Sunday, June 29, 2008

"50 to 100"

Since the inception of the technology firm I'm part of, we've experienced an amazing 35% growth year over year. As the company continues to expand, maintaining that type of growth clip is going to be an increasing challenge with several dynamics at play. While the future is always an unknown, I hope to be able to capture the progress of our growth at our current number of 50 employees (actually 54 as we just brought on four more developers over the past few weeks) to 100 employees. It would be great to hear your stories and comments of similar challenges you face in your companies and organizations as we press in together....

Some key challenges as I see them today:
  • As the project manager (and also involved in some operations), my drive has been to raise the bar in our customer experience and processes within our projects and company. Our ability to continue to improve in this area while growing with new people will be an interesting dynamic.
  • Currently we have three Sr. Managers each overseeing one of our 3 groups (ERP, Developement, and IT). They are extremely gifted technology gurus who will have to learn to grow into more management function or reshape the structure of their teams. (Either shift from be a do-er to a leader or find some alternatives). This goes for me too, I need to be preparing for what 100 team members looks like...
  • Our internal processes for leveraging information (task coordination, emails, budgets, scope, proposals, etc...) need to make critical improvements. Implementing and syncing the functionality of SharePoint, MS CRM 4.0, and Outlook with other tools will be essential. Gaps in communication will only grow without continual tightening of our systems...
  • Outside leaders are going to have to be able to succeed and assimilate into our group. We'll be able to pull some up from within our team, however, most are talented "do-ers" that should stay exactly where they're at...already adding huge value...
  • Management is going to have to look at the number of direct reports they currently have- typically 6-8 is the max- currently we're exceeding this in all three groups...
  • Without acquisition, finding top calibur talent to come to South Bend/Elkhart, Indiana will continue to be a hurdle. We may need to stretch our boundaries and be creative with work locations, mobility, and communications to bring on new team members...
  • We will need to have a plan to help each individual grow in their expertise', feel connected to the team, know how what they do makes a difference, and that they matter and are cared for...
  • Our service needs to be at a level that's remarkable... something worth talking about as Seth Godin would say....

I love this team. I look forward to this run. While I'll be limited in some of what I can share, I hope to be able to report the core of the experience along the way... stay tuned....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Leave the Penny On the Ground"

Today I picked up a penny that was on the ground. It made me wonder, is it really even worth it? It takes a moment to notice the penny...then, I have to process the thought of whether I should pick up the coin... I wonder, "do I look like a dork picking up a penny? " Finally, I think, who's filming me picking this thing up later to be shown on You Tube as the dude who will actually pick up a penny?... It's a Ben Stiller moment to slyly act like you're tying your shoe when you're actually picking the penny off the ground. If it takes me 6 seconds to finally pick the penny up, I'm paying myself a whopping $6 per hour to pick up the Lincoln-laden coin...

At $6 an hour....maybe it's simply best to leave the penny on the ground...

What's your time worth? What penny-picking up activities are in your workday or your ministry?
  • Over a 4-day period I averaged 29 emails "sent"... at 5 minutes an email, it's 2 hours and 25 minutes out of an 8 hour workday....
  • If I'm not saving, creating, or preserving revenue in our business, am I picking up pennies?

  • If I'm not doing only what I can do, I'm probably collecting pennies.

  • When's the last time you measured some of your regular activities to understand the cost is it to your organization or team?

  • What job, hobby, or habit are you stuck in that is paying you pennies?

What you do needs to makes cents. The next time I see a penny on the ground, I hope I can delegate it to one of my kids or I have the focus to leave it on the ground.

Monday, June 23, 2008

There's More to this "One Prayer" Thing

I am loving this four week push of One Prayer uniting with 1544 other churches and 864,524 total attendance. This past week we were challenged to learn "wisdom from the ages" with Wayne Cordeiro (pay no attention to the palm trees, crashing waves, and scenic volcanoes in the background- thanks Wayne for helping me love Indiana...)

