Archive - February, 2012

The Holy Spirit… For Quality Assurance Purposes

I was talking to an airline earlier and, upon verifying my information, the guy reminded me of the fact that, “this call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes.” I never really pay attention to that little statement or even give it an ounce of consideration. For some reason today, it caught my attention.

In the last couple weeks, I’ve heard of a couple pastors that had moral failures and other good Christian folks whom have made extremely poor choices. It got me wondering if those individuals ever thought they would find themselves in such precarious situations.

What if Christians embraced the fact that their life is being recorded for quality assurance purposes? Better yet, what if we truly embraced that we have someone who is speaking to us and guiding us in order to help ensure that we have a quality life.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16:12-15

Be Sensitive and Listen For Quality Assurance Purposes.

Thoughts?

How To Effectively Handle Criticism

Criticism is a one of those words that seems to cut most people like a knife.  Although the knife doesn’t seem as sharp when we put the word “constructive” in front of the word criticism; none-the-less the word still seems to pierce.

When I was growing up my mom would always tell me: “Son, you can’t control or worry about what people say… you can only control what you say and what you do.”  Later on in life, as a young leader I had a mentor that would always say “If you’re doing something worthy of people taking shots at you… they will.  I would much rather have a leader that people don’t always understand and who are occasionally criticized, than a “leader” that no one ever talks about.”   I’ve heard one of my old pastors say something like, “If you want to find the leader, look for the one with the arrow in their back!”

I tend to view criticism as neutral… “It Is What It Is!” I prefer to “Eat The Meat and Spit Out The Bones!” While chewing up the meat, you might find some pieces that are not cooked to you’re liking.  Although they are not cooked to your liking, it may be beneficial to go ahead and consume them.  Again, “Eat The Meat and Spit Out The Bones!”

If you don’t want to be criticized, I have some advice for you: Say Nothing, Do Nothing & Be Nothing!

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

I don’t ever want to find my place with those “Cold and Timid Souls.”

Criticism: “It Is What It Is!”

What do you think?  Share your thoughts!

This Policy Will Devastate Your Organization

Organizations tend to live and die by their Policy and Procedure Manuals.  There are policies and procedures for literally everything.  Just think about your organization and the number of policies and procedures that guide what you do.  Some policies and procedures are written, while others may simply be spoken or understood organizational mores.

There is one policy that in my opinion is the most devastating to an organization.  It’s the Behind Closed Doors Policy! You won’t find this written in your organization’s policy and procedure manual; however you will find it written on the faces of organizational leaders around the globe.

Some behind closed door meetings are appropriate and necessary.  There are many different types of Behind Closed Doors Policies that are detrimental to an organization, just ask Mr. Enron and Mrs. AIG. The Behind Closed Doors Policy that I’m referring to is this — What I say to you in your face is different that what I say about you behind closed doors.  This policy is a killer and often times it’s implemented without even realizing it.  This policy is born out of The Fundamental Flaw Of Leadership, which is rooted in not shooting straight with team members and not allowing them to know where they stand.

I remember changing supervisors one time at a particular job and my new supervisor brought me in his office and said this “Do you want to know what people say about you when you are not in the room?  Well here it is and proceeded to share.” That’s a great starting place and develops an Above Board Policy.

The policy that I have always incorporated into the culture of my various teams in ministry, non-profit and in corporate America is simply this:

  • 1.  You will always know where you stand and never have to guess.
  • 2.  I won’t say anything behind close doors that I have not or am not planning on saying to your face.
  • 3.  I will be gracefully-brutally honest with you and when necessary, in front of the entire team. (this is not an issue of correcting in public; however some issues are are more effectively handled in a public setting, especially when the public group is involved)

Behind Closed Doors Policies born out of an unwillingness to openly confront the brutal facts and they are detrimental to the health and wealth of an organization.  Replace your Behind Closed Doors Policy with an Above Board Policy.  The Above Board Policy always lets people know where they stand and reduces the potential for the detrimental types closed door meetings.

Open The Door and Release The Potential!

Have you experienced negative implications of a Behind Closed Doors Policy?  Share your thoughts on Behind Closed Doors Policy and Above Board Policy.

The #1 Place To Get Fresh New Blogging Ideas

I blog 5 – 6 times each week and it’s just a consistent part of my daily regimen.  People often ask me, “How do I come up with so many blogging ideas and so much blogging material?”  The answer to that question is simple.  The #1 Place To Get Fresh New Blogging Ideas is… Everywhere!

