Showing posts from 2017

Leadership In Nature - The Wolf Pack

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

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 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.