International Cash Settlement Methods

Numerous Muslim American guys take a trip to foreign nations to get quick Islamic divorce. Frequently the husband goes to a foreign nation leaves his spouse, residential property and youngsters in the Usa, get a quick divorce, returns back to the USA and demand acknowledgment and enforcement in a united state court. This sort of divorce may stand in the foreign nation yet it is not essential valid in the United States.
UNITED STATE Courts do not use Islamic Shari'a legislation due to the fact that it breaches the Establishment Clause arrived the First Amendment of the Usa Constitution. State courts use foreign legislation when required. American Courts do apply foreign rule in particular cases entailing international principle understood as "dispute of Laws," or "Private International Law." This is referred to in U.S. courts as 'the regulation of comity'.
In the location of Private International Rule, 'comity' is a politeness, amity, and reciprocity by U.S. courts to court judgments released in various other nations. Such a consideration by U.S. courts does not involve a commitment to agree with the rulings of foreign judgments. There is therefore a difference in between the doctrine of comity and rule.
Public International Legislation can enter into the national law when the nation has its trademark on that legislation, Personal international Regulation nonetheless, does not have the same level of awareness by U.S. Courts. The concern of comity is increased in Islamic divorce situations when an individual that stays legitimately in the Usa travels to a foreign nation and get a divorce decree from a spiritual court.
Under Islamic sharia, a divorce can be efficient if the husband articulates what is known as 'three-way talaq,' meanings, the husband separates his wife by uttering the words "I divorce you", or "my wife is separated", 3 times, in a few minutes. Such an action leaves the wife along with nothing additional compared to a nominal deferred 'mahr', an Arabic term for an amount of cash, or items of resale value that the husband gives to his future bride-to-be. Component of the mahr is paid right prior to the marriage event, called muqaddam, and the rest is called mu'akhar and is paid at the divorce or death of the hubby. A deferred mahr in many instances, is much less compared to what UNITED STATE courts buy a spouse to pay the other in the distribution of properties connected along with divorce. Mahr is stated in the Quran, and is a crucial component of the Islamic marriage contract.
After obtaining a foreign Islamic divorce overseas, the hubby go back to the United States and offers his wife with divorce papers requiring awareness from a State court on the basis of 'comity'.
Generally, a judgment of divorce issued in a foreign nation is acknowledged in the U.S. on the basis of comity, gave both celebrations to the divorce obtain adequate notice, i.e. solution of procedure and gave among the celebrations has a residence in the foreign nation at the time of divorce, and the foreign court has provided possibility to both celebrations to present their situation, and the trial was conducted upon regular process after due citation or volunteer look of the litigants, and under a system of jurisprudence likely to secure an unbiased management of justice between the citizens of its very own nation, and those of various other nations, and no prejudice to either party and need to not go against a durable U.S. concept of rule, and the parties were present in court. The court might reject the application of comity if the judge regards the foreign regulation to be 'repugnant' to the 'public policy' of the condition in which the instance is prosecuted. In addition, an Islamic divorce varies significantly relative residential property department and child custody.
PLEASE NOTE: While every effort has actually been made to guarantee the precision of this magazine, it is not meant to provide legal guidance as individual situations will certainly differ and need to be talked about with a professional and/or lawyer.


international cash settlement methods

Personal Injury Settlement Social Security Disability

Other than that, Grand Rapids, Michigan counsellors also provide their services for medical malpractice claims and personal injury claims. So, the next time you need an expert social security advice do think of the of the social security lawyers of Grand Rapids Michigan.

Life is full of uncertainties and surprises, sometimes good but mostly bad. At one time you are enjoying the fruits of your labour, and the next before you even know it; you are facing financial ruin and face down on the floor overlooking the gutter of misfortune. In modern times, where cut-throat competition is the norm and earning enough for yourself and your family becomes a matter of life and death, having a social and financial safety-net makes all the difference. This is where the grand rapids social security disability attorney in the state of Michigan, helps you overcome all your doubts and show you light at the end of the tunnel.

Applying for social security benefits is a daunting task for any individual. Due to economic hardship brought about by the financial crisis of 2007-2008, which is still having reverberating effect of the US economy, millions of people have filed for social security benefits in its wake after losing their job and other employment benefits. For millions of hard working Americans, putting two square meals for their family and taking care of their medical bills have become psychologically taxing. In the midst knowing what to do and how to take advantage of an already complex administrative system which governs the social insurance programme of USA consisting retirement, disability and survivors benefits, with its numerous rules, regulation and eligibility criteria, and apply for benefits isnt easy. This is where the grand rapids social security disability attorney come-in with their years of experience and their expert advice and invaluable insight into the United States Social Security Administration and the laws which govern it to fight for your rights and provide you the services which guarantee unemployment, disability or other medical benefits for yourself and your children.

You should know that grand rapids social security disability attorney are experts in labour laws and have a proven track record in protecting the rights of the injured and accident victims and seek justice on their behalf. Grand Rapids social security law firms provide seasoned counsel and representation to injured factory, steel plant, railroad and marine workers. They also provide counsel to truck and car accident victims too.

These grand rapids social security disability attorney and law firms also counsel and provide representation to for severely disabled children or children with chronic disability and fight for your childs supplementary social income benefits, if the child lives in home with parents who have limited income or assets.


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Structured Settlement Cash Out Serena

The entertainment industry, like most industries, is a relationships business. It's important that you make a point - a real concerted effort - to meet people. No matter what facet of the industry you're in and no matter what level you're at, you are the President and CEO of your company. You're the one who is 100% responsible for your career. So when you're at an industry party, a screening, a Women in Film breakfast... any type of networking event, it's your job to put out your hand and say "Hi."

And I don't mean just exchange business cards, I mean really meet people and get to know them and let them get to know you. Also, it's important that you make a point of getting to know the people that you want to know. Who is on your Target List? Who are the people that you want and need to meet? Take your target list and find out about those people. Do your research. Do your homework. Find out about them and their companies. What are ways to meet those people?

One way could be to go through the list of people you already know and "connect the dots." Is there anyone on your list who might know that person you're trying to get to? Could they make an introduction for you? Would they make a referral to them on your behalf? Another great technique is Brainstorming. Call the people you already know and do some brainstorming. What suggestions do they have that would help you in getting to meet the people you need and want to meet.

One idea I got when brainstorming with colleagues was to volunteer at industry events. I called the organization I belonged to and asked to work the name-tag table at their upcoming events. It was a great place to meet people. Another idea that someone suggested, and I did immediately, was offer to moderate and produce a panel. It was fantastic. So if you are looking to meet casting directors for example, ask one of the organizations you belong to if you can produce and moderate a panel of casting directors. That way you are getting to meet them first hand.

And since you will be the one making the invitations, you get to pick the casting directors that you specifically want to meet. There are a ton of fun ways to make connections. Find organizations that support what you do and join them. Go to the meetings. Get involved with those organizations. Get out there and make a point of going to screenings, events, parties, panels and festivals. And practice your networking skills. Don't just recite your resume... truly get to know people.

Choose events where you will meet the people that you want to meet. For example, if you are an actor, don't just go to actors' events. Go to events where you will meet producers, directors and writers. Be smart about this. If you're thinking, "What, stick out my hand? Say hello to people? Are you kidding?! I'm too nervous, shy and scared. I can't do that. What would I say?"

Well here's a tip. One excellent conversation opener is acknowledgment. As long as it is real authentic acknowledgment. If you meet that director you really admire and respect, you can begin with acknowledgment. It will help you relax because it takes the focus off of you. And it will put you both at ease. Give it a try.

Another suggestion when meeting people is to remember that it doesn't have to always be about your career. What are some things that you are truly interested in? What are your passions outside the industry? What are your favorite restaurants? What movies have you seen? What are your hobbies? Prepare stories and things to talk about that have nothing to do with your career.

Try creating real, authentic relationships with people and share about the things in life that you love... the things that you are excited and passionate about. We are usually so focused on our careers, that when we meet people in the industry we often come at them with an agenda and talk about our resume. I know it's a business, but it's your life. So be yourself. It's just one big giant sand box and we're here to play together and have fun. Stick out your hand and say, "Hi."


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Personal Injury Engagement Letter

The wedding day is drawing near. The invitations have been sent, the cake ordered, the rings purchased, the ceremony, reception and honeymoon have been planned. The bachelor party and wedding rehearsal are scheduled. What else is on the groom's "to do" list? What about the days following the wedding? After all of the investment in the wedding day, will the new husband and his bride weather the 50-50 chance of having a lasting and thriving marriage? According to top psychologist Dr. John M. Gottmann, men are often emotionally deficient when it comes to expressing fondness and admiration to their spouses. Well, now may be an excellent time for grooms-to-be to intelligently plan the emotional success of their upcoming wedding. Love letters. Are you and your fiancee exchanging them during your engagement? Personal love letters are one of the most revered ways that husbands and wives communicate. Drafting and writing a personal love letter takes energy, thought and time. As a matter of fact, the success of marriage preparation programs depends upon how willingly a couple shares their feelings, affectionate and otherwise, with each other. Dr. Gottman's book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, builds on the concept of making regular deposits in a bride's emotional bank account. One of the exercises for building fondness and admiration is thinking of and writing down one's positive feelings for the other person. Writing a personal love letter to your bride for your wedding day is a gift that will be treasured for years. Here are eight rules to follow. Rule Number One: Make the Letter Positively Personal Anything put into writing can be read, saved and reread. The first rule for a personal love letter is to make it personal and positive. Love letters carry a message of worth from a groom-to-be and new husband that affirms and cherishes his bride. So, it is critical to make a list of the positive things about bride wife that you want to assert. Avoid any critical, ambivalent remarks. Let them go and focus on what you cherish about your new bride. Rule Number Two: It's About Her A personal love letter is a direct communication to and with your fiancee. Use the word "you" early and often. Share your feelings. My parents have been married for more than 55 years. On my mom's 80th birthday, our family gave personal testimonies that we taped and made into a DVD. My dad stood up and used the song, "You Mean All the World to Me." He choked up with emotion in front of us all and it was so powerful to witness the love he had for his wife. As a groom-to-be, you don't have to wait 55 years to make that happen. (My dad didn't!) Start now. Make your bride-to-be feel special on your wedding day and many days afterwards. Rule Number Three: Start with a Special Endearment If you have a special name for your fiancee, use it. Write a personal greeting, like - My most beautiful ______________ (your bride's name) - Dear wonder of my life - You're the best thing that happened to me Rule Number Four: Make it Specific and Meaningful With a little practice, writing a personal love letter becomes a great habit! Make sure that the words you write express things that are specific and meaningful to your upcoming wedding, yourself and your bride. For example, you may write a personal love letter that includes how you felt when you first met, what events in your engagement have meant a lot to you, things that you admire and appreciate about your fiancee, special thanks for favors done, or for any reason that you can find. (Remember, the more reasons, the more letters!) Rule Number Five: End with Love Don't just write, "well, that's about it." Get creatively romantic. Use something that sums up your feelings and lets your bride-to-be know that you continue to love her. Use endings like: Forever Yours, All my love, With love forever, I am so happy you are in my life, You mean the world to me. Then, sign your name. Rule Number Six: Make It Pretty A bride-to-be loves getting a special gift and the packaging is often as important as what is inside. In other words, don't write your personal love letter on the back of a paper bag. Make it pretty. Use special stationery (you can visit a scrapbook store and buy just one sheet for less than 50 cents.) Or write your letter in a romantic greeting card. Use your own handwriting, too. A card typed on a computer seems artificial and mechanicals. Decorate your letter with a personal drawing like hearts or XOXO (shorthand for hugs and kisses), or use stickers. Use her favorite color envelope. Rule Number Seven: Special Delivery Make sure your personal love letter gets your fiancee's attention. Use surprise. Mail your letter in a special envelope, like Priority Mail or through Special Delivery. Put the letter on the front seat of her car, on her dinner plate or tie a balloon to it when you pick her up for a date. Rule Number Eight: Turn Your Wedding Letter into a New Habit Trust and ongoing commitment rank high with every woman. Write another personal love letter when you go out of town or mail one to arrive on Monday after a long day at work. Your engagement and marriage will grow with love beyond your imagination as you regularly write a personal love letter to your fiancee. With a little consistent effort, grooms-to-be can write personal love letters that create a hope-filled atmosphere, and enjoy a thriving and happy marriage that goes well past the wedding day.

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Personal Injury Compensation Insurance Act 1963

Industrial Deafness Claim: Hope Amidst A Hearing Impaired Laborer's Frailty

Not all those working in industrial firms realize that the nature of the job they do may predispose them to serious infirmities. Unaware of the risks, they take on daily chores without worrying about certain precautions they need to observe. Later do they know that the years of toil have caused them beyond the usual pains, reaching as far as health conditions that are often irreversible in nature. This ordeal is often too difficult to handle, that is why ailing laborers, like those suffering from serious hearing conditions, seek hope amidst their frailty and be financially supported through an industrial deafness claim..

Hearing loss usually happens when an individual is exposed to extreme levels of noise in a sustained period of time. This scenario is very common in factories, night clubs, construction sites and shipyards. Studies show that being regularly exposed to loud machineries, heavy metal work and persistent levels of sound 85 decibels and beyond, results to at least 5% loss of usual hearing capacity. However, it is important to note that while the inability to appreciate audio may come gradually for some, traumatic loud noise in a single event may cause sudden industrial deafness.

Workers suffering from hearing damage through no fault of their own are protected by a legal duty imposed on employers. As per environmental health safety rules, they are to take active steps to minimize if not eliminate risks of deafness as a result of excessive noise in the workplace. In certain conditions though wherein employers' efforts were not enough to eradicate potential hearing dangers, employees are entitled to compensation by means of an industrial deafness claim.

Individuals eligible for this claim will be entitled to monetary assistance for necessary and reasonable travel expenses involving medical checks and audiologist consult. The applicant would also be recompensed for the loss of wages for the time off work from attending audiometric tests and tribunal hearings for medical assessment. As per audiologist's recommendation, hearing impaired laborers will likewise be entitled to a lump-sum compensation based on the extent of damage and percentage of hearing loss.

Whereas an industrial deafness claim may help affected individuals improve their quality of life, this does not change the fact that compensation would never mend impaired hearing. It is therefore every employer's responsibility to abide to occupational safety and health standards and create work environments that are not only free of excessive noise but likewise of any possible industrial hazard


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Stock Sale Settlement Date

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Life Settlement Statistics

Facebook Partners with Donate Life America

Will You Become an Organ Donor?

Organ Donation Facts

Facebook is increasing not only the awareness of Organ Donations but are increasing the number of people who are registering to become an organ donor.

Organ Donation Facts as of May 1, 2012 and March 2012:
as per Donate Life America and Good Morning America

Donate Life America is a nonprofit organization which was founded in 1992 (Coalition on Donation). Their mission it to inform Americans regarding Organ, Tissue and Eye Donations. Brina Stuart is the President.

FACEBOOK partners with DONATE LIFE - How to Register to Become an Organ Donor through Facebook
http://littlelindapinda.com/how-to-register-to-donate-organs-through-facebook.html

Organ Donation Facts

  • Only 60% of people are Registered as Organ Donors with Donate Life America
  • 95% of people support Organ Donations in their heart.
  • 113,115 People are waiting for an organ
  • 7000 People Die per Year waiting for an Organ Donation
  • 1801 of the People awaiting an Organ Transplant are Children
  • 28,535 Organ Transplant were performed in 2011 yet there were only 14,144 Donors

Types of Organ Transplantation:

  • Medical Grafting:
    Bone Grafting, Skin Grafting and Vascular Grafting
  • Lung, Liver, Kidney, Bone and Bone Marrow, Corneal, Face, Pancreas, Skin and Face, Spleen, Thymus, Uterus, Heart - Lung and Hands etc...

