of people who will pray for you. And we’d love to benefit from your prayers too. We address all these things with our new Yeshua Prayer Ministry – and we hope you’ll check it out right now. Power of prayer We certainly believe in the power of prayer. And we know that the history of the Yes...

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By Owen Phelps Director, Yeshua Institute If you haven’t guessed it by now, we’re stark raving fans of Pope Francis. We were ecstatic from the moment we learned he was the first pope ever to take the name of St. Francis of Assisi. Since then, the good news has just kept piling up. We were thrilled to offer a free study guide of his incredible apostolic exhortation The Joy of the Gospel – and we’re happy to let you know you can still download that guide for free by clicking here. Over the course of his five-plus years as pope, thanks be to God, Francis has referred to effective leaders...

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Soon after our fist visits to Uganda in 2011 and 2012 to teach priests in the Kampala Archdiocese how to be S3 Jesus-like Leaders, our Ugandan Ambassador was invited to teach seminarians there the same approach to leadership. Before long, his efforts spread to all of Uganda’s seminaries. For the past several years, in addition to meeting in small groups at their seminaries to explore the implications of being Jesus-like Leaders, the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute has sponsored two major annual events to assist seminarians in learning how to be effective parish leaders. The Seminarian Frat...

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NOTE:  At the start of the year, we published a list of nine “core principles” around the notion of Leading Like Jesus. The article got a lot of reader feedback – all positive – so we decided to probe deeper by focusing on each principle individually in subsequent issues of The Catholic Leader. In this issue we focus on Core Principle 7.  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute In our last two installments, we focused on Servant Leadership (S1) and Steward Leadership (S2), The basis for servant leadership is the realization that “It’s not about me.&rdquo...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute You don’t have to dig very deep into most books about management or leadership before you read that to be an effective leader or manager you have to learn how to delegate. Okay. What could be so difficult about that? I mean, why would anyone have to struggle to let someone else do some of their work? Delegating makes work easier. Heck, it frees up time for personal as well as professional activities – which is to say, it makes life better. Why would anyone resist that? And yet we do. Most of us struggle with the process of delegation for one reason...

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NOTE:  At the start of the year, we published a list of nine “core principles” around the notion of Leading Like Jesus. The article got a lot of reader feedback – all positive – so we decided to probe deeper by focusing on each principle individually in subsequent issues of The Catholic Leader. In this issue we focus on Core Principle 6.  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute In our last installment, we focused on Servant Leadership, the first S in S3 Leadership. The basis for servant leadership is the realization that “It’s not about me.” We noted ...

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The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter is now available in Spanish, and the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute is shipping Spanish Facilitator Kits which include: A PowerPoint presentation with imbedded videos; A Facilitator’s Guide; and A copy of the Participant’s Workbook. “It’s everything a Facilitator needs to present the Encounter in Spanish,” says Dr. Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Institute. Owen recalls the first time he led a seminar on Jesus’ leadership lessons in the Gospels. It was way back in the early 1990s, long before h...

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Holy Week reflections

Posted on March 26, 2018 in: Articles

As Easter approaches and we find ourselves in the midst of Holy Week, business as usual just doesn’t make any sense. This Sunday we will celebrate the most important day in human history – the day humanity was accorded eternal life by virtue of the selfless sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth, our Lord and Savior. In the three days leading up to that remarkable day, we trace Jesus’ God-centered yet painful steps to his glorious Resurrection. We pray that in the often frantic pace of ordinary life, you will find brief opportunities to reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ words and deeds – and o...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Not long ago I finished going through Fortune magazine’s 2018 listing of the 100 best places to work. I’ve been doing it for years and I’ve always found the experience both exhilarating and depressing. It’s exhilarating because it’s a joy to read about all the different things innovative organizations are doing to treat their employees well. It’s depressing because I’ve never found any explicitly Catholic organizations on any of the annual lists. Perhaps you think that’s understandable – even okay &n...

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NOTE:  At the start of the year, we published a list of nine “core principles” around the notion of Leading Like Jesus. The article got a lot of reader feedback – all positive – so we decided to probe deeper by focusing on each principle individually in subsequent issues of The Catholic Leader. In this issue we focus on Core Principle 5: Servant Leaderhip means it's not about me. By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute As human beings grow and develop, we gradually become self-aware. That is, we can envision and speak of ourselves as other. We are aware that a “me&rd...

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North Carolina’s first ever Catholic Leading Like Jesus Encounter will take place Saturday, April 14, at Immaculate Conception Parish in Hendersonville, located in the western part of the state. The Encounter is a day-long seminar designed to teach people how to be Jesus-like leaders at home, at work, in their communities and in their parishes. It is a compelling mix of dramatic videos, live presentations, self-discovery exercises and large and small group discussions with others who also want to learn to Lead Like Jesus. It will be presented by Dave Coe, a certified Yeshua Institute Facilitator and a member of...

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NOTE:  At the start of the year, we published a list of nine “core principles” around the notion of Leading Like Jesus. The article got a lot of reader feedback – all positive – so we decided to probe deeper by focusing on each principle individually in subsequent issues of The Catholic Leader. In this issue we focus on Core Principle 4.  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute The fourth core principle we listed in the process of Leading Like Jesus is: Jesus is the best leadership teacher and role model of all time. In the business world from time to time the achievem...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute I’m amazed at the many little graces that pop up in the course of everyday life – whenever I bother to pay them due attention. Sadly, that’s not often enough. But here’s one little grace for which I’m grateful : The Catholic Leader comes out this week on Wednesday, Feb. 14 – which this year happens to be Ash Wednesday as well as Valentine’s Day. I’m going to treat that as more than a happy accident. Valentine’s Day, as we know, is more about love -- and great expressions of love -- than about the life of...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute So often when we hear the word “leadership,” we think about formal leadership and organizational charts. It’s true that formal or “positional leadership” counts for something. In fact, if you are employed, it counts for that – and that’s a lot. But decades of research have made it clear that when it comes to influencing people’s behavior on a long-term basis, formal leadership all by itself doesn't count for much. Indeed, you could argue that it counts more for why people leave jobs than for why they get them or...

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NOTE: Quickly abandoning New Year resolutions is as common a practice as making them in the first place.  Here the author offers a perspective on why they deserve better – and how we can give them what they deserve. * * * By Penny Wiegert I did quite a lot of baking during the holiday season. I made several batches of bread and rolls using the recipe my grandmother used at her restaurant some 50 years ago. The best bread gets a good amount of kneading. As any baker knows, bread dough is the opposite of pie and pastry dough. For bread, the more it is handled the better; for flaky pastry, the less hand...

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Fear or faith? You make the call

Posted on January 30, 2018 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute St. Francis de Sales had a unique perspective on why we shouldn’t let fear shape our lives. Observing the saint’s feast on Jan. 24, Father Mike Mendl, a friend who is a Salesian priest and journalist, shared a link to a story regarding St. Francis’ keen insight. The story comes from Aleteia, a lay edited Catholic newsletter that reaches 11 million unique visitors a month. St. Francis affirmed that old adage about visiting a dentist – observing that the fear of future sufferings is greater than the suffering itself. But he offered a r...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute NOTE: At the start of January, we published a list of nine “core principles” of being a Jesus-like Leader. The article struck a chord with readers, prompting us to devote some time and space to drilling deeper into each principle. Here we focus on the second principle: All of us are leaders some of the time. * * * Often when we hear the word “leadership,” we think of people who hold prominent positions in large organizations. At the pinnacle of this image of leadership are the kind of folks who flew their private jets into Davos earlier th...

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Pope Francis had some heartfelt advice for people on the Feast of the Epiphany Jan. 6. In his homily at Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, he said we shouldn’t make the pursuit of money, a career or worldly success the purpose of our lives. Later, from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, he also urged us to resist “the inclinations toward arrogance, the thirst for power and for riches.” If his words weren’t a full-throated endorsement of S3 Jesus-like Leadership, it’s obvious we are on the same page with it comes to matters of personal development. Two-edged sword If...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute When it comes to leadership, Pope Francis and I have a few things in common. One, we both had leadership positions thrust on us at a relatively young age. Two, neither of us was adequately prepared for the challenge. Three, in our Lord's loving embrace, we can admit it. That awareness came to me as I contemplated the first core principle of Leading Like Jesus that we mentioned in our last Catholic Leader (Jan. 3 ’18). That story, outlining nine core principles of S3 Jesus-like Leadership, drew more interest and feedback – all positive ...

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You know what Google is. Everyone does, right? It is home to a bunch of nerds who write code and crunch numbers all day so that its parent company, Alphabet, remains one of the most valuable companies in the world. “Conventional wisdom about 21st century skills holds that students need to master the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math – and learn how to code as well because that’s where the jobs are,” writes Valerie Strauss, writing for The Washington Post. You would think that Google would be the perfect model for this sort of thinking. And you would be wrong...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute The start of every New Year seems to trigger two phenomena: Pundits gaze into their crystal balls and tell you what the future is going to hold for you; and, The vast majority of people adopt a list of New Year’s Resolutions to improve on last year’s outcomes. Each trend comes with its own hazards. About the hazards Crystal balls are notoriously inaccurate and misleading. And Murphy’s Law says the more risk you take betting on a particular outcome in the future, the more likely something will come along to mess it up. As for reso...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Last month I had the opportunity to speak to key selected leaders in a large Catholic healthcare network. I felt blessed to have the opportunity. But I knew it would last only two hours, so I had to hone in quickly on what mattered most about The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus. I decided to develop a list of “core principles” that are absolutely inherent in the notion of Leading Like Jesus. After a good bit of prayer and thought, I came up with nine principles that you might want to take with you on your leadership journeys in 2018. 1. Leaders...

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If you’re one of the many donors who participated in our annual fund-raising effort between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, we want to extend to you our deep and sincere thanks. You will definitely be hearing from us soon so we can thank you individually and provide you with the documentation the IRS requires if you itemize deductions on your tax forms. But we don’t want to wait to express our heartfelt gratitude and to affirm how essential your assistance is to our ministry. In the new year we intend to take some radical initiatives to make the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus available to...

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Our 2018 promise to you

Posted on January 02, 2018 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute In this, our first edition of The Catholic Leader in 2018, we want to make a promise to you for the new year. The promise is simple. But its impact on you could be profound. Our promise is this: We will consistently provide you with superb reading and viewing about how to grow as an S3 Jesus-like Leader in this new year. That promise reflects a change in the way people are absorbing information today. Had we made the promise only a few years ago, we would have promised you our consistent effort to provide you with good reading. End of story. But today two t...

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Our Sunday Visitor is sponsoring a free webinar tomorrow, Dec. 14, about how to become an S3 Jesus-like Leader. The 1-hour webinar will be hosted by Owen Phelps, Ph.D, author of The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus and Director of the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute. It begins at 2 p.m. EST. “We get many questions from people who have heard about S3 Leadership, and this is a great opportunity for people who want to learn more about it to do so with a small investment of their time” says Phelps. “But it’s also an opportunity for people who are familiar with our appro...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute If there was one thing I could give to everyone in the world this Christmas, it would be adequate food and clean water. With the God-given abundance of this planet, we have no excuse for anyone going hungry or dying from diarrhea caused by tainted water. Yet, the carnage continues. Nearly one billion of the world’s seven billion people are consistently underfed. Many, especially the young, literally waste away and starve to death. In the U.S., 49 million people struggle to put food on the table – and one in five children goes to bed hungry each night. ...

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Leaders who want to keep growing have got to focus on one skill more than any other: Listening. It’s an oxymoronic fact of life that the most important communications skill is listening. Yes, leaders have to know how to express a myriad of messages clearly. As Keepers of the Vision, they have to both verbalize and embody their organization’s mission and vision. They have to break down complex processes into simple, easy to grasp tasks for everyone on their team. They have to describe clearly what success looks like. But first and foremost, they have to be able to listen. As consultant Jennifer Mille...

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Advent: Are you serious?

Posted on November 28, 2017 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute   At what is arguably the busiest time of the year for us, our church comes up with one more thing for which we’re told we must be mindful. Advent. This year it begins this Sunday, Dec. 3, and continues right up through Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve, for God’s sake. As if we had time for anything else this time of the year, our church asks us to put aside four whole weeks to prepare for the birth of our savior. For many of us, putting aside four minutes may seem to be asking too much. I know. I was one of these people not so long ago. I pretty much ignored A...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 When each of my parents died, I had a choice to make. But when the news of their deaths came, what happened next didn’t seem like a choice at all. Neither passing was a total surprise. Both were ill. Yet when death came it was like a punch to my heart. People can hover on the brink of death for months, even years. We think we are ready for the ultimate transition. Then we learn – painfully -- that we’re not. The event is so final, the loss seemingly so complete....

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After a lengthy process involving almost 5,000 employees, Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle came up with 10 rules for fostering human dignity and mutual respect among its staff and patients. Now they’re yours to implement at home or work, thanks to Kathy Shingleton, Vice-President of Human Resources at the medical center. 1. Listen to Understand Good listening means giving the speaker your full attention. Nonverbal cues like eye contact and nodding let others know you are paying attention and are fully present for the conversation. Avoid interrupting or cutting others off when they are speaking. 2....

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute If you want your organization to thrive, treat your people – all your people – well. That’s not the whole story of organizational success, of course. But it’s clear that organizations reach their peak performance only when they take good care of their people. Study after study shows that organizations which are great to work for also perform much better than their peers in terms of growth and profits. False dichotomies Research shows, time and again, that taking care of profits or taking care of people are not polar opposites. The...

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By Owen Phelps Director, Yeshua Institute Recently we sent our fourth and last contribution to obtain water service for a new Mission House in Kampala, Uganda – which prompted me to reflect on the power of our partnership with our donors. It’s really amazing! Javis Mugagga, our partner in Uganda, is also amazing. God has abundantly blessed him with vision, tenacity, an incredible work ethic and a network of remarkable people to help him achieve his mission. With these graces he managed to obtain the resources to build the Mission House. When I saw what it would look like when it was done (see ...

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Modern communications technology is a two-edged sword. It has coarsened our social interaction with porn, fake news and personal assault attacks so cruel it has led some of its victims to take their own lives. It has made it possible for helpful and uplifting materials to be sent almost without cost to people all over the world. We are connected to one another in ways no one dared possible a few decades ago. That explains why at the Yeshua Institute we’re exploring ways we can take advantage of modern communications technology to help priests, religious and laity all over the world be Jesus-like S3 Le...

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Institute adds new board member

Posted on November 14, 2017 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute We are honored and pleased to announce that John P. Sentovich, 57, has joined the Board of Directors of the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute. John brings to the board more than 20 years of experience in foundation and gift planning for nonprofit organizations, including both faith-based and academic entities. Until recently he was Director of Gift Planning at Northern Illinois University, and before that he served as the Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Rockford. He recently joined Savant Capital Management in Roc...

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Sabina Nawaz, a former Microsoft team member and now an executive coach with clients in 22 countries, says empathy is a critically important skill to have, but many leaders don’t do it well. In particular, she points to five things that leaders should never do when they’re trying to be empathetic. 1. Don’t tell others you know how they feel Says Nawaz: “We each experience events uniquely. We can’t truly know how someone else feels, so saying, ‘I know how you feel’ comes across as presumptuous or condescending. Your intent is to connect, but it can have the opposite effect....

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Our church’s feast on Nov. 1, All Saints Day, is one of my favorites. It reminds me that the church’s leadership does not have a monopoly on designating saints – and doesn’t want one. Yes, of course the church’s highest leadership, in this case the pope, reserves for himself the right to designate – canonize – official saints of the church who are held up around the world as models for us to imitate. And the pope’s declaration comes only at the end of a formal process outlined in detail by church law. Even so, up un...

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If you’re one of the thousands who have participated in a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter, perhaps it’s time to start sharing the life-changing experience with others. You can do that as a Certified Facilitator of the program – something that is free and easy to obtain if you can find your way to Rockford, IL, on Saturday, Nov. 18. The Yeshua Institute is offering a free Facilitator Training session from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 200 South Bell School Rd., just west of the I-90 E. State Street exit. The Institute is even throwing in a free con...

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It has been our dream at the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute to begin making The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus more accessible to Catholics everywhere around the world. One of our strategies has been to begin offering webinars. But frankly it’s been a struggle to evaluate the cost and features of all the various webinar software packages on the market. Every time we get back to our evaluation there is new software on the market – and many of the old packages have been updated and/or re-priced, making much of our prior research obsolete. So to date we haven’t made any d...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute This isn’t patting ourselves on our back or feathering our own nest – although we are incredibly blessed to have Father David Beauvais on our Yeshua Team. The truth of the matter is that his selfless service over more than 50 years of priesthood would have brought him his most recent reward – and a host of others – even if he wasn’t part of our team. Still, I feel honored to report on the latest recognition he has received for his incredible service to his church, its people and the larger world. From my perspective, he is a model Je...

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Anyone who has ever participated in a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter is being invited to become a Facilitator of the program at a free training session in Rockford, IL. The training session is set for Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 200 South Bell School Rd., just west of the I-90 E. State Street exit. We’re even throwing in a free continental breakfast, provided by the Yeshua Institute. The training will certify participants as Facilitators of the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter, which means you will lead the Encounter...

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To be sure, the incredibly successful online search company Google does not teach its people how to Lead Like Jesus. But sometimes it’s interesting – even enlightening – to step outside our explicitly Christian approach to leadership to see how others are nurturing leaders. Very often, while the language is different, the basic concepts are remarkably similar. After studying more than 10,000 data points regarding performance reviews, surveys, and nominations for top-manager awards and recognition, Google identified six key attributes it tries to instill in its managers. Here they are: 1. Minds...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Early in our Catholic Leading Like Jesus Encounter experiences, we show a short video that depicts Jesus’ encounter with James and John – and their mother – in the Gospel of Matthew (20:20-28). Whatever else it is, it is certainly an awkward moment for Jesus – and quite possibly for James and John, who may have had no clue that their mother would choose this moment to play the role of the proverbial stage mom. As it turns out, that one awkward moment begets another soon after. But as you might expect, Jesus is up to handling both of them w...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute So there I was, on a porch overlooking a lovely pond, the branches of the trees between me and the water waving to catch my attention. I was soaking in the glories of God’s country. Or I should have been. Instead, I was peering down onto my phone screen, checking my email for the umpteenth time in the last half hour – in that moment totally oblivious to all the majestic beauty in which I was actually immersed. It made no sense at all. I was in a place I had dreamed of for decades. And when I found it, I designed the porch to provide this pricele...

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By Owen Phelps, Pd.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Today, Oct. 4, is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, perhaps the second most beloved saint of all after the Blessed Virgin Mary. And a wonderful way to mark the occasion would be to order and read Leading Like Francis – Building God’s House by Carl Koch, a Fellow with the Yeshua Instiute. About the saint Born in 1181 or 1182 into a wealthy family, Francis first reveled in the high life of a rich young man, but then famously rejected all of the trappings of wealth and adopted a life marked by simplicity, kindness, love and devotion. People and ...

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Free Facilitator Training coming up

Posted on October 03, 2017 in: Articles

If you’ve ever participated in a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter, here’s your chance to become a Facilitator for the program – at absolutely no cost to you. That’s because you’re invited to a free Facilitator training program Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 200 South Bell School Rd., in Rockford, IL,  (just west of the I-90 E. State Street exit). We’re even throwing in a free continental breakfast, provided by the Yeshua Institute. The training will certify participants as Facilitators of the Catholic V...

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By Dick Kunnert Yeshua Fellow I have a friend who prepares a survival kit for college students she knows. It contains laundry supplies and household cleaners -- things people need to stay clean and healthy. It got me thinking about another kind of survival kit. How about a Spiritual Survival Kit for Catholic Christian students? Uprooted, maybe hostile The issue is that the students are being uprooted from their moorings and going into environments that are often unfriendly for those who want to keep their faith. Look at the statistics: Pew Research reports 5% of college students go to church. Another stud...

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Anyone who has ever participated in a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter is invited to a free Facilitator training program Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 200 South Bell School Rd., in Rockford, IL,  (just west of the I-90 E. State Street exit). The program is free and a continental breakfast will be provided by the Yeshua Institute. The training will certify participants as Facilitators of the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter, which means they will be able to lead the Encounter experience and share its insights with other Catho...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Father William J. Byron’s new book, Parish Leadership: Principles and Perspectives, is a marvelous little book for pastors, lay parish staff and volunteer leaders alike. As I read it, I frequently found myself imagining what it would be like for parish leadership teams to read it and discuss it together over a period of some weeks. It would be a great way for a pastor to get everyone on his parish team on the same page, if you’ll pardon the pun. At just 159 pages, this book is very different from some recent classics in parish leadership like Rebuilt ...

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Staying on track as a Jesus-like Leader

Posted on September 05, 2017 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute A central concern of Yeshua Institute leaders – as well as of participants in our Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus S3 Encounters  -- is how do we all sustain our enthusiasm and commitment to being and growing as Jesus-like Leaders. As the typical Encounter winds down, participants are excited about what they have learned about becoming Jesus-like S3 Leaders. They tell us in person and they tell us in their evaluations, where many express their firm commitments both to learn more and to practice what they’ve learned with a newfound passion. ...

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In this issue of The Catholic Leader we had planned to share with you a story about a very successful Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus (CVLLJ) service/leadership camp for high school students sponsored this summer by Catholic Charities in Houston. Actually, is the second year that Catholic Charities has sponsored the camp, which was the brainchild of Matt Johns, a member of the CCH team and a CVLLJ Facilitator. In mid-August Matt reached out to tell us that at this year’s camp “the kids had a great time, and we were able to try a few different things this year to learn more about what works.” ...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute I have an old and dear friend who will turn 86 before the end of this month who from time to time wonders if and how his life has made a difference. He never married or had children, so he has no wife or children around to assure him – in either word or deed – that his life has mattered. He was a professor of mine and an incredible presence on our college campus back in the tumultuous 60s, so I can say without reservation that his life has made a huge and wonderful difference in my own. But he still wonders. Blessed with the feedback of a loving...

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Biggest impediment to learning: Ego

Posted on August 08, 2017 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus points out that all of us “have an ego problem” and a choice to make. We can either Edge God Out or Exalt God Only. When we Edge God Out, we are driven by pride or fear – and in either case, our efforts to exert influence generally do not end well. Now we read that ego-driven attitudes and behaviors also impede our ability to learn. “The biggest barrier to learning is not your lack of time or resources, it’s your ego,” says Marlene Chism, author of Stop Workplace Drama and No-Drama ...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute All of us set goals of one sort or another – or we should be doing so. We set goals for ourselves. And if we have positions of leadership, we set them with others. It was once more correct to say “we set goals for others,” but research and experience has taught us that it’s much more effective to set goals with people rather than for them. That’s true even for parents with small children. Almost as soon as a child can talk, he or she should be brought into the goal setting process about a host of things. No, it’s not about l...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute In two days I turn 70. That’s not bragging. That’s taking a deep breath of gratitude. Without the graces of God and the miracles of modern medicine, I would have checked out from a heart attack on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2003, at age 55. My obit would not have mentioned my 50th wedding anniversary, celebrated this past December. It would have said I was survived by five grandchildren, not 16. It would not have mentioned my work with the Yeshua Institute or The Catholic Leader. My book, The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus: Introducing S3 Lea...

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Pope Francis is now dropping by for a brief daily visit, thanks to an old friend and S3 advocate, Salesian Father Michael Mendl, who provided us with a link to the new video service recently. The pope is willing to drop by your laptop, tablet or phone too. You just have to sign up for The Message of the Day – a free, professionally produced video that runs for one to two minutes daily. A link to that day’s short video arrives in your email each morning. The content is created from the pope’s daily homilies at Santa Marta and other venues. The videos are produced in English, Spanish and Portuguese...

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We’ve got some good news for nonprofits that often struggle to complete financially for employees with better resourced employers in the for-profit world. Money isn’t everything. And if money is scarce, you don’t have to settle for being an employer-of-last-resort. What you do have to do, however, is engage the passions of people and help them connect their work to what matters in their lives – their purpose. Big shift “Over the last two decades, the relationships that individuals expect to have with their employers and their roles at work have begun to shift,” says Alaina...

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By Dick Kunnert Yeshua Institute Senior Fellow & Board Member In the Head module of the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus, participants are asked to look at the issue of life’s purpose. Why did God make you? You are not an accident. In God’s worldview, He intended for each of us to be part of the planet. He gave each of us a set of gifts to develop. And for those who suffer disability, He carries the expectation that those of us with gifts will attend to our sisters and brothers who need help. We are not waifs just set adrift in the world to waste our talents. Actually, parents are to help ...

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“Listening is difficult because it involves suppressing your ego long enough to consider what is being said before you respond.” Stop. Think about that. To be an effective S1 Servant Leader, we must begin with the premise, “It’s not about me.” That’s as true in conversations as it is anywhere else. In fact, even if the other person is talking about me, the reality is that he or she is usually not talking about me. He or she is talking about his or her own perceptions and feelings. A good listener starts from that premise, so there’s no reason to be defensive no matter what...

