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Showing posts from April, 2018

Just Give Me A Minute To Think

It is funny how some topics keep coming up in multiple situations with different people, obviously God is trying to send us a message. For me lately it has been the idea of taking some time to think, I've been hit with multiple times in the last week. We live such crazy hectic lives and everyone's jobs are constantly trying to squeeze every last ounce of productivity from them. Everyone is always tasked with finding ways to be more efficient. The downside of this is that when you are so pressed for time you tend to always do what you've always done. Is it any wonder that in so many of our workplaces so many individuals are frustrated because nothing ever changes?

In highly innovative companies like 3M they build in time for thinking and ideation, but for most that is frowned upon as wasted time. Everyone wants to get to the action items, what are we doing, what are the specific questions that need answers. Are we spending time trying to figure out what questions we didn…

Read A Book - Share A Book

At work the other day I was talking to a contact with one of our customers, she was talking about going through a transition to their new software platform and the challenges they are facing with it. I said that it is understandable, any change of that magnitude is going to be a challenge in an organization their size. I then recommended William Bridges Managing Transitions, which is the best book I've ever read about effectively managing change. Any time I have to be involved in a change I will get that book out and do a refresher.

After that conversation I felt happy that I was able to recommend a book that hopefully helps her out in some small way. It was a reminder to me of part of why I enjoy reading, sharing what I learn with others. If you've ever read a book that you really enjoyed you can't help but talk about it with your friends, I'm the same way. It is a great feeling to be able to recommend a book to someone and for them to thank you for the recommendation…

You Are The Antidote To Social Loafing

I was reminded of an idea I found in The Captain Classby Sam Walker, social loafing. The basics of it is for some strange reason when people get together and try to tackle a task they don't put in as much individual effort as they would if they were doing the same task alone. Of course the overall effort is greater because you have more people, but as an individual your effort is lower. Most teams operate this way, "I do my job but I'm not going to give extra effort, why should I when nobody else does?" Suddenly the individuals are in a race to the bottom to see who can give the least amount of effort and still achieve the team goals. It is hard to recognize because as a team you are accomplishing your goals, but could you actually achieve more?

In the book the antidote to this situation was the presence of one person that leaves no doubt that they are giving everything they have to the team. It is usually the person that other complain about in the hallway conversat…

Your Life Is A Story - Tell A Good One

I will admit, I'm very selective when it comes to picking out what books I want to read. I have a list that I add to as I learn about authors or titles I think I would enjoy. I go off of recommendations from authors I've enjoyed in the past, when someone I like to read says something is one of the best books they've read I tend to pay attention. The downside of that is sometimes a book goes on my list, I acquire it, and I don't always remember where I learned about it. I don't remember anything about how I learned about Donald Miller's book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story but when I started reading, it pulled me in more than anything I was expecting.

It was such an engaging story about how Donald Miller learned more about his own life by studying the art form of telling a story. He touched on some basic principles that are required to make a story, and the elements of what differentiates a good story from a bad story. …

Be The Person You Want Everyone To See

One of the greatest adventures we go on in this life is to discover who we are. Understanding what we are good at, what we are passionate about, what makes us happy, what makes us mad and what we have talents for. When you begin to understand yourself you have more confidence. The dangerous side of confidence is believing more in yourself than others do. At that point you begin justifying or defending yourself. If you have to tell people what you are good at, constantly reminding them of how valuable you are or how important you are, it never comes across as confidence, it just seems desperate.
Lots of people are in a position where they feel underappreciated, criticized, under valued or basically unloved. If you find that you are often defending yourself to others, it may be hard to face but there is probably truth in what you are defensive about. If you are told you aren't a good team player but you think you are, you won't get anywhere by arguing. You need to seek out why t…

Why Should I Care?

The phrase that has infuriated all of us at some point in our lives. There is nothing worse than being invested in something and trying to get others to recognize the value only to get an apathetic response. Everyone has areas of their life that they don't care about that much. For many people it is their jobs, they do what they need to in order to maintain their income. Those that want to see the business succeed it is a hard thing to wrestle with. You can't force someone to care. You can't yell at them till they care. You can't even give big raises and bribe them to care, it doesn't last as long as you think. The key is to surround yourself with as many people that are aligned in what they care about. Great teams have a singular focus and goal that everyone is committed to, that everyone cares about.

A great disservice is when the leader doesn't care, or what is probably more appropriate, doesn't appear to care. Appearances are everything. I know that if …

What A Difference A Year Makes

My first ever blog post was in 2006 (I just reread that, can't believe it has been that long), I spent a year back then exploring this online writing forum craze that took off and trying to have a voice as I attempted to sell technology solutions. I think that helped show me that I didn't really like trying to market myself and wasn't really a salesman at heart. After a career change I realized that I still had a desire to write within me. For the next 10 years I was trying to figure out what I wanted to say, who my audience was, what my "voice" was. But I failed more times than I care to remember, never knowing how I was unique, or if what I wanted to say was any different than any number of writers who were far more talented. I told myself that it was pointless because nobody would want to read what I had to say.

I don't know if I needed to struggle for 11 years to figure this out but one year ago a switch flipped. I became determined to set an interval of …

When Things Seem Darkest

We are just coming out of celebrating Easter and every year I reflect on how the followers and disciples of Jesus must have felt between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Here they thought there beloved leader, the one that was destined to lead them to a new kingdom and a better tomorrow, was gone, leaving them with no hope. That Saturday had to be one of the worst days any of them had gone through in their life. There was no hope for them, the feeling of complete darkness and despair had to overwhelm them. But then Sunday came, ushering in something greater than what they had even hoped for. 
None of us will go through the trials that Jesus did, nor have a fraction of the impact on this world that He did. But we all go through events in our life that leave us feeling lost, hopeless, broken and defeated. I once was fired from my job, it led me to doing what I was better suited for. That time between losing my job and finding my next one was one of the worst feelings I've had i…