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See Here How EASY and QUICK it is to Register to Become an Organ Donor

CLICK Here to Register
or
Follow Instruction Below to Register through Facebook

http://DonateLife.Net

LOGIN into Your FACEBOOK

Select the Following.
Look Below for Detailed Instructions and Screenshots
  • 1
    Life Event
  • 2
    Health & Wellness
  • 3
    Organ Donor...
  • 4
    Fill out optional Information
  • 5
    CLICK the Following Link to Officially Register with Donate Life

    "sign up here with the appropriate registry"

    http://DonateLife.Net

  • 6
    Click SAVE

How to Sign Up to Register to Donate your Organs through Facebook

Facebook Organ Donor Register

Donate Your Organs

Login into your Facebook

1. Select "Life Event" (this Box is located under your profile photo and information in some facebook pages)

2. Select "Health & Wellness"

3. Organ Donor...

4. Fill Out the Following:
* Location (optional)
* When - Year + month
* Story (optional)

5. Fill out the optional information and DON"T FORGET to Click on the Link in this Box that says:

"sign up here with the appropriate registry"

This Link will be your OFFICIAL Registry with Donate Life or Go to:
http://DonateLife.Net

SAVE "Click the SAVE Button"

SEE the next Photo Below - follow the 1 - 2- 3 Numbers

FACEBOOK partners with DONATE LIFE - How to Register to Become an Organ Donor through Facebook
http://littlelindapinda.com/how-to-register-to-donate-organs-through-facebook.html

Register to Donate Organs at Facebook

IMPORTANT to Click the Link Provided by Facebook to OFFICIALLY Register to become an Organ Donor through Your State

Facebook Donation Registry

Other Ways to Register to Become an Organ Donor

  • Direct Link to Donate Life America
    http://DonateLife.Net
  • When you Register or Renew your Driver's License you can choose to Register to Become an Organ Donor

Instructions on "How to Register to Become an Organ Donor on Facebook"

Donate LifeCLICK on this PHOTO to GO Directly to
" Donate Life America"

Drivers License
When you Register for Your Drivers License you simply add that you would like to be a Donor.

Internet
Go to http://DonateLife.Net or Click on this Photo to go directly to Donate Life America

or Follow the Instructions Above to Register through Facebook and Click the Link - "sign up here with the appropriate registry".

Robin Roberts of Good Morning America Diagosed with MDS Myelodysplastic Syndrome Diagnosis

18,000 People each year are diagnosed with MDS

Be the MatchRobin Roberts of Good Morning America, GMA is diagnosed with MDS Myelodysplastic Syndrome

After winning the battle against Breast Cancer, Robin Roberts is now battling MDS, Myelodysplastic Syndrome Diagnosis. Of the 18,000 diagnosis or MDS each year, 300 are caused from the agressive cancer treatment, as in Robin Robertson case. Bone Marrow donors are rare especially among the African American Women but thankfully for Robin Roberts sister is as good of a match or better than if she had a twin sister.

In a Bone Marrow Transplant, the Donors stem cells are directly transfused into the patient who is suffering from MDS Myelodysplastic Syndrome. The patient with MDS will then regenerate more new blood cells which hopefully will create new healthy bone marrow.

There is only a 66% chance of finding a bone marrow transplant donor in amongst African Americans but there is a 93% chance of finding a bone marrow donor for Caucasians.

Good Morning American and Robin Roberts are encouraging people to go on the registry to become a donor with "Be the Match." Be the Match has Ten Million Donors on their registry at this time.

Click Here to Go Directly to Be the Match Website

A simple swab in your mouth is all is takes to find out if your DNA is a match for someone who needs a bone marrow transplant. On Good Morning America, GMA, this morning, the doctor was describing how easy it is to actually donate bone marrow to someone. It is more like a blood transfusion according to GMA. Robin Roberts sister is strong and is willing.

If someone can not find a good match, their bodies immune system will attack the foreign cells which then creates a medical condition named "Graft Versus Host Disease.

So it is critical to save the lives to become a donor and in the African American race there is more of a need for Bone Marrow Donors.

Click Here to Go Directly to Be the Match Website

WHAT is MDS MYELODYSPLASTIC SYNDROME?

MDS MYELODYSPLASTIC SYNDROME bone marrow disorders involving the stem cells. The quality and the amount of the production of the blood are disorderly and become ineffective and the blood forming cells decline irreversibly.

MDS, Myelodysplastic Syndrome used to be called Preleukemia. It is a diverse collection of of hematological medical condition. The production of blood cells become ineffective and often cause severe anemia. The anemia can be so severe that the patient with MDS Myelodysplastic Syndrome, often need a blood transfusion.

Most of the time the disease progresses and the ill patient develops cytopenia, low blood count due to the progressive failure of the bone marrow..

In approximately one third of patients affected by MDS Myelodysplastic Syndrome, becomes Acute Myelogenous Leukemia within a few months to a few years.

This MDS Myelodysplastic Syndrome median age is typically between sixty and seventy years old with a few being younger than fifty years old. MDS is even more rare in children. The disease is found in slighty more men than women.

SYMPTOMS of MDS MYLELODYSPLASTIC SYNDROME

Anemia
Neutropenia which can lead to increase chance of infection
Thrombocytopenia which can lead to increase bruising or subcutaneous hemorrhage
Some Patients display No Symptoms and some patients are diagnosed through routine blood exams.

There is risk for developing Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, which is very resistant to treatment. Approximately fifty percent of deaths occur as a result of bleeding or infection.

The younger the person with MDS Myelodysplastic Syndrome is the better the prognosis. Advanced aged patients indicate a poor prognosis.

Please confirm information. This Information is not necessarily accurate as information was gathered from a few sources: Good Morning America, GMA, Cnn Health and Wikipedia. Robin Roberts photo from GMA.

Thanks to her sisters DNA match, Robin Roberts will be undergoing a Bone Marrow Transplant. Our prayer are with Robin and her sister.

Click Here to Go Directly to Be the Match Website

ALL proceeds from this article will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Thank you for considering saving someones life by registering to become a donor.

Update on Robin Roberts from Good Morning America. Robin will be begin her new journey next week, in September, to receive her bone marrow transplant. The generous and loving gift from her sister. Her sister already has given the bone marrow and after only a few days after donating, reports that she is back to "100%" Giving the gift of life through live donations is such a blessing to the donor because they live knowing they gave life.

Thank you Robin for sharing your struggles with MDS MYLELODYSPLASTIC SYNDROME. You are an inspiration to so many for your strength and hope. I have been amazed at Robin's strength to carry on with her job. The early early mornings getting up and going to work while suffering through this illness is amazing.

God Bless Robin and we will be praying for you for a full and quick recovery.

Update on Robin Roberts:
Robin had the Bone Marrow Transplant. Her sister was a perfect match and was so kind to give Robin her "Living" organ donation. Robin is now home recovering and keeps Good Morning America informed on her recovery. Hopefully she will be strong enough to return to Good Morning America soon.

Are You Registered to Donate Your Organs?

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Donation Registrants

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How Did You Register to Become an Organ Donor?

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Register via Facebook

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DESIGN Mugs, Awards, Doggy Clothes, Stamps etc...

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A Teenagers Gift of Life

A parents tragedy gave Life

Jenna's touching story whose life was saved through the kindness of parents who donated their child's organs.
Mihalevich1
Jenna's Transplant Story
by Mihalevich1 | video info

19 ratings | 2,257 views

Story of a teenage girl that survived transplant and encourages others to consider organ donation.

curated content from YouTube

Share Your Story

If you know of anyone who donated an organ or whose life was saved or improved through organ donation, please share your story here.

Click Below for Direct Link to
DonateLife.Net
http://DonateLife.Net

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curated content from YouTube

Organ Donation Facts - Contents

Register to Donate Organs on Facebook

  1. Facebook Partners with Donate Life America
  2. Organ Donation Facts
  3. Types of Organ Transplantation:
  4. My ZAZZLE Store - Create Your Own Gifts
  5. See Here How EASY and QUICK it is to Register to Become an Organ Donor
  6. LOGIN into Your FACEBOOK
  7. How to Sign Up to Register to Donate your Organs through Facebook
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Simple Steps on Corel Painter Software
These steps helped me to get going on Corel Painter 12.
My Sketches done with my Digital Graphics Tablet - Wacom Intuos 5
I love this Graphics Tablet - See my Non Artist Sketches that I traced from my mothers artwork.
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Questions About Relationships

Good morning - it's a crisp beautiful morning! The sunrise is beautiful. Spring is a wonderful time of the year

When it is all said and done, the thing that really matters the most to us, the thing that causes us the most hurt and joy in our lives, and the thing that most impacts our legacy is our relationships - especially those critical relationships. Our relationship with God, our spouse, our children, our extended family, and those close friends.

Relationships, for most of us, are actually the most important things in our lives. Yet for some reason for many of us, our relationships are what we are least intentional about in our lives. Somehow we just expect them to happen; we expect them to somehow stay strong and to grow with little or no intentional planning and action on our part. So often, the most important thing in our lives receives the least amount of our attention. Maybe that is something that needs to change?

Here are a few questions for you to ask about your key relationships:

- What is their love language and do I communicate with them in their love language or in mine?

- What is their personality type and how does that affect how I interact with them?

- What is their preferred method of communication? Do they like calls, texts, Facebook messages, letters?

- How often do I need to be connecting with them? Some relationships require frequent contact and some not so much.

- What are their hopes and fears? What are some of their favorite things?

- What is going on in their lives right now?

- How could I be a blessing to them right now?

- Am I intentionally scheduling time on my calendar to call them / visit them / write them / or ???

Our relationships are vital - so start being intentional about nurturing them.

Question for you - how do you ensure you are caring for those critical relationships in your life?

Have a great weekend!
BG

Want to Get More Done? Take a Walk

Good morning! The flowers are blooming here, but it is still raining up here in the Midwest. Everything is pretty soaked, but as you can tell from this picture my daughter took that the ducks are having fun!

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the communication and information that is coming your way? First there is your computer with your multiple email accounts, your myriad of websites that you "need" to check, of course Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on. Then there is your smartphone that keeps you connected though texts, email, Facetime, and the occasional call. It sometimes seems we start our day by turning on our computer or checking our smartphone and then we spend the rest of the day just trying to manage the flood of information coming into our lives and end the day more tired than if we had been digging ditches all day.

The one thing we are missing in our day is one of the most important things we need to be doing - thinking. Most of us are called knowledge workers these days, but sometimes it feels more like we are simply information processors. We need to be spending more time actually thinking. One of the ways you can do this is to disconnect from all your tech gear and simply take a walk. Leave your smartphone at your desk and take a walk and think. Try to do this in the morning when your mind is fresh and creative.

You will be amazed at how your creativity increases and the insights you will have when you simply disconnect from the firehose of information and take the time to simply think. Try it today and see what happens.

Go take a walk.

Peace and grace to you today,
BG

A Different Way of Looking At Things

Good morning - looks like it is going to be a beautiful day here in northeast Indiana. Finally looking like spring.

I have been enjoying a good book called Creative Intelligence by Bruce Nussbaum. One thing that has struck me so far is his discussion on framing and reframing. Essentially framing is how we look at things - our lives for instance. We all have a set of lenses through which we interpret the world and many times those lenses are "out of focus".

His key point is that we have the power to change those lenses. We have the ability to "reframe" ourselves and to see ourselves behaving in alternative ways. reframing is about breaking your routine. He goes on to talk about how our frames of engagement are shifting from passive to active, transactional to relational, and impersonal to very personal. You can change the way you see the world, how you connect with people and how you think about the future.So often we are so used to looking at the world in a certain way that we become blind to the possibility of something we can't even imagine yet.

He has some questions he recommends you ask to help you in reframing so that you can see new opportunities:

What's really going on?

How did we get here?

Why are things the way they are?

What if things were different?

Some good questions to help you to start thinking differently about your situation and your life and to start seeing new possibilities.

Hope your week gets off to a great start today!

BG

"8 Things You Should Not Do Everyday"

I saw this article on the Inc. website this morning and thought I would share it with you.

They suggest that everyday you make a commitment not to:

1. Check my phone while I'm talking to someone.

2. Multitask during a meeting.

3. Think about people who don't make any difference in my life.

4. Use multiple notifications.

5. Let the past dictate the future.

6. Wait until I'm sure I will succeed.

7. Talk behind someone's back.

8. Say "yes" when I really mean "no."

It's a good article and worth a quick read - click here to go to the article.

Enjoy your weekend!

BG

"Creating The Best Workplace on Earth"

"Creating The Best Workplace on Earth"

Good blogpost on the Harvard Business Review website.

Courage

"How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them." - Benjamin Franklin

Are You Seeking The Right Thing?

Good morning, we are starting to see flowers peeking out and buds on the trees which is a beautiful thing!

As you are probably acutely aware, we live in the information age. In fact we are inundated with information from so many sources. And some of you are probably like me - an information hound. I love to learn and I am often seeking more information on a variety of subjects.

The problem is that while we have what seems like unlimited information, we appear to have a shortage of something even more important - wisdom. In Proverbs 16:16 it says "How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver." So, in Scripture, wisdom and understanding are more precious than gold and silver! That sounds very valuable. Yet, it seems that we are so often lacking in wisdom and understanding. Why do you think that is?

Are we too busy? Do we not stop to think and ponder on what we are learning? Do we ever take time to reflect on the great questions of our time? Do we stop to evaluate the quality of the information we are taking in? Are we evaluating that information using a biblical worldview as a grid?

We really don't need more information. We need wisdom and we need understanding. Become a seeker of wisdom. Become a person who seeks first to understand before being understood. Seek the company of wise people (remember, just being smart does not equal being wise). Become a person of wisdom so that you can become a wise counselor to others.

Are you seeking the right thing?

BG

Link List

Here are some links you might find useful or interesting

BGAllen.com - My primary blog site
A blog to resource those leaders who want to live and lead more effectively and with greater impact
Ambassador Enterprises LLC
This is where I currently serve - check out the Engage tab for some excellent leadership resources
Life Action Ministries
This is a great ministry that is impacting the lives of thousands every year
BG's LinkedIn site
My LinkedIn site if you are interested!
The Leadership Challenge
The site for Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner - authors of "The Leadership Challenge"
Michael Hyatt
Michael is a great blogger on leadership topics
Seth Godin
Seth Godin has a way of making you think and to look at things from a different perspective

Do You Have A Coffee Budget?

Good morning to you! I hope your week is getting off to a great start, it looks like mine will be pretty full.

Question - do you have a coffee budget? No? Maybe you ought to if you really want to grow. Confused yet?

Most of us are busy, very busy in fact. Because of that and because of a lack of intentionality, our circles of influence may sometimes be smaller than we might imagine. Also, they may not be very diverse, so we spend most of our time with people very much like us. The result can be a narrowing of our thinking and a lack of creative input into our lives. So, to counter this I am suggesting you drink some coffee!

What I really am suggesting is that you set up your budget so that you can take someone different out for a cup of coffee each week for a year. Pick interesting people from a wide range of backgrounds from whom you can learn. People that will challenge your thinking and your preconceived notions. People from walks of life very different from your own.

Take them out for a cup of coffee, ask good questions and then listen. You will be amazed at what you learn and the friendships that you start. The hard part will be getting outside of your normal circles, but to make this really interesting, you will need to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.

Stretch yourself, grow, and by the way - you will impact them as well.

So go enjoy a cup of coffee with someone new this week. You will be blessed.

BG

Are You on Cruise Control?

Good morning on this wet Friday morning. I don't know if you have had a cold lately, but it wasn't much fun for me this week. I'm still coughing some, but feeling way better!

When I was a boy, my Uncle Edward owned the general store in the very Mayberry-like town of Wadley, Alabama. It was a huge store with wooden floors where you could buy groceries, guns, fishing tackle, clothes, tools and most importantly - comic books and toys! He also had a rack of bumper stickers and one always stuck out to me. It said, "Now that I know all the answers, They changed all the questions!" Do you ever feel that way nowadays? Our world is so dynamic now and the challenge that we face as leaders is avoiding the temptation to simply go on cruise control working off our years of experience instead of being intentional about continually learning and adapting to the new reality.