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Nicholas Petrie, a senior faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership, devotes much of his professional life teaching leaders how to keep the pressures of their lives from morphing into stress. The good news is that it can be done. Petrie should know. He’s had to deal with one of life’s great stressors – cancer. And he had to do it three times. Fortunately, cancer was not his only teacher. He credits Dr. Derek Roger, who had spent 30 years researching why some people in difficult situations become overwhelmed and others don’t, with changing his outlook. “He taugh...

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Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson hosted the first ever Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter in Spanish on May 20. And as a measure of its success, within a few weeks the parish hosted a second Encounter. Rocio Zamora, the parish’s Hispanic Ministry Coordinator, facilitated both programs. According to Zamora, the nearly 25 people who attended the first Encounter came from several parishes in the Tucson Diocese. They are students in the diocese’s Ministerial Formation-Hispanic Ministry Program about to conclude their level II diocesan certification. Very well received “I thi...

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We can break our bad habits by monitoring our performance with a simple checklist, says Sabina Nawaz, an executive coach who works in 26 countries, in an article for Harvard Business Review’s HBR.org website. Anyone who has read The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande won’t be surprised by Nawaz’ assertion that checklists are powerful tools for individual and organizational excellence. But the checklist she proposes to help us break bad habits, which she calls a “Yes List,” is an incredibly simple device.  It can be set up in no more than a couple of minutes...

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The four Fs of effective feedback

Posted on June 28, 2017 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps Director, Yeshua Institute We’re always delighted when we find business and human resource processes that implicitly support the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus. And truth be told, they’re everywhere. Some emerge in formal academic studies. Others rise to the top in hands-on leadership experiences. Recall that our framework is S3 Jesus-like Leadership: Servant – it’s not about me. Steward – it’s not mine. Shepherd – people are precious. In this context, how do you handle the occasional need to provide corrective feedback? David Gr...

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By Chris D’Souza I solemnly resolve before God and my family to always keep in mind the dignity and responsibility of my calling as a dad. I will always be grateful for the gift of my family and the privilege of fatherhood. I thank God for the legacy that I have received from my parents, and if there have been any unresolved issue of the past, I will strive, with God’s grace and professional help, to deal with them effectively for my sake and that of my family. I will honor the marriage covenant made before God and man by loving and respecting my wife as the equal partner in leading our family. I will ...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Trust combines seemingly contradictory properties in such a way as to make it as unique as it is uniquely valuable to humanity. It’s the glue that holds people together in pursuit of all the essential things that the individual cannot achieve alone. It’s the grease that permits rapid, reliable, low-friction interaction that supports the fundamental interdependence of humanity at all levels of scale. Without trust virtually nothing is possible. Humanity’s most basic and fundamental relationships – from friendship to marriage, from co...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute The key to being a true Servant Leader, in the mold of Jesus, is to recognize that in the great drama of life and leadership, ultimately “it’s not about me.” That’s a tall order because with self-awareness comes the instinct to self-preservation. We can’t help but ask the question: Who is going to take care of me? And it’s nearly impossible to avoid the response: I’ll do it myself. That’s a huge fiction, of course. Interdependence to the core At the very least we are interdependent beings.  Without others...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Chris Lowney, the Jesuit seminarian turned JP Morgan managing director turned chair of a huge Catholic hospital system turned leadership author has hit another homerun. His new book, Everyone Leads: How to Revitalize the Catholic Church, is a must read for anyone interested in the health and well-being of the Catholic Church and its members. Previously, Lowney authored three fine books that discussed various aspects of leadership:   Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World (2005), that explains how the Jesui...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Last week I was asked to speak about the Catholic Vison for Leading Like Jesus (CVLLJ) to members of an amazing organization in Wichita, KS. The organization is the Catholic Assembly for Business (CAB), which has more than 100 members, male and female -- many of whom gather for a breakfast each quarter, where they have the opportunity to network and to hear a Catholic speaker. (By the way, the CAB meets at the Wichita Diocese’s Spiritual Life Center, which is a facility to die for. If your diocese or religious community is contemplating building a retreat c...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Ministry Formation is a two-year program in the Rockford Diocese designed to prepare people to serve in ministry, especially parish ministry. Men who wish to enter diaconate discernment and formation have to finish this program first. Our Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus training experience is an integral part of the program. Having taught several of these classes, I never fail to be amazed at the intelligence, maturity and devotion of the students -- men and women alike. Not infrequently, they really surprise me. One of those times was in a class where we ...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Recently we came across an article that asks an important question of all leaders in every leadership context: “Do you foster a culture of encouragement?” Why is a culture of encouragement so important? Think of culture as soil. And think of your goals – at home, at work, and in your other roles -- as the harvest that the soil produces. We all know that the better the soil, the better the harvest that will emerge from it. But we should also know that wise farmers don’t leave the quality of their soil to chance. Maybe they can’t co...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Writing for Forbes, Amy Rees Anderson shares a simple story that draws a clear line between what it takes to be a mediocre employee and what it takes to be a great one. She shared it, she explained, because “it is so important that leaders are able to explain things to employees in a way that can be easily understood and which creates a clear picture of what you are looking for.” Her simple story is known as The Parable of the Oranges. We share it here with you with only a few minor edits. The Parable of the Oranges There was a young man who had...

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The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Bill George, Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School, former Chair & CEO of Medtronic and author of Discover Your True North,  has a lot to say about the importance of courage in effective leadership. Citing several cases of business leaders who showed exceptional courage and saw their companies reap the rewards, he endorses the perspective of poet Maya Angelou, who said: “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because ...

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We’ve extended the deadline for the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter in Rockford, IL on Friday, May 5. You can now register online through this Friday, April 28. The Encounter is a rich mix of live presentations, videos, self-discovery exercises and large and small group discussions, and you will be on your way to becoming an effective Jesus-like leader at home, at work, in your parish and in your community. During the day you will learn the basics about  leading as a Servant, Steward and Shepherd (S3) just like Jesus did in his time on earth. The Encounter will take place at the Radisso...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute About a month ago The Catholic Leader featured an article about what to do when someone at work goes over your head to your boss. The advice we offered was sound -- as far as it went. But it didn’t go far enough. We noted that when a peer or a person you are supervising goes over your head to your boss, it can be “one of the most difficult and spirit-crushing things that can happen at work.” We also noted that when you first discover it has happened, “you are thrust into turmoil. A part of you wants to fight. A part of you feels like yo...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Now that Lent has ended and we have celebrated Easter, now what? Easter, of course, is the highlight of the Christian year – and of all human history, for that matter. On Easter Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ rising from the dead – and, by virtue of his suffering, death and resurrection, our own immortal lives as his sisters and brothers. The gift of eternal life ought to give us pause ... and for more than just a day or part of a day once a year. But truth be told, when we were kids I focused more on celebrating the end of Lent than the gift ...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute I Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, my soul; do not forget all the gifts of God, Who pardons all your sins, heals all your ills, Delivers your life from the pit, surrounds you with love and compassion, Fills your days with good things; your youth is renewed like the eagle's. - Psalm 103, 1-5 In 2003, Easter Sunday arrived on April 20. So did my heart attack. They both showed up about the same time. We were just wrapping up a card party with three other couples when I started to feel nauseous and excused...

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No, you won’t become a seasoned and consistent Jesus-like leader after attending our 1-day Encounter May 5 in Rockford, IL. But you will learn the basics about  leading as a Servant, Steward and Shepherd (S3) just like Jesus did in his time on earth. After that, it’s just a matter of adopting habits that will keep your heart, head and hands on track to follow the teaching and example of the best leader of all time. After experiencing the Encounter’s rich mix of live presentations, videos, self-discovery exercises and large and small group discussions, you will be on your way to becoming an e...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. We find ourselves in the middle of Holy Week -- a week when business as usual just doesn’t make sense. And yet, most of us probably have a lot of business as usual to do. So giving Holy Week its due in our life pilgrimages is almost certainly a struggle. Case in point: a friend and former colleague of mine put together a little min-retreat on Wednesday of this week. I relish solitary time, but retreats are generally not my thing, and truth be told, I can’t remember the last time I attended one. Nonetheless, when he proposed it over lunch with two other friends and former collea...

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Can you make today special? Here are just three suggestions: Look for the good. Whether it’s a beautiful sunset or a funny comic strip or a conversation with an old friend, seek out happy moments. Be grateful: for your loved ones and family and their love; for your faith; your home or apartment; warm showers; comfy attractive clothing; plentiful food; your job and your loved ones’ jobs; the weather, even if it is raining or snowing; your physical ability to do your work or the tasks at hand. Give praise: for great service in a store or restaurant; to your loved ones for, of course, their love, but also...

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The Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute will present a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter Friday, May 5, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Rockford, IL, and online registration opened this week. The Encounter will be co-facilitated by Dick Kunnert and Owen Phelps, master facilitators and members of the Yeshua Institute board. They have presented the program in Haiti, Canada, Uganda and India, as well as throughout the U.S. The cost of the Encounter is just $79, and arrangements are also being made to offer a special room rate for guests coming in from out of town. The Radis...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute As kids we were taught to do a lot of either/or thinking – as in “either you take out the garbage or you can go to your room for the rest of your life.” Seriously, there are a lot of either/or basics to learn as a kid: Either stay out of the street or you’ll get run over. Either tell the truth or no one will believe you about anything. Either do your homework or go straight to bed. Actions have consequences The point is, when we are in our formative stages, that our actions have consequences – either natural or imposed...

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If you’re having trouble being mindful about the purpose of Lent even as we find ourselves on the threshold of Holy Week, we offer you a great online meditation on the Stations of the Cross that will cost you only 4 minutes and 20 seconds of your cherished, yet chaotic life. Written and narrated by Lawrence J. Fedewa, a former theology professor and college president who now is a columnist for the Washington Times, it should help get you in the mind of a penitent, yet hope-filled and joyous disciple. You might even find it worth visiting more than once before Easter. Click here.  

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Dick Kunnert and Owen Phelps, co-founders of the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter, will co-facilitate the Encounter Friday, May 5, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Rockford, IL. The cost of the Encounter is just $79, and arrangements are also being made to offer a special room rate for guests coming in from out of town. The Radisson is on the bus route from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to Rockford. The Encounter is our foundational 1-day program which offers a rich mix of live presentations, videos, large and small group discussions and self-discovery exercises to help people l...

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By Dick Kunnert Yeshua Fellow & Master Facilitator Not long after retiring from academic life, Henri Nouwen wrote a monograph about an adventure he had delivering a talk to a group of priests and ministers in Washington, DC. The booklet is titled In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership. The booklet covers two areas: the content of the talk, which was on leadership, and, the interaction that went on between Father and his travel companion, Bill.  Father Nouwen had decided to retire to a L’Arche community in Toronto, Canada, named Daybreak. Father was to be the chaplain to ...

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The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter is now available in Spanish, and the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute is ready to ship Spanish Facilitator Kits. The kits include: A PowerPoint presentation with imbedded videos; A Facilitator’s Guide; and A copy of the Participant’s Workbook. “It’s everything a Facilitator needs to present the Encounter in Spanish,” says Dr. Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Institute. Dream comes true In the 1990s, Dr. Phelps, author of The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus book and workbook, was Director of Co...

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By Chris D’Souza, “... for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. - Colossians 1: 16-17 (RSVCE) My colleague returned from a successful stint abroad. Extremely pleased with himself, he pompously announced that he had minted money, sampled exotic cuisines and enjoyed liaisons with women of every nationality. He then smugly concluded that he had lived it up enough for a lifetim...

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Grow your team with good questions

Posted on March 20, 2017 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Years ago when I was in the publishing business, for a certain number of years we produced “galleys” (long columns) of hard copy using phototypesetters that read paper tapes punched by keyboard operators. It all sounds very complicated now. But those phototypesetters were incredible machines compared to anything we had used before. Even the basic ones could output type in justified columns at the rate of 60 to several hundred lines per minute, all the while mixing eight or more typefaces in any of eight to 100 sizes. Of course, like any human creation none of them was perfect. ...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. One of the most difficult and spirit-crushing things that can happen at work is that someone – a peer or a person you are supervising – goes over your head to your boss. Typically, when you first hear of this, you are thrust into turmoil. A part of you wants to fight. A part of you feels like you already have been beaten up and tossed in an alley. Trust flies right out the window. What’s a person to do? First and best advice: Don’t do anything that you feel like doing. Instead, find a comfortable seat, ideally in your office, and take a breath. Then take anoth...

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It’s never an easy task. And often it’s downright distasteful. And on occasion it’s dangerous. We’re talking about the unenviable task of having to deliver bad news to your boss – especially when you share some responsibility for the outcome. There’s probably no way to make this task fun or the least bit fulfilling. It’s bound to be painful even if the boss is the world’s best -- because in that case you don’t want to let him or her down. But if the boss is a big grouch, his or her likely reactions may be too awful to contemplate. Here’s where an insig...

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Lenten reflection: My 30 pieces

Posted on March 14, 2017 in: Articles

By Chris D’Souza The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. (Jn 13:2 NABRE) Let’s reflect on Judas and his action today. Why would a close disciple of Jesus want to betray Him? After witnessing so many miracles, hearing so much about the Kingdom of God and spending most of his time with the Master, how could he ever decide to betray Him? It doesn’t make sense, does it? Perhaps the answer lies in the expectations of Judas. He expected Jesus to start a political rebellion to overthrow the Roman empire. Had Jesus done that, Judas would have had a very hig...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. I was teaching a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus course near the end of a diocese’s two-year Ministry Formation program when the question came from one of the students. “What’s the hardest part about teaching people to lead like Jesus,” the woman asked. “Getting them to accept that God really loves them unconditionally.” I blurted that out so fast there wasn’t time to give the matter any thought.  But in the next few seconds as I considered what I said, I knew I had spoken the truth. Getting people to accept the fact that God really ...

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When it comes to language, Bill Treasurer is not likely to be remembered for being couth. But when it comes to effective leadership, he’s on board with the core teachings of S3 Jesus-like Leadership. Treasurer is author of four books, including most recently A Leadership Kick in the Ass, which focuses on what he calls a “Holy Shift” from self-centeredness to the importance of humility, goodness and redemption. Sound familiar? “Having worked with thousands of leaders over the last two decades, I’ve become convinced that leaders who focus more on others have far greater success than tho...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. When a new leader takes the helm, there’s always an adjustment period for leader and staff alike. But the leader who is thoughtful and considerate during this period can do much to not only ease the pain of transition, but also set a high trajectory for team performance going forward, says Naphtali Hoff, PsyD, a former educator and school administrator who now serves as an executive coach and organizational consultant. Hoff says it’s important for a leader to realize that his or her personality is bound to be at least somewhat different from his or her predecessor -- and the ...

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“Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.” Lk 16:25 (RSVCE) By Chris D’Souza Have you caught yourself saying: ‘Well, I need to earn a bit more to be able to help this cause or this person?  Honestly, I have. When it comes to helping others, we can find so many reasons to procrastinate. Sometimes we even believe our reasons. But Pope Francis has a beautiful response to our excuses.  He says: “The promise was that when the glass was...

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Maybe the first day of Lent isn’t the ideal day to celebrate, but here at the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute we’re doing it anyway. The occasion is the announcement that our primary leadership training program, the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter, is finally available in Spanish. It’s a very special Thank you, Jesus moment in our history. The English language Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter was published in the fall of 2009, only a few months after a book by the same name was published by Our Sunday Visitor. Since then the Yeshua Institute&rsq...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. In the last issue of The Catholic Leader, I wrote about how Lent always sneaks up on me. Most years I’m often trying to decide how I want to observe Lent as the sun sets on Ash Wednesday. I also noted that over the years, thanks to a priest’s suggestion, I’ve focused more on doing something special than on giving something up. Still, as I wrote that last week I still didn’t have a clue about what I would be doing special this Lent. Now, as I write this the day before Ash Wednesday, I have my goal: I am going to spend more time with the Lord each day of Lent (even count...

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By Owen Phelps, Pd.D. Have you ever had one of those bosses with a Jekyll and Hyde personality? One moment he or she is personable. The next moment he or she is frothing at the mouth? Do you still have one like that now? Sadly, it’s not unusual. Some people seem to assume that a promotion to an executive office gives you the right to indulge your mood swings and mistreat others. Sometimes a toxic work culture affirms this otherwise despicable behavior. A short list of dos and don’ts might include the following: 1. Do realize that the problem is not about you – even when it seems to be about...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. When the Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI) released its list of the 78 best Christian places to work in January, there was one Catholic entity on the list. I don’t know if that’s a first, but I think it is. So congratulations are in order for the honoree, Catholic Christian Outreach in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Beyond that, I confess the news brought a flood of thoughts – many of them conflicting -- to my mind. Search for meaning The fact that only one Catholic employer among countless thousands in the U.S. and Canada was on the list does not mean that Catholic workplaces &nd...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. If there’s one thing I can say about my experience of Lent that hasn’t changed over the years, it’s that the penitential season always sneaks up on me. It’s doing it again this year – although Ash Wednesday is still a week away, so I’m giving myself more time to prepare this year than has usually been the case in the past. Days of giving up As a kid I didn’t need much prep time. Our teacher – sometimes a woman religious, sometimes a lay woman – would ask us what we were each giving up. The clear implication was that we better have an an...

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Two Encounters coming soon

Posted on February 21, 2017 in: Articles

Two Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters will be offered later this month in central Iowa. The Archdiocese of Dubuque will offer three Catholic Encounter programs at the Prairiewoods Spirituality Center in Hiawatha, IA, just north of Cedar Rapids, where participants have three choices of dates and times: Thursday, Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. “Modern empirical studies continue to affirm the value of Jesus’ leadership approach in every setting – at home, at work, in our parishes and in the network of other communities of which we are all a...

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In presenting Jesus-like S3 Leadership, we note that all of us have to do one thing that Jesus never had to do. We need to apologize when we make mistakes. And we all make mistakes. In our programs, we point to the insight from Ken Blanchard, co-author of the best-selling business book The One Minute Manager and co-founder of the Lead Like Jesus movement, who says: “The longer you wait to apologize, the sooner your weakness will be perceived as wickedness.” Assuming there is some delay between the mistake and the apology, there will always be a little bad faith to overcome. And often there is more t...

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By Chris D’Souza “And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.’” Mk 6:31 (RSVCE) * * * Recently, my wife returned from Orlando after attending a Zumba® instructor convention. Naturally, I asked her if she enjoyed it. Her response was puzzling” “Yes it was exciting, five full days of over-stimulation. I’m exhausted!” Over-stimulation. That word has been playing on my mind ever since. It set me thinking… much of today’s entertainment is designed to over-stimulate. Can we not enjoy the ordinary, simple m...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Most likely we’ve all heard the adage that “Assume makes an ass out of u and me.” And most likely we’ve heard it again and again because it’s so true. I had that brought home to me in a truly humbling way recently when I was watching an episode of Shark Tank, the TV show where rich entrepreneurs hear sales pitches to buy percentages of start-up companies that make and sell more or less innovative products. The segment began with an attractive, blonde woman walking onto the carpet with her two attractive, blonde daughters – one 15 and the other 11. The oldes...

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A Lead Like Jesus Encounter is underway this week at the Winnebago County Jail in Rockford, IL, sponsored by the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, and three public Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters will be offered later this month in central Iowa. The ecumenical Encounter at the jail is the 73rd that has been presented by Yeshua Fellow and board member Dick Kunnert and his team for prisoners there. The groups have averaged about 18 participants. The Yeshua Institute underwrites the cost of the program as its major ecumenical outreach effort. Later in the month the Archdiocese of Dubu...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. We’re all familiar with a host of theories about what drives better performance among individuals and in organizations. On a galley slave ship the drivers were big brutes with whips. In wars you had the threats of a firing squad. My parents tried to motivate me by taking away weekend driving privileges. Employers employ a variety of carrots and sticks: promotions, pay raises, bonuses, pay cuts, layoffs – even outright firings. Now comes research that indicates the secret sauce of better performance is empathy. Seriously? Marcel Schwantes, principal and founder of...

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This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24 By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. In The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus, we recommend that people who want to lead like Jesus should pray regularly. Often when we think of prayer, we leap quickly to the notion of prayers of petition. While there’s nothing wrong with them, they hardly exhaust the concept of prayer. Indeed, the workbooks we use in our Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters, a 1-day training experience, devote 11 pages to various purposes and kinds of prayer. One prayer practice I have come to recomm...

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By Chris D’Souza And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.” And he said to them, “Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Mk 4: 21-25) Recently I read about some new scientific advancement in ...

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Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters will be offered this month at the Prairiewoods Spirituality Center in Hiawatha, IA, just north of Cedar Rapids, where participants have three choices of dates and times: Tuesdays, Feb. 21 and 28, 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The Yeshua Institute will also offer an ecumenical version of the Encounter in the Winnebago County Jail in Rockford, IL, on Feb. 13-16, but that event is open only to prisoners in the jail. “Modern empirical studies continue to affirm the value of Jesus’ leadership ...

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The Yeshua Institute’s newest video, Time Alone: Jesus Needed It and So Do We, marks the first presentation by Carl Koch, DA, author of 36 books and a Fellow of the Institute. “We’re delighted to have Dr. Koch providing us with video presentations,” said Owen Phelps, Ph.D., director of the Yeshua Institute. “He’s a natural born teacher, and that’s clear from the first moment you see him in the video. Owen said Dr. Koch will also be featured in other videos to be released over the next few months on the Institute’s website. In each case, the new videos will be introduced...

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A new study from Maurice Schweitzer, Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions, and Wharton lecturer and research scholar Jeremy Yip shows that anger can influence people in organizations to lie or behave deceptively in areas that have nothing to do with the original conflict. The problem is not that angry people actually set out to harm or punish others. “Instead,” says Yip, “what we’re finding is that when people are angry, that anger curtails empathy. And that leads to more self-interested behavior -- in this case, self-serving lies.” We’ve insisted for a lon...

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Stephanie Scotti says that when it comes to persuasive communications, Aristotle was right – as far as he went almost two millennia ago. The Greek philosopher said there were three principles of persuasive communication: Logos -- presenting a clear and rational argument; Pathos -- using emotion; and, Ethos -- establishing credibility. But according to Scotti, who has eight years of experience teaching presentation skills at Duke University, “communication is more complex than ever,” and so she has updated Aristotle’s advice and added two more strategies. Here are her recommendation...

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People who would like to participate in a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter  may want to travel to the Prairiewoods Spirituality Center in Hiawatha, IA, just north of Cedar Rapids, where they have three choices of dates and times: Tuesdays, Feb. 21 and 28, 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. “Often our leadership efforts are not effective – we are ignored, undermined, even ridiculed and reviled,” says Dan Rohner, Facilitator for the programs. “Jesus showed us a better way -- because Jesus was the best leadership te...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. I knew a teacher once who always advised: “Never smile before Christmas.” Students were awed by his intelligence, but I never heard any of them speak of him in terms of serving as a role model for them. He was just too distant and remote. I knew a bishop once who said: “Never let them see you sweat.” People were in awe of his determination, but only a tiny handful ever had the courage to confide in him – even when their information would have done him a world of good. That’s the price of trying to project an invulnerable image. People really struggle to tru...

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Remember that old saw – “Practice makes perfect”? As it turns out, that’s not true. It is true that practice is a key component of mastery in virtually any skill and field. But not all practice is equally valuable. The person who practices something over and over again without giving it much thought is likely to just further reinforce the problems that exist in his or her currently poor performance.  That kind of practice all but guarantees continued mediocrity – and frustration. Practice that leads to improvement has to be much more deliberate – critical and analytical &nd...

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The Archdiocese of Dubuque is hosting three Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters in February at the Prairiewoods Spirituality Center in Hiawatha, IA, just north of Cedar Rapids. The dates and times are: Tuesdays, Feb. 21 and 28, 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. “Often our leadership efforts are not effective – we are ignored, undermined, even ridiculed and reviled,” says Dan Rohner, Facilitator for the programs. “Jesus showed us a better way -- because Jesus was the best leadership teacher and role model of all time.&r...

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Thought for today

Posted on January 24, 2017 in: Articles

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. We’re just past the midway point of the New Year’s first month and already I have to ask: Do you still have any resolutions left to keep? Pardon the rude question. It’s really a matter of projecting my own weaknesses on the world. For most of my 69 years, my experience has been that I could break resolutions just as fast as I could make them. That’s right: some didn’t even survive a day. Most drifted off into a thick haze before the middle of January.  A little research tells me I’m not alone in this regard. At least we are setting the bar high. ...

