The Value of a Life

Today a wonderful friend was laid to rest.  She impacted numerous lives and leaves a void not to be filled.

Thank you Sandra for the mark you left.  May our lives honor the love you gave.

Go live an Epic Life!

Going Political

Does your organization embrace politics?  If the answer is yes, then it places them on a crowded field. I’ve spent many years evaluating why organizations fall into the trap of "going political."  I would also note that there is a world of difference between politics and strategy.  Strategy implies honest intent and open negotiations.  Best in class organizations know this art.  Here is a short (not all-inclusive) list of some of the reasons for going political:

  1. The organization is full of managers.  Managers have a difficult time seeing anything but those things directly in front of themselves.  This lack of vision produces expedient thinking.  When left with expedient decisions, we usually go political.
  2. The organization fails to understand the power of culture (beliefs, norms., behaviors).
  3. The organization fears the unknown.  Going political gives individuals the feeling of "certainty."  Ironically, the unknown is a certainty.
  4. The organization is content with average.  To be great you must embrace risk and the unknown.
  5. The organization is old by time and mental standards.  We have no control of the former, but we do over the latter.

Better Late Than Never?

It appears that the board of Morgan Stanley realized very late in the game that William Purcell needed to go (see the article in Friday’s Wall Street Journal www.wsj.com, subscription required).  I’ve read before that Mr. Purcell wasn’t the most like CEO on Wall Street, but I find it ironic that the word "Director" is used for some of these folks.  Can they look in the mirror (after so many talented people were leaving, the stock price under performing and business lines faltering) and say they didn’t know.  It was well documented that the board of Morgan Stanley had it’s head in the sand for some time.

There is hope, John Mack is a pretty remarkable leader from what I understand.  When he took over and Morgan, I was pleased about the decision.  Let’s hope Morgan’s board doesn’t wait til its too late to discover Mack’s knack for turning things around.

Embracing the Unknown

Humans are normally apprehensive about the unknown.  Most want to know what’s behind the door, or where the next step will lead.  One danger in this approach is that we miss the moments in front of us.  We should always remember that there will always be an "unknown" as we travel through life.  It is not a question of if, but of when.

The key in life is in understanding creation and it’s creator.  If you wanted to know how Blue Tooth technology works you’d consult the manual, and better yet the designer of the system.  I won’t go into a commentary on religion, but as a follower of Jesus Christ, I have found a model that comes to me where I’m at. 

Unknowns are solved by faith, whether you believe in Jesus or Buddha.  Faith gives you the steam to move even though everything hasn’t been spelled out.  Think about the times you’ve made decisions around career, love and other life directions.  More than likely you had to "step out."

If you’re in the group that struggles with the unknown take note of the following:

  1. See my second paragraph from above.
  2. Get on purpose and take more risks!  Start with small ones and build up.
  3. Get a mentor who can help you along the path.
  4. Embrace and don’t fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) the unknown.  The unknown is where our greatest opportunities exist.
  5. Stop walking blind and stupid.  We’ve all made stupid decisions, but the more we minimize those types of decisions the better we’ll be.

Trusting Your Value

If you’ve lived long enough, you know that your personal value is vital.  To understand that and trust it is even more important.  I should also mention that it can be challenging as well.  Remember something, the U.S. Census Bureau www.census.gov notes that there’s about 6.9 billion people in the world today, and none of them have your DNA makeup.  That’s a compelling reason to trust!  Not to mention that it implies design and purpose.

One of the saddest realities today is that most people will die without uncovering their true value.  The grave yard is full of riches.  Dreams of new businesses, love affairs, adventures and much more.  I believe God wants to use me to "wake the working dead" before its too late.  A daunting task I know…

Ohio and Ethics

In my home state of Ohio we’re witnessing a meltdown in the state government (http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/12277562.htm).  The governor and others close to him are taking a lot of heat over some state investment funds that have gone "belly up."  Since our expectation level is low for politicians, we won’t discuss the why.  But I am fascinated by the citizenry and ethics.

Some time ago I conducted a workshop on ethics.  It was eye opening to see so many people confused on what’s right and what’s wrong.  My job was to bring clarity and direction (which I did).  There were some who came away feeling guilty for past transgressions, as well as those who felt vindicated by stands they’d taken previously.  One the biggest awakenings came in the area of the "golden rule."  Big surprise?  It seemed that the golden rule was the answer to our ethics dilemma.  Without exception everyone of the participants endorsed this age old principle.  There are other issues to tackle around ethics, but certainly the golden rule is essential. 