It is so easy to simply rely on past experience and to keep applying the same methods we have always used in our leadership. The problem is that things have changed and are changing - rapidly. The people we are leading are changing. The greatest change seems to be in regards to he different generations that are now working together and the way the different generations think and approach work are very, very different. If you are trying to lead the way you always have in the past, it is a good bet that you are alienating a portion of those you lead.

Being a leader you don't have the luxury of using cruise control. We have to be acutely aware of the changes that are happening and to be intentional about learning how to better lead in this new context.

Have a great weekend!

BG

A Note That Makes A Difference

Check out Harvard Business Review's excellent article on note writing.

Handwritten Note

Leadership Is Dead - Really?

7 Actions To Increase Your Influence

Good morning. Still cold here, but starting to slowly warm up and starting to see a few signs of Spring!

How did that title grab you? It certainly caught my attention. It is the title of the book by Jeremie Kubicek about influence. Actually, the full title is Leadership Is Dead, How Influence Is Reviving It. The book is about influence and how you should use it to benefit others. Mr. Kubicek has recently updated the book and given it a new title, Making Your Leadership Come Alive, 7 Actions to Increase Your Influence.

A quote from the book that resonated with me: "After decades of greed by corporate tycoons, financial moguls, and political egos, this generation is searching for authentic, selfless leadership that holds a mission higher than and outside of themselves". Amen!

Jeremie deals with this well in the book and gives you seven actions to increase your influence the right way:

1. Give Trust to Become Trustworthy

2. Become Credible, Not Just Smart

3. Be Intentional In Your Influence

4. Break Through Your Walls of Self-Preservation

5. Pursue Relationship Before Opportunity

6. Give Yourself Away

7. Become Significant in Your Impact

These are some great steps to take and he unpacks them well. So, if you want to lead differently, if you value people and relationships, and you want to have more influence for a greater mission than yourself, check out Jeremie's book. Jeremie makes the statement that God reset his leadership paradigm through a horrific accident. He wants to help others to reset their leadership paradigm without them having to go through such an experience.

So, check out Making Your Leadership Come Alive, 7 Actions to Increase Your Influence, it is worth your time.

BG

Responsive Influence

Good morning to you. I hope you had great weekend celebrating the Resurrection.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I just read Leadership is Dead, How Influence is Reviving It by Jeremie Kubicek. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and especially Jeremie's approach to leadership so I will share a few things from his book this week. First a quote from the book - "Leadership is influence. Influence is power. How that power is used comes from the intent of the leader, from the motives of his heart."

Jeremie has a section of the book where he talks about responsive leadership. It's kind of an interesting name, but here is how he explains responsive leadership:

"To understand influence is to understand responsiveness. To be responsive is to be aware of others first, especially as you lead them. The desire to keep improving and increasing in the value of your gifts reflects an attitude of receptiveness. . . To be responsive is to handle authority and influence as a stewardship, not a divine right."

To me, that last sentence is critical to grasp as we lead others. Our leadership of others is a stewardship that is not to be taken lightly - it is others centered. Too many of us treat it as a divine right.

Today, put your eyes first on those you lead.

Share with me what you do to keep your priorities straight as you lead others.

BG

Do You Empower or Overpower People?

Good Saturday afternoon to you! It is a beautiful almost spring day here in northeast Indiana.

"Leadership is influence. Influence is power. In wielding that power, a leader can choose to use it in one of two ways:

To empower and liberate or

To overpower and dominate" - Jeremie Kubicek author of Leadership is Dead, How Influence is Reviving It

So, how do you choose to use your power?

Have a blessed day tomorrow celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

He is Risen!!

BG

An Affair of the Heart

Good morning, I hope that this Holy Week has been special for you as we prepare our hearts for this weekend we remember and celebrate and give thanks for the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

According to James Kouzes and Barry Posner, in their book The Truth About Leadership, leadership is an affair of the heart. Listen to what they say:

"There's no integrity without heart. There's no commitment and conviction without heart. There's no trust and support without heart. There's no persistence and courage without heart. There's no learning and risk taking without heart. Nothing important ever gets done without heart. Purely and simply, exemplary leaders excel at improving performance because they pay attention to the human heart."

So, is your leadership an "affair of the heart"? Do you deeply care for those you lead and serve? Do you pay attention to the hearts of those you lead?

You should not divorce emotion from your vocation and if you want to truly impact the lives of others, you cannot divorce your emotions from your vocation.

Care and care deeply for those you lead and make a difference in their lives - today.

Tomorrow, take some time to contemplate the extravagant act of love of Jesus for us and then thank Him.

Peace and grace to you at this most special time of year,
BG

Know Thyself

"'Know thy God': [1 Chronicles 28:9] rather than 'Know Thyself' is the categorical imperative of the biblical man. There is no self-understanding without God-understanding." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Good leaders learn their specific personal strengths and weaknesses, especially in dealing with other people, then build on the strengths and correct the weaknesses." - Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

"Unless we can bear self-mortification, we shall not be able to carry self-examination to the necessary painful lengths. Without humility there can be no illuminating self-knowledge." -Arnold Toynbee

One of the things I have enjoyed (most of the time anyway) here at Ambassador Enterprises is the focus on understanding yourself as well as those you work with on a daily basis. If you lack self awareness you are unable to know how to develop your strengths and to correct your weaknesses and thus are less effective.

There are some challenges and difficulties with coming to know ourselves better. First of all, once you get a correct view of yourself, it is almost always never as flattering as the image you have built of yourself. True self awareness can be painful as it shatters some of your delusions about yourself, so sometimes we avoid really confronting ourselves. As Toynbee states above, it requires humility to know yourself.

Secondly, knowing yourself is not really about you. Sounds a little backwards right? Knowing yourself better so that you can grow in your strengths and correct your weaknesses is not really all about you. It is about you learning to work with and to serve better those you serve with in the different spheres of your life. It is about you becoming a more effective member of your community. It about you having a greater impact for God's kingdom and ultimately about bringing Him glory.

Another of the challenges of learning about ourselves is that we label ourselves and then excuse some of our behaviors and weaknesses. We just say, "Well, I am a WXYZ and that is just the way we are." Wrong, self awareness gives you the opportunity to start dealing with your weaknesses and to learn how to better work with others. You can change.

Learn who you are, discover how the Lord wired you. There are many good assessment tools out there and one I recommend is the MinistryStyles Assessment - it is very thorough and very helpful. So learn and capitalize on your strengths and work to mitigate your weaknesses. Understand how you relate with and impact others. Become a more effective member of your community and have a greater impact on your world.

Hope you have a great Wednesday!
BG

Hit the Pause Button

Good morning. I know the calendar says it is spring, but with all this snow outside right now, it sure doesn't feel like it! But warner days are just around the corner and I am looking forward to seeing some flowers.

Kevin Cashman has written a book on what it means to pause as a leader and why that's important. The book is entitled The Pause Principle.

Mr. Cashman begins by drawing a parallel in that pausing is to leadership and innovation what sleep si to the mind and body - essential. Read this quote: "Bob Johansen, 10-year forecaster and author of Get There Early, has characterized the speed- and action-oriented, fast-changing, demanding world we lead in today as a 'VUCA world: Volatile; Unpredictable; Complex; Ambiguous.' Our addiction to action, our busy-ness, our preoccupation with incessant distractions and pursuit of the ubiquitous 'more' in our 24/7, constantly connected, globally caffeinated culture conspire to diminish rather than strengthen our leadership capacities. We challenge ourselves to keep up and even hasten the grueling pace, and, frankly, we rationalize that it comes with the territory. Paradoxically, the job of leaders is to bring clarity to all of this chaos."

Leaders are to bring clarity and hop in the midst of this "VUCA" world. How are we to do so if we are caught up in the swirl? We have to pause and step back and gain a fresh perspective that transcends the immediate swirl of activity. We have to pause.

Mr. Cashman lists seven "Pause" practices that are important:

1. Be On-Purpose

2. Question and Listen

3. Risk Experimentation

4. Reflect and Synthesize

5. Consider Inside-Out and Outside-In Dynamics

6. Foster Generativity

7. Be Authentic

On his blog, Mr. Cashman makes the statement, ". . . fast thinking is the domain of management transaction, while slow thinking is the leadership domain of strategic, innovative transformation." If you are a leader caught up in the frenetic pace of life and it seems you don't even have the time to think, it's time to hit the pause button, step back and spend some time reflecting. If not, you might not like where you end up.

Hope you have a great week!
BG

A Blogging Template That Works

Good morning - beautiful morning here, but the weatherman says we have another winter storm (in the spring??) coming our way Sunday. Oh well.

Michael Hyatt is one of my favorite bloggers and on his video post today he explains how to design a blogging template. If you enjoy blogging I would recommend you check out his post today.

Here are the highlights:

  1. Start with the headline.
  2. Write a great lead paragraph.
  3. Use a relevant image.
  4. Tell a personal story.
  5. Make your content scannable.
  6. Invite others into the conversation.

Check out Michael's blog - it is a good one!

BG

What Are Your Mindsets?

Good morning. Still cold here in NE Indiana - we are so ready for Spring!!!

What are your mindsets? Or maybe a better question is what are the attitudes with which you approach life?

I am involved in an interesting project here at Ambassador Enterprises where we are working to identify the core 20% of what makes the AE culture unique. One area that we identified was this area of Mindsets / Attitudes and we believe that there are three core attitudes that are important to our culture:

1. Trust - there has to be trust, which is a choice, before you truly have effective relationships, effective community, and high performing teams. It is a choice and it is an attitude in which you approach others. Trust is something that has to be intentionally developed and maintained.

2. Dependency - this is not dependency in the unhealthy sense, this is the realization and living out that fact that we are not truly independent actors in life, but that we are dependent upon God and others in life. We need others and others need us - in a very healthy and real way.

3. Humility - humility and dependency are closely tied together. Humility is the opposite of pride and arrogance. Humility recognizes that we aren't superior to others, that others have great value in God's eyes, that we are incomplete and flawed, and that we are in need of God's grace, His help and the help of others and that we still have much to learn.

I have found these attitudes to be helpful. What are the attitudes or mindsets that guide your life?

BG

Want To Lead? Learn To Give

Good morning! I hope you had a great weekend - we did. All four of us were together as my oldest daughter drove down from Michigan for the weekend and we had a nice time. Coffe at the Firefly Coffee House then a great dinner yesterday .

Probably like me, you have read a lot of books on leadership, have seen images of leaders, and heard many stories of leaders. Leaders come in all sizes, shapes, personalities, styles and so on. Of course there are certain traits that are true of the types of leaders who leave a lasting legacy of good - those people who have had a positive and lasting impact on the lives of other people. There is one trait, however, I have not seen mentioned very often.

The trait that I am thinking of is giving. The kind of leader I am talking about, the one who impacts people's lives for a long time, is a giver. They give many things to the people they serve (lead). They give hugely of themselves in terms of time, hard work, patience, encouragement, teaching, correcting, training and most of all - their attention. Great leaders are always giving of themselves to the people they lead, but one key thing they give is their attention. A leader has many things competing for their attention - hugely important things - but the wise leader ensures that they give much, if not most, of that attention to the people they lead (serve).

Great leaders have the heart of a giver and they give deeply of themselves to those that they lead. So, if you want to be a great leader, develop the heart of a giver and then give deeply out of love for those you lead. Lives will be changed - especially yours.

Learning to lead with you,
BG

Your Words Will Outlast You

Good Saturday afternoon! It's a chilly, cold, wet day here in Indiana, but you can see the promise of spring in the green shoots starting to appear in the flower beds, robins everywhere, and most of the snow has melted away.

More and more, I am being impressed with the power of words to build up or to tear down. Often, your words are a part of your legacy - you can either cause deep wounds that leave scars for a lifetime or you can speak words of grace that stay with others for their lifetime and even beyond in those that they touch.

I came across a poem today about Dietrich Bonhoeffer that speaks of the lasting impact of his words. I hope it impacts you as it did me.

EASTER SPOILS 2012

This is the end - for me, the beginning of life. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer (from his last recorded words)

Words to a prison friend, spoken in haste.
Gestapo men had come to transfer him,
Low Sunday, sixty-seven years ago
Today. The next morning, he'd be hanged with others.
No question who was strong and who was weak.
A room of prisoners praying, when the door
Burst open. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He went
But only after saying his goodbyes,
Stealing a few more minutes as a man
Might steal his own possessions from a thief.
Words can survive the worst, which is love's trick;
Can, on occasion, be the love they praise.
On this distant Easter night, the world still writhes
In its uneven pain. Wakeful, I hear
Bonhoeffer voicing love's contingency,
Love's need, the thousand ways love dies and dies
And may live on in something someone says.

- Charles Hughes

What will be the legacy of your words spoken to others?

BG

Stop and Look Back

It's Friday! This may seem funny to you, but I get excited about Friday because that means that tomorrow morning Angela and I will go on our Saturday breakfast date. We have been doing this for almost ten years now and it my favorite time of the week.

Recently I was talking to a leader that is a friend of mine and he was dealing with some challenges and discouragement. He's a hard charging guy who is trying to make a dent in this world for Christ. He has high standards and is always leading his people to grow and to make an impact in their community. As we were talking it occurred to me that his eyes were fixed on the top of the mountain that he was climbing. Like all good leaders, the gap between where he (and his people) were and where they could be was frustrating. He sees the potential and strives to lead himself and others to reach that potential.

However, a steady diet of "mountain climbing" will take its toll, so we all need to learn to stop on occasion, turn around and see just how far the Lord has brought us on the journey. We need to stop and pause and give Him thanks for what He has accomplished in our lives. Then, we need to take some time to celebrate with those who are on the journey with us. That simple act of turning around and acknowledging how far the Lord has brought you will give you perspective, cause you to develop a more grateful heart and allow you to reconnect in a more meaningful way with your fellow sojourners.

So stop for a bit, turn around and enjoy the scenery, give thanks to the Lord and your traveling companions, and then gather some strength before you tackle that next ridge on the mountain.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend,
BG

An Example

Ice formation by Keely AllenGood morning - still cold here in NE Indiana!!

Have you ever had someone in your life that so impacted you and impressed you that you would say something like "I want to be like _____ when I grow up." You would even say this in your 30's and 40's? I remember a man like that, Mr. Al Benton, Jr. A tall lanky man, filled with a love for Christ, filled with optimism, and always excited about the future and excited about right now. In his 70's and 80's he was younger than many I knew that were in their 20's and 30's. He was always encouraging, teaching, helping and, yes, even rebuking when needed. He was the type man that in meetings when he started talking everyone else instantly quit talking in order to hear what he had to say. I still want to be like Mr. Al when I grow up.

In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he makes the following statement, "I urge you, then, be imitators of me." (1 Cor. 4:16) Are you able to say that to others? As you lead the people that God has entrusted to you, can you say to them, "do as I do"? Are you leading a life that is worthy of imitation? If not, why not?

Take some time to examine your life and to determine what is worthy of imitation by others and what is not. Then begin to do something about those areas of your life that are not worthy of imitation, because people are watching you for an example of how to live and you want it to be the right example.

Blessings on you today,
BG

How Do I Fit Here?

Good Monday morning to you! This weekend a good friend of mine posted on Facebook his opinion that naps ought to be a required part of the first week of daylight savings time. After getting up this morning with my body clock at odds with my alarm clock I think he may be on to something.

How important is it for you to know how you fit within your organization? Does it help you to have clarity regarding how your role advances the mission of your organization? Does it help you to know just how it is that you add value to your organization?

For most of us, it does matter. We don't want to just be a cog in a large machine. Most of us want to do things that matter, we want to know just how it is that we advance the mission of our organization. And so do the people we lead.

