RACI Decision-Making Matrix

One of the most important things that leaders and teams do is make decisions. If you’ve ever been involved in decision-making for a team or organization, you know that clarifying and communicating the process is critically important.

I have found the RACI “responsibility” model to be very helpful for the teams I lead and serve on:

  • Responsible– who has the responsibility for the project or process
  • Accountable– who is ultimately accountable & has the authority to make the decision
  • Consulted – who needs to be consulted in the decision-making process
  • Inform – who needs to be informed of the decision that’s been made

Here are some variations on this responsibility model and matrix.

Have you used this process before? Has it been helpful? What would you change or add to the process?

GROW: A Leadership Coaching Tool

Here’s a simple tool to help you in your leadership coaching conversations:


Goals – what are your top 3 goals?

Reality – how’s it really going and how do you know? (Have metrics)

Options – what options do you have to achieve the goals?

Will – what will you do and when?


What are some of your most effective tools for developing leadership?

5 Ways to Nurture Personal & Professional Vitality

vitality (vī-tāl’ĭ-tē) n. : (1) The capacity to live, grow, or develop. (2) Physical or intellectual vigor; energy.

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.Simon and his companions searched for Him; they found Him, and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” ~ Mark 1:35-37

Life feels non-stop. The pace and expectations of relationships, family, ministry, marketplace, and extracurricular activities are often overwhelming. And here’s the reality: it’s reality (okay, that was brilliantly redundant). Life simply happens at a quick pace. So how do we not live life on “empty”? How do we not live in a place of perpetual burnout? How do we nurture vitality? Here are five ways I’m learning to nurture personal and professional vitality.

1. Recognize areas of low energy, frustration or burnout. I must constantly be in tune with how I’m doing and feeling. Am I so tired that a good night’s sleep doesn’t restore me? Am I irritable and short with the people in my life? Do I struggle with concentration at work? Do I have the energy to take on the most important things? I constantly ask myself these questions. If I am experiencing low energy, tiredness, and irritability, I need to be diligent to figure out why. And I must also be willing to do something about it. We can only run on fumes for so long.

2. Don’t substitute your work for God with your relationship with God (Shawn Lovejoy). This is a great temptation. In ministry we can easily allow serving God to replace knowing God. Preparing for a message becomes a substitute for my devotional time. Team meetings become a substitute for small group community. Challenging the church to evangelism becomes a substitute for personal evangelism. Counseling other people becomes a substitute to doing our own soul excavation.

3. Discover and implement your rhythm of connecting with Jesus. There is no one-size-fit-all in developing our relationship with Jesus. It takes experimentation, success, and failure to figure out how we best connect with Jesus. Gary Thomas’ Sacred Pathways has helped me discover my “spiritual temperament” and how I best connect with Jesus. Some people thrive with a daily quiet time. Some people thrive with a longer devotional time one or two times a week. Some people thrive with Jesus on a walk in nature. Some people thrive with Jesus in serving peoples’ needs. Discover your spiritual temperament and how you best connect with Jesus. And then do it.

4. Schedule regular days away (at least quarterly). For years I have been a big proponent of regular, longer days away with Jesus…longer periods of time away from the noise of regular life. Here’s a personal “Guide to Spending the Day with Jesus.” It’s what I do on my days away. Again, discover your own rhythm.

5. Develop a Personal & Professional Development Plan. There are areas in our lives where we need growth, personally and professionally. Do less better. Take one area of personal growth and one area of professional growth and develop/implement a plan to address it. What resources do you need? How much time will it take to address these areas? What will success look like? Share these areas with a friend, a spouse, a co-worker, and/or your boss. Have someone hold you accountable for these areas and goals.

Here are some great resources that help me nurture vitality in my own personal and professional life:

Your turn: What do you do to nurture health and vitality in your personal and professional life? Any resources you’d recommend?


Developing a Culture of 3-Way Accountability

In Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team, avoiding accountability is dysfunction #4. Lencioni describes it like this: “Without committing to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven people often hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.”

As leaders, we need to develop a culture of 3-way accountability…accountability with direct reports, with peers on our team, and with our boss. Let’s look at some ways to develop that culture.

1. Accountability with direct reports. This is a basic function of leadership and management. The boss must develop, communicate, and clarify job descriptions and performance measures (i.e., what the “win” looks like). I’m amazed at how infrequently this happens. As leaders, we often assume that people know what they’re supposed to be doing and what success looks like. But there are often different expectations because of a failure to communicate and clarify roles and expectations. Ensure that job descriptions are clear, up-to-date, and reality-based. Develop action plans with outcomes and metrics on what success means.

2. Accountability with peers. Here’s the tell-tale sign that this isn’t happening. One team member goes to the boss to complain about the actions (behavior or performance) of another team member. Often the boss will say, “Okay, I’ll go talk with them about it.” If that’s your response, you’ve just failed to develop a culture of peer accountability. The best response is, “Have you talked with them about it? If not, you have 24 hours to go talk with them about it. If after several conversation, you can’t work it out, then come back to me. And then and only then will I get involved.” Coach them through the conversation. Help them to understand the best way to go about it. But expect them to go to their peers directly. If not, you’ll become the arbitrator of every conflict.

