Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Why Knot?"

Knots restrict, discourage, block, confuse, entangle, stall, frustrate, slow, and disable.

Knots exist in our organizations, marriages, theology, and more.... only to prevent us from fulfilling our purpose, design, and experiencing opportunities in life....

What does it look like?

  • Withholding key information from a team member (lack of communication). KNOT.
  • Fear. KNOT
  • Analysis Paralysis, studying all the variables but never get to the "doing". KNOT.
  • Being full of all the reasons "why not". KNOT.
  • Nitpicking theology only to discourage people trying to do something good. KNOT.
  • If you find yourself blowing holes in people's opinions or methods you might be a... KNOT.
  • Waiting for all the stars to be aligned... KNOT.
  • Ignoring inefficiencies. KNOT.
  • Really smart people full of theories but no action. KNOT
  • Employees that are better than nothing. KNOT.
  • Disregard for policies and procedures. KNOT.
  • Overkill policies and procedures. KNOT.
  • Not telling your spouse what really frustrates you. KNOT.
  • Complaining about all the knots. KNOT.

You want to be a "differentiator" as an employee, volunteer, spouse, or friend? Be great at identifying and un-doing the KNOTS that exist everywhere.... and DO.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Missed your Exit?"

Normally you don't know when this sign will come up in our life.

Years may seem to go by and we wonder when it's going to come along.

We live with regret for the times we've ignored it.

Wisdom tells us we can't take every one.

For many, they fear it and make up excuses to easily dismiss it.

Sometimes it seems absurb on the surface but really would stretch us.

The more we say "no" to it, the easier it is to miss it.
Normal is rationalizing a reason why we shouldn't act on a new opportunity at hand and to live with regrets later in life. If you've got nothing better going on in life and you're simply growing old... Don't miss your next exit.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"There is no God"

There is no God.

I can do whatever I want, take what I want, whenever I want.. it's all about here.

Crud, there are other people that can do what they want also.

Now I have to be creative, manipulate, and lure to get what I want.

The winners of this game are those who can entertain, attract, out-earn and outsmart.

It's survival of the fittest. And once you're on top, you'll do whatever is needed to stay there.

Those who lose try to pacify their life by paying the winners to entertain them.

The losers go through this short life with temporary bursts of experiences and vices to get by.

The losers are "duped" into thinking they could get on top, that hope keeps them in the game.

All the players hold on desperately to this life, and death is tragic.

That is, if life is all about here and this world.

Then enters God.

Suddenly the prospect that life is not about here but for some life with God changes everything.

Athiests rise up to challenge the existence of God.

The winners mock the idea of God.

All resist any suggestion that they may be wrong. They have "the right" to do as they please!

Kill, destroy, mock, belittle any talk of God... whatever it takes to keep our game intact.

It's all OK if your God idea is in your own personal box, but keep it out of our game.

The Choice. God Says:

The last will be first and the first will be last.

That life on earth is short and you won't take your treasures with you.

That death is not something to be feared... we are eternal beings.

The game you play on Earth will leave you empty.

In fact, I've dumped that game on it's head. It's rigged, can't you tell?

I'll take care of the bad guys, don't worry about it.

I have a plan to give you purpose and meaning for every day you're there on Earth.

I know you better than you know you. I'd like to help.

It's a question worth pursing. We're living in our choice right now. A life as if there's no God or there is a God. It changes everything.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

To My Alcoholic Friend

Dear Friend:

I am tired of seeing people trying to help you only to hear you say "No one cares".

I feel like I'm attached to the back of a runaway train, I need to let go.

I can't continue to work harder than you.

You lie to me, your family, your friends, and then wonder why no one respects you.

The drama you bring makes it "all about you".... it's a selfish choice.

We find a bottle in your vehicle and you act like someone else put it there.

I see the destruction you're leaving around you, the hearts you're breaking, yet you're oblivious.

You say that life would be better for everyone if you weren't around... are you kidding me?

On my own strength, I have no other ideas, energy, or words that can make you change.

I can't help you.

But I do know this.

Your best years can be ahead of you.

You can turn your feet the other direction and take steps to life, purpose, and respect.