It’s truly that simple. There tons of blogging ideas everywhere, we simply have to look for them.  I’ll walk through a day for me and potential blogging ideas from when I wake up until lunch.

  • My morning 3-B Time: Bible, Books & Blogs
  • Conversations I have with my wife and boys over breakfast
  • Clips & thoughts from the morning news channels
  • Thoughts inspired from commercials
  • Conversations with clients
  • Things I see while driving to my lunch meeting
  • Conversations during my lunch meeting
  • Observations and business practices at the restaurant
  • Front page newspaper articles
  • People watching
  • Social media interactions, quotes & observations that I’ve had prior to my lunch appt.

The bottom line is Fresh New Blogging Ideas are everywhere.  There is actually some research that indicates that individuals whom blog daily are smarter. This is attributed to the fact that on a daily basis they are forcing themselves to think about and interact with the world around them in a different context.

I simply keep a running note of thoughts in my iPhone yellow notes.  I can easily jump on a flight and knock out a couple of weeks of blogposts or I can simply get up each morning and knock out a post from something that’s fresh on my mind.

The key is to think and to think often.

How do you get fresh new blogging ideas?  Share your thoughts on The #1 Place To Get Fresh New Blogging Ideas.

10 Reasons Bloggers Quit

I have been reading blogs and writing this blog for quite some time now, around 5 years to be exact. I have seen lots of trends in the world of blogging during those 5 years.

One of the more copious trends is individuals who set out in a furious sprint to be an avid blogger, only to find their blog desire come to a screeching halt.  As a matter of fact probably 50% of the bloggers that are featured on my blogroll probably have not updated in well over a month and many have forgotten about their blog altogether.

Many Blogger Start… Only Few Finish!  

10 Reasons Bloggers Quit

  • 1. Don’t have the right motivation to start a blog: Often times bloggers want to be the next Seth Godin or have so many people read their blog it crashes servers.  That’s definitely a motivation; however a great place to start from as it relates to motivation is simply this – write because you have something to share and you want to share it… period.  Ask: What’s my motivation?
  • 2. Don’t realize the commitment: The commitment that it takes to whip out consistent content is often times overlooked.  Just as sure as the next calendar day is coming, so is the commitment to write another blogpost.  Having the commitment to produce consistent content is key.  A blog is like a newspaper and if you expect it to be delivered daily and all of the sudden it’s not… you will start reading another newspaper.  Same things is true for a blog.  Ask: Am I committed to this?
  • 3. Don’t take the time to develop a strategy: Strategy is very important, how, when, why etc.  Abraham Lincoln says is this way, “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 hours sharpening my ax.” Ask: Do I have a blogging strategy for success?
  • 4. No one is reading:  It takes the right motivation, commitment, consistency, strategy, good content & patience before people will start reading.  There are some overnight success blog stories, but most success is a result of bloggers grinding it out.  Ask: Am I willing to write even if no one is reading?
  • 5. Nothing To Write About: Bloggers will quickly lose motivation as they lose creativity and inspiration.  What once started as a great place to share creativity, turns into an “Oh no, I don’t have anything to write about.”  This is where a strategy for the what and how to write will be helpful.  It’s important that bloggers find sources for inspiration and push threw the periods of creative blocks.  Even if you don’t have anything to write, write something, it’s the consistent act of writing that’s helpful.  Ask: Am I going to be intentional to seek out places for consistent inspiration & motivation?
  • 6. Not willing to learn: Every blogger has their own style and rhythm; however it’s important from bloggers to learn from other bloggers.  Bloggers could address every concern in this post if they would simply learn from others who are a few steps ahead of them.  Do you have a photography blog, make it a consistent point to read some of the best photography blogs in the world.  Need some inspiration or want to learn from one of the best bloggers there is, read Seth Godin’s blog.  Simply put, bloggers give up because they are not learning from the bloggers that finish strong.  Ask: Am I willing to learn from other bloggers?
  • 7. Lack Of Discipline: Discipline is defined as activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill.  Most bloggers simply lack the discipline to make it work over a period of time.  Ask:Am I gonna put in the work over time to create discipline?
  • 8. Lack Of Comments: Often times bloggers confuse comments with the degree of engagement.  There is sometimes a positive correlation between readers and comments; however over the years I have come to realize that some of my more popular posts didn’t necessarily always have the most comments, as a matter of fact on average you get about 1 comment per 100 readers.  Some bloggers have created communities that can drastically skew that number either way.I believe the Twitter Effect On Blogging has impacted comments overall.  Bloggers must be willing to write even though no one is commenting and try the 10 Techniques To Get More comments On Your Blog. Ask: Will I still write even though no one is commenting?
  • 9. Don’t Want To Invest The Time: Blogging is a serious time commitment and most people do not want to invest the time necessary for the blog to be successful.  Michael Hyatt outlines a very detailed post on How To Write A BlogPost In 70 Minutes Or Less. That may seem like  a lot of time, if you want to be good, you will have to invest some time.  Ask:  Am I willing to invest the necessary time needed for my blog to be successful?
  • 10. The Time Has Come: I believe that there is a time for everything, including a time to start and a time to finish.  Sometimes bloggers need to be intellectual honest and admit that their blog season has run it’s course.  It’s okay to just move on. Ask: Has my blog season come to an end?

