Friday Five, November 23

This is a great example of why I believe women should carry a firearm and why my side company, Maple Grove Firearms, will offer permit to carry training specifically designed for women. We already offer the permit to carry training for the general public, but focusing on women and their specific needs is a good thing. I applaud all of the permit to carry training companies nationwide who are picking up this banner and carrying it forward. If you’re in the Minneapolis area and would like to be a firearm instructor – especially if you’re a woman – please ping me.

I was reading through this blog from Ligonier Ministries and it speaks to what I’ve concluded for a long time: In order for business owners to be effective in our work, we need to be free from the bondage of sin. I’ve met and have heard of business owners who are so steeped in their own bondage that they ineffective in leading their companies. Things like alcoholism or office affairs or anger and control issues – these and other issues keep people from achieving all they could achieve. I caught one business owner having sex with a swinger he met online in a shared conference room. To say it was disgusting was an understatement. I know of another leader who is a Jeckle/Hyde – from public to private – in public he is everything you’d want in a leader, but in private, he is overbearing, angry, controlling and abusive. I don’t know why people work for him. I really don’t. In order to be effective as a steward of a business or ministry – that which God has given to you and me – we need to be free from the bondage of sin. As long as we are in bondage, we’ll never approach being the stewards God intends us to be and we’ll likely harm, if not destroy, people around us.

The job numbers a couple weeks ago are not surprising to me. I could have told you our economy is at a standstill. Every CEO I talk to says the same thing: ObamaCare scares them and the aggressive regulations scare them as well. When you don’t know what the future holds – and that uncertainty is mainly about what the government may or may not do – then you have a risk that you cannot manage. It’s a very real risk but you have no leverage to manage it. How does one manage risks posed by the government? If the government is your greatest risk, how do manage it? The answer is: you don’t. You don’t fight it. You run and hide and hope that they don’t do too much harm to you. That is where business is. That’s why there is so much cash on their balance sheets. Cash is their greatest tool to fight against a government risk they cannot control. While pockets of this economy might be doing well, most of it is bogged down with risk and uncertainty. Look – this is not rocket science. Consider this comparison chart below. It outlines the Federal Government Statues and Regulations that business must comply with and compares what business faced in 1980 to 2012. If you wonder why we’re in the shape we’re in, then use this as a reference for an explanation. By the way, all of these laws and the derived regulations implied in the chart below are in addition to case, common, local, and state laws:



Age Discrimination Employment Act

Age Discrimination Employment Act

Community Reinvestment Act

Community Reinvestment Act

Employment Retirement Income Security Act

Employment Retirement Income Security Act

Federal Contributions Insurance Act

Federal Contributions Insurance Act

Fair Labor Standards Act

Fair Labor Standards Act

Federal Unemployment Tax Act

Federal Unemployment Tax Act

National Labor Relations Act

National Labor Relations Act

Occupational Safety and Health Act

Occupational Safety and Health Act

Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Pregnancy Discrimination Act


Affordable Care Act


Americans for Disabilities Act


Americans for Disabilities Act Amendment Act


Adoption and Safe Families Act


Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act


Americans Job Creation Act


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act


Black Lung Benefits Act


Clean Air Act


Consumer Credit Protection Act


Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act


Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act


Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act


Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act


Copeland “Anti-Kickback” Act


Community Reinvestment Act


Contract Work House and Safety Standards Act


Defense Base Act


Drug-Free Workplace Act


Defense of Marriage Act


Electronic Communications Privacy Act


Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act


Employee Polygraph Protection Act


Employee Retirement Income Security Act


Fair Credit Reporting Act


Federal Insurance Contributions Act


Fair Labor Standards Act


Family and Medical Leave Act


Federal Unemployment Tax Act


Federal Water Pollution Control Act


Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act


Health Insurance Patient Protection Act


Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health


Immigration Act of 1990


Internal Revenue Codee


Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986


Job Creation and Workers Assistance Act


Longshore and Harbors Workers’ Compensation Act


Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act


Labor Management Relations Act


Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act


Mental Health Parity Act


Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act


Michelle’s Law


Mine Safety Health Administration Act


Medicare Seconday Payer Act


Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act


National Environmental Policy Act


Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act


National Transits System Security Act


National Labor Relations Board Act


Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act


Older Workers Benefit Protection Act


Pregnancy Discrimination Act


Pension Funding Equity Act


Pipeline Safety Improvement Act


Rural Electrification Act


Railway Labor Act


Small Business Job Protection Act


Safe Drinking Water Act


Sarbanes Oxley Act


Social Security Act (updates)


Surface Transportation Assistant Act


Solid Waste Disposal Act


Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act


Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act


Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act


Trade Readjustment Act – 1996


Trade Readjustment Act – 1997


Toxic Substances Control Act


Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act


Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act


Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act


Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act


On a different note, when it comes to interviewing, you need to understand what you’re really after when you’re the one doing the interviewing. Hiring a candidate who fits your culture is just as important as competence. But matching up what the core job functions are and how they will grow professionally in the job to where they want to go with their lifeis foundational to creating a great fit between the employee and the company. When I interview, I ask questions around the person’s personal goals for their life and then discern if there is a “fit” between the job the person is interviewing for and their life goals. Honestly, I have yet to find an individual able to articulate what their life goals are – 100% of the people I’ve interviewed have not be able to answer this question: “so, what do you really want to do with your life?” Most are left, literally, speechless when trying to answer this question. It’s sad to see, really – people meandering through life – not knowing where they are going. As an illustration, if you use a compass, it will tell you which direction North is. It won’t tell you what valleys, mountains, swamps, rivers or other diversions might be between you and your destination, but it will tell you which direction to go. If you need to get off-course to go around, over, under or through a diversion, at least you know that you’re getting off course and you can work to get back on course. But if you don’t even know what direction you’re going, then you’ll go anywhere. This is one reason why a relationship with God can help so much – He gives us overall purposes and foundational directions on where our lives are going and who we’re becoming. I interviewed a likable, smart, hard-working gentleman yesterday for a sales position here at Mindsharp. His response to my question was pretty vague. So I asked the question a different way: “What are you really passionate about?” No answer. OK – so “what would you really like to be doing 5-10 years from now?” His answer: “I hope I’m not in sales – I’d like to go get a Master’s degree in psychology”. OK. Good to know. I doubt a sales position will help him achieve his long-term goal of getting a Master’s degree. Had I not probed this with him, I might have hired him only to learn over time that his heart really wasn’t in the act of selling. I want to fill my company with people whose long-term goals can be enhanced by working here at Mindsharp. I honestly believe that if we can match what a person does today with where they really want to go long-term – and use the job to help them get there – then we’ll be a great fit for that individual and vice versa and both the employee and Mindsharp will experience great benefit by the inherent synergies in our relationship.

On another note, I’ve been chewing (on and off) on the idea that Colossians 3-4 offer significant instruction for how employers are to relate to their employees. More on this later, but I wanted to get it out there that I’m thinking about this.

Finally, what does it say when I’m more comfortable with my non-Christian friends than I am with my Christian friends? I wrestle with this. I don’t feel like I can be myself as well in church as I can at conferences or at other professional events. Does this mean I lack Christian maturity? I wrestle with this.

Bill English, CEO