Friday Five for February 24

I have a question for you all: what do you do when an industry acquaintance literally ignores you at a conference and on an expected airplane ride? I’ve had such an experience. I won’t give out the name, but this individual literally came up to a person with whom I was speaking, hugged that individual, told him how much he was glad to see him and then walked off without ever acknowledging my presence. It’s not as if he didn’t know me. On a recent flight, I saw him on a flight I was taking and all he could do was shake my hand. The way I figure it: he’s obviously got something in his head about me that is negative and I’m not going to be able to change it. I just accept it and move on. It’s just weird – like my first wife – I never thought anyone could dislike me that much.

Anyways, enough ranting. From the Fox Personal Financial people, they ask a simple question: Is your Cash Safe? My first reaction – of course not. Sheesh. With the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve having significantly grown in the last few years, I can’t help but think that once this new money finds some velocity, we’ll have significant inflation and our cash will be worth less and less. But fear not, this article equivocated between banks and money markets. They noted that deposits at banks are insured up to $250,000. Big deal. If there is a real run on the banks, the insurance will not be able to cover the losses, so the insurance is a bit worthless, IMHO, in an extreme scenario. It seems we keep putting our confidence and faith in the Federal Government to bail us out and the reality is that the Federal Government, as Ronald Reagan said, is the “problem“, not the solution.

This article from HBR is inline with sage advice my lawyer gave me a long time ago – which I didn’t follow: Take some serious time off for yourself. I would enjoy taking a month off. Of course, many in the world do this and don’t plan for how they will cover their loss of productivity while they are gone. But still, in high-stress or high-travel jobs, I like this idea quite a bit.

What do you do to control your email overload? While spam filters help, it’s also something you can take proactive steps to curb the sheer number of emails you’ll receive on a given day. What do I do? Several things:

  1. Consistently unsubscribe to spam emails from companies that have traded my email address. I don’t give one whit about their privacy policy. The reality is that vendors pass around email address like beers at a pub.
  2. Use the inbox rules to file emails into folders. I have one folder called “Misc” for all those emails that I would occasionally look at. It can get quite large. But these are emails that I do want to be informed about, I just want to deal with them on my own time line.
  3. I deal with emails when I get them. My goal is to ensure that each email is dealt with swiftly. When you stop to think about it, email is really a:
    1. Represents a to-do – so it gets moved to my tasks list
    2. Needs to be forwarded
    3. Needs to be filed for future reference – I use OneNote for this
    4. Needs to be deleted after I’m informed

Emails are a pain in the neck. I’d rather get direct mail from the postal service than get email advertisements. But it is a part of our lives and there’s not much we can do about it except take proactive steps to manage the email that is sent to us. It’s passive management, but important.

Lastly, Hurley’s word to describe this as “unsettling” is an understatement. Seriously.

Bill English, CEO
Mindsharp

Friday Five for February 17

Yes, I’m behind in posting my Friday Five. I’ve been travelling and rather busy. I thought I’d take a moment to do a Friday Five that is on the lighter side. I’ve included lyrics from four artists and song that I’ve seriously enjoyed over the years. I hope you enjoy them too!

Here are the lyrics of one of my favorite songs that has uplifted and strengthened me in the last several years, by Michael W. Smith:

You’re Alright
You take a look inside
But you don’t like what you see
And so you choose to look away
It doesn’t coincide
With how you’d like to be
And each glimpse of hope can easily fade

Chorus:
Down on your confidence
It’s a fight that won’t let go
(But) you’ve got to realize
That you’re alright
(‘Cause) under your rubble
Lies a heart the Father holds
And when you see your life
Thru his eyes
You’re alright

To learn how He loves you
Is to learn to love yourself
To live the life He’s livin’ in you
(And) what others think of you
Could never measure to the wealth
Of what he’s paid and given to you

 

On the theme of lyrics, here is another set from Leann Womack:

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’
Don’t let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
(Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder, where those years have gone?)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

Dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
(Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder, where those years have gone?)

I also like Martina McBride and enjoy this song quite a bit:

I used to live in a darkened room
Had a face of stone
And a heart of gloom

Lost my hope, I was so far gone
Cryin’ all my tears
With the curtains drawn

I didn’t know until my soul broke free
I’ve got these angels watching over me

Oh watch me go
I’m a happy girl
Everybody knows
That the sweetest thing you’ll ever see
In the whole wide world
Is a happy girl

I used to hide in a party crowd
Bottled up inside
Feeling so left out

Standing in a corner wearing concrete shoes
With my frozen smile
And my lighted fuse

Now every time I start to feel like that
I roll my heart out like a welcome mat

Oh watch me go
I’m a happy girl
Everybody knows
That the sweetest thing you’ll ever see
In the whole wide world
Is a happy girl

Laugh when I feel like it
Cry when I feel like it
That’s just how my life is
That’s how it goes

Oh watch me go
I’m a happy girl
And I’ve come to know
That the world won’t change
Just ’cause I complain
Let the axis twirl
I’m a happy girl

Oh watch me go
I’m a happy girl
Everybody knows
That the sweetest thing you’ll ever see
In the whole wide world
Is a happy girl

Oh, yeah
Oh, yeah
I’m a happy girl

 

I bet my wife, Kathy, could have written this about me, from Billy Joel:

Call me a joker, call me a fool
Right at this moment I’m totally cool
Clear as a crystal, sharp as a knife
I feel like I’m in the prime of my life
Sometimes it feels like I’m going too fast
I don’t know how long this feeling will last
Maybe it’s only tonight

Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes
Too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens
And if I stand or I fall
It’s all or nothing at all
Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes

Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m shot
Sometimes I don’t know how much more I’ve got
Maybe I’m headed over the hill
Maybe I’ve set myself up for the kill
Tell me how much do you think you can take
Until the heart in you is starting to break?
Sometimes it feels like it will

Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes
Too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens
You can be sure when I’m gone
I won’t be out there too long
Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes

Out of the darkness, into the light
Leaving the scene of the crime
Either I’m wrong or I’m perfectly right every time
Sometimes I lie awake, night after night
Coming apart at the seams
Eager to please, ready to fight
Why do I go to extremes?