Don’t simply start the race… Finish!

Why do you think Many Bloggers Start,  Only Few Finish?  Share your thoughts and experiences of bloggers not finishing the race.

Stop Aimlessly Wandering

Stop meandering around from place to place, thought to thought and opportunity to opportunity without landing on success.  Focus on the task, execute the game-plan and get to the finish line.  Upon arrival at the finish line of success, you must embrace the fact that it’s a temporary destination prior to your next successful journey.

The Aimless Wanderer will never see the finish line, because they are on a path that winds and zigzags to nowhere.

The Aimless Wanderer stands in front of The Stairway To Nowhere.

Stop Aimlessly Wandering.

5 Leadership & Life Lessons From Whitney Houston

I was trying to decide on whether to write a blogpost about leadership blind spots or write about Whitney Houston.  I had several people suggest that I simply write about both of them or merge the two.  So here it goes.

5 Leadership & Life Lessons From Whitney Houston

  • 1. You Have What It Takes – Kevin Costner said that although Whitney Houston was hugely successful, she still asked this question, “Am I good enough, pretty enough & will they like me?”  His response was this, “You were great, beautiful & they loved you.”  You have what it takes, you must truly believe it deep down inside.
  • 2. God Does The Fixing – Whitney Houston was quoted saying these words, “Any way you fix me Lord, I’ll be satisfied.”  There is a lot of power and humility in that quote.  Lord I’m broken, I know I need fixed, not sure what fixed means, but I so desperately need whatever help you can give me.
  • 3. You Have To Step Out To Find Out – As Whitney Houston’s Musical Director Rickey Minor talked about his experience with Whitney Houston singing the Star Spangled Banner.  Rickey said they were trying to figure out how to make it special and they didn’t know what they were doing.  Rickey said you have to step out and he said it this way, “God said Go For It, Go Ahead… We did it and it changed my life.”  You have to step out to find out.
  • 4. Stop Ridiculing & Give Love – Whitney’s death showed how easy it is for people to ridicule instead of seeing the bright side of things.  Many people were quick to point out her challenges and shortcomings instead of the positives of her life.  Whitney’s funeral showed what happens when people point out the positive aspects of someone’s life – It Inspires! Whitney’s bodyguard Ray Watson talked about what performers like Whitney go through just to give people a little entertainment.  His final words were, “Stop Ridiculing & Give Love!”
  • 5. Your Life Can Be A Larger Impact Than You Know – Whitney will go down as one of the best vocalists in modern day history.  Whitney sold millions of records, in addition to making millions of people smile, laugh, sing and dance.  Although she made an impact on this world before she left this earth, it’s arguable that her funeral may have had the most eternal impact of any artist to date.  The world was watching as God’s orchestration of some of the most amazing communicators of the gospel.  During a moment that many thought was going to be a low or sad occasion, God used Whitney Houston’s Homegoing Celebration to lift the name of Jesus High.

We are naive at best if we don’t understand how much Whitney’s funeral impacted the world with the Gospel.

Share your thoughts on the above lessons or lessons that you learned from Whitney Houston’s Career, Life and Funeral.

