Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Find Your Path And Stay The Course

There are times when it is a good thing to change, the old ways just don't work anymore. Too often though we are quick to change without an idea of where we want to go. We try to copy others that we think are successful, if it worked for them it should work for me. Waffling from one thing to another.The football coach that can't decide if they are going to be a run first or pass heavy offense.The manager that changes between the charismatic "I want to be your friend" and the task driven "this is the job we need to get done."The basketball coach switching between the fast break, high scoring team and the half court, defensive minded team.The teacher that sometimes runs their classroom as very structured and other times opens it up and lets the kids learn what they want to. All of these people are basically saying they don't know who they are. You are never going to succeed if you try to copy others and keep changing things. 
Who are you? You need to iden…

Don't Let Hate Win

I am appalled and remorseful of what has become of our country. The things that have transpired the past few months and the conversation around them: Charlottesville, Las Vegas, and the protests of the treatment of fellow citizens of this country, just to name a few. Think of your social media feed and the comments section on the articles you read about it. Never ending arguments of I'm right, they are wrong, here is a post to like that says you agree with me. Everyone is building a wall, every post is a brick that makes it higher and thicker, keep your enemies out and separate from those that think like you. It breaks my heart that we are a country building walls because we are so divided and so outspoken about our hatred of those that have a different opinion.

I don't know where I found it but an article by Zoe Zorka about our culture of hate perfectly captures what I'm thinking. It is so easy today to spread hate, and social media makes it easier than ever. It isn't…

A Challenge That Faces Every Leader

If you are in a leadership position of any kind you will eventually run across someone that doesn't believe in you. Maybe you got promoted from within and a former peer thinks they deserve the job more. Or you came into a leadership position from the outside and one on your team thinks the old boss was better. That you aren't even needed, they were getting along just fine without you.

You are in this position for a reason. The person that hired you, or promoted you, did so for a reason. Romans 13:1 says "all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God." You have earned this, claim that. Everyone is going to have critics. Most people don't like change and you represent change that they are still trying to work through.

Don't let what others say or feel distract you or change you. The person you are earned you the right to be in that position, don't adapt to try and please everyone because you won't. Just …

The Person To Help You Reach Your Goals

Most of us have goals in life that we want to accomplish, but most of our goals are just our own. There isn't a manager telling us what we need to do each day to achieve our diet and exercise goals. There isn't someone helping create a reading plan that leads us to finishing that book that will make us better. Nobody is with us in the store telling us what we can and can't buy to remain within our budget so we can save up for that vacation we want to take. As for someone to remind us that we wanted to spend more time with our family rather than spending time in front of the TV or on social media, no one is there either.

Think of the best manager you've had, the one that could encourage you to do your best, correct you when you were getting of course and just make you want to perform at your absolute best. Those that achieve great things in life are those that can speak a positive word into themselves when they look in the mirror. What do you tell yourself if you aren&#…

Oh The Number Of Lives We Impact!

In my last post I talked about culture and about how we treat people, that it is important because our jobs are usually not about life and death. I've used that actual statement in my work before telling people that at the end of the day nobody dies, nobody's life is completely turned upside down by the work we do.

Most of us work in jobs that lives are not dependent on us. Unfortunately that often leads to some people thinking their work doesn't matter. Just punch a clock and earn your paycheck. What is the point of giving any extra effort? The problem is that even if it isn't a matter of life and death, lives are most certainly impacted by the work you do.

Everyone has a customer - someone that pays you money. For the organization I work for it is about printed materials, without them their business can't tell their story, stand out from their competition and help their customers. They don't get sales they could lose their jobs.

Everyone has employees, even i…

Your Culture Is The Greatest Strategic Advantage

I love finding stories about companies and how they do things differently in their culture. This story about the culture of Trader Joe's was a great read. The best was how their manager's will often tell their employees that "it's just groceries." Most of us probably work in a field where it isn't about life and death, yet we act like it is. Cracking the proverbial whip on employees to get that order out the door that the customer absolutely needs. Is it really worth it to make employees feel miserable? The Trader Joe's example shows us that it all comes down to caring about people. That means caring about the whole person, not just caring that the person can get the job done.

