Monday, November 24, 2014

GENEROUS LIVING

The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;those who help others are helped.

Proverbs 11:24-25 (The Message)

It is always encouraging to see people who have built a life used for generosity.

Why be generous?

Why go out of your way for someone who can't possibly pay you back or even think about getting something for your giving?

This kind of giving creates meaning and momentum and structure and something money, or possessions, or fame can't possibly ever give you….it is a deep satisfaction and happiness that can’t be manufactured. 


It is true wealth, the kind that only comes from connecting to others through real sacrifice

It manifests itself in different forms, sometimes it is giving of your energy, time, knowledge, experience, and yes every once in a while even possessions and money. 


But this is what I know…usually the person or people or organization you are helping are not nearly as blessed as you are for making the sacrifice. 


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A SPARK of INNOVATION!


Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom!  Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding! Proverbs 4:7 (The Message)
Don’t ask me why but recently I was reading an article on “analogies”. It was a good article but what really caught my attention was a remarkable story inside this article about how observation led to innovation.  An interesting and true story about the Ford motor company in its early years and how a process from another industry sparked an idea that revolutionized building car engines.

How is a Ford Model T like a dead cow?


By 1913, the Ford Motor Company had a lofty goal of producing two hundred engines per day, but its process remained inefficient, involving workers who fetched parts from multiple bins and moved them around on hand trucks.

One day, Bill Klann, a Ford employee whose colorful resume included working for a streetcar company, a blacksmith, a machine shop, and a shipbuilder, took a trip to a Chicago slaughterhouse. There, he saw a model of industrial butchering efficiency: animal carcasses moved by on overhead trolleys, while a series of butchers performed specialized tasks in sequence as the carcasses advanced. As Klann watched this bloody symphony of movement, he had an analogical epiphany: dismantling something (a carcass) was fundamentally similar to building something (an engine); therefore, adopting a moving assembly line at Ford would increase productivity and reduce costs.

“If they can kill pigs and cows that way, we can build cars that way,” Klann told his boss upon his return.

His boss protested. The differences seemed too pronounced: what could be more different than flesh and machinery? “Here you’ve got something else. You’ve got this and that and pistons and rods,” said his boss.

“It’s the same thing,” insisted Klann.

Klann prevailed, and the moving assembly line wound up a signature of Model T production, exploding productivity and enabling the company to cut the price of the car from $575 to $280. Ford doubled its market share in mere years.

Klann saw through the superficial differences between slaughtering animals and assembling cars. There, at the heart of both processes, lay an underlying structural analogy waiting to be exploited. Seeing Ford’s success, it took little time for almost every other industry to imitate, creating what is estimated to be “trillions of dollars of growth in virtually every industry.
_______________

As I have contemplated this story I have thought about how innovation occurs and believe this story highlights one of the keys.  In our human nature we tend to analyze problems with filters that are familiar to us (our work, family, education, region of the world, etc…) but as the story of Bill Klann emphasizes we need to be open to being observant and curious enough to seek solutions outside our normal “box”. 

Here is something I am going to challenge myself and our team to do;  Take time once a month to observe other companies, people, and strategies outside of our industry to see if we can apply and adapt ideas observed to what we do.

Who knows maybe we will come up with a revolutionary idea or simply solve some of our challenging issues.  Either way I think we will broaden our knowledge, gain wisdom, and expand the possibilities for what we do next.



Reference article by David Zax:  http://www.fastcompany.com/3037014/my-creative-life/how-steve-jobss-mastery-of-analogies-sent-apple-sky-rocketing

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Balancing Act.....


The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.  — William James

What we do, how we do it, and how that affects others has been top of my mind lately.  We (me) are sometimes so occupied with the “numbers” we forget the “why” behind what we are doing and only focus on the bottom line.  Don’t hear me saying there is anything wrong with the bottom line.  It is VERY important!  After all we can’t do the “why” without it and somehow we have to balance both.  But often what I have experienced is what I would call the “fear factor” of this balancing act.  The “don’t look down” or you will fall / fail factor which then paralyzes us to the point we don't do anything well.

I read something recently from Seth Godin and I am completely in agreement.  It said this; I am more afraid of settling — I am more afraid of not giving what I can give — than I am afraid of doing it.

So when we’re sitting quietly, there’s a debate we have to have with ourselves, which is:
“What is my work?” and “How can my work have more impact?”

You see I don’t think we start by asking — I think we start by giving…and once you get hooked on that, then I believe doors open — doors open because your work will precede you.



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Don't go it alone......


We all want to succeed but if you are like me you may feel a lot of times like I am shooting myself in the foot when trying to accomplish my goals.  

Along this line of thinking, I recently read a great article by Bernard Marr a best selling author and performance coach.  The article focused on mistakes successful people DON'T make.

Here were a few listed:

1. Successful people don’t Avoid Responsibility
  “The price of greatness is responsibility.” –Winston Churchill

2. Successful people don’t Procrastinate "Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday." ~Napoleon Hill

3. Successful people don’t Follow Trends      “Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion”. –Jack Kerouac

But #4 was the one that caught my eye because it is such a trap for all of us and I have seen so many people fall and fail because they did not recognize it.

4.  Successful people don’t try to go it alone.

One of the most vital things successful people do is to surround themselves with other successful people. No man is an island, and having a network, a mastermind group, and surrounding oneself with experienced, educated, clever people can make all the difference between success and failure.

“Life is not a solo act. It's a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us and support us.” –Tim Gunn

When Phil Jackson one of the most famous NBA players and Coaches of all time took over as head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 1989, he inherited a struggling team with one of the best players in the world—Michael Jordan. Still, he knew he had to nurture the rest of the team instead of focusing solely on its star. Phil had his players repeat this statement at every practice: 


"No man is an island. No man goes his way alone. What I put into the lives of others will come back unto its own.”

Proverbs 11:25 (The Message) says it this way:

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.

Good news; you and I don’t have to go it alone and the proven success and failures of people before us means we also don’t have to learn everything in the “School of Hard Knocks"
.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

GOOGLE WORRY.....

If you Google “Top Things to Worry About”  200 million results appear in .39 seconds to populate your web browser. 

I don’t know about you but I already felt like there were a million things to worry about so I don’t want to know about the other 199 million!

The first page of the search is a combination of a list of things to worry about “The 20 things we worry about the most” or “The 150 things the World’s smartest people are afraid of…” so there seems to be no end of things we can find to worry about.

Probably though you don’t need a list or a Google search, you like me probably already have some thoughts about this and your question is:


“When should I start worrying about this situation?"

Of course, the answer is, we should never start worrying.

I think we sometimes fool ourselves into thinking it's useful or unavoidable, but it's not.

Here is the truth about worrying:

- Worrying is not a useful use of your time.

- Worrying doesn't change outcomes.

- Worrying ruins your day.

- Worrying just distracts you from the work at hand    and from finding solutions to your challenges.

So what is the solution to worrying?

Here is some direction from 

Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

I like it….hope you do too!