Balancing the Cart

Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. Psalm 16:4 NIV
Developing life, business, and community can at times take too much of us.  Our pursuit takes over our thought life and overall sense of well being.  When that happens, our balance is tipped and the joy begins to retreat. The Lord sees that.  He wants us to enjoy balance.

“Faith gives you an inner strength and a sense of balance and perspective in life.” Gregory Peck

Many gods consume attention. Social climbing, physical beauty, happiness, perfect health, good works, education, personal fulfillment, recreation, profit, and religion are a few of these gods. They do not need to be of wood or stone or precious metals. They only need to take our primary attention away from The God.

Every one of these gods mentioned is good. They build us.  They build our lives and the lives of others. Each develops a component of life and society. You need to develop socially, physically, mentally, financially, well being, personally, benevolence, and expression of faith. They only become a god when we worship and serve above our worship and service to The God and His desire. Anything that becomes bigger than Him destroys. Our creative design is upset.  Enjoy all of life starting with the God component only He can fill.

Businesses and organizations become skewed. Over focus on profit and mission disallow balanced lives of colleagues. The corporate man or woman must conform to the corporate look, feel, and religion at unreasonable levels. Eventually, it fails. A certain freedom of personal balance needs support.

Personal lives become skewed. Drive to look good or have the best or promote personal opinion stifles faith, family, and friendship. Love becomes violent. Hurt replaces health. Anger stirs and streams.

Three of the Ten Commandments focus on: 1. God first 2. God honored and respected 3. Keep His days separated to worship and rest. The others speak also to family, finances, friendships, community, and order. The Lord of Creation wants us to be balanced and fulfilled in Him and others and self. He is not hung up on hard living.  He is hung up on us living fully and healthily in spirit, soul, body, mind, will, emotion, wisdom, wellbeing, relationships, and family.

Consider the layout of your week.  Prioritize time in each day and the Lord’s Day to worship Him. Prioritize your relationship with Him. Many distortions can be healed through a simple and top priority friendship with the Creator.

Have a great day. The Lord of All is on your side. He is FOR you.

Phil@shepherdok.com 

Delightful People

I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Psalm 16:3 NIV

Every journey in business and community begins with company. in those people you will find help, strength, wisdom, grief, betrayal, loyalty and a thousand other characteristics. Mixed in those people are people of the Lord’s tribe, so affected by Him that they bring Him to every meeting, every workday, and every interaction.  Thy aren’t preachy or perfect, just different.  They are refreshing. You find Him in His people.  That is where He lives.

Separated to Him is a God thing. These people don’t follow the flow of lemmings. They are hard and faithful and caring individuals. This world must lose hold and the Master gain influence. If you join them, you are a separated and distinctive and peculiar people. Love His people. In some ways we are strange as we become more like Him. Love these people. Embed yourself in them. Become like them.

Noble people are loved of all.  True believers are loved by others because they are loving toward others. And they are noble.  They stand above not aloof. They are not haughty but distinctive. They are repulsed by the banal but not judgemental. They are turned off by the crass, but understand why others live there. This is the Lord”s people.

Delightful people give us a place to join and are grateful to serve. The Lord’s tribe is an open table. Anyone with the committed heart is welcome to join.  Anyone can sit at the table and try out the food to decide.  The committed join. These people know how to explain their love of others and service to God without being offensive. There is a delightful place for all.

 “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie

In all things be grateful for the Lord”s noble and grateful people.  He builds a living monument to His love and mercy and strength and calls it a family.  You thrive in the family. A business or community endeavor will grow with the influence of these.

Once at a lunch room table, a rather crude man rose to tell an off color joke.  It was obvious and his normal habit. Off color usually means sexual lyrics or racially demeaning.  A loving believer quietly pushed back his chair to exit the conversation.  Just then as the joke opened, a woman piped up, “Really. Jack (the believer), doesn’t want to hear your joke and neither do I.  Why not keep it for the bathroom?” The others at the table chuckled and nodded.  Jack settled back in his chair and the air stayed clean.

Stand and Stare

I say to the Lord , “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2 NIV

Prayer is a matter of fact transacting of business. Hudson Taylor

In a negotiation and business relationship, we acknowledge the position and power of each involved. In front of God, acknowledge His position and power.