3. Accountability with your boss. This is where it can get dicey. If you are a team leader, the sign of a healthy team is that your team members can come to you and share helpful feedback about how you’re leading. You have to develop this culture. You have to be the one who begins by asking your team, “How can I lead better? What do you see that would increase my effectiveness in serving and leading you and our team?” If you do this earnestly, honestly, and regularly, you will begin to develop a culture of trust and accountability. If you do it because the HR department is forcing you to do a 360 peer review, it will be contrived. Nobody will be honest. This is not to say that 360 peer reviews aren’t helpful. But if you haven’t develop an authentic culture of accountability, the tool won’t work.

What are you doing to develop a culture of 3-way accountability with your team? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!


This past Sunday, as we continued in our Upside Down series, we discussed the idea of “Upside Down LEADERSHIP.” Taking our cues Jesus’ life and leadership as told in Philippians 2:5-11, we discovered that Upside Down leaders (anyone who wants to have an influence and impact) have three qualities:

  1. Upside Down ATTITUDE of Humility
  2. Upside Down APPROACH of Servanthood
  3. Upside Down AGENDA of God’s glory

As you influence people and impact the world around you, are these qualities apparent in how you lead?

Here’s an example of extraordinary, upside down leadership from Northshore’s own Bob Wright (the chairman of our elder team).

For more resources on developing your leadership, visit the Leadership Development portion of my blog

What can and will you do to grow in your Upside Down Leadership?

Leaders Serve & Sacrifice

One of the classic texts on leadership is Kouzes & Posner’s A Leader’s Legacy. The first chapter “Leaders Serve and Sacrifice” has some incredible quotes on the leader’s heart of service and willingness to suffer. Here are a few:

“Leadership is not solely about producing results. Success in leadership is not measured only in numbers. Being a leader brings with it a responsibility to do something of significance that makes families, communities, work organizations, nations, the environment, and the world better places than they are today. Not all these things can be quantified.”

“Who are the people I am really serving? And am I ready to suffer?”

“If we’re going to be authentic in our leadership, we have to be willing to serve, and we have to be willing to suffer.”

“People willingly follow someone who’s attuned to their aspirations, fears, and ideals. Loyalty is not something a boss can demand. It’s something people choose to grant to a person who has earned it.”

“I serve my associates so that they can serve our customers well. Actually, I’m at the bottom of the organizational pyramid supporting them and not at the top with them supporting me.” (Betsy Sanders)

“Without the element of servant leadership, the furthest you will get into someone’s motivation is the ‘have to’ level. Over time, that will build a narrow, thin organization. When a leader is able to drive down deep and get to the ‘I want’ motivation, the organization becomes a type of perpetual motion machine. It no longer takes as much energy from you as a leader because you’ve built into those around you the zeal to do a job well. The ‘sustain’ you’ve tapped in your team will carry all of you, collectively, well into the future.” (Nancy Ortberg)

“Nearly every act of leadership requires suffering—and often for the leader a choice between one’s personal success and safety and the greater welfare of others.”

And my personal favorite…

We guarantee that what people will say about you will not be about what you achieved for yourself but what you achieved for others. Not how big a campfire you built but how well you kept others warm, how well you illuminated the night to make them feel safe, and how beautiful you left the campsite for those who would come after you to build the next fire.

What are your thoughts on these great leadership quotes?

Leadership & Bearing Pain

You can exercise and sustain personal leadership only to the extent of your capacity to bear pain. If you can bear only your own pain, then you can’t really lead. If you can respond to and bear only the pain of your family, then your family represents the full scope of your leadership potential. If, however, by God’s grace you can recognize and bear the pain of those around you, the breadth of your leadership potential is limited only by the scope of your burden and capacity. All this talk about bearing pain may seem off-putting to some. You may be thinking, ‘Isn’t leadership more about vision and the ability to inspire than about pain?’ Not really. To be sure, there is a kind of leadership that can rouse people to action for a short time, but enduring leadership invariably will be built upon a confidence that those who you call ‘leader’ would sacrifice themselves not only for the cause they share with you, but even for you yourself.”

~ A. Scott Moreau, Gary Corwin, & Gary B. McGee in Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey

Authenticity and Feedback

Developing a culture of authenticity and feedback is a core competency for leadership. The momentum and success of your team depends upon the health of your team. This is nothing new. Patrick Lencioni explores this in-depth in his Five Dysfunctions of a Team (dysfunction #1 being “the absence of trust”). But how do we develop trust on a team? I wholeheartedly believe that it starts with the leader’s authenticity, vulnerability, and ability to develop a culture of honest, helpful feedback. To develop this culture, there are some questions we must answer about ourselves:

  1. Am I an authentic person? Do I tend toward self-protection or self-disclosure? Why?
  2. What fears do I struggle with and how do they affect my authenticity and personal leadership?
  3. Do I invite honest feedback on my leadership style and performance?
  4. Do I get defensive when presented with solicited or unsolicited feedback? Why or why not? How does this defensiveness manifest itself?
  5. What can I specifically do to foster a culture of authenticity and feedback?