Is Trader Joe's perfect? I'm sure not. You can probably easily find people that worked for the organization that didn't have such great experiences. There are bad managers everywhere but I'm guessing an organization that has defined cultural values can quickly find a…

Love

I have three girls, ages 5 to 14 and there is something interesting that I've observed in the older two. The way they talk to their friends in person and on social media, the word love is used frequently. It isn't just my girls, they all talk that way with each other.
"Love ya!"
"I love you so much ____!"
"Love you too!" When I first heard it, I will admit it made me uncomfortable, it seemed a little odd to me. I was asking myself if they could really understand what love was as they threw the word around as easily as hello. Then I remembered that as a guy, I really don't understand girls. I never have and have determined I probably never will. So I decided to ask my wife. I didn't remember ever hearing girls talk to each other like this but maybe it was some secret girl thing that they couldn't let boys in on. She didn't recall hearing the word love used a lot between friends when she was in school. From my observation the next ge…

The Losing Side Of An Argument

I came across this tweet from Brent Beshore:
If your goal is to "win" an argument, you've already lost and just don't know it yet. This is such a true statement that we all need to be mindful of with what is going on with the narrative in our country today. There are a lot of people speaking out, giving their opinions - which they all have every right to do. As I read most of them they sound to me like the person is trying to win the argument. Trying to prove why the other side is wrong and they are right. Maybe that is why in so many ways it feels like we've already lost.

It isn't just about political or social issues. It can happen at work, with your friends and the people you love. Have the conversation, share knowledge, listen to others. But when you see that it has become an argument work to change the tone back to something productive.

Is That Seriously The Best You Can Do?

Everyone knows that cable TV is dying. People want options and control over what they want to watch without being tied into 2 year contracts and paying crazy fees. The people running the cable companies know this and it seems like instead of trying to re-imagine themselves and build a service that people actually want they make it harder and more confusing, frustrating people to find some way of reducing their service even more.

I have limited options for Internet Service, so I go through my cable company. Overall the service and quality has been pretty good. Not perfect but nothing really is, so I really can't complain about it. What I can complain about is the fact that I wanted to go online and see what the different speed and cost options were for me. I'm an existing customer. I log into my account and I can't find it anywhere on their site. I search. I enter my address to generate service options. All of them are for bundled services. They tell me I can save more mone…

Three Common Excuses That Keep Us In A State Of Mediocrity

One thing that every person or organization has to be mindful of is getting complacent after they achieve a goal. After setting a goal and working really hard to improve it, I believe it is natural to stick with the same goal, stagnating and therefore falling behind in many ways. 
Here are three examples that I've heard too many times in my career and how we need to change the conversation.
It will never be perfect. This is common in goals where the target should be 100%. Be it up time performance, on time delivery or customer retention; a perfect world the number would be 100%. While nobody and no business is perfect, there is always room for improvement. If your goal was 90% and you have been hovering around it for a while, it is time to increase it to 95%. If you are at 99.9%, try and get five 9's (99.999%). Response - "No, it might not ever be perfect, but how fun would it be if it were? Let's figure out how to blow the doors off our old number."It is way bett…

Find The Differences To Discover Greatness

One of my favorite words is dichotomy, for me it tells a story about life. Dichotomy describes two things that are completely opposite from each other, things that are mutually exclusive. But sometimes those opposing things become complementary.

Take for example hot and cold. They seem contradictory but with the right elements they become great. Put ice cream on a chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven and you have a magical dessert that is way better together.

When you find things that seem like they are opposite, finding a way to make them compliment each other is usually when greatness emerges. A marriage between a man and a woman. Various departments in a business. Offense and defense on a team. These work the best when the two sides realize they are on the same team and find ways to work together, make the other side better.

Our world continues to get more divided where each side of every issue expends all of their energy proving why they are right and the "enemy" …

Just Say It Already

I've had a number of conversations recently where I have learned some things where I've walked away feeling a little upset. It wasn't the words that were said that were upsetting, it was the fact that I wish they would have just told me sooner. I wish that I had more of that information earlier as I probably would have made some different decisions.

I'm not sure if it is the Minnesota nice culture here but we seem to not want to tell people the truth about how we feel. I know there have been plenty of times that I've held things back, kept my feelings to myself, figuring it was better to not say anything.

Always remember that nobody can tell you how to feel. They can debate your actions or behaviors, but they can't argue how you are feeling. Speak the truth in love, but we need to speak up more about how we feel and continue to build the bridge between the people we care about and want to have relationships with in our family, friends and work.

Here is the real…

An Opportunity To Learn No Matter Where You Go

Image
As my kids go back to school I am reminded of the fact that everyday you aren't learning something is a day wasted. There is always something to educate yourself with and one of the things I really enjoy in life is finding little things from books, movies, sports or businesses that form connections and I can bring into my life, family and work. Even from something like taking a vacation to the Happiest Place On Earth. I've read a number of things about Disney and I am well aware of their attention to detail, but every visit I find new things that simply amaze me.

