A Review of ‘LeaderShift’ by Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille

Orrin Woodward, New York Times best-selling author of ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution’ and Oliver DeMille, best known for his book ‘A Thomas Jefferson Education’ and the movement by the same name, have an uncanny ability to construct simple solutions to seemingly complex problems. In ‘LeaderShift,’ they focus that ability on problems plaguing the United States. The result is a simple set of solutions woven into a thought-provoking parable designed to be reach beyond the sphere of those that study history and politics out of their own ambition and into the lives of everyday Americans that are concerned about the future of our country.

LeadershiftI know most book reviews give a summary of the basic plot of the book, but I’m going to skip this part. While the story is both funny and compelling, my purpose in reading the book was to discover Woodward and DeMille’s proposed solutions to America’s problems. The reason I was/am so interested in hearing their opinion is that I know that they are both devoted students of history, economics, and human nature. Before reading Leadershift, I was hoping that it would be different than the majority of the books discussing America’s problems in that it would focus on the root of our problems, not the symptoms while, at the same time, being completely non-partisan. They delivered.

The solutions they offered, 28 in all, are refreshingly simple. I’m not going to list them all here. You’ll have to get the book and read it if you want them. However, most of them rest on a few simple premises. First, Woodward and DeMille argue that unless we have limited government, we will have limited freedom. Second, that no government is limited if its taxing powers or money printing ability are unlimited. Third, taxes are only effectively limited when a hard limit to taxation is set and checks and balances are created between the local, state, and federal level.

As a student of history and economics myself, albeit a relatively new student, I was pleasantly surprised at the boldness of the proposed solutions. A few of them, however, didn’t settle well with me at first.  I would be surprised if you immediately agree with all of them. Agreeing is not the point though. The point is to get you thinking and hopefully inspire you to dig further into the topic of freedom.

If you’re anything like me, by the end of LeaderShift, you’ll be chomping at the bit for more. Those of us that already like reading into politics, history, and economics will probably want more depth. Take heart though, LeaderShift is the first of three books. Think of it as the primer for a much larger discussion on freedom in America. In the mean time, go the LeaderShift website and get some of the free downloads, follow Orrin’s blog and sign up for newsletters from The Center for Social Leadership for more discussion around the topics introduced in LeaderShift.

Overall, if you are truly concerned about the future of freedom in the United States (or anywhere else), pick up a copy of LeaderShift. Read it, digest it, argue with it, discuss it, and share it. Don’t stop with LeaderShift though. It is not the end-all, be-all of books on freedom. However, it is a significant addition to the Great Conversation and one that I strongly recommend everyone read.

Here is a fantastic interview with Orrin and Oliver discussing LeaderShift.

Update 4/26: It looks like LeaderShift hit the New York Times Best Seller list at #12.

Update 4/30: It looks like LeaderShift hit #2 on the Wall Street Journal Non-Fiction Hardcover best-seller list.

Update 5/2: Leadershift not only hit the New York Time Best Sellers list, but has climbed to #9.

God Bless,

Clint Fix

A Review of ‘LeaderShift’ by Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille

Casting a Compelling Vision – The Key to Building Your Dream Team

You will not achieve your dreams or vision by yourself. To achieve big dreams and significant goals you will have to assemble a team of people that encourage, inspire, and provide honest, constructive criticism. You may think that just because you have a big dream and that it is worthy that people will line up to be a part of it, but this isn’t how it works. You will have to master the skill of casting your vision and transferring that vision to others. The obvious prerequisite to casting a vision is that you have to have one yourself! To convince others of the significance of your dream and vision, YOU have to be convinced of the significance of it.

For those of you that are convicted of your dream, you will need to learn the skills of casting that vision. John Maxwell in his book, Put Your Dream to the Test, tells us that to get others to connect with your vision that you’ll have to do it logically, emotionally and visually.

1. Transferring your vision Logically:

The ability to communicate your dream logically is the first step in gaining credibility. There are two things needed to pass the first gate of people’s intellect:

First, you need to communicate a realistic understanding of the situation today. Maxwell says,

Every time you communicate your vision to people, the first thing the skeptics ask is, ‘But what about…?’ If they don’t ask it out loud, they say it to themselves. And they will keep asking it until you have addressed all of their concerns. You need to demonstrate that you understand the situation at least as well as they do. That requires being extremely thorough when sharing your dream and not dwelling on its positive benefits to the exclusion of the facts.

Second, you need to provide a solid strategy for achieving the vision. A good strategy always breaks the long term vision down into manageable parts; each given to what Maxwell calls, ‘Individual Champions;’ or the best people for the job.

There is fine line to walk when communicating your vision logically. You don’t want to get bogged down in the details or bore people. You need to give enough information to satisfy most people, but not so much that you lose them. This skill takes practice and if you want your goals and dreams, it is a required.

2. Transferring your vision Emotionally:

To get someone to connect to your vision and dream, you have to connect to them emotionally. What people don’t feel, they don’t buy into. There are three ingredients to an emotional connection:

First, show them the dream from their perspective. People will always want to know “what’s in it for me?” If you want to win people over to your dreams, you need to speak in the language of their interestes, not your own.

