Archive - October, 2011

Stop Trying So Hard!

I learned very early on as a leader the importance of simplicity and the importance of not trying so hard.  When I was a Prison Warden over 10 years ago, I remember having regular meetings with my key staff to discuss what could be done to simplify their job and to encourage them to stop trying so hard.  Many times the answers to the simplicity question would be things such as: minimizing paperwork, reducing bureaucratic log jams, streamlining of central office vs. prison facility processes…

On the other hand it seemed to take more time for them to understand the concept of “not trying so hard.” Often times they felt as though the inmates would respond better if they were “over the top” or their supervisors would notice them if they tried really hard.  They had to learn the difference between being a hard working, get er’ done, follow the rules and do what’s right type of employee and an employee that simply tried way too hard.  The reality was the employees that tried way too hard were the ones that caused most of the problems in our prison facility.

I’ve always valued cultures of simplicity and not trying so hard.  I also value cultures of high performance and although people may think the two are mutually exclusive, high performance and lack of the over the top “trying so hard” go hand in hand.  High performance and doing what’s right, the right way will begin to come natural.  Just think how natural it feels when the Chick-fil-A employees greet you with a smile and a “My Pleasure.”

When the leader falls into the “Trying Too Hard” category, it creates problems for everyone.  Relax, chill and Stop Trying So Hard!  The people that you are trying to impress can see right through that mess. Focus on creating a culture of Simplicity & Not Trying So Hard.

Some examples of ways to create a culture of simplicity and not trying so hard can include:

  • Stop trying so hard and making everything a”Big Deal.”
  • Help “over-the-top” employees find an appropriate balance.
  • Avoiding knee jerk reactions.
  • Embracing the “5 Minute 5 Phone Calls” concept.
  • Allowing your team to have some space, allowing your team to do their job. (Avoid Micromanagement)
  • Reducing the amount of paperwork, steps, hoops, processes…
  • Creating a culture of healthy conflict and the minimization of drama.

Share your thoughts, experiences, opinions on the importance of Simplicity and Trying Too Hard.  How have you seen either side of this coin play out positive or negative?

Steve Jobs & Apple – Brilliant 60 Minutes Interview

This is a great 60 minutes interview with Walter Isaacson, the author of Steve Jobs autobiography.  There are some great nuggets from Steve Jobs’ life, family, style and some crazy cool twists and turns.  Then end of the interview focuses on how the iPad has changed the lives of families of and individuals living with autism. Really Good Stuff!

Leadership Is Like Riding a Bike

Although there are thousands of leadership books and leadership gurus, leadership isn’t something you can simply read about… you have to do it. It’s not rocket science, it’s a simple science.

Leadership is just like riding a bike — you can’t just read about riding a bike, you have to get on the bike, have someone help steady you, or maybe use training wheels, try to keep your balance and start pedaling. At first you will be a little wobbly and you may even crash a few times.

If you learn from your mistakes and stay after it, you will definitely get better. Although you may become a proficient bike rider, you must be mindful of the fact that there are plenty of new bike tricks to learn and different levels of bikes to ride.

Leadership is the exact same way, you have to get on the leadership bike, have someone help you get started, start pedaling, crash a few times, learn from your mistakes and continue to grow. Next thing you know, you will move from JoeToPro.

Leadership Is as Simple as Riding a Bike and boils down to these Simple Things:

  • Believe In Yourself
  • Believe In Others
  • Point The Direction
  • Provide An Environment For Growth
  • Inspire and Motivate Others
  • Move People From Here To There
  • dream BIG. think BIGGER.

Often times people make leadership more difficult than it has to be. Leadership is about trust, influence and relationships. Leadership Is Like Riding A Bike, Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu says it this way, “When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally.” Simply put, it was simple.

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. ~Ernest Hemingway

Is leadership like riding a bike? Is leadership really that simple? Share your thoughts and experiences with leadership being made more difficult than it had to be.

Steve Jobs Introduces Macintosh To The World

This is a great video and reminder of an iconic figure whose legend lives on.  As a matter of fact I’m typing this post on some distant version of the 1984 computer that Steve Jobs introduces in this video.

Outside of the people yelling and screaming for the introduction of this product.  The one thing in this video that I really liked was the simple 2 word cursive writing that showed on the screen. The words were simply Insanely Great!  One thing is certain, Mac and iAnything are all insanely great.

~Insanely Great

FREE Training Guaranteed To Make You A Better Thinker

In yesterday’s post I shared a video from Seth Godin and in which he shared one sentence that really challenged me.
He was referencing the value of daily blogging and he said, “Having to say intelligent things about what you notice in the world makes you smarter.”  That is absolutely brilliant.

I have been blogging nearly every day for the last 4 years and I can actually say that I’m definitely a better thinker because of it. According to Seth Godin, not only am I a better thinker, I’m smarter.

Seth actually put into words what I’ve thought for quite some time.  The best learning and training we have is FREE and readily available to each of us.  This learning is at our disposal and it’s not about some sort of formal learning type situation.  We actually have the ability to learn, grow and develop from every-day, all-day situations.