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Most of us spend a lot of our time on autopilot, making old and reliable assumptions without even thinking about it. That’s going to be even less helpful tomorrow than it is today – and already a good number of our once safe and secure assumptions are crumbling into dust. According to Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab and author of the new book Whiplash: How to Survive our Faster Future, technology began to outpace our ability to understand it late in the 20th century. Partly as cause and partly as effect, we now live in a world characterized by three dynamics: asymmetry, complexity and uncertaint...

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We’re grateful for your support

Posted on January 17, 2017 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. This week we’re sending out formal letters acknowledging the donations of patrons who may need the letters to file their 2016 tax reports. I like to look through them and add a little personal note acknowledging their – or your – generosity. It never fails to amaze me just how many people step up and open their hearts and purses to help us develop Better Leaders, Better Parishes and Better Lives. As I said, formal letters of gratitude are on their way to you. But I don’t see any point in waiting to thank you for your support. We’re about ready to print the ...

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We’re pleased to welcome Chris D’Souza from India as our latest contributor (see his initial story below). Chris is an executive & life coach, talent consultant and trainer with 20+ years of corporate experience. He is vice-president of the God is in Control Fellowship, a Catholic workplace ministry in Bangalore dedicated to enabling Christians to live their faith in the marketplace. Chris has recently co-authored Good Fathers to Great Dads, a faith-based resource for dads which emphasizes a relational approach to fatherhood. We met Chris when we took the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus to Indi...

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By Chris D’Souza Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,     vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil     at which he toils under the sun? ...What has been is what will be,     and what has been done is what will be done;     and there is nothing new under the sun! Ecclesiastes 1:2-3,9 RSVCE Have you ever woken up in the morning and muttered, “Hmm, another day, same grind!  What’s the use of getting out to work?” Let me be honest. I have.  Qoheleth, the write...

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Three Encounters are scheduled in February at the Prairiewoods Spirituality Center in Hiawatha, IA, just north of Cedar Rapids. The dates and times are: Tuesdays, Feb. 21 and 28, 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. “Leadership happens every time someone influences someone else. So everyone is a leader some of the time. But often our leadership efforts are not effective – we are ignored, undermined, even ridiculed and reviled,” says Dan Rohner, Facilitator for the programs. “Jesus showed us a better way -- because Jesus was the best le...

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Wishing you a joyous Christmas

Posted on December 20, 2016 in: Articles

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 To all of you from all of us on the Yeshua Institute team ... May you receive the grace of a blessed and joyous Christmas!  

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Three steps to breaking a bad habit

Posted on December 13, 2016 in: Articles

Marlene Chism , author of Stop Workplace Drama and No-Drama Leadership, suggests a 3-step process to break a bad habit. 1. Identify the unwanted habit that you want to change. 2. Create space between stimulus and response. When you get the trigger that ignites your bad habit, find something else quick and simple to do – as simple as taking a deep breath or counting to three. 3. Recognize the choice you have – and you always have a choice. If a choice doesn’t come to mind, stick with the task. Keep asking. Keep looking. Persist until a choice comes to mind – and then take it. READ CH...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute We were in the middle of a ministry formation class when one of the participants made a point: “Leading Like Jesus is a lot easier if you’re getting support from the people around you.” “That’s why your parents urged you to pick good friends, right?” I asked rhetorically. “And that’s why those of you who are parents are now urging your kids to do the same thing.” The room was full of knowing smiles punctuated by several heads moving up and down. We knew. We all knew. One of the most used rationalizations fo...

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People have been reporting that the link we’ve given them to donate to the work of the Yeshua Institute isn’t always working. We haven’t been able to figure out what is causing the problem, but we have come up with a solution – a whole new donor page. If you’d like to partner with us and make a contribution to our work before the end of the year, here’s the link to get it done. Thanks for your feedback. And thanks for your support. The Yeshua Institute Team

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The good news that unemployment levels continue to decline is bad news for many employers. Why? Because stronger employment statistics mean workers have more opportunities to abandon sinking or vexing ships. Organizations with poor leaders are bound to see turnover rise – in some cases dramatically. In fact, after interviewing over 3,000 full-time workers in 14 countries this year, a Dale Carnegie Training study reported that 44% said they will be looking for a new job in 2017. In the U.S. the percentage was only 26% -- but that’s still more than a quarter of all people on payrolls. And 15% of American wo...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute What I’m about to discuss is pretty basic to people who take a particular interest in the church’s liturgical calendar or in all things liturgical. But I know from over 30 years of experience working in church ministry that a lot of us don’t fit those criteria. We might take a quick look at the Advent wreath in church or on a kitchen room table and wonder why one candle is rose-colored when all the rest are purple. Maybe a purple one got lost or broken – always a safe assumption when we’re talking about things on a family’s kit...

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              Excalibur Award winner Father David Beauvais is congratulated by Patti Rangel after receiving the Rockford Register Star's Excalibur Award. Patti worked as Father Dave’s secretary at St. James Catholic Church. (Photo by Max Gersh/Rockford Register Star and rrstar.com) Father David Beauvais, a Yeshua Institute Board Member and Facilitator, was presented with the Excalibur Award Dec. 1 for his service to the people of Rockford and northern Illinois. The award is generally considered the most prestigious public service award an individual ...

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More than 100 “corporate chieftains, thought leaders, scholars, and experts in labor, health, education, economics, and the environment” will converge on the Vatican Dec. 2-3 for the 2016 Fortune + Time Global Forum. Fortune magazine’s editor-in-chief, Alan Murray, indicates that it was his publishing empire’s idea to hold the meeting there – and to arrange for Pope Francis to attend it. Time of moral outrage “We live in a time of moral outrage,” Murray explained. “CEOs of large global companies ‘need a moral framework and North Star,’ he wrote, quoting D...

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At the Yeshua Institute, we insist that “Leadership begins on the inside.” Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, had the same view. In his book Primary Greatness, he writes: “Everything starts with the individual, because all meaningful change comes from the inside out.” We also share with Covey the sense that human development does not reach its ultimate expression in the transition from dependence to independence. Rather, it is found in the transition from independence to interdependence, which reflects the true nature of reality. So the individual cannot be un...

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“Today Advent is perhaps more about already celebrating Christmas than it is about preparing for it,” says Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI, a noted book author, columnist and speaker. “Many of us arrive at Christmas tired, running, distracted, and already fatigued with the lights, songs, and celebrations of Christmas. Advent is meant to be a time of preparation for Christmas; but for many of us it is not exactly a time for the kind of preparation that enables Christ (to) be born more deeply in our lives,” he says. Instead, Advent is more a time for us to focus on checking off items on our longer-than-u...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute God bless Julie Winkle Giulioni. The co-author of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want, says achieving a work-life balance may not be possible, at least not as a permanent state. Her proposition gets my second – especially this time of the year when our schedules are more packed than Santa’s sleigh. Giulioni suggests that instead of striving to achieve a constant and enduring balance among our many roles, we should think in terms of achieving a work-life blur – rather like a range within which we move back and ...

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Time is running out to register for either of two Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters in the Dubuque Archdiocese before the end of the year. They are scheduled at American Martyrs Retreat House in Cedar Falls, IA, and they offer participants the choice to attend on a weekday or a Saturday: Tuesday, Nov. 29, 8:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, 8:30-3:30 p.m. Dan Rohner, the archdiocese’s Director of Leadership Development & Pastoral Planning and also a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Master Facilitator, will serve as Facilitator. The fee to attend either of the Encounters is $4...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute What a gift Thanksgiving Day is! And what a gift it is to have the day come as part of what is, for many of us, a four-day weekend – even if much of it is taken up with cleaning, laundry, meal preparation and, yes, shopping. Too bad we don’t make every day a Thanksgiving Day. But think about it -- we can. In fact, some of us do. Several years ago in writing The Secret of Wealth, I had the opportunity to do some research about the therapeutic value of gratitude. Actually, I stumbled upon the research and was amazed. Gratitude is absolutely goo...

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Looking for partners

Posted on November 20, 2016 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute This week we formally launch our annual Yeshua Institute fund-raising drive. We need donors. But what we need even more than donors are partners – people who will pray for us and our work, who will tell others about it, who will tell us who we should be reaching out to, and who will help underwrite our costs when people can’t afford our services. I hate asking for money. But it’s the only way we can afford to do the work we are doing – and we love doing that work. It has been our privilege to serve priests, seminarians, permanent deacon...

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Great Advent growth opportunity

Posted on November 20, 2016 in: Articles

If you’re looking for a great personal growth opportunity during Advent -- which starts this coming Sunday, Nov. 27 -- consider getting acquainted with Pope Francis’ vision for personal discipleship and building communities of disciples, The Joy of the Gospel. A great way to get to know it better is to download and use our free study guide. Ideally, you’ll be able to find others – a spouse, a good friend or a small group of friends – to discuss what you read. But even if your Advent journey is a solo one, we think you will find it a wonderful experience. DOWNLOAD THE FREE STUDY GUIDE ...

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Pope weighs in on power

Posted on November 20, 2016 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute In our Nov. 9 issue I wrote about the connection between vulnerability and lasting, life-shaping power. Later that week I noticed that Pope Francis had weighed in on topic of power -- saying that the desire to have power and assert it over others is an obstacle to serving God. Junno Arocho Esteves, reporting for Catholic News Service, said Pope Francis told his audience that “to serve God, Christians must learn to be at the service of all and not be dominated by a desire to exert power and authority over others.” During his Nov. 8 homily at daily M...

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Was it chance or Providence?

Posted on November 14, 2016 in: Articles

Unexpected meeting in Atlanta almost a decade ago results in almost 400 in Dubuque Archdiocese learning how to Lead Like Jesus By Dan Rohner Director, Leadership Development & Pastoral Planning Archdiocese of Dubuque My Leading Like Jesus journey began in June, 2007 when I attended the International Conference of the American Society for Training and Development (now known as the Association for Talent Development) in Atlanta. After picking up my conference program, I settled into my hotel room to plan how I would spend the next four days. A specific event caught my attention: “Leading Like Jesus,&...

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Season of Seasons approaching fast

Posted on November 14, 2016 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Now that the quadrennial presidential election is over, we find ourselves on the threshold of a busy annual period jam packed with holidays and other observances. Nov. 24 is Thanksgiving Day. Nov. 27 is the first Sunday in Advent, a season that carries through Dec. 24 this year. Nov. 29 is Giving Tuesday, an observance scheduled right after our traditional post-Thanksgiving Christmas shopping binge; last year over 700,000 people donated over $116 million to their favorite causes. Dec. 25 is Christmas Day, when we celebrate the birth of our savior and the pr...

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There’s still time to register for either of two Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters in the Dubuque Archdiocese before the end of the year. They are scheduled at American Martyrs Retreat House in Cedar Falls, IA, and they offer participants the choice to attend on a weekday or a Saturday: Tuesday, Nov. 29, 8:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, 8:30-3:30 p.m. Dan Rohner, the archdiocese’s Director of Leadership Development & Pastoral Planning and also a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Master Facilitator, will serve as Facilitator. The fee to attend either of the Encoun...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. As a child my first exposures to pastors were as different as I think it is possible to be: At St. Joseph Parish In Fond du Lac, WI, we had Msgr. Riordan. He spoke forcefully from a high pulpit that jutted out, ominously, above the Communion rail. His favorite verse, delivered in full throat, seemed to be Revelation 3:16: “Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Msgr. Riordan did not tolerate shorts on women or anyone joining the YMCA, and we were all more than a little intimidated by him. At Holy Cross Parish in Champaign, IL, where I mov...

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Still time to register for Encounters

Posted on November 07, 2016 in: Articles

There’s still time to register for any of three Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters in the Dubuque Archdiocese before the end of the year. They are scheduled at American Martyrs Retreat House in Cedar Falls, IA, and they offer participants the choice to attend on weeknights, a weekday or a Saturday: Tuesdays, Nov. 15 and 22, 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 8:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, 8:30-3:30 p.m. Dan Rohner, the archdiocese’s Director of Leadership Development & Pastoral Planning and also a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Master Facilitator, will serve as Facilitator...

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How to stay creative as you age

Posted on November 07, 2016 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph. D. Several years ago our oldest child, Kristin, was in the first grade. She was an exceptional student, reading several grade levels ahead of her class, but she didn’t like the school she was enrolled in. When we met her teacher at the fall conference, we began to understand why. The teacher, a kind and caring woman, nonetheless was concerned that Kristin was not more eager to play with dolls and she wasn’t enamored with recess. “She would rather read,” the teacher said with more than a hint of dismay in her voice. Kristin was a normal kid who did like to play. But we ha...

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  Msgr. Mike Tierney takes only three minutes to outline how a parish can – and should – use collaboration to make sure its planning process is effective. Msgr. Mike concedes that it may seem easier for just the pastor alone or in company with staff to develop a plan and announce it to the parish. But he warns that it’s better to invite parishioners to participate in the planning process because the process matters when it comes to getting buy-in and active support from the whole parish for the plan. Msgr. Mike proposes a simple way to identify the core needs of a parish and to set a dire...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Okay, All Saints Day was yesterday. Isn’t it time to move on? Not yet, I’ll argue. The point of the feast is worth recalling for at least 48 hours – and ideally for much longer than that. A couple of weeks ago I was presenting the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter for Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. We were talking about the importance of role models in our lives. Someone mentioned the value of having saints – meaning formally canonized saints – as role models. Then someone else spoke up and started talking about the &ldquo...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Have you ever heard of emotional agility? Probably not. I know I didn’t run across the term until very recently when I ran into the work of Psychologist Susan David, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, who discusses the concept in her new book, Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life.    I confess that I haven’t read the book yet, but I am intrigued by what she had to say in an interview in the e-newsletter Knowledge@Wharton. There she defines emotional agility as “the ability to be able to be with your thoughts, your e...

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What to do about burnout

Posted on November 01, 2016 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Recently I read an interesting article about burnout. It made the point that while people usually think that it’s caused by unreasonable work demands, that’s not the case. According to Christina Maslach, the culprit is usually poor relationships in the workplace. Maslach should know whereof she speaks. She is a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of the 22-question Maslach Burnout Inventory (“MBI”), called the “gold standard job burnout assessment." The MBI surveys three areas: exhaustion, depersonalization and pro...

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The Dubuque Archdiocese has scheduled three Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters before the end of the year, and six more in early 2017. The three scheduled before the end of the year are all at American Martyrs Retreat House in Cedar Falls, IA. They offer participants the opportunity to attend on weeknights, a full weekday or a Saturday: Tuesdays, Nov. 15 and 22, 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 8:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, 8:30-3:30 p.m. Dan Rohner, the archdiocese’s Director of Leadership Development & Pastoral Planning and also a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Master Facil...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. This past Sunday’s Gospel reading is one of my favorites – and it has been since my earliest days. I don’t know for sure if that’s because I heard my dad praise it, or if we had a discussion about it that made it more memorable than other Gospel passages. I can’t remember details back that far. But I do know that as far back as I can remember the passage has always resonated with me. This Gospel passage comes from Luke (18:9-14), where Jesus tells the parable to two men who went to the temple to pray. We’re tipped off that he is addressing this parable &ldq...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. In the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter, we show a short video re-enactment of an interaction between Jesus and the mother of James and John in the Gospel of Matthew. She wants Jesus to give them favored status in his kingdom (Matt 20:21). Obviously, it’s a difficult conversation. But Jesus doesn’t deflect the request. He responds to it, telling her and her sons that the favor they seek “is not mine to give” (Matt 20:23). But that’s not the end of it. Somehow, the other 10 apostles hear about the conversation. Although Jesus has denied the request...

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A total of four Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters are currently scheduled before the end of the year in Illinois and Iowa. Illinois The Logan County Catholic Community Parish Council hosts an Encounter Saturday, Nov. 12, at Carroll Catholic School, 111 4th St., in Lincoln, IL. Lincoln is located between Bloomington and Springfield. The program runs from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., followed by a 5 p.m. Mass at Holy Family Church next door. Dr. Owen Phelps, head of the Yeshua Institute and author of The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus, will serve as Facilitator. The cost is just $30 before Oct. ...

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“In large ways and small you can help build a better world, help usher in the Kingdom of God. It’s a matter of learning to Lead Like Jesus through the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter,” says an invitation circulating throughout the Dubuque (IA) Archdiocese. The archdiocese has scheduled nine Encounters at three sites from November through next April. “Using a rich mix of engaging videos, self-discovery exercises, small and large group discussion and live presentation, the Encounter puts you on a life-long track to more effective, satisfying and growth-filled relationships at ho...

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Recovering your leadership joy

Posted on October 17, 2016 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Scott Mabry writes of those days when you wonder if you have the energy and drive to keep leading. It happens to the best of us in all our roles – spouse, parent, child, laborer, craftsman, consultant, colleague, supervisor or C-level executive. There are times when we feel like we are all burned out – or nearly so. How do we recover our enthusiasm and reconnect to our goals? Scott advises: “Stay connected with the memories and the stories that inspired you. Whatever your circumstances, I’m betting that they will still bring you joy if you let them.” He sugges...

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Four Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters are currently scheduled before the end of the year, all of them in the Midwest. Illinois The Logan County Catholic Community Parish Council will host an Encounter Saturday, Nov. 12, at Carroll Catholic School, 111 4th St., in Lincoln, IL. Lincoln is located between Bloomington and Springfield. The program runs from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., followed by a 5 p.m. Mass at Holy Family Church next door. Dr. Owen Phelps, head of the Yeshua Institute and author of The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus, will serve as Facilitator. The cost is just $30 before Oct. ...

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4 principles of Leading Like Jesus

Posted on October 11, 2016 in: Articles

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. There’s a lot involved in learning how to be an S3 Jesus-like Leader. Among other things it involves developing the heart, head, hands and habits of a servant leader. Adopting the habits alone can take months. Developing a servant’s heart requires the commitment of a lifetime.   There are also the tasks of learning how to be a Steward and Shepherd Leader. It’s a challenge. But it’s not an overwhelming one. As people begin the development process – or continue it – it’s helpful to keep in mind four key principles of leading like Jesus. 1. Je...

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Learn to Lead Like Jesus in November

Posted on October 11, 2016 in: Articles

The Yeshua Institute is offering two opportunities this fall to learn how to be a Jesus-like Leader in every context -- at work, at home, in your community, in your parish, or anywhere else you wish to influence other people. Registration for the program in Houston, TX, next week has closed, but there is still time to register for the Saturday, Nov. 12 program in Lincoln, IL – and it can be done by credit card online. The program will be led by Dr. Owen Phelps, head of the Yeshua Institute and author of The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus. The Encounter will be held at Carroll Catholic School, 111 4th...

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You want respect? Start by giving it

Posted on October 11, 2016 in: Articles

  Of course you want respect. Everybody does. And every organization does better as its participants learn to respect one another more. Leaders, especially, need to show respect if they want to get it. And it is important – not just to the leaders but to their organizations as well – that they are respected. It’s the basis for the trust needed for the organization to thrive. Leaders not only need to respect the people with whom they’re working, they also need to respect the work they are doing. That doesn’t mean we have to accept how well they are doing that work. It may very ...

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You still have two opportunities this fall to learn how to be a Jesus-like Leader at work, at home, in your community, in your parish – or anywhere else you ever wish to influence other people. The Yeshua Institute is offering Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters in Houston, TX, in October, and in Lincoln, IL, in November. If you’re interested in learning how to be a Jesus-like S3 Leader, both programs are open to the public and both will be led by Dr. Owen Phelps, head of the Yeshua Institute and author of The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus. If you’re considering attending o...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. I hate to say it ... but it must be said. Leaders need to provide feedback – often and consistently. Why do I hesitate to mention a key leadership behavior – a service required of effective leaders no matter whether they are leading at home, at work, in their communities or in their parishes? My reluctance arises because far too many leaders think “feedback” means criticism. And that’s just wrong. By feedback I mean “a response to a follower’s behavior.” When it comes to responses, Lead Like Jesus co-founder Ken Blanchard says a leader has...

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From Living Faith at Work (used with permission) One of the characteristics of our American culture is to be critical and judgmental about just about everything. Sometimes we may be blind to our own flaws and very eagle-eyed about flaws, real or imagined, in others. Jesus’s statement about not seeing the beam in our eye as we point out the speck in another’s eye comes to mind (Matt 7:3). A while ago I was doing some reading and research into a process called Action Research, an improvement process for individuals and groups. While the writers did not write about spiritual development directly, they did wr...

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CEO says Golden Rule key to success

Posted on October 04, 2016 in: Articles

Fred Goff, CEO of Jobcase, a firm devoted to helping people without college degrees find work, says success in business is all about applying the Golden Rule. Despite the assumptions of many people, the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – does not actually appear in the Bible. Nevertheless, it accurately reflects Jesus’ admonition, quoting Leviticus 19:18, that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Whatever its source, Goff says it is simply good business – especially for CEOs. Concern for others is the foundation of Jobcase. Goff launched th...

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LaRae Quy spent 24 years as an undercover and counterintelligence agent for the FBI. In those posts she not only had to deal with two frequent hobgoblins of personal and organizational effectiveness -- risk and uncertainty – she also had to cope with outright deception. It’s not the kind of work you can do day in and day out, year after year, without a lot of willpower. But the good news, according to Quy, is that willpower is not something you’re born with. You can grow and cultivate it. She has five suggestions for doing that: Tackle tough tasks early in the morning. Keep the juices flo...

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If you want to be an effective team leader, Patricia Lotich, founder of the consulting company Smart Church Management, has some advice. Lotich, who has an MBA and is a Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence through the American Society for Quality, says there are six skills you need to work on and 11 responsibilities you need to be willing to assume. The six skills she identifies are: teacher; big picture thinker; coach; negotiator; communicator; and, conflict resolver. The 11 responsibilities she lists are: Works with leadership on development of team charter...

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You still have two opportunities this fall to learn how to be a Jesus-like Leader at work, at home, in your community, in your parish – or anywhere else you ever wish to influence other people. The Yeshua Institute is offering Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters in Houston, TX, in October, and in Lincoln, IL, in November. If you’re interested in learning how to be a Jesus-like S3 Leader, both programs are open to the public and both will be led by Dr. Owen Phelps, head of the Yeshua Institute and author of The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus. If you’re considering attending o...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. I’m often dismayed by how little organizations learn from one another. Often, leaders actually choose ignorance with more than a little dose of self-righteousness. People in nonprofit organizations insist they can’t learn from for-profit organizations because they are so cutthroat in nature. People in for-profit organizations insist they can’t learn from nonprofits, whose ranks are filled with do-gooders and whose missions and processes are “too soft.” For the most part, such people on both sides of the fence are wrong. Lots in common Often for-profi...

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Fall will be a busy time for the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, with public programs scheduled in three states before Thanksgiving. If you’re interested in learning how to be a Jesus-like S3 Leader, the programs are open to the public. Consider attending one of them – and bring a friend or colleague. In fact, even if you can’t make it, be sure to tell them about these opportunities so they have a chance to participate. Sept. 22, St. Paul, MN – Public Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter at Little Sisters of the Poor Holy Family Residence. Facilitator Dr. Owe...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Don’t you just love those “clean slate” moments in life? I think back to my first day in a new town or at a new school. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t have any obligations. No one was waiting for me to work or play with them. I was really free. And each time I learned how very rare and fleeting those moments are. Clean slates don’t last In just a few days I had cobbled together or fallen into a rudimentary web of relationships. People reached out to me, and for that I was grateful. But relationships come with expectations. Soon enough I had names to r...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. I have a friend -- I’ll call him John -- who was a stockbroker for several years but finally cut himself loose and went back to doing what he had loved doing most in his professional life – coaching and counseling high school students. The change came with a huge cut in pay. While he was never motivated much by money, he did need to keep a roof over his head, food on the table, wheels under his seat and gas in the tank. I asked him what prompted him to contemplate leaving a lucrative and mentally challenging career as a stockbroker. “The only time my phone rings is when t...

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Fall will be a busy time for the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, with public programs planned in three states before Thanksgiving. If you’re interested in learning how to be a Jesus-like S3 Leader, all but one of the programs on our fall schedule are open to the public. Hope to see you at one of them. Sept. 22, St. Paul, MN – Public Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter at Little Sisters of the Poor Holy Family Residence. Facilitator Dr. Owen Phelps. Cost $20. Register online. Sept. 29, Cedar Falls, IA – Encounter Facilitator Training & Certification, American M...

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  Do you recall those sibling fights when your only defense to a stern parent was: “He (or she) hit me first”? As we all know by now, that’s not a very good defense – certainly not good enough to get us off the hook with a conscientious parent. But that flimsy excuse does have one virtue: it acknowledges that all it takes for a cycle of interaction between two people to begin and move in a certain direction is for one person to take the initiative. We’ve seen bosses wait impatiently to see a glimmer of enterprise in an employee. And we’ve seen employees wait for a word o...

