EPISODE #108 – Leadership Judo with Visionary Leaders
The Bootcamp Bros are back talking about Leadership Judo. What is leadership judo you ask? You can listen to last week’s podcast and get up to speed.
Here’s a quick definition to get you ready for this episode.
Leadership Judo: taking the energy of an opponent and directing it away from harm to a more productive place.
We’re going to get specific over the next few EPs in applying leadership judo to some of the leadership styles we encounter in our churches, businesses and organizations. Today’s leadership style-The Visionary.
Here are some highlights (check the audio for detail)
When working with or Leading Visionaries
- Hear them out
- Ask, don’t tell
- Be flexible and fun
- Check in regularly
Are you a visionary? Concerned your leadership style is creating chaos? Check out the bonus EP for some helpful tips on how to “judo yourself.”
Do some serious Judo on your church website by calling our friends at One Eighty Digital, they can get you up and running with their expertise. Tell them the boys at the Bootcamp sent you.
Drop us a line, a question and a comment, we’d love to hear from you!
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp. And Bob has returned from a wild, outdoor adventure in the, the mighty rivers of Tennessee.
Bob Bickford: I did, man. I went in and maybe we’ll be able to talk about what I was doing in Tennessee, but, the guy was meeting with, wa uh, sharp, sharp guy. And, uh, so he asked me before I came down and he said, do you want to golf? Or shoot clay pigeons.
JimBo Stewart: Well, we’ve already covered that you don’t golf.
Bob Bickford: I don’t not even mini golf. So I’m like clay pigeons, bro.
Like every Thanksgiving, uh, we go out to my wife’s aunt’s house and there’ll be tons of us out there. And me and we are like shooting clay pigeons, like crazy. It’s a lot of fun. So I do want at least once a year have a lot of fun. So we rolled down into this little nook and kind of an hour away from Nashville and we passed this little town called bell buckle, Tennessee, where.
Contemporary Christian artists, Russ Taff. Have you ever heard of rest half Jimbo?
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. that sounds familiar.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. So [00:01:00] anyway, got him rest AF he lives there and he gives private concerts on his front lawn. So we, we pass bell buck on. So I’m telling them all about that. Well, anyway, we round this, this band go down this little.
Gravel road to a beautiful two cabin complex and the river’s looking really good. It’s up. And he says, Hey, how about we float the river instead? And I’m like, okay, now I don’t have my chocos. I don’t have shorts. I’m in jeans. I’m in my replant bootcamp boots, but I roll out roll anyway. Well, we get, we get started and Jimbo, can I just say.
I’m not the most balanced person, like on paddleboards and skateboards and things like that. I have a real high center of gravity
JimBo Stewart: Okay. I think I see where this is going.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, we get into the, we get into the canoe, which is not supposed to be flippable. It’s kind of one of those, um, ones that you might see, like at academy or somewhere where it’s got like a water system in the ballast and you know, all that kind of stuff, but it’s been raining the rivers up and Jimbo.
We had a branch and a man and I went barefoot jeans, had a replant shirt on, had my sin [00:02:00]network, flat bill hat on, and my son. I lost my flat bill sunglasses were crooked on my head. I came up to spew and water cause I took some in and a Jimbo. I’m just glad to be alive.
JimBo Stewart: Man I’m impressed that you flipped an unflappable canoe. That’s a, that’s a Hyatt.
Bob Bickford: I can do those things because I just have no balance. I think it’s because I was Baptist growing up in my mom didn’t allow me to dance. I’m going to blame that. It’s a see that.
JimBo Stewart: Okay. All right. All right, we’ll go with that. Well, speaking of, balance and ability to control your body, we’re going to continue into the leadership judo series that.
we started last week. Fortunately, Bob leadership, judo does not require a physical. Ability to balance, although it may require a relational ability to balance.
Bob Bickford: I see what you did there. Nope. Yep. I’ve got
JimBo Stewart: yeah, you, you may, we may flip the canoe, but I think you you’ve got [00:03:00] the leadership chops to do some good leadership.
