Archive - August, 2010

Church Management System Meets Social Media

Earlier this month Fellowship Technologies and The Table Project announced the formation of a new partnership that will combine the best in church management software with an innovative new social community platform.

Fellowship technologies flagship church management system Fellowship One (F1), is a web-based church management software solution for dynamic churches of any size or denomination and used by over 1,500 churches worldwide.    I have used Fellowship One for years and I have not began to even scratch the surface of what it can do…  It’s Awesome!

Fellowship One provides tools for managing members, visitors, volunteers, events, donations, and more.  A central feature of Fellowship One is the Groups capabilities that allow churches to easily manage hundreds, or even thousands, of small groups. Through Fellowship One Groups, the church can empower lay leaders to manage and report on the groups under their care while maintaining the ability to monitor the health and effectiveness of the small group ministry.

Some churches want to provide additional community tools beyond what is provided by Fellowship One. They desire aspects of traditional social applications like Facebook, but within a safe environment that is managed by the church, and preferably linked to their existing membership data.

The Table Project seeks to fill the gap between church management software and secular social media applications. The Table Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help churches “Live Church Together” through community-building software. They go beyond traditional social media through their platform called “The Table,” a custom tailored solution for the church that aims to move people beyond the pews and into authentic life-changing relationships.

The Table Project is currently conducting a private beta of their community tools with a number of influential churches. After incorporating feedback from the beta program, The Table Project will be made available to all churches. Basic integration with Fellowship One’s membership data is already complete with deeper levels of integration planned for future releases.

I am looking forward to seeing this come out of beat and released to all churches.  In the past these “Christian Only” social media platforms have had minimal success, because in my opinion they actually marginalize the “social” part of social media.  Due to the success of Fellowship One, the existing church membership data, the focused approach and the amazing capabilities of the church management system, this collaboration and integration with “The Table” Project can prove to truly be an added value for The Table, Fellowship One  and ultimately the church community.

I guess other churches will find out, when they get a seat at “The Table.”  For more information on Fellowship One, click here.

What do you think about a great church management system and social media combo?

7 Potholes Of Twitter

I am a huge Twitter advocate and embrace the beauty of Twitter as a tool to: network, develop relationships, find information, share information, promote your business, promote your brand, make the world smaller, minister to people etc.  Although those are all good things… Twitter Is Not All Good!

What I mean by Twitter is not all good is the fact that the tool itself is great; however the element of humans using the tools can create some problems (go figure).  Twitter can actually ruin your life if you don’t guard yourself and become aware of the fact that if you choose to drive down the Twitter Highway there are some huge potholes to avoid (I can’t stand potholes, they jack up your car).  The potholes on the Twitter can jack up your life.  Here are the 7 Potholes Of Twitter.   Remember, these potholes Can Ruin Your Life!