Creating clarity is a key role of a leader. A particularly important area where we need to create clarity is just how the people we lead contribute to the overall mission of our organizations. They need to know that what they do is valuable and they need to know how and why it is valuable. You need to be able to "connect the dots" for them from what they do to the overall mission. This is a hugely important aspect of a leader's role that is often overlooked. Sometimes we even forget just how important the people are to the mission of the organization. (NOTE: Check out Patrick Lencioni's bookThe Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executivefor a good read on creating organizational Clarity.)

So take time today and think about the people you have the privilege of leading and how vital they are to your organization (yes - even the ones that irritate you!) and then take the time to begin telling them just how they fit ad how important they are to the organization.

Hope you have a great week and maybe you will have the opportunity to catch a couple of naps!
BG

Empowering People

It is Friday! Hope you have great plans for your weekend. We are excited because it is supposed to get in the high 40's here which will be nice for us.

How do you empower people? There are many ways, but one of the most effective is effective delegation. Here at Ambassador Enterprises delegation has been broken down into four phases:

1. DEFINE: This phase is all about quality up front and it is critical you get this phase right. Here you want to clearly communicate the desired Results (goals and milestones), the Rules (parameters), the Roles (personnel and authority), the Resources (money, and support), and the Rewards.

2. ASSIGN: This is where you clearly communicate the task and ensure the individual not only understands, but concurs with the assigned task. Then you clearly hand over the task to the individual.

3. PROVIDE: Phase three is simply follow through. You are providing your delegate the authority, money, training, materials, facilities, support, and tools they need to accomplish the delegated task.

4. MONITOR: Then, you set up an appropriate system for checking on the progress and results. How you do this will vary with the experience and competence of the delegate and with the complexity of the task. It is a balancing act of you getting the information you need without unnecessary micro-management of the delegate.

Effective delegation is a great way to empower the members of your team, however, so many of us do it so poorly that we actually demotivate members of our team. Effective delegation is a skill that can and should be learned by leaders.

What have you learned about how best to delegate to others?

Blessings on your weekend!
BG

Do Not Withhold Good

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it." Proverbs 3:27

Are you withholding good from someone you lead? Is there someone on your team that deserves a raise, recognition for a job well done, a new computer, a better desk chair, a pat on the back, a kind word, or some time off? What's keeping you from doing it?

I have found that most of the times I withhold good that I have the power to do from someone, it usually is a result of my self-centeredness. I procrastinate because it will take too much time, their personality is "different' and while they do a good job they irk me a bit, and so on.

So why are you withholding good from someone you lead? Take care of it today.

BG

Ten Truths About Leadership

Good morning from snow-covered northeast Indiana. The snow is beautiful, but no fun to drive in last night. Very grateful for a four-wheel drive truck!

James Kouzes and Barry Posner are two of my favorite authors on leadership. They are probably best known for their book The Leadership Challenge- if you don't have it in your library, I highly recommend it to you. However, this morning I want to briefly talk about their other book - The Truth About Leadership. In this book, Kouzes and Posner lay out ten "truths" about leadership that they have discovered. They were consistently being asked what has changed about leadership. What they found was that the context of leadership has and is changing but the content of leadership had not changed. They found that the foundational principles of leadership have not and do not change. For those of us who hold a Biblical worldview, that is no surprise as we understand that God's principles for how you treat and lead people are unchanging.

The ten foundational truths that Kouzes and Posner list are:

1. You Make A Difference. We know that to be true as throughout Scripture, we see God using one person as an agent of change in history.

2. Credibility Is the Foundation of Leadership - if people don't believe in you, they won't willingly follow you.

3. Values Drive Commitment.

4. Focusing on the Future Sets Leaders Apart.

5. You Can't Do It Alone. Leadership is a team sport.

6. Trust Rules. Trust is the social glue that holds individuals and groups together.

7. Challenge Is the Crucible for Greatness.

8. You Either Lead by Example or You Don't Lead at All.

9. The Best Leaders Are the Best Learners. A leader should always be on the path of continuous growth.

10. Leadership is an Affair of the Heart. Love for others is what motivates great leaders.

So what do you think? Are there ones you would add? Ones you would change? Or even ones you would take off this list?

What foundational truths guide you as you lead others? If you want, post your answers and let's see what others think.

BG

The Best Example of Humility and Will

Good morning - I hope your week is getting off to a great start!

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins makes the statement that a Level 5 leader is a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. As most of you know, this book has had a great impact in the field of leadership. A great concept and revolutionary right? Well, let's see what another book has to say about the subject.

"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:3

"Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, . . ." 1 Peter 5:5

". . . be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your work is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:15

I enjoy and highly recommend the reading of good books by credible authors on the subject of leadership. However, if you have been called to and assigned the humble task to lead and shepherd others, do not neglect the reading of and living out of the teachings on how to do so by the Great Shepherd. He was and is the perfect example of deep humility and unflinching will.

Peace and grace to you this week as you serve others,
BG

A Vocabulary for Leaders

Over the years I have come to better appreciate the power of words. Time and again, when I have worked with organizations, the employees often tell me "I only hear from them (their managers) when I make a mistake, I wish they would say something when I do a good job" or "I wish I knew how I was doing, no one ever says anything about my work" or "I worked extra hours this week trying to ship product on time and no one said thank you" and so on.

One mark of a leader is a good vocabulary that they use well and often. This particular vocabulary uses words and phrases such as the following:

Thank you!

Great job, I particularly appreciate how you did ________.

I'm sorry, I failed to ________.

I was wrong. You were right.

Great insight! Excellent idea!

Would you help me to ________? We need your input on ____.

I am glad you are a part of XYZ Organization, you make a difference!

I appreciate your hard work and dedication - you are a great example to the others.

You have worked long enough for the day - go home and be with your family.

You have earned your vacation and you need to take it - XYZ won't fall apart while you are gone.

Stay off email at night!

Here, let me help you.

You know, you did not do so well on ____, but I know you want to do well and I want to help you.

And finally one big addition to your vocabulary - laughter. Learn to laugh and to let your staff know that it is good to laugh!

You can change lives with your words - literally. So speak words of truth, grace, and peace to those you lead and see how it causes them to flourish.

"A gentle tongue is a tree of life, . . ." Proverbs 15:4

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." Proverbs 16:24

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Proverbs 25:11

BG

Justice

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

". . . I will be a swift witness against . . . those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, . . ." Malachi 3:5

These passages of Scripture have been important to me as I have had the privilege and duty of leading and shepherding other people. These passages remind me of some of my responsibilities and, more importantly, of what the Lord expects of those that are in positions of leadership.

So some questions today for you - are you doing justice to others? Are you kind? Are you walking in humility? Do you pay a fair and living wage (that is if that is in your scope of responsibility)?

The Lord has high expectations of those He has placed in leadership.

Blessings on your day today!
BG

The Importance of Appreciation

Good morning from Louisiana. I am here working with one of the plants of a company recently purchased by Ambassador and enjoying my time back in the South!

How do you like to be shown appreciation? Is it important to you to know that others appreciate your work? Especially your supervisor?

Do you show others your appreciation for their work the way you would like to be shown appreciation? What about your assistant or others' assistants? These are the people that make our organizations go, yet we so often overlook them as they serve in the background.

Checkout this article on appreciating assistants -How to Give a Meaningful "Thank You"from the Harvard Business Review blog about how best to show your appreciation to those assistants in your organization that keep the wheels turning!

Say Thank You to someone today and do it in a special way,
BG

Intimidation and Fear

Good morning to you! It's supposed to be warmer today here in northeast Indiana, but it surely doesn't feel like it right now.

Intimidation and fear! Not very warm and fuzzy words are they? Words that we obviously don't want to describe the culture of our organization! But yet, we continue to do certain things that do cause intimidation and fear. One of the most common of these is the annual performance review and I cannot understand why we continue to do this to our people.

I have been a part of the US Army, worked at two Fortune 500 companies, worked in state government and in ministry over a 32 year period and I have yet to see annual performance reviews actually do anything about performance. I have seen them cause huge amounts of stress to both the employee and the supervisor, I have seen them manipulated to justify the pay scale that had already been decided for someone before their review, I have seen them continually inflated due to a supervisor's discomfort with conflict, I have seen them used to justify letting someone go, and I have seen them used to shift the blame for a manager's poor leadership of his team. I have seen all those things and more, the one thing I haven't seen is an annual performance review actually help someone to improve their performance.

What I have seen improve a person's performance is an ongoing dialogue between the person and their leader where expectations are clear, where resources and appropriate authority are provided to accomplish assigned tasks, where coaching for performance is ongoing, and where the leader realizes that their relationship with the employee is critical to the employee's success. I have seen it work when the leader realizes that they often are the biggest impediment to their team's success.

So, if you want to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, go online and download one of those checklist type of annual review forms and then sit in judgment of your employee's performance for the year (when in reality, if you can remember how they did over the last six weeks you are doing well!) and then take no responsibility for your part in their success and failure.

Or, you could start evaluating, on a regular basis, your partnership with your team and how together you can become more effective. Then, maybe you will see less intimidation and fear while seeing more secure and productive team members. Do something radical that will actually make a difference - trash the annual review and go to ongoing coaching and see what happens.

Peace and grace to you today,
BG

"Embrace Work-Life Imbalance" - What do You Think?

 Tomas Chamorro-PremuzicHere is an interesting take on the work life balance from Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on the Harvard Business Review blog.

"Overworking is really only possible if you are not having fun at work. By the same token, any amount of work will be dull if you are not engaged, or if you find your work unfulfilling.

Maybe it's time to redefine the work-life balance - or at least stop thinking about it. Here are some considerations:

- Hard work may be your most important career weapon.

- Engagement is the difference between the bright and the dark side of workaholism.

- Technology has not ruined your work-life balance, it has simply exposed how boring your work and your life used to be.

- People who have jobs, rather than careers, worry about work-life balance because they are unable to have fun at work.

- Complaining about your poor work-life balance is a self-indulgent act."

I am not sure I am in complete agreement with his conclusions, but they do make you think.

What are your thoughts on his article? What are your thoughts on the whole work-life balance topic?

BG

Do You Protect Your People?

Good Wednesday morning to you!

Question for you - do the people of your organization feel safe? Protected? How about the people on your team? Is it safe to work for you?

While it is important, I am not talking about physical safety today. I am primarily talking about emotional safety, your culture - the environment in your organization and / or your team.

Simon Sinek talks about this in his book Start With Why. He is talking about trust and one of the ways that you develop trust in your people is by protecting them. One illustration that he gives is that of a trapeze artist. A trapeze artist will push themselves to new feats of daring and stretch and grow their abilities to do amazing stunts - as long as they have a net under them. Without a net, there is too much risk to go for it. A good leader provides a practical and emotional net for his people. A great team will try great things and will, at times fail. That is when the leader provides them a net. And when you provide a net, people feel protected. When they feel protected, you will gain their trust.

In one of my favorite leadership books of all time, The Way of the Shepherd, the fourth principle is "Make Your Pasture a Safe Place" and there are at least six things you need to do to make it a safe place according to the authors:

a. Keep your people well informed.
b. Infuse every position with importance.
c. Cull chronic instigators from the flock.
d. Regularly rotate the sheep to fresh pastures.
e. Reassure the sheep by staying visible.
f. Don't give problems time to fester.

So, do you want a high functioning team of people who trust each other and enjoy coming to work? Start with giving them a safe place to work - better yet, a safe place to create art and do great things!

BG

"Eight Things That Frustrate Me As A Leader" - by Dave Kraft

Good morning - this is a great post by my friend and former leadership coach - Dave Kraft. Click here for his blog or you can follow him on Twitter @krafto.

In this post Dave lists eight things about himself and others that causes him frustration as a leader. Check out the list below and then go to his post for more information. I believe that you might be feeling the same way about some of these frustrations.

1. My Lack Of Sympathetic And Interactive Listening

2. My Lack Of Patience With Perceived Slow Thinking Or Slow Moving People

3. My Lack Of Compassion For Hurting, Or Different, People

4. People Claiming They Don't Have The Time And Letting The Urgent Trump The Important

5. People Saying We Can't Instead Of Saying We Can

6. Leaders Who Are Dominated By Fear Of What Others May Think

7. Groups, Organizations And Churches That Are Over-Managed And Under-Led

8. People Not Responding In A Reasonable Amount Of Time To Emails Or Requests

So you share some of Dave's frustrations? I do, especially numbers 1 and 3.

May your day today be marked by grace and peace,
BG

Trust is the Key

"Absence of Trust - This occurs when team members are reluctant to be vulnerable with one another and are unwilling to admit their mistakes, weaknesses or needs for help. Without a certain comfort level among team members, a foundation of trust is impossible." - Patrick Lencioni

Trust is absolutely foundational to the effective operations of a leadership team. You can try all the gimmicks, bring in consultants give orders and so on, but if the members of your leadership team do not have this level of trust, it will always be less than it could or should be.

Watch this quick video from Pat on trust:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwj9bMLiV4E&w=420&h=315]

So take the time and do the hard work needed to build trust on your team - it is worth the effort!

BG

It Is Your Choice

Question - what is your choice today? About your attitude and view of life?

You can either approach the day with a sour face muttering "why me?" or you can choose joy.

As a people who are in Christ our choice should be joy, but too often it isn't. What I have found personally is that when I am the most down, the most sour, the most irritable, is when I am preoccupied with myself.

When I am preoccupied with Christ and others, I tend to be much more joyful. I also have discovered that in my case, it is simply a mater of choice.

So today, I choose joy. What do you choose?

Have a great weekend and spread some joy!
BG

Are You Guarding Your Heart?

"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23

In our world today, your "heart" is constantly being attacked, being distracted, and being wooed away from what is really important.

What is distracting you? What is pulling your attention and affections from what is truly important? Guard yourself - protect your heart!

What are you doing to guard your heart today?

BG

9 Minor Changes That Will Make a Difference

Good morning! Headed to Florida on business today, which is nice as it has been COLD here and last night we had freezing rain.

I came across an interesting article on Inc.'s website last night about nine things that will make you happier. Now, for me, happiness is not a goal, but rather is the by-product of my walk with Christ and with others. However, this list by Inc. is quite good in my opinion and you might want to consider ensuring that some of these habits become a part of your life. Following is the list from the Inc. article:

1. Start each day with expectation.

2. Take time to plan and prioritize.

3. Give a gift to everyone you meet.

4. Deflect partisan conversations.

5. Assume people have good intentions.

6. Eat high quality food slowly.

7. Let go of your results.

8. Turn off "background" TV.

9. End each day with gratitude.

The article is worth a read. Hope you have a blessed day today!

BG

Dyad Leadership %u2013 What Is It?

Snow Tuesday in Niles, MIIt is COLD here in northeastern Indiana!! As I am writing this, the wind chill is a minus 2 degrees! That is cold for a Southern boy.

Dyad - do you know what the word means? I had never even heard the word until a few years ago when I was introduced to it by some friends. The word has several meaning depending on context, but for our purposes we will use the meaning of "two operating as one". More specifically, it is about two people of complementary personalities, giftings and skill sets serving in the same position.

For example, the organization where I now serve the dyad concept is used extensively and very successfully. For example the CEO's office is made up a CEO and a CEA (Chief Executive Administrator) and the COO's office is made up of a COO and a COA. In both case, the combination of complementary personalities and skill sets have made each "office" much more effective than if just one of the individuals filled each role.

There are several things going on that make this leadership model so attractive. First is simply the fact that we are imperfect beings. We fall short in many areas, we have weaknesses (lots of them!), we have blind spots, and there are simply so many skills that are needed to lead well that no one person has them all. We need each other!

Secondly, the world is incredibly dynamic now with ever increasing complexity and leadership requirements are so high that the "heroic CEO" model of leadership is not nearly as effective as it once was. In many cases, the job is simply too large for one individual. Click here to read a Harvard Business Review blog post on the subject.

