Sunday, July 25, 2010

Maximeyer Has Moved!

Hello friends! The Maximeyer blog has now moved to and shifted from Blogger to WordPress.

Special thanks to Matt Metzger for moving all my previous blog posts and setting up the initial framework. I'm sure he'd take on a few more projects if you have a need.

None of this would exist if it weren't for my Maximizing wife (Kem) to surprise me with handling this entire project. :)

I'm looking forward to more conversations with y'all as we look to "maximize" our relationships, organizations, and purposes. Thank you for all your support these past few years!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Employee Junk Drawer

Everyone on your team can be and should be strategic to your organizational objectives. Period.

After meeting with a few of our key people and members of our Client Experience Team (they're much more important than simply calling them "admin"), I'm finding schedules and activities full of good, well meaning stuff but missing the mark strategically in their roles.

5 quick things:
  • Much of the stuff on your to be delegated to someone else list should simply go away. Don't push your garbage to someone else on your team.

  • Make sure everyone on your team understands the answers to these 3 questions:

1. What is our organization trying to accomplish?

2. What are the top 3 components of my role that best moves our organization to its goals?

3. What's on my plate now that doesn't have any effect on these top 3 components?

  • Most people on your team will need help in knowing what to stop doing and pruning their activities. Schedule a meeting with your team members to review their top 10 tasks and bring out the hatchet.

  • Sometimes the boss or owner is the biggest problem. People tend to "drop everything" when the owner speaks, your managers/owners may need some coaching on how they communicate their needs. (Yep, tread carefully...)

  • Good employees are artists at keeping (or looking) busy. Pull the plug, chop the list, and refocus the bullseye.

The Employee Junk Drawer: Busy activities that seem to be important, often delegated by others, but simply cause drag to your organization.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One Great Employee

It's been said that one great employee is more valuable than three good employees. Agree?

We've got some great employees on our team, here are some of the lessons I observe from them:

  • Seek accountability rather than run from accountability. Good employees have good reasons why things don't get done.
  • Embrace Change. With good employees, you find yourself having invest more time to sell the change.
  • Understand the goals of the organization and align their activities to them. Good employees get a lot of stuff done, but regularly the wrong stuff.
  • Great communicators and fill in cracks within their teams. Good employees know their jobs pretty well but miss opportunities to keep others in the loop.
  • Have integrity and build others. Good employees have integrity and build themselves.

You probably know who these people are at your organization. Your stress level goes down when the walk in the room, they're a breath of fresh air, and you find yourself thinking he/she has it covered... Got great?

Sidenote: The "metrics" on this works as well... Think profitability over a fixed cost, not revenue.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fast Forward Change

You can't fast forward change in your organization. Well, you can but not without consequences. In the season of change we've been in lately, here are 5 lessons I've learned in the past few months:

  • The vision of where you want to be may be too much for your team to absorb in one setting, sometimes you need to think "bite sized" chunks when navigating change with your team
  • If key stakeholders are left without all the information, they can quickly feel like an outsider and shift into survival mode while filling in the blanks you're leaving
  • Have a clear message of the "win" in the change, be prepared to handle the "why" questions
  • Choose to collaborate vs. dictate on the options of change, usually there are a few different paths you can take
  • When roles and processes are fuzzy before the change, they'll be a flat-out blur afterwards... create plenty of space for conversations and clarifications before, during, and after the change

Chances are, for every hour you save trying to fast forward through change, you'll spend 2 hours on the backside picking up the pieces. So hurry up and wait for the process to works its way through...

Monday, April 26, 2010

"What If"

What If:
  • We could set aside our need to be "right"?

  • We didn't need to "win" the debate?

  • We focused on being peacemakers and extended a hand to those we don't understand?
  • We found commonality with those "different" from us and collaborated on projects to bring real change to our communities and world?

  • We responded to people not about where we think they are wrong but focused on where we could agree?
  • We truly loved people?

What Could Change?

