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Friday, June 7, 2019

Strength vs Weakness - Enemies or Partners?


We must be equally aware of our gifts and our flaws. 

We must seek to understand both, for we are always carrying both into every situation. Our greatest strengths are not our greatest weaknesses as we have been told. Our strengths, however, are our greatest liabilities. A liability must be well managed as it has equal power to lift us up as it does to tear us down. Our weaknesses, when kept at arm's length and unknown will be our constant enemy. But when they are brought into the light, and understood, can serve as a warning bell to us.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

“I think a large part of my success is the fact that I’m a huge believer in hiring the right people and giving them unbelievable amounts of power and autonomy.”

– Blake Mycoskie, Founder, TOMS Shoes

Creating a successful team is more than just getting the right people on the bus. It’s also about making sure that they are in the right seat on the bus. 

You have to lead people by their behaviors, actions, and strengths, not based on your desired outcome. 
Lead your team based on the things they have control over. When you club them over the head with things out of their control, they get frustrated. What do top performers do when they get frustrated? They go find somewhere else to work where its easier to perform well and at their peak ability. 

When you discover that a team members plate has things on it that are keeping them from performing at 100% you either have to double down on helping them grow in areas of weakness or help them double down on their areas of strength. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Culture. Message. Experience.

Culture is the collective identity and worldview of a group.
Identity informs everything about us.
Everything we do or say is because of the identity we believe defines us. Your organization's culture is not your mission statement or what you say in your advertising message, your culture is what your team believes about the organization, that informs their actions.

So as an organization, church, small business, or non-profit, have you taken a close look at what your culture is? Have you invested in creating the culture you want?
Your culture should inform your actions within the organization and the message to those outside of it.
If the actions, message, and experience don’t truly match your culture then you lose trust. You may be getting attention, but attention without trust is irrelevant.

When people see that your culture is consistent with behavior, decisions, message, and experience, they will believe what you say. They will trust that you really are what you claim to be. This is how you begin to develop a tribe, not just customers.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Musings on a Tuesday...

Just a few simple thoughts:

If you avoid failure, you will never find success. If you’re frightened by what you can't explain, you will never change the world. 
A process will make you very good. 
The willingness to risk failure will make you a world changer.

Focus on the technique, rather than just on the recipe. The technique is really the most important part of any recipe. Whether you are talking about food, music, leadership, business or anything else. All the right ingredients and a perfect recipe are only as good as your technique to implement them well.

A difficult but necessary part of growth is to let go of patterns and paradigms when it becomes apparent that they no longer work. And most likely, never really did.

A rabbi friend once told me this story: 
Three blind men came upon an elephant one day. 
The first man came to the trunk and proclaimed, 
"Ahh I see this animal is long and slender and flexible with a snout that is wet"
The second man came to the tail and proclaimed, 
"Nonsense obviously this animal is thin and wispy with coarse bristles at the end!"
The third blind man came to one of the feet, and proclaimed, 
"you are both wrong this animal is round and rigid like a tree!"
And all three blind men argued and argued becoming more convinced 
That their piece of the puzzle was the whole picture, 
instead of realizing that they had come upon the same creature 

but from different perspectives.

Monday, December 31, 2018

The 3 Assassins

The 3 assassins:

There are three huge stumbling blocks or hindrances to growth, which will stagnate and eventually kill any church or organization.

1)   Status quote- “this is just how we do it here.”
2)   Sacred cows- “We have always done it that way.”
3)   Comfort zone- “if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.”   

These three things keep the members of the organization from truly seeking the problems. They will blame the economy, finances, culture, and markets, anything but the real problems with the organization because they are unwilling to tackle these three things.

1) Status quote- “this is just how we do it here.” Or “If it worked for those guys it will work for us.”
It is much more comfortable to follow than to lead. To take our cues from those that we perceive are doing well at the same game we are playing. We establish heroes and idols that we strive to emulate thinking that if it worked for them it will work for everybody. This could not be further from the truth.
This can kill growth, ideas, teams and moral faster than almost anything. In order to grow, an organization must be willing to put every system and practice and program on the chopping block of the whiteboard, and evaluate if it is really working or necessary. Evaluate not just if it works, but does it work for us?