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Late summer and fall are shaping up to be busy times for the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, with programs planned in five states before Thanksgiving. If you’re interested in learning how to be a Jesus-like S3 Leader, several of the programs are open to the public and may appeal to you: Aug. 16, Rockford, IL – Retreat for faculty at Boylan Central Catholic High School. Facilitators Dick Kunnert and Fr. Dave Beauvais. By invitation only. Aug. 24, Arbor Vitae, WI – Public short course (9 a.m. – noon), Leading Like Jesus: Be a Better Leader at Home, at Work and Everywhere E...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. I wasn’t expecting it at all. Neither was anyone else in the room. I was teaching the principles of S3 Jesus-like Leadership to a class in a diocese’s Ministry Formation program, and we were trying to get a handle on the qualities and behaviors that the very best leaders show. To round out our picture, students were sharing experiences about the very best bosses they had ever had. The stories were very helpful. As the students shared their experiences I wrote down key traits on a large easel at the front of the room. To no one’s surprise it read a lot like the Boy Scout L...

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David Greer, former co-owner and president of Robelle, a global software firm, notes that many leaders are forever encouraging their charges to “do your best.” But Greer believes that most people are usually doing their best – in fact, that’s the problem. Their best just isn’t good enough. Or, put another way, their current best is nowhere near as good as what they would be capable of doing if their leaders helped them more fully develop their potential. Here, in Greer’s own words, are six ways leaders can help their followers continually improve their best. 1. Paint an incredib...

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John Baldoni, a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and author of more than a dozen books, offers a 2-minute video tune-up on the importance of leaders being good listeners. It’s the kind of quick, basic but important information you’ll want to take in yourself and also recommend to others -- perhaps as the starting point for a discussion about the value of active listening. VIEW IT HERE

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By Dick Kunnert This past spring I was asked to facilitate a small group book study of Owen Phelps’ The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus: Introducing Sᶟ Leadership – Servant, Steward, Shepherd. The time frame would be four Tuesday nights in May. We would meet for 90 minutes in the church basement. We publicized the small group gathering in our parish bulletin for a few weeks and 16 people responded. That turned out to be a good size group for what I was hoping to accomplish. Both the size of the group and the brevity of the book contributed to making the 4-week format work -- although in the evaluat...

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After almost 20 years as executive chairman and board member at Yum! Brands, David Novak stepped down in May to devote his professional life to preaching the Gospel of Recognition. It’s a huge step. Yum! brands is the restaurant and food franchise behemoth that owns KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell. It has nearly 43,000 restaurants in more than 130 countries and had over $13 billion in revenues in 2015. It opens an average of six new restaurants per day! Now he’s founder and CEO of OGO (O Great One!), the first consumer brand focused on the awesome power of recognition. When it comes to recognition, Novak is ...

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  Late summer and fall are shaping up to be busy times for the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, with public programs planned in four states. If you’re interested in learning how to be a Jesus-like S3 Leader, some of the programs listed below are open to the public and may appeal to you: Aug. 16, Rockford, IL – Retreat for faculty at Boylan Central Catholic High School. Facilitators Dick Kunnert and Fr. Dave Beauvais. By invitation only. Aug. 24, Arbor Vitae, WI – Public short course (9 a.m. – noon), Leading Like Jesus: Be a Better Leader at Home, at Work and Every...

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In our last issue (July 6), we referred to the fact that we never see any Catholic entities listed on “Best Employers” or “Top 10 Places to Work” list – despite the fact that the church is committed to teaching and presumably modeling “behaviors that are pro-life, affirm human dignity and acknowledge the critical importance of the family to the common good.” But just because Catholic entities haven’t made those selective lists doesn’t mean they can’t from the organizations who do. In fact, they can learn quite a bit. Case in point is a recent survey conducte...

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Leadership literature is giving a lot of attention these days to the concept of engagement – just how committed people are to their work tasks. And a lot of the news is not good. Various studies find that a majority of people are not engaged at work and, as a result, are not as productive as they could be – and not nearly as productive as their employers would like them to be. But Naphtali Hoff, an executive coach, consultant and former educator and school administrator, says there is a deeper, more important thing leaders should be focusing on: passion. Hoff says that while the engagement and passion ...

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Effective July 1, the Archdiocese of Chicago began offering 12 weeks of paid parental leave to its staff. We have no idea how common this policy is among archdioceses and dioceses, but a priest in the Chicago archdiocese says it’s rare. That’s too bad, because we think it’s praiseworthy and would be happy to see it become the norm wherever the Catholic Church employs people. Every time I see a “Best Employers” or “Top 10 Places to Work” story in a business magazine, I’m reminded that I’ve never seen a church agency on any of these lists. I can understand that to s...

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Julie Winkle Giulioni offers a bracing analogy for leaders who are truly interested in developing the potential of their followers – whether those followers are employees, volunteers or your own children. Giulioni, coauthor of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want, says developing others “is like brushing your teeth.” Her point is that to be effective, you have to do it every day. “Helping others develop, learn and grow ... may be among the most fundamental responsibilities human beings have to one another,” she says. And yet, in workplaces and homes, the p...

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Dan Rockwell, who blogs under the title Leadership Freak and is a co-author of The Character Based Leader, says there are six signs of successful leadership. Teams respect and leverage each other’s talent.  Management has focus. Teammates believe they matter. Individuals feel safe enough to try new things. Organizations enjoy high morale. Everyone embraces a “make it better” approach. “Good enough” isn’t good enough. The author, who has degrees in theology, construction and design, and a MBA, also says there are six behaviors that can deliver “th...

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  Some will say that being successful in business is all about focusing on shareholder value. The interests of other stakeholders –employees and their families, customers or clients, communities, vendors and creditors, for example – are secondary at best. Others say success in business is about balancing the interests of all the organization’s stakeholders. Recent research regarding the factors in long-term success favors this second perspective: balance. But Edward S. Lampert is a throwback. The head of Sears is focused only on short-term shareholder value. And that focus seems to be kil...

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  It was early in the days of personal computers. Word processing and spreadsheets were common applications among early adopters. But computer-to-computer communication was in its infancy and no one had a web browser yet. Enterprising school administrators were getting their first computers, but computer labs in most schools were still a few years away. In our diocese we were meeting with school principals to explain the concept of email and to help them get started installing computers and modems so they could communicate with one another and with folks in the diocese’s education office. One day my pho...

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When we talk about being a Jesus-like Leader, we say it is a matter of aligning four things: Heart; Head; Hands; and, Habits. Recently, Lead Like Jesus co-founder Ken Blanchard suggested in a non-religious context that we should try to make servant leadership a habit. Knowing that servant leadership works, why don’t more of us do a better job of being servant leaders? The problem is two-fold, Ken says. Some of us are too driven by pride. Others are too driven by fear. And as a matter of fact, we can be driven by both at the same time, making servant leadership all but impossible. Fortunately...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute My mom was an incredible woman. After she gave me life, she nurtured me physically and emotionally for as long as she lived. As time passed she also gave life to nine more children, my siblings. As a tribute to her wisdom, patience, persistence and selfless model of love, the nine of us who are still alive remain close – as do our more than 40 children. Mom to the rescue At 27 years of age, my wife and I were hired as a team to take over a broken-down chain of five small town weekly newspapers near where our parents were living. The chain had not grown nor ...

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In the spirit of the old adage “If they give you lemons, make lemonade,” broadcast journalist Shellie Karabell, who has worked for ABC News, PBS, AP Broadcast and CNBC recently offered in Forbes a list of things that good leaders can learn from bad bosses. 1. Mutual respect. She learned its importance from a boss who never let it occur. Instead, she would sneer at people and openly criticize their efforts. The result: “a marked decline in initiative and innovation and a general malaise of spirit within the department that was noticeable and remarked upon by senior management.” When that boss was ...

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  Among our ever endless quests for silver bullets to solve all our problems, many leaders want to know the secret to leading millennials – that huge phalanx of people born roughly between 1980 and 2000. Google HR chief Laszlo Bock, who hires a ton of millennials, says there is no silver bullet – although the temptation to think there is one is fairly universal. “We measure this sort of thing closely, and if you look at what their underlying needs and aspirations are, there’s no difference at all between this new generation of workers and my generation and my father’s generation,...

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We’ve become a big fan of the Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI) and its cofounder and president, Al Lopus. That’s why we weren’t surprised to find an excellent article by Lopus on the importance of trust and how to build it in Christian organizations on the BCWI website. Trust is a unique thing in the material world because it is both the glue that holds organizations together  and it is the grease that allows them to function smoothly despite a host of irritants. If you’re a leader committed to organizational excellence, you’ll want to read this article – and quit...

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In the May 25 issue of The Catholic Leader, we noted that if leaders are focusing primarily on expanding their influence, they are focusing on the wrong thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to be an influential leader. Indeed, Jesus wanted us to lead with influence. But the way to do that is not by focusing on expanding our influence. Instead, we should focus on expanding our capacity to lead – and if we do that well, our influence will inevitably grow and deepen. Ralph Enlow, author of The Leader’s Palette: Seven Primary Colors, offers a practical framework for Christian leaders to e...

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In the May 18 edition of The Catholic Leader, we discussed the importance of leaders being able to delegate – but also noted that not all tasks can or should be delegated. The story included a link to a matrix by Julie Winkle Giulioni outlining which tasks leaders should and should not delegate. Today we share the thoughts of L. Rogers Owen, a Protestant minister and associate professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, who says there is something else a leader can’t delegate: managing an organization’s culture. We’ve often spoken of leaders as “keepers of the vision.” For an org...

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My dad came home from work one day with a story that clearly amazed him. He told us about it at the dinner table. Dad was a pharmaceutical salesman, and on that day he had paid a visit to a physician at a residential facility for seriously mentally ill patients. At the reception desk he was cleared through a locked door with directions to find the physician’s office. But somehow he lost his way in the huge facility and found himself in a corridor of patients’ rooms. As he passed a room, desperate to find his way, a man suddenly stuck his head out of a door and beckoned him to come inside. Dad was uncomfor...

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  In yet another irony of organizational behavior, as the use of job performance reviews increases, so does the research that questions their effectiveness. I’ve always been something of a skeptic. That is to say, I’ve seen well-designed processes implemented by wise and sensitive supervisors build better, stronger, more trusting relationships that resulted in continuous performance improvement. The problem is I haven’t seen very many of them. Most of the forms and processes I’ve seen can’t even pass a basic snicker test. They’re artificial and superficial at the same ti...

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Many people who want to lead – that is, to influence others – want to influence as many people as possible. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, when it comes to leading like Jesus, he wanted us to influence everyone in the world. But if your focus is on expanding your influence, you’ve put the cart before the horse. The key to expanding one’s influence is not about focusing on that task, but about focusing on expanding your capacity, says Chad Balthrop, executive pastor of First Baptist Church in Owasso, OK. To build capacity, we need five ingredients: Care passionately...

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  In many places – including both work environments and families -- leaders act like questions are a problem. I have one friend who grew up in a home where the children were told – seriously – to speak only when spoken to. Is it any wonder he had to work hard to be outgoing and forthcoming in adulthood? Another friend was part of a highly-skilled team at a federal agency some years ago when they got a new boss, a political appointee, who told team members at her first meeting with them, “I don’t want any feedback.” Is it any wonder operations in the agency quickly deteri...

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For 30 years I worked as head of an office for a Catholic Diocese. Many of my co-workers marveled that I had such good access and got along so well with the bishops who employed me. One of the reasons is that I really liked all three of the ones I worked for, despite the major differences in their personalities and leadership styles. But another reason was that I occasionally disagreed with them – and did so in such a way that they thought I added value to their leadership responsibilities rather than challenging their authority. After a few such instances, they often asked my opinion before I even had a chance...

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Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big believer in delegation. Even if at first I didn’t understand the virtue of it, I quickly came to understand its necessity. My first management experience was as head of a moribund chain of community newspapers. Our company bought it with great expectations. After years of virtually no growth, my job was to turn it into the likes of Jack’s proverbial beanstalk. And that’s exactly what we did. In eight years we increased its overall gross revenues five-fold. We started with a broken-down physical plant that was home to outdated technology – all of it ...

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  At our Encounters, we like to explore the fact that people are more effective if their view of the world corresponds to reality. And the reality is that the world is not only very interactive, it is also incredibly interdependent. Thus we -- the people who inhabit this world -- are interdependent as well. This is an essential dimension of reality that is not always easy for people in the modern world to notice. We are inclined to see the human race as a collection of independent agents rather than as a complex system of highly interdependent members. We are disposed to see the totality of human development ...

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  When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Acts 2:1-4 It probably won’t become a major civil holiday until some clever promoter can come up with a reason why people should send out piles of greeting cards and buy up...

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A recent story in Business Insider says the average Chick-fil-A restaurant generates three times the revenue of the average KFC restaurant. Both focus on selling chicken, but Chick-fil-A per restaurant sales in 2014 were $3.1 million, compared with $960,000 per KFC restaurant. Actually, Chick-fil-A’s per restaurant sales are the highest in the entire fast food industry, beating second ranked Jason’s Deli ($2.7 million) and third ranked McDonald’s and Panera (tied at $2.5 million). The numbers are even more amazing when you realize that Chick-fil-A restaurants are always closed on Sundays, while i...

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The Yeshua Institute’s video, How Priests Can Avoid Burnout, has attracted more than 100 viewers in the past two months. Featuring veteran pastor and teacher Msgr. Mike Tierney, this video is part of the Yeshua Institute’s series of 4 Minute Tune-ups, dealing with a variety of topics of interest to a variety of audiences. In this video, Msgr. Mike looks at the life of Jesus for clues to how priests can avoid burnout in their ministries. To view the video, click here. To visit the Yeshua Institute’s complete Video Gallery, click here.  

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“A healthcare system which harms the very people who have chosen healing professions is not truly a healthCARE system,” writes Tom Dahlborg on the Dahlborg Healthcare Leadership Blog. His recent blog post, Preventing Harm and Healing the Healer, is a poignant and compelling plea by a healthcare professional who speaks of meeting “many doctors and nurses who (in their words) ‘had lost their soul for healing,’ were burnt out, were leaving the profession, and worse.” In a moving multi-media presentation, Dahlborg says: “We need bold and courageous leaders right now to step ...

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Mother’s Day is one of two annual reminders to parents about what the most important leadership role in our lives is. The other reminder is Father’s Day. In life’s seemingly continuous and competitive pursuit of opportunity, status and security – all in a very uncertain world -- it’s often easy to lose sight of what matters most in life. If we are parents, what matters most should be loving, nurturing and forming our children – helping them to fully develop their God-given gifts while getting them to see that those gifts are not given to them for their self-aggrandizement but ...

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Here’s some good news for leaders of nonprofits and small business enterprises who don’t have a big pile of money to entice and keep people on the team. When it comes to attracting and keeping people, money isn’t everything. I didn’t say “money is nothing.” People have college loans to pay, healthcare costs to cover, one or more mouths to feed, a need for shelter, clothing, transportation – a host of necessities. So money does matter. But it’s not the only thing that matters. And usually it’s not even the thing that matters most. Just ask someone who does work ...

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Heidi Grant Halvorson asks: “Are you a toxic colleague?” And then, extending her challenge, she asks: “How would you know?” Dr. Halvorson is associate director for the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia University Business School and author of the bestselling Nine Things Successful People Do Differently. Her latest book is No One Understands You and What to Do About It. She says almost no one would admit to being a toxic colleague. In fact, it’s likely that those who are toxic aren’t aware of the fact. Research shows that “most of the time there is re...

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Many employers insist that the amounts individual employees are paid must be kept confidential. Many also have at least informal proscriptions against employees discussing their compensation with peers. Often there’s a sound, if self-serving reason for silence. Seldom if ever are compensation packages completely fair and just. While there may be no excuses for unfair compensation levels, it turns out there are plenty of reasons, most of them matters of historical circumstance or employer convenience. Most likely none of them will matter in the moment you find out you’re the victim of an unfair compensa...

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LEARNING TO LEAD LIKE JESUS -- Several of the 180 seminarians who attended the 2015 Seminarians’ Fraternity Retreat gather around Bishop Paul Ssemwogere, head of the Kasana-Luwero Diocese, site of the gathering. Bishop Ssemwogere spoke on the retreat’s theme, "Called to Lead Like Jesus." How a single copy of a book starts a movement The Yeshua Institute is looking for partners to help us teach seminarians in Uganda how to Lead Like Jesus. Almost miraculously, the story of our work with seminarians there begins with a single copy of a book. Cultivating soil The soil in which our service to ...

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Alaina Love says good leaders are stewards of their organizations and “should be champions of the ideas and people who make it run.” Love, COO and president of Purpose Linked Consulting and co-author of The Purpose Linked Organization: How Passionate Leaders Inspire Winning Teams and Great Results, says one enemy of effective leadership is the desire to exercise control. “If you allow the culture that has made your organization successful to be smothered by corporate need for control, the opportunities to innovate will diminish. And the only ones who’ll be left at the table for dessert are you...

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In the Yeshua Institute’s latest video, Jesus: Best Leadership Model and Teacher, Dr. Owen Phelps takes less than four minutes to outline why Jesus is the best leadership model and teacher of all time. Owen notes that empirical evidence continues to pile up that self-serving leaders are not effective leaders over the long-term. “When it becomes obvious that leaders are looking out only for their own interests, followers feel compelled to look out for themselves first too,” he says. “Of course, that means no one is looking out for the organization’s mission. So it’s no wonder that o...

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Some years ago our school district’s board took a bold step and hired a woman from out of state to be our new school superintendent. I was elated. Soon I had the opportunity to meet her at a social gathering, and I came away thoroughly impressed and convinced that she was an excellent choice to lead the most important organization in our community. Among her first responsibilities was to hire a principal before the new fall term began. And when I saw who she had hired, I had second thoughts about the superintendent’s qualifications. Even before I had the chance to meet the new principal, I suspected we had a...

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Amazing bosses follow 5 rules

Posted on April 19, 2016 in: Articles

“Amazing bosses try to make work meaningful and enjoyable for employees,” and they do it primarily by adhering to five rules of thumb, says Harvard Business Review (HBR). While none of the rules mention the leadership of Jesus, all of them correspond to the way he led and taught his disciples to lead. Here are the five listed by HBR (with our own reflections in italics). 1. Manage individuals, not just teams.  When you’re under pressure, you can forget that employees have varying interests, abilities, goals, and styles of learning. But it’s important to understand what makes each ...

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A story in the business magazine FastCompany reports that the Marines have made some changes in their boot camp training to increase the engagement of new recruits. No, they haven’t made the boot camp experience even more oppressive. Instead, they’ve added more options, as well as assigned tasks that come without instructions for how to complete them. The changes, according to Charles Duhigg, the New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner who is also author of the books The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life, were made by the Marines after they discove...

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  A recent Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter in Palatine, IL, drew high praise from participants  -- perhaps increasing the appeal of an Encounter scheduled April 28, in Osage, IA at Sacred Heart Parish. Here is a sampling of comments from participants in Palatine: “Excellent presentation ... great resource to help me be a better Christian, employee, friend and mentor.” “Wonderful and inspiring.” “Very helpful and informative; it will help me in my work and personal life.” “Excellent! Even having read the book beforehand, I found that this...

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A Lead Like Jesus Jail Ministry founded by Yeshua Institute Fellow, Board Member and Senior Facilitator Dick Kunnert recently celebrated its seventh anniversary. To date the ministry has hosted more than 1,000 Encounter participants – and many of them have reported life-changing transformations as a result of the experience. “I think about (what I did) every day. I wish I never did it. No one was hurt, thank God,” a 19-year-old Hispanic prisoner told a reporter from the local daily newspaper six days after he participated in the Encounter. He had arrived at the first session of the Encounter with...

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If you’re wondering what to do with your life after Easter, Pope Francis has a suggestion for you. You can read his new apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), on Love in the Family.” At 60,000 words and over 250 pages, it should keep people busy for a long, long time – especially if they have to sneak time for it into busy days packed with work and child care responsibilities. (A PDF download is available free here; various paperback editions are also available.) The new document, released at the Vatican April 8, is Pope Francis’ reflections on family and church issue...

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Iowa Encounter scheduled April 28

Posted on April 11, 2016 in: Articles

A Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter will be held April 28, in Osage, IA at Sacred Heart Parish. People who sign up through their parish can attend at no charge. The cost for others to participate is $79. “Many people don’t think of themselves as leaders, but anytime anyone tries to influence anyone else they are taking on the role of leader -- so that means everyone is a leader some of the time,” says Dr. Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Institute. “At the Encounter we equip people to be effective leaders in their homes, workplaces, parishes and other communities of which ...

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“We often forget that behind each disengaged employee is a human being with feelings, and when we don’t communicate with them effectively, people feel underappreciated, disoriented and stressed,” says Daniel Kraft, president and CEO of Sitrion, a software applications firm. And not only that. “In time, these stresses can develop into physical health problems as well,” he warns. “I am not a medical expert, but I know communication plays a major role in the overall well-being of both the team and the organization,” he adds. Kraft says that effective communications also have ...

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The deadline to register for a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter on Saturday, April 16, in suburban Chicago is tomorrow, April 7. The Little Sisters of the Poor will be hosting the Encounter at their St. Joseph’s Home in Palatine – and the cost is just $25, less than a third of what the program usually costs. “The Little Sisters are really extending themselves to make it possible for everyone who wants to participate to do so,” said Dr. Owen Phelps, author of The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus, and facilitator for the April 16 program. “Anytime anyone tries to infl...

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There are basically two ways to understand an organization – no matter how large or how small it is. You can see it as a mechanism. Or you can see it as an organism – as a body or an open, living system. For a long time it has been the habit in many places to see organizations as mechanisms. When that happens, we assume that the organization has one input and that energy and information flow in one direction from that input to an output. So, for example, the owner of a mechanical watch winds the watch. That tightens the mainspring. Over time, the mainspring unwinds, moving an intricate set of gears whi...

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If you care about living Catholic values at work, the place to start is with gratitude. Begin your work day with gratitude. And then end it the same way.  In recent years a host of research has confirmed the real, down-to-earth, empirical value of being grateful. People who take just 20 minutes a week to write down the things for which they are grateful live happier, healthier, more purposeful lives. Even if the list is the same each week, the benefits of taking the time to focus on our blessings and to write them down are concrete. The activity is life-changing – quite literally. When you do it, you ar...

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In the Yeshua Institute’s latest video, Making Time for Prayer in Your Busy Life, Dr. Owen Phelps takes just over three minutes to help busy people make time for prayer in their lives. “I won’t tell you how to carve out hours in your day for prayer,” Owen promises. “If you can do that, you already have overcome the biggest challenge – how to find a few minutes here and there to communicate with your creator and savior while you frantically try to keep up with everything else that’s going on in your life. “I know it’s not easy because I went for many years not bein...

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Those who live in the Chicago area have a special opportunity coming their way on Saturday, April 16. The Little Sisters of the Poor will be hosting a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter at their St. Joseph’s Home in Palatine – and the cost is just $25. That’s only about a third of the usual cost of the program, which has drawn rave reviews from laity, religious and clergy in six countries on three continents. The 1-day program, intended for every adult Catholic, is of a rich mix of videos, live presentations, large and small group discussions and self-discovery exercises. “...

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Did you get up Monday morning a little bummed out that you didn’t make more of Easter? Maybe you could have paid a little more attention at Mass. Maybe you could have visited someone – or at least called them. Did you fail to reach out to a parent, another relative or friend who would have enjoyed hearing from you? Whatever the reason, are you regretting your indolence now? If so, we’ve got good news for you: Easter isn’t over. The window to do things right for Easter hasn’t closed on you. In fact, when it comes to Easter, we’ve only just begun. The full Easter season ...

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If you’re looking for some helpful tips for how to practice your Catholicism at work without isolating yourself from your work community, you’ve come to the right place. Or at least you are very close – just a click away, to be precise. Living Faith at Work, a wonderful site for lay Catholics trying to integrate their faith and their lives in small, helpful, practical steps, offers a short list of 12 things anyone can do to live their faith at work – ways to keep their own spiritual moorings secure while possibly committing a little good for others in the process. To learn more, click here....

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  In the Yeshua Institute’s latest video, Making Time for Prayer in Your Busy Life, Dr. Owen Phelps takes just over three minutes to help busy people make time for prayer in their lives. “I won’t tell you how to carve out hours in your day for prayer,” Owen promises. “If you can do that, you already have overcome the biggest challenge – how to find a few minutes here and there to communicate with your creator and savior while you frantically try to keep up with everything else that’s going on in your life. “I know it’s not easy because I went for many year...

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  John 20:1-19 (From the Mass of Easter Day) On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,  “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go i...

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  Romans 6:3-11 (From the Epistle for the Easter Vigil Mass) Brothers and sisters: Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with,  that we might no longer be in sl...

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HOLY WEEK REFLECTION: Good Friday

Posted on March 22, 2016 in: Articles

  John 19:23-30 (From the Gospel for Good Friday services) When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,” in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots. This is what the soldiers did. Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother a...

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John 13:1-15 (From the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper) Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’...