Sometimes, I Can’t Stop Thinking; I may even go overboard, but I’m always thinking, learning, processing and orienting my world from every single interaction.  If I’m coaching my son’s football team, I’m processing, thinking and learning from 3rd and 4th graders. When I go through a restaurant drive-thru, I’m processing and learning from my interaction and their processes.  When I read tweets and blogpost, I’m learning.  As I type these words, I’m thinking, learning and processing this revelation of thoughts to paper.  The cool thing is that these interactions become lessons, sermon illustrations, conference talks, personal mantras, chapters in books and even helpful strategies for my clients.

As humans we have approximately 3,000 thoughts per day, some questions we must as ourselves is, “Are we learning from those thoughts?” and “What are we thinking?”  If you want to grow, learn from all of your interactions today, tomorrow and yesterday.  It’s all about taking your life, your lens, your values, your experiences and processing them in connection to world around you.

There is a FREE Training Guaranteed To Make You A Better Thinker…  that training is your life, your experiences and a willingness to learn from the two.

So what do you think? 

Do you make a conscious effort to learn from your daily interactions?  Share some examples of great lessons that you’ve learned from the most unlikely situations.

Seth Godin Talks To Dan Cathy About Writing, Leadership & Success

Great video of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy interviewing Seth Godin.  Seth shares some brilliant thoughts on writing, leadership and what success isn’t.

My favorite thought in this interview is, “Having to say intelligent things about what you notice in the world makes you smarter.”  What is your favorite thought from this video?

Uniting The Church In Prayer

Prayer Donor from Matthew Sloop on Vimeo.

I wanted to share this video with you about an organization, whose sole purpose is to unite and connect the world and the church in prayer.  The organization is Prayer Donor, you can check out their site at  I personally know the founder @MatthewSloop who is the real deal and they have been great supporters of

They have developed a site where you can basically share prayers and pray for others, all around the globe. It’s a great daily reminder and opportunity for us to pray for others and tool to remind us the power of prayer.  Check out the site, post a prayer, donate some prayers (pray for others.)

“Prayer is of transcendent importance. Prayer is the mightiest agent to advance God’s work. Praying hearts and hands only can do God’s work. Prayer succeeds when all else fails.” ~E.M. Bounds

Do you take the time to pray for others?  Are you guilty of saying I’ll pray for you and moving right along without even taking a second to pray?

Tim Tebow, Chick-fil-A & The Anti-Christian

I have always been amazed by the hatred that Tim Tebow has received over the life of his public athletic career.  When he was at the University of Florida many people couldn’t stand him and the fact that he proudly represented John 3:16 on his eye black, his famous speech “The Promise” the incident with blood running down his face and the list goes on and on.  I always liked Tebow in college, simply because of how he represented himself, although I didn’t particularly like his coach or the Florida Gators.

Now that Tim Tebow is in the NFL this Love/Hate condition is even larger and on a more national level.  In the City of Denver Tebow gets ripped by Anti-Christian groups on a regular basis.  Yet, he gets cheered on by thousands of fans that have made his Jersey one of the most purchased Jersey’s in the NFL.  Tim Tebow is more than a quarterback for the Denver Broncos, he’s an iconic figure that’s represents Christian, good and wholesome.

Tebow appears to have gotten used to the criticism and has never once backed down from outwardly sharing his faith, as matter of fact he boldly ends every interview with “God Bless!”  People in the media and NFL analysts are publicly concluding that the hatred of Tebow is primarily based upon his outward showing of his faith and religious beliefs.  Inside the NFL host “JB” James Brown asked his co-host Cris Collinsworth a question regarding how Time Tebow is treated and Collinsworth was straightforward about his thoughts.  Collinsworth said, “It’s unbelievable JB, that one of the best kids – pure kids that’s ever come into the NFL, is hated because of his faith, because of his mission work, because of the fact that he wears it on his sleeve…”

In Matthew 10 in the Bible, Jesus talks about people hating you because of Him.  I think Tebow not only understands that but lives with the understanding of Matthew 10:32-33 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.”

I recently experienced a similar Love/Hate relationship in regards to Chick-fil-A.  I was doing some consulting with one of my clients and I was using an analogy of Chick-fil-a with this room full of department leaders.  We had even discussed having lunch at Chick-fil-A, in order to observe and learn.  One of the leaders in the room was adamant about the fact that he didn’t want to go to Chick-fil-A and that he didn’t like them, their leadership, their Christian views and what they stand for.  It’s one thing to disagree with someone because of their views, however this hatred and dislike that comes from the Anti-Christian is superfluous.