Personally process through these questions. Take some time to discuss them with a trusted friend or mentor. In your next leadership meeting, take some time to discuss them as a team. And as a result, develop an action plan for becoming more personally and organizationally authentic.

For more resources, I highly recommend some of the team exercises in Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions Field Guide (in this order):

  1. Personal History (p. 19) – have people share their story
  2. Behavior Profiling (p. 25) – a tool like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) will help the team understand and describe one another
  3. Team Effectiveness Exercise (p. 64) – have the team answer these two questions about each other: (1) What is the single most important behavioral characteristic or quality demonstrated by this person that contributes to the strength of our team? (2) What is the single most important behavioral characteristic or quality demonstrated by this person that can sometimes derail our team? (WARNING: ensure that you have enough personal trust as a team to do this exercise and understand where and why the exercise can go “sideways” before you do it).

Question: What do you personally do to develop a culture of authenticity & feedback on your team?


Notes From an Evening with Rick Warren

As part of Leadership Network’s Next Generation Learning Community, we had the opportunity to spend an evening with Rick Warren at Larry Osborne’s home. Here are my notes from the evening…  30+ years of his life and ministry wisdom condensed down to a blog post (as if…).

1. life is like twin rails… hills & valleys simultaneously… good & bad at the same time.
– don’t focus on trends… focus on what doesn’t change
– don’t focus on being cool

2. adding staff at 10 year increments to reach multiple generations
– farm league

3. what is my wife sensitive to… the voice of the Holy Spirit

4. plateaus… everything stops at some point. the average church grows 15 yrs. start a new bell curve by:
– physical: addition bases… church planting or campuses
– spiritual: the longer someone is a Christian, the less effective they are at evangelism (they are more & more involved in “church”)

5. build your church on a process
– bring them in
– connect them
– train them
– send them out

6. you will succeed at what you emphasize… you cannot emphasize everything
– signature issues: what we want to be known for

7. intentionally overemphasize evangelism… the larger a church gets, the more self-centered it gets.
– balance community & evangelism
– but the pastor MUST emphasize evangelism because entropy is towards internal/community
– “service” becomes “serve us”

8. mentoring – pick mentors to teach you a specific thing & different things

9. Jesus’ ministry – a look, a word, a touch

10. if you want to be effective for God, you must get control of your time.

11. the difference between ministry & leadership
– ministry: responding to someone’s need
– leadership: you take the initiative to meet with/disciple someone

12. be strategic in choosing your friends
– choose friends in different tribes

13. humility is not denying your strengths but being honest about your own weaknesses

14. integrity, humility, generosity – the only antidotes to Satan’s greatest temptations to leaders
– lust of the flesh (hedonism)… the temptation to feel good… you deserve to feel good… temptation to serve self (antidote: integrity)
– pride of life (secularism)… position… the temptation to show off & live for the applause of people (antidote: humility)
– pride of the eyes (materialism)… possession… the temptation to have (antidote: generosity)

generosity – the only antidote to getting is giving

rick’s personal generosity: raising % of giving… breaks the grip of materialism… & I become more like Jesus

Rick, thanks for modeling generosity with your time!


3 Reasons Why I Love Leadership Network

For the past 2 years, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of Leadership Network’s Next Generations Pastors Learning Community. It was a life-transforming, ministry-expanding experience. Here are three reasons why the experience was so personally impacting and why I appreciate Leadership Network:

1) Leadership Network helps me grow beyond my own experience. Through a combination of mentor pastors and peers that lead larger churches, the collective wisdom and experience in the learning community format has been catalytic for my own thinking and development. If you go to a conference, you rarely have extended time with the plenary speakers. But in a learning community, the whole experience is conversational. With mentor pastors like Larry Osborne, Toby Slough, Steve Stroope and others (including Rick Warren for an evening), I had the opportunity to mine some of the best large church leaders around.

2) Leadership Network helps me expand beyond my own tribe. Larry Osborne repeatedly drilled the reality that exceptional leaders go beyond their tribe. The mentor pastors and peers were all from different tribes… from A29, Converge Worldwide, Southern Baptists, Non-denominational, etc. And we all know that tribes have certain cultures, certain ways of thinking, and certain ways of doing ministry and mission. The learning community helped broaden my experience and not only build relationships with pastors from other tribes but learn from them as well (which always challenges my thinking and practice).

3) Leadership Network helps me see beyond my own region. Much like the “tribe,” we get regionally conditioned. While it’s true that each region in the U.S. has its unique culture and challenges (I live in the Pacific Northwest), it’s refreshing and invigorating to see what Jesus is doing in and through His Church around the country. And ultimately we realize that what church leaders face locally, regionally, nationally, and even internationally is similar: How do we preach the gospel with clarity, conviction, and cultural relevance? How do we develop disciples in our context? How do we multiply followers, leaders, churches, and church planting movements?

Leadership Network, thanks for investing in me!

Here’s more information on Leadership Network’s Learning Communities.

(And just so you know, I’m not an employee of Leadership Network… just a grateful fan!)