Showing posts from November, 2012

Dealing with the Bottom 20%

This morning I met with a successful business woman in my town to explore some options for my future and careers goals.  It was an enjoyable meeting and she was generous to share many ideas and information with me.

One thing we discussed was the idea that as a manager you are only as successful as the weakest person on your team.  If you're in leadership of any kind then I'm sure you can relate with the amount of time and energy that gets spent on the bottom 20% of your team.  Either you are coaching and training and disciplining them, or you're business picking up all the slack left by their lackluster performance.

When dealing with the bottom 20% I've decided there are basically two options that are sustainable in the long term.  Either you commit to building into that person and helping them improve, or you have to make the hard decision to cut them loose to do something they are better suited for - somewhere else.  The one thing you cannot do is be OK with the st…

A Psalm of Life - Longfellow

My dad had minor surgery on Monday, and so when I saw the missed call and voicemail from him on my phone I thought he must have called to give me an update on how things went.  I was wrong. 

I've had my dad tell me to do a lot of things over the years, but one thing I have never had him to me to do, until today, was 'to google' something.  He told me to google a poem because he thought I'd enjoy it.  And he was right.  

Maybe you'll enjoy it too.
A Psalm of Life by, Henry Wadsworth LongfellowTell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Being a Great Finisher

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.  - St. Paul, 2 Timothy 4:7-8
One of the areas I'm working on improving in my personal life is being a better finisher. When I played hockey I was a gifted finisher. If I had the puck in an opportunity to score I could usually put it in the back of the net. At work, when I'm given a project I work until the task is complete and done well. If I have a deadline to speak somewhere I make sure that my talk has been written, edited and that everything is in place before I speak. However, in my 'down time' I don't finish as well as I want to.

The side mirror on my car has been broken and not replaced for over a year. I've been designing and painting bean bag boards for two years. There ar…

Passing the Baton of Faith

Loved the theme of the message yesterday at CANVAS Church by my pastor Jon Hohm.  He challenged the traditional thought that 'life is not a sprint, its a marathon' with the image of life being more like a relay race.  He had a baton on stage and referencing Hebrews 12, he explained that everyone has a lap to run in the race.  Your life is your lap.  Run it well.  Do your best.  But remember, its a lap, not the whole race.  Someone else ran a lap before you and they passed the baton of faith to you.  You then, when you complete your lap, need to pass the baton on to someone after you.

Jon said,
DISCIPLESHIP = Having someone who is passing the baton to you + You passing the baton to someone else  Then he explained that to run your lap well you have to,

1.  Have a passion for God yourself
2.  Live out of that passion
3.  Intentionally invest in passing it on to those after you

The relay metaphor and the baton prop were an excellent way of communicating what I thought was a great…

Lessons About Character from a Tree Felling

I believe the Lord gave me a thought today as I was clearing branches of the trees my dad cut down in my yard.

Here's the background story...

The trees we cut down were two large trees that have been growing in the yard since the house was built in 1997.  The trees were tall and the trunks were thick.  My dad brought his chain saw over and in less than 5 minutes he had sawed through the trunks of the trees and they had fallen to the ground.  After the trees fell we spent thirty minutes cleaning up all the debris from the yard.  We put all the branches in a huge pile in the back yard and now I'll have to pay someone to come haul them away.

So, in short - 15 years to grow, 5 minutes to cut down, 30 minutes to clean up, and a bunch of money to complete the job.

Here's the thought I believe God gave me to share...

