The Golden Rule – It would be great if…

“We have committed the golden rule to memory; let us now commit it to life.” – Edwin Markham


First, watch this video on the “Golden Rule.”

Second, this is not an endorsement for Marriott.  I just really liked the message of the video and thought about the connection it has with leadership.

Now, the video begs the statement, “It would be great if….”  Well, it would be great. Simple but direct thoughts as to why we should and how we can use the Golden Rule. There are numerous great one-line statements in the video.  The statement that stands out the most to me is, “It would be spectacular if the golden rule was golden to every man.” So easy to say, so hard to do.

The video made me consider how would someone practice and live the Golden Rule.  I convinced myself the reason more people do not, is because they, themselves get in their own way.

How can we be better stewards of the Golden Rule? Here are three ideas that we can think over…

You need to know who you are.
The real you is inside, and it will eventually come out. Great leaders know who they are. They know their strengths and weaknesses. It is hard to live the Golden Rule, as a hypocrite. The Bible is very clear on this, “You will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16, English Standard Version). The difference is leaders who think they are great need someone constantly affirming their “greatness.”

Do right by people.
Doing right by people does not mean “give them their way.” When we “do right by people,” we put ourselves in their shoes and consider them first. I believe this embodies the Golden Rule more than anything else. That notion of “treat others the way you would want to be treated” does not go both ways. We want “right treatment,” but do not always give “right treatment.”

Have humility.
Humility does not come naturally for some. Some of us even find it the hard way, if you know what I mean. It is hard to help others and do right by them if we are always looking out for “me.” Humility is part of being a servant leader; it is not stepping on them to help yourself.  Do something for someone without always looking for something in return.

The Golden Rule puts others first, and it shows sacrifice on our part. It is what we want for ourselves, so why not give it to others? “It would be great if…” we truly tried the Golden Rule. A lot of the statements in the video could be turned into reality.

Let’s look for ways we can use the Golden Rule in our leadership.  Be intentional and watch how others will appreciate your service to and for them.


©2017 J Clay Norton

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Clear the Static of Communication

“Every time you have to speak, you are auditioning for leadership.” – James Humes

Have we ever considered the way we communicate reflects our leadership style? The more that I am around people, the more I am trying to be observant. For anyone to do this, they must shut up and listen. We can learn a lot from doing just that.


I have three general ideas about our communication. We should strive for our leadership to equate with what we say our leadership is. To do this, we need to be conscious and intentional about how we communicate. There are three parties involved in communication: you, the other person, and bystanders. Each one of these is essential for understanding the other, and each one causes static within the conversation.

1. You
The best advice I have received on communicating was, “It’s not what you say, it is how you say it.” It has taken me a lot of years and conversations to figure this out. Good leaders are usually good communicators. If not by the way we speak, but also by our actions that speak. It is easy to spot a leader who talks out of both sides of their mouth or whose speech does not match up with their actions. Even when we have to convey bad news, there is a way to say it. Communicate with a servant heart. It benefit everyone listening.

2. The other person
Now, this is where it is hard. We have no way to control how the other person is going to perceive and receive what we say. Often, others will already have their mind made up. When this happens, it puts the speaker (you) in a no-win situation. Whatever the case may be, we must make sure that what we are saying is where we need to be with what we are conveying.

3. Bystanders
Know this; someone is always listening, intentionally or unintentionally. We are breathing social media access 24/7. It does not take what we said long to get “out there.” Regardless what the conversation was about; bystanders will interpret what they want. What we must do is to make sure our actions match our words and intentions. We cannot allow others to take our communication for what it is not (even though many will do just that).

Of the three, we can only control one. We have limited if no control of the other two. So, how should we communicate? We have to try our best to make sure what we say is effective and true. Let’s give people a reason to walk away and say something positive.  Most of all, we must do what is necessary to clear the static.


©2017 J Clay Norton

Follow me on Twitter at TheBookChamber

Subscribe via email to my blog at the top of the page.