  • 1. Porn- If you find yourself being intrigued by the revealing Twitter profile pics. and clicking to learn a little bit more, this is a sign of trouble.  Next thing you know that click will lead to another click that will lead to you clicking a link of a tweet that looks something like this “Check out this video of me all alone.”  This my friends is the first pothole to a road that will ruin your life.
  • 2. Secret DM’s- If you are married and find yourself having secret DM conversations with someone of the opposite sex, that my friends is more than a little speed bump.  What I mean my secret DM’s, are those seemingly innocent conversations that your spouse doesn’t know about.  Always leave your Twitter account stuff accessible to your spouse…  I recommend universal passwords for both you and your spouse for all Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and Social Media accounts; in other-words all log-in and passwords are the same.  I would extend that same policy for your entire household, you may detour your children from taking a wrong exit.  If you find yourself remotely questioning the potential of one of your Twitter conversations or relationships; share the conversation with your spouse and block that person immediately.
  • 3. It’s All About Me– Twitter can be a very competitive form of Social Media, as a matter of fact many of the new apps. or infomercial DM’s are relative to ways to increase your followers.  Most Twitter users are guilty of checking their number of followers and have a desire to increase our number of followers. It’s important that the desire to increase our numbers or influence doesn’t turn into the “It’s All About Me” syndrome.  Don’t be so consumed with your numbers that you get big headed and think you’re the “Big Man” or “Big Woman” on the Twitter campus.  Value and respect your followers and appreciate the numbers that you have, because in Twitter World it’s not all about you, it’s all about relationships, authenticity and adding value to the Twitter Community.  An easy way to check yourself is to daily recognize that your account, followers and entire Twitter Profile can be deleted with one bug, virus or error.  If it’s all about you, let me just say you are one pothole error away from being ruined.
  • 4. Time- It can be easy to get sucked into the Twitter time consuming capsule.  Ask yourself this question “Do I find my time on Twitter interrupting my productivity time at work or becoming a hindrance to my time with friends, family, spouse…  In case you are in denial, naive or oblivious to your time problem; ask the people closest to you, do they see your time on Twitter as a problem?  There are many tools to help you with your productivity and potentially help you avoid the Twitter Time pothole.  Here is a list of the Top 111 Twitter Tools.
  • 5. Multiple Personality Disorder- Unfortunately in an online world people can develop a “Twitter Personality” that is different from their offline personality.  This is a hard road to travel because you can find yourself expending energy and fueling the Twitter Personality that’s not the real you.  These personalities begin to compete with one another and trouble is on the way.  Ask yourself this question “Is my Twitter Personality the real me?”  Be yourself and don’t get caught up in the fake Multiple Personality Disorder Game… It will ruin the real you!
  • 6. Envy– If you find yourself full of Envy, as it relates to the influence that other Twitterers have then your next exit is the road of bitterness.  Many times it’s the subtle statements, thoughts or comments that communicate your heart is beginning to fill with Envy.  Comments like “I Can’t believe so and so has that many followers” or “Why do people follow them and they tweet the stupidest things” or “There is no way they should have that much influence” or you start referring to @guykawasaki  as @girlkawasaki.  You should encourage and celebrate others in the TwitterWorld who have been blessed with influence.  Envy is the tribute that mediocrity pays to genius, hard-work and success… it holds you hostage.  Here is a 3 min. video that I shot dealing with Envy.
  • 7. CopyCat– Don’t simply copy what others in the TwitterWorld are doing, Be Yourself.  Do You! It’s A Statement… Not A Question!

Share your thoughts on any of the 7 Potholes Of Twitter or add some additional to the list.

You Are Not Seth Godin!

You Are Not Seth Godin! Some of you are probably reading this post and thinking, “Duh, state the obvious!”  Seriously, You Are Not Seth Godin and neither am I.  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely consider myself to be a student of the Seth Godin School of Thought.  As a matter of fact, this little ol’ blog is an Arkansas Kissin’ Cousin of Seth’s book Small Is The New Big.

I think one of the key leadership/life/marketing lessons that we can learn from Seth Godin, is simply this, “You Are Not Seth Godin.” Instead of learning from Seth Godin or learning from [fill-in the blank], people try to be a copy-cat of that person.   Just because Seth Godin has recently Given Up On Traditional Book Publishing, doesn’t mean every other author should.  Instead authors should learn from Seth’s decision and apply those learning’s to their situation.

What makes Seth Godin remarkable is the fact that he’s Seth Godin.  He’s a bald-headed, almost action-figure-looking, brilliant, thought leader and marketer that challenges us to dream BIG. think BIGGER. Seth takes the most simple concepts and makes them profound. He states in 300 words what most people can’t state in 300 pages. He doesn’t Twitter or Facebook in the same fashion that most people do; however in his book Tribes he defines leveraging Social Media as we know it.

What makes Seth Godin remarkable is that he learns from everything and he applies those learning’s through the Seth Godin filter.  He doesn’t learn from so and so and try to become so and so.  Seth learns from so and so and through his God-Given Seth Filter, he makes concepts remarkable.  Who else can make a statement like “Very Good Is Bad” and make it make sense. You might ask, How can very good be bad?   According to Seth in one of the old TED talks, “The trouble with very good is that it’s not remarkable enough and people don’t talk about it. They tune it out.”

You Are Not Seth Godin!  That’s the point…

Focus on becoming the best “You,” because “You Are Remarkable!”

Creating A Culture Of Simplicity

I learned very early on as a leader the importance of simplicity.  When I was a Warden in the Prison system, I would periodically have meetings with my key staff to discuss what could be done to simplify their job.  Many times the answers to the simplicity question would be things such as: minimizing paperwork, reducing bureaucratic log jams, freedom (not inmate freedom, but freedom from their immediate supervisor), streamlining of central office vs. prison facility processes etc.