  • Could Athiests and Believers agree that people need clean water and work together to bring solutions to millions in need across the globe?
  • Could the tradition church find commonality with non-traditionalists and work together to bring Hope to their local communities?
  • Could a church work with the gay community to fill food pantries?
  • Could Christians and Muslims work together to provide relief to earthquake victims?

This is messy and doesn't fit nice a tidy in a box. However, I do know I want to love more, talk and debate less, and be part of something Greater than myself. What might I learn about myself, others, and God from engaging more in these relationships?

This is a church I want to be part of.... this is a person I want to be.... these are the people I want to lock arms with...

Friday, March 5, 2010

"I Want to Move Dirt"

A friend of mine Bobby McGee posed a question to me that I thought I'd respond to and wonder how would you answer this question?

"A boulder is at the top of a mountain and contains a million dollars for your business... get to the bottom of the mountain and the million dollars is yours.... Would you push the boulder or dig out in front of it? Why?"

While the analogy lends to some interpretation, here is my response:
  • Have truly great people on your team. If I picked the five best people from our company of 58, I think we could open a donut shop (and scores of other businesses) and be successful. Great people don't need to be pushed, they roll on their own as they are strategic, self-motivated, and they value team. (Jim Collins... get the right people on the bus) So what helps them roll?

  • Remove the dirt (or barriers) that are in front of your great people. One of the most important roles I have is to remove hurdles that slow our great people. This may be team communication, communication to clients, poor processes or no processes, or misinformation in key measurables. So what other dirt is in our way?
  • Remove the dirt in our own lives. We all have some sort of dysfunction or distraction that can keep us stuck where we are... Fear of failure, fear of change, moral failures, inability to trust others, glass half empty mentality, lack of financial discipline, etc... Working on our own individual "issues" can help dislodge the dirt in our lives. What can happen then?

We put ourselves in a position to roll toward our God-given purpose, a business can have a great chance of success, and in general, life rocks a little more (uh, pardon the pun...)

Dig out in front of the rock I say.... what say you?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"7 Ways to Bring Faith into the Workplace"

When we spend forty plus hours a week doing anything, it matters. My Faith is the foundation for everything I do but it can easily get buried in marketing plans, Profit and Loss statements, project planning, and more. What does faith at work look like?

Old: When standing at the water cooler with a co-worker say, "Speaking of water, have you ever met the Man who actually walked on water?"
  • Be a hard and smart worker. You're being given a wage, do everything you can to maximize output for your employer. Are you looking for more to do or looking for ways to avoid additional work?

  • Serve others. Without being obnoxious as if you're doing them a big favor, find ways you can help others behind the scenes and add value to them on a regular basis.

  • Admit your mistakes. We're not perfect, we screw up, we go left when we should have gone right... Be real, admit it and make it right.

  • Align with the vision. If it was your company, you can make your own's not. Figure out where your leaders are trying to go and start rowing in that direction.

  • Don't talk smack about others. Build people up, don't tear them down. Be someone who is trustworthy and don't get pulled into the gutter of gossip.

  • Bring peace. When there's panic or chaos at work, bring peace. It's said we're not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough worries of its own... Focus on what your team can control and help be part of the solution.

  • It's about the people. Behind the paychecks, timesheets, and cubicles are a bunch of broken people (myself included). While we may wonder about a future raise, finishing a report, or being frustrated with a co-worker... we're surrounded by people who are going home to lonliness, abuse, rebellious kids, financial stress, sick family members and more. At the end of the day, it's about doing whatever we can to love the people we're with and to fill their tank in any way we can.

While I fail at these seven things, I want to keep taking steps in these areas... The days of preaching at people, cheesy bumper stickers, and cliches' need to be over... They're about as helpful as trying to light a match while you're scuba diving.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Why You Should Sell Burritos"

Imagine going to Taco Bell and having them say "We've got some great cheese, we've got meat, sour cream, lettuce, and we've got tomatoes, and some chunks of chicken, and uh a totilla shell... want to buy something?"

How about just selling them a burrito?

An IT company says, we can fix your computers, load software, install updates, monitor your systems, fix printer issues, work on servers, run cables, check internet settings, handle back-ups, we're affordable, we're better than the guys down the street... do you need anything?