The first from our most recent trip was from a bell hop that greeted us when we first arrived. I chatted with him for a moment as they unloaded our bags from the bus and he talked about how he retired and moved down to work at Disney three days a week because he loved that every day he was able to serve the families visiting to make their vacation as magical as possible. Listening to him reinforced my goal to one day …

For Every Dad That Has A Daughter

I vaguely remember the story of Mo Isom when she was trying out to kick for the LSU Tigers in 2012. At the time I didn't know her name, only that she was a soccer player and was attempting to kick for a Division 1 football powerhouse. Five years later I heard her whole story through the Sports Spectrum Podcast (episode #4 if interested). Jason Romano interviewed her where she told an amazing story of tragedy and triumph. Her life includes battling eating disorders in high school, a father's suicide, a horrific automobile accident that she miraculously survived and a life full of bad choices in her words as she tried to make sense of more than most people deal with in a whole lifetime. Listening to her tell her story in that interview and when I later read her book, it was amazing the grit and perseverance this young woman possesses to face everything and through it all develop a deep faith that she shares with anyone that is willing to take the time to listen.

As I hear her st…

It All Started With A Mouse

Image
It is no secret that I'm a big fan of Disney, the man, the company, the parks and the movies. Are any of those areas perfect? Not at all. Read about the life of Walt Disney and you will see, for all of the great things he accomplished he alienated a lot of people in his life. While not perfect and throughout the mistakes he made, he never let it stop him. I think that is one of the things I love most about both the man and the company, they aren't perfect but they don't let their setbacks hold them back.

I just read a great article (read it here) that recalled a story I had heard before about how in 1928 Walt Disney lost the rights to his characters and most of his animators. He remained optimistic, he didn't complain about his circumstances, he focused on what he could control and from that, in 1929 we were introduced to the iconic Mickey Mouse.


No matter what happens to us we always have a choice in how we react to the situation we find ourselves. Great things are ra…

Standing In The Shadow Of A Craftsman

Image
This past weekend I had the privilege of helping my church to build the foundation for a new storage unit on the side of the building. It was a tremendous learning experience for me and well worth the time and the sore muscles that still haven't fully recovered. I learned a little about laying a block foundation and got to try out a few things I've never done before.


The best part of the day though was getting to work beside an experienced mason. It is hard to put into words what it was like watching this man work. The effortless motions smoothly laying mortar, the quick placement of each block sitting in exact alignment, and the few strikes of a hammer to break a block to the exact size needed without measuring. All the time confident is his abilities but humble in his attitude. It was an honor to watch him work.

A couple of lessons for me in this experience. The first, which I hope to pass on to my children, whatever it is that you do in life, work hard at it and strive to b…

Leading People - Speak The Truth In Love

One of the greatest pieces of wisdom I have ever received on how to properly lead people is, "Speak the truth in love."

Now many don't want to talk about love in the same breath as managing or leading people, they don't believe in that touchy feely stuff. Others probably won't want to hear that I found it in the Bible in Ephesians 4:15. Just give me a moment though and you will see, probably from your own experiences, why it is so simple and so powerful.

Put yourself on the receiving end of some criticism, you have probably had these types of interactions with people before:

Someone that is being honest with you but it is brutal. You walk away realizing it is true but feeling worse about yourself in the process. There are feelings of anger and resentment to the person in all likelihood.Someone that says all kinds of nice things to you but you find out later that it wasn't the truth in how they really felt. You felt good at the time but you end up feeling betra…

We've Tried That Before, It Didn't Work

One phrase that I dislike more than anything is, "We've tried that before, it didn't work." I'm sure you have heard a comment like it or in some variation. I think people mean well, they want to see you succeed and help you understand the obstacles before you. They hope it is different for you but if they had to bet they would take the side of it happening just like before.

However, there is a difference this time around, why it is going to work this time. That difference is you. You weren't involved in all of those other times that failed. You weren't there to help talk others through it, help them understand things, be the cheerleader, salesperson, coach, mentor and advocate that will see it through to the end.

Most of the great breakthroughs aren't because someone had the best idea ever. The breakthroughs come from the people that have the determination and grit to drive it into being. Be that person. It might not have worked before but the differe…

Building Trust During Transitions - Oops

Today is one month since I moved into my new role. I told myself that for the first 30 days I was not going to offer any big thoughts or changes, I needed time to learn the business and the team. My goal was for this new team that I am a part of to learn about me, hopefully trust me and know that my priority is helping each person that I have the privileged to lead be successful and help the company we serve achieve the results they need. So, how did I do you ask? Not bad, but there were some things I certainly could have done better. One specific instance sticks out to me because this person was very upset by what they felt I was suggesting. Probably the only way to really summarize it is they felt like I didn't think they were doing their job.

