How Effective Is Your Effectiveness?

Do you ever wonder if your leadership is effective? This is not a question of asking if there is a direct correlation between everything, and everyone working correctly and together. I am asking you to think about the effectiveness of your leadership.


Many times we try to define what effectiveness is, and it remains ambiguous. Does effectiveness equal the successful result or bottom line? Is that where we should immediately look? General society would probably say yes. While both the result and bottom line can give us an answer, does it tell the story of how? The how of the story is the process of your effectiveness, and I believe that is what we must consider in our leadership.

“Effectivelessness” (not sure if that is a word or not, but I like it) leaders fail to be able to define their effectiveness because they have misconceptions of their own making. As long as their status of popularity, power, and the bottom line of results are where they need to be, then the misconception stays true for them.

On the contrast, the effective leader’s effectiveness is seen and felt through the heart they have for others. They do not flaunt, threaten or remind you of their power, for their power is a by-product of their effectiveness. Their understanding of others creates an achievement level (bottom line) rooted in the foundational belief that an effective process equals effective results.

Take a football or basketball play… the result is to score, per se. Everyone has a job to do that contributes to a successful outcome. If the score happens then, the play was effective, and success was achieved. But what about the process and the why of how did it happen? Are the members of the team threatened not to execute properly? Or, do they score because it means something, not so much for them individually but as a group? Yes, both are effective, but over time, one will stay the course, and the other will lose its effectiveness. As a leader do you want to be known for the result only or the process of the results? (This whole idea can be found in Todd Gongwer’s book “Lead For God’s Sake!)

Effective leaders make an intentional attempt to connect to the process of the journey of all, encouraging to the point that motivation becomes intrinsic, and achievement of the goal equals success for the right reasons.  They understand both the goals, the purpose and most of all the process. Leadership should not be a position where a person does nothing more than satisfying their own actions. The effective leader is for others first and is consistent with their leadership. We may and often do fool ourselves, but we cannot fool others who know how effective our effectiveness really is.

Be an effective leader. Everyone around will be better for it, including you.

©2019 J Clay Norton


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Square Peg, Round Hole Leadership

“I can make it fit. No, you can’t, it is not going to work. You know it, and I know it. Fine, I’ll show you. Go ahead then, you will figure it out.” Moments later, “Why will this not fit?”

A square peg in a round hole… the classic idiom.


We have all seen the pre-school hands-on learning tool, and we have seen children trying to figure it out. Never ceasing to be amazed at the comedy that it provides.

Oh, but how many leadership truths can be found in something so trivial?

Now, fast-forward to adults in leadership settings who are trying to do the same thing. Have you ever asked that question of, “How did that person get that leadership position?” The comedy increases, but it is not the same kind of harmless fun. It takes on a whole new level that could have a negative effect on many.

Bottom line, truth to be considered, is the fact that some people have leadership positions because of who they know instead of what they know. Yes, believe it or not, wrong people can be in leadership positions. Why and how, are questions that probably do not want to be answered. It happens, and we see it every day. Our society is running rampant with it in every area imaginable where leadership is involved.

While the outer appearance looks great, square peg, round hole leaders really do not contribute to the growth and development of others. Motivation is done through fear, and the assertion of their leadership only happens when mistakes are made, thus creating rejection.

Square peg, round hole leaders sell a facade of leadership that it can work and the main issue is that many “trick” themselves into thinking that it actually can, knowing all along that the square peg is not fitting in that round hole.

So, what to do? I have more questions than I have answers for this blog post, but I do know that time has a way of revealing everything for what it is worth. The one constant I believe that will always work is to be for others and the greater good and not your own self-interests.

©2019 J Clay Norton


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Born As A Babe… On This Day

If you would like a printed paper copy of this, click here: Born As A Babe… On This Day


Born As A Babe… On This Day

No parade, no pomp and circumstance,
Just a quiet evening…

Then the sky brightened with an angel saying, 
“For unto you is born this day…”

The message – Emmanuel!

Wood, hay, swaddling cloths,
Not very regal for the King.

Mary and Joseph, shepherds, animals,
An unlikely cast to usher in the King.

Mary and Joseph’s hearts – chosen, humbled,
To burden the responsibility to raise the King.

Shepherds bowed on bended knees,
To the King that we all need.

The Babe’s first cry,
Our Savior’s divinity met His humanity.

Time; eternally separated and changed.
Life, hope, love, grace, mercy; all in one scene.

Provided by a Savior, Christ the Lord;
Born as a Babe…. On this day.

Merry Christmas

 ©2018 J Clay Norton


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Is Your Leadership A Gift?

It’s the season of giving…

First, a disclaimer… This is about intentional giving and not about giving out of obligation (I have never been a fan of that anyway).

Have you ever considered the mental taxation and stress that goes on our hearts and minds of buying a present? Often, there are serious calculations that take place, causing the Advil bottle to empty quickly. The heavy sighs of not knowing what to give, the internet searches, the pages of the catalogs turning, asking others what they think, looking for the one present that says as much about you as it does the person you are buying for.

When we buy a present for someone, it is nothing more than a transaction.  Hardly any feelings take place between the seller and the buyer.  There is probably a friendly, polite conversation but no emotional feelings are exchanged. Why? Because when we make a purchase, a relationship is not established. Just another heavy sigh takes place, but this time one of relief, knowing that you have completed the task.


Once you give that present to someone, it becomes a gift — everything changes; you take on a different mindset — the anticipation in hoping that everything you went through to make that “transaction” was worth it. Relationships are established when we give the present. The present becomes a gift because when we give it, we are expressing to that person you value them and you want them to be a part of your family or a part of your inner circle.

For some of the gifts we give, a lot of thought process goes into it.  We really try hard to find that perfect gift for others.  Why is this? Intentionality! I believe when we give gifts, it says something about what is inside of us and the relationship that we have with the recipients.  As I think about it a little more now, everything we give shows what is inside of us.  Our time, money, thoughts, etc.; even our leadership.

What then can be said of our leadership as we give it to others?  Is it intentional or out of obligation? Is your leadership nothing more than a present of a transaction? Does it matter what we give in regards to leadership?  I believe so.  Let’s make sure that it does. Turn your leadership into a gift for others. Let it transform not only you but them also.

©2018 J Clay Norton


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