When I pray, I pray to the Creator of All.  Remember to whom you are speaking. Realizes He is able to do whatever is needed. Acknowledge Him in His greatness. Stand before Him as a child of greatness.

When I pray, I pray to The Great Love. His love is outstanding above  all human expressions of love. Come repentant. Acknowledge gratitude for this love through a changed life. Yearn to be like Him.

When I pray, I pray to The Good God. His goodness challenges me to step up my life. He is good to all. His mercy covers all His creation. Acknowledge love and acceptance for others unlike yourself. All are Hs creation and objects of His goodness and affection.

 Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

Struggle through life issues with a confidence and reliance on the Great Lord. He is Lord. He is Master. He is Boss. He is In Charge. He is King. He is not here to do my bidding but for me to express His will and way.

In employment and business relationships I try to remember the parable of the talents. Jesus tells the story of a business operator who assigns assets to be managed by three men. Two are faithful and increase the value. One does nothing. In the end the businessman says to the two, “Enter into the joy of the Master.”

The joy and reward is most defined by the owner of the asset and the most powerful in the transaction. When I recognize that, I open myself to greater reward in negotiation and relationship.

Approach God open. Allow Him to define the terms of reward. Drop preconceived ideas of what you want and understand He only has good to give.

Stand before the Lord, Creator, Great Love, Good God and stare into His power and presence. He will change you and your circumstance. He has good to give.

Positions In The Lead

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. Ps 16:1

The writer positions his mind and heart in God as he prays and preps for the day ahead. We need that. As a community and  business professional, I need that.  We need to position to posture and to pose in our our mind and heart as we approach the Living God in the day of challenge that lives ahead of us.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do You Stand in Front of the Lord of All in the Face of the Day?

Position with humility. Recognize He is God and I am nothing. Yet, in my nothing , He makes something. He makes worthy. He makes valuable. He makes able to stand before Him. No longer am I nothing. I deserve nothing and receive by grace everything as a free gift.  Sure, I have good successes. Sure, they can vaporize in a moment.

Position with gratefulness. Thank Him for all He brings. He brings life and life with abundance. He gives forgiveness and the freedom to walk without bondage of depression and anxiety and defeat. I am grateful for all the years I have  success. I am grateful to the I have served and those that serve me. I am grateful most to the God, who has stood with me.

Position with power. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is on my side and your side. Stand there in His favor. Allow Him a place. Spiritual power is necessary for balanced growth. It is not just me or others, but His intervention that gets me through the tough spots.

Position with confidence. Confidence builds through conquest. Problems rise and fall. We rise and fall in and through them. Rise more than fall. It is said the average strong business leader fails five times before striking on the right formula to success. Get up and go again. Stand up and sing again. Never stop singing. Never stop standing.

Approach the Lord of All with a calm dependence on Him and a sure readiness to act. Be ready for Him to support and you to work without tiring. Position heart and mind to succeed. Shake off failure and put on confidence. He invests in you. He believes in you. He will not make a bad investment.

The Prize Goes to the Winner: Success has 4 Cs not two.

A few good men served today ( Nov 28, 2016) at Ohio State University. During a campus attack from a madman, they responded with character, competence, compassion, and chemistry. How rare do we see these three in action? In our age of self-service and self-serving, we are missing large quantities of courage, discipline, orderliness, compassion, reliability, accountability, selfless giving, and selfless service.  Journalists attribute their response to military preparation.  Maybe, but I bet there were other military trained on campus and maybe even in the room.  These men had something more.WordItOut-word-cloud-922060 (1)

These men stood to the moment. When word went out, they organized their class of students away from the door. Then they placed themselves in harms’ way at the entrance to the room. Had the attacker walked into that room, he probably would not walk out. They showed character, competence, compassion, and chemistry under pressure. Under pressure we are our better selves and we are our worst selves. We choose each time.