I apologized of course but that night I was still thinking about it, not even 30 days in and creating that feeling. The next day I pulled the person aside and said again that I apologize for making them feel the way I did as it certainly w…

Love Is Greater Than Fear

I'm not sure why I'm on a fear kick lately. I've noticed that I've written a number of times recently about fear and how it consumes us (here, here and here). It is natural for humans to be afraid of things. I always thought it was okay to have a certain level of fear, like the kind of fear that makes me want to do a good job at work so I can stay employed and provide for my family. But it isn't fear that compels me, it is the love for my family that wants to provide for them. I think Jon Gordon said it best in his book The Carpenter:
"If you build your life and company with fear, it won't be worth building. In the end you'll look back and realize you didn't enjoy any of it. It will never be what it could have been and you'll likely burn out before you finish. And even if you do finish, anything built with fear will eventually crumble. ... Remember, fear is draining. Love is sustaining. Fear is short term. Love is long term. Fear appears strong…

To Everything There Is A Season

Living in Minnesota it is impossible to miss the natural order of seasons through the year. As the summer is winding down we are starting to think about the new school year and new dance season in our house. I have started a new job which is a new season in my life. Our kids are entering their last year of middle school, their last year of elementary school and their last year of preschool, there are all kinds of seasons changing around us. Seasons flow in all of our lives, some seasons are great for us, some are not the best, some we struggle through and some bring about the death of things we hold dear.

As I reflected on this I was reminded of the following versus from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which many of you may recognize as they were the basis for a very famous song.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to b…

The Best Way You Can Start Changing The World

When I look back on my childhood I think of myself as someone that hated to read, until I was in 9th grade that is and a teacher introduced me to Michael Crichton. I could get engrossed in one of his novels and read them straight through in a day. But really what I hated about reading was reading things that didn't interest me. If a book is about a topic that interests me, or is an engaging story that pulls me in, I love to read. Flash forward to my adult life and I have maintained a healthy desire to read and according to my wife an unhealthy habit of bringing books into our house. Reading continues to inspire me, I read business books to inspire me to be a better leader in my work place, theology books that inspire me to be a better human being and books that take me into an entirely separate worlds like The Lord of the Rings.

It is frightening when you see the amount of time that people on average spend in front of a screen playing games, watching TV or surfing social media. We…

The Unfortunate Perception Of Accountability

I just went through a great training on accountability by Partners In Leadership. I thought I had a good understanding of accountability and would certainly label myself as accountable, who wouldn't? Unfortunately most of the business world has a negative view of accountability because we generally focus on the negative aspect, holding someone accountable when something goes wrong.

True accountability is part of your organizational culture and it all starts with clearly defined results that you are trying to achieve. If we are honest with ourselves as leaders those desired results are usually clear to the leadership team, but not always clear to the employees. If your employees aren't displaying the accountability you desire, if you wish they would finally take ownership of their work and the things around them, the first place you need to look is in the mirror, as it starts with us as leaders.

One of my favorite sayings is "The only person you can control is yourself.&qu…

Psychological Safety In Organizational Health: Or How Fear Restricts Teams From Being Great

I've always been a big believer in organizational health and the importance it plays in a teams success. In a recent article by Michael Schneider he discussed a research project conducted by Google of 180 teams within Google and they came up with five key characteristics of enhanced teams. Four of the characteristics seem simple enough, and something we could probably come up with on our own:

Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we're doing matters?
What was most interesting is the fifth characteristic that was the most important because it was the foundation for the other four, without it everything crumbles. It is the concept of psychological safety, having an environment where all team members feel safe to take ris…

Do The Work That Gains You More Critics

Image
I am convinced that the amount of success in the world is lower than we could have and the main thing that holds people back from achieving a higher level of success is that too many of us listen to the critics. If you start achieving good things, you will start to see some criticism directed at you, the more success the more the critics. Look at the recent NBA Finals, LeBron James and Stephen Curry battled for the championship and the majority of the conversation was from critics explaining why one or both wasn't as great as some say. Most seem to ignore the fact that both of them are in the top 20 basketball players of all time (I'm not going to argue where they are at, I think everyone can agree they are somewhere in the top 20).

If you have people that criticize you be happy, you are probably more successful than you think. The great tragedy is when people start believing their critics. They lower their goals, they put off their dreams, they quit before the breakthrough be…

Does My Social Media Presence Add Value?

Jon Gordon shared in a recent tweet the following statement:
Your social media platform is a blessing. Use it to add value instead of devalue. This got me thinking about my own use of social media, is the stuff I'm putting out there adding value? I hope so, but then I started thinking about what I see on my timelines and honestly how much has no value. During the last presidential election I think we can all safely say we waded through a lot of junk to find anything of value. Still today though I see a number of posts that if I took the time to look at the replies or comments you would see two sides vehemently trying to prove their point, with really no chance of swaying the other sides opinion because less face it, being open minded is a rare quality these days.