The leverage of technology continues to amaze me to the possibilities....
  • A great leader could launch a church supplemented or fully driven by messages from the greatest, God-fearing communicators all over the world... Leverage of Teaching
  • As more synergy is generated within the church, portals or venues will continue to grow to have a warehouse of phenominal teaching resourcing ministry- Who's leading this charge? How will this come together? Leverage of Resources
  • Multi-site or internet churches will continue to boom- No longer will a pastor need to be a jack-of-all trades- More will be able to focus on their strengths of shepherding, managing, or worship- Leaders with management and a strong vision for their community will be a growing asset and need in fueling growth-
  • A decentralized, unified brand of church will launch, "One Church"
  • Helping connect the message with arts, next steps, and a strong vision for changing our local communities will be the challenge in threading these video messages to local relevance-
  • While many will criticize this methodology... is not God speaking through these great leaders in our generation? Are they not seeking His will and guidance in how they prepare for these messages? I think God happens to know where and how these messages will be used- He's big enough to have that covered.
  • Many will say that this could be the glorification of man, culture, or other things "of this world". Others will say this may add to the entertainment, consumerism of the church- that this lacks depth or authenticity. I couldn't disagree more.

Thanks Craig for saying yes to God with this incredible vision of One Prayer....

Monday, June 9, 2008

Decentralizing Church

Today's technology-driven, viral world has made it easier and easier for businesses, people, and ideologies to become more decentralized in our generation.

Decentralized: No leader. Chaotic. No order. Creative. Not about profit. Quick. Easily mutates. Mobile. Think Napster, al Qaeda, AA...

Individuals are now able to work from their phones, play games on the road, have nearly constant internet access, and can stay in contact minute by minute with friends all over the globe. Life is mobile. As backwards as it seems, relationships can actually grow with technology with no face to face contact. The pendulum is swinging towards decentralization. What about the church?
  • As people become more decentralized, they will trend toward decentralized options over centralized options. (Church online or podcasts vs. the 10:00 service on Sunday morning)
  • We have options to experience some of the greatest speakers in the world every week at any time and any place. (There will need to be some strong reasons other than the pastor to keep me at your church)
  • This trend will distract many people to fall away from their faith, lose focus, and without the weekly structure in their life, ultimately will be distracted in life and simply be growing old. This is true.
  • This trend will cause ongoing growth throughout the week with multiple options for study, teaching, and connecting with mission all over the world. Faith in action will explode and more people will come to know Christ. This also is true.
  • Churches that are losing people will either deny this trend, blame culture, blame their local economy or census report, blame other churches or will press into understanding our changing world to find ways to re-connect with the people in their community.
  • God can handle centralized or decentralized. He is God. He's good. This has not surprised Him. He can handle our various methodologies, styles, trends and personalities.
  • No change in today's church model will lead to continued decline in church attendance in the upcoming decade. (Just because people aren't within the four walls doesn't mean that God isn't at work- He's always way ahead of any curve, on the curve, and helping those behind the curve)

What does that look like for your church and community? What questions are you asking? This is one takaway from The Starfish and the Spider.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Four Pillars of Project Management

My core role in my day to day job is project management- over the years from the construction industry and now in technology, I filter and measure our performance based on four pillars/criteria:


  • Is the budget on track?
  • Are we experiencing any changes in the scope of work that need to be added to the budget?
  • Is the client comfortable with our progress and billing?


  • Are we going to be on time with our original targets?
  • What critical items could affect the timeline, are these clearly established with the team?
  • Is the client comfortable with our current timeline and plan?

Quality/Scope of Work:

  • Are we addressing our clients "pain points" with quality direction and solutions?
  • Have we eliminated any "grey area" out of the project scope- are there any items that need to be addressed?
  • Have we identified any items that are potential problems? Is there anything that needs to be presented to the client for positive alternatives?

Create a Fan/Communication (most critical):

  • Is this client/will this client be a fan of ours when this project is complete?
  • Will they talk about us, recommend us to others?
  • Are we "wowing" them? Are we communicating the "wins" and the elimination of the "pain points" throughout the project?
  • Are we communicating well throughout the project and building into our long-term relationship?

There are several other bullets that could be added under each of these four items- these are simply a start. Taking the time to run these through my head with any given project and with our team has served me well over the years.... what about you?