Yesterday, a man came to me in my office and asked me an odd question. “What is prudent?” He was looking for a dictionary definition. A quick anger assessment that we do had thrown an unfamiliar word at him. Arms crossed, face scowling, hard life screaming from his face, he looked for an answer. For a moment, it was hard to answer. The temporary confusion was not because I was stumped for a definition. It has hard to answer because it means so much. To summarize, a prudent person does the right thing at the right time with the right wisdom backing the choices. A prudent person would not be standing in my doorway taking an anger assessment because he was on probation, community supervision, supervised by the state.worditout-word-cloud-1956501-prudent

A little later I was on the phone with a case manager overseeing a family situation. Seems the man and woman showed up for a court hearing on neglecting their children while they were high on drugs. Bad had gone to worse. Maybe they are good hearted and imprudent. Nevertherless, they chose to put their children in danger and now the children are under conservatorship in foster care and the parents are being supervised by the state.

The men in the first story sound like my children. I would place my life in the hands of any of my daughters, sons, and their spouses. I trust their decisions over their homes and families and neighbors. They do not believe the way I believe on every subject. They do follow prudence. They do exhibit wisdom in right choices over and over and over. They do exhibit the 4 Cs of Success multiplied by lives lived for Christ.They don’t need me, my wife, or the state to supervise them.  They have been raised.

The men in the first story sound like key employees I have had over time. When they show me the balance of character, competence, chemisty, and compassion, I invest trust and training and increasing responsibility and watch them grow. Consistency and congruency takes over and multiplies their contribution. Talking to my assistant yesterday, I told the story of one such colleague. When this person came to work for me, she could not show up regularly and her work results were erratic. But underneath her chaos, I saw the 4 Cs of success. Over the years, we walked through developing good work habits, learning good work skills, and living through deaths and distractions that life throws us. Her contribution increased as the 4 Cs ordered her life and her income and influence quadrupled. Income in life is directly proportional to contribution.

How does it work? The 4 Cs of Success produce a consistent and congruent contribution. Here is the formula (Character + Competence + Compassion + Chemisty) x (Consistency + Congruency) = Contribution3 . This missive is already too long, so you must read the next few to get the full story.
Note: SOLUM Community Transformation Initiative is a 501c3 dedicated to fixing fractured families. We work with strugglers to stabilize and unify homes. Make your financial contribution today to turn the corner in character for men and women and their children. http://solumcommunity.net/give

Check out the definitions of prudent. Synonyms and Antonyms of prudent (merriam-webster online dictionary) http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/prudent

Lessons from Luther

Martin Luther was given keen insight into salvation as a free gift of God.  Other items became clear and freedom was offered to many that had been bound in tradition. He was not fully released from some traditions. His hardness resulted in loneliness.

When he had opportunity to include others, he refused.  He entrenched on issues that were not critical but represented the very tradition he sought to break away.  Zwingli came to him with an open heart and open arms and allowance for disparate beliefs that were not critical to Christ living. Two hard pieces of old tradition clung to Luther and kept him from enjoying the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Don’t make Luther ‘s mistake and walk alone.

This attitude became a continuing mark of those that later called themselves Lutheran.  His hard stance was fathered into generations that some still stay separated from other Christians.

Are there pieces of my theology that exclude other Christians?

Can I find a way of peace that includes those that hold positions that are reprehensible to me?

Am I able to speak what I believe without pushing down what others believe?

Action: Make time to meet with a leader of an area similar to your leadership area.  Listen.  Don’t refute or critique.  Listen and learn. Find a place of agreement.

Five Leadership Tips for Tough Times Every Mature Executive Needs to Learn.

From the archives. As I work with developing a non-profit group in a tough situation, this lesson sparked to mind. Hope it serves you today.

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Five Leadership Tips for Tough Times Every Mature Executive Needs to Learn.

Working as an agent of change in support of executives comes with scars and stars.  The stars are the memories that have power to change us for the better.  The scars are best left as lessons learned and give time and attention to heal.  But, wow, when you work beside a star boss or on a star team, your life is never the same.

There are five top performing bosses and the teams that surrounded them that have taught me powerful lessons in living and management.  Let me share these with you.  You can grow in a minute under the right coaching.  It would take a book to list all the lessons each of these leaders taught me, so I’ll just highlight five lessons that I believe every mature executive should learn.

Schille’s All StarsHard Times…

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Learners Look

Continual learning environment is a must. Executives and managers make it happen. Leadership is involved. Learning is the never ending story. An organization with a bend towards learning produces excellence.