I’ve always valued simplicity and have embraced the gravity of creating a culture of simplicity; both at home and at work.  A culture of simplicity can include but is not limited to:

  • Stop trying so hard and making everything a “Big Deal.”
  • Avoiding knee jerk reactions.
  • Embracing the “5 Minute 5 Phone Calls” concept.
  • Outline clear expectations and expect things do be executed. (Follow-up, Don’t follow around. See Next Bullet point)
  • Allowing your team to have some space, allowing your team to do their job. (Avoid Micromanagement)
  • Reducing the amount of paperwork, steps, hoops, processes…
  • Realize that “Meetings Don’t Make You Better.”
  • Creating a culture of healthy conflict and the minimization of drama.

Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)…  Stop trying so hard and embrace “Simplicity.”

Simple People+Simple Culture+Great Leadership=Colossal Results!  BigIsTheNewSmall

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. Leonardo da Vinci

Share your thoughts, experiences, opinions on the importance of Simplicity or the lack of.  What are you doing or what have you seen done to create a culture of Simplicity?

The Social Media Influencer

Can You Recognize The Social Media Influencer? Well the obvious answer is yes, absolutely I can.  You may even think of some of your favorite Social Media Influencers and why you follow them.  Leading and influencing in the world of social media can sometimes be more difficult than leading/influencing in a traditional leadership/work setting.

The social media influencer has to lead purely through relational and content equity.  There is no positional equity, hierarchical leadership or formal boss.  The social media influencer has to answer this daily question for their followers: “Why should I listen to, or follow you?”  In other words, what are you providing that makes people want to follow you; especially when there are thousands of others who are only a click away.

Social Media Influence is not simply about the numbers but rather about value.  @Oprah has over 4 million followers on Twitter, however she hasn’t tweeted since May and therefore currently has zero Social Media influence.  @Oprah definitely has potential, but so do every single person in the world of Social Media. Remember This — Potential unrealized is just potential.

On the other hand @revrunwisdom is probably one of the most influential individuals on Twitter.  If he’s not the most influential, he’s definitely at the top, as he is the most re-tweeted Twitter user of all-time.  Why is Rev Run so influential?  It’s quite simple, he provides daily value to every single person in his twitter stream.  He has found is unique voice which is sharing consistent daily morsels of wisdom.  This is an extension of what he did for years prior to joining Twitter at the end of his TV Show Run’s House.  He would close out his show with a quote typed onto his blackberry and end with a “God Is Love… ~Rev Run.”

5 Ways To Be Recognized as A Social Media Leader:

  • 1.) Can You See What I’m Saying? Find your voice.  Online voice should be a natural overflow of your IRL (In Real Life) voice.  They should not be mutually exclusive, but rather one in the same.
  • 2.) When You Look At Me Who Do You See? Don’t try to be a copycat or phony.  Authenticity is crucial, so Keep it Real!  “Do You! It’s A Statement… Not A Question.”
  • 3.) Can I See You? Be accessible, helpful, respond to tweets, write a guest post for someone, remember that your online influence is based upon those who choose to follow or connect with you.  Key word… choose!  @RevRunWisdom is a rare breed in the fact that he doesn’t follow anyone.  Accessibility is important, but not paramount See #2. (Be yourself.)
  • 4.) Can You See My Muscles? Be willing to flex your Social Media muscle by tackling the tough issues, helping worthy causes and adding overall value to the online community.
  • 5.) Can You See Me? People can’t follow you if you don’t give them anything to follow.  Just like the newspaper, you need to deliver regular content.  You don’t have to be hyperactive, just active.  Write something, tweet something, share something!  @oprah’s 4 million plus followers have probably forgotten that she even exists, at least from a Social Media perspective.  Her worldwide television influence could be exponentially multiplied if she extended consistent reach to her social media community.

Thoughts?  Who influences you in the world of Social Media and why?

#1 Reason You Shouldn’t Dance In The Middle of The Street

This is the #1 Reason You Shouldn’t Dance In the Middle of The Street or do anything else not very bright (that’s politically correct for stupid).  I read that the guy in this video received only minor injuries, which makes it more comfortable for me to share it with you guys & gals.  All I can say is, Wow!  I’m not sure if this is funny, scary or sad; I guess it depends on your sense of humor.  Don’t dance in the streets!