The concept does make plain sense. Two people working together and leaning on each others strengths is obviously better than one struggling to do it alone. However there are a couple of problems. First is that refrain you often hear - "we've never done it that way". It causes us to have to learn new ways of operating and, quite frankly, change is hard and no fun. Secondly, and this is the big one, is our pride. We want to the "the one", we want to be the hero and we certainly don't want to admit that we can't do it all!

I have seen it work and I am experiencing it working. I now work in a dyad relationship. Sure, sometimes it's frustrating, especially when the areas where we "complement" each other produces a little friction, but is has been so good and so healthy and has made both of us better.

The dyad model of leadership is powerful and worth you checking out.

Blessing!
BG

A Fundamental Error You Often Make

Good morning! It is cold and getting colder up here in northeastern Indiana! Below zero temperatures are on the way according to the weather reports.

You know, being a leader and a good team member is hard work - even when everything is going right! But because we are flawed human beings, there are things that get in the way and make effective teamwork even more difficult. The frustrating thing for me is that most often, the problem is with me - and you.

One of the common issues we have to overcome is what called the fundamental attribution error. Basically we have a tendency to attribute the negative, irritating, and frustrating behaviors of others to their intentions, their personalities or their character while attributing our own negative behaviors simply to environmental factors. Another sort of way I have heard this said is that we judge others by their actions and judge ourselves by our intentions.

Do you see the problem there? We assume the worst about others, but give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. When you are part of a leadership team what do you think that does to trust? It breaks down trust or prevents it from being built-in the first place.

We have to learn how to assume the best about others and their intentions. We need to learn the habit of first seeking to understand others rather than seeking to be understood. At the root of this really is are we self-centered of God and others centered?

Today, before judging and assuming the worst about someone, try seeking to understand them and their situation.

Hope you have a great day today!
BG

Your Most Powerful Tool As A Leader

Good morning to you!

Just a brief word to you this morning about the most powerful tool you possess as a leader - your words.

It is hard to communicate just how impactful your words are on others around you. With just your words you have the power to build up a life or to tear one down. You can literally change the course of another person's life with just your words.

So how are you wielding this powerful tool? Are you building people or damaging them? Choose your words wisely!

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Proverbs 25:11

Speak words of grace into people's lives today.

BG

Are You a Little Distracted?

Ice formation by KeelyGood morning to you!

Do you at times feel a little distracted? Maybe a lot distracted? Especially when you need to be focusing on people that are important in your life? Maybe it's the "To-Do" list at work that gets longer every day, maybe it's a tinge of concern about money, maybe the car is acting up some, or . . . You get the picture.

The problem is that distraction is corrosive to your most important relationships. This weekend, I was reminded of how important it is to give undivided attention to those you love. Angela, my wife, and I made a flying trip to Nashville on Saturday to pick up a vehicle, stopped overnight in Kentucky and then returned to northeast Indiana Sunday morning. We had an incredible time driving down. We just focused on each other (well not entirely as I did have to keep one eye on the road!) and had a great time sharing with and listening to one another. A great time. With my personality type, I stay inside my head a lots. Angela has to be busy. She calls herself a "piddler" and is always doing something - especially around the house. We both easily have our attention distracted from one another.

The primary answer we have found is to carve out times where we get into another environment and just focus on each other. Long drives are great. However, we had to do something on a regular basis. So years ago, we set aside Saturday mornings as a weekly breakfast date. Wherever we have lived, we have found a cool cafe to spend early Saturday mornings focused on our relationship. Sure it cramps our style in regards to chores and projects around the house as well as even sleeping late, but we have found it to be vital to maintaining a healthy relationship. (by the way, our new favorite place is the Friendly Fox - a cool little neighborhood cafe).

I wonder how much distraction is negatively impacting our other key relationships? Probably way too much. What should we do about that? How should we ensure that we are truly focusing on those important relationships?

I would enjoy hearing some of your suggestions!

BG

The First Step to Organizational Health

"After two decades of working with CEOs and their teams of senior executives, I've become absolutely convinced that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre or unsuccessful ones has little, if anything, to do with what they know or how smart they are; it has everything to do with how healthy they are."* - Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage

Like I once did, you might have thought that what really made the difference between organizations was innovation, creativity, "smarts", great strategy, marketing and so on. Not so according to Mr. Lencioni. And from my experience (not nearly as extensive as Mr. Lencioni's!) I completely agree. I have encountered so many organizations from companies, to churches, to non-profits that have great, smart, talented. passionate people and they are operating like they are in quicksand. What is lacking is organizational health - they are dysfunctional in much the same way some families are dysfunctional.

Additionally, after becoming immersed in the culture of my new employer, Ambassador Enterprises, I have an even deeper understanding of the importance of organizational health. At Ambassador, we have some core "sayings" such as, Relational Effectiveness Drives Organizational Performance and one of our core goals is creating A Community That Cares and A Team That Performs. Notice that "A Community That Cares" comes before "A Team That Performs". That order / priority is very intentional and very important. We are very focused on organizational health and as a result it is a community that cares and is a high performing team of professionals!

Mr. Lencioni states that there is an important first step to a healthy organization - a cohesive leadership team. He goes on to say, "The first step a leadership team has to take if it wants the organization it leads to be healthy-and to achieve the advantages that go with it-is to make itself cohesive. There's just no way around it. If an organization is led by a team that is not behaviorally unified, there is no chance that it will become healthy."*

And at Ambassador, we would go on to say that if you want a healthy leadership team, you need individual leaders who are healthy. You need leaders with high Emotional Intelligence, who are mature individuals, and who care deeply about community.

Is your organization healthy? Why not? What are the dysfunctions you are seeing? How can you help your organization become healthy? How about you? What are your opportunities to grow and become a healthier leader?

Today - resolve to become healthier and stronger. Quit struggling in the quicksand. Get out and make a difference.

BG

*Lencioni, Patrick M. (2012-08-21). The Advantage, Enhanced Edition: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business (pp. 8-9, 19). Jossey-Bass. Kindle Edition.

The Discipline of HOW

"Start With Why"

Good Monday morning to you! I hope your week is getting of to a great start. We had a nice quiet weekend, which is a good one in my book being an INTJ!

Last week I wrote a short piece on "The Importance of Why" from Sinon Sinek's book Start With Why. Very enlightening book and well worth adding to your library. He points out that most people start with WHAT, some go to HOW, but very few go to WHY. Those that do tend to have a profound impact on our world.

After he talks about the importance of starting with WHY, he then goes on to talk about the "Discipline of HOW". Mr. Sineck says that the HOWs are the values or principles that bring your cause (WHY) to life. The HOW is (or should be) manifested in the systems and processes of the organization and its culture.

What is so critically important is to have the discipline to hold the organization and all its members accountable to those guiding principles. Your HOW has to be consistent with and support your WHY and you must hold yourself and those you lead accountable to those guiding principles. This is not easy, but it is a trait of highly effective people and organizations.

The sad part is that I have often found quite a gap in many organizations between their stated values and principles (those plastered on signs on the walls) and their functional values (what they really do and believe). Suggestion for you - do a culture audit and find out if you and your team really believe and act in the way that you say you should. Then review your policies and procedures - do they really support and strengthen your values and principles or are they simply something that you copied from the Internet of have "always done it that way"? Do a brutal assessment - then fix what you can. Close the gaps!!!

A question for you - how do you ensure you stay on track with your WHY (mission) and act in accordance with your core values and principles (HOW)?

BG

The Importance of Why

I hope your New Year is getting off to a great start. Today is the first day back in the office for me and trying to get back into the flow of things.

In an earlier post, I mentioned reading the book Start with Why. Great book and very important to me. It made me begin to think about why I do what I do - including writing this blog. Ultimately, I am about bringing glory to God and being a part of seeing more and more Christ-centered communities develop and impact and change this world.

My more specific "why" is to challenge the status quo within the leadership ranks of our churches, ministries, non-profits and other Christ-centered organizations and to strengthen those leaders so that they are better able to effect change within their communities, beginning with themselves and then their organizations and then into the communities they impact.

We can make a difference. It seems right now that the "doom and gloom" mindset is the current fad, but we are a people of hope. It seems to me that right now is one of the greatest times to be on this earth. We have tremendous opportunities to make a difference - it is a time of excitement and outstanding opportunity. Together, let's move ahead with hope and challenge and change the status quo.

So, what is your "Why"? What is it that drives you to do what you do?

BG

Top 10 Posts of 2012

Well, we are coming to the close of 2012. I hope this has been a year of growth in your life. Growth in your faith, growth in your family relationships, growth in your community, growth in your character and growth in the vocation to which you were called.

More and more of you are reading this little blog, http://bgallen.com/, and often I wonder why, but thank you for returning and reading what little I have to share with you. My prayer is that it has been of some use to you as you seek to lead others and to bring change to the community in which you live.

Following are the ten blog posts you liked the most over the past year in order:

1. Be-Know-Do, The Army's Leadership Model

2. Four Stages of the Creative Process

3. Seven Principles from "The Way of the Shepherd"

4. The Business Model Canvas

5. Six Questions You Should Be Able to Answer

6.How to Pitch Your Ideas to Your Boss so They Get Implemented

7. 90 Minutes of Focus = Greater Productivity

8. Questions to Ask Leaders

9. Servantship vs. Leadership - what is the difference?

10.Being Kind vs. Being Nice

I hope that 2013 is a year of great growth and impact for you and those you lead and serve.

One bit of Scripture I leave you today:

"I [Paul] therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call - one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:1-6

Grace and peace to you in His name in 2013,
BG

Questions You Need To Ask

Good morning! I surely am enjoying my time with my family this week.

Question for you - do you really want to GROW? If you are a leader or aspire to be one, you must be in a state of continual growth. This is a very intentional, and sometimes painful, process. It doesn't just happen.

One of the most important, and ongoing, tasks you have as a leader is to know yourself. Self-awareness is critical to effective leadership. As we are all finite creatures that have been marred by sin, some of that self-awareness ie intensely uncomfortable. There are things about ourselves we just don't want to know, wish we did not know, or just plain ignore and hope no one else notices. The truth is, we all have blind spots and we NEED each other. We need the truthful, and often painful, input of those that care about us in order to cut away the weights that hinder our growth. You and I need external input as there is no way that we are truly objective about ourselves.

One of the best and most simple ways to get this external input is to simply ask for it from those that you work with and do life with. Here are some examples from a blog post on Ambassador Enterprises' website:

  1. What would you want to see more of in me?
  2. What have you seen in me that limited my effectiveness?
  3. I believe we all have blind spots. What are the most significant ones you think I may have?
  4. I've taken an assessment that said I tend to be inflexible. How did that play out in our relationship?
  5. I've taken an assessment that said I tend to be insensitive. How did that play out in our relationship?"

Also, a couple of my favorites (in the context of my vocation) are:

  1. What behavior of mine most contributes to the success of the team?
  2. What behavior of mine most detracts from the success of the team?

I have been though this drill and it is most uncomfortable - but oh so worth it in my growth as a leader.

So - do you want to be a better leader? Then you must be willing to do the work of coming to know yourself even better - the good and the bad.

Peace and grace to you this day,
BG

What You Need To Stop Doing

I hope you had a blessed Christmas celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior - Jesus the Christ. We have minimized the use of technology over the last few days but I thought time to get up another post.

I read something interesting this morning on the Harvard Business Review website (this is a great resource by the way if you are in leadership, whether it be business, non-profit or a church). The article is on things people wished their boss (leader) would stop doing and some sound very familiar. When I have asked people directly how I could be a better boss, some of these very things came up in the discussion. So here is the list from the HBR article:

1. Don't obfuscate; tell it like it is. - People, especially the Gen Y crowd, want to know where they stand. They want to know what they ned to do to get better.

2. Stop telling me what I know. - They want to be coached and taught and then given freedom to do the job. One quote was "Coach me, enable me, support me".

3. Don't stray; walk the talk. - Pretty straight forward. Be a person of integrity. Ensure your actions are consistent with your words. People are looking for role models and they are proving difficult to find. When I was at Life Action Ministries, we called this having a Life Message.*

4. Stop playing favorites. - Again, self-evident, but so many of us are guilty of rewarding people for the wrong reasons.

5. Don't be a boss, be a leader. - There was an unmistakable call for appreciative, empathetic, respect-worthy leaders. One person said "A boss inspires fear, a leader inspires enthusiasm."

Some good points. Take some time and ask your team members what it is that you need to stop doing in order to become a better leader of your team. Not very easy to do. Also, when you ask and they tell you - resist the incredibly strong desire you will have to defend yourself. Defending yourself is of no value. Just listen and learn and become a better leader.

Hope you have a great Wednesday!
BG

* Life Message
1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2:10
Someone has said, "A message prepared in a mind reaches minds; a message prepared in a heart reaches hearts; but a message prepared in a life reaches and changes lives." The power of God to change lives is released through the truth of God's Word illustrated in lives. Therefore our lives must be living demonstrations of the reality and the truths of His Word.

Do You Have These 5 Regrets?

http://bgallen.com/Good morning. Great day yesterday with the Senior Leadership Team of Life Action Ministries.

Do you have any regrets in regards to your vocational life? Have you made decisions for the right reasons?

According to this Harvard Business Review online article, there are five main regrets that people have in regards to their careers:

1. I wish I hadn't taken the job for the money. - Money is actually only a hygiene factor and not a true motivator. For true job satisfaction, do something that matters to you and that makes a difference.

2. I wish I had quit earlier. - If you are not passionate about what you are doing, then find that passion and pursue it. Sooner rather than later.

3. I wish I had the confidence to start my own business. - If you truly desire to do this and are willing to work really hard, then learn it, gather great advisers around you and go do it.

4. I wish I had used my time at school more productively. - Self explanatory!

5. I wish I had acted on my career hunches. - Most of the time, it is fear that keeps us from acting on unexpected opportunities in our lives. Don't let fear hinder you growth and development.

So, what are your regrets in regards to your vocational choices?

Have a great Wednesday!
BG

Why? - A Great Question

Good morning - it's unusually mild here in northeast IN, but I am enjoying the milder weather! It has been a difficult time for our nation - click here for a prayer in regards to that senseless act of evil that occurred in Newton, CT. Lord, we do lift up to you the families and community of Newton.

So many of us know what our organizations do and how we do it, but too often not many of us understand why. And it is the why that is the compelling part of our lives.

Do you understand the why of your organization? What about the why of your life? Deeply understanding the why behind what we do provides vision, energy, and captures the imagination of others.

In fact, as Simon Sinek notes in Start with Why, the most fundamental and important question is to ask "Why do we do what we do?" as that is what attracts others to your cause and provides people the motivation to excel.

So, come to understand the why and see how rich and compelling the what and how of what you do becomes to you and others.

Have a blessed week & remember the community of Newton in your prayers this week.
BG

Exalting Folly

Good morning on this nice, crisp Friday morning. The stars were beautiful this morning on my walk.

"Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly."- Proverbs 14:29

Do you have a "hasty temper"? Do you allow anger to get the best of you? If so, why?

There is such a thing as righteous anger, but the anger most of us deal with is when we are inconvenienced or our expectations are not met. This type of anger does not quite meet the standard of a righteous anger. This is a self-centered anger. God calls this folly.

So today, instead of "exalting folly", speak words of grace and peace into the lives of others today.

Hope you have a great weekend!
BG

The Disciplines of Execution

Good morning - I hope your week has gotten off to good start.

Execution - how well do we actually get things done? We talk and we plan, but actually executing and executing well can be a challenge. So how do we become better at actually executing?

Chris McChesney and Sean Covey have developed The 4 Disciplines of Execution. In their book, they make the point that there are four disciplines to execution that you need to master:

1. Focusing on the Wildly Important - this is all about focusing your finest effort on the one or two Wildly Important Goals (WIG's) that will make all the difference versus giving mediocre effort to dozens of goals.In fact they go on to say that the more goals you have, the fewer you actually achieve. You can actually have so many goals that you accomplish none.