Bob Bickford: Well, thanks Jimbo. I’ll uh, I’ll take that compliment. And I received that. Thank you brother.
JimBo Stewart: You know, one of my favorite, uh, leadership, isms or sayings that I’ve heard involves a canoe. if the bullet there’s a, there’s a. Let’s talk about cannons and shoot shooting a big shot. Right. And, I’ve heard, I don’t know what the original source of this is. So listeners, I’d love to hear it from you what the original sources, but you can only shoot a cannon from a canoe once.
Bob Bickford: Yes. That is some wisdom, right?
JimBo Stewart: You can only shoot a canoe, a Canon from a canoe at once. All right. So last week we introduced the idea of leadership, judo, and verbal judo from the great Jerry B. Jenkins. And we’re going to carry on that idea. What we set, the framework that we’re doing this with is, is with the [00:04:00] leadership styles presented to us by Les McKeown in his book, predictable success.
I’m going to quote mostly not from predictable successful for my follow-up book, which I recommend called the synergist, which really takes these leadership styles and goes a lot deeper into detail on those. And, functionally, what we’re talking about is taking somebody’s energy and what I like about.
the leadership styles that Les presents to us, is this going to talk to you about what what’s the really good stuff about that sort of leadership style, right? But then also every, all of the leadership styles have a little bit of an extreme and in a way that we have to kind of adjust and think through those things.
Through this series, we’re going to take one leadership style at a time. We’ll have a link where you can take leadership style quiz for free in other people on your team that you’re leading volunteers could, can take it. I’ll tell you I did a volunteer development day. At our church and had every single volunteer take the free leadership style quiz.
And [00:05:00] we talked through those and it brought a lot of great awareness for us. And so I’d recommend that the survey doesn’t cost you anything. it’ll only, it’s going to sign you up for less as emails, but that’s not a bad thing. as you look through that, that’s going to give you a greater insight into what these styles are, but we’re going to start out with visionary.
So it’s visionary operator processor, synergist. That’s the order that will go in. So leading a visionary. I here’s, what I say is Bob, I don’t know if there’s a harder leadership style to try to lead then visionary it’s visionaries want to be in charge. And so it’s hard to lead them sometimes.
Bob Bickford: Absolutely. And depending on the age of the visionary and the wisdom, the self-awareness and all those, it’s going to present you with different challenges. the seasoned divisionary will likely have learned a lot of things about themselves. Then the early career vision. Or the extremely passionate visionary is going to present to you a greater challenge.
So I [00:06:00] think in all of the leadership styles, you you’ve hit this on the head Jimbo, man, this is a challenging style, but it’s also a fun style to be around because a visionary brings a lot of energy. And let’s say if they have a hundred ideas, maybe two or three of them are going to be really, really awesome.
JimBo Stewart: This is true. it’s the law of averages. You put out enough ideas out there. Eventually you’re going to land on a good one.
Bob Bickford: absolutely. And a If baseball players good baseball players, average 300. Right. And you know, that’s a great hitter. Let’s say that about a visionary. They’re going to have three, three ideas that are really going to hit out of a hundred. And, you’ll be excited about that.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, absolutely. All right. So let’s talk about some ways, to leadership, judo, to kind of use the energy, to understand the unique makeup of a visionary, as you’re leading them from whatever position that is, right. That’s a leader. Goes a lot of different directions. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be the, the guy in charge of the person in charge to apply this, but just as you, work [00:07:00] with and associate with a visionary on any sort of team, especially in ministry, as we apply this, some ways to think about that, I’d say the first one Bob is to hear them out.
and what I mean by hear them out is, is give them time. visionaries are verbal processors. They think out loud. And so what that means is when they begin talking, you’re not receiving a fully thought out. Thing you’re, you’re literally getting insight into their brain and their thinking process. And so they may start one direction and land what seems like a completely contradictory direction.
and that’s not, it’s not that they are contradicting themselves is that.
they’re literally processing it right there in front of you. and so the key, I think when I say hear them out, It’s don’t, take the first thing they say and try to poke arguments into it or poke like, just let them keep talking and, give them time, plant plant a little more time and just let them talk.