Life Lesson: If people tell you that you are an accident waiting to happen; please be careful and thoughtful, otherwise you may find yourself on the other side of waiting.  In other-words, unnecessary accidents will continue to happen.

College Football National Championship

I know it’s early to begin the College Football National Championship Smack talk; however with the release of the new AP Top 25 Poll… Let The Smack Talk Begin.  For full disclaimer I am a Sooner Fan and I a picking my Sooners to win it all (Something about that #7 ranking, that’s sounding real good right about now).  The non-homer in me says the Alabama Crimson Tide will be hard to beat.

I have listed the Top 10 in the recent AP Poll and I would like to get your thoughts on who you think will win the championship.  Vote on one of the Top 10 listed or other if you think another team outside of the pre-season top 25 will win it all.

I’m not worried about Boise State as they will jump out of the Top 10 at the beginning of the season with a loss to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6th.  From that point on let the College Football, non playoff shuffle begin.

Go ahead, let the smack talk begin and vote below!


The First Day Of School

Tomorrow is the first day of school for my son’s who are now going into the 2nd and 6th grade.  This is a big year, as it’s the first year for my 11yo son Wesley to be in Middle school and this will be the only year that my youngest son has attended public school without his brother being at the same school.  They will not be together for the remainder of their school careers.

Although they love summer break, they cannot wait until school starts tomorrow.  They have already neatly laid their clothes out that they will be wearing on the first day.  They have a sincere excitement on their face along with a deep anticipation of what this new school year will bring.

I remember the First Day Of School and no matter the school year, it was always a Big Deal. What is it about the first day of school that is such a BIG Deal?  I mean seriously, it’s not like we have never experienced it before, it just happens to be a new year.

There are many things that make First Day Of School so exciting.  It’s a day of anticipation, possibilities, connections, potential and opportunities.  The First Day Of School is not about “what is”, but rather about “what could be.”

What if we lived every day like it was the first day of school?

  • We would anticipate what tomorrow will bring.
  • We would dream about the possibilities.
  • We would look forward to new connections and appreciate existing relationships.
  • We would focus on realizing our potential.
  • We would realize the only thing between us and success is opportunity.

Live your life as though tomorrow is The First Day Of School.

Do you live your life as though tomorrow is The First Day Of School?  What do you remember about your first days of school?

Focus On The Things That Matter

In this fast paced busy world, it’s very easy to waste time, energy and focus on things that don’t matter.  We should consistently take inventory of our lives and make sure that we are focusing on the things that matter. God, Family and all of the other stuff… in that order.

We must evaluate our lives and decide whether or not the right things are getting the right focus.  Is God getting your focus?  Is your spouse getting your focus?  Are your kids getting your focus?  The big question is whether or not your job and worrying about what people think getting too much focus.

In the words of Gandhi, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Make the most of your today’s and tomorrow’s and learn how to Focus On The Things That Matter.


The Employee Death Grip

It always surprises me to see leaders who hold onto their staff with The Employee Death Grip, which happens to be a distant cousin of the iPhone 4 death grip.   The iPhone 4 receives bad frequency, bad performance and drops calls altogether if you hold it with the death grip.  Similarly, death grip employees will have bad performance, a bad connection and will leave altogether.  This grip is a feature of leaders who are unwilling to let their employees out of their grips for fear of losing the employee or losing control.

When I was a young Warden, my mentor and boss would frequently tell me this regarding my staff members. “Scott, hold onto your team loosely, because ultimately they are not yours to hold onto.” That statement has always stuck with me!

If we hold onto our employees loosely, they feel the freedom of the open hands which ultimately increases productivity and develops leaders.  Encouraging your employees to “grow and go” will result in you losing some great ones from time to time.  The harvest of the open hand abundance mentality will always be replenished.  On the other hand The Employee Death Grip scarcity harvest will quickly dry up. My team has lost a harvest of amazing team members in the last year and that harvest has been replenished with some equally amazing team members without missing a beat.

Scarcity Mentality – Not enough good to go around vs. Abundance Mentality – There is more than enough great to go around.

If you are in an Employee Death Grip situation encourage the leader to get a grip and open their hands.

Let Go! dream BIG. think BIGGER.

Share your thoughts and experiences about The Employee Death Grip.

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