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Our Churches are Broken

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I was riding home from church tonight and I looked over at Brandy and said, “I know this is going to sound stupid, but I think I want to be the pastor of a church.” In a way that only Brandy can answer, she asked “Why?” I knew in my heart that the statement was made in gest, but as I laid out for Brandy my reasons why, it became painfully clear that I may have stumbled upon God’s will. The reality is that our churches are broken, and I think God is calling me to fix them (or it).

The reality is that our churches are broken…

First, our churches today are focused on the weekly sermon and a man (or woman) standing behind a pulpit speaking to a group of people. No one really wants to be there. I can’t remember the last time I heard a truly unique message on a Sunday morning.  Church on Sunday morning is treated like an item on our to do list and not an opportunity to participate in a worship experience.

In addition to the lack of ingenuity in our Sunday worship services, I believe that we have lost the love that Jesus shared in the Gospels.  As much as I’d like to think that we all love each other in our churches, the reality is that the majority of us wear masks and we treat church like a social gathering. The cool kids sit in one section of the church, and the not so cool kids sit in another.

I believe that we have lost the love that Jesus shared in the Gospels.

But more importantly than the previous two reasons, we have forgotten who Jesus was. We have deified Jesus to a level that borders on insanity. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not questioning the deification of Jesus. I am challenging the lack of attention paid to the humanity of Jesus. I think that we as a body of believers can learn so much from the loneliness of the human Jesus (Mark 14:34), his tiredness (John 4:6), and his anger (Mark 3:5). A recent YouTube video went viral, towards the conclusion of the video the poet asked, “But if Jesus came to your church would they actually let him in?”

Written by theheadcoachmanager

February 12, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Setting Goals for Yourself

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Wow! People really struggle with setting goals.  I am by no means an expert at setting goals but I believe that I have a simple, yet effective method for setting goals.  This method can be done quickly and without having to use a long process.  It can be done in writing, or it can be a quick 5-minute thought process.  Follow the concepts I outline and you will be creating goals that will lead to wins.

First, decide WHAT you want to do.  This is the first step and the most important step.  Visualize what you want to accomplish.  What does the finished product look like?  It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.  Write it down, or think it out.  It doesn’t matter.  For example, earlier this year Brandy and I decided to get out of debt.  So the WHAT of our goal is to get out of debt.

Write it down, or think it out. It doesn’t matter.

Next, explain WHY you want do the WHAT.  The WHY is the specific reason that you have set out to accomplish the WHAT.  It is important that the WHY be specific and that it is special to you.  It needs to be specific enough that you can explain your WHY to another person.  It has to be special to you because when you explain the WHY to someone else they have to be able to sense your urgency, passion, and excitement.  So back to my personal example, Brandy and I decided to get out of debt because we want to be able to raise our daughter and future children in a home that will provide them with the things they need and want without being in fear of not having enough money or having to live from paycheck to paycheck.  The WHY of our goal is our family livelihood. 

Then, decide HOW you will accomplish the WHAT.  At this point you are deciding the steps that you will take to accomplish the WHAT.  Are you noticing a trend here?  Everything ties back to the WHAT!  Make sure that your HOW is realistic and that it is something that can be measured.  For example, don’t just say you’re going to read a book.  Write down the name of the book and by when you will read it.  Brandy and I are reading the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, unfortunately we did not set a specific date that we would finish the book by.  However, when school finishes for both of us we will recommit to finishing the book.  In addition to being realistic and measured, make sure that your HOW is related to things that you like to do and that you are good at.  I like to read, therefore reading the book is something that I will enjoy doing.

Are you noticing a trend here? Everything ties back to the WHAT!

The HOW is closely related to the WHEN.  You will attach a WHEN to every HOW that you create.  This is crucial and will ultimately lead to you being able to accomplish your WHAT.  The WHEN should be realistic and reasonable.  For example, my goal to debt free is within the next 5 years.  It would a terrible idea to make it a WHEN of 30 years from now.  By then I would forget what the goal is.  Also, make sure that your WHEN does not defeat you.  So do not make it so soon that it defeats your momentum.

Finally, assign the WHO to the different parts of your HOW.  You will own a majority of your WHO, but in some instances it may require other people in your life.  God put people in our life to help us through it.  Use your resources and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  My WHO includes Brandy.  The WHO of one of my professional goals includes a direct report, and another individual.  These two men are helping me by teaching me something that I don’t know.