2. Acting on Lead Measures - Invest your best efforts in those few activities that have the most impact on the WIG's. Lag measures are what we are most familiar with - they tell us if we have achieved our goal. They are more historical or backward looking. Lead measures however, tell us if we are likely to meet our goal - they are forward looking.

3. Keeping a Compelling Scorecard - make sure everyone knows the score at all times. Translate your lead measurements into a visible compelling scorecard. Think about this - have you ever gone to an athletic event where the scoreboard was not working? How much interest do you think you would have if you had no idea of the score? Knowing the score is a powerful method for keeping people engaged and focused.

4. Creating a Cadence of Accountability - Great teams operate with a high degree of accountability. In great teams accountability means making personal commitments to the entire team to move the scores forward and then following through in a disciplined manner.

If you are interested in becoming more effective in regards to execution, then this is a good book to add to your library.

Grace and peace,

BG

Core Leadership Skills vs. adaptive Leadership Skills

Good Monday morning! I hope you had a great weekend.

Have you thought about the difference in leadership skills? Such as the difference between the skills that got you the leadership position versus the ones that will make you a great leader? Did you know there was a difference?

The challenge as leaders is that often after we are placed into a leadership position we think we don't have to keep learning and growing. We have arrived and we just need to put into practice what got us here - right? No, not hardly. Once you land in a leadership position - that is when "school" starts. You have to learn a whole new set of skills to become a truly effective leader.

According to the authors of Leadership 2.0, most of us have a Core set of leadership skills that got us the leadership job: 1. STRATEGY: Vision, Acumen, Planning, and Courage to Lead. 2. ACTION: Decision Making, Communication, and Mobilizing Others, and 3. RESULTS: Risk Taking, Results Focus, and Agility.

However, they go on to say that the truly great leaders have Adaptive leadership skills consisting of: 1. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. 2. ORGANIZATIONAL JUSTICE: Decision Fairness, Information Sharing and Outcome Concern. 3. CHARACTER: Integrity, Credibility, and Values Differences, and 4. DEVELOPMENT: Lifelong Learner and Developing Others.

Most of us struggle with just the core leadership skills and so often do not learn the adaptive skills. If you want to really make great impact on the world around you, then you need to add the adaptive leadership skills to your toolbox.

Have a great week!
BG

What Is Your Response?

You may have heard this many times, but it bears repeating - you can't always control your circumstances, but you can control your response. There are some things pretty certain about this life - you will fail, you will be criticized, you will be wronged, you will feel pain and loss and you will be disciplined by a loving Father.

The key is - how will you respond? Will you become bitter and complain that "life" isn't fair? Will you demand your rights? Will you resent those who seem to have it easier than you?

Or will you choose the path of a grateful heart, seeking to grow in wisdom from your challenges so that you may better serve others? Will you develop greater compassion and love for others that are suffering? Will you grow in your dependency on God and have an even deeper joy in His presence?

Read this post about finding "treasure" in three different situations: 1) Failure, 2) Criticism, and 3) God's reproof. Your response - your attitude determines if you find treasure or just bitterness in painful circumstances.

So, this very day - what do you choose?

BG

Great Leaders - A Common Thread

Good morning! It's an unusually warm foggy morning here in northeast Indiana. Being a Southern boy that's ok with me as I am not quite ready for snow just yet.

Last week, I was part of a team conducting leadership training for an Ambassador company in Tennessee. As we were going through the training I kept noticing a particular characteristic that was being mentioned over and over as being fundamental to effective leadership. Also, the absence of this characteristic has been the source of the downfall of so many gifted leaders. However, this characteristic goes counter to the popular image of a leader. Somehow, it just doesn't fit the image of a leader - especially the image portrayed by the media.

This common characteristic is humility. Truly effective leaders who have a lasting impact on people and the organizations are marked by humility. Jim Collins in his book Good to Great found that the "Level 5" leaders of these great companies were marked by deep personal humility and fierce resolve. Most of these CEO's led quietly, were quick to give credit to others and to accept personal responsibility when things did not go well. They served others and the organization - not themselves.

Are you living a life of humility? Is your life one of serving God and others or is it one of serving yourself? Humility is a choice - it is an intentional way of living life. It is outward / others focused vs. inward / self-focused. As a result it is a much richer way of living.

So make the choice today - live a life of humility and make a real difference in this world.

Serving Him,
BG

The Beauty of Subtraction

Good morning, I trust you had a great Thanksgiving celebration. It was a great time at our house with everyone home plus some good friends visiting from Michigan.

Have you ever heard the phrase "Less is more"? We say that we believe it, but in our culture, it seems that we really put the value on addition or even multiplication. We keep accumulating - material "stuff", things to do, more activities, greater responsibility at work, more sports & activities for our children, more time surfing the net, and more & more debt as we accumulate all of these things in our lives. The sad part is that as we are driven to add more of whatever in our lives, it all seems to crowd out the simple things that really bring us joy. What is really important becomes obscured by all the stuff and and frenzy of activity.

I have found an interesting book called The Laws of Subtraction: Six Simple Rules, that highlights the importance of "subtraction" in your life so that you remove the right things in the right way so that you begin leading a more meaningful and impactful life.

the six laws are:

1. What isn't there can often trump what is.

2. The simplest rules create the most effective experience.

3. Limiting information engages the imagination.

4. Creativity thrives under intelligent constraints.

5. Break is the important part of breakthrough.

6. Doing something isn't always better than doing nothing.

The book is worth a read if you are feeling overwhelmed with the sense of tremendous activity in your life while at the same time feeling ineffective and unfulfilled.

Blessings on your week!
BG

The One Thing That Will Cause You To Fail

Good Monday morning to you! This week, we have the blessing of taking time to stop as a nation and give thanks to our Lord for His blessings on us. In the midst of family, eating and football, take time to remember why we have this national holiday and to Whom we owe thanks. Our forefathers knew to Whom thanks was owed.

There is one "disease" / one thing in your life that will guarantee your failure in most areas of your life. It is a common disease and has been with us from the very beginning. It is Pride. It is a fundamental issue from which so many other issues spring that so often results in wrecked lives.

Pride is so insidious, so subtle and so very, very destructive. It so often derails people at the height of their careers / lives. And when it manifests itself and someone implodes from it - there is very often great collateral damage - especially to families.

So often, when we have achieved "success", when we have risen to the top of our profession, when things are really going well, we start believing what others say about us, we begin thinking that we really did do it on our own, and that the "rules' are for others because we really are "different". We think that we are above the crowd and somehow invulnerable to the temptations that have taken down so many others.

I don't know the heart of GEN Petraus nor do I know the details of his life. However, it has all the hallmarks of a very powerful man who allowed pride to obscure his vision and to cause him to so deeply hurt his family and to tarnish a brilliant career.

In the book Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership, Tim Irwin talks about six famous leaders who derailed and the common theme was pride. In a recent article for FastCompany, Ken Blanchard talks about how the ego can derail a career.

Pride is destructive - nothing good comes of it! The question for you is - are you in danger of pride derailing you? Is it time to stop and reflect on how you are living? Are you living a prideful life or are you taking the path of humility?

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." Proverbs 11:2

Walk the path of humility,
BG

Bring It On!

Good morning - it is a cool, crisp, beautiful morning here in northeast Indiana.

Do you enjoy having your faults pointed out to you? How about when you made a poor decision? Did it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you were "coached" on that decision?

Better yet, how about that time someone challenged you about something in your life you did not even realize was there? A blind spot? How did you react? My initial reaction is often indignation - they don't really know me! Who are they to criticize me? Yet, deep down, I would realize that they were right - that I did have something in my life that was holding me back.

As painful as it was, and still is, I began to slowly see and receive the value of a rebuke - the value of someone challenging me about issues in my life because they care deeply about me. I still don't really like it as I struggle with having too high of an opinion of myself, but the rebuke of a friend is a precious gift.

Proverbs 15:31-32 says: "The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence."

So embrace rebuke - it is "life-giving" as it says in the Scripture. Bring it on!

Peace and grace to you today,
BG

The Beauty of A Broken Leader

Good morning! I hope that your week is getting off to a great start. Let's get started with a hard topic this week.

". . . when God trusts people with His assignments, He often first crushes them." (Crawford Lorritts) That doesn't sound very appealing does it? It's not appealing to me at all, however, I was once again confronted with the fundamental need for brokenness as I read through A Tale of Three Kings. This short and powerful book is a picture of two unbroken kings, Saul and Absalom, and one very broken king - David. The contrast is powerful and sobering. Think about this: David's life after his anointing by Samuel was often marked by pain, suffering and betrayal. The manner in which David submitted to his treatment by Saul was a work of the Lord in his heart. The times in the caves fleeing and fearing for his life are part of what produced the brokenness in him that the Lord desired for David. It was hard and painful, but oh so needed.

Crawford Lorritts in his powerful book Leadership As An Identity, identifies four common attributes of a leader called by God: 1. Brokenness, 2. Uncommon Communion, 3. Servanthood As An Identity, and 4. Radical, Immediate Obedience. As you see, Brokenness is first as you will not be able to live the other three without it.

In this article, Dr. Lorritts goes on to say:

"Every person God trusts with His assignments has been characterized by brokenness. God does not use anyone greatly who comes to Him feeling fully developed and capable. This doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue excellence and the development of everything God has given you (see 1 Timothy 4:12-16). But brokenness is a permanent sense of God-neediness.

God does not trust His assignments to people who have not slain the desire to appear significant. Godly leadership cannot be an extension of your own need for attention and admiration. You can't prostitute God's assignments as an opportunity to be visible and praised."

Dr. Lorritts goes on to say that brokenness is based on two things: surrender and an acute awareness of the pain caused by personal sin.

As hard and frightening as it may seem, embrace brokenness. God's assignments are all about Him - His glory. It is not about me, you or whoever - it is about Him. If He has given you an assignment, if He has called you to lead, you must embrace brokenness. An unbroken leader is a dangerous leader - to himself and to others.

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, . . ." Psalm 51:17

Seek Him this week and surrender to Him - embrace brokenness,
In Christ,
BG

Leaders Grow

Good morning! Here at Ambassador Enterprises, one of the key emphases is growth in all areas of your life. Reflecting on that caused me to remember this post on a great little book by Ken Blanchard - Great Leaders Grow. So here is the post I did on the book last year.

Leaders are learners and personal growth is a way of life for them.

In their book Great Leaders Grow, Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller use the word GROW as an acronym to give you a pattern for growing as a leader.

G - Gain Knowledge

* About yourself
* About others (learn their stories)
* About your industry / profession
* About leadership

R - Reach Out To Others

* Formally
* Informally

O - Open Your World

* Gain new experiences at work
* Gain new experiences outside of work

W - Walk Toward Wisdom

* Self-evaluation
* Seek feedback
* Seek counsel
* Spend Time

Excellent little book. A quick read with some great concepts. It's worth your investment.

BG

Maintain Clear Expectations to Grow Trust - Randy Carman

Randy Carman - Ambassador EnterprisesA key part of growing trust is managing expectations. When leaders fail to do this before they have had time to establish a positive track record with their team, it is especially damaging. Conversely, setting clear expectations at the start and meeting those expectations builds trust quickly. - Randy Carman

Great point! Clarity - clear communication is a key responsibility of a leader. Never assume you have communicated well. Always follow up to ensure clarity - it is your responsibility!

Randy is my dyad partner in leading the Learning & Growth Strategies division of Ambassador Enterprises. Click here to read his blog post on the importance of clear communications and managing expectations.

BG

Which Hat To Wear?

Good Monday morning to you! Hope you had a great weekend.

Do you ever had that nagging feeling that there is some aspect of an issue that you have not addressed? Or maybe in one of your meetings everyone seems to be saying the same thing? Or maybe the strongest personality in the room is overly pessimistic or optimistic so everyone else adopts the same approach? Regardless, you know that you are missing something.

Well there is a way of parallel thinking that will help you and your team fully think about and discuss issues. It is called The Six Thinking Hats. In this approach you learn how to separate thinking into six distinct functions and roles that help you to have a more robust analysis of the issue.

First is the White Hat - this aspect just deals with the information that you have or need. Just the facts.

The Green Hat deals with all the possibilities, alternatives, new concepts, and so on.

The Yellow Hat is when you explore the positives and look for value and benefit.

The Black Hat is where you look for the difficulties and dangers and explore why something might not work.

The Red Hat deals with emotions, hunches, and intuition. Here is where yo express your fears as well as hopes.

The Blue Hat is the managing of the thinking process ensuring that all of the "hats" are used in the process.

So, if you want a more robust examination of an issue, try wearing the Thinking Hats.

Have a blessed week serving our Lord!
BG

Four Components to Listening Better

Good morning! Getting a bit nippy here in northeast Indiana.

Listening well is a skill and one many of us have yet to master. It is a weakness of mine that God has convicted me of so I am trying to develop this critical skill. Fortunately Ambassador not only places a great value on this skill, they also teach you how to listen.

One tool they have is the four components of effective listening. (click here to read Ambassador's article on this subject)

  1. To hear is to focus all of my senses on what the speaker is communicating, making it as easy as possible for him to say what he means and to have confidence in my full attention.
  2. To understand is to comprehend what the speaker means. This has nothing to do with evaluation or agreement; that comes later. I should be able to communicate back what they said to their satisfaction.
  3. To consider is to evaluate what difference his input should make in what I feel, think, or do.
  4. To give feedback is to expose how I will consider her input and to express appreciation for it. This can be done immediately, even before I have had time to thoroughly consider all of the implications of the input. Later, I can expose how I have incorporated it into my thinking and what I have done or will do as a result.

Start incorporating these four components into your listening and see how much more effective you become.

Have a great week serving our Lord!
BG

Effective Listening Begins With . . .

Are you a good listener? Personally I struggle with being a good listener. I am much better than I was, but still not that good. So, I am trying to learn how to listen.

Do you ever have the problem of preparing what you are about to say while the other person is still talking? Do you ever go into a conversation completely sure of your position and instead of having a conversation, you and the other person are just trading statements? So how do we become better listeners?

We begin with a key concept - humility. Yep - humility. It is key to us being able to truly listen to another person. Check out this article on listening on Ambassador's Engage site:

Humility says:

  • My perspective is incomplete (wrong) and I need others to complete it.
  • You and your communication have value.
  • Your message is worthy of being understood.
  • I cannot judge the value of your message until I understand it.
  • I do not understand your message until you say I do.

So, to truly listen to someone as you seek understanding, the place to begin is with a humble attitude. Practicing humility will make you a better listener.

BG

What Will Derail You?

There are several things that can derail you in your life. However, one stands out above all the rest in derailing careers and lives - pride. As Proverbs 16:18 states, "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall."

If you want to read some real life, high profile failures of CEO's of large companies brought about by pride - read the book Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership.

So, resist pride - walk in humility if you truly want to impact others and the world around you. Otherwise, you may find yourself sitting on the sidelines.

BG

Listening to Understand

Good afternoon - still haven't quite gotten back into my rhythm of posting yet. A move really shakes things up!

As I mentioned before, as part of my orientation here at Ambassador Enterprises is the reading of and reporting on a seriesof excellent books. The one I just finished was To Understand Each Other by Paul Tourner. The focus of this book is understanding each other in the context of marriage, but so much of it is applicable to other relationships as well.

He goes beyond simply hearing or even listening to working (hard) to understand one another. The first criteria he mentions is that we must actually want to understand the other person in order for it to happen. That really struck me hard - you have to want it! It just doesn't happen, so I began to ask myself if I truly desired to understand others. You should also seek to first to understand others before you seek to be understood. An others first mentality.

Courage is also key in understanding one another. Are you courageous enough to expose yourself to someone else that you are close to and are seeking to understand? Are you willing to let them really see you as you are? That takes courage - even between husband and wife.

