Lesson #4 – Context Changes Content

–Leaders set the context for their organization

Write the following word down and brand it on your mind: CONTEXT

I am going to suggest that context can make or break you and your organization (by which I mean any group of people working, playing, or living together).

Have you ever heard someone say, “You took that out of context?” Context is the surrounding or environment you’re in. When you take something out of context, you have changed the environment and that changes the content.

If I have a glass jar with jellybeans in it, the glass jar is the context and the jellybeans are the content. If I change the context from a glass jar to a smelly old trash can, then I have changed the content from candy to garbage.

One of the jobs of leaders is to set the context for their organization (and themselves). What context are you setting for your organization, group, team, and partnerships?

Is your context one of risk taking, behaving as the victim in certain circumstances, acceptance, excitement, or honesty? What context are you setting in your family life? You set context not by telling people about it, but by BEING.

You are the context for your organization; they are the content. You often change results not by trying to change the result, but by changing the context. If you want your business or family results to be different, then maybe you need to change the context of your organization by changing how you are being.

How will being bold, vulnerable, compassionate, honest, or accountable affect your organization or family, thereby producing the results you want? Look and see.

Context changes content. It is the leaders’ job to set the context for their organization.

Action Step #1

Each day this week, choose a value, quality, or aspect of character and focus on making that your context for the day. Keep a journal and write down each day’s context and report what happened. End your journal each day by answering the question: “What’s the best thing that happened to me today?”

An Example

Start the first day with a quality that is one of your strengths, such as organization, giving, creativity, patience, or enthusiasm. Toward the end of your week, pick a value you are not so strong with and try it on for size as your context. For example: If you are a pretty serious person, have the context for the day be playfulness or fun.

Action Step #2

Create a context of More and Better.

An Example

On your next trip, rent a hotel room one level more expensive than you normally would and rent a car one level more expensive. If you’re not traveling this week, have lunch at a “higher class” restaurant, purchase a more costly item than you normally would, or give a more expensive gift to someone. Set a context that you are worth a lot.

One of my very good friends is Bob Harrison, a Christian minister who speaks to large audiences around the world. He supports people in increasing the quality of their life in every way, relationships, financially, spiritually, and physically. He holds a seminar for leaders once a year. To set the context of increase, it is always in Hawaii at a luxury hotel.

“It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”
–St. Francis of Assisi

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