And if I stand or I fall
It’s all or nothing at all
Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes

No I don’t know why I go to extremes
Too high or too low
There ain’t no in-betweens
You can be sure when I’m gone
I won’t be out there too long
Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes

I don’t know why…I don’t know why…
I don’t know why…I don’t know why…
Out in the dark…into the light…
either i’m wrong…perfectly right

What Can Business Owners Learn from the Doctrine of the Trinity?

Often, the more profound an idea is, the more simple it is. I ran across this idea in an email from a friend. I did not come up with this idea myself. I’m not that smart. But it seems to me that it is profound and I wanted to share it with you.

If you’re wondering what the Doctrine of the Trinity is, I refer you to this quote:

“We may define the doctrine of the Trinity as follows: God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.” (Grudem, Wayne (2009-05-11). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (p. 226). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

If you were to read on in Dr. Grudem’s
Systematic Theology, you’d find that the Scriptures teach that while each member of the Trinity is fully God, each member also has distinct roles as they relate to the world and its’ affairs. While it is true that every analogy about the Trinity breaks down at some point, it is also clear that parts of this can be easily ported to business ownership. I sat under Dr. Grudem in seminary when I was a student at Trinity. I was impressed not only with his knowledge of the Scriptures, but also his humble and tender heart.

While we have equality in the Trinity, we also have distinct roles and clear lines of authority. Each is fully capable of carrying out their role, no matter the difficulty or joy involved in the task at hand. Christ especially exemplified taking on an unwanted task that was fully beneath his station as God. All three are working toward a transcendent, common purpose that is “outside” themselves. I can’t think of a better reason for business owners to model this “equality with diversity” in their businesses. There are clear lines of authority, clearly articulated roles and unending loyalty among the members of the Trinity. They also are compelled by love to do what they do – love for each other and love for us.

The lessons are obvious.

In business, we need to have a transcendent purpose for why the company exists and what its’ overall purpose is. We should insist on competency at the executive levels, with both clear lines of authority, clear loyalty in the leadership team and the willingness to take on any task that is assigned, no matter how difficult or “beneath” our station in life. Leadership that serves others as well as helping them be more than they ever thought possible is the best type of leadership that a business owner can exhibit. Leaders value others as equal to themselves. But leaders also give clear direction to those who are capable and sufficiently resourced to accomplish their tasks. The proverbial DCOM is a good model to follow: have we given clear Direction to those who are Competent and resourced them sufficiently to pursue the Opportunity while giving them realistic reasons to be Motivated to succeed? It seems to me that when God sent Christ to this earth to die for us, at a minimum, the four elements of the DCOM were in play.

So, short, business owners can model the Trinity in their organization by:

  1. Having loyalty and love for those they have hired
  2. They serve their employees by working to ensure that they are more advanced professionally and personally when they leave the business than when they were hired
  3. Develop an enduring, transcendent purpose for their business that is beyond profits
  4. Ensuring they have clear lines of authority
  5. Ensuring they have clear roles and responsibilities for each person they employ
  6. Ensuring they have hired people who are competent or who can be developed into being competent

There are probably other lessons we can draw out, but at first blush, this is what I’ve learned. Please post back with thoughts or ideas. Thanks.

Bill English, CEO
Mindsharp

Irresponsibility and Governance

One of the things that we expect from our leaders is for them to steward their role, power and this nation in a responsible way. When we elect a person who believes, at his core, in liberation theology and social justice, then this is what we get:

  • Deficit spending at levels that are just irresponsible
  • Significant effort at attaining equality of results through the tax code and the court/judicial system
  • Ignoring basic separations of power within the branches as well as between the government and its’ citizens
  • Running over personal and religious liberties
  • Out of control spending on welfare programs that simply won’t work
  • Simuli programs that will never work

I wish I was making this up. I’m not. Consider:

http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/newsgraphics/2011/0119-budget/index.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203646004577215211361083508.html?mod=WSJ_Home_largeHeadline

http://www.heritage.org/research/factsheets/2011/03/welfare-reform-the-next-steps

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/08/the-unsustainable-growth-of-welfare

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2009/09/obama-to-spend-103-trillion-on-welfare-uncovering-the-full-cost-of-means-tested-welfare-or-aid-to-the-poor

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/11/why-government-spending-does-not-stimulate-economic-growth

Pay special attention to this article:

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/02/2012-index-of-dependence-on-government

It’s not just our President, it’s our Senate, our House and potentially, a majority of Americans, who contribute to this. We must be willing to give up our “goodies” from the government if we are to survive as a nation. Old or young, rich or poor, we need real change in this country.

What is especially immoral is that we have spent our children and grandchildren’s wealth. We’ve spent wealth we’ve not yet created. Will anyone blame them if they turn their backs on us 30 years from now?

I don’t know what to do. I honestly don’t. But we can’t continue down this path of deficit spending. We won’t survive as a nation.

Bill English, CEO
Mindsharp

Study on Integrity

I’m leading a group of employees through Henry Cloud’s book, Integrity. We covered the first three chapters today. Below are the slides from today’s lesson. We’ll take four months to go through this book, meeting 1x/month to discuss what we are learning and to have an appropriate level of interaction about what we’re doing to grow in the area of Integrity.

 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone reading this blog post.

Bill English, CEO
Mindsharp

image_pdf