When Leaders Open the Wrong Doors

When Leaders Open the Wrong Doors

united-states-1184885_1280

Yesterday, our nation’s capital experienced a wake-up call. A lone gunman targeted a baseball practice where Republican representatives were playing. His motivation? Rage, frustration, and political prejudice. His actions are condemned by members of Congress, but I have one question to ask them…

When leaders model the wrong behavior, what doors do they open to their followers?

Leaders have a responsibility to their constituents. They are in a position to influence others with their words and actions. If they choose a course that is offensive, mouthy, and verging on violence, their followers assume that they can also do the same. Unfortunately, not everyone has self-control or knows where the boundaries are. Leader’s actions raise and lower the bar for what is the acceptable and the appropriate response.

I believe much of the violence we have witnessed in the last few months is stirred by the rhetoric and reactivity of Democratic leaders in Congress. (I would also add the media and Hollywood stars to the list!) After the election, instead of accepting defeat graciously, they chose to extend the battle with vitriolic attacks on the new president.

“He is not my president!” many stated. Even at the inauguration, many refused to attend in protest.  When leaders model the wrong behavior, it opens the door for others to imitate and even surpass their efforts. Although they did not call for violence, did they turn a blind eye to it?

And now it is on their doorstep.

Please, do not misunderstand me. This is not a political poke at the Democrats. It could have easily been reversed with the Republicans pointing the finger and on the attack.

Leadership has a responsibility to those who look to them as an example. Think about how your parents raised you. If mom and dad said it was OK, you felt a freedom to experiment. If they drank alcohol, so did you. Whatever their normal was, you probably echoed or surpassed their actions.

Men and women in the US spotlight have chosen to react in immature and hateful ways. Their words and anger spark others who cannot or will not respect the boundaries of human decency. The result is a bloody head of the President, calls for assassination, destructive rioting, and now a shooting of Congressmen.

As the verbiage and demonstrations have escalated since the election, where were the leaders to diffuse the violence? Instead of lessening the impact of a few radicals, they fueled the fire with their own rhetoric and plans. When leaders model the wrong behavior, they open doors to the horrific.

Wednesday was a wake-up call for Washington.

When will it end? When leaders realize that they are the doorkeepers.

 

Save Time and Money…10 Reasons to Hire a Professional

Save Time and Money…10 Reasons to Hire a Professional

Hire a Professional

In this DIY age, we take pride in our ability to do it our self. But at some point, DIY becomes counterproductive and begs for a different solution. What is the #1 way to time and money? Hire a professional!

The DIY dilemma seems to raise its ugly head in many situations…business, ministry, and on the personal level. After I recent move, I had to decide if it was worth my time, effort, and money to single-handedly attack the organization of my new home. Should I recruit professional help for the daunting task of decorating, organizing, and purchasing furniture or wing it on my own?

Three weeks into this project, I was exhausted and my energy level was low. I became open to professional help and it came through two different sources.

The first professional was free! She was the custom drapery designer at a local department store. Lisa spent almost three hours with me choosing drapes, rugs, curtain rods and designed my entire family room and kitchen area. Plus, she found an additional 20% off the already low sale price. What a bargain!

My next experience for opting for professional help came after purchasing a desk and five bookcases at IKEA. I chose the delivery service and professional assembly. Omar and Ivan took less than one hour to construct five bookcases, their extensions, and a pull-out desk. Not only did they put them together, but they consolidated the bookcases into one unit and attached them to the wall. It saved me hours if not days of reading instructions, locating the appropriate tools, and assembly. Wow!Professional Advice

Yes, my recent experiences did cost a little money. But what I saved in time, effort, and sheer frustration was well worth every penny spent.

Why do we often choose to take the long, wearisome route when a shorter, convenient one is available?

How do we decide when it is more advantageous to let the professionals do it than handle things ourselves?

When I consider these recent choices and others in the past, I came up with several reasons why professionals are often the best choice:

  1. Professionals remove the burden. You can shift the responsibility to their shoulders. There is no shame in asking for help.
  2. Consultants can create an overall plan and direction forward. Often, they can implement part and then allow portions of it to be done yourself.
  3. Professionals save valuable time. Their expertise can be a short cut. By employing their skills, you are released to focus on the tasks that only you can do. I don’t know how many man hours I spent at the computer perusing websites. What a waste!
  4. Specialists limit frustration. What is the learning curve for your task? How much time will it take to struggle through the process? Give yourself the gift of grace and let someone else handle the problem.
  5. Authorities get the best possible results. I find that I am confident in my decisions and I am not second-guessing the outcomes. In the above example, my home is now ready for living instead of in a state of upheaval. The colors and selection appeal to me and I know they are up-to-date.
  6. Pros have a higher skill level and greater expertise. They can draw upon years of experience in similar situations. Ask for pictures or references from previous projects. Yes, you do pay for that expertise, but it can be well worth it.Professional Tools
  1. Experts come equipped. If your project requires special tools or equipment your professional will have access to them. You can forget the added expense of purchasing new tools.
  2. Specialists add value to your project. They already know building codes and which permit to pull. They can suggest ways to improve that you are not aware of.
  3. Professionals save money in the long run. Mistakes can be costly. A sound expert can get it right the first time.
  4. Pros give peace of mind.  If you give your input throughout the project, when the job is done you can relax.Time to move along to the next item on your list.