The level of hurt that comes from social media doesn't stop there. If you think about the posts that are out there, especially for the younger generations, they share everything. They post who they are out with, what …

Oh No, Not More Changes!

Change is such a fascinating thing. There are so many nuances to it:

We want a change but the change doesn't happenWe don't want a change but the change happensChange happens but it isn't what we expectWe want the change but it takes longer than we had hopedWe want the change but it happens faster than we are prepared for No matter how we view change it is inevitable that we will encounter a lot of changes in our life. We won't like all of them, we'll probably love some of them, we will be impacted by all of them.
If you are leading a change, things to remember: Communicate - Whatever amount of communication you think you need on the change, double it at a minimum. I would recommend 3-4 times the amount of communication that you would think you would need. Communicate 1-on-1, group presentations, written, visual the more ways you can communicate it the better you will be able to make it stick. Repeat - You can't just get the word out once about a change and be do…

Know How To Make An Exit

Life can bring us many new opportunities. If we choose to pursue those opportunities it often means that we need to leave some old things behind. The most obvious is when you leave one job for the next. Sometimes you might be leaving on good terms and sometimes they might not be the best of terms, if you were let go from your position for instance. No matter how those transitions go, I believe it is our responsibility to make sure we do everything within our power to make that which we leave behind as successful as possible.

When one leaves on bad terms they often hope for the demise of the company or department they were dismissed from. Hopeful that things are hard on them because of what they did to them. But too often it isn't the manager that feels the impact of a person leaving, it is the co-workers that suddenly are left holding the bag, trying to figure out how the dismissed person actually did their job because it doesn't make sense to them. The right thing to do is ma…

Don't Wait, It Is Time To Move

Image
We've all had those moments, someone at some point in time irritated us because you know they just weren't working that hard. A co-worker that we wish would just pull their own weight - a child that we swear only does the absolute minimum to get a job done that you ask them to complete or a worker at fill-in-the-blank that is taking there sweet time helping you with your request. But let's be honest, we've also all had those moments where we were trying to drag out a task to fill the time or not starting a project for some very good reason, or so we tell ourselves.

It is in those moments where we achieve our dreams. Nobody ever sees the hard work of practice, the countless hours of training, the effort put in to perfect your craft. There are no short cuts in life, if you want something different, doing just enough to get by isn't going to get the job done.


What do you want to be different? Read a book, take a class, practice your craft, perfect your art. MOVE!

Photo…

For When I Am Afraid To Fail

Recently I was talking to a friend about how there are things that I hesitate in doing because I feel inadequate. There are things that God has placed a fire inside of me for but rather than just going after it I end up talking myself out of things. I put together a list of the things I need before I can accomplish or even start on a goal. Writing was one of those things for me, I would start and stop so many times because I felt like nobody noticed or I would compare myself to others and know that I'm not as talented as they are. My friend simply stated that he believes everyone feels that way.

As I reflected on that I realized how much the devil likes to make us tell ourselves we aren't good enough. The more we are called to do something the louder that voice becomes telling us we shouldn't. God sets before us open doors, but He doesn't shove us through them, they are choices that we have to make. We have to make the effort to follow what He has placed in our hearts.…

Our Lives Are Passing Us By As We Stare At Our Screens

We live in a busy world, where we are hammered with content, advertisements and messages all day. Social media, TV, podcasts, etc. can have good information and purpose, but too often we use them as a filler that keeps us from our purpose. Don't get me started on the political and social debates that rage online, there is more division in this country than I can certainly remember in my lifetime. We need to learn to shut off the distractions more and spend time bringing good into the world. Learn to sit down and talk to people face-to-face. Learn to have healthy discussions and find common ground with others that aren't like us. As we come into a holiday weekend, spend less time in front of a screen than you typically do, especially if you are with other people.

What We Care About - There Our Focus Shall Be

Recently I have had interesting conversations with two individuals that are in very different career fields. Both conversations centered on their work place and how they feel employees continue to be treated worse. In the first conversation the person has worked for 19 years with the same organization only to continue to see benefits cut and pay increases decrease every year. The owners seem to care about the customers and demanding that their employees serve their customers, yet view their employees as just a cog in the machine. In the second conversation the employee was let go because the company sold off the part of the organization they were with and it was determined they wouldn’t be kept on. They were only with their organization for 2 years, but a colleague was there for 28 years who was also let go.

