Manage Well : Go On Through

To go through a problem is to conquer it and create new paths. Go through. Don’t go around it.

Ps:95:8: Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: .

 A winner goes through a problem.

training

  A loser tries to go around a problem.

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

Problems are life. Sound like the last chapter?  You are right.  It is not the same though.  What makes a winner a conqueror, an overcomer, is the problems they face and conquer.  You will have problems.  1Pt:4:12:” Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:”

The question is will you go through or around?

Going around.  The children of Israel spent 40 years going around their problems.  When they were offered the land of opportunity, they chose to stay away and not deal with their problems.  What was their problem?  Discord, lack of submission to leadership, unbelief, selfishness… basically just a lot of reliance on themselves and little on God.

Going through.  After that 40 year phase, a new set of children rose up and went through their problems.  They stuck together, defended each other, and took the blessings by going through their problems.

Going around.  The United States is full of men and women going around their problems.  Insecurity, lack of knowledge on how to be a dad/mom/husband/wife, lack of commitment, irresponsibility, self fulfillment keeps them from sticking with their families and spouses and friends.  It’s easier to go around.

Going through.  My heroes are the ones who overcome their insecurities, lack of knowledge, lack of commitment, irresponsibility, and self fulfillment, replace it with security in Jesus, knowledge from the Word, commitment to what counts, responsibility even when it hurts, and other fulfillment, and stick with the program.  It is not easy.  It is incredibly rewarding.

Hebrews 4:14: Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.15: For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.16: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Principle is principle is principle.  Relationships, work issues, projects, and hobbies all present problems.  When you allow others to help in the process, you prosper quicker.  Sometimes they have the solution you need.  Always, Jesus has the solution you need.

Take Inventory

Where do you have a problem that you have circumvented but not solved?

Are you ready to do what it takes to solve it?

Have you ever felt like getting mad at God because of a problem?  Did you go around the problem or through it?

Overcoming.  As I write this I am praying for five relationships where someone has come to me in the last week and asked for prayer.  They are GOING THROUGH!.  Anger, alcohol, and accusations make for hard lives. You can GO THROUGH.  You can overcome.  It takes both involved in the relationship, but it can be done.  Who are you praying for?

 Make Application

Write what you are going to specifically do in the next 30 days about this.

Risk It! Find A Way

A winner says, “Let’s find a way.”     A Loser says, “There is no way”

Rv:2:7: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.training

A winner says, “Let’s find a way.”

A Loser says, “There is no way”

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

 Problems are life.  A great book written some years back is entitled, “Eating Problems For Breakfast.”  Another great book published years ago was “Lateral Thinking”.  Both of these books challenge us to remember that problem solving requires getting outside our normal boxes of thought and thinking different thoughts.  When we are ready to do that, we can see incredible solutions to plaguing problems.

Recently in the children’s department of a large church, the problem of space for growth came up.  The main area for elementary kids would only hold about 150 chairs, crammed uncomfortably with bad visibility.  There had to be a way.  After 15 years of looking at the problem, no one had a real viable solution.  It took getting outside the box.

Walking through another room planned for remodel a worker struck on an old idea with a new twist.  A choir loft seating about 75 adults was going to be torn out.  Why not split the loft and reassemble it in the kids area as bleachers?  The new use of an old item would make room for 100 new kids.  Not only that, but it took up little used space in the room and changed the room to a more exciting place for the kids and allowed over 250 kids to be in the room with all of them having good visibility.  Add to that another idea of doubling the lumens in the lighting and the whole idea gelled.  Unusable, dim space was turned into light, great space because some folks though outside the box against 15 years of  “no way”.  (Sunbonnet: The cost was only a few dollars as the labor was volunteered along with some great carpet to cover the bleachers. The cost of purchasing bleachers and installing a new lighting system would have been over $10,000.)

 1 Pt:1:7: That the trial (testing by presenting of problems)of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

This principle applies in all areas of life.  Tests, trials, opportunities, problems, glitches, frustrations, whatever you call them come up. Persistent prayer and thought can bring new light (couldn’t resist) and a different way to attack the problemFaith pushes through to solutions.  Fear stares at the problem and gives up.

Take Inventory

Do you have a long term problem that needs fixing?    How can you persist again and say, “There has to be a way!”?

What can you do today to get past the idea that you have to live with that old problem?

Make Application

Write what you are going to specifically do in the next 30 days about this.