At some level, we all want to be truly understood by someone - we want to be known by someone. To do that, you have to be very, very intentional. Also, it is a journey, not a destination.

So "be strong and very courageous" and seek to truly understand those closest to you and to be understood. Your life will be so much richer and effective as a result.

BG

Work as Worship

12 Themes

Good morning! I have been a tad inconsistent in posting over the last two or three weeks as we have been transitioning to another job, state and house! As I mentioned before, we have moved from Life Action Ministries to Ambassador Enterprises in Fort Wayne, IN. Ambassador is a partner with Life Action and a Christ-centered company, so the transition has been a bit easier.

One of my recent assignments was reviewing the book Work as Worship by Mark Russell. This is a good book that gives you a different perspective on work. For so long I, as do many others, viewed someone in full-time vocational ministry as "first-string" ministry and those in the secular workforce were not really in ministry. They at best would have the opportunity to support those "really" in ministry.

Work as Worship shows the fallacy of that viewpoint. The book is filled with the stories of people who are leaders of businesses and who see their work as ministry. They are impacting lives and changing society through their work.

The book covers twelve themes:

  1. Calling
  2. Leadership
  3. Character
  4. Success
  5. Money
  6. Stewardship
  7. Balance
  8. Disciplines
  9. Relationships
  10. Pluralism
  11. Ethics
  12. Giving

Think about it - your work, whatever it is, should be an act of worship of Jesus. So, are you doing you work "as unto Christ"? Or are you just trying to get by?

Today, this Monday, enter into your work with passion and energy as you worship Him and represent Him in your workplace.

Blessings on your week!
BG

Seek and Listen to Good Advice

Good morning! Fall is a nice time of year here in the Midwest. Beautiful days and comfortable temperature.

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice." Proverbs 12:15

As you see in the verse quoted above, God tells us to get and listen to advice. His Word is full of admonitions to seek and heed counsel. Yet some of us still plunge ahead in life and the only counsel we seek is our own. How foolish and I am so guilty of this bad habit.

So today, take time and find a wise friend and seek their advice. You will be blessed.

Also, today stop for a minute and speak words of grace and peace into someone's life.

BG

What Did You Say?

Last Friday was a tough day in our family as we said goodbye to our little 15-year old dachshund Frieda. She brought us a lot of joy and laughter and the house seems a little bit emptier now. She is no longer hurting, but we are just a bit now.

Question for you, have you ever been in a conversation with someone and wished they would just listen for a minute? Instead of having a dialogue, you are listening to a monologue? You knew that if they just stopped and truly listened then they would actually understand what you are trying to say.

The problem is, that we are too often the ones giving the monologue! Sometimes it is "out loud", but often, we are giving an internal monologue. Instead of listening to the other person for understanding while they are talking we are actually using that time to rehearse what we are going to say next. So, while it may appear outwardly that a conversation is taking place, in truth it is a monologue - or two monologues taking place at once!

Listening is a skill that can be learned. But even more than a skill, it is an attitude - it is an attitude of caring for others and esteeming them more than yourself, it is an attitude of humility, and ultimately it is a key characteristic of a true servant leader.

So - do you have a "listening" attitude?

Click here for a good article on the four key components of listening.

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." Proverbs 10:19

So today, take heed of God's Word, restrain your lips, and focus on and care for the one who is trying to communicate with you. Listen!

Blessings on your day & upcoming week,

BG

Receiving Instruction

"Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, . . . " Proverbs 10:17

Do you receive instruction well, or do you have everything "figured out"? Too many of us actually don't "heed" instruction very well. Especially in the areas of our life where we have a great deal of experience and expertise. We often say that we are teachable, but we just don't seem to run into anyone that we think can teach us!

Starting into the third day of my new position with Ambassador Enterprises, I have been thrust back into the role of a "newbie" and very much in a learning mode. Actually it is a tad uncomfortable, even though exciting. At Life Action I have come to learn that at a certain level, I thought I had things figured out since I had been there so many years and had held my position for quite some time. Not an overt or conscious thing, but very subtle. Entering into a new environment has demonstrated to me that I did not have as much of a learner's heart as I had thought.

So, my question to you is - "Are you really a learner? Are you really heeding instruction?" Do a self assessment then ask some of your co-laborers - maybe like me, you might be surprised at the answer.

By the way, one of my favorite Louis L'Amour quotes (not exactly probably) is. "You can learn something from anyone, even a fool, even if the only thing you learn is how not to be a fool."

Have a learner's heart today & grow in your service to the Lord and others.

BG

What Matters Most

Good morning! Today is my last official day in the office at Life Action Ministries. A bittersweet day - leaving a people I love and an organization I respect and care for deeply, yet headed to a great organization that will stretch and grow me.

What matters most to you in your job? Where are you investing your time?

I have come to understand that what matters most in what I do in my job is investing in other people. Sure, we have our tasks to do and projects to complete and they are important, but what really matters the most in the long-term, what has the most lasting impact is what we invest into the lives of those around us.

Are you really speaking into the lives of others? Are you helping them to grow? Are giving them grace when they are having a bad day? Are you making a difference in their lives?

Do what matters most. Make a difference in he lives of those you serve with on a daily basis.

For the glory of Christ,
BG

Are You "Safe" to Work For?

Good Friday morning to you!

Life Action's Board of Directors' meetings are going well - what a wonderful group of people!

Question for you - Are you "safe" to work for? Is your area a "safe" place to work?

In The Way of the Shepherd, the fourth principle is "Make Your Pasture A Safe Place". Now we are not talking about physical safety, while that is hugely important, but is your team area, department, division, ministry and so on a place where your staff feels that they are truly cared for and valued?

Here are six suggestions of how to make your area a "safe" place:

a. Keep your people well informed.

b. Infuse every position with importance.

c. Cull chronic instigators from the flock.

d. Regularly rotate people to fresh pastures.

e. Reassure your people by staying visible.

f. Don't give problems time to fester.

People need to feel "safe" working for you - are they?

Blessings on your weekend!

BG

Wisdom - More Valuable Than Gold

"How much better to get wisdom than gold!

To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver."

- Proverbs 16:16

How Do You Respond To Stress?

Good Wednesday morning!!

Do you ever deal with stress? I do and unfortunately am a tad bit of a worrier. One of my challenges, is that I will have low level stress operating in me and not even be aware of it, yet it still affects me and the way I respond to my family, friends and colleagues. My countenance even changes and I am not even aware of it, until my wife or children are kind enough to point it out to me.I am usually genuinely surprised until I stop and assess myself and do realize that I am dealing with low level stress that causes me to respond incorrectly to those I care about.

So if you are like me and sometimes deal with these things and in how you deal with people, here are a few lines from Proverbs 15 (ESV) to consider:

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

"A gentle tongue is a tree of life, . . ."

". . . whoever heeds reproof is prudent."

"The lips of the wise spread knowledge; . . ."

"A glad heart makes a cheerful face, . . ."

"A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention."

So, heed Scripture and be slow to anger, speak softly, and have a glad heart. You will be blessed and those around you will be doubly blessed!

Have a blessed day in Christ,
BG

Is the Pursuit of More Causing You to Have Less?

Good morning on a brand new week! One nugget for you from Life Action Ministries' Revival Week last week from a good friend of mine - "We are changed by Jesus when we are with Jesus." Spend time with Him, in His Word and you will be changed.

I have been contemplating on and reading on how less is more. About how our pursuit of more stuff, status, money, responsibility, and so on is less in how it is a wrong focus and distracts us from the right priorities in life. The interesting thing is - the more we desire to accumulate, the less joy we have in our lives. Scripture makes this abundantly clear for one result of pursuing "stuff" is the crowding out of Jesus in our lives.

One blog that is interesting and will challenge you is The Minimalists written by two young men who were hugely successful in the business world at a young age who found themselves empty. They will definitely challenge your thinking in regards to "stuff".

Another good article is on the Harvard Business Review site entitled "The Disciplined Pursuit of Less". The author, Greg McKeown, shares a story about a man. Enric Sala, who finally settled into a career he was passionate about by earning to say no to more.

Mr. McKeown gives us three questions/approaches to use to evaluate things:

First - use extreme criteria. Example, when looking at the clothes in your closet, instead of asking yourself will I possibly wear this sometime in the future, ask yourself, do I absolutely love this piece of clothing? Changes your perspective.

Second - ask what is essential and eliminate the rest.

Third - beware the endowment effect. If we own something we attach more value to it that it usually is worth and hang on to it even though we don't need it. so when looking at something you own, simply ask yourself if you did not own it, would you be willing to buy it?

So are you strategically eliminating the nonessentials in your life? The hard part is that it often involves saying no to good things or good opportunities that are not what are best for you and your family.

Be strategic and eliminate the distractions, the nonessentials in your life and focus on what is best.

Hope you have a blessed week!
BG

Are You Being Clear?

Good morning! Another beautiful day and it has been a good week at Life Action as all of our staff from across the country, Canada and the Dominican Republic are together this week.

Are you being clear to those you lead? is there alignment in your organization? Do people really know where you are headed?

Patrick Lencioni makes it clear in his book, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, just how important clarity is in our organizations. He suggests that we be able to answer clearly and succinctly the following six questions:
1.Why do we exist?
2.How do we behave?
3.What do we do?
4.How will we succeed?
5.What is most important, Right now?
6.Who must do what?

Then after answering the questions, we need to develop a "playbook" with the answers that the leadership team keeps with them all the time. The playbook should be short and to the point. Just a few pages.
Question for you - can you answer those six questions for your organization?

Grace & peace to you today!
BG

What Comes First?

Good morning! Beautiful day today!! Well, we began Revival Week here at Life Action Ministries last night with a great service. This is a time that we set aside for our entire staff to gather from across the country, Canada and now the Dominican Republic, to focus on the Lord and to see Him do a deep work in our midst.

Question for you - what comes first - the task you have been assigned or your staff member? What is your first focus - task or person?

Of course you have to get the task done - that's part of your job. But maybe the best way to get it done and done with excellence is to first focus on the person and then on the task.

So again - in your leadership style - what is first to you, task or person?

Blessings on your week!
BG

Do You Seek Wisdom?

Good Friday morning to you! It is a beautiful day here in southwest Michigan!!

Do you seek wisdom? Many of us seek information and knowledge, but so few of us actually seek wisdom. We at times even equate a lot of knowledge with wisdom - which is a foolish thing to do!

However, in Proverbs 3 (my reading for today) you find the following:

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, . . .

. . . keep sound wisdom and discretion,and they will be life for your soul . . .

The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.

Wisdom is important to the Lord and therefore should be important to us! So - are you pursuing wisdom? Do you seek wisdom? Do you spend time with wise people learning from them? Are you going to the Source of wisdom?

Hope you have a blessed weekend!
BG

Just Focus!

Just focus! Heard that before? Well, it is actually good advice.

Today, it seems the biggest obstacle to getting things done - especially important things is a lack of focus. We are a tremendously distracted people. So, if you want to really make a difference, if you really want to do work of lasting value - focus. And focus on important work.

Avoid the distractions, close your Internet pages (especially Facebook and the news sites), shut down your email for a while, turn off your phone and go to work creating something wonderful that will make a difference.

BG

A Critical But Underutilized Management Skill

Good Monday morning! Over the last few weeks I have mentioned about how dry it was here and about how I did not have to mow. Well, we have had some rain and my yard has gone from a desert to a jungle. Amazing how fast it recovers!

There is one thing that we could be doing better that would motivate our staff, empower our staff, develop our staff, allow us to focus, reduce overwork, and maintain priorities. However, we avoid that thing and we don't cultivate the skill - all to our detriment and to the detriment of those we lead. I wonder why.

This most critical of skills is simply delegating. For whatever reason we fail to learn the skill of delegation and we and others suffer as a result. Amy Gallo in her Harvard Business Review article "Why Aren't You Delegating?" has some thoughts. Check out her article. I have some theories as well. But ask yourself - why aren't you delegating? What is it that you fear will happen if you delegate?

Also - check out my post on "Delegating - the 5 Levels" for some practical guidelines on how to delegate.

So - just try it today - delegate something!

Blessings on your day & week!
BG

Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly

A thought for you today from Scripture. This particular verse has impacted me in regards to how I lead others:

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8 ESV

Walk humbly today with your Lord,
BG

Don't Be A Leader - Be A Shepherd

The Way of the ShepherdI enjoy leader development, but I fear sometimes we make too much of it and as a result develop a wrong view of what it means to lead.

The view of a leader that the Lord keeps impressing upon me is that of a shepherd. In fact, one of my favorite "leadership" books is The Way of the Shepherd. Great little book that is profoundly important if you are interested on how best to lead others. (click here to read a post on the book)

A verse that the Lord has used in my life to inform how I lead is 1 Peter 5:2-3 which says (ESV) ". . . shepherd the flock that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock."

So - are you a "leader" or are you a shepherd? Try being a shepherd - it changes your viewpoint entirely.

BG

Are You Dry?

Our very dry yard!Good Monday morning to you! Thankfully we are getting a few smatterings of rain this morning. Not much but every bit helps.

We have had a pretty dry summer here in southwest Michigan. Not quite as bad as some parts of the country, but it is the driest we have seen it in the ten years we have been here. As a result, my yard is mostly brown and crunchy and some of my trees are losing their leaves. After several weeks of not doing so, I finally did mow Saturday - well actually I took my lawnmower out and mainly just knocked down the taller weeds, although we did have a few patches of grass.

While I was pushing my mower around it struck me that at times my life looked like my yard. Lifeless and with weeds and it was for the same reason - a lack of nourishment, a lack of taking in what I needed to have a healthy and growing life. Do you ever feel that way - kind of dry and barren? Maybe the only thing you see growing in your life is weeds? By the way, that is something else that struck me, some things did grow in this time of drought - weeds. I noticed that about my life as well, when I was not taking in the things I needed, "weeds" or bad habits and negative perceptions did flourish in my life and were hard to root out.

The thing is we have a choice - my poor yard does not. We can choose to "water" our lives, even if we are feeling dry and barren. So what are you doing to feed yourself to ensure what your life is producing is healthy and fruitful and with a minimum of weeds?

The main thing you need is the Living Water to grow and flourish. So how is your walk with Jesus? Are you spending time in His Word? Are you drinking deeply of Him? If you are not taking in the Living Water, you will become dry and barren.

Grace and peace to you this week,
BG

Want to be More Productive? Go to Sleep!

Lauren's RosesWe finally have some rain here in southwest Michigan - what a blessing!

Do you want to be more productive, more energetic, and live longer? Try getting at least seven hours of sleep each night.

Most of us get six or less hours of sleep a night which leads to fatigue, poor thinking, and poor health. In fact, getting less than six hours of sleep a night on a prolonged basis increases your chance of heat disease by 48 percent.

Tony Schwartz, in a Harvard Business Review blog post goes into detail the benefits of getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night versus the six to six and a half most of us get or the less than six hours 30 percent of us get each night. The difference is astonishing.

Simply getting one or two more hours of sleep each night on a consistent basis will radically transform your life.

So what is keeping you from doing so? Habit? Do you really have to stay up to watch the news? Do you really have to check out everyone's Facebook? Do you really need to surf the Web for a couple of hours?

Try changing your habits just a bit and feel better, be more productive, be happier, and live longer. Just try it!

Rest well tonight!
BG

Seeking Understanding

Good morning - we sure are needing some rain here in southwest Michigan.

As the book of Proverbs has 31 chapters I often enjoy reading the "Proverb of the day". In chapter 18 today is something that really strikes me:

"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." Ouch!

I so often am more interested in sharing my own opinion rather than listening and seeking to truly understand the other person. That means I am often a fool! That is s sobering thought.

So how about it - are you more interested in sharing your opinion than listening to and seeking to understand the other person? While someone is talking are you listening intently or are you already preparing your "statement"?