As I get older my eyes are opened up to the realities of the world we live in. We all know that in business there are times that we have to let people go. Companies grow, shrink a…

Leadership In Nature - The Wolf Pack

Image
There was a viral story that has been making its way around the Internet the last couple of years talking about leadership and wolf pack behavior. Here it is if you haven't seen it:

A wolf pack: the first 3 are the old or sick, they give the pace to the entire pack. If it was the other way round, they would be left behind, losing contact with the pack. In case of an ambush they would be sacrificed. Then come 5 strong ones, the front line. In the center are the rest of the pack members, then the 5 strongest following. Last is alone, the alpha. He controls everything from the rear. In that position he can see everything, decide the direction. He sees all of the pack. The pack moves according to the elders pace and help each other, watch each other. I loved the story and thought it was a great analogy to tie to any team. Of course, like many things on the Internet, stories can be embellished. Just a little research from experts in wolf back behavior and the story unravels. If you rea…

Focus On The Things You Can Control

Image
I am watching as my children grow up and finding that one of the hardest things I've had to teach them is how to worry about the things that you can control. They are like most of us in that things others do or say can drive them nuts, including their parents and their sisters. It is a good opportunity to teach them about grace, forgiving someone even though it feels like they don't deserve it, but also to remind them of what they can and can't control. The things that we can control are the things we should be focusing on because the rest will just waste our time and energy, ultimately leaving us feeling more frustrated and angry.

It is a good reminder for myself, because if I'm being honest, there are times that I do the same thing. We probably all do because we are only human. This graphic from Jon Gordon is a good reminder of where our focus should be.


So much of our lives we can't control, but the parts that we do can make a huge impact. The choices we make in…

The Power Of Transformation Based Leadership

A video is making the rounds on the Internet that was awesome. Take two minutes and watch what Sam Houston State's baseball coach Matt Deggs had to say about how he was impacted after being fired from his last job.

Matt Deggs Post Game Interview

I loved hearing the words he said about being unselfish and serving each other. Sacrificing for your teammate. When was the last time you could honestly say you sacrificed something for someone else?
There is no greater honor than the sacrifice for a brother. - Matt Deggs The best part was when he talked about moving from transaction based leadership (data, get the job done, wins and loses) to transformation based leadership. When you care more about the people that you are leading than the numbers I truly believe the people will be able to reach a higher level of success and the numbers will take care of themselves.

I hope that I am able to have the impact that he is having in people's lives. You can hear what one of his players said a…

If You Don't Feel The Weight Of Being A Manager You Are Doing It Wrong

A friend recently posted the following quote:
A bad manager can take a good staff and destroy it, causing the best employees to flee and the remainder to lose all motivation.  As a manager, words like this scare me. One of my fears is letting down the team that I am supposed to be serving and leading. We have probably all been in a job where the boss is destroying the team; how do I know that I'm not one of those bad managers? How do I know if I'm doing the right things and pushing people to excel and not causing them to be defeated? If you are in a situation where you are responsible for employees do you think of these things too?

I will often ask my employees at least once a year, where they see themselves going in their career, what their goals are. Inevitably there are people that say they want to get into management one day. When I ask why the responses vary but for the most part fall somewhere in the area of wanting to be the person in charge, making the decisions. My fe…

Trying To Open The Door The Devil Keeps Slamming Shut

Open doors have been on my mind a lot this year. It started at church when our theme for 2017 is "Year of Open Doors". One of the things I put down for a declaration for 2017 was that God would open doors for me in my work. I have a good job but I still felt like it was not where I was meant to be. I had a picture in my head of where I thought things should go, what the right path was for me. But it felt like every time I thought there was an open door that I should head towards, the door was closed to me. When we find a door closed that we want to go through we often react in a way we shouldn't. We get mad, we ask why the world is against us. It seems like it is the right thing but the devil is trying to stop us. We try to attack the door, kick it in, storm it like a SWAT team. This is the door I'm meant to go through, it has to open!

Maybe we need to stop and ask if we really need to be persistent in achieving our goal or do we need to realize that the door is bein…

The Origin Of Pyrentos - The Fire Within

A few years ago I went through an exercise to start a company, nothing too exciting, just needed an entity that if I did any independent work I would have an actual organization to send an invoice from. It was also a good learning experience, it is actually a fairly simple and inexpensive process to open a sole proprietorship. The hardest part was picking a name for my company. I've had the opportunity to be involved in naming new products before so I was aware how hard it was going to be. The challenge comes in making sure the name you select isn't taken already. You brainstorm names that try to resonate with your customers and what you want you business to stand for, then you start looking them up only to find that someone else beat you to it.