The following are some remedies that maybe my state could use:

  • Ethics (like love) is a decision.  You must decide to be ethical, and then don’t waiver.
  • You need key ethical advisers to keep you accountable.
  • There are no shortcuts to success (business or government).
  • As the leader goes, so goes the follower

Can You See My Vision?

When management (not leadership) has the power to restructure an organization it can be dangerous.  Managers often are lacking in the vision department, which can lead to very short term decision making.  Visionary leaders, however, see beyond today’s environment.  They communicate with candor and clarity.  People want to follow people like like this. 

As we know, quality leaders don’t grow on trees.  Therefore, we are often left with the vision-less calling the shots.The best organizations (profit or non-profit) fill there key positions with visionary leaders.  These organizations know that "real" growth flows through people like this.

Since I’m about solutions, here are some tangible solutions to help fix an organization’s management/leadership quandary:

  1. Test and profile employees at all levels for vision potential.
  2. Develop all facets (growth plans, vision casting, ethics, handling power, verbal and written communication) of the employee’s leadership walk.
  3. Development needs to be formal, not informal.
  4. All activity should be measurable.
  5. Focus on strengths not weaknesses.

To be great, we must be courageous.  No shortcuts…

Choosing To See It Through

Have you ever been tempted to “cash it in?”  OK, I know that’s very rhetorical.  Here’s my point; we cash it in every day.  Every day we’re confronted with temptations to compromise our vision (if we have one).  I know some who work in organizations that thrive on defining their people.  If you let your employer define you, then you’re part of the working dead.

When people cede their will to an empty one, there’s trouble ahead.  Your world is made up of an audience every single day.  For example, a family situation is a dynamic illustration.  Those people are looking for clues to better understand who you really are.  If they since authenticity, great things will follow.  If counter-genuine behaviors exists. then turmoil. 

I’ve leaned recently, that it’s better to see things through.  Our unique processes have equally unique growth opportunities.  What if we miss them?  Life would not be as full as it could be.  So whether you’re facing obstacles, or the normal routine, don’t stop the train to get off.

Living in the Zone

Live inside of your passion/strength zone, it is the place where dreams are birthed.  Strange and wonderful things occur inside this zone.  We meet people key to our dreams, we get divine confirmations, and we’re more confident in the future.  There is a gentleman in my life that falls into this reality.  He always shows up at just the right times.  Usually there is something that God wants me to understand when we engage.  Lately it relates to living life in light of His dream for me. 

Here are some observations as of late:

  • Be proactive in the midst of silence and disappointment.  Life is a story to learn.  Sadly, our culture doesn’t encourage learning (true authentic learning) from a life long perspective. 
  • Some of the greatest opportunities come from the unexpected and chance.  We’ll be sensitive to these opportunities when we are operating in our passion/strength zone. 
  • Follow your dreams without hesitation.  Don’t settle for the charms of Corporate America.  The world is changed by those that embrace their design. 

The Awakening

One of my favorite movies is The Matrix (the first installment).  There is a scene towards the end of the flick that is powerful.  The character Neo is in a tough spot with a couple of not-so-nice people.  As a matter of fact, he literally wakes from the dead after being shot.  As the tension builds to a crescendo, he awakens to the destiny that is his.  He begins to see things as they really are…he begins to embrace the “power” given to him.  All of sudden his confidence and skill are crystallized.  Neo must still fight, but a new day has dawned.  Can you relate to this?  I can…with gusto!  This is the type of day you wouldn’t forget.  You see most are sleepwalking, or are lost in the Matrix.  If you miss your opportunity to awaken, then you’ll miss the life you were intended to live. 

The day for me was about five years ago.  I had been a follower of Jesus Christ for many years, but when I encountered His destiny I came alive.  Not that I was dead, but I was on this great search.  It was a process of awakening, and life has never been the same since.  You need to come alive.  The world is waiting for your epic story.  Don’t reserve that story for the grave. 

Go watch The Matrix and read the book The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson (he has a great site at www.thedreamgiver.com).  Go ahead and come alive!