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  For those who want to live, love and lead like Jesus, a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter is a great place to start. The 1-day program is a rich mix of videos, live presentations, large and small group discussions and self-discovery exercises that inspire and challenge Catholics to embrace Jesus as their model in all of their relationships. Chicago-area Catholics have a special opportunity to participate in an Encounter on Saturday, April 16, when the Little Sisters of the Poor host the program at their St. Joseph’s Home in Palatine, IL. Two special notes about the program: the fa...

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In the Yeshua Institute’s latest video, A Giving Parish is a Growing Parish, the Institute’s CEO, Dr. Owen Phelps, shares the story of how a pastor’s vision of generosity helped build a new parish from the ground up. From the start, the new parish’s young pastor insisted that despite the parish’s many needs, it should tithe its income for needs beyond the parish. That notion wasn’t popular with many of the new parish’s members. But the pastor stuck to his principles and consistently donated five percent of the parish’s income to needs beyond the parish. Since then th...

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In Rudyard Kipling’s classic poem, “If,” he lays down a series of conditions for manhood. Among them he includes this challenge: “If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same.” His insight is noteworthy. All too many of us spend way too much of our lives focused on how to achieve triumph and avoid disaster. Kipling unveils both as “imposters” -- not worthy of our attention, much less our lifelong devotion. It’s a hard lesson to learn. How else can you explain why so few of us learn it? Or why do even those who do learn it als...

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  The Little Sisters of the Poor are inviting the public to participate in a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter April 16 at their St. Joseph’s Home in Palatine, IL, for just a fraction of what the program usually costs. Admission generally runs $50 to $100, depending on the cost of the site, but the Little Sisters have set the registration fee at just $25. The price includes all materials, lunch and snack breaks. “The Little Sisters really want to help their fellow Catholics learn how to be Jesus-like Leaders,” says Owen Phelps, director of the Yeshua Institute and facilitator ...

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  If the term “emotional intelligence” doesn’t mean much to you -- or perhaps is even a new term for you – it’s your lucky day. You’ve just identified a gap it would be good for you to close if you want to be an effective leader. Personally, I recommend you get and read a copy of Daniel Goleman’s classic, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.   But before you do, you’ll want to hear from LaRae Quy, an FBI undercover and counterintelligence agent for 24 years, who says that mental toughness is not something you acquire by setting your emotio...

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  In observance of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, we share with you this fragment from St. Patrick’s Breastplate, a popular prayer often attributed to the saint who is credited with converting Ireland to Christianity. It’s a great little prayer with which to begin the day St. Patrick’s Day – or any other day of the year, for that matter. Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of ev...

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  Jim Whitehurst, former COO of Delta Airlines and now president and CEO of Red Hat, a hi-tech company, says there are five ways to cultivate the kind of passion in people that fosters high performance. Yes, he says, in order to build a great organization leaders have to espouse a purpose that transcends the bottom line. “The best and brightest talent are attracted to organizations that offer a broader purpose. But simply defining a purpose is not enough,” he says. What sets top-notch organizations apart is passion. “People want to be passionate about what they do, and they want to be s...

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The Little Sisters of the Poor are hosting a public Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter at their St. Joseph’s Home in Palatine, IL, on Saturday, April 16, the day after the traditional deadline to pay federal income taxes. No matter that the tax deadline has been extended this year – or whether you got a tax refund or had to pony up some cash to get right with the government. Whatever your circumstances, the Little Sisters are offering a super bargain registration fee – just $25. That fee includes all materials, lunch and snack breaks. “God  bless the Little Sisters,"...

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The deadline for a March 18 Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter  in Rockford, IL, has been extended to Thursday, March 10. The Encounter is the Yeshua Institute’s signature 1-day training program where the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus is presented with a rich mix of videos, large and small group discussion, self-discovery exercises and live presentations. The program has drawn high praise from Catholic laity and clergy in all walks of life in six countries on three continents. A fee of $79 includes all materials, lunch and snack breaks. For more information or to register for the ...

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SportsLeader, a Catholic ministry for coaches and directors of sports ministry based in Louisville, KY, has a question: Why not coach and play sports like Jesus? Here’s the ministry’s argument for making Jesus the model for sports participation: Jesus was tough, selfless, humble, coachable, 100% all in, dedicated, willing to sacrifice and take one for the team … On top of all that he could heal the sick and the injured, walk on water, produce free food, calm huge and angry crowds …Why wouldn’t you want Him on your team? Why wouldn’t you put Him in? Just imagine if every single...

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  Our friends at Living Faith at Work offer some brief and excellent reflections – and a few self-discovery questions – about the Catholic Vision of Work. “Our Catholic faith/spirituality at its foundation is a way of seeing -- recognizing God's presence in all of life, including work,” they explain. “If we view work through the lens of faith, what do we see?” they ask – offering 11 insights about the meaning and significance of our work. “It makes a profound difference how we view our work: whether we look at our work only as a career or through the eyes...

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The Yeshua Institute’s latest video, How Priests Can Avoid Burnout, is now available on our website. Featuring veteran pastor and teacher Msgr. Mike Tierney, this new video is the latest in the Yeshua Institute’s series of 4 Minute Tune-ups, dealing with a variety of topics of interest to a variety of audiences. In this video, Msgr. Mike looks at the life of Jesus for clues to how priests can avoid burnout in their ministries. To view the video, click here. To visit the Yeshua Institute’s complete Video Gallery, click here.

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Five Encounters on tap in March, April

Posted on February 27, 2016 in: Articles

Five Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters are scheduled in the near future. All but two open to the public. The Encounter is the Yeshua Institute’s signature 1-day training program where the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus is presented with a rich mix of videos, large and small group discussion, self-discovery exercises and live presentations. The program has drawn high praise from Catholic laity and clergy in all walks of life in six countries on three continents. Upcoming Encounters include: March 18 in Rockford, IL at  the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center. Click here for...

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The Yeshua Institute’s latest video, Veteran Priest Talks About Building Parish Community, is now available on our website. Featuring veteran pastor, counselor and diocesan administrator Father David Beauvais, it’s the latest in the Yeshua Institute’s series of 4 Minute Tune-ups, dealing with a variety of topics of interest to a variety of audiences. In this video, Father Dave addresses his remarks primarily to priests who want to help their parishes become stronger faith communities. To view the video, click here. To visit the Yeshua Institute’s complete Video Gallery, click here. ...

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  Six Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters are scheduled in the near future, and all but two are open to the public. The Encounter is the Yeshua Institute’s signature 1-day training program where the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus is presented with a rich mix of videos, large and small group discussion, self-discovery exercises and live presentations. The program has drawn high praise from Catholic laity and clergy in all walks of life in six countries on three continents. Upcoming Encounters include: March 3 in Cedar Rapids, IA at St. Matthew Parish. People who sign up thr...

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I was talking with a friend of mine who is a funeral director the other day and the subject of ties came up. He was wearing one; I wasn’t. “I’m starting to resent it,” he said with a big smile on his face. “I went to the bank and the banker wasn’t wearing a tie. I saw my lawyer and he didn’t have a tie on either. I think I’m about the only person who still has to wear a tie and I’m starting to resent it.” I was glad to see he was still smiling. “I’ve noticed that too,” I agreed. “A lot of CEOs go on television with open collars. Even ...

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One of topics discussed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last month was how the gap in trust between elites and the general population is growing around the world. The authoritative 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer indicates that while the best informed people around the world are trusting NGOs, businesses and government more, that’s not true for the world’s general population. As a result, the gap in trust between the two groups is of record size – and highest in the U.S., where the difference is 20 points. Edelman’s website reported the gap is “driven by income ine...

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A recent weekday homily by Pope Francis revived vivid memories of my days teaching junior high students in our parish’s religious education program. As is typical of newly emerging teens in our culture, they were inclined to see the Bible as just one more pious artifact that had little or no relevance to their hip interests and cool lifestyles. As luck would have it, my no-pay job was to teach them about the Old Testament. So on Saturday mornings I rolled out of bed early, got dressed, filled a thermos full of hot black coffee, grabbed my notebook and Bible, and headed down the road – often a frozen and slip...

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Four Encounters coming soon

Posted on February 15, 2016 in: Articles

Four Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters are scheduled in the near future in Illinois and Iowa. The Encounter is the Yeshua Institute’s signature 1-day training program where the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus is presented with a rich mix of videos, large and small group discussion, self-discovery exercises and live presentations. The program has drawn rave reviews from Catholic laity and clergy in all walks of life in six countries on three continents. You can register here for an Encounter on Friday, March 18, at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Rockford, IL. It joins a ...

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The Yeshua Institute’s latest video, Dealing With Difficult People, is now available on our website. Featuring veteran pastor and teacher Msgr. Mike Tierney, it’s the latest in the Yeshua Institute’s series of 4 Minute Tune-ups, dealing with a variety of topics of interest to a variety of audiences. In this video, Msgr. Mike addresses his remarks to Catholic laity and priests who may find themselves dealing with difficult people at home, on the job or in their parishes. To view the video, click here. To visit the Yeshua Institute’s complete Video Gallery, click here.  

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Register for Encounters now

Posted on February 09, 2016 in: Articles

Five Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters are scheduled in the near future in Illinois and Iowa. With a rich mix of videos, large and small group discussion, self-discovery exercises and live presentations, the Encounter has drawn rave reviews from Catholics in all walks of life in six countries on three continents. You can register here for an Encounter on Friday, March 18, at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Rockford, IL. It joins a list of four Encounters scheduled in the Dubuque (IA) Archdiocese in the next three months: Dubuque, Holy Ghost Parish, Saturday, Feb. 13, 8:30 a.m. - 3...

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Lent: Why bother?

Posted on February 09, 2016 in: Articles

If you’re wondering why you should even bother with Lent this year, consider this: the point of the season is to help us come closer to adopting the heart and mind of Jesus. That would seem pretty elementary if you aspire to be Jesus-like leader. And if that is your aspiration, it’s time to see Lent as an opportunity – not another hoop you have to jump through. The traditions of Lent are designed to help prepare us to celebrate Jesus’ defeat of death for us at Easter and his Great Commission to us at his Ascension to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). The Chur...

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It’s encouraging to see so many people show up in churches on Ash Wednesday, the fact remains that it’s difficult for busy people to find the time to use the Lenten season well to grow spiritually. We mean well. But as Jesus tells us, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Mt. 26:41). That said, there are plenty of quick, easy and free online opportunities to help us grow in our faith during Lent – and many of them remain available to us all through the year. We can’t possibly list them all. In fact, a Google search for “online opportunities to grow in Lent” ...

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Our new free Study Guide for Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation The Joy of the Gospel is now available for download on the Yeshua Institute’s website. “It’s being published just ahead of Lent so that parish-based and other small groups can make use of it during that season,” said Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Institute. “With six sessions, it’s ideal for those who want to explore Pope Francis’ vision for the Church and for each of its individual members during Lent." Lent begins next Wednesday, Feb. 10, with Ash Wednesday. There are two ways to download the...

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  The Church’s observance of National Marriage Week Feb. 7-13, culminating in World Marriage Day Feb. 14, reminds us that the most important leadership role most persons will ever have is in their home with their spouse and any children they have. That’s true even if you’re the CEO of a vast international conglomerate. No matter what your job, your home life is more important. It’s also true that the very best leadership performance occurs in homes, not on the job. And that’s because good parents love their children more than bosses love their employees -- and love is what fuels ...

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Encounters scheduled in Illinois, Iowa

Posted on February 02, 2016 in: Articles

A Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter  is scheduled in Rockford, IL, on Friday, March 18, at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center. It joins a list of four Encounters scheduled in the Dubuque (IA) Archdiocese in the next three months. The Encounter is the Yeshua Institute’s signature 1-day training experience to teach people how to be S3 Jesus-like Leaders at home, at work, in their parishes and in their communities. “Leadership is an influence process,” says Yeshua Institute Director Owen Phelps. “Anytime we try to influence anyone else, they are acting as a leader. So...

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We’ve launched a new Video Gallery that makes browsing our catalog of Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus videos much easier. We hope you check it out and find it helpful in your own efforts to be a Jesus-like S3 Leader. We’ve also added a new video about the ecumenical jail ministry supported by the Yeshua Institute and led by Yeshua Institute board member Dick Kunnert and Lead Like Jesus facilitator Ruth Fairchild. It’s a moving 3-minute portrait of Dick and Ruth’s commitment to serve prisoners. Click here to see all the titles in our video library. Click here to see the short vid...

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  The hardest part about leading like Jesus is getting one’s heart right. Indeed, it’s a daily and lifelong struggle. We teach that to master Servant Leadership, the first part of S3 Leadership, we have to work on our heart, head, hands and habits. All are important: The head is important  because one has to both understand how Jesus led and to comprehend the skills of effective leadership. The hands are important because knowing by itself is not enough – one has to actually behave in a way that reflects a properly disposed heart and a properly informed head. The habits are impor...

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Sprinklr is a company with more than 550 employees, 650 customers and 12 offices across the Americas, Europe and Asia that develops and supports a social media software platform by the same name. Ragy Thomas, its founder and chief executive, attributes much of his success to what he calls his “naive trust” in other people – something he said he learned in a Catholic boarding school in India, where he was born. In an interview with the New York Times, Thomas recalled returning to India after several years of boyhood in Africa. “The boarding school was in the middle of nowhere on top of a hill. ...

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Four Encounters coming in Iowa

Posted on January 25, 2016 in: Articles

Four Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters are scheduled in the Dubuque Archdiocese in the next four months. The Encounter is the Yeshua Institute’s signature 1-day training experience to teach people how to be S3 Jesus-like Leaders. Anytime anyone tries to influence anyone else, they are taking on the role of leader – which means that all of us are leaders some of the time. Our choice in life is not whether we will lead, but only what kind of leader we will be. The Encounter teaches people how to lead like the best leadership teacher and role model of all time – Jesus. Using a rich m...

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  Although Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, doesn’t arrive until Feb. 10, it’s not too early to begin planning for how you will try to make the most of this annual period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In many parishes the materials for special small group gatherings were selected and ordered months ago. But there’s still time to organize ad hoc groups or to make preparations to study and grow on your own or with a friend or two during the Lenten season. If that’s your plan, we’ve got a free offer you might not be able to refuse. At the end of this week we’ll be pub...

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Administrators, faculty, staff and volunteer leaders in the nation’s 6,568 Catholic elementary and secondary schools are about to get extra busy – because National Catholic Schools Week 2016 begins Sunday, Jan. 31, and continues through Saturday, Feb. 6. The theme of this year’s observance is Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service. Typical activities during the special week include Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members. Each day has its own theme, beginning with “In Our Parish” on Sunday, and continuing ...

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Yes, Lent is still almost three weeks away. But if you or your parish is looking for Lenten small group study materials, we might be able to serve you. We’ll be publishing a free 6-week study guide on Pope Francis’ widely acclaimed apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). It will be available by the end of January, ahead of Ash Wednesday on Feb. 10. To reserve your copy, request it from Here4U@YeshuaLeader.com. Participants will need copies of the pope’s exhortation to use the study guide. It can be downloaded free from the Vatican website here, or purchased in handy book ...

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  This morning I just finished reading Fast Company magazine’s “Twenty Predictions for the New 20 Years” (Dec. 2015 - Jan. 2016, pp. 14-20).   In a nutshell, they’re both exciting and terrifying. Most, of course, center around rapid changes in technology – especially communications technology. Here’s a sampling of what’s ahead: Speed will triumph; Digital tools will unlock opportunity; Democracy will be digital; Diversity will deepen; Medical training will be rewritten; Human empathy will be central; and Simple will be more difficult (actually, ...

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Dubuque Encounters coming in February

Posted on January 19, 2016 in: Articles

A 1-day Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter will be offered in Dubuque, IA in February. It’s one of four scheduled in the Dubuque Archdiocese in the next few months. We’re all leaders some of the time, so our choice in life is not whether or not we will be a leader. Our only choice is what kind of leader we will be. And the Encounter teaches us how to lead like the best leadership teacher and role model of all time – Jesus. Using a rich mix of videos, large and small group discussions, self-discovery exercises and live presentations, the Encounter has drawn rave reviews from Catholic...

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If you are trying to lead like Jesus, you inevitably face the task of trying to love like Jesus. And the good news is -- when you do, you are not alone. Indeed, you’ll find good company – and fine guidance -- with John and Therese Boucher’s new book, Mending Broken Relationships, Building Strong Ones: Eight Ways to Love as Jesus Loves Us. Despite the long title and its mention of learning eight different ways to love as Jesus does, this is not a thick, complicated treatise. Instead, it is a short, easy-to-understand book with many down-to-earth stories to help illustrate what the authors have in min...

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If you’re looking for a model Catholic leader today, you might want to consider Tom Coughlin, who retired last week as head coach of the New York Giants. He wasn’t perfect. If he was -- even by the narrow standard of wins and losses -- he would probably still be their coach. His 12-year tenure included two Super Bowl wins. But it had its ups and downs and it ended with three straight losing seasons. Consensus has it that if he hadn’t resigned, he would have been fired. But Coughlin was a man who had two things going for him: he stayed grounded in faith and family, and he changed. When he ca...

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5 Encounters planned in Iowa

Posted on January 11, 2016 in: Articles

Five of the Yeshua Institute’s 1-day Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter training programs will be offered in the Dubuque Archdiocese in the next four months. Why care about leadership if you don’t have a prominent position somewhere? Easy! Anytime we try to influence anyone else, we are taking on the role of leader. So all of us are called to be leaders some of the time. That means leadership is not a choice, it’s a mandate. The only choice is what kind of leaders we will be. And the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter experience helps people learn how to lead like the ...

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Pope Francis didn’t wait for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to begin next Monday. Getting a jump on that observance, he addressed the topic of Christian unity at a prayer service in St. Paul’s Basilica in Rome Sunday, Jan. 10, attended by Orthodox and Anglican dignitaries. "So many past controversies between Christians can be overcome when we put aside all polemical or apologetic approaches, and seek instead to grasp more fully what unites us," the pope said. "We need to realize that, to plumb the depths of the mystery of God, we need one another, we need to encounter one ...

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New video: How to get more volunteers

Posted on January 11, 2016 in: Articles

If you’re interested in learning how to get more volunteers in your parish, you’ll want to watch the newest in our series of 4 Minute Tune-up videos. “How to Get Volunteers” is the title of the new video by Msgr. Mike Tierney, a veteran pastor and teacher who is part of the Yeshua Institute team and has years of experience recruiting and developing volunteers in a variety of parish settings. Among other things, Msgr. Mike says it’s important “to sit down with people on a one-to-one basis” and explain to them exactly what a particular volunteer post involves. That helps them g...

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If you’re a subscriber to The Catholic Leader, when your next issue arrives this Wednesday, Jan. 13, you will notice that we are still tinkering with the format. Our goal is to serve you and the worldwide Catholic community better. We received several compliments when The Catholic Leader switched to a clean, simple format a couple of months ago, and we hope the new design preserves that for readers. We also loved the feature on our new website that compiled the weekly newsletters completely automatically from stories we posted on the site. However, the system did not allow us enough access and flexibility wi...

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Five Encounters coming in Iowa

Posted on January 04, 2016 in: Articles

The Yeshua Institute’s 1-day Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter training program will be offered five times in the Dubuque Archdiocese in the next four months. Anytime anyone tries to influence anyone else, they are taking on the role of leader. So all of us are called to be leaders some of the time. Leadership is not a choice, it’s a mandate. The only choice is what kind of leaders we will be, and the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter experience helps people learn how to Lead like Jesus. Here are the Encounters people can attend in Iowa: Cedar Rapids, St. Ludmila Parish...

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Anyone with more than a passing familiarity with their church and culture knows that a lot of the news about individual religious participation and parish vitality isn’t good these days. Across the developed world: Mass attendance is down – in some places precipitously. The numbers of people being baptized, married and buried in the church are declining.. The percentage of people who say that religious faith is important or very important to them continues to drop. At the same time, there are pockets of great growth and vitality to be found. In many places where parish faith communities come t...

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Goal boosters break the cycle in 2016

Posted on January 03, 2016 in: Articles

Dan McCarthy, director of Executive Development Programs at the University of New Hampshire, offers a quick, handy checklist of 10 ideas to help us grow as leaders in 2016. There’re all good ideas. But as he says, all too often the best intentions we have at the start of the year quickly wash out into a sea of fatigue and apathy – and nothing changes. That’s why you’ll want to focus in on his three “goal boosters” to help assure that any goals you set this year actually get accomplished. Read more here.  

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Yes, it’s still early in the year and Lent is more than four weeks away. But if you or your parish is looking for Lenten small group study materials, we’ve got two modest suggestions: We’ll be publishing a free 6-week study guide on Pope Francis’ widely acclaimed apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). It will be available by the end of January, ahead of Ash Wednesday on Feb. 10. To reserve your copy, request it from Here4U@YeshuaLeader.com. Participants will need copies of the pope’s exhortation to use the study guide. It can be downloaded free from the Vatican ...

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In The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus, we suggest nine habits to help you stay on track as a Jesus-like S3 Leader. The first three are: Practice solitude Pray daily Read scripture often Last issue we suggested you pick one of the nine to focus on in 2016. But as it turns out, you can address all three of the habits above with this brief daily meditation from St. Paul’s New Testament letters: Brothers and sisters, Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another,...

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January 1: Pope on World Day of Peace

Posted on December 28, 2015 in: Articles

A good way to start of the New Year is to spend a little quiet time reading Pope Francis’ message for the celebration of World Day of Peace, which is observed universally in the Church on New Year’s Day. “Overcome Indifference and Win Peace” is the title of the pope’s message, which begins by noting: “God is not indifferent! God cares about mankind! God does not abandon us! (Italics in original text.) Among other topics Pope Francis addresses is how to convert hearts from indifference to mercy and how to build a culture of solidarity and mercy to overcome indifference. To read h...

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Resolution tip: Pick a habit, any habit

Posted on December 28, 2015 in: Articles

If you’re jotting down a list of New Year’s Resolutions – or have resolved to do it in the next few days – we’d like to suggest one to help you grow in 2016. Decide to focus on one of the habits – just one – that we propose to Catholics who want to be better Jesus-like Leaders. In The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus, we endorse nine habits: Practice solitude Pray daily Read scripture often Worship and receive the sacraments regularly Explore the lives and reflections of saints and Christian scholars. Consider sacramentals and devotions that flourish in ...

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How to keep your 2016 resolutions

Posted on December 28, 2015 in: Articles

You don’t need help making New Year’s Resolutions, do you? Anybody can do that. But you problem could use some help keeping them. Doesn’t everybody need that? Well, it’s true that some of us have more self-discipline than others. But it’s also true that trying to achieve new goals or develop new, healthier habits is nearly always difficult. Most of us struggle with changes any kind – even those we dearly desire. One way to break through that struggle is to tell others what your resolutions are and invite them to help you monitor your success in achieving them. You can do this wi...

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Two days left to get 2015 tax deduction

Posted on December 28, 2015 in: Articles

The opportunity to get a 2015 tax deduction for your donation to the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute ends at midnight Thursday, Dec. 31. “We hope everyone who hasn’t yet had an opportunity to contribute will do so before the end of the calendar year,” said Owen Phelps, the Institute’s CEO. “Our vision is very ambitious: that every Catholic in every walk of life leads like Jesus — as servant, steward and shepherd,” he added. “Imagine what kind of church and world we would enjoy if every Catholic, clergy as well as lay, was a Jesus-like Leader,&rdquo...

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Bishop Paul Ssemwogere is flanked by some of the seminarians learning how to be Jesus-like Leaders. What brings about 180 seminarians from five major seminaries representing all 19 dioceses in Uganda together right before Christmas? The opportunity to learn more about being Jesus-like S3 Leaders. The occasion was Uganda’s annual Seminarian Fraternity Retreat, held Dec. 16-19 at Emmaus Catholic Retreat Centre in the Diocese of Kasana-Lueeero. The Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute was primary sponsor of the event. Bishop Paul Ssemwogere, head of the diocese, celebrated Mass for the sem...

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  This past week, under the sponsorship of the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, about 180 students from five major seminaries representing all 19 dioceses in Uganda met to learn how to be Jesus-like S3 Leaders. Watch for more coverage in next week’s Catholic Leader.  

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Christmas presents for priests, laity

Posted on December 19, 2015 in: Articles

  We don’t want celebration of the great holyday of Christmas to pass without offering a gift to you, our dear readers – and to anyone else with whom you want to share these gifts. We’d like to express our affection for you with two gifts – one especially for priests and the other especially for laity (although both are suited for all audiences, most especially permanent deacons). Priests will find a companion chock full of interesting and helpful information at the homepage for The National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood, overseen by faithful stewards Fr. Gene Hemrick ...

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By Fr. Eugene Hemrick Yeshua Institute Fellow, Director of the National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood Today’s ecological programs are abundant, creative and inspirational. To name just a few: wind farms, solar panels, energy saving devices, recycling, roof top gardens, streamlined waste management, rain gardens, rain barrels, and light rail transportation.  As awesome as is all this inventiveness, will it continue to grow and be even more awesome, or will it decelerate and be replaced by other exciting movements?  What role in particular does parish church life need to play in or...