Be wise as the Lord would have us be - be more focused on understanding that having to share your opinion.

Blessings on your day today!
BG

Take Back Control of Your Attention

Good morning! Still warm here in Michigan - warmer that where I am from in the South!!

What has your attention? Really? A while back I wrote a post on "What Has Your Attention?" Now the questions is how are you stewarding your attention? Sound a little funny? Think about it - how you use your attention is really a stewardship issue. How are you focusing your attention? On what?

Tony Schwartz has a good post on this issue and he identifies seven things you can do to take back your attention - especially taking it back from the numerous tech devices that we have that consume our attention!

1. Start to focus on what you're doing with your attention. - Keep a simple journal or log to see what is pulling at your attention each day.

2. Either the night before or the morning of the day - write down the two or three most important things you have to accomplish that day.

3. Do the most important thing first! Before checking email, the web news sites and so on. TURN OFF all of your electronic devices!!! And concentrate on that priority for 90 minutes and then take a break.

4. Eliminate the "insecurity" work. Interesting concept - check out his blog post to se what he means.

5. Keep a list of what is on your mind - instead of trying to keep up with everything on our mind, develop some kind of list where you transfer that thought to the list so you don't worry about trying to remember it.

6. Every time - that is every time - go online ask yourself if it is the best use of your time.

7. Systematically train your attention. One way is to read good books for a sustained, uninterrupted amount of time.

Some good points. The main point to me is that taking control of your attention is a matter of stewardship. Do not waste your attention!

Grace and peace to you this week.
BG

The One Thing That will Increase Your Productivity

Good morning!

There are books & books, articles and blog posts everywhere about how to improve our productivity. Each of those have lists or systems. Some complex, some simple, and some that require buying their software. I found out I was losing productivity just trying to figure out how to be productive!

I am a simple guy so here is one simple thing that will greatly enhance your productivity more than any fancy system.

Simply decide what is the most important thing you have to do that day and do it the first thing that morning.

Just do what is most important first!

Simple, but most of us have to read email, check out the news or our favorite website, talk to someone and so on. Instead, just for a week or two, just try doing what is most important the first thing in the morning and se what happens.

Grace and peace to you,
BG

Is It Time For A Checkup?

Vitality Assessment ToolGood morning, it is finally a little cooler here in southwest Michigan. For a while I felt like I was back in the South!

How are you doing? No really - how are you doing? Not just at work, not just at home, but in all areas of your life? Do you know how you are doing? Or do you just have a vague sense that maybe some areas of your life may be just a little out of whack? Or maybe a lot?

Most of us have an annual physical which gives us a snapshot at that moment of how we are doing physically and the doctor may give us direction on how to deal with some of the results. So why don't we do that for our lives? For all aspects of who we are?

What we do here at Life Action for all of our staff is that we do an annual checkup, but it is an overall Vitality Assessment. Once a year, we require our staff to take at least one half day and we allow a full day to go somewhere quiet where they can concentrate and meet with the Lord and work through a Vitality Assessment that was developed by one of our leaders here at the ministry. The Assessment walks you through ten major parts of most people's lives and gives them a snapshot of how healthy they are in each area.. Following are the ten areas:

1. Your relationship with the Lord

2. Your marriage

3. Family

4 Key relationships

5. Physical Health

6. Rest & Recreation

7. Moral Purity

8. Service to others

9. Financial health

10. Your work life

Of course, you could break up your life in different segments, but the point is that you are examining your life and then addressing the areas that God puts His finger on. After the assessment, we require our staff members to choose someone (they don't have to be on Life Action's staff) to walk with them as they address whatever they learned during the assessment.

So - is it time for you to have a checkup?

Have a blessed week!
BG

Are Meetings Frustrating You? Try Three Simple Things

Good morning! I hope you had a great day celebrating Independence Day yesterday.

For many people, next to e-mail overload, unproductive meetings are one of the most frustrating aspects of organizational life. There are several good book out there on the subject with my favorite being Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni. But instead of rehashing his book (click here to see some of his tools) I am going to share just a couple of things that really make a difference for me.

First - decide what you are really wanting to accomplish in the meeting. What is the ONE thing you want to walk away with at the end of the meeting? Write it down and even put it on the top of your agenda.

Second - after you build your agenda, cut it in half! Force yourself to truly rank order the topics and only deal with the most important half of them. And then, spend more time arriving at better decisions on the most important issues.

Third - after cutting your agenda in half, then assign time frames to each agenda item and stick to the time! Force discipline into your meetings.

Try these three simple things for a few meetings and see if the quality of your meetings improve. You might be surprised.

Have a blessed Thursday!
BG

The US Army Values Something to Consider?

Good morning - still hot and dry here in southwest Michigan. Not nearly as tough as in other parts of the country, but a tad warm for here.

We are about to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence for our nation. An incredible achievement in the history of mankind. In reflecting on some of our challenges now and thinking about those who paid a great price to provide us our political freedom, I am struck by the character of the Founders. Certainly they were flawed as we all are, but yet they had character. They had core values by which they truly lived their lives, again imperfectly. So, I thought about a post I had done last year on the Army Values and it came to me about how important those values are to the soldiers of the US Army. Maybe if more of us adopted some or all of those values and really lived them out, maybe we would make a difference? Well - here is the post and I hope it means something to you. - BG

Good morning! The question for you this morning is what do you believe? What do you stand for?

Do you know what it is that is truly important to you? Have you decided on the areas where you will not compromise? Do you know what you stand for? Can you articulate your personal core values?

An organization I greatly respect is the US Army. Many of their core values I have adopted (especially as I was a part of the Army for many years!). Read the following values and see what they spark within you.

Loyalty - Bearing true faith and allegiance is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone.

Duty - Fulfill your obligations.

Respect - Treat people as they should be treated.

Selfless Service - Put the welfare of the nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own.

Honor - Live up to Army values.

Integrity - Do what is right, legally and morally.

Personal Courage - Face fear, danger or adversity.

A good list to contemplate. Click here to read the full definition or explanation of the Army's core values as I only listed a summary sentence for each above.

So, what are the things that you hold to be core to your life? What are the things on which you will stand and not waver?

Hope you have a great week.
BG

Are You Saying Yes When You Should Say NO?

It has been hot here in Michigan! Up to 100 yesterday - makes me feel like I am back in the South.

Have you ever said yes to something when you should have said no? I know I have and it was almost always because of my "Fear of Man". In other words I made decisions that were not in accordance with my worldview, beliefs or my priorities simply because I did not want to disappoint someone. The sad thing is that I often was saying yes to my job and no to my family when it should have been the other way around.

Read this article by Greg McKeown in the Harvard Business Review blog. Mr. McKeown makes three suggestions to help you learn to say no:

1. First, separate the decision from the relationship.

2. Second, watch your language

3. Third, avoid working for or with people who don't respect your priorities.

Some decent suggestions. The main thing is to truly understand your priorities and to actually live your life in accordance with those priorities. So, learn to say No so you can yes to what is truly important.

Have fun this weekend!
BG

A Team in Name Only?

Senior Leadership TeamsGood morning!

We are about to go into the second day of meetings for LIfe Action's Senior Leadership Team. It is s great group of people that I respect and truly like. It has been a blessing to watch a group of strong, godly people slowly become a team and to see the strength of becoming a true team.

I read recently about one way to tell if you have a real team or not. Check out the following and tell me if you are on a real team or not:

1. Do you consider team meetings a distraction or vital work?

2. Do you feel like you "should" attend team meetings or do you want to attend?

3. Do you look for ways to miss the meeting or send a substitute or if you can't be there, you trust the team members to represent your concerns?

4. You can't wait for the meeting to end or you feel productive and energized?

5. Between Meetings : Do your peers feel irrelevant or do you solve problems together?

6. You avoid your peers or do you manage team accountabilities with peers?

7. You rely on the team leader to integrate the team or do you integrate yourselves?

So - are you on a real leadership team or are you on a team in name only?

Blessings on your day!

BG

What is Distracting You?

Flower by KeelyGood morning! Another beautiful, cool morning here in the Midwest.

I have come to the conclusion in my own life that one of, if not the, biggest hinderance to accomplishing my goals is simply distraction. There are so many small simple ways in which I become distracted and the cumulative result is a lot of wasted time that could have been used in moving towards where I believe that the Lord wants me to be. Do you ever have any challenges with these?

Keeping your email on while working on an important project?

Checking the news several times a day? Especially regarding the stock market or your favorite team?

How about Facebook & Pinterest?

How about a little web surfing in the name of research?

By the way, I have found a great free program that analyzes how you spend your time and breaks it down into Very Distracting, Distracting, Neutral, Productive and Very Productive. The program is called RescueTime. Try it. You may be like me and be very unimpressed in how you are using your time on your computer. It has resulted in me changing some of my habits.

We all have our own little pet ways of avoiding doing the work we need to grow and move towards our goals. Maybe it is time you review your life and see what you are allowing in your life that distracts you from the important things?

Someone once said that the Enemy doesn't have to destroy us, only distract us. What are you allowing to distract you from your calling and mission?

Have a blessed day!
BG

Improve Your Effectiveness with The 90 Minute Rule

Good morning! It is Friday!! I hope you have a great day and a great weekend. Make sure you take some time this weekend to reconnect with the Lord and your family.

The 90 Minute Rule is a powerful tool for increasing your effectiveness that I have heard for some time from others, but most especially Tony Schwartz on his site The Energy Project and I wrote on this back in 2010.

It appears that research has proven that for the typical person, 90 minutes is the longest amount of time a person can stay intensely focused on a task before losing energy and effectiveness. So the key is to find 90 minute blocks of time within the best part of the day for you to focus on the most important task you have before you that day. During that time, shut down your email, Twitter, close Facebook, put your cell phone on silent and remove all other distractions and for 90 minutes focus on what is most important that day. At the end of 90 minutes, get up and stretch get a healthy snack and take a short break. And then, if your schedule allows, go for another 90 minutes. However, if you have only that one 90 minute block a day, then discipline yourself to use it. You will be amazed how productive you will become.

It is a discipline and a hard one to cultivate, but if you develop this discipline you will radically change your work life for the better.

Again - have a great weekend!
BG

How Do You Measure Yourself and Your Staff?

Good morning - still beautiful weather here in southwest Michigan, but we sure need rain.

How do you measure yourself at work? What is your personal standard for yourself and for the people you lead? I mean really what is it you look for in one of your staff? Most of us have an idea of what we should say, but I am asking what is it you really look for?

For instance, I look for a team player, but how I define that has finally changed. What I used to mean by a team player is someone who did not make waves or disagree with me. Fortunately I have actually changed what I mean by a team player.

Also, how do you measure performance? For some of us Baby Boomers, we often measure how someone is doing by how many hours they work, how many meetings they attend, and how quickly they volunteer for or accept new projects. I used to take pride in being the first one into the office and turned the lights on and often the last to leave. The bad thing for our culture was that I was praised publicly for that behavior. The problem is that we often measure someone by how many hours they work and meetings they attend.

What we should be looking for is results - and a healthy employee. Someone who really knows how to focus and how to say no to meetings and projects that don't directly pertain to their responsibilities is likely much more productive that the person I described above. They are also probably healthier and have stronger families as well - which also has the effect of making them even better and more productive employees.

So, quit judging the performance of your employees by the number of hours they work or the number of meetings they attend. Start measuring them by their results and their overall health, This is a more difficult change than you might imagine, but it is transformative.

BG

Are You Learning?

Flowers by LaurenLeaders are constantly growing. One of the ways they grow is in acquiring knowledge. In Scripture is this passage:

"An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge." Proverbs 18:15

So seek and acquire knowledge and grow so that you may better serve those you lead.

Grace & peace to you today,
BG

Manager to Leader 7 Things That Should Change

Good morning! We are having a nice spell of beautiful weather here in Michigan, just a tad dry though. Parts of my yard now crunch as I walk across it.

Now, I believe that a manager is a leader - just a different type. However, for the sake of this post I will go along with others who make the distinction. What I am really talking about is that transition from overseeing a specific department / function within an organization to a role where you have oversight of large parts of or even the entire organization.

That transition is hard for most of us. We want to keep doing the things that got us to this point instead of learning the new skills that are required to lead at that level. While it seems obvious, it seems so many people miss the fact that leading at that level requires an entirely new skill set. What is especially difficult is when you are a functional head and sit on an enterprise level leadership team and understanding that you have to take off the functional leader hat and put on the enterprise leader hat.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review blog, author Michael D. Watkins identifies seven things that have to change when you move from being a functional leader to an enterprise leader.

"All the shifts a function head must make when first becoming an enterprise leader involve learning new skills and cultivating new mind-sets. Here are the shifts and what each requires executives to do:

1. Specialist to Generalist

Understand the mental models, tools, and terms used in key business functions and develop templates for evaluating the leaders of those functions.

2. Analyst to Integrator

Integrate the collective knowledge of cross-functional teams and make appropriate trade-offs to solve complex organizational problems.

3. Tactician to Strategist

Shift fluidly between the details and the larger picture, perceive important patterns in complex environments, and anticipate and influence the reactions of key external players.

4. Bricklayer to Architect

Understand how to analyze and design organizational systems so that strategy, structure, operating models, and skill bases fit together effectively and efficiently, and harness this understanding to make needed organizational changes.

5. Problem Solver to Agenda Setter

Define the problems the organization should focus on, and spot issues that don't fall neatly into any one function but are still important.

6. Warrior to Diplomat

Proactively shape the environment in which the business operates by influencing key external constituencies, including the government, NGOs, the media, and investors.

7. Supporting Cast Member to Lead Role

Exhibit the right behaviors as a role model for the organization and learn to communicate with and inspire large groups of people both directly and, increasingly, indirectly."

These are some significant shifts - especially in our mindsets. So if you are making that transition or you are about to promote someone to an enterprise leader, you need to understand just what a shift must take place in your thinking. In my years of working, I have seen too many people who were stars at one level, become frustrated and fail when they move to the next by not realizing that what got them there does not work in their new role.

Blessings on your day today!
BG



life settlements consulting

Personal Injury Compensation Housing Benefit

No one likes to suffer from any kind of injury. But if that injury has been caused by someone else, you may benefit from talking to personal injury solicitors UK. Any kind of injury can leave you laid up for a while and unable to continue with your normal daily life. Depending on how severe the injury is, you may even have to take some time off work to recover fully from it before you go back.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer an injury of some description you will need to consider how it happened. Sometimes of course we do things that end up hurting us in some way. But in other cases you may be unlucky enough to be caused an injury of some kind by someone else. If this happens you may benefit from discussing the situation with personal injury solicitors UK.

The idea of doing this is to see whether you might be entitled to personal injury compensation UK. This is a form of compensation that is often paid out to people who have been injured through no fault of their own. There could be many different reasons why it is awarded, but the basic rule regarding the compensation is the same. You need to have suffered an injury of some description that was not your fault.

Personal injury solicitors UK are generally very helpful and able to help you cope with the situation. Many people will be completely unused to the idea of claiming for compensation, and if you are recovering from an accident or injury you will have that to cope with as well. Knowing that a professional is on your side and dealing with your case for you is a big step in the right direction. You don t have to worry about anything.

Of course if you do go ahead and sue for compensation you will need to have as much evidence as possible to back up your case. For instance your injuries will be evidence in themselves, as they are testament to what you have gone through. They may have occurred during a car accident, an accident at work or perhaps something else entirely. But whatever happened, if it was not your fault you have a chance to benefit from contacting personal injury solicitors UK to discuss the idea of compensation.

During all this time you will be able to gradually recover from your injury as well. As you do so it will be good not to have to worry about how your personal injury compensation UK claim is going on. Your solicitor will keep you informed of progress but you will be able to focus on the idea of getting better, without having to worry about what is happening. This is one of the aspects of the compensation process that will help you much of it is done on your behalf and you can simply let the process continue while you focus on getting back to normal.



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