 Pray To Be A Problem Solver

 Father, quicken my mind and heart.  Encourage faith in me to believe again for something on which I have given up hope.  You are so real and alive and active in everything that is.  Stretch my faith.  Let me be like the one who said to Jesus, “Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.”.  Give me the courage to try a new approach and see Your had displayed.

Risk It! Explain

Explain

Romans 14:11: For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12: So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 13: Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way

 A winner. explains;training a loser explains away

Early in life I found it profitable to have solutions.  Managers, directors, executives all seemed to be unconcerned with my problems and mistakes.   What they wanted was solutions.  Explain the problems and offer a solution.  It really did not make a difference whether I caused the problem or not.  A winner goes for the solution not the excuse.

God is the same way.  He really is not so much interested in punishing us.  He is interested in our growth.

This trait of offering honest explanations with solutions is called faithfulness.  When we trust a person, we are honest.  When we value their opinion in the long term, we are honest.  Being that way adds up to being loyal and faithful and it is so returned.

In the computer industry of big systems, there are sometimes some real messes.  Blaming it on the computer never flies.  It always seems profitable to simply tell people, “We are researching the problem and will get back with you.”  and then do it.

A certain hospital had a horrible reputation.  Systems crashed daily, sometimes 3 times a day.  Nurses screamed.  Doctors threatened to throw equipment out the window.  One doctor would come in the computer room and bang on the equipment.  When the system went down, all the technicians took off their badges and hid from the hospital staff.

As a new manager, Newbie was perplexed.  How do you handle this mess?  First, he instructed his technicians to get their badges back on and get into the hallways.  Take the heat.  Own up to the problems and offer assistance.  Next, he called all the head nurses and gave them an estimate of when they could expect systems so they could go back to work.  Then he called the chief technicians and wanted answers.  Real answers.  When it was all over he would update the executives to the causes.

It was tough.  The reputation of the department was horrid. Over time the nurses began to trust the reports.  Even when it was bad news, it was trustworthy news.  Systems started getting fixed and executives agreed to spend the right monies to fix the problems.  Everyone turned out winners.  Eventually the systems that were only up 50% of the time were up 98% of the time.  Winners explain.

I Corinthians 4:1: Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2: Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

A story is told about Thomas Watson, then chief of IBM.  Seems an executive spent a few  million dollars on a project that was a total failure.  He went in to Watson thinking he would be terminated.  Watson looked and him and assured him that he was not about to loose the millions he had invested in the man’s training.

What if he had offered excuses and blamed others?  What if he had not been honest with his mistakes.

Adam had that type opportunity.  He blamed Eve.  What if he had just told God he miffed it and needed forgiveness?

David, king of Israel, committed murder, adultery, and things we don’t even know about.  But when it came time to face it, he was honest and simply explained.  God forgave and restored him each time.  David wasn’t perfect, he just would not try and explain away.

Heb:13:17: Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

This principle applies in all areas.  We all make mistakes.  We all have failures.  (Failure is an event, not a person.)  We all are required to show faithfulness and loyalty by being honest and helping those around us deal with the situation.  They need the full scoop so they can work out any side issues, not so they can punish or dig it in.

Take Inventory

Do you have problem that needs fixing?  Can you explain?  Will you explain?

How can you get past the fear of failure through honest explanations?

Make Application

Write what you are going to specifically do in the next 30 days about this.

 

  

 

Pray To Be Honest In Explanation

Father, open my eyes.  Let me see any hindrances to winning with Jesus.  So many times in life lessons go unlearned when I don’t hear Your voice.  Speak clearly, Lord.  Let me hear and act speedily.  Open my heart, Father, to give real, honest explanations so I can stay on the road to winning. 

Risk It! Respect Authority – Power Insight

Take ancient authority into your workplace.  Truths that transcend culture, industry, and size of business.

Respect Authority

Psalm 19:1: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament reveals openly his handywork.2: Day unto day cries out loudly with speech, and night unto night displays and reveals knowledge. 3: There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

 training

A winner… respects those who are superior to him and tries to learn something from them;

 a Loser resents those who are superior and rationalizes their achievements.

 

In 1980 a young student began to loose his ability to learn.  The key instructor just did not seem to be passing anything on.  What was the problem.  The student had left home and job to study under this learned man.  Travelling 500 miles, he had risked everything, and now he seemed to be learning nothing.