7 Practical Ways Organizations Can Leverage Social Media

The World Of Social Media is here to stay and that has major implications for the business sector, non-profits, organizations and Corporate America.  There are over 250 million bloggers, over 845 million Facebook users, 500 million Twitter users, 40 million Google+ users and 34% of these folks post opinions about products and brands.  These shared opinions are a big deal, as research shows 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations and only 14% trust advertisements.

The problem with social media advertising is that many companies don’t have a clear understanding of how to leverage social media for their business.  There are a growing number of businesses whose primary focus and business model is to help organizations leverage social media and they will even do all of the social media work for the companies.

There are a growing number of businesses that seem to have a functional Social Media plan.  If used properl, Social Media can be an amazing value-add to a company.  There is definitely more than one way to skin the Business Social Media Cat; however it’s important to employ a method that makes sense.

Here are 7 Practical Ways Organizations Can Leverage Social Media

1.  Develop A Plan- The old proverb of those who fail to plan, plans to fail is definitely true when it comes to businesses and social media.  Develop a plan that starts with the end result in mind.  Ask questions such as: Are we trying to create engagement, awareness, share promotions, share industry news, be relevant, provide a conversations hub for customers…?  Next question, How are we going co-brand our social media brand with our existing brand?

Developing a plan takes time, energy and research.  Take your time, develop a plan or hire someone to help you with the plan before you get jump in and get started.  That is one of the services that my company offers, we love helping organizations with strategy.  If you have already begun, you should assess your existing plan and re-engage with the new plan.  Abraham Lincoln says it this way, “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 hours sharpening my ax.”

2. Know Your Voice- This is the golden rule as it pertains to Social Media.  If you are speaking on behalf of John Q Organization, make sure that you speak from that voice.  Businesses tend to confuse or overlap the voice of their personal brand with the voice of their business brand.

If you are tweeting or posting Facebook updates for your Coffee Shop, you should not be tweeting about mowing your grass, unless of course you are mentioning that it’s time to have a nice cup of Joe afterwards.  An easy solution to make sure your business voice is the one speaking is to ask this question before posting — If my company could tweet or post, would they share this?  Don’t take away the human and personal interaction element, simply be mindful of your voice.

3.  Be Social- The most important thing about social media is the social part and not the media.  If you look @Starbucks and @Southwestair Twitter streams, they are always interacting with customers and people.   One of the best organizations in the country that appropriately leverages the aspect of being social is @KCIAirport.  These guys are brilliant, if you want to see how you can be social, handle customer concerns and build a social media brand by doing the basics. Check them out, they are highly regarded as one of the best!  Be Social, Be Accessible, Be Social, Be Relevant, Be Social, Be Authentic, Be Social, Be Real, Be Social, Be about Your Brand, Be Social, Be Entertaining, Be Social and did I mention BE SOCIAL!

The statistic that I shared in the beginning of this post about 78% of customers trust peer recommendations drives home the importance of being social.  I think that research could be extended to say that people are more likely to trust and promote brands they feel connected to.  Be Social!

4.  Make A Name For Yourself- This is a two-part solution.  1.) Make sure that your Twitter and Facebook names are simple, easy to remember and relevant to your company.  2.) Make a name for your company by being active in the world of social media.  Have tweet-ups at your place, provide social-media only specials, have promotions that demand viral interaction and be creative.  It does not matter if your company is large, small, on-line, or has a physical location, you can Make A Name For Yourself.   Familiarizing yourself with the 111 Twitter Tools will help you to become efficient at making a name for yourself.

5.  Make Your Profile Work- Make sure your Twitter and Facebook profile represent your company.  If your business is a coffee shop be sure to have your logo as your profile pic. and not your personal glamour shot.  Check out my 6 Ways To Make Your Twitter Profile Work.

6.  Have a Primary Social Media Application- The cool thing about the success of Twitter is that Facebook and Twitter have become kissing cousins.  Although Google+ is growing in popularity, it’s like a 2nd. or 3rd. cousin.  There are many applications that automate the connection of all of these platforms.  Although I am a proponent the multi-updates in multiple social media spaces for certain types of updates, I think it’s helpful to focus on one platform as your primary.  For me personally, my primary is Twitter; however I do send many tweets to my Facebook community.