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  In a phrase, our work at the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute is “building a better church.” And by “church” we don’t just mean the institutional church. We’re talking about the entire People of God, lay and clergy alike. The vision that drives our work day in and day out is very ambitious: “Every Catholic in every walk of life leads like Jesus — as servant, steward and shepherd.” Try to imagine what our homes, our workplaces, our communities and our parishes if we ever fully realize this mission. How much pain and heartbreak would be m...

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  We encountered a glitch last week when we announced release of a new video of tips for better homilies as part of our new “Four Minute Tune-up” series of videos. Many of you saw two headlines announcing the release of ”Tips for Better Homilies” by Msgr. Mike Tierney. But clicking on either of them took you nowhere. Our apologies. With our new Weekly Catholic Leader software, we’re still on the upside of the learning curve – and it has proven to be steeper than we anticipate. So here’s what we tried to tell you last week. Msgr. Mike Tierney is a veteran pastor and...

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  Business organizations can learn from educational organizations. Health care organizations can learn from – and teach – both of them. Government departments can learn from business, and large and small businesses can learn from government agencies – and from each other. For special example of how one kind of organization can learn from another kind is found in an axiom I encountered often when teaching undergrad and MBA classes: “The best way to get a large organization to perform better is to get it to perform like a bunch of small organizations.” Certainly, both not-for-profi...

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  I vaguely recall a time in my early Catholic years when I was really, really relieved by what I learned in a religion class. That was the day I realized that while I would have to memorize all 10 commandments, I had to worry only about keeping nine of them. That first one – “I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange gods before me” – was just no sweat. The Hebrews may have been eager to worship a golden calf, but that was something that had no power to tempt me. Whew! Over the years, of course, I’ve come to understand much better the broad human temptation to pus...

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The Yeshua Institute’s new video series, “Four Minute Tune-ups,” adds a new title this week: "Tips for Better Homilies” by Msgr. Mike Tierney. Msgr. Mike is a veteran pastor and professor whose bishop called him out of retirement in 2015 to lead a parish whose pastor suddenly and unexpectedly retired. Before that he was serving several parishes regularly as a visiting priest much in demand by priest and laity alike. His short video is bound to help any priest, new or experienced, improve his homilies. Earlier this month the Yeshua Institute launched the “Four Minute Tune-ups&rdqu...

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Building a better church

Posted on December 07, 2015 in: Articles

The vision that drives our work day in and day out is very ambitious: “Every Catholic in every walk of life leads like Jesus — as servant, steward and shepherd.” Imagine what our homes, our workplaces, our communities and our parishes would be like if this vision is ever realized. Think of the pain and agony that would be missing from our lives – from everyone’s lives. Think of the things we could accomplish in Jesus’ name. We know it won’t happen overnight. But in the meantime, think of the improvements that occur as ever more people – priests and laity alike – b...

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“All the skill in the world won’t compensate for a stingy heart.” - Dan Rockwell Leadership guru Dan Rockwell lists 25 key attitudes and behaviors that every effective leader needs to embrace. But he says there is one more important than any of these: generosity. And he says there are four things you need to be generous: humility; courage; compassion; and connection.  READ MORE

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Happy reunion in Delaware

Posted on December 07, 2015 in: Articles

When Owen and Jane Phelps arrived at Jeanne Jugan Residence, the Little Sisters of the Poor’s home in Newark, DE, for an Encounter on Nov. 11, they had no inkling of the reunion that awaited them. But just before the Encounter began, one of the sisters from their St. Martin’s Home in Baltimore told Owen that their chaplain said he had already participated in an Encounter and was, in fact, trained to facilitate the program -- and that he insisted on attending this Encounter as a refresher experience. We don’t have a lot of priests trained as Facilitators, and we tend to keep in close contact with those who...

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  From Independent Catholic News Pope Francis addressed 7000 members of the Union of Italian Christian Business Executives in the Paul VI Hall Saturday, Oct. 31, and told them that companies can become places of holiness. The Union brings together Catholic entrepreneurs who set themselves the goal of being the architects for the development of the common good. He told them their emphasis on Christian formation and training -- mainly through the deepening of the social teaching of the Church -- was a noble work. He also spoke about the importance of having the right balance between work and family life. The...

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This first week of Advent is the perfect time to launch our new outreach – the Weekly Catholic Leader. Advent marks the start of a new church year. The word means “coming". It’s a time to focus on the coming of our savior -- incongruously in the person of a tiny, helpless and poor little child received into the human community by the love of Mary, the loyal devotion of Joseph, the awe of simple shepherds and praise of angels. Advent is the time for us to prepare our hearts to receive this savior – something the human community has not always done well since the days of his birth in Bethle...

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My oldest daughter, who is a partner in one of the Big Four accounting firms, recently gifted me with some wisdom that is very timely in this season of Thanksgiving.   Did you know that research shows that employees who feel they are regularly recognized and appreciated by their leaders report 53% higher focus, 58% higher engagement, and 109% higher likelihood to stay with their organization? Amazing what a little well-invested time can achieve for leaders. Unfortunately, leaders typically focus their time and energy on what’s going wrong instead of on who is contributing to what’s going right. ...

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  I walked into a pub in a college town recently and looked around. In one corner was a guy all by himself, focused on the contents of his laptop’s screen. Near the middle of a room, an older man held court at the end of a table, flanked on each side by three young men of college age. All seven of them were sitting behind laptop screens. It crossed my mind that there was probably more computer power at that table than was used to launch the first astronaut into space. I found a spot at the bar and reached into my pocked for my smartphone to check the news of the day and my email. Yes, we certainly are a...

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A tale of two shirts

Posted on October 26, 2015 in: Articles

  I found myself at a junior tackle championship game this past Saturday because my granddaughter Anna, a second grader, wanted to see her friends play and compete for the league title. And yes, as it turned out, she also wanted to play with her girlfriends on the sidelines during the game. It’s safe to say she was not a rabid spectator. While watching the game from the vantage point of an elevated concrete slab in front of the concession stand, I noticed people wearing two very different shirts. Across the back of one shirt was the message: “We don’t lose. We win or we learn.” I liked...

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Keep rules in their place

Posted on October 21, 2015 in: Articles

  It was the spring of my sophomore year in college ... a long, long time ago. I was married and living off campus. We survived on about $35 a week, including $80 a month for rent and utilities. A dollar bought more back then, but things were still very tight. Then a letter arrived from my college. I needed to send a $100 deposit to hold my place in next year’s class. My wife and I didn’t know what to do. After a little thought and discussion we decided I would go see the head of the financial aid office. Because I lived off campus and qualified for a certain level of financial aid, when the new scho...

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  I would rather fix my attention on one fault that I had committed than on all the evil that might be said of me. – St. Ignatius of Loyola A woman, Isabel Roser, once wrote to St. Ignatius because she was troubled by criticism from her neighbors. She and her husband were generous givers. But that prompted their neighbors, driven by envy, to spread lies about them. Ignatius told her not to be troubled. “I am not at all surprised at this, not even if it were worse than it is,” he replied. “For just as soon as you determined to bend every effort to secure the praise, honor and service ...

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Five tips for keeping good people

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  Joel Garfinkle, writing for the SmartBlog on Leadership, says losing good people is usually not the result on underpaying them. Usually the reason they leave is because of “the environment at work.”  The executive coach and author of “Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level,” says: “There are many factors that contribute to an undesirable work environment, but they all have one thing in common: It’s the manager who creates the environment who is ultimately responsible for driving employees away.” In a report called ”People don’t...

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  Dr. Michael Cieslak, a Yeshua Fellow and Director of Research & Planning for the Catholic Diocese of Rockford, has produced a new training video called Foundational Principles of Parish Pastoral Councils. The 42-minute video outlines:   the various purposes of parish pastoral councils; norms they adopt to achieve their purposes; processes they can use to reach recommendations; and, different procedures used to select members for the council. It also discusses common indicators of parish vitality – measures to use in evaluating a parish’s service to its members.  I...

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  When Bob De Lorenzo left El Tesoro de los Angeles Retreat Center in Woodland Park a year ago, he took with him a passion for helping others learn to be Jesus-like S3 Leaders. He had just spent two days participating in a Catholic Leading Like Jesus Encounter and Facilitator Training, and he was eager to share the experience with others back in his home parish and wherever else he might be needed. A retired nuclear engineer with extensive military and civilian experience, he found that the principles of leading like Jesus happily integrated much of what he knew about his Catholic faith and had learned about lea...

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  The Catholic vision for leading like Jesus stresses that Jesus-like, selfless S3 leadership inspires great loyalty to mission. In contrast, self-serving leaders inevitably, if inadvertently, encourage their followers to mimic their self-serving behaviors — and then no one is looking after the mission. Jesus’ patient but persistent and visionary leadership helped his apostles grow from naïve, often bumbling and less than loyal followers to people who were willing to give their lives to serve the mission he gave them — to make disciples of all nations. And the power of that leadership is sti...

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  If you’re interested in leading like Jesus and in helping others to do so too, you may want to download a free a document offered by the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization is a 31-page PDF file that can assist you in several ways.  It provides brief, but helpful background about the church’s teaching on discipleship and evangelization, from the Gospels, Acts, the Second Vatican Council, and the writings of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.   It describes the r...

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  "Nothing should be said to lessen the good name of others, or to complain about them," St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, advised his followers. Obviously, he was setting the bar plenty high. And some of us might wonder if we would be doomed to a life of silence if we and all our friends consistently followed this advice. After all, we know that a little complaining can even be therapeutic -- especially if we choose our listeners carefully, confident in their compassion and discretion. But complaining about and disparaging others can also become a habit -- a lens through which we unne...

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  Chery Gegelman, president of Giana Consulting, tells a story dating back to her first days of trying to make herself at home in a large corporation after working for nonprofits and small businesses. The transition was challenging. She felt very inadequate. But then the CEO of a client firm wrote a note to her regional manager, calling her "a diamond in the rough." Her boss shared the note with her. "What is interesting to me today," she says, "is that the customer who wrote the note was an incredibly successful and busy CEO. In spite of his schedule, he intentionally chose to invest hi...

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  The latest edition of the prestigious CARA Report highlights research conducted by Dr. Michael Cieslak, a Fellow of the Yeshua Institute, on why people both leave and return to the Catholic Church. Dr. Cieslak's paper, Why People Leave the Catholic Church and Why They Return: Data from the 'Catholics Come Home' Online Survey, was presented at the annual meeting of the Religious Research Association/Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in October, 2011. His research found that many people leave for no specific reason -- they just drift away. And most of those who later return fall into th...

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From one disciple to another

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  Create in me, O God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Psalm 51:12 By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute This verse, from the readings at Mass on Ash Wednesday, remind us of the paramount consideration in leading, living and loving as S3 Jesus-like leaders. We must constantly strive to align our hearts with Jesus' own -- focusing our lives as he focused his own always and everywhere doing the will of our Father. This is a journey of a lifetime. We can always do better. The Paulist Press Ordo says "the purpose of the first part of...

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Dr. Dan Ebener, author of Servant Leadership Models for Your Parish (Paulist, 2010), has been installed as a Fellow of the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute. Dr. Ebener is a professor of organizational leadership for St. Ambrose University, acts as Director of Stewardship and Parish Planning for the Diocese of Davenport, and provides strategic planning and leadership training for Quad City Leadership Consulting, Inc. in Davenport, IA.  "We are delighted to have Dan explicitly join us in our mission 'to serve God by helping all the members of Christ's body love and lead as Jesus...

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BREAKING BREAD - Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga shares lunch and conversation with Father Dave Beauvais (to his left), Dick Kunnert (across the table) and priests of the Kampala Archdiocese during a seminar designed to help the priests become more Jesus-like leaders.  By Dick Kunnert Senior Fellow, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute What a week. January 7-13. Father Dave Beauvais and I responded to an invitation to go to Kampala, Uganda, and make a presentation on the S3Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesusto the priests of the Kampala Archdiocese. It was the second time in four mon...

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We all know Jesus told us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” So it shouldn’t be too much to expect Christians to respect everyone they meet. But St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, realized that respect is more than just a matter of the heart. That’s why he instructed his followers not only to respect others, but to show respect for them. “Preserve yourself in peace and true humility of soul, keeping silence when silence should be kept and, when you must speak, speaking with discretion,” he advised. “May your peace and humility show in the modesty of your counte...

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  People who take the time to gratefully reflect on their lives just once a year on Thanksgiving Day are cheating themselves — and scientists are proving it. One of those scientists — but by no means the only one — is Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D, who is author of Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier (published earlier in hardcover with the title Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier). His research has shown that the old adage, "Count your blessings," is a really powerful prescription for a better life. "Preliminary findings suggest that thos...

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How to benefit from your failures

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  Everyone has heard the story of how Thomas Edison regarded failure. Asked how he could keep pursuing invention of a successful light bulb after he had failed again and again, he replied: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." If attitude counts for anything, his attitude about failure is a good one to have. He ended up having 1,093 patents to his name. Mindy Crary, writing in Forbes, offers seven keys for what she calls "successful failure." Reject rejection — Develop a healthy self-image not based on your performance. (Crary doesn't say...

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  Art Markman, a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin, executive editor of the journal Cognitive Science and a member of the editorial board of Cognitive Psychology, says: "Innovative ideas emerge when people are able to apply their knowledge to new problems." He offers five suggestions for how to lead better by leveraging your learning. Stop and organize. After a meeting, take a minute to review the three main things that came up. It will help you retain important matters much better. Give yourself permission to learn new things. Reserve quiet time at least o...

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  According to one of his secretaries, St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, had a four step process for making sound decisions. First, he carefully considered each matter before deciding it. He was not one to rush to judgment. Second, he prayed quite a bit about the decision and opened himself to the wisdom and will of God. Third, he made it a point in every decision to seek out those who were competent in the matter and to listen to them, asking them about the many different factors that might be weighed in the decision. Fourth, when he did not think he had sufficient knowledge to make a sou...

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7 simple ways to motivate others

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  Some people argue that no one can motivate another person, but that claim is probably more a matter of semantics than substance. Anyone who can recall working harder for one teacher than others way back in grade school has some sense that one person's behavior can, in fact, inspire greater effort and achievement in others. Recently Vivian Giang, writing for Business Insider, recently suggested seven ways we can motivate others. 1. Introduce yourself on a personal basis. We think it's more accurate to urge leaders to "interact on a personal level," but Giang's point that first impr...

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  Writing in Decision Making, Leadership, Learning, Kevin Eikenberry says raises questions about when a leader should call a meeting to reach a decision. He distinguishes between four kinds of decision-making processes: Independent — the leader makes it alone, so no meeting is required — except, perhaps, to announce the decision. With input — the leader wants input before making the decision, so interaction is important and a meeting to discuss factors may be a good idea. Collaborative — the leader wants more than input, so interaction is crucial and a meeting is a good place for p...

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Sometimes less is more

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  According to a study conducted by Dr. K. Anders Ericcson and published in the Psychological Review, the key to great success is not plugging away 10 or 12 hours a day, but working harder in short bursts of time. Timothy Ferriss probably carried it to an extreme in his New York Times bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek, but 4-hour work days seem to be more productive for famous authors and excellent musicians. Shorter work days seem to play a crucial role when the level of concentration needed to be productive is high and projects require long periods of time to complete — such as writing a novel or learnin...

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Keeping first things first

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, wanted to keep life simple and properly focused for his followers. Thus, he advised them: "In every good choice ... our intention must be simple. I must consider only the end for which I am created — that is, for the praise of God our Lord and for the salvation of my soul: Hence, whatever I choose must help me to this end for which I am created." Of course, we have to remember that Ignatius did not see the salvation of one's soul as a solitary project. On the contrary, a person's role in salvation is to be open to God's grace in their lives &mda...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute Writing for Entrepreneur, Carol Tice identifies five types of bosses who drive people crazy — and also drive them out the door, creating a costly mix of high turnover and low productivity. Of course, the situation is hardly as toxic as the one depicted in the new movie Horrible Bosses, where three people set out to kill their bosses. But the movie has put the spotlight on that proverbial 800 pound gorilla in way too many organizations. Tice cites a recent survey of more than 400 workers that found 46% of them had worked for what they considered an &...

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  You may mean well but are distracted by other things. Or you may not even realize that you are not giving someone else your undivided attention. But your body language speaks volumes. And if it doesn't communicate that you're interested, you'll undermine the collaboration you probably want and certainly need to lead high performing teams. Here's how you can get your body to communicate that you really care about the communication you are having. Hiring: Get a better fit by asking better questions More and more we have come to realize how important it is to have good fits in the workplace. No...

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Learning and virtue both needed

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, had a message for his followers that is worth recalling in a time that often worships instant gratification and self-indulgence. He reassured his followers that when they took time to study and grow, they were still serving their neighbor because they were increasing their capacity to serve their neighbor. Some service simply cannot be provided without a certain level of expertise. So if people don't set aside time to develop that expertise, they will never be able to serve in the way God otherwise equipped them to serve. He also taught that preparing ones...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute In the last issue of The Catholic Leader, we offered eight tips for building trust in the workplace. The eighth one was "demonstrate competence." Under that rubric we wrote: "People with real expertise inspire trust and exercise influence whether they want to or not. Learn your craft. Master your craft. Then be willing to share what you know without "Lording over others." Becoming a master is not about showing off or feeding your ego; it's about serving your mission. If that's your inspiration, people will gravitate to you an...

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  People looking to stay on track as an S3 Leader will want to consider an ancient meditative practice called "Lectio divina." Don't let the Latin turn you off, says Trappist Brother Simeon Leiva. Brother Leiva, a Scripture scholar and monk at St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, MA, says it's an ideal way to unplug from worldly distractions and become more intimate with Jesus, according to a report from Catholic News Service. "Lectio divina" — "the reading of the sacred" or "the divine reading" — dates from the second century. It uses a pattern of rea...

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  St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, advised his followers to always listen carefully and critically before speaking — and to avoid flying off the handle in the course of discussions. He wrote: "Be slow to speak, and only after having first listened quietly, so that you may understand the meanings, leanings and desires of those who speak. You will thus know better when to speak and when to be silent." Notice that his focus is on understanding. It's easy enough to jump on people's words and phrases, trying to discredit them or their views, mocking them with sarcasm or distorti...

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  It’s easy to pile praise on others if they are the least bit competent. Generally, our biggest impediment is just being too busy to notice the praiseworthy behavior or, when we notice it, to stop and laud it. Criticism is another matter. Generally it’s difficult to criticize another — unless their behavior makes us angry. And it’s especially difficult to constructively criticize — where not only do we offer the criticism in a healthy, helpful spirit, but the other accepts it in that spirit and uses it to grow and improve their performance. Even when we mean well and can act fr...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute In all the material world, there is nothing quite like trust. It is the grease that lubricates relationships and makes effective human interaction possible. It is the glue that holds organizations of all sizes and purposes together. Generally speaking, the more trust there is among members of an organization — be it as small as a marriage or as large as a global enterprise — the more smoothly every process will work. And when things go wrong for whatever reason, as inevitably they will, the more quickly and better they will be fixed....

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Lent is a leadership season

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Institute When I was a kid, Lent was all about giving up things. Initially, I competed with my classmates to come up with the most awe-inspiring sacrifice. it was especially important to do better than the girls, who seemed to have more of a gift for such things. If someone gave up one thing, I would give up two. If someone gave up something really big and essential to a happy life — like candy — I would give up watching TV. If someone else gave up going to the movies, I would give up having any fun at all. It was a good formula for saintly perfection e...

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  A good bit of leadership today is exercised in the context of teams. There are, of course, the deliberate cross-functional teams so common in business settings. But even when our purposeful groups go by other names — families, parishes, service clubs or diocesan offices — the chief characteristic they share is that they are teams. When it comes to building effective teams that serve their mission, leaders have to consider the skills of team members and prospective members — or players, if you're comfortable with a sport metaphor that implies the importance of action, not just affiliation....

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  When we hear the word "charity," we often think of making a donation. That's appropriate — especially during Lent, when one of the three things we are to focus on is almsgiving. Charity also can be understood in a broader sense — as when we are generous with our time and talents as much as with our treasure. Going back to the word's Latin root, caritas, the concept points to the roots of our generous behavior — Christian love for everyone. St. Ignatius of Loyola recognized charity's deeper dimension when he taught that it has to begin with a disposition of the hear...

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  Although effective teams are generally small — no larger than a dozen and often smaller than that — there are nine roles that a prudent leader will try to cover in assembling his or her team, according to Stephen R.* Robbins. They are: Creator-innovator — initiates creative ideas; typically independent, prefers to work at own pace in own way. Explorer-Promoter — champions ideas after they've been initiated, finding resources needed to promote innovative ideas, but may not have the patience and control skills to follow through in detail. Assessor-Developer — strong analy...

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Today's world is full of people with ever shorter attention spans trying to respond to an ever growing volume of messages. We're expected to do more things with less help in less time — and all the while, be ever more responsive in an increasingly cluttered and complex communications environment. Multi-tasking isn't a virtue, it's a basic expectation — even though a lot of research shows that the more things we try to accomplish at once, the less we get done. (Could that be the real explanation for why our lives get busier and busier? Who has time to find out?) In any event, we plan to ...

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St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, seemed to be anticipating the climate of America's political and social discourse when he put pen to hand in the 16th century and wrote: "In your dealings with all, be slow to speak and say little, especially with your equals or subordinates. Be ready to listen for long periods and until each has had his say. Answer the questions put to you, come to an end, and take your leave. If a rejoinder is offered, let your reply be as brief as possible, and take leave promptly and politely." While he would have starved as a radio or television news commentator today...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute A professor leading an orientation program for new doctoral students was trying to explain the concept of “systems.” She started with a question: “Is an airplane full of passengers a system?” From the back of the room came the response: “When it’s hijacked, it is.” Most of the students chuckled nervously, thinking someone had the audacity to be flippant. “That’s exactly right!” the teacher proclaimed. “Who said that?” When the student raised his...

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  We all know Jesus told us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” So it shouldn’t be too much to expect Christians to respect everyone they meet. But St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, realized that respect is more than just a matter of the heart. That’s why he instructed his followers not only to respect others, but to show respect for them. “Preserve yourself in peace and true humility of soul, keeping silence when silence should be kept and, when you must speak, speaking with discretion,” he advised. “May your peace and humility show in the modesty of y...

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  If you’re looking for a thin, light-hearted, easy to digest but helpful book on leadership, you won’t go wrong picking up a copy of The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus: How to Get Big Things Done in Your Workshop All Year Long. At just 94 pages, it’s not hard to pack or to plow through if you happen to be traveling over the holidays. Purportedly written by Santa Claus, that is the nom de plume of Eric Harvey, David Cottrell and Al Lucis of Texas-based Walk the Talk Co. Using Santa’s voice, they briefly and clearly present several important leadership principles. Thus, you find chap...

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  Writing for the Financial Post, author and consultant Carol Kinsey Goman says increasing collaboration and building effective teams should be a concern for leaders because: it’s essential for organizational success today, and, the requisite “culture in which everyone pulls together can only come from the top.” “It's by winning your workers' trust, and making them feel valued and included, that you'll cultivate a real sense of teamwork,” she writes. "Today's most successful leaders guide their organizations not through command and control, but through...

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Micromanagers make lousy leaders

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  William Johnson has run H.J. Heinz, the $10 billion food company, since 1998 after coming up through the ranks overseeing various Heinz product lines. In an interview in Newsweek earlier this year, he indicated that micromanaging is not the way to lead people. But he admitted that it took him a while to learn how to be a top level executive. “My job is to lead the people and manage the process. It took me a couple of years to learn that, and [when I did] I stepped back from the operations ... and really began to focus on leadership — on having the right people in the right place, and on making s...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute Many of us in leadership roles believe we’re pretty good at what we do, we value our people, we are familiar with their wants and needs, and we go out of our way to meet them. Ironically, part of delivering on our leadership aspirations is recognizing that team members’ needs change and admitting upfront that we can’t always satisfy those needs. A case drawn from the life of a non-profit, church-based organization illustrates these realities. The 6-member team consisted of people with diverse backgrounds...

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After the Jesuits in Coimbra, Portugal, had established many vibrant apostolates, St. Ignatius had a concern. He was afraid their success would lead to complacency. If that happened, all their hard work and graces would ultimately accomplish nothing. He wrote to them in a tone that makes it seem as if they were on the brink of disaster — no doubt because he thought their successes were leading them in that direction. “For the love of God, do not be careless or tepid. For if tautness breaks the bow, idleness breaks the soul,” he cautioned. “Try to maintain a holy and discreet ardor in work a...