And as they [00:08:00] continue to talk, they’re going to land a lot closer to what their actual idea is than where they begin. And so you need to give them that.
Bob Bickford: giving somebody an opportunity, who’s a verbal processor to expose their thought and not be threatened by that can be a little challenging if you’re of a different leadership style. I was with the guy who was with in Nashville. One of the things he said is I often ask people when they’re talking to me in sharing with me, I say, tell me more.
Right. And so that’s a great question. Hey, okay. What else? Tell me more. And oftentimes I’ve seen a real visionary person really come to the. The understanding that maybe their initial thought was not such a great idea. And I’ve even heard them talk themselves out of their own idea that they proposed with great passion after they’ve spoken for
JimBo Stewart: and they’re going to say it with such passion and energy. You’re going to be convinced that they they’ve done tons of research. And they’re just [00:09:00] convinced that this is the perfect idea, but that’s just the way they’re communicate. And so you gotta, you gotta give them time to talk themselves in or out of whatever idea it is that they’re processing.
And I would say one of the other things you can do is ask them. ask them to put it down in writing for you. this is going to be annoying to them. They don’t, they’re not gonna want to do this, but it’s going to be a helpful process for everyone involved if, if they can do it. Right. So, here’s some ways that I think it helps at the essence.
If you can convince them to put it down in writing one, it’ll make them clarify their thoughts a little more because. Type it out and they’re going to go that doesn’t communicate what I’m trying to communicate, and they’re going to wrestle with how it words, and, and they might not even, they might make like the most amazing looking one page PDF document with designs.
And it’s definitely when you were just looking for a bullet point email. but that process is going to help them clarify what they’re trying to do rather than just winging it. But I think it [00:10:00] also gives you a reference point, to their words in writing. If they deviate from This like visionaries are, are, have a, have a tendency to do.
but it also, the third thing I would think it helps when they haven’t put it in writing is it can weed out things that are just impulses. if they, if they don’t care enough, if they’re not passionate enough about it, to actually summarize it, put it down in writing, then they’ll probably forget about it and they’ll move on and you don’t have to worry about it.
Bob Bickford: This is one of my favorite judo moves. And if any of our teammates are listening to me, in this podcast know I’m giving a betraying, a secret, a trade secret of my role of leading the replant team. I will say to somebody that’s a great idea. Can you create a one page for me and send it to me? And what I mean by that is just what you said.
Put it down to bullet points, what you want to accomplish in it. And most of the time, I never get it. Now here’s the ultimate judo master. I’m going to give you Mr. [00:11:00] Miyagi. Now I know he’s karate, karate. He’s not judo, but whoever the judo guy is, that’s equates to Mr. Miyagi. here’s here’s the ultimate sensei move.
Never ask for the one pager again, just don’t ask for it. Don’t bring it up again, because if they’re passionate about it, they’re going to bring it to you. But don’t ask about it again, unless it’s an assignment for it. Somebody, unless, you know, you have to have that document. If it’s purely in the realm of vision, don’t ask for it again, like just, you got enough work to do the systems moving forward, you’re working on your goals and objectives.
Let them bring it back. If it’s important to them.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. and it, listen, if you’re, if you’re listening to this as a pastor of a smaller church and the visionary coming to you is a lay person, and they’re wanting to drop this on your plate. And they’re saying, here’s this big, huge idea I have. That I think you need to do pastor, uh, man, you gotta do some leadership judo at this moment and put the ball in their court.[00:12:00]
and that’s, that’s not, it’s not just leadership, judo that, I mean, that’s biblical back to our kind of theme passage out of Ephesians chapter four of equipping the saints to do the work of ministry. This is, this is saying, okay. If, if this is a passion you have, if, if this is a God given vision, then.
