Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Real Marriage"

If it weren't for our faith, Kem and I both agree we probably would have been divorced several years ago. We are both so stinkin' independent and driven... if we're not careful, we can drift into two different tracks in a matter of weeks.

We were out with some great friends (including this guy) last night and had some "real" conversation about our marriages.

Here are some of the lessons I've learned from our 13+ years:
  • Kem is for me. She wants me to have success in my career and ministry, be a great father, and to do life with her. In the early years in our marriage, I didn't get this... especially when we would fight. Be "for" your spouse.
  • Marriage is hard work. Really hard. It would be so much easier to be able to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, and accomplish whatever I want to go after. However, like most things.... easier is not better.
  • I didn't realize how low a low could be in a marriage. When we're in a bad place, life stinks. If we were to try to navigate out of all these times on our own, we probably would not have made it. Let friends in your life and be real with them. Get counseling. Press-in, be truthful and real. Don't go at it alone.
  • There are several things that are important to Kem that I don't get... I've found that "logically" explaining to her why those things shouldn't be important is bad. Sometimes really bad. Find out what she cares about and do that. :)
  • People are watching. Our kids are watching. The accountability that comes with leadership makes it all the more important that we work through our challenges. It makes me wonder, how many couples have pulled the plug because they simply thought it really didn't matter to anyone outside themselves?
  • I love how we talk about ministry, business, strategy, innovation, communications, and what we're learning together. For me, it's one of the top 5 glues in our marriage. We share and do life together overlapping and intertwining passion and purpose in what we do day to day, week to week. It's one thing to be in a bowling league's entirely different when you're on mission together.
  • I thought Kem was marrying me for my body. She wasn't.
  • I get great fulfillment working to help Kem in her strengths and watching her grow and thrive. Her mission has become part of mine. Are you all about your talents or are you encouraging and supporting your spouse in what they were created to do?

Kem's feisty, smart, fun, and a babe. I can't wait to see how our relationship continues to grow in good times and bad. She makes me a better man.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This Week's Cool Jobs

Ok... I stole this title from my friend, but we really do have some cool jobs as we continue to grow:

Here are the next three on deck:

  • IT Division Manager/Coordinator

- Oversee a team of 12-15 IT guru's, coordinate schedules, project management, proposals, help desk, and preventative maintenance planning... Raise our bar for creating customer fans.

  • ERP Consultant

- Work with Microsoft Dynamics product lines (Great Plains, CRM) to implement, train, and lead projects. Accounting background, experience in software integrations, and client contact are all pluses....

  • Accountant

- What accountants do.

Know of any good candidates out there?

Current employee count: 54

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dealing with Technology Consultants

Here's what a few of our challenges can be with our clients:
  • No point person or driver.
  • Timelines are set for the project(s) but the client is too busy in their day to day operations.
  • There are users excited about the project but the owner/management is disengaged- key decisions stall out and project could be in peril.
  • Hardware and software can be buggy. Some clients think it's just plug it, install it, use it.
  • To save money, some want us to "train the trainer"- the only problem is, no one has told the trainer that or the trainer is not really a trainer.
  • Too many people at an organization have the ability to order our services with no internal controls. 60 days later the CFO is opening up a can...

The flip side when dealing with a tech firm:

  • Appoint or create a project leader/team and give them your full support (leaders)
  • Clear hurdles where you can so they have the time necessary to properly implement
  • Stay engaged with your point person- hold them to their timeline internally
  • Hire a reputable firm and check references if you don't have tech's in house to be on team
  • Be committed to training. Don't accept getting 90% there but not be fully trained. Be upfront and talk about this with your consultant.
  • Create internal processes for approving consultant time. Don't allow people to grab the IT tech to unclog the printer. Have a specified hit list and stick to the critical items first.
  • Explore fixed bids with good, clear scopes of work. While the perception is that you may get a "padded" bid, the reality is many times a good firm is eating overages. It also gives you some opportunity to budget rather than deal with an open checkbook.
  • Ask for quotes prior to work being done.
  • On development projects, have a fixed monthly amount for regular progress to be made on your project/systems. Work from critical items then down the punch list.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Leading Laggards

In an organization with 100 people:
  • 20 people are doers.
  • With a leader.
  • 80 are hanging around watching, experimenting, consuming, or complaining.
  • When the 20 expand to 40, chances are there's 200 now in the organization (or will be).
  • The 20 tend to get frustrated with the 80 for not doing anything and at times will tell them. (They should avoid that.)
  • The 80 will ride the coattails of the 20 and feel like they did it and even take credit for it.
  • This sometimes frustrates the 20. They should not be frustrated. They should just do.
  • Great leaders pour vision into the 20 while casting the net out to the 100.
  • Frustrated leaders spend a lot of time trying to get the 80 be part of the 20.
  • Of the 80, some will become doers as the organization grows.
  • The doers that simply do will some day realize there are people following them.
  • Some of the 80 will become part of the 20 with a simple personal invite.
  • A leader will be turned down 4 times for every yes. This does not bother great leaders. It frustrates others.
  • Frustrated leaders have the opportunity to be great leaders.

I want to be a great leader.