Think about your character.  Character isn't built over night; it takes a long time to develop good character.  It takes many years, many choices, many challenges…

The Comparison Trap

It can be a real battle not to compare yourself to other people.  Comparing can happens in all sorts of ways:

- Comparing career achievements.   - Comparing bodies.   - Comparing social status.   - Comparing number of Twitter followers.  - Comparing cars.   - Comparing children behavior.   - Comparing consumer goods.   - Comparing intellect.  
The list goes on and on.  And on.
At Thanksgiving I was struggling with comparing.  My brother in law is an awesome guy.  He's blessed with a job that he's been working for his whole life.  He'll own the company some day.  He's got a sweet Suburban, all kinds of nice things for his wife and kids, and the opportunity to travel and vacation and golf all over the US.  He can rewire your whole house or hang a picture frame level with his eyes closed.  He'e debating where to put the hot tub.
Then I look at myself.  My car is missing a back door handle and the passenger side mirror is broken off.  My dryer is unplugged and sitting …

30 Things I'm Thankful for This November

1.  That Jesus saved me from my sins and gives me grace enough for each day
2.  For my wife Stephanie who encourages me, forgives me, inspires me, sharpens me, and is tons of fun to be with
3.  That my three children are healthy, intelligent, energetic, spontaneous, fun, and loving
4.  For my church family and all the wonderful people we're building relationships with there as we serve and connect and worship
5.  For a home that is bigger than we need and all the things inside it's walls that mark us as a blessed and provided for family
6.  That God gave me parents who love him, nourished my faith, and continue to love and support me always
7.  For siblings who I can count on for anything, and who pray for me and encourage me whenever I need it
8.  For neighbors who are fun, generous, helpful, and loving towards me and my family
9.  For a family through marriage that is loving, generous and always helpful
10.  That I have a job to pay my bills and buy a few extras
11.  That my…

Leaders with Lamb Hearts and Rhinoceros Hide

A mentor of minetweeted this quote yesterday,
"Leadership requires the heart of a lamb and the hide of a rhinoceros - Dr. Greg Bourgond."   Phenomenal.  Being a good leader is tough, and mastering having the heart of the lamb with the hide of a rhinoceros takes some practice.

I've been around leaders with the heart of the lamb.  They are great people to work for because they care about you, serve you and do everything they can to support and encourage you.  The downfall is that lamb heart leaders can be so loving and tender that they are afraid to make difficult decisions or share difficult feedback with others.  I used to be a lot like this.  I wanted everyone to view me as caring and considerate, so I tended to avoid or put off hard conversations with under-performing individuals.  That's not good leadership.

I've also been around leaders with the hide of a rhinoceros.  These leaders will run through any wall, take on any challenge and be intimidated by nothin…

I'm Not Always the Main Character

This morning, when I was picking up a prescription at the local pharmacy, I had a longer than expected wait because the pharmacist couldn't find my bag.  As I was standing there I was trying not to get frustrated and I started thinking that maybe God had some lesson to teach me.  So I waited.  Then a lady walked up behind me and the time it took her to get her prescription was delayed because all the employees were looking for my bag.  I thought at that point that maybe the delay wasn't about God teaching me a lesson, and instead maybe the lady behind me had something to learn in the situation.  Then I thought about how awkward it must be for the pharmacist to know he has people waiting and to feel like he's unable to serve them.  Maybe God's hand in the delay was for the pharmacist?  Or maybe it was for all of us?

The point is this.  God is sovereign.  He is in control of all things.  We humans don't usually have any clue about the role we're playing in God…

2012 Post Election Thoughts

Yesterday Barak Obama won a second term as the President of the United States of America.  He was not the person I voted for.  In fact, almost none of the people or issues I voting in favor of yesterday were successful.  I woke up somewhat disappointed about that.  But all day long I've been thinking about it.  My feelings now are different than earlier today.  Sure I would have liked my candidate to win.  I share an ideology with them.  Many, though not all, of the issues my candidates support are things that make sense to me and matter to me.  However, I'm resting tonight and finding peace in a couple things.

1.  No political party or candidate is my Savior, or the Savior of this country.  Simply put, all men are flawed, and all elected officials will do things that are flawed.  Jesus Christ will not.  As a Christian I am held by God's Word in Scripture to believe that there is a Kingdom not seen on this earth, but a Kingdom that surpasses and is superior to this world&…