God put people in our life to help us through it.

So simply put, design your goals around the following model: WHAT, WHY, HOW, WHEN, WHO.  The order is also important and is a logical sequence of how our mind processes information.  This model can be used for simple goals, weekly goals, daily goals, long-term goals, personal goals, or professional goals.  I use the model daily when planning out my day.  It is simple and leads to quick victories that lead to momentum.  Who knew setting goals could be so easy?

Written by theheadcoachmanager

March 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Assume Positive Intent

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When I first became a leader I was dumbfounded by the lack of pride that associates had in their work.  I could not figure out why I had to constantly talk to an associate about the same thing.  Why would an associate come to work late? Why did they not do what they were supposed to do? Why could they not see what I was seeing?  What if I was to tell you that the key to being an effective leader is as simple as removing the negative assumptions that as humans we all naturally have?  What if the secret to coaching associates was as simple as assuming that all your directs mean well and that they actually DO WANT to do a good job?

Well it is!

Sometime in 2009, I made the discovery of assuming positive intent.  Looking back on it now I realize how simple it is and am actually a bit embarrassed suggesting that it took me well over a year into my leadership journey to discover how easy it actually is to be a leader.  I read a lot of books by a lot of men and women that are smarter than me.  In no book that I have ever read has the secret to leadership been revealed as plainly as it was to me in 2009.  By the time you’re finished reading this blog you’ll feel the same way and will probably try to figure out why you had missed what was in front of you the entire time.

So how does assuming positive intent work?  It is very simple.  As a leader, you have to assume that your directs love their job, want their job, and want to be successful in their job.  Once you develop that view and assumption the rest is easy.  Consider this example:  Direct A arrives to work 15 minutes late.  They did not notify you that they were going to be late and as a result you missed an important conference call that you are supposed to be on because you had to cover for their tardiness.

How do you react in this kind of situation?

Most of you would be visibly upset and would be plotting the crucial conversation in your head.  The minute that the associate walks in, you will notice every detail of their entrance.  In your mind you will time how long it takes them to get from the door to the employees only area, you will add up the minutes that it takes them to put away their personal belongings.  On top of that they stop to look in the mirror and then finally you meet them in the hallway and stare them down. 

Their first action is to apologize to you because they are late and they start telling you the reasons they were late.  However, you do not want to hear any of it because they are late and they have caused you an inconvenience.  You coach the associate, describe your disappointment in them and send them on their way.  You document the tardiness and the whole time you’re thinking to yourself: “How can people have the audacity to be late to work? Don’t they realize that there are people in this world that would kill for their job?”

Am I right?

But what if you didn’t approach the situation this way?  What if you assumed positive intent and handled the situation differently?  What if you approached the situation from the perspective that no associate really wants to be late?  What if your thought process went something like this…

You look at your watch (or cellphone) and see that your direct is late and that they have not notified you.  You realize that there is only one other associate available to help customers.  So you realize that you’re going to miss the call that you were supposed to take.  You realize that something must be wrong with your direct because no one really wakes up in the morning and plans to be late for work.  When your direct finally arrives you say good-morning, walk with them towards the back so that its just you and them and you ask the simple question, “What happened this morning? Why were you late?” (Because something must be wrong, nobody wants to come to work late). 

Your direct tells you about how World War 3 broke out at their home this morning, they thought they could be to work on time and that’s why they didn’t call you, but they went through the Starbucks drive-thru and had to wait for their coffee and before they knew it they were 15 minutes late.  You see, they did not wake up that morning and plan to be late and it was not their intent to make you miss your call.

This is the catch…because you genuinely assumed positive intent on your directs behalf, they sense that and realize that you are not about to verbally bash their brains in.  They open up to you and have dialogue and are open to your coaching.  You will still coach your associate, you will still hold your associate accountable for their tardiness and you will still set expectations with your associate.  However, now you are able to do it through dialogue between two people that are just having a conversation.  Your direct does not feel threaten, they are not put to shame, and they are free to go on about their day.  Plus you earned a little bit of respect and kept your blood-pressure in check.

Being an effective leader really is that easy.  You just have to realize that people are going to make mistakes and that no one really wants to do the wrong thing.  When you do that, you are able to teach, train, and hold your directs accountable. 

Written by theheadcoachmanager

January 29, 2011 at 11:47 pm