I am a DIYer at heart. I pride myself in being able to learn and tackle almost any task. However, do I really need to? If I hire a professional to do the job, I can rest easy knowing that it is done correctly. For me, when the to-do list seems endless, the choice is easy.

Mastering Transition Before it Masters You

Mastering Transition Before it Masters You

Transition
Life is full of transitions. They come in business, times of personal growth, relationships, and within organizations. Transition can be defined as the moving from one place, situation, or relationship into another. And for most, this can be a tremendously difficult time.

If you happen to be a mother, or stood by a woman giving birth, you will remember the birth stage of transition quite clearly. This last phase of delivery could be described with words like…

PAIN
STRESS
PRESSURE
DISCOMFORT
EMOTIONS

Transitions also carry those same characteristics. As we find ourselves leaving a position, location, or relationship, there is a letting go of the old. It can be a time of sorrow as the old begins to fade away. This period can be marked with emotional turmoil as we say goodbye to those things which we once held dear.

But it is also a time of new beginnings, a fresh start that brings excitement and adventure. As we envision the next phase on the horizon, our hopes begin to soar and new possibilities begin to emerge. We ride the roller coaster of emotional highs and lows.

Transitions remind me of crossing a no-mans land. When Paul and I traveled to the historic city of Petra, we started in Israel and crossed the border into Jordan. As we left the security gate of Israel and our tour guide, we had to walk about 100 yards before crossing into Jordan. It was strange. No guards. No nationality. We were literally between two counties. It was reassuring to finally pass through the border gates into Jordan and realize we had arrived.

That’s transition. A no-mans land between two states. The old is not gone, but the new has not yet arrived. Neither one is fully operating. The result can leave a person with a lot of uncertainty.

Since transition is such a common and perplexing part of life, how can we best handle it? Here are my suggestionsTransition for traversing this no-mans land of transition:

#1 Evaluate what will be left behind and what will continue as part of your life. Transitions are the time to weigh what part of our lives are truly necessary and beneficial versus what is expendable. T
hose
 things that remain the same offer stability during the new phase. Some parts of your life will shift according to your position, relationship, or location. Relationships may change because of a promotion. Friendships that were close may now have to stretch across thousands of miles. What do you want to hold onto and what will you let go?

#2 Be willing to release the old to embrace the new.  I personally think this is the most difficult part, because of the emotional attachment and memories associated with the past. It may come down to simply making a decision. What can I release and leave behind? You may find yourself wrestling with a load of guilt, but allow yourself the freedom to embrace the next chapter of life.

#3 Discuss your change with those who might be affected. Be honest and sincere. Change will impact you, but more than likely your new position will affect others close to you. Plan ahead about how to bridge any gaps and diffuse any potential confusion. Discuss the positives and consider the negatives and how they might be diminished.

#4 Consider the open doors before you and what lies beyond. What are the possibilities? How will this new stage of life reward you? What are the benefits? Try to anticipate your reactions as new patterns, expFlexibleeriences, and associations begin to form. Life is an adventure…embrace it!

# 5 Stay flexible. In the midst of the ebb and flow of transition, try to find your moorings, but remain flexible. A boat tied to the dock rises and falls with the tide, but it is attached to a solid foundation. As for me, I place my faith in the one who never changes. God is the one fixed element in my life that is my anchor. As I sense the old patterns slipping away, I am determined not to allow fear to overwhelm me.

#6 Be patient. Easier said than done! We always look for the shortcut, but often there is just a long path meandering before us. As you experience a roller-coaster range of emotions, struggle with the physical tasks, and plot a new course forward, give yourself permission to rest. If you are like me, I am always wanting it done yesterday, and get frustrated whenever my timetable is not met. With this move to South Carolina, I face a garage full of bins and boxes. I must tell myself that it is OK to take a break and the unpacking, organizing, and decorating will eventually get done. 

#7 Enjoy the journey. Life is a journey with many stops and a few unexpected side trips. The best we can do is to find peace through God and celebrate each and every step along the way. Take full advantage of the perks!

Transitions characterize our lives. Don’t run from change, but learn how to appreciate and use it to your best advantage. For many, it is right around the corner.

Take a Break…Improve Productivity

Take a Break…Improve Productivity

Productivity Break

In this harried world of deadlines and goals, we all struggle with meeting demands. You might think that putting the pedal to the metal is the obvious choice for increasing your productivity. But Michael Hyatt has a different approach. He believes the greatest way to improve your productivity is to take a break!