2) Sacred cows- “We have always done it that way.”
A sacred cow is any system, idea, practice, persona, image, methodology, or hierarchy, that is simply off limits to change or discussion simply because it is the way that it has always been or currently the way an organization operates. 
“If we canceled that program or changed that system it would just confuse everybody, even though it’s losing money we would have some really mad customers who are used to it that way.” Sacred cows kill growth.
-They create walls to creativity.
-They create Glass ceilings.
-They create unfair bias.
-They create unreal expectations of productivity and results.
They will create Invisible boundaries that your organization will bang its head against and wonder why they are not growing in that direction.
Organizations may or may not be aware of the sacred cows. They may be intentionally established thru bias and preference, or simply have been established thru handed down systems that once may have served a purpose, but no longer work.
Either way, they are the walls that must be toppled, to conquer the city.        

3) Comfort zone- “if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.”  
Do you have a junk closet? You know that closet that is piled high with all of the projects, old papers,  hastily taken down Christmas décor, things you meant to return but forgot, and stuff you plan to sell someday?  Everyone has one. We know it’s there, just waiting to be tackled. And we know how great it would be to have that closet space back… but it would take a lot of work. We would have to cancel a few plans, put on some gloves, and maybe buy some extra garbage bags, it's just Inconvenient.
Also, it is unpredictable. There’s no telling what we may find in the closet. Spiders. Expired gift cards to our favorite store. Pictures of old loves that would be too painful to remember. It almost becomes a comfort knowing the closet is full and will remain that way until you decide to change it. You have the power, you have the key, and are exercising that power by deciding to do nothing, and not open the door.
At its root, it is really based on fear.
Fear of change, the unpredictable, and unintended consequences both good and difficult keep the closet door closed.

This is one of the hardest to deal with and often must be the first, to be a catalyst of change before addressing the other two. Humans like predictability, and hate change by nature. We like knowing what to expect. We like having everything neatly penciled on our weekly calendar and nothing ever rocks the boat.

However, we can get so locked into our comfort zone that we may go down with a sinking ship simply because it was too uncomfortable to acknowledge we hit an iceberg, standup, and put on a life jacket.

First Steps


Usually, when someone knows something very well, they are not the best to introduce someone new, to it.
Because they have already been through the complexities and layers of the thing, and have forgotten what it feels like to take the first step.

It takes a lot of work to remember the first steps.
Often, beginners find things that experts have long since forgotten with familiarity.

When we have spent many hours inside of a room it becomes familiar. We know where all the light switches are. We know all of the sharp corners to be avoided in the dark. We forget what it was like to turn the worn brass latch, give the door a push and peek inside for the first time, not knowing what we would find there.

This is the curse of assumed knowledge. We assume that because we know, everyone else must know.

One of the most powerful things you can do in your writing and marketing communication is trying to remember what it feels like to experience something new. Write to that. Give words to the world from that point of view. Stand in the doorway again, peer thru it, and tell us what you see. And since you have already braved the leap across the threshold into the unknown world beyond, you can offer a glimpse to the newcomer of the mysteries to be found there.
Be careful though to not give away to many of the secrets or too many spoilers of the journey ahead. Remember, that you got where you are by discovery along the way. The journey itself is what makes the destination worth getting to. Offer each new pilgrim enough landmarks to start the journey, but not so many that they might overlook new discoveries.

“Write drunk, edit sober” was Ernest Hemingway’s decree. Setting aside the fact that Hemingway was a raging alcoholic, this pillar of his creative theology it very true, If not in practicality, but in it’s intent. What Hemmingway was getting at was that when we seek to communicate, we have to momentarily forget what we know, or hold to be universally experienced by all. Assumed knowledge. We must set aside what we hold to be obvious and understood about a thing, and look at it again through the eyes of first discovery.

Strength vs Weakness - Enemies or Partners?

STRENGTH vs WEAKNESS We must be equally aware of our gifts and our flaws.  We must seek to understand both, for we are always c...