How about just offering to take care of all their IT needs for a monthly, budgeted price? (Sometimes referred to as Managed Services)

Much of what I do is work to translate the cool stuff we do at work and try to make burritos out of it...
  • Potential clients need a clear, simple path on how it can do business with you and what's in it for them
  • When talking to a company this past week, they had been in business for over 20 years yet their owner and sales manager couldn't give me a simple answer of what differentiates them from their largest competitor. Can you clearly identify your competitive advantage in your market and communicate it clearly?
  • Our old tagline used to be Vision Knowledge Results.... Couldn't just about every company put that under their name, in marketing literature, or website? Yawn. Our new one? Making Your Business Better by Making Technology Work.... better.
  • For service businesses, I love hearing here's the price and you don't have to worry about it anymore.... whether that's my sprinkler system, coffee service at work, or keeping my snow shoveled, just take care of it with no surprises. Give me a bunch of choices and prices... I might just get confused and walk away.
  • For our technology company, we need to understand the real business value and return on investment (ROI) first and then package the offering focused on that. Everyone wins that way.
  • People don't naturally connect the dots, we need to do it for them. What is the response you're trying to release from your target audience?

You have great ingredients at your organization, wrap em' up and make some burritos.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Christians, Those fake SOB's"

Wow. That was the sentiment from my friend I met with last night. The context was this:

"Mark, I went back to church this past month (Granger Community Church, my church) and couldn't help but be frustrated by some conversations I overhear in the lobby and think, you fake SOB! I don't know what it is but it seems that the older I get I have this radar that can spot fake people, it's like a Fake Radar. I see it in the business"

Ugh. But if I'm honest, much of what he is saying is right on... This reflects a piece of what the book "Unchristian" discusses with the real perception our culture has about Christians.

So what makes us appear fake?
  • The obvious one is hypocrisy. If we pretend we have it all together, life is good, our jobs, marriages, kids, friends, and thoughts are perfect... newsflash, the masses can sniff that out in a hurry... and if they know you at all... they know you're pretending and you're then a hypocrite.
  • How we talk. I think we mean well, but I believe our attempts to give God the glory, "in all our ways acknowledge Him", "in everything give thanks", and our practice of trying to live a life of holiness... it comes out as statements like "Praise the Lord", "God told me...", or verbally thanking God outloud 164 times a day. To the masses, this doesn't register and they either think it's all fake or that you simply live life 3 steps away from the cuckoo nest.
  • We judge without relationship. We can be so flippant about the statements we make to people and about people. How can we really know what's going on deep within someone without having a close relationship with them? We skip the "seeking to understand" piece which leaves the impression of us as judges without planks in our own eye.

The result? We look like characters in a fictional play rather than being relevant or real.

The rest of my conversation centered last night centered around this:

  • We don't have to be that way. We can be real, authentic and get to the work of changing the world. Whatever you don't like about the fake Christians you encounter.... well... don't be like that.
  • Let our actions speak louder than our words. There are hungry people, we should feed them. There are oppressed people, we should free them. There are people that are overwhelmed, we should help relieve their burden.
  • Build real relationships with those without Christ or lacking in faith. Why should they care about your opinion or seek your help if you're not doing life with them? I can talk to my friend about working on a great marriage, how to face challenges with kids, or stress in the workplace when I have a relationship with him. And let's be real, my friends help me as much (and often more) than I can help them. It's in these real, quiet, intimate conversations that we can point them to Jesus. He either is who He is or not, right?
  • God did not call us to be fake, He called us to change the world and find His purpose in and through us.

We can do better. This isn't about shying away from our faith and keeping it hidden... it's about being effective and letting our internal faith drive love and authenticity. I love my friend and his candid conversation. This is the world we live in, this is who we are to serve. And friend, if you happen to read this, I'm so thankful for our relationship and what you've added in my life over all these years. I hope we can connect soon and keep pressing in.... let's not let either of us settle for mediocrity...