In a recent post titled The Secret Productivity Advantage of Workday Breaks, Hyatt outlines several reasons why a quick hiatus from the grind enhances overall production. Never-ending work causes us to lose focus, make small mistakes, and even forget important details. Instead, he offers a few ways to trigger a break:

  • Schedule break time
  • Use an app
  • Establish the habit

For the complete story, follow this link to his article:

The Secret Productivity Advantage of Workday Breaks

Increase Productivity: Overcome the Fear of Missing Out

Increase Productivity: Overcome the Fear of Missing Out

Productivity

What is it like to have no boundaries, no focus, and a lack of clarity?

According to Michael Hyatt, the result is low productivity.

In a new series of posts, Hyatt deals with improving personal productivity on all levels. In this first installment, he speaks about FOMO (the fear of missing out) and the harmful effects to our work output.

In today’s society, it is difficult to say no, turn off social media, or decline a social invitation. What if we miss something? But the fear of missing out drives us into excess. We spend our time focusing on “good” things instead of the “great” things that are more in line with our destiny and goals. So we say “yes”…

  • to new clients because we fear missing out on income opportunities.Say No
  • to your boss because we fear missing out on praise or leadership.
  • to new training because we fear missing out on learning a new skill.
  • to lunch invites because we fear missing out on key networking.

Hyatt offers 5 Steps to Overcome the Fear of Missing Out. Check it out this week as we begin to explore how to increase our productivity.

Discover the 5 Personalities of Change…Where Do You Function Best?

Discover the 5 Personalities of Change…Where Do You Function Best?

change-quote

Change is never easy. With the ups and downs, shifting boundaries, and new adaptations, change can be synonymous with upheaval!

In my last post, From Novel to Normal: The Five Stages of Change, we examined the five different growth steps that accompany any change. From drawing board to the final implementation, I described each of these five transitional phases and their place in the process.

With every phase of change, there is a personality that seems to thrive at any given point. Some prefer the Dreamer stage. Others flourish during the Development phase. And still many prefer the Dedicate segment.

For any given person, their excitement is highest during one stage. They may be the leader, a contributing manager, or even a faithful follower, but each person will demonstrate a preference corresponding to their personal makeup. When change is passing through their favorite phase, the person thrives. Their energy level is highest and their focus is greatest. They not only understand that step, but they become a champion for it. They are in the groove and flourish.

Conversely, when someone finds they are in one of the other phases that are not their strength, their energy level diminishes. They become disinterested or even sluggish in response. This is not an excuse for any slowdown in behavior. Rather, it is an explanation why people respond more positively during one specific juncture of change.

Now, let’s examine the Five Stages of Change and their corresponding champions.Pointing the Way to Change

The Five Personalities of Change

Dreamer…The Dreamer excels during the Dream stage. He or she is the visionary, the conceptualist, the one who generates an idea. She is the inventor…the instigator. He is the designer.

CEO’s envision change, but they rarely get their hands dirty carrying it out. That task falls to others to form and implement.

Inventors concoct a new idea, but then it takes time and energy to develop it. Pastors picture their congregation doubling in size over the next two years through outreach. But the program, the training, and evangelistic effort still need tracks to run on. This is where the idea stage ends and the Design phase begins.

Designer…The Designer shines once the original concept is communicated. She can put flesh on the original idea. The Designer is the one who will fashion the prototype and give it its maiden flight. He or she knows how to take the vision and make it a reality. Once she achieves initial success, it is time to pass it along to the next champion.

Developer…The Developer serves a twofold purpose. First, he or she works the bugs out of the system. Where the Designer got the project up and going, the Developer takes it to the next level and refines how it functions. She is the one who identifies the flaws and weaknesses and perfects the design. The change matures.

The second purpose of the Developer is to begin to market the merits of the change. Up to this point, it may have been hidden from the general population. But now, the hints of its existence become known. The Developer may also launch a marketing campaign touting the benefits of the upcoming transformation. Marketing is the key at this stage.

Distributor…The Distributor functions best during the Distribute stage. This occurs once the change is ready to be incorporated into widespread use. By now, the flaws have been eliminated. When the new idea is released,Future of Fiction the Distributor has little patience for kinks in the system. They anticipate smooth sailing and are in a prime position to implement it. The Distributor expects a trouble-free experience.

Dedicated…The Dedicated are most responsive during the Dedicate stage. They devote themselves to the product and become its greatest supporter. These are the ones who will carry the change into long-term usage.

The Dedicated will not handle any flaws or discrepancies in the design. It must be in final working order.

The new idea must have a previous track record of success before it reaches this last phase. The Dedicated person will establish the novel idea in the marketplace.

People react to change according to their personality, maturity, and experiences. Each one identifies, participates, and feels more comfortable during one of the five stages of change. Discover your change personality and flourish!

 

 

 

 

 

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