Thanks to some experience looking at Greek in some of my Bible studies I got the idea that maybe I could find some Greek words that fit the essence of what I wanted a business of mine to stand for. I looked at Greek words that I liked …

Learning From Our Losses

Challenges get thrown at us in life that we don't always understand. But behind every challenge that we face there is a lesson to be learned. When we feel like we are losing at everything, rather than asking why these things keep happening, ask, "What am I supposed to be learning from this situation?" It is easy to see when we look back how certain hardships can be life forming, turning us into the person we were meant to be. When you are in the midst of a hardship that lesson can be harder to see, but I promise you it is there. God can take any bad situation and turn it into something glorious. Winning feels better but the fact is we learn more from our losses. You often see it in sports, the team that goes on the championship run most likely had a bad loss, a losing streak or a terrible year the previous season, but they learn from it and they build themselves into something even better. Without the loss they would never have figured out how to win.

It Is Okay To Be You, Just Be Consistent

We've all heard that we need to be ourselves. God only made one you so be the best one you can be. Part of needing to understand who we are is being comfortable in who we are, but also consistent. Don't be the person who doesn't know who they are so they either copy others trying to do what they think is right, or they are they are Jekyll and Hyde. Being inconsistent is one of the cruelest things we can do to another person. If you let someone get away with something one day and bring the hammer down as hard as possible the next all you are doing is teaching people to be afraid of you. The fear and apprehension is very real because they are not sure who you are going to be. If you want to be a good manager, parent or leader, be consistent.

Why I Talk To Myself

The current book I am reading is The Carpenter by Jon Gordon. One of my favorite lines in it is that you need to stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself. It sounds kind of funny but it is so true. One is a negative activity and the other is positive. There are always things in this world that will try to bring you down and your inner voice starts echoing them. Before you know it we start doubting ourselves. We question if we are good enough and we quickly start believing it.

Instead of listening to those voices we need to speak positive words into ourselves. What we tell ourselves is what becomes reality. Something I repeat to my girls often, if you tell yourself you can't do something you are basically guaranteeing yourself that you won't. Any great obstacle that has been overcome has started with the belief that it can be done.

When you look in the mirror, what do you tell the person you see?

What I Hope My Girls Are Learning - Observations From a Dance Dad

I am a dad to three daughters and I learned a long time ago that they weren’t going to play basketball, softball or any sport that I would actually really understand. I have dancers. Three dancers to be exact. I only have two that competitively dance right now but the youngest has grown up at dance competitions and has a love of the stage at 4 years of age that has entrenched me in the role of driver and bag carrier for at least 14 more years. Most of my time at competitions is spent saving seats and notifying others how many numbers before their next dance. During the rest of the year most nights I am driving kids to and from dance and waiting for class to get out. All of that time you can’t help but observe things. As this year has come to an end I’ve been reflecting on what I really love about my girls dancing. I can see their dance teachers instilling these principles in them and they will serve them well wherever they go in life.

Don’t ever compare yourself to someone else. There …

Being the smartest person in the room

Who wouldn't want to be the smartest person in the room? To be the one that everyone else looks to for the answers. To feel valued and important. If it is truly the case where any topic that comes up you know more than everyone else you are probably just calling a meeting to feed your ego. Treasure diversity. Seek out those that have strengths that compliment your weaknesses. Challenge your team to be okay challenging you. If you are the smartest person in the room every time, you aren't as smart as you think.

Your expectations are lower than they should be

One of my favorite scenes from any movie is from Facing The Giants. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it as a great story to watch with your whole family. It revolves around a team that didn't win as much as the parents and administration would gave liked. With their backs against the wall the coach and the team had to find out how to be successful in who they are. They couldn't change the fact other teams were bigger or faster or whatever, they could only control what they put into everything they did.

In the pivotal scene the coach called out the boy who was the leader of the team that wasn't reaching his full potential. He placed limits on himself, setting goals that seemed good enough but were far less than what he was capable of. This not only limited himself but it limited his team as well. When the coach  removed the distractions from his vision and forced him to push past what he thought was all that he could give, a transformation took place. Suddenly …

No day but today

Forget regret
Or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today
  - Another Day - Rent

The moments that we have in this life - to live, to learn, to laugh and to love - are fewer than we can ever imagine. If you are going to do something, give it your all. You may try and fail, but if you give your best you will never regret, and never wonder what might have been.

Go big or go home.

Live life to the fullest.

Seize the day.

Dance like nobody is watching.

The team that you most want to be a part of

We've all seen those championship caliber teams, whether in sports or business, they seem to have an unfair advantage and can succeed at a level others only dream about. What is it that they have that others don't? I believe they start at the beginning and their first step is what makes them champions. When a team is united in a common goal in what they want to achieve the success naturally follows. That doesn't mean you start out and declare your goal is to be the champs or the top sales team, every team has those same goals. You have to decide you want to be better than what you've already accomplished, first as individuals then united as a team.