You are loved. By me, your family, and your friends.

When your turn and take steps, people will be by your side. I will be by your side.

You can leave a legacy that will count, your life can influence scores of people around you.

Your past can be forgiven.

You matter to God.

He can help you.

I leave you in His hands... I'm praying for you...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Who you'll be in five years depends on:
  • what friends you surround yourself with

  • what you read

  • what you eat

  • what you watch

  • what you hear

  • what you change
  • what you let go

  • what you plan for

  • what new thing you try

  • what new places you go

  • what you believe about God

  • what you believe about yourself

  • what you believe about others

  • what you invest your time in

  • what you volunteer for

  • what skill you're learning

  • what courage you have to make mistakes

  • what mistakes you'll make

  • what you'll learn from your mistakes

So WHAT are you doing today?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"8,460,000 Of You Need This"

I recently read "Less Clutter Less Noise" (to many people's amazement). While it is written as a Communications/Marketing strategy, tips, and best practices using the "church" as a case study... I read it as an Operations Manager for a technology company.

Here are my top 10 favorites for the business world as I observe at our company and the hundreds of clients we consult with:

  • Our people (employees) are going to have several touch points with our clients, if they don't "get" what we're about, trying to do, or what we're trying to communicate.... our marketing/communications strategy is already in trouble
  • Our communications strategy and a firm understanding of who we are (and aren't) should come well before we create our first marketing piece or develop our website... (We thought we knew our's until we encountered the principles and questions in this book...)
  • We try to tell our entire story, everywhere, all the time. We need to focus on telling one or two key messages at a time and leave them wanting more.

So in light of that message, I'll stop there.... not 10.... just 3 bullets.

This book is not for everyone. Just 8,460,000 of you.

The target? If you're a decision-maker/influencer in ANY of the organizations you belong to and actually want your message heard... say the top 10% of the workforce.... this applies to 18 million of you.

Even hotter target? (18 million of you) x (47% regular church attendees) = 8,460,000 of you. Go get it here.

Now I'm off to learn how our clients REALLY experience us..... :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

"My Christian T-Shirt at Work"

For those who happen to read this blog and are not "Christians", people of faith, religious, or whatever else you want to tag it with... thanks for stopping by and keep seeking Truth and asking the big questions in life...

For those who consider themselves "Christ Followers", what does it mean to live out our faith at work? Views on this range all over the map but I'll share my filters (and to be upfront, I fail at these often but keep working to fail forward):

What it is:

  • Strive to be the hardest working person in my organization to give my employer an honest day's work
  • Be "for" my co-workers- helping them in their roles when asked, serving, building-up, encouraging them, and celebrate their promotions
  • Promote team, collaboration, unity, and bring positivity to the group
  • Show up on time, be a good communicator, and not be the one to leave at 4:59
  • Admit my mistakes and be honest with what I know and don't know
  • Focus on building real "relationships" with some of the people I work with to really get to know them, their families, their dreams
  • My actions should cause people to be drawn to me, be favorable, and trustworthy
  • I should be unique and model the gifts of the Spirit. If I'm not different, who cares?
  • Help those who are hurting
  • I can be candid and strong about roles, responsibilities, and vision
  • Bring peace in times of turmoil and uncertainty (Is this not true now more than ever?)
  • Ask, "What is the next right thing" inside (employees) and outside (clients) of my organization when facing decisions and areas where right and wrong may seem gray- be an example of integrity within my company
  • I fear no one or no thing. I can have a backbone and not worry what others think about me when it comes down to doing the right thing for people. I do need to be effective in how to communicate this however.
  • Choose love over lecture

What it isn't:

  • Being pulled into the negativity and gossip that exists in all organizations
  • Telling everyone around me what their problem is, what they need to fix about themselves, and that they're going to Hell
  • Pushing them to go to church when I don't know anything about them and have no relationship with them
  • Looking for manufacturing opportunities to share my faith... (speaking of Microsoft Word, have you met the real Word?)
  • Cheating clients and justifying it
  • Competing unfairly with co-workers, "shading the truth" when asked about their performance for my own personal gain
  • Weak, spineless, "I'm just going to take my ball and go home" mentality
  • Going around people and not following proper protocol. If you have a problem, tell the right person.
  • Being a virus in an organization, out-of-line with the company vision, and be a gossip (all in the name of doing the right thing)
  • Trying to convert people
  • Seeking martyrdom. Sidenote: I don't understand why people seek out persecution for their Faith (wearing Jesus pins, t-shirts, I love Jesus screensavers, etc) in clearly hostile work environments. Yes it's bold. But effective? I think not. There's a time a place isn't there?

