I just finished reading Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud. I have found this book to be one of the best books I have read this year. I mean it has been MONEY for me and for my journey as a spiritual leader. The are several reasons why this book was MONEY for me:
1. It exposed leadership deficits in my own leadership skills. For example, when it comes to postponing or putting off a necessary ending, it reveals more about you as a leader than it does anyone else. In other words, “Something about the leader’s personal makeup gets in their way of bringing something to an end.” This has been so true in my life. I have put off making crucial decisions because I was worried about what others would think or how others would react to my decision. This book definitely exposed some of my blind spots as a leader.
2. This book provided me with some great insights in leading others. Here are three of those leadership insights which I gleamed from my reading:
a. Pruning is a beautiful way to perceive necessary endings. Pruning is a process of proactive endings. A leader’s perspective on necessary endings or pruning will drastically impact the leader’s anxiety or lack of anxiety when making the call on whether to end something or not. Pruning is necessary for one of three reasons according to Cloud: Healthy buds or branches that are not the best ones; Sick branches that are not going to get well, and dead branches that are taking up space needed for the healthy ones to thrive.
b. Chapter 7 on “The Wise, the Foolish, and the Evil: Identifying Which Kinds of People Deserve Your Trust” is worth the purchase of this book. This chapter is going to be worked into one of my upcoming sermons. The thrust of the chapter is about who is coachable and who can accept feedback and who cannot accept feedback with characteristics of each group. For example, the “Fool” is never open to feedback. The “Fool” expects the world to adjust to them not them to the world. The “Fool” does not imply that someone is not smart or talented rather it means they have no self-awareness.
c. Chapter 8 dealing with the issue on Creating Urgency was huge for me. It helped me to create a sense of urgency with the church I am currently leading in relation to us remodeling our new office space and looking for an additional staff member. This chapter helped me to see that I had been resisting change as a leader.
3. Finally this book provided me with tremendous insights on how to evaluate a situation or a person to know whether to bring about a necessary ending or to continue to believe in and/or invest in the person or the situation. This part of the book really provided me with some concrete steps to take when seeking to make a decision about an ending. For example, you have to ask the question who am I depending on to get the job done? Is there hope this person in charge is going to change? Are they able to meet the demands of the reality that you are entrusting to them? If not, then there needs to be a necessary ending. Here is the bottom line, if you invest hope in their changing but they don’t, you can waste more time, even years, and not get anything in return for your misplaced trust, other than more misery and more failure.
What book has impacted you the most this year?