It is great for a business to encourage their customers to connect with them on multiple Social Media medians; however having one or the other as a primary helps with clarity.  Imagine your company as bi-lingual.  The question is: Is your company’s native language Twitterese, Facebookish, Google+ese etc.?  Answer that question and speak that language to your customers.

Again, I prefer Twitter and according to research so do Fortune 100 Companies.  As a matter of fact 77% of Fortune 100 companies have active Twitter accounts and that number is increasing each year. That number is significantly higher than the 61% of Fortune 100 companies that have a Facebook page.  The bottom line is this: Twitter is simple and engaging.

7. Make It Fun- No matter the strategy you choose, make it fun for your customers.  Fun, engaging, enlightening… should be the words your customers use to describe your social media presence.  This isn’t necessarily “crack jokes” fun, but it’s definitely not blah blah blah boring.

The bottom line is that Social Media can definitely be a benefit to every business and business owner.  Use It, Try It, Be It, Become A Fan Of It, Study It, Know It, Become Good At Leveraging It.  In the future, “It” May Just Make or Break Your Company.

“It” Is Social Media!

What do you think?  What companies do a great job of leveraging Social Media?  Share your thoughts.

Why Do Organizations Bury “High Capacity” Talent?

Most organizations and leaders would love to have “High Capacity” leaders to fill the slots within their organizations. The sometimes overlooked challenge is the fact that with “High Capacity” leaders, comes the need for those leaders to lead at uhh… a “High Capacity” in addition to releasing their creativity.

This will sometimes leave organizations scratching their head and asking the question what do I do with so and so?  They are knocking it out of the park, they have an entrepreneurial spirit, their potential is off the charts and they actually have the leadership margin to spread their wings.

Spreading their wings means different things for different leaders, but it boils down to how can I steward their talent/potential and continue to allow them to make a positive impact within the organization. Many times organizations make the decision to do one of two things: 1. Bury that talent and therefore putting a lid on the height of that “High Capacity Leader.” 2. Get rid of that team member because of insecurity or simply not wanting to deal with the challenges these types of leaders bring to the table.

It’s like the Parable of the talents: The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.  The one with the two talents gained two more.  But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 
“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?Matthew 25:25-26

If your organization, team, staff or business has been blessed with some great talent, Don’t Bury It!  There is a new type of harvest to be sown with this “High Capacity” seed.

If you figure out a way to maximize the potential of the “High Capacity” talent that you have been blessed with, you will be rewarded.  This may require you getting creative, dreaming BIG, thinking BIGGER and setting some clear expectations; however the potential of the harvest is immeasurable.

Take a look at Google. Not only are they ranked the #1 Website, they have also been ranked as Fortune Magazine’s best place to work.  Not only is their work environment ridiculously amazing, but they do a great job of not burying their talent.  Not only do they recruit and hire “High Capacity” talent,  but they also seek ways to release and empower the creativity.

An example of releasing “High Capacity” talent and creativity, is how Google allows employees to spend twenty percent of their time to work on their own project, independent of their workgroup. Google believes that no one should leave in order to pursue their personal passions; and as a result, Google can claim that over twenty percent of their new product launches have stemmed from employees’ personal projects.  There can and should be a marriage between “High Capacity” talent and great organizations; they are not mutually exclusive.

If organizations manage their talent wisely, they may get this response: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  Matthew 25:25

Don’t Bury Your “High Capacity” Talent!

dream BIG. think BIGGER.

Share your thoughts on organizations burying “High Capacity” talent.  What do you think about the strategies of organizations like google and others?

Not Knowing Where The Limit Lies

I’m at the airport right now for a really long layover due to the fact that my flight which was originally scheduled for 6:50 a.m. was cancelled due to weather in Dallas. By weather I believe they are referring to fog, frozen fog and ice.  Not exactly sure what frozen fog is, but that’s what they were reporting at the counter.

I am headed for a television appearance in Atlanta and now I will have really tight connections.  I decided to have them pull my bag and go back through security so I could grab my clothes, just in case my connection is too close for comfort.  Sometimes things are out of your control and you simply have to go with the flow.

While sitting here, I was reading through some of my old favorite quotes for some inspiration and I ran across this oldie but goodie from Mr. Nunchucks Bruce Lee.  I have self-titled this quote: Not Knowing Where The Limit Lies.   I hope it inspires, encourages and blesses you!

“I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge or to be judged. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.”

~Bruce Lee

Share your thoughts on this quote.

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