No matter how much people hate on Tebow or Chick-fil-A for that matter, the bottom line is they win. After weeks of “Tebow” chanting fans in Denver, the 3rd string QB finally got his start yesterday against the Miami Dolphins.  He was back in Florida, somewhat of a homecoming and had both Miami and Denver fans cheering him on and his college coach Urban Meyer on the Miami sidelines.   Tebow started slow; however in the 4th quarter he led a very improbable comeback that only puts more fuel on the Love/Hate Tebow fire.  In his first start this year, Tebow rallied the Denver Broncos with two touchdown passes in the final 2:44 of the fourth quarter to force overtime, and Matt Prater ‘s 52-yard field goal gave them an 18-15 win Sunday over the stunned Miami Dolphins

For the Anti-Christian’s and those who hate Tebow exclusively because of his faith, I say get a grip.  Instead of always focusing on what you are against, take a play out of Tim Tebow’s playbook and focus on what you are for.  I’ll end this with a little wisdom and life perspective from a young NFL QB by the name of Tim Tebow who happens to be a man of faith,   “If someone asks, I’ll always be willing to share His will because I also know that there are a lot more important things than football and that is one of them. That ultimately overrides football any day of the week.”  

What do you think about the Love/Hate relationship with Tim Tebow and the Anti-Christian?  Why are so many people willing to loudly share what they are against and not so willing to do the same about what they are for?

New Season For The Williams’ Family

I am making an announcement about the new Season for The Williams’ Family.  Before I announce what that season is and where we are going, let me rewind almost 8 months ago.  I actually made the “Big Announcement #2” that I was going to be transitioning out of my role at into a new season of ministry for my family.

Fast forward 8 months and I have started a consulting company Nxt Level Solutions LLC.  The short and skinny of what we do is help organizations with both external and internal growth. We do this by helping with Leadership Development, Strategy, Diversity Consulting and New Media. In a short amount of time, God has blessed us with an amazing group of organizations and individuals to work with.  We are growing and at the same time helping others go farther faster. On top of this, more entrepreneurial adventures are around the corner and I’ve been blessed to continue sharing the message of Church Diversity around the country.

As far as the new season for the Williams’ family, we are going to be (give me another paragraph).   I have received many texts, DM’s & calls about what the new season is; let me explain a little further. When we made the decision to start a new season for our family 8 months ago, one of the goals was for us to continue to grow as a family.  As we prayed about what that would look like, LaKendria and I set one of our primary goals as her being able to stay home.  Years ago we thought this would have been important when our boys were young; however we are finding that it’s important really important at their current stage.

So the New Season For The Williams’ Family is not about us going to a new place physically, but rather LaKendria is going to be staying home.  Yep straight up Betty Crocker, Soccer Mom, Family Coordinator, Supporter, Teammate, Mother, Partner, Wife & making us a better family SAHM.  She put her notice in this week and her last day will be sometime in November.

This wasn’t simply a goal for us, but a step of faith and an act of listening to God’s Whispers. God is oh so many steps ahead of us, we are happy to follow his lead.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 NCV say’s it this way, “There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season.”  I’m really looking forward to this special season.

What new seasons does God have for you and your family?   He’s whispering, are you listening?

My Barbershop Ministry

LC Stories | Author of Life from Jonathan Meisner on Vimeo.

For those of you that have been around or have connected with me on one of my Social Media Channels; you know that I go to the barbershop every Friday.  As a matter of fact I have went to the barbershop every week for as long as I can remember and it’s now a tradition for my boys and I. Every Friday after school we hit Sonic Happy Hour and then hit the Barbershop.

In my world the traditional “Black Barbershop” is one of those great places to debate, to learn, to connect, to develop relationship, to gain wisdom, to talk sports, to talk noise and to minister.  I remember several years ago I began developing a relationship with a guy named Adam who also got his haircut every Friday.  Week after week Adam and I would talk, and I could tell this guy really had some amazing potential.  I would invite him to church all the time, but in the barbershop it would generally take a lot of work to get people to church because in most people’s eyes, I went to “The White Church.”

I kept inviting Adam for probably about a year and one weekend when I was preaching he took me up on my invitation. The cool thing is that he began attending frequently. Next thing I know he was plugged in, serving, giving, attending a small group and growing in his relationship with Christ.  He is one of the guys that I personally mentor and I can’t wait to see what God does through his life and his witness.

I remember talking with Adam one day and he said that before he ever knew that I was a pastor he watched how I carried myself in the barbershop and how I interacted with my boys for a long time.  He said that was more of a reason to check out my church than the fact that I was a Pastor.

The reality is that our lives are our biggest outreach tool.  Who are you inviting, remember people are watching and they are looking for a reason to follow God or an excuse to follow the world.

God uses all stories to shape His story.  The above video is a piece that @Jmeisner14 from put together and it features three stories and reminds of God’s hand on our lives. One of those stories is Adam’s story.  Parts are shot in my barbershop and yes that’s by barber. I keep saying “my” because the title of this post is “My Barbershop Ministry.”  It’s amazing how The Author Of Life uses our story and even weekly conversations in the barbershop to tell his story. It’s awesome to be a part of watching Adam help shape the stories of others and especially the next generation of World Changers.

The barbershop is one of my ministries…  What daily or weekly places are you ministering in that you didn’t even realize that it was a ministry.

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