 

Self examination revealed a loser’s attitude toward the instructor.  The student had begun to rationalize, see himself better than he was.  Since he wasn’t singled out and acknowledged, he began internally to tear at the credibility of the instructor.  The door to knowledge closed.  The gateway of learning is only opened when respect is in place.

 

Being a quick learner the student adjusted.  The next day he cornered the instructor and asked forgiveness.  What?  Ask forgiveness for a sin not committed?  Yes.  He asked for forgiveness from the instructor for holding anything between them.  The gentle instructor forgave and forgot.

 

Ps:86:5: You, Lord, are good and gracious and kind , and ready to forgive; and abundant in mercy to everyone that calls on you in their time of need.

 

Learning quickly returned.  Now the wisdom of life flowed from instructor to student.  The student went on to glean many critical lessons from this instructor which prospered him in life.

 

Proverbs 1:5: A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

 

Prov:1:7: The fear (respect andconsideration of position and authority and person) of the LORD  is the beginning (the opening of the doorway)of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

 

This principle applies not just to respecting the Lord but to respecting anyone.

 

Take Inventory

Do you have a lack of respect standing the way of knowledge in a relationship?

 

How can we be sensitive to remove the blocks to receiving knowledge and remove them quickly?

 

Make Application

Write what you are going to specifically do in the next 30 days about this.

The Day You Launch a Product You Begin to Lose Ground

http://americanprinter.com/columnists/phil-larson/022515-phil-larson-grow-sustain

Every product enhancement must continue to be enhanced.  There is always a better mousetrap.  Better does not mean changed.  Better means it meets a customer need in fresh ways that help them achieve their goals.  That is better.

What about the internals that make that happen.  Here are a few tips focused on the print services industry as they adapt to changing volumes, order types, and media integration. The principles apply to any and all businesses and organizations.

Build A Better Business – Build  A Better Life Forward

Marketing Within

Decades of working in corporate politics can leave you scarred and scattered.  There is no need for that.  In a series for American Printer, I’m reviewing tips for a specific service provision to large corporations.  Enjoy and apply to your endeavors.    This particular service is multi-channel marketing as an ongoing service.  Many print service providers are finding survival means adapting and becoming new.  Whether you are internal to an organization or serving the larger engine of an organization, the rules are similar.

Take a read and ask a question.  This is only one of a series of articles addressing this service.  Others cover staffing, workflow, conceptualization, and will move on to business model for effectiveness.

http://americanprinter.com/columnists/phil-larson/multi-channel-marketing-012315-ampr-phil-larson

Where is the Blue Sheet?

IMG_1146 (2)Pursuit of excellence demands detail attention.  Audit trail, decision criteria, review stats, goal progress, and historical databases seem like a plague that plugs up progress.  Not really.  Only if they are not consistent with the flow of the organization engine and customer demand do they interfere.  They are necessary actions that meet legal requirements, compliance mandates, risk mitigation, and goals tracking.

Delegation in a clear format is one of those pesky details.  An abrupt email rarely captures all the specifics needed for good delegation.  A text is a waste.  A phone call will result in missed pieces.  When it is a matter of substance, take some time to write it out in discussion.  Hallway interruptions need to be recorded and followed up.

For one financial organization, I worked with multiple unlike departments.   Each had a separate form of management flow.  The corporation had a loose knit, meeting driven mode of management.  Confusion reigned.  Fear of failure walked the hallways.  Authoritarian dictates were the norm.  Power brokers and politicians love this environment.  They can manipulate in back rooms.  But the customer and the owners suffer most when a sales support piece hits the streets and does not work in the sales process due to unclear objectives.   All the fingernail flying meetings won’t fix a new software rollout for accounting that lacks key compliance fields for entry.

As a manager of a few service areas, this was always a challenge.  Our departmental customers were politics driven and would change a request after we had moved forward at significant expense.  We learned to use a “Blue Sheet” to contain the chaos.

Really, the Blue Sheet was a problem, request, and change capture instrument.  Later, our team convinced the organization over a series of years to move in the IT areas to online capture and communication in these areas.  That left many areas untended.  So the service departments I managed used Blue Sheets.