Execute, man, let me help you. Let’s put together a team, put together a plan and let’s figure that out. I know a guy who will always reply to that with a church member. He’ll say, see if you can go get, five people who are just as excited about this as you are, and let’s put a team together so we can think through it.
And that’s another way to kind of judo that in the moment and what that is is it’s not saying no, and it’s not. Manipulative way of trying to say no, it’s, it’s, it’s honestly a way with a visionary of figuring out, are you going to stick with this? Like, is this, is this just a random idea that you’re going to forget by Tuesday?
Or is this something you’re going to actually land on [00:13:00] it? God’s given you and God’s, and God’s given it to you that God’s probably put some other people in our church that also we’re passionate about that that are going to want to help you do.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. Great idea. One last thing before we move on, I think the burden of clarity belongs on them. Not on you. And I’m kind of 50 50 on this point. because the operator in me is tasked often with helping a visionary, take their vision and make it reality. Right. And so I’m not talking about if that’s your role, if that’s your responsibility, that’s your vocation, then, then go for it.
But. If you, if you are tasked not only with receiving the vision and the one-page document, but also making sense of it, the vision is not clear enough right there in there, especially as you put it in the context of the church. Right. And it’s gotta be clear. So that’s the one thing I just add in, in this that’s another good.
Maybe that’s kind of a, not a master move, but it’s like, I’m on the way to [00:14:00] becoming a judo master move. The clarity goes back on the person with the vision.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Absolutely You can help them provide that clarity, but they’ve got to, they’ve got to own it. next thing after hear them out, I would say is, and this is part of the verbal judo that we discussed last week, where one of the five principles from that. people prefer to be asked then told, man, this is particularly true with visionary leadership style.
I mean, it’s just vitally important in the book, the center, just Les McKeown says this. Visionaries are notoriously bad at readily accepting other people’s ideas. However good they are without fiddling with them in some way. It’s almost as if they can’t bring themselves to fully adopt an idea or suggestion, unless they can get a smear of their own DNA on it. And so w there, there is this need for visionaries of ownership. You, you could, you could provide. The greatest plan in the world [00:15:00] to a visionary and they’re going to need to tweak it because here’s the deal, the Jew, here’s the judo move. Right. Anticipate that and be okay with it, and present it to them unfinished and, and, and let, let them have some say in it.
Again, this is not manipulation. Like God’s designed them with good insight and intuition. That’s part of this leadership style. And so let them speak into it. Let them tweak it a little bit because when a visionary owns something and they feel they have ownership and not complete ownership, but just some influence and ownership in it, then their, their passion is going to drive their work ethic to really pour into what they’re doing.
But there is this compulsive need to kind of put their own DNA on anything that you put in there.
Bob Bickford: Absolutely so that the rub then for us is. Is a visionary. He either has to be 100% accurate and spot on with almost every detail all the time, [00:16:00] or they have to be able to listen to those. Who’ve got, the place has placed around them to help shape that initial spark of a vision into something that’s really beneficial.
So I think some key questions in terms of asking are something like, if you have an idea, you see this vision and you’re concerned about it, you say, what would it look like for us to implement, implement this fully in the next six weeks? Right. Put that back on the visionary to say, okay, what’s imagine we do this.
What what’s it gonna look like? Right. what resources do you think we might need? Or how does this fit in with the overall picture and our key objectives? The things that we’ve looked at right now, or who do we need to task with, you know, sketching this out to maybe give it a fully developed implementation plan, right?
Who could do that for us? Those are a number of questions that you might ask, in thinking about how to help ask that question with the vision. To a visionary. So they see, that their vision as great as it may be, will cost something to impact. And [00:17:00] that’s, that’s the thing I think is hard for visionaries.
They just see the fruit of what could be, and they don’t realize the cost of making that vision happen. So I think it’s important to help them clarify the questions rather than saying like, yeah, that ain’t going to work because we don’t have enough bandwidth or resources, then you, then the visionaries lost respect for you.