Thanksgiving in Three Words

“What if today, we were just grateful for everything?” – Charlie Brown


Have you ever considered what “makes” Thanksgiving work? Not the “works” of turkey and dressing and the other fixings, but the “works” of our thoughts and why we are thankful. I am sure we have many ideas as to why we are thankful, and you can probably start the sentence off with “I am thankful because…”

If you are on twitter, you might follow @goodreads. It is a site for book lovers. Often, it will tweet out, “Describe the book you are currently reading in three words.” I find this interesting because I catch myself asking this with a lot of my general activities. Simple questions like this sometimes provide the most thought.

So, my statement for you today and next week is, “Describe your thoughts on Thanksgiving in three words.”

It would be interesting to know what each of you would say. I am very sure that there would be an overwhelming amount of the same words from person to person. The idea here is not to limit our thinking, but to be intentional about our thinking.

My three words for describing my thoughts on Thanksgiving are:

I once heard someone say, “You can never separate who you are with what you say you believe in.” One reason I admire the Pilgrims is that they were a group that held firm to their beliefs of who they were. May we unapologetically do the same.

Another saying I once heard was, “Your level of generosity is not determined by how much you give, but by how much you hold onto.” How often do we give of ourselves? While giving is not a natural born characteristic, we can learn how to give of ourselves and be generous. It takes time and most of all, effort.

Everyone has something to be thankful for, and only you know what those things are. Allow your gratitude to be intentional. Let it show as a helping example for others but not in a boastful manner.

This Thanksgiving, as you celebrate, take time to consider the statement, “Describe your thoughts on Thanksgiving in three words.” You might even decide to have this as a topic for conversation with friends and family at the table.

But most of all, make sure you take time to give thanks. By doing so, we bow before the Lord in our humility. Thankful that He is willing to save our souls as we look forward to an inheritance of eternal life which He has promised.



©2017 J Clay Norton

Follow me on Twitter at TheBookChamber

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Dysfunctional Leaders

“Egotistical leaders look for and want exposure.  In the end, they will be exposed.” – J. Clay Norton

Dysfunctional leaders; they are everywhere, and their population continues to grow. Please quit moving to their town and taking up residence.


Picture by Due by Monday –

It seems like every aspect of our culture is under attack, so is leadership. I am convinced that as leaders, we must do everything we can to avoid the label of dysfunctional. For that matter, any other label that creates a negative.

So, how do we avoid having the label of dysfunctional? Here are some thoughts…

Avoid being moody.
No one enjoys being around a moody person, much less if they are in a leadership position. We will have bad days, but we choose to have a bad disposition.

Avoid the EGO.
Do not be a self-promoter and stuck on yourself. No, the world does not revolve around you. Quit thinking that it does.

Avoid the “Poor Me” syndrome.
Quit playing the victim. For the most part, everyone is not out to get you.

Avoid being passive-aggressive.
Do not use side stabs and silent insults to get your way.

Avoid being the leader that says, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Talk about inconsistency. Functional leaders say and do.

Leadership is in trouble when these characteristics are noticeable. Leaders like this live in a world of denial.

Have you ever noticed the word “fun” in dysfunctional? Probably not, because there is none. Everyone walks on egg-shells around dysfunctional leaders. They are the ringmaster of their circus. Remember this; every entertainer needs an audience to perform. Let their performance be for themselves. Tippy-toe, drama-making, face-saving dysfunctional style leaders can stay in their own “one-ring” circus.

Good leadership will have its challenges. It is not a matter of if, but when. It is a guarantee, especially when we are doing our jobs. Staying grounded and cultivating a strong leadership culture is a must. Let’s be intentional in taking the “dys” out and be functional leaders and do what is right and be a joy to be around.

Everyone around will appreciate it.

Remember… #thinkleadership

©2017 J Clay Norton

Follow me on Twitter at TheBookChamber

Subscribe via email to my blog at the top of the page.