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Month: January 2020

This is Good

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Henry Ford

Over the last several months, I’ve encountered more major leadership team challenges than I can ever remember. Some are so personal and ethically challenging that I can’t even mention them, but there is one I would like to share.

I began a new project with a new organization, and the week I showed up, two members of the six-member executive team resigned. So, you’re probably thinking that you might want to think twice before you ask me to work with your team. That could be true, but that is not the point of this example, so let’s move on.

When the four of us met with those two open seats at the table, the group was still in shock and reeling from the sudden change. After a time of talking about how each person felt about this surprising turn of events, everyone still had their heads down. But then the head of Operations said, “Maybe this is a good opportunity to rethink our organization and arrange it in a more meaningful and effective way.”

A simple “how could this be good?” question shifted the atmosphere from a pity party into a providential event to capitalize on. By noon the next day, they had a 1-year reorganization strategy and 3-month transition plan hammered out and were ready to move forward together toward a new and fresh vision of success.

Journal Entry: Are you facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge with your team, family or a friendship? Will you choose to view this situation from a place of pity or providence, loss or lesson, bad or good event in your leadership and life?

An old story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!”

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake.

As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way. As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.”

“No,” his friend replied, “This is good!”

“What do you mean, ‘This is good’? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?”

“If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you.”

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

Don’t miss my “Small Time Leader 10-minute podcast” next Tuesday and Thursday. My guest Dr. Joey Faucette, an organizational culture and leadership expert, shares the impact an educator and church leader had on his success. Please subscribe via your favorite syndication platform so that you do not miss an episode!

Raking in the New Year

Small-Time Leaders
Small-Time Leaders
Raking in the New Year

This past Tuesday, the speaker at my Rotary club, a retired Chairman of the Board of his very successful family business, didn’t talk much about his business. He talked about his past 10 years’ experience of being a volunteer airplane pilot transporting war-injured veterans to places they needed to go around the world. He was on one of the most joyful speakers I have ever heard. Rotary clubs are famous for writing checks to good causes, but he reminded us of something more important when he said, “My father always told me this about serving others: The easiest thing to do to is write a check. Go rake a yard.

Every person I’ve met in the first 10 days of 2020 has asked me, or I asked them, “How is your New Year’s going?” A few said great. Most said fine or pretty good. And a couple of people told me that this is the toughest start of any new year they have ever had.

If you happen to be part of that last group who entered this new year with great expectations and were instead confronted with great disappointment and find yourself in a sad funk – I’d like to offer you something to think about.

“There is a wonderful law of nature that the three things we crave most in life—happiness, freedom, and peace of mind—are always attained by giving them to someone else.” Peyton Conway March, the 1st US Army Chief of Staff 1918-1921.

It’s easy for me, and maybe for you, to stay stuck alone in my disappointment and become uncomfortably content to be a quiet Debbie Downer. As March says above, it is easier to act your way into thinking better, than to think your way into acting better. Good feelings follow good actions.

So, get out of your chair and give someone a smile down the hall or a pat on the back. Tell someone how gifted they are, give an unexpected gift or just sit and listen to a friend who may have a problem bigger than yours – rake a yard.

Journal Entry: Even if you having a great new year, do you know some people at work or home who needs an uplift? Whose yard do you need to rake in your leadership and life?

Announcement: the first episode of my podcast “Small-Time Leaders” will air next Tuesday. Here is a preview of the intro to the podcast.

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