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  Tis the season when our thoughts turn to blessings and the importance of generosity. Two holidays this month — National Philanthropy Day and Thanksgiving Day — help focus our attention. But preparations for Christmas and end-of-the-year tax planning can also draw our gaze to matters of giving. National Philanthropy Day is observed Nov. 15 and this year Thanksgiving Day is Nov. 25, by which time the Christmas shopping season will be in full swing. In the midst of the seasonal rush, many people who itemize their taxes will also be looking to notch out a little time to make sure their donations to ...

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  When it comes to delegating and growing good people, a leader is always faced with a delicate balancing act. One the one hand, if you don't give people some opportunities to take responsibility, they will never grow — and the best and brightest will leave you to find more fertile places to grow. On the other hand, if you give them more responsibility than they're prepared to handle, you are setting them up for failure — and that can have long term effects on their confidence and your trust. What's a leader to do? In The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus, we say that ef...

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  Near the end of a Catholic Leading Like Jesus Encounter, participants view a short video about a Catholic Charities program in New Orleans that takes young people out of incarceration and off the streets and helps their put their lives on track. Eventually, they learn how to make a living in the hospitality industry. Called Café Reconcile, to date it has graduated more than 500 youths ages 16-22 from its 9-week program of basic life skills, interpersonal skills and work skills. Although the video, produced by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, does not use the term "leading like Jesus," the ...

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Generosity key to productivity

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

Most of us are frantically conscious of how we have to hoard time. After all, how else are we going to get anything done? St. Ignatius advised his charges to take another approach. "In business matters, be generous with your time; that is, if you can, do today what you promise for tomorrow." Lest you think these are the other-worldly ruminations of some mystical idealist, recall that Ignatius led a very busy life — and directed the Society of Jesus, which he founded, to include legions of men with a huge influence in the world before he died. Certainly he had to spend his limited amount of time and en...

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  Peter Block’s quote above puts us of a mind to mention a basic principle of the Lead Like Jesus Movement and S3 Leadership: Effective leadership begins on the inside. Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, founders of the Lead Like Jesus Movement, made that point very early in their book Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time [LINK to Amazon w/our code]. It’s critical, they added, that every leader answers two questions: Whose am I? Who am I? Most of us think the second question is the most important one in life. But Blanchard and Hodges insist that the fi...

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  How to Win Friends and Influence People is the title of a best-selling back by Dale Carnegie published way back in 1937. But St. Ignatius of Loyola was addressing that same subject centuries ago. And all the talk today about “customer-centered” enterprises would not have been alien to the founder of the Jesuits. When the pope sent Jesuits on diplomatic missions, Ignatius advised them: “In dealing with people of position or influence, if you are to win their affection for the greater glory of God our Lord, look first to their disposition and accommodate yourselves to them.” He even of...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute At various times in our lives, we’ve all suffered the slings and arrows of difficult change. Maybe a move forced us to change schools and reluctantly leave dear friends behind. Maybe it was heading off to college. Love notwithstanding, maybe it involved adjusting to life with a spouse. Maybe it was the arrival of a new baby. In each case, the change opened us up to new adventures and growth. In many cases, the change was one we actually chose to make. But whether we chose the change or it imposed itself on us, we ca...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute In a fascinating Harvard Business Review blog post, Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company magazine, says the key to high performing organizations is recognizing that culture matters. And in an organizational culture, love matters most. Taylor quotes famous business guru Peter Drucker, who once said: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." A sound strategy is fine — even necessary. But leaders need to build cultures that support strategy implementation. Without a sound underlying organizational culture, s...

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  Father Antonio Brandao, a Portuguese Jesuit, once submitted a list of 15 questions about the spiritual life to St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. The sixth question asked what method of meditation was the best. Ignatius replied by recommending the constant practice of seeking the presence of God. Here's what he said: "(People) should practice the seeking of God's presence in all things, in their conversations, their walks, in all that they see, taste, hear, understand, in all their actions, since His Divine Majesty is truly in all things by His presence, power, and essence. This ki...

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A new book appeared this month which offers the first extensive empirical data regarding the role of servant leadership in creating and sustaining vibrant parishes. Servant Leadership Models for Your Parish by Dan R. Ebener, Ph.D., reports on two studies conducted in the Diocese of Davenport (IA), where Ebener works part-time as the diocese's Director of Stewardship and Parish Planning and holds a full-time position in leadership studies at St. Ambrose University. The studies included: A Parish Life Study, which included a series of objective measures of all of the diocese's 84 parishes undertaken in 2005-...

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St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, knew what "overload" meant. Recognizing that it's easy for us to get so wrapped up in what we're doing that we forget why we're doing it, here's what he told his followers in the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus: "Make diligent efforts to keep your intentions right in all particular details. Always aim at serving and pleasing the Divine Goodness for its own sake and because of the incomparable love and benefits which God has [given] us, rather than for fear of punishments or hope of rewards, although you ought to draw help also from thes...

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  Every organization likes to think of itself as effective and innovative, but you don't have to be the latest reincarnation of Einstein to realize that's not true very often. Especially when it comes to being innovative, virtually all organizations could do better — and most could do a lot better. The problem is that innovation has to be fostered, but more often than not it's actually discouraged. Research on the topic points to several reasons for this. A few include: The value of becoming a "learning organization" focused on constant innovation is a relatively new discovery ...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute In the last issue of The Catholic Leader, we discussed some of the problems that arise in compliance cultures — where leadership sends the message that the chief expectation of followers is that they do only what they are told to do. This past month a friend sent us a book that outlines more problems in organizations that rely on compliance to achieve their objectives. Dr. Thomas Gordon, author of Leader Effectiveness Training but probably better known for his Parent Effectiveness Training book and programs, says the i...

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Work can be a prayer

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

Some things never change. Writing 500 years ago, St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, acknowledged that his followers often had difficulty finding time to pray. Although he insisted on the importance of making some time for prayer, he also offered another suggestion: Make your work your prayer. He advised people that if they maintained a desire for prayer while they worked, their work became a prayer because, ultimately, all that they were doing was to serve God. St. Paul offered similar advice when he wrote: "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God." ...

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Higher goals, better striving

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

Writing 500 years ago, St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, had some timely advice for us on the threshold of a new year and a new decade in a still new century. He insisted that just as any goal can motivate us, the higher goal of serving God should motivate Christians much more than baser motives like money and fame motivate other people. “Do not ever permit the children of this world to show greater care and solicitude for the things of time than you show for those of eternity. It should bring a blush to your cheek to see them run to death more unhesitatingly than you to life,” he admonished hi...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute Many leaders think their primary task is to get people to do what they want them to do. In a word, their goal is compliance. Compliance has its place. In every aspect of life, there are some things that must be done and some that can’t be done. The sooner people learn what these are and comply, the better and happier everyone will be. But compliance can’t be either the workplace focus or the basis of the leader-follower relationship.  We’ve all heard the phrase before, “Just do what you are told.&rdquo...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic Leadership Institute When it comes to the popular notion that highly-effective leaders are charismatic figures, I've got good news and better news for you. First, the good news. It's not true that people who have what passes for charisma in our society — good looks and an outgoing personality — make any better leaders than the rest of us. At least that's good news for the vast majority of us who are never confused with Hollywood starlets or box office idols and who might finish second in a personality contest with Ben Stein. Now for the be...

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  Leaders need to know themselves — their focus and their bias. And to be effective they have to transcend these natural tendencies. That's the word from Gill Corkindale, an executive coach and writer based in London. He says that leaders tend to be either "In Leaders" or "Out Leaders." The former tend to focus on what's happening within their own area of operations. The latter tend to gaze beyond their own area of operations to the behavior of whole organization and what's happening in the external environment. This bias can be the result of natural personality traits, a...

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God will not be outdone in generosity. For the sake of our salvation, He gave His only Son. God holds nothing back. To imitate Him, we must give as He gives. Aware of God's generosity, St. Ignatius taught his followers this prayer: Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not count the cost, to fight and not heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not ask for any reward except that of knowing that we do your will. How might I serve God and my neighbor more generously in the days ahead? What can I do today to better know God's will and to conform to it today? ...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute In The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus, we describe how a true servant leader recognizes that each human being is unique, and if we want to contribute to a person's development, we have to build a relationship with them that is intimate enough to illuminate their uniqueness. Here's a true story that illustrates the value of intimacy in leadership. The young man — let's call him Rick — was an editor of one of the weekly newspapers in a group our company had purchased. His paper was located in a ...

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We need to use the gifts God gave us It's clear that Jesus sets the bar very high when he speaks of our potential. At one point he tells his disciples: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mt 5:48) At another point he tells them: "Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these. (Jn 14:12) So he expects us to be as perfect as God, Himself — and to do ever greater works than he did while he was on earth? Isn't that setting the bar too high? No, he doesn't expect that from us. But he is reminding us that life ...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute The new football season is a great time to consider the question: What difference does leadership make? Considering the number of multimillion dollar contracts being awarded to college and professional coaches alike, some of America's most successful academicians and entrepreneurs obviously think it makes a huge difference. And they're right — it does! — even if they're not always very skilled at picking the best coaches to lead their teams to victory. If you follow football, you're sure to see...

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  Brian Vogrinc in Rockford, IL, and Randy Hain in Roswell, GA, have three things in common. Both are Catholic laymen. Both are professionals in the executive search business. And both are using their professional skills in their parishes to assist people who are unemployed. Randy, managing partner of Bell Oaks Executive Search in Roswell, near Atlanta, is a frequent contributor to a variety of Catholic publications seeking to integrate the laity's work and faith. Brian, president and partner at Vogrinc & Short, was a recent guest on a radio program hosted by Dr. Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Insti...

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One thing hasn't changed since the 1500s when St. Ignatius of Loyola impressed upon his young students the urgency of their mission. He said the world needs them because Christian witness was all too rare in the world. He wrote: "If you recognize this obligation and wish to employ yourselves in promoting God's honor, the times you are living in make it incumbent indeed on you to make your desires known by works." Today we might say: "It's important that we walk our talk." Things to think about: If I wish my life to glorify God, I must make that desire known by works. What can I d...

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  We knew a man once who confessed that he didn’t like being a parent. We asked him why. He said it always made him feel like a failure. We asked him for specifics. “Because my kids never do anything the first time I tell them to,” he said of his four children, all under 10 years of age. He contrasted his role as a parent with his role as a high school vocational arts teacher. “Sure, some of the students like to goof around, and none of them listen all the time. But when I tell them to get started on something, most of them do it. At home, I’ll say something and the kids just ignore...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute [LINK: www.YeshuaLeader.com] Recall Douglas McGregor’s classic distinction between the assumptions of Theory X and Theory Y leaders: Theory X Leaders assume that people are generally lazy, don’t want to assume responsibility, want to do the minimum possible and thus they require constant prodding and supervision. Theory Y Leaders assume that people generally want to perform well and to contribute, even if they initially don’t have the skills to do so, and that if their skills are nurtured, they will gr...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute Two dramatic illustrations of selfless leadership have commanded front page headlines in recent months. We’re talking about the examples of U.S. Airways Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger and Captain Richard Phillips of the U.S.-flagged merchant ship Maersk Alabama. We don’t know if either is an example of someone consciously trying to lead like Jesus. But it’s clear that the actions of both men point to the incredible power of leading selflessly — as Jesus did and said his disciples should do too. ...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute A reader who has worked in Catholic ministry for more than 25 years recently wrote: “For your next issue of The Catholic Leader, would you consider doing a follow-up to the article ‘The Role of Humility in Fostering Effective Listening and Leadership Skills’? I’d like to see how you would analyze the pope’s recent letter about the Society of St Pius concerns.” The reader also said he was impressed that Pope Benedict “listened to what was being said both internally and externally,&rdq...

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  10 Prayer Pointers for busy people From Sister Mary Ann Walsh USCCB Dept. of Communications Long moments when you’re put on hold or stuck in traffic might be God-given moments for prayer.  That’s what Sheila Garcia, wife, mother, commuter and associate director at the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, says in “Ten Pointers for Family Prayer.” Here’s a quick summary of her 10 tips: 1. Pray as you can, not as you can’t. Lay people can become discouraged when they try to pray like a cloistered contemplative. Be realist...

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  In a recent edition of Leadership Excellence, Mark Murphy, chairman and CEO of Leadership IQ and co-author of Leading on the Edge of Chaos, reports on a study of that came up with five top reasons why CEOs get fired. We don’t have to be CEOs to benefit from his conclusions, which we present here with out own comments. 1. Mismanaging change — Some organizations wait for their external environments to change them or force them to change. Other organizations are more proactive about planning to change before they’re forced to do it. Either way, once the change is underway, CEOs are expected to e...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute Perhaps it seems insane to be talking about hiring now when the headlines are monopolized by reports of layoffs, plant closings and corporate bankruptcies. But when the economy picks up and people are hiring again, they will be too busy to reflect on how they can build a more collaborative working environment. Now is the time to think about and prepare to do things better when the opportunity arises. That means the importance of collaboration in the workplace has to be considered more than ever before. As expected levels ...

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  Joseph Scordato is a Senior Project Engineer and Six Sigma Master Pilot at Taylor Company, a division of Carrier Commercial Refrigeration, Inc in Rockton, IL. He and his wife, Maureen, have 5 children. Their family is active at St. Peter Church and School in South Beloit, IL. Both Joseph and his wife are Secular Franciscans and enjoy serving engaged couples in marriage preparation at Bishop Lane Retreat House. Joseph completed his MBA studies through Cardinal Stritch University's College of Business in December 2007. He is currently an adjunct instructor for his alma mater. This article is based on a paper he...

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  By Phil Hodges Co-founder of the Lead Like Jesus movement “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2-3 (NRSV) "All news is good news in Jesus Christ." Charlie “Tremendous” Jones Surviving tough times is both a worthy and necessary objective. But it is only part of the story. Here is a starter list on how and why tough times can be a blessing in disguise for which we can give thanks. Tough times can be a blessing if — We take less for...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director Tough times present servant leaders with a host of challenges — but also with a unique opportunity to serve their followers and organizations. To borrow a phrase from Rita McGrath, writing for Harvard Business Publishing, effective leaders “absorb some of the uncertainty” that weighs on those around them. Whether the pressure falls on your organization or on your associates personally, the effect is the same: “When people are facing uncertainty, they tend to go into ‘frozen in the headlights’ mode,” McGrath notes. That’s when ef...

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TAKING CARE OF YOUR BEST PEOPLE

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  Writing in TIME magazine (Feb. 16, 2009), Nancy Gibbs looks at some interesting data to discuss the hidden costs of layoffs and the importance of keeping your best people especially close to you when there’s no option to “downsizing.” At a time when “75,000 jobs turn to powder in a day,” work environments fill up with uncertainty and people undergo an intriguing psychological change. Gibbs explains: “As all our emotions are rewired, we are grateful for what we once just assumed and frightened of things once ignored.” At the same time, “when people are frightened ...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute After surveying tens of thousands of working people around the world, two Harvard researchers say that leaders need to have vision — but not just any kind of vision. Pope John Paul II made the same point in his 1981 encyclical, Laborem exercens. Let’s look first at what the pope had to say and then turn our attention to the research. ... the person who works desires not only due remuneration for his work; he also wishes that, within the production process, provision be made for him to be able to know that in h...

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  A convert comes out of a spiritual wilderness to share 16 tips about faith, family and work that can help us all be Christ’s light to the world By Randy Hain About the author: Randy Hain is Managing Partner of an executive search in Atlanta, GA. Randy has been married for over 14 years and has two sons. He and his wife converted to the Catholicism in 2006. He is active in several parish ministries and leads the St. Peter Chanel Business Association and St. Peter Chanel Jobs Ministry. He is also leads the Woodstock Business Conference’s Atlanta chapter and is active in Eucharistic Adoration. He w...

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  When it comes to finding, hiring and retaining people today, flexibility seems to be a key asset — sometimes even more important than money. It’s true on both ends of the age spectrum: Many healthy and vigorous seniors nearing retirement age are looking for reduced-time, seasonal and otherwise flexible work schedules so that they have more time for families, travel and other interests they have deferred during their working years. Younger people just entering the workforce are looking for flexible schedules so that they can balance work obligations with other interests and relationships, typic...

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  What do small businesses, non-profits and church employers have in common? If nothing else, it’s providing competitive compensation packages for the people they need on their teams. That’s why a recent study by Deloitte Consulting LLP offers some good news for all three sectors. The study, “Competing for Talent,” discovered that while 71% of responding employers are relying on financial incentives to attract and keep people, money isn’t the most important consideration for Generation Y members now entering the workforce. What Gen Y workers — those currently 20 to 27 &mdas...

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PEOPLE KEY FACTOR IN GROWTH

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

Some things never change. Although the technology sector of the economy is the place where you’d expect amazing digital devices to hold a place of prominence in growth strategies, the heads of high tech organizations say the key to growth is good people. A recent study by Deloitte Consulting LLP asked CEOs in the high tech sector to list the most important factors in achieving growth. First by a huge margin was “high-quality employees” (67%), followed by “strong leadership” (44%). Having a sound strategy finished third (37%), and having an “exceptional or unique product(s) lagged back...

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Each team in each moment is unique. No two teams are alike. No two moments in one team’s history are identical. And yet there are universal patterns that shape the dynamics of all group processes — even if the group is as small as a married couple. David Marcum and Steven Smith, authors of the new book Egonomics, report that John Gottman, a psychologist at the University of Washington, “can predict with 91% accuracy if a couple will stay married or divorce after watching and listening to them for as little as five minutes.” They say his work is “by far the highest prediction rate for a scie...

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UNIQUENESS IS NOT EQUALITY

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  Some leaders fear that servant leadership means letting prisoners run the prison, letting students run the school, or even letting patients run the asylum. That’s not how servant leadership works. True servant leadership — the kind modeled by Jesus — incorporates two dimensions: vision and implementation. Vision is a leader’s first responsibility. Others can be consulted, and often that’s a good idea because it brings greater buy-in from team members. But this task cannot be delegated. Leaders are, first and foremost, providers of and keepers of the vision. (Think back to wh...

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  Since St. Paul sat down with pen in hand to serve as the first Catholic journalist, we Christians have been told to think of ourselves as a body — the body of Christ. Paul refers to Christians as Christ’s body in many places, but his two most complete reflections are found in: 1 Corinthians 12:24-13:13 Romans 12:4-21 More recently, organizational gurus have been urging leaders to think of all organizations as organisms rather than mechanisms — in effect, as bodies. That’s a huge paradigm shift for many people. After a century of incredible technological development, we’r...

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  Our culture’s obsession with becoming rich and famous is really getting out of hand. That’s apparent from a recent story in Time magazine that reported on people who are paying to be chased around by paparazzi and given a copy of a fake fan magazine with their photo on the cover. Can you believe it? Wannabes are paying for something that is, in fact, the greatest scourge of those who are really famous. Prices range from $249 for three paparazzi who hassle you for a half hour to $1,499 for six paparazzi who pursue you relentlessly for two hours while a “publicist” tells them to stop both...

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SOMETIMES IT IS BRAIN SURGERY!

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  One of our most basic principles is that organizations are organisms, not mechanisms, and as such require diversity and feedback to sustain life and achieve their purpose. A primary responsibility of effective leaders, then, is to create and sustain the kind of environment where diversity and feedback can flourish. A review of operations at a prestigious hospital illustrates this point wonderfully — if tragically — and tells us that sometimes it really is brain surgery! At Rhode Island Hospital, which an Associated Press story described as “the state’s most prestigious medical center...

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SOMETIMES IT IS BRAIN SURGERY!

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  One of our most basic principles is that organizations are organisms, not mechanisms, and as such require diversity and feedback to sustain life and achieve their purpose. A primary responsibility of effective leaders, then, is to create and sustain the kind of environment where diversity and feedback can flourish. A review of operations at a prestigious hospital illustrates this point wonderfully — if tragically — and tells us that sometimes it really is brain surgery! At Rhode Island Hospital, which an Associated Press story described as “the state’s most prestigious medical center...

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  Some people say that no one can motivate anyone else. At some level that may be true. But for practical purposes these people are just playing a game of semantics. The fact is that we can influence others — and if we do that in such a way that they are moved to do something they were not moved or were less moved to do before, it is accurate to say that we have motivated the other person. We can do it. Often we are expected to do it. And effective leaders are doing it all the time. Since no two people are alike and, therefore, cannot be optimally motivated in exactly the same way using exactly the same en...

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  A meta-analysis of nine studies involving 1,739 workers found a significant positive relationship between motivation and job satisfaction. A happy worker isn’t always a productive worker (see above), but the knowledge worker who has low job satisfaction finds it difficult to be productive. Many factors go into job satisfaction, but a major issue is the quality of supervision provided. It is not common for a person to experience high job satisfaction if the relationship with his or her supervisor is not a satisfying one. A major reason cited for high turnover is the quality of supervisors — and w...

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  Some people confuse motivation with performance or productivity. They assume that if motivation is high, people will perform at a high level and productivity will be high, too. It’s not that simple. It’s possible to have a highly motivated person — or entire staff — that does not perform well or is not very productive. Motivation is an important component in high performance, highly productive operations because to perform at a high level, it is generally helpful to have people on board who want to excel. But motivation by itself is not enough because the desire to achieve, all by...

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MOTIVATION: THREE LEVELS

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  In the C3 Management Framework, we outline three levels of interaction between managers and subordinates, each with its own approach to motivation — and its own impact on organizational performance. Over the course of human history, management has tended to move from compliance (C1) to cooperation (C2) to contribution (C3). Each has advantages and disadvantages. But there are important reasons why this movement has occurred. Copyright © 2007 Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, 208 E. North St., Durand, IL 61024. Any part of this newsletter may be reproduced so long as there i...

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MOTIVATION: THREE DEFINITIONS

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  Our word motivation comes from the Latin word movere, which means to move. Obviously, we can move ourselves and we can move others — so a complete discussion of motivation involves both of those dimensions. Our focus here is on motivating others. But in the course of examining the dynamics of motivation from that perspective, you are likely to pick up some insights regarding motivating yourself. Usually one definition of anything is sufficient. But with something as complex as motivation, a few definitions are helpful. Each of these definitions has something unique to contribute to our understanding. ...

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  “... strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Cor 12:31-13:1) More than anything, motivating is a matter of intimacy. The more you know and the more you care about someone, the better you will do motivating them. That explains why the most successful organization in history is the family. No other organization or type of organization has come anywhere close to making the family’s contribution to the development of people — measured...

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At some point, each of us has to ask: What am I here for? As a rule, we ask that question several times in our life -- sometimes about particular situations, sometimes about the larger issue of life itself. Although you won't find this answer in any Catholic catechism, apparently for many of us the answer is: "To make as much money as I can possibly get." How else do you explain the rise in top executive compensation even while the buying power of most workers is eroding? Especially, how do you explain paying CEOs huge salaries and bigger bonuses even when the earnings and the stock values of the compan...

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THE SOURCES OF POWER — A QUIZ

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  Leaders have five potential bases of power: Reward power — ability to give others rewards in return for supportive behavior. Coercive power — ability to threaten and administer punishment. Legitimate power — formal position within an organization that confers authority. Expert power — knowledge or information that is valuable in achieving desired ends. Referent power — also known as charisma; one accords this power to his or her role models. These five bases of power share three sources: The first three of these power bases originate outside the personal re...

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DID YOU KNOW?

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  The word “inspired” comes from the root spirare — which means to breathe.  In + spirare means to breath into. When we inspire others to greater development and higher performance, we are breathing new life into them. Copyright © 2006 Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, 208 E. North St., Durand, IL 61024. Any part of this newsletter may be reproduced so long as there is full attribution, our web site is listed, and any electronic reproduction includes a link to our site: http://www.yeshualeader.com.

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How not to lead anyone

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

Since Lent is a time of penance, I thought it a good time to approach the topic of Jesus-like Leadership by talking a bit about to be an ineffective leader. My inspiration comes from two places: The 77 Habits of Highly Ineffective People, a hilarious but out-of-print parody of a wonderful book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. A blog by Gary Cokins called Rules for Assuring Poor Performance. To get the flavor of The 77 Habits of Highly Ineffective People, of which you can find used copies on Amazon.com, let me share with you the first suggestion of authors Jim Becker, Andy Mayer and Ba...

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Americans celebrate the birthday of George Washington this Friday, Feb. 22, and it's a good time to reflect on how graces emerge and spread far and wide when leaders have a humble heart. Of course, Jesus is the best leadership model and teacher of all time. No one compares to him. But Washington set as fine an example as we are likely to ever see in a political leader. The blessings of his leadership remain with us to this day, and so his example is worth recalling and celebrating. We all know that as general and commander-in-chief, Washington led the U.S. to independence in the Revolutionary War, presided over t...

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Stress is a silent killer -- of people certainly, but even more commonly of morale, productivity and quality performance. Stress is also ubiquitous in the work place. Last year's annual StressPulse (SM) survey by ComPsych Corporation, the world's largest provider of employee assistance programs, showed that more than two-thirds of employees own up to high stress levels, and almost a third confess to being so stressed they are unable to be effective at work on five or more days per year. Expressed in dollars and cents, workplace stress costs U.S. employers an estimated $200 billion per year in absenteeism, low...