Second, show them your heart. Maxwell tells us,

People buy into the dreamer before they buy into the dream. To transfer the dream emotionally, you need to let people see your heart and your hope. Sharing your heart tells your story. Sharing your hope tells the story of your dream and how it will impact the future.

Third, show them the benefits. You have to provide them with every reason for joining you.

You need to help them connect with the opportunities for achieving personal growth, finding fulfillment, and increasing their self-esteem. …If you can’t offer plenty of legitimate reasons about why they should be involved, then you have no business trying to recruit them to your team in the first place.

3. Transferring your vision Visually:

You need to bring your dream to life. What people don’t see, they won’t buy into.

We can do that by painting verbal pictures. We can do it by using photographs or film. We can use music. But the most compelling picture is our living what we are trying to communicate.  If we live our dream, practice integrity, achieve a degree of success, people see what the dream has done for us, and that makes them want it too. If you do everything within your power to live your dream, you become a living advertisement for it.”

Being sold out to your own dream and vision of the future is critical for your success in transferring that feeling to others when building your dream team. Maxwell’s book will help you clarify and strengthen your dream. If you want to make a significant difference, make sure to pick it up.

If you want to engage in material like Maxwell’s book that will constantly stretch you personally and professionally in areas of faith, relationships, finances, business, history, freedom, economics or fitness, check out the Mental Fitness Challenge. It’s like P90X for your brain. We need to raise a generation of leaders that have big dreams and want to make a positive impact in this world.

Thanks for reading, and as always, please leave your thoughts below!

God Bless,

Clint Fix

Casting a Compelling Vision – The Key to Building Your Dream Team

Orrin Woodward – Resolved to Make a Difference in Life

Orrin Woodward knocked the ball out of the park with his most recent book, RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE.  I picked it up with high expectations stemming from him and Chris Brady‘s New York Times best selling book, Launching a Leadership Revolution, and to put it simply: this is Orrin’s best work yet. Edit 5/7/2012: Now it’s available as part of a Mental Fitness Challenge (MFC). The MFC walks you through each of the 13 resolutions step by step, gives you a self-assessment test to see how you are doing in each of the resolutions and gets you connected to a community of people through Challenge Groups that will encourage you and become your accountability partners along the journey. This is the most powerful self-development program I’ve ever seen. Check out some testimonials of people that have gone through it: Mental Fitness Challenge Testimonials.

I am definitely not alone in the praise for RESOLVED. Oliver DeMille, founder of George Wythe University and author of A Thomas Jefferson Education recently added RESOLVED to his top 5 reading list for the holiday break saying, “If you are going to get one book for the holidays, this is it. I have never read a better book on leadership than this one.”  I definitely agree and the timing of its release couldn’t be more perfect.

I have to warn you, though. Orrin did not write RESOLVED as a feel good leadership book. It is a book that sets the bar for character based leadership and as such, it will hurt to read. It will reveal your inadequacies. Fortunately, it doesn’t just leave you hanging without a plan for growth and change. Orrin clearly lays out 13 resolutions garnered from leaders like George Washington, Jonathan Edwards, and Benjamin Franklin that, if followed, will develop the character and work ethic needed to succeed in nearly any area of life.

I can’t think of a better book to read as we approach the new year. Many people are starting to think about what they want to accomplish next year. They are coming up with their new years resolutions. My recommendation would be to read RESOLVED, and start the new year off right with a set of resolutions that will change your life forever.

Here are some links to other fantastic reviews for RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE by Orrin Woodward:

Randy Gage – Prosperity Blog

Oliver DeMille – Review and email to Orrin

For background and a bio on Orrin Woodward and his business, LIFE, check out the links below:

The Center for Social Leadership – Social Leader Spotlight – Orrin Woodward

The Goal of LIFE: Making a Difference in a Different Way

God Bless,

Clint Fix

Orrin Woodward – Resolved to Make a Difference in Life

Encouragement: The Key to Caring

All of us are called upon to lead at some point in our lives.  There are many skills that a growing leader will have to constantly improve upon; encouragement chief among them.  I recently had the pleasure of reading a recent AGO series book from Orrin Woodward’s LIFE Business on encouragement called Encouragement: The Key to Caring  by Dr. Larry Crabb and Dan Allender.

The authors did a fantastic job diving into the nuances of encouragement and how to develop the skill to lead our teams. They expand on the idea of encouragement as a process; one that reflects the operation of three principles.  Before I highlight those principles, it’s important to understand the authors’ definition of encouragement since it is much different than most would expect.

Encouragement depends on loving motivation in the encourager as well as the wisdom to discern the needs of the other person accurately. The actual words may be admonishing, rebuking, correcting, reproving, instructing, explaining, sympathizing, reflecting, affirming, or self-disclosing. If the motive is love and the target is fear, the words will be encouraging.

This view on encouragement is much wider than I had originally thought. What’s important to note, though, is that the words must be spoken from heart to heart. If any words are spoken from a layer that we put on to cover up our own fears of inadequacy or low self-esteem to a similar layer of the person we’re trying to encourage, the words will have no meaning and may even be destructive. Bill Lewis digs into layers and their hindrance on meaningful encouragement. Encouragement must be spoken in true love directly to the underlying fears of the person we’re encouraging.

Continue reading “Encouragement: The Key to Caring”

Encouragement: The Key to Caring