 

Learning is not training. Training is a part of learning. Learning is a lifelong commitment, a morning attitude, and an approach toward information and experience. It is a must.

“Personally, I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister

At a time when individual operations and entire organizations cannot afford to make mistakes, it seems there is great potential for highly-visible errors. The complexities of implementing multi-channel, response-driven customer communications pressure. Learners LookModified workplace rules, legislative and executive mandates on business, and global pressures stretch staff. Can we expect operations run on a shoestring budget with no time or money for skill upgrade to accomplish adapting? Can we expect staid operations and staff, who’ve become resistant to change, to survive? Not really.

You Don’t Want This To Be You: Learners Look

The US Army sent out letters to families of soldiers killed overseas. They featured a salutation of “Dear John Doe,”. What probably happened? Did someone put “John Doe” as a place holder into a mail merge letter and forget to merge? Did the data scrub go bad? Was a routine process double check missed while someone checked Facebook?

But why did it not get caught? No one noticed that all the letters had the same salutation? Was it because the shop doing the work was rushed? Or did the shop not have a quality- control person who knew what to look for? Or was the QC person off running some production equipment and never had the chance to check before the mailing went out? We may never know.

The end result is damaged reputation and emotional distress. This error is reported by national news organizations. The shop was named in the articles. The price they charged the Army was published. An Army official was quoted as saying the Army was contemplating “appropriate action against the contractor.” Ouch! Worse was the impersonal impact on grieving families.

Oh, and a General (the Army Chief of Staff) had to hand-sign 7,000 apology letters. I wouldn’t want to be the shop that made this unfortunate mistake, and I feel for them. But it is a good example of what can happen when processes are not followed or things get rushed. This particular error may not be attributed solely to a learning issue, but inadequate attitude of attention and learning could certainly have played a part.

There are three active attitudes in a learners’ team.

Learners constantly assess, inspect, and appeal. They are ‘in the stuff” every day, all day. A learner will see an error outside of expected routine checks. They notice compliance variances and modify.  They see process issues that threaten on time delivery of services. They become experts at their jobs. They invent shortcuts for production and service delivery that speed customer time to market. You will find a learning shop team huddled over an issue as a team coming up with solutions.

Learners are led. Executives and managers set the curve. One astute client executive commented, “I’ve had a good day, I learned something new about this operation.” This was the senior most executive in a large insurance company. He looked every day to learn something new about the trench work. Managers should be bringing fresh insights to the team. Managers should be increasing their customer knowledge every week. An executive or manager cannot be the best at what their people do, but they should be the best leader at what they do. Be curious.

Learners look. If it ain’t broke, break it. There is no excuse for lax process. Learners take apart what looks fixed. They don’t break it to be mean. They break it to find a better way, a cleaner routine, a process stripped of extra steps, or a more predictable performance. Learners learn by looking under the hood.

Summary: The “looking learner” environment in an operation will produce predictably excellent results. Unfortunately, our workplaces easily drift into drone mentality through blind adherence to institutional objectives. Creativity takes spark and acknowledgement from leaders. Learning is stimulated by example.

 

Lead with Solutions: Five Key Phrases To Lead

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There is power in your words, Leader.

Leaders lead.  We lead with our words, our actions, our intent, and our example.

Leaders lead.  Leading flows from the inner core of a leader outward for followers to follow.  Wisdom literature intrigues and builds me.  Two principles that regurgitate in my meditative time apply here.

  1. What is in your heart comes out your mouth.
  2. Words carry life or death.

Uncomfortable as that may be for some, it is life and energy for leaders.  Those that deny they are being led are fools looking for a place to fail.  Those that accept they are both being led and leading others have matured to a grasp of reality needed for contentedness and success.  Watching words is a key necessity of leadership.

One of the ways leaders lead is with the entry words they use in conversations and meetings and personal engagements.  So let’s look…

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Dear KOTU, can you……?

When Hezekiah,  a young twenty-something prayed this prayer, the King of the Universe moved to support him.  Read the story in II Kings 18-19.
Why not start your year with a request to the King of The Universe?  Write Him a letter.  He’s more reliable than Santa, stronger than Superman, wiser than Gandalf and has an army you can’t fathom.
Have a great 2014!
II Kings 19:19 NKJV Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.”