People at my work generally know that I go to church and most know where, I don't hide it but I don't broadcast it either. If asked or if it comes up in conversation, I'm fine with sharing it. When in doubt, I default to "do" and "be". Do the right thing consistently and be a person that people want to know what's different about me.

If people find me approachable and want to ask me more, then maybe I'm being who I've been called to be. For me, this is the challenge and measure of success of living my Faith in the workplace. And if it never happens? Am I a failure for living with integrity, working hard, and trying to do the next right thing for all the people around me? I think not.

People are ALWAYS watching us, what are they seeing?

Oh...and if you love the T-shirt pictured, you can find it here...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Focus: A Great Differentiator

To see Mt. Rushmore in a magazine is one thing, to go there and see it in person is amazing, but to focus in with binoculars (as my son Easton is doing here) gives one a whole new appreciation of the detail that went into sculpting this monument. It took Gutzon & his son Lincoln Borglum 14 years and 400 workers to complete this work of art.

In our workplaces, ministries, and even small day to day encounters, the ability and power of focus can be a maximizing, life-changing differentiator.

Most of us fall into rock-skipping. We're busy, trying to consume only what we absolutely have to, and are sprinting an inch deep and a mile wide at work and in life. We've all heard "focus", but what can that really look like?

  • At work.... The nature of my job is to be an inch deep and a mile wide as Operations Manager...however, our initiatives won't get done without focus. Bill Hybels talked about having a "6 initiatives in 6 weeks" approach to your critical items. I find this very helpful to be able to say "no" to important things but will simply have to wait. Here are my current "6" that are my focus to April 15th at Pinnacle as an example:
    Web strategy with blog- initial steps to build a contributing writer team for future blog
    Video research for online snippets for training and solutions for clients
    Bootcamp- 2 week training curriculum developed for new sales executives/employees
    Chief Technology Officer strategy as more companies are looking to outsource IT
    Marketing plan rolling with client experience focus
    Existing Customer process defined
  • Freakanomics is a good read about focus. It shows how much common knowledge we all believe to be true is actually false when someone takes the time to dig into the data/details. (Like, is it more dangerous to have a gun in your home or have a swimming pool?) Real information is power, it takes focus to find real information.... Focus= Power
  • Every day interactions. When we take time to stop and focus on a person (maybe at the grocery store or with a neighbor), we can make a real impact rather than having a relationship of news/sports/weather. Rob Wegner delivered a great message on this available here for $4 His statement: Small intervention + Focus= BIG IMPACT Small intervention + No Focus= Little or no impact.
  • I get overwhelmed with the amount of information available to me. I can't read all the blogs, books, or attend enough conferences to keep up. I find myself "wishing" I knew more about scores of subjects. I'm learning..."it's OK not to know it all, take a deep breath, pick my target, and focus on something to be an expert in..." Having great people around you with their expertise' will fill in your gaps of information.
  • Ever been to a Cirque du Soleil show? You'll see what crazy, amazing ability can come from focusing on one talent. To see how fast and how many bowling pins two people can fire off at each other without dropping a single pin was staggering. I admire their focus to a single craft.

The people around me that are changing the world are focused on specialties. They are not spread thin, Jeopardy wanna-be-winner, know-it-alls. They are satisfied with being great at tackling a single problem/challenge, in a single area, for a single company/organization at time. They know what they can and cannot do. The employees I see that make a real impact have the ability to focus and be a real expert in their field...they do not skim the surface. Great Mom's and Dad's are taking time to focus with their kids in small interventions.

Are you focused or are you just trying to keep up?