Let me introduce you to my friend, Julie. Julie Pierce has one crazy dream: to empower leaders to change the world. She does this through coaching, consulting teams, and speaking around the country. Author of Play, Team, Play!, she lives in the Dallas area with her family. Julie is a dear friend and Writers Boot Camp graduate.

This One Thing Will Destroy Your Team

by Julie Pierce

I reported to a stranger.

Every Monday morning, my boss and I met to dissect my team’s latest marketing plan. His cut-to-the-chase tone and mannerisms made it clear to me he didn’t care to know me as a person, only the details of our projects. These meetings left me feeling like a commodity rather than a contributor, a producer rather than a person.

A few hours later, I’d walk into a meeting with those who reported to me. The transition was like an unexpected ice bucket challenge: a shock to the system.

I knew my team. I sympathized with the financial pressure Frank felt as he pursued a master’s degree. I appreciated Nicki’s ability to silence a crowd with her chimpanzee call. And I understood Cara’s nervousness about pregnancy and Charlie’s nerves about proposing.

In turn, my team knew me. They recognized the “tell” of my tiredness—that’s when my Texas twang drawled every word out for days. They could read the stress on my face and the sparkle in my eyes.

The stark contrast between these two meetings highlighted a deeper truth:

Working for a stranger isolates and demotivates.

Working with a connected team includes and energizes.

Frank, Nicki, Cara, Charlie and I had moved from having a cursory knowledge of cubemates to becoming a knowing community of teammates. Because we knew each other beyond our titles and alma maters, we were motivated to help each other succeed. We wanted to see each other’s strengths shine.

Leader friend, are you leading a group of strangers or an energized, connected team? If you want to lead a dynamic, effective team, try these 3 steps for eliminating the strangers and cultivating team community: Continue Reading...

What NOT to Do When Your Friend Experiences the Loss of a Baby

Becka Burke, my friend and graduated Writers Boot Camp cadet, experienced one of life’s most tragic losses. Within moments of giving birth, her precious baby, Andy, died. She’s been courageously fighting back with joy, but sometimes the grief is just too much.

I asked her to share what have been among the most hurtful and helpful responses from her friends. Burke (who is on instagram and twitter) shares: Continue Reading...

Invisible by Jennifer Rothschild

When my friend, Jennifer Rothschild, told me about her new book I couldn’t way to get my hands on Invisible: How You Feel Is Not Who You Are.

A gifted writer and Bible teacher, Jennifer doesn’t shy away from hard issues or the struggles of life. Her newest book is no exception. Jennifer explores the story of Gomer, a person chosen and loved but prone to wander—a person like you or me.

Yet Jennifer gently reminds us: Continue Reading...

For the last few weeks, a single phrase rings through my core:

Don’t Miss Your Moment

I sensed it when I held my precious five-week-old twin nephews last week.

Continue Reading...

If You’re Serious About Writing, You Can’t Afford Not to Read This

My friend, Jonathan Merritt, is a guru in the publishing world. He’s an award-winning faith and culture writer who serves as senior columnist for Religion News Service. He has published more than 2,000 articles in outlets such as USA Today, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Christianity Today, and CNN.comBlamo!

If that’s not enough, Jonathan has also published three books, including his most recent, Jesus is Better Than You Imagined, which Publishers Weekly described as full of “winsome writing and absorbing tales.” He has also worked as a collaborator, writing coach, and ghostwriter on dozens of other titles.

I asked Jonathan what makes the difference between people who dream about writing and those who become writers. 

You can’t afford not to read his answer:  Continue Reading...