And they’re not going to talk to you anymore. Right. So you gotta be careful with the questions you ask to help them to think together with. About the full ramifications of implementing that vision. And I think that’s probably, if you can approach it that way, think with them, how can I think with them that will really be helpful in for the whole organization or the church or wherever, whatever environment that you’re dealing with, the visionary and.
JimBo Stewart: when you’re talking about the way that you respond to that, so most visionaries are kind of eternal optimist and always believe there’s a way. And so when you give a flat out rejection, any kind of hyper negativity or hypercritical, response is, is. The visionary is going [00:18:00] to have kind of a foreign tissue rejection.
To that. And if it happens too many times from the same person, they may end up having a foreign tissue rejection to that person. and so, that leads to the next point of be flexible and have fun. and here’s what, here’s what I’ve learned. If you can be flexible, they’re going to want change, man.
Visionaries thrive on adaptation. They thrive on change. They thrive on things moving. They don’t want redundancy. but also they liked for things to be fun and exciting. And, So if you’ve got to work through a really, really get down on the details and work through some stuff that the visionary is probably not going to want to sit and talk with you about.
And you’re trying to think there’s some things, some, some church member has brought you, this huge plan and they’re a visionary person. They’re a late leader. And they say, we’ve got to do this big idea and we got to do this whole thing. Right. And you really need to sit down and have a conversation with them. Where we get [00:19:00] into the details may let them pick the venue. and I mean, be prepared. It’s not going to be in your office. it’s going to be in a coffee shop or a restaurant, but what’s cool is it’s probably going to be one you’ve never even heard of, and they’re going to take you somewhere fun and it’s going to be, and they’re going to want to have fun in that process.
And they’re going to be excited about man, the coffee here or the whatever. Let me tell you the story of this restaurant. and they’re going to go into that and let them do that. Let them have fun in that process. And then you could get them into the details of things. If you, if you they’ll thrive, if they don’t feel like it’s monotony.
but when things start to feel monotonous, they can easily, lose attention pretty quickly.
Bob Bickford: uh, visionary really kind of needs a. What you might call, think I’ve heard you describe it this way. They need a sandbox project, right? They need some kind of play area where they can always be creating and doing something new. They need a little side project, little side hustle, and oftentimes you’ll see a visionary.
If they’re stymied in their work [00:20:00] environment or the church environment, they’ll go do that outside of, of the place. That’s limiting them. Right. So just know that a visionary is going want. Have a vision and then do their best to see that vision become reality. And so providing them with some small place, maybe a safe place with which to do that, is a good thing, or just dreaming with them to say, and here’s the, I think the valuable part about a visionary, they see where you are and they see where you need to go.
Right? Most of the time, that’s what a visionary sees. They see reality where you are, see where you need to go, or they see the reality of something that is. Ma’am if we could do this, it’d be so much better. And so I think tapping into that for some improvement in the church or in your organization, or just giving them free rein in a, in a side project, just to run free and develop some things that won’t necessarily impinge upon what you guys have already shared, what you already have agreed to do together.
I think. Is good. So, you know, you guys are heading down the road. Visionary wants to [00:21:00]disrupt that because they’re bored with a monotony. May give them a, give them a project that’s going to be in a, offline or safe place, or maybe some kind of place where you want to expand and, and let them run loose.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Here’s what I’d say is, think about that in two different ways. As a pastor, if we’re talking about a staff member, that has, at whatever pay level part-time, or whatever, and they’ve got responsibility. At the church that by necessity will become monotonous because they need to be, they need to be repeated the same way over and over and over again.
then make sure that you come up with little sandbox ways that they can maybe step outside of the church and do things and be okay with that. if they’re your part-time guy for in, in some staff position, but they’re like starting some side business, don’t see that as a thing. that that’s actually probably a very good thing and it lets them flex those creativity muscles, more there than maybe they need to in a staff position.