In the early days of small computers, I remember pleading with my senior executive for a desktop to keep track of our service areas.  His reply was absolute wisdom.  “All you need, Phil, is a good pencil and a piece of paper.”  That reply made me angry.  But, he was right.  I went back and invented my first “Blue Sheet” and gave a pocket sized version to every team member for working directly with customers.  It worked.  Our service reliability improved and I could sift through a month’s pencil capture and note trends and take action that made big differences.  Later, we put it all on a desktop database for deeper analysis.

When a team member came into my office, they became accustomed to, “Where’s the Blue Sheet?”  Working with hundreds of requests, service orders, problems, and changes a day, the Blue Sheet gave us specific guidance on single issues.  Regular work orders had an online capture system.  Irregular needed something, too.

A Blue Sheet (we used blue paper) captured critical contact information, issue symptoms, probable cause, delegated action approach, expectations and any due dates and times,  and assignment.  With that, a team member could run without continually looking behind and asking questions.  There were no needs for continual meetings after that was captured.  When one or two or more needed to meet on the issue for a decision and direction, we pulled the Blue sheet to ensure we were continuing on target.  Improved information could be added and directional changes could be noted.  The holder of the sheet owned responsibility for accomplishment until handed off.  If resolution or service provision lingered beyond a few days, a more formal project definition and action plan could be drafted.

Everyone of us has a litany of lingering items that need “Blue Sheets”.  They won’t get resolved to satisfaction of the stakeholders without taking a few moments to capture key information items.

Sit down today with an outline that works for you that can capture quick information and thoughts.  Sometimes a simple piece of paper and a pen suffice.  Where’s your Blue Sheet?

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.

SOLUM Insurance

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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Do One Thing

A few years ago, a transition occurred in my life.  They happen. Life is full of transitions.  It was a catalyst for a life change for me that I will never regret.  God took a normal  evil and produces good for me and others every day.  Life is good.  Friend and family are wonderful.  There are more transitions ahead.

How did friends handle this moment of transition?Image

One asked me, “Are you okay?”  But, he was unprepared to follow through and doesn’t return phone calls.

One asked me, “How can I help?”  And, encourages regularly and  faithfully.

One asked me, “What happened?”  But only wanted gossip.

One looked at me told me to get back and refuses my phone calls.

One denied all knowledge and deferred to others.

One listened and only responds at whim.

One thanked me for my service and faithfulness and expressed genuine regret.

One listened and asked for money from me for their business and offered no support.

One listened and asked me to join their multi-level marketing organization.

One looked at me, accused me, threatened me, and looked away.

One  listened, extended compassion, extended support, and continues to followup.

One listened, connected me with meaningful service alongside them, and continues.

One spoke at me and refused to raise head or eye to make contact.

One never did anything.

One remains silent, not knowing what to say, but staying faithful in love and friendship.

It is interesting how people treat you in moments of change.  All of these were “friends”, a few still are.

In all these cases, there is really more than one that responded this way.

As a friend, how do you respond?  How do you support others?  What is your motivation?

I’ve supported many transitions in organizations and families over 3 decades of management and community service.  Some were my transition, some were transitions of others.  Truthfully, these responses are typical in each transition.  People like change and transition on their terms and their timing.  People act all sorts of weird ways when they don’t understand or have demanding motivations driving them.  They  are normal ways people respond to change.

Each of these responses comes from either a motivation of self preservation, greed, control, power, loyalty, gratefulness, disinterest, encouragement, or compassion.

Each of these represents a person, to whom  many hours and years of service and support and encouragement were extended and prior to the transition called me, “Friend”.  How do you support your friends in transitions?

How should I respond to others in transition?

The golden rule still applies.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Though people may treat you many different ways, choose how you will treat others, now.  Who in your sphere of influence has gone through a transition and could use a helping word or action to move forward?  Don’t let the machinations of selfish desire dictate who you will be.  Be the best of responders.  Overcome normal evil with good.

Why do I say, “Normal evil?”  Well, many times we categorize transition or change as something bad.  It is not bad.  It just is what it is.  Without transition and change, we would stay the same.  BORING!  You can always put good interpretation or bad interpretation on a situation.  You can always choose to accent the good or the bad.  Choose.

Don’t be silent.  People need to hear your voice and see you.  How wonderful it was one day, when visiting a company to have one of those from a transition run up, hug me, and say how much they missed me.  Yes, that is a grown adult response.  A face to face handshake is powerful.  A card in the mail is marvelous.  An email of concern and encouragement is powerful.  Silence communicates fear and distrust.  Make a noise.