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  Beginning this week you can use the Web to explore the implications of LifeBreath Leadership in your: home workplace church school MLI has developed a new partnership with Catholic Online, perhaps the most extensive independent Web site for Catholics in the world, to maintain a LifeBreath Leadership section. We hope you visit Catholic Onlinesoon and see what we have to offer there. You will also want to check outCatholic Online’s many other features and sections — all designed to serve busy Catholics who expect their faith to contribute to the quality of their lives.&...

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Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.  (Romans 12:11 NRSV) Pope Benedict XVI dropped a bombshell this past Monday when he announced he would resign as pope at the end of February. Yes, there is precedent for it. But it hasn't happened in almost 600 years. By all accounts, the announcement surprised virtually everyone -- even many, perhaps all of his closest advisers. Here, in his own words, is what he told a group of cardinals who gathered for what they expected to be an ordinary public consistory to approve the canonization of new saints. "After having repeatedly examined my conscie...

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If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. (John 13:14 NRSV) Recently John Bossong, a father and manager of a truck sales company, wrote on a blog about the lesson he learned from his daughter's first paycheck: "My oldest daughter brought home her first paycheck last week. The household was celebrating uncontrollably. She's just 17, and this is her first 'real' paycheck. Why was I so impressed? It wasn't that she actually earned some money ... It's what was handwritten on the bottom of the check: 'Welcome to the team! Giv...

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  The Midwest Leadership Institute has developed a new metaphor to describe how effective leadership increases the performance and value of organizations: it’s a matter of breathing life into an organization. This metaphor is reflected in a new section of MLI’s web site called LifeBreath Leadership. LifeBreath Leadership flows out of a realization that every organization is a living organism — and that to think of organizations as mechanical realities, like a watch, obscures more than it reveals. Like any organism, an organization relies on various metabolic processes to maintain life a...

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Handling anxiety: some tips

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

Anxiety weighs down the human heart,  but a good word cheers it up. - Proverbs 12:25 NRSV There's no doubt that a good word is powerful medicine. And clearly, it's most powerful when its dispensed regularly as preventive medicine rather than after anxiety sets in.  The One Minute Manager, co-authored by Lead Like Jesus' co-founder Ken Blachard, recommends that leaders dispense a regular supply of good words in the form of "One Minute Praisings." Nevertheless, anxiety is persistent in our personal and professional lives. A recent survey by ComPsych Corp, the world's largest pro...

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  Based on contemporary research, here’s what impact each of the four consultants’ approaches would have on productivity: The first consultant recommended that the organization redesign its jobs to be more complex, challenging and interesting. Research suggests that would probably increase productivity by 9 percent. The second consultant proposed a program of formal goal setting throughout the organization. Research indicates this course would probably increase productivity by 16 percent. The third consultant proposed launching a contingent payment program so that each employee was compensated...

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In the Lead Like Jesus movement, we talk about how fear is the natural fruit of EGO -- as in, Edging God Out. Pride is the other natural fruit of Edging God Out. Although at first glance these two things seem diametrically opposed, both are rooted in the perspective that the self is "Good Old Number One." When we put the self first, our prime value in life becomes looking out for oneself. That fosters ineffective leadership because when someone lives as if nothing matters more than his or her self, colleagues and associates -- even friends -- quickly learn that in these relationships they also have to look ...

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  When it comes to motivating people on a large scale, what does the research tell us about what works best? In their book Organizational Behavior: Securing Competitive Advantage, John A. Wagner III and John R. Hollenbeck, both from Michigan State University, answer that question with an interesting quiz. You are the leader of a large organization and you recognize that you need to improve the performance of your organization, but you are not sure about how to go about it. You decide to invite four consultants to look at your operation and suggest ways to improve it. Consultant 1 studies your organizati...

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  Yikes, January is more than half over -- already! Don't panic. There's still time to develop your list of New Year's resolutions. (And if you did that at the very start of 2013, there's still time to try keeping them all over again.) In either event, effective leaders know two things: To continue being effective, we have to lead out of a vision that is shaped by a mission or missions -- our own personal one, to be sure, and a collective one, as well, if we have a formal position in any type of organization. It is incredibly difficult for most people to stay on track with all the distrac...

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  Last August I was blessed to lead a retreat marking the start of the school year for faculty and staff at St. Theodore Guerin High School in Noblesville, IN. At the start of the program, we were all greeted by Father Joshua Janko, the school's Director for Catholic Mission, who asked everyone to take a little time to answer some questions that would provide them with spiritual goals for the new school year. As we begin a new calendar year, it struck me that Father Jenko's questions, organized around six markers, could serve as helpful navigation tools to get us all started off on the right foot in 2013...

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Jim Collins is all the rage in business circles. His Good to Great (date) explores the factors that make some companies stand out from the rest. What could be more important in a competitive economy?  His Built to Last (date) explores the elements that make a company’s success more enduring than that of the Pet Rock. Young people buy the former Stanford professor’s books either because they would like to go to work for a company that insulates them from ubiquitous downsizing or they want to launch a company that will survive beyond the angel financing stage. Now Collins has published a shor...

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Restore us, O Lord

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

"Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved." (Psalm 80:4 NAB) As the Fourth Sunday of Advent arrives this weekend, on the eve of Christmas Eve, we share with you a petition in the Psalm that will be read at Masses: "Restore us, O Lord..." We won't hear that phrase in the Responsorial Psalm because our liturgy skips that verse. Meanwhile, our response to the verses that are included will be: "Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved."That's certainly a timely request as the celebration of our Savior's birth ne...

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'Tis the season to be generous

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'" Luke 3:5-6 The sentences above come from the Gospel this coming Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent. They speak to us of promise, of hope. And, of course, the greatest hope of all -- the hope of a Savior -- is the hope fulfilled in our celebration of Christmas at the end of Advent. What can we, who aspire to be S3 Jesus-like Leaders, do now in Advent to prepare for the Savior's coming on Christmas Day? ...

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Rejoice in the Lord always

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (NAB) The passage above from St. Paul's letter to Christians in Philippi is the second reading at Masses this weekend as we celebrate the Third Sunday in Advent. Regular readers know we don't usually make the readings at weekend Masses the t...

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The toll in the Enron fiction astounds: shareholders lost $60 billion, employees lost $2 billion in pension money, 5,600 people lost their jobs, founder Ken Lay was found guilty on six charges of fraud and conspiracy, former CEO Jeff Skilling found guilty of 13 such charges, and both were convicted of other charges having to do with stock sales and audits that exposes Lay to a sentence of up to 165 years in prison and Skilling up to 185 years behind bars. What went wrong? Whistleblower Sherron Watkins, writing in Time magazine (June 5, 2005, p. 35) says: “Unfortunately, in life, our strengths can become our weakne...

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The lines from Psalm 25 quoted above will be read in Mass this weekend when we celebrate the First Sunday in Advent. As the Psalm is read, four times we will respond, "To you, O Lord, I lift my soul." As someone who once had trouble distinguishing Advent from Lent -- I knew each of them came up once a year, one in the fall and the other in late winter or spring -- it's been quite a leap for me to see Advent as a real opportunity for my own leadership development. For the past several years, I have adopted the start of the church's new liturgical year -- which occurs this Sunday, the First Sunday in ...

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Drucker was one of the first organizational thinkers who took non-profit enterprises seriously — and recognized two things about them: Their impact on the nation’s quality of life is huge and growing; They need effective management at least as much as business enterprises do. As a result, his books are generally equally useful to leaders of both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations — and one classic is devoted to non-profits alone. Drucker wrote over 30 books, but here are a four you may especially wish to consider:   Managing in the Next Society (2002) Management Chall...

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As promised in the last issue, here are the seven common management assumptions that Peter Drucker said are outdated in the 21st century. “All of them have outlived their usefulness,” he wrote seven years ago. (Management Challenges for the 21st Century, 1999, p. 5). The first three obsolete assumptions underlie the discipline of management; the next four underlie the practice of management. 1. Management is Business Management. In fact, management’s focus is much broader than business because, Drucker writes, the “growth sectors in the 20th century in developed countries have been in “n...

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God invites us to a life of gratitude while the world fosters discontent. God proposes trust, the world arouses fear. God promotes giving, the world promotes getting. God invites us to cooperate with His providence while the world rallies behind self-determinism. God appoints us in stewardship while the world touts ownership. The world encourages entitlement when in reality everything is a gift from God. God invites us to look out for our neighbor, the world tells us to look out for ourselves. God operates from abundance, the world from a place of scarcity. God created us out of generosity to live generous lives, the world...

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We’ve all heard the old adages: “If you can’t say anything nice about a person, don’t say anything at all.” “It is better to be quiet and to let people think you might be ignorant than to speak up and confirm it.” We also know that sometimes we are so eager to impress or so fearful of silence that we almost can’t help blurting out something — almost anything — to fill the void. St. Ignatius of Loyola almost certainly would have advised you to adhere to the adages and let the silence happen if it must. In any event, he was a consistent critic of what he...

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It’s not unusual for leaders to be quick thinkers — people who are able to process information rapidly and respond creatively. That’s a good thing. But often such people are impatient with people who think and speak more slowly — and that’s a bad thing. If you finish people’s sentences or frequently interrupt them, you discourage their feedback ... and lose any benefits it can provide. Here’s a quick self-test to determine if this is something that should concern you: Do you sometimes find yourself losing track of details when people are speaking because you are thinking a...

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By Father Eugene Hemrick Director, National Institute for the Renewal of the Priesthood As I was leaving the National Gallery of Art on a clear, warm evening last fall, I did a double-take at the unending line that had formed in front of and around the U.S. Capitol. People literally were pouring onto the Capitol grounds from everywhere to pay their last respects to Rosa Parks, lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda.  … Above everything else, greatness stands for a person's willingness to stick up for what is important. Great people have great vision, make bold decisions, involve themselves deeply in eve...

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Until the mid-20th century, the management task through all of human history was compliance. Then, realizing that “you get more bees with honey than with vinegar,” management’s focus moved to cooperation. But now in the Age of Information, with what Peter Drucker called “knowledge workers” making up an ever larger part of the workforce, we see incredible leaps in organizational effectiveness when leaders foster contribution. That’s a quick look at our C3 Leadership Framework. We’ll be talking more about it and offering practical tips for how you can achieve C3 performance lev...

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Writing for SmartBlog on Leadership, Gretchen Rosswurm suggests eight ways to keep your people engaged in their work. By engagement she means "what employees or teams do to make everything go a little better for each other, their customers and their communities." In harmony with our own approach to leadership development, she advises that a leader's "behaviors are hugely influential," and how leaders interact with their teams "can build or break down engagement." Here are her eight suggestions: 1. Give your time because "the greatest gift leaders can give their em...

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Keeping first things first

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

What makes the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus unique is our focus on S3 Leadership -- servant, steward and shepherd. Many of you are familiar with these concepts. But no doubt some of your aren't. And all of us can use a reminder from time to time. So here's the 10-second "elevator speech" outline. S1, Servant - It's not about me. S2, Steward - It's not mine. S3, Shepherd - People are precious. Servant Leadership is not a new concept. The term dates to Robert Greenleaf's 1970 essay, The Servant as Leader.In that essay he wrote:  The servant...

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As a terrible, life-taking storm raged across the eastern half of the United States this week, it's a good bet that a lot of leaders were giving orders -- and a lot more followers were quickly responding to them. By their nature, emergencies are not resolved by a lot of process. In times of crisis, every healthy organization needs to know how to behave as an autocracy. Ordinarily, effective leaders are trying to plant and grow processes for effective decision-making throughout their organizations. But true emergencies call for extraordinary responses from leaders and followers alike. Perhaps the best example i...

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By Dr. Owen Phelps Director, Yeshua Institute “Go and preach the Gospel. And if you must, use words.”- St. Francis of Assisi to his followers One of the foundational principles of the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus is that “our actions speak louder than words.” In my book by the same name, we take up this issue almost immediately, noting that anyone who is known to be Christian participates in building the “Christian brand.” That may sound like modern business-speak, but actually it comes from the Third Century priest and theologian Tertullian, who noted that the behavior ...

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Evangelization - we can't opt out

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

There are a few things in life where we really don't have any choice. One is communications. We cannot choose to "not communicate" and think that's the end of our interaction with someone. When we shut up, people ascribe meaning to our silence. As my wife told me once, "You're giving me the silent treatment." And yes, I guess I was. Another is leadership. It's not a task that we can pick up or put down when we choose. Intentional leadership occurs whenever anyone influences anyone else. But unintentional leadership occurs all the time too -- and sometimes it is more power...

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Good leaders learn from their followers -- which is just one more reason why good leaders try to hire the very best people they can find and then give those people plenty of opportunities to continue learning. Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School's Center for Digital Business and author of Serious Play tells the story of Sir Clive Woodward, coach of England's world champion rugby team several years ago. As part of their preparation, he bought each player a laptop computer and told them to become world-class IT users. Their specific assignment was to find new and better ways to improve...

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Today, Oct. 11, has double significance for Catholics.  We celebrate the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council. We mark the start of a Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI. As we said last week, it's a great time for us to commit ourselves to becoming more familiar with the core teachings and practices of the 2000-year-old church to which we belong. When the pope declared the Year of Faith last October, he said he hoped it would give "new impetus to the mission of the whole church to lead men out of the desert in which they often find themselves, to the place of li...

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On Oct. 11 we’ll celebrate the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council. It’s a great time for Catholics to commit themselves more to coming up to speed on the core teachings of the church to which we belong.  Many of us come to our posts as leaders – at home, at work, in our parishes and in the many roles we have in our communities — by crooked paths. Driving a car requires that one pass tests and get a license. Becoming a parent or a CEO happens in more fluid ways. Sometimes we are qualified, sometimes we are not. Nearly always, when it comes to fulfilling important lead...

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  Writing in the American Express Open Forum, Katie Morell offers five leadership lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King: Don’t underestimate low-level employees Embrace fear Encourage creative tension Know the why Involve everyone For an explanation about what Dr. King meant by each of these, click here. http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-leadership-lessons-from-martin-luther-king-jr?extlink=em-openf-SBdaily Entrepreneurs share time management tips Recently five busy business owners who each own more than one business offered their personal time management tips. Among their suggestion...

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Recently I came across an article called The Seven Deadline Sins of Leadership by Mike Figliuolo. Of course I found the title provocative, so I checked it out and found lots of good food for thought. To see Figliuolo’s complete essay, click on the link above. A quick summary of it from yours truly follows. 1. Lust — Dress nice but don’t try to be too “sexy” or even charismatic. Appearances are obvious — but also pretty transparent. Instead on trying to exploit any of your physical attributes, rely on your behaviors and solid achievements to draw people to your team and ...

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Culture — like communication and leadership — isn’t a choice. It’s inevitable. So when it comes to organizational culture, the only choice leaders have is what kind of a culture they will foster.  This is true whether we are talking about one’s home, workplace, parish or in any of the other communities of which we have a role. And its true whether we are the parent or child, CEO or custodian, parish council member or back pew Catholic. You don’t have to be an alpha leader to shape culture. You just have to adopt some principles and consistently live by them.  The corporat...

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Father Pedro de Ribadeneira, the secretary to St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, once recounted a story to illustrate just how selfless and flexible Ignatius was. He went to pay a visit to a former disciple who was very sick and depressed. At one point in the visit, he asked the man if there was anything he could do to bring happiness into his life and dispel the gloom and sadness he was experiencing. The man thought about it for quite a while and then replied with a request that seemed completely silly. “If you could sing a little and dance a little as they do in your country, in Vizcaya, I think thi...

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Last fall one of my granddaughters came home from her first day at preschool. She did not seem nearly as enthused at the end of the day as she had been when her mother dropped her off at the door.  “Did you like preschool?” her mother asked. “Not very much,” my granddaughter replied. “Did you make any new friends?” her mother asked. “No,” she replied very matter-of-factly. “Why not?” her mother probed. “Because nobody would do what I told them to do,” she explained. Her mother struggled to suppress a belly laugh while thinking to he...

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When talking to leaders in business and nonprofit organizations, we often find them skeptical that they can integrate their religious beliefs with their work roles.  Especially when it comes to leading like Jesus, they indicate that while imitating Jesus is certainly a praiseworthy ideal, it doesn’t strike them as a practical goal. Sure, they concede, Jesus is absolutely a nice guy — theperfect guy. But they add, often a little sheepishly, he never had to swim with the sharks. The rough and tumble of today’s world requires one to be assertive and self-focused just to survive. You know the ...

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No doubt there are some incredibly virtuous people who live pious, selfless lives of service that help and inspire virtually everyone they encounter and make the world a better place in which to live. Then there are the rest of us. We seem to need constant reminding that life’s highest purpose is not just to look after our own interests and its goal is not simply to “go for all the gusto we can get.”  We come into this world a bundle of needs — and we quickly learn, even before we are capable of conscious thought — to engage our world in meeting those needs. We cry, we kick, we scre...

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By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute A professor leading an orientation program for new doctoral students was trying to explain the concept of “systems.” She started with a question: “Is an airplane full of passengers a system?” From the back of the room came the response: “When it’s hijacked, it is.” Most of the students chuckled nervously, thinking someone had the audacity to be flippant. “That’s exactly right!” the teacher proclaimed. “Who said that?” When the student raised his hand, she as...

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Anyone at the consistory for new cardinals at the Vatican Nov. 20 who is remotely familiar with the work of the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute might have thought they were attending a Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter. That’s because Pope Benedict XVI selected as the Gospel for the prayer service St. Mark’s account of the disciples competing for a place of honor with Jesus. Jesus tells them: "Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all." (Mk 10:43-44) Pope Benedict told the new cardina...

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“The leader’s style pulls ... (and) a pull style of influence works by attracting and energizing people to an exciting vision of the future. It motivates by identification, rather than through rewards and punishments.” - Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus  Leadership that pulls people with a powerful vision is more likely to build deep and last commitments than any system of rewards and punishments.  That’s something for every leader to keep in mind. But it can be especially crucial in the non-profit world where financial rewards can be few and far between. In such situations, leadership ...

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Gretchen Rosswurm, who has worked for several Fortune 500 firms and is currently Director of Global Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility at Celanese, a global chemical company in Dallas, says the outstanding leaders she has worked with share five “communication habits” that help the people around them perform more effectively. 1. They share an inspiring vision of the future. They “build a sense of shared purpose” and their visions answer several questions: Where are we going? What does it look like? What are the benefits? What role do I play in the success? They&rsquo...

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John Spence, author ofAwesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action, says that there are four problems that CEOs consistently identify as the biggest challenges holding back the performance of their organizations:   Lack of a vivid and extremely well-communicated vision; Lack of open, honest and courageous communication; Lack of accountability; Lack of disciplined execution. While Spence’s informal survey was limited to CEOs in the for-profit sector, my experience in the social sector indicates that these same challenges dog not-for-profit organizations too. ...

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At the eighth annual International Conference on Catholic Social Thought at the University of Dayton in June, Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, called on Catholic business schools to help students develop a moral compass. He also pointed leaders to a new booklet his pontifical council has published, available free on the internet, that should be of interest to people working in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. His point about the need for future leaders to develop moral compasses wasn’t to condemn people engaged in business enterprises. "Let m...

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The news came in an email from my brother Mike on Monday afternoon, July 16. Stephen Covey, 79, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, had died earlier in the day. The news left a little hole in my heart. I had never met Covey. But I felt I knew him from reading several of his books — and even more, from viewing several of his videos time and again as I presented his 7 Habits seminar. In fact, Covey’s books and seminars play large roles in the backstory of the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute. More than a decade ago, Covey spoke to the U.S. bishops at their annual spring meet...

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In our Encounters, we often summarize the history of leadership in two minutes or less. In those 120 seconds, we break it down into four stages: C1: Compliance – This is how leaders generally led from the dawn of humanity until the 1920s. In a C1 leadership context, the primary task is to get people to do what you want them to do -- using any means possible. C2: Cooperation – In the first third of the 20th century, some people began to realize that compliance cultures were very expensive because people had to be watched all the time. They argued that if you devoted some resources up front g...

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Recently I was reading an article in which the author noted “few of us are natural-born leaders,” and so she offered five basic tips to help new leaders get on the right track – and stay there.  It struck me that not only were all of her tips sound, but they also affirmed our own perspective that when it comes to leadership, you can’t find a better teacher and role model than Jesus Christ. Addressing new leaders is timely because we get so many new leaders this time of year. Priests get new assignments to lead parishes, often for the first time. Principals are assigned to lead schools. Te...

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Engagement is often regarded as the silver bullet in individual and organizational performance, whether we are talking about families, small office teams, government staffs or international businesses.  If people aren’t engaged in what they are doing — whether it’s homework, building widgets, selling and servicing clients or negotiating world peace — performance suffers.  That’s why parents lay awake at night wondering how to get their teenagers to care more about the quality of their school work. That’s also why organizational leaders read books, scan the web, hold staff...

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When we talk about S3 Jesus-like Leadership, I often make the point that the very best examples of leadership I see are not in the corporate or nonprofit worlds, but in good families. The reason for that is easy to explain: parents generally love their children more than bosses love their employees. At the core of leading like Jesus is the choice we make between being a self-serving or God-serving leader. We know that Jesus is the perfect model of God-serving leader. After all, he gave up his life to do his Father’s will and save not only his followers, but all humans -- even those who rejected him. It is ...

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Popular leadership literature and a host of studies make the point that trust is an important consideration in effective leadership. Leaders who prove themselves trustworthy are much more effective in achieving their missions than are leaders who don’t inspire or who actually undermine trust in others. Trust is a unique thing in the material world because it has two seemingly opposite properties:  It is the grease that lubricates fast, clear, synergistic interaction between people, making cooperation possible; and  It is the glue that holds organizations together so that many people can work toge...

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Power to influence built on trust

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

When we think and speak of the power to lead, we often focus on what is known as “formal power” or “positional power.”  There’s no doubt that kind of power plays a defining role in many of our relationships, especially those at work. But it’s also true that among the various ways we can exercise power, “formal” or “positional” power is a weak one. And it’s growing weaker by the day in our culture, where we insist on the right to withhold respect and trust until the other person has demonstrated to us that they are worthy of such things -- no matter w...

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“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.”- Max DePree If that sounds like “soft-headed” thinking on the part of some head-in-the clouds theorist, think again. When Max DePree wrote that he was chairman and CEO of Herman Miller, Inc., the furniture maker that was named one of Fortune magazine’s 10 “best managed” and “most innovative” companies, and chosen one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.  It was also a good company to inve...

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Sunday we celebrate Pentecost — when the Holy Spirit descends on the apostles, beginning their public ministry and thus marking the beginning of the church. It is said to be the second most important day in the church liturgical calendar. And it is an especially important feast for all of those who hope to lead like Jesus in all of their relationships. Pentecost, you see, reminds us that in our endeavors to be Jesus-like S3 Leaders, we are not alone.  If you take your Christian leadership responsibilities seriously, this Sunday is a day to pay special attention to the readings. First, you will hear in...

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“The leader’s style pulls ... (and) a pull style of influence works by attracting and energizing people to an exciting vision of the future. It motivates by identification, rather than through rewards and punishments.” - Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus  In the non-profit world where financial rewards can be hard to find, leadership that motivates by identification is often the only practical option. That is to say, staff comes to deeply identify with the organization’s mission and vision. And make no mistake: It’s important, too, in for-profit organizations.  Of course, that r...

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This past Saturday my daughter Shannon sent me an email with a link to a story by Geoffrey James called 8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses. So much of it resonated with the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesusthat I decided to use it in this newsletter.  On Sunday I awoke with the inspiration that I should relate the story about bosses to the Gospel passage where Jesus describes himself as “the good shepherd,” and then contrasts that role with that of a “hired man.” The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, in contrast, abandons the sheep at the first sign...

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As we Catholics continue to celebrate the Easter season, we are excited about sharing with you a new service from the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute.  It’s our new Weekly Catholic Leader. We plan to publish it every week — except when those weeks when we publish The Catholic Leader, our monthly flagship publication. Whereas our monthly Catholic Leader runs to several screens (or pages if you print it out) and includes several stories on a variety of topics, each issue of the Weekly Catholic Leaderwill deal with just a single story about a single topic &...

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The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20 A lot has been written about the importance of delegation – and it’s true in families as well as w...

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We’ve all heard the old adages: “If you can’t say anything nice about a person, don’t say anything at all.” “It is better to be quiet and to let people think you might be ignorant than to speak up and confirm it.” We also know that sometimes we are so eager to impress or so fearful of silence that we almost can’t help blurting out something — almost anything — to fill the void. St. Ignatius of Loyola almost certainly would have advised you to adhere to the adages and let the silence happen if it must. In any event, he was a consistent critic of what he...

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