If we’re not talking about a staff person, we’re talking about a lay volunteer and they’ve got another job that they do, then figure out. [00:22:00] What, what could a sandbox be for them that serves your church? Right? Like it’s so if they’ve got this other 40 hour, week, 50, 60 hour a week job, and they’re looking for a sandbox, maybe that’s your children’s ministry.
Maybe that’s your neighborhood outreach. Maybe that’s right there. There are lots of things. Maybe it’s your men’s ministry, may have find that visionary that is, uh, is, is really good at that, but they’re just digging into monotony at work. And let them let them play in the sandbox. They’re at church now, build boundaries and figure out and be clear about expectations.
Have it written down what you expect. And then if you do that, here’s what I would say is check in regularly, visionaries, depending on their secondary leadership style. Require a little more accountability than their operator and processor, partners. Right. And the reason is they do what Les McKeown calls hyperlink.
and so they’ll start one area. you ever been researching something and you find a blog and then it hyperlinks some other blog, and then you, [00:23:00] you click that and then, and then you’re reading that article and then you click a link in that, to another article. And next thing you know, you’re reading stuff about.
I mean, it has nothing to do with what you originally were looking to, to ring, w visionaries do this in life. They, they start with one thing and then they go, oh, that makes me think about this. And then they started doing that like, oh, but that could do this. So. if they’re a lay person or a staff person and they’re in there, just, just check in regularly.
Now check-ins, don’t have to be formal. It’s probably best if they’re not I mean, it check in with the visionary could be, Hey, let’s go grab coffee real quick. and go grab coffee, go grab lunch, go whatever. or just go sit in their office, go, go to their office and pop in more than other leadership styles.
Visionaries love that. Don’t do that with a processor. We’re going to get to processors. But don’t just drop it on a processor. they’re not going to appreciate that. but a visionary is going to love it. They, they’re going to love that pop in, check in, and I think that’s a helpful way. as you do that, just think about, do they need an outlet [00:24:00] from the service they have at church, or can the service that they’re doing at our church be a little bit of their sandbox outlet.
Bob Bickford: Love it, man. I think the informal checks. With the visionary is super, super key and, working with a lot of visionaries. I think the thing that is true is they need accountability and structure because they typically don’t have it. And you’ve got to find the balance between the right accountability and the right structure.
That’s going to help them continue to pursue the project with. Right. And so that’s, that’s going to be different for every person and you need to find that balance. And sometimes you’re going to hit, hit it really well. Sometimes you’re going to miss it, but if you consistently miss it, you’re going to squelch a visionary and they’re going to give up on the project and, or they’re going to just do the bare minimum and you’re not going to get the maximum impact out of them.
So it’s a delicate leadership judo balance that you have to learn how to, how to discern and, Jimbo, one thinks that I think happens a lot and I see this is extremely. Hi, visionary [00:25:00] people who just live in vision land can really frustrate staff members and employees and board members and all of the people that are rallying, even their families.
Right? Because there’s such visionary folks that it’s just like, man, if we tried to do all of the things that you’re suggesting, we would end up being broke and exhausted. They love the enthusiasm so often. A visionary needs to learn how to judo themselves. And so one of the things that we put in this podcast, as a, as a special link for just visionaries to click, that talks about what they need to know in terms of practicing leadership, judo on themselves.
We talk a lot about self-awareness in the podcast. And so I just want to encourage you, if you believe you’re a visionary, if you think you’re a visionary, if some of the things we’ve described now click on this link and we’re going to talk about in a second. Section of this podcast, sub bonus feature. If you will Jimbo extra content, we’re going to talk about how visionaries can judo [00:26:00] themselves.
So I encourage you guys to check it out.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, absolutely. Did they have to have like a patriarch? Do they have to give us money?
Bob Bickford: but we’ll we’ll accept any, if they want to send us gift cards or, you know, like that, we’ll accept it. So I’m not going to be shy.
JimBo Stewart: There we go. All right. Yeah. So check out the bonus link in the show notes for, how did you know yourself if you are a missionary, if you are a visionary check in next week, and we’ll be talking about, uh, leadership, judo with operators.