Don’t go away after you do one thing.  How lonely you must be to only value a person when you see them in your space every day.  That is not friendship, but convenience.

How should I respond to my transitions?

Close the Book: Today, I am closing the book on one particular series of events.  I am putting it in my past.  It has taken many months of processing and consideration.  The people involved are important to me.  They are more important than any event.  Every day I have risen to the day, accepted new challenges, faced demons of disloyalty and dishonesty, and enjoyed company of compassion and concern.  Today, I bury the history and have a memorial service.  I’ll light a candle, raise a toast to blessing and health, and move on with life, love, and laughter.  Someday, you need to grieve and go on.  Don’t live in the past.

Celebrate: Today, I celebrate the freshness of friendships that encourage, support, listen, and walk alongside.  There are some great people in the world, who understand and value friendship.   There are some not so great people in the world, who only understand what they can get out of you for the moment.  Be one of the greats in the face of the not so greats.  Don’t let them get you down.  There is too much of life to enjoy.

3V Decision Criteria

Posit this!  Every action you take, every thought you make should be measured against the 3V criteria.  Validity, vitality, and veracity need to mark your reputation and the reputation of your organization or business.  Consistent failure on any of these over your history will eventually mean failure of your endeavors.  You may make money, fulfill the purpose of your non-profit, and have fun without them.  You are not successful.  You will fail or your successors will fail.

As a leader, ingrain these in your psyche.  Your personal reputation and continuance depend on them.  When others doubt you (and they will), your ability to face the mirror in the morning and be true to yourself is what will move you forward in life.   When you revel in victory, the congruence of these in the actions and intents that took you to the mountain will sweeten the taste.  When you struggle with results, the confluence of these bolsters confidence better days await.

3vsTo thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.  William Shakespeare

Validity

A valid thought or action is in the right time for the right reason.  Every venture has a sequence and a rhythm.  Today may not be the right moment to launch a new product line.  It might be a good product, but the operation is not ready to support and the customers have not been informed.

An invalid is someone struggling with a disabled portion of the balance.  An invalid action is the same.  It struggles in some measure due to imbalance.  Something is wrong with the preparation or timing or maybe the idea itself.

Be valid in your actions and thoughts.  Match the time and reason.

Leaders struggle with this concept.  Our vision for direction and purpose can overwhelm our ability to move with right time and reason.  Continual steps out of time will cause others to doubt your leadership.  Do all you can to ensure this is the right time and reason in relation to the people, progress, priorities, processes, projects, tools and technologies, and products and services. (Five Ps).

Progress and priority are factors to assess when testing for validity.  Are other factors aligned to make this work?  Has sufficient progress been made in all areas relative to support?  Is this a priority that will happen?  Is there commitment?

Be valid as a leader.

Vitality

A vital thought or action is full of energy and passion and purpose.  It fulfills the destiny and design of the organization or operation.  It takes energy. (Energizers)

Leaders need energy in constant measure.  How painful is it to watch a leader with a great opportunity to implement a valid solution and yet they do not have the force of life to execute?  It happens.  We let our passion and purpose become diluted by invalid action and distress.  Don’t.  Stay on track.  Keep your energy up.

Vitality is easier when you are working with purpose and design.  It is tough to support an initiative that does not fit the purpose of an organization.  You’ve been involved in those.  They stifle creativity and stymie progress.  Some board member wants to please a friend and asks you to run in circles to help them out while critical issues lack attention.  It sucks away vitality.

Veracity

A veracious thought or action is marked by integrity, ethicality, and honesty. It is true to all involved.  There is no hint of injustice, unfairness, or dishonesty.  Now this is a tough one to hit in today’s business and community environments.  It is worth all the effort you can give it.

Disconnect on this item is huge.  Hypocrisy is evident when your corporate intent is simply words on a page for marketing and recruiting.

Be the same leader at home, at work, and in the community.  Do what you do in the best interest of the other person.  “You can have anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar.  ““Treat men exactly as you would like them to treat you.” Jesus of Nazareth

Be direct with communication.  Be transparent.  You don’t have the latitude to dispense everything you know to everyone you know.  That is a matter of right discretion.  You do have the requirement to be authentic and considerate.

Summary:  Every leader will be judged by results.  Results will be consistently productive when you tend to validity, vitality, and veracity.

managewell3Manage Well: Eclectic Tips on Excellence