But what actually happens, we fall far short of being our best team because not everyone is interested in being their best selves. There is the one that doesn't give their best effort at practice, or sometimes doesn't show up at all. The one that takes a longer lunch break because nobody notices. The one that brings …

The greater the goal the greater the obstacles

If you are like me, you probably set some goals in your life, things that get you excited. For me writing has been a goal of mine for some time, something I start, then things happen and I loose a step. I set a goal for myself recently of writing something twice a week, and it started well enough and then it hits me, I come down with some sort of stomach bug that has me less than 100% for a couple of weeks now. Without even realizing it a week and a half goes by and I haven't written anything.

Another goal that I'm not doing what I set out to accomplish. Getting sick is one of those things that just happens in life, and it is a small bump in the road that I can quickly recover from and get back on track. You learn the lessons that you are meant to learn and move on. For me I realized I need to find a way to work ahead more, plan around those unforeseen events that could keep me from my goal. What I've come to realize is that the bigger the goal the bigger the obstacles tha…

Expectations - Who is responsible when they aren't met?

It is always hard when someone doesn't meet your expectations. You feel disappointed, annoyed, and angry, along with some other emotions I'm sure. It is always easy to blame the person that is falling short but I am finding as good a job as I think I'm doing communicating what my expectations are I probably wasn't as clear as I thought. When someone isn't meeting your expectations, here is a quick process to go through to have a better result the next time.

Don't make them guess. If there is something you want but you never tell them, you can't expect them to just know. Did you actually say what your expectations are?Before you talk to them, make sure you know what it is you want for sure. You can't have your cake and eat it too.Ask the person why they aren't doing what you expect. Maybe there are some valid reasons that you haven't considered that is making it more difficult. Giving them a chance to express their view is important also, everyone…

Keys to communicating better when communicating better is key

The subject of communication has come up a lot recently in our house. As my wife and I have been trying to help our kids understand how to communicate better it has reminded me how important it is in every area of my life. Some of the points we brought up with our kids:

The words we use are only 7% of communication, the rest is body language and tone. What we say is as important as how we say it.If words are only 7%, you have to take extra time in communicating in an email, tweet, post, text or chat. People will read in tone and can easily change what you intended to say.Once our words are out, you can't take them back.It doesn't matter what your intentions are, it is how the other person feels about what you are saying that matters.The words that don't come out are as important as the words that do. The meditations of our heart impact what we say and how we act.Our words have power - power to build someone up or drag someone down. Never underestimate the influence you have…

This is your life

One of my all time favorite songs is from Switchfoot, in it there are a couple of lines that hit me every time I hear them:
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be? If you aren't answering these questions with a yes, then what do you need to do differently? If you don't like your job, your roll, how people treat you or whatever aspect you don't like, you have the power to change it. Yes there are some things that you don't have any control over, but there is plenty that you do. Why not start with those and see where it takes you?

We need more postivity

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced copy of Jon Gordon's book coming out later this month, The Power of Positive Leadership. I'm a little over halfway through it but I can't recommend it enough if you are a coach, teacher, leader, manager or parent. Almost all of us fall into one of those categories. With so much negativity in the world today, each of us has an opportunity every day to bring a positive approach to life.

I have always enjoyed Jon's books but this one might be my favorite. It is filled with practical guidance and encouraging stories that will lift your spirit and motivate you. You have more chance to impact the people and world around you than you can ever truly imagine.

Check out powerofpositiveleadership.com to find out more and download a sample chapter. You can also pre-order at Amazon.

What is your fear level?

I have been reflecting on my own career and some of the things that have been happening at my work recently and came to some realizations that I wasn't expecting. When things are getting challenging at work, or more importantly when I'm not performing at my best, a measure that correlates fairly closely is my level of fear. It could be the fear of losing a job, fear of screwing up, fear of letting down a teammate, fear of not delivering for a customer... you get the idea. There can be a lot of things that bring about fear in your job and in your life.

The downside of fear is that it can start putting us into a downward spiral that can be hard to pull out of. When a mistake happens, or you don't deliver as needed, you begin to operate in a heightened state of awareness, which is good because we don't want to make the same mistake twice. But when we move past awareness and into a state of fear we start second guessing ourselves and probably making more mistakes.

One of t…

How do you define success?

You will never be successful if your method is to tear others down. Only worry about being the best you you can be.

You will never be successful if you don't have a work ethic. Desire without effort is just a dream.
You will never be successful if you think you are better than your teammates. Nobody ever did it all by their self, intentionally letting down your team is the ultimate selfish act.

You will never be successful if you think your coach/teacher/boss doesn't know anything. Be humble enough to know there is always something you can do better.
Being successful doesn't mean being the best, what do you want your life to be?
If you don't like how things are going, your place, your spot, the attention you get, etc. Start by looking in a mirror, chances are that is where the problem is, but even if it isn't I guarantee you that what you will find is the only thing you can actually control.