Archives for December 2014

The Value of What You Have in Your Hand Is Determined by What You Do With It

The Value of What You Have in Your Hand Is Determined by What You Do With ItThe following is a true story.

A long time ago, in a land far away, a man who had once been a scholar, an eloquent speaker, a military hero and a high-ranking government official, had retired at the age of 40, married, and was working his father-in-law’s ranch, for what he had expected would be the rest of his life. After another 40 years on the ranch, little did he realize that his plans were about to change.

You see, Moses had an epiphany. No, it was more than that. It was an encounter with God. And Moses found out that God had different plans for him. God told Moses that he needed to use him to be a leader again. Moses wasn’t all that excited about God’s plans, so he did his best to convince Him that he was not equipped to do the job.

During their conversation, which, by the way, would be the first of many that they would have, God asked Moses a number of questions. One of those questions was, “What is that in your hand?” Moses replied, “A-Rod.” No. Wait. I think that’s a typo that spellcheck didn’t catch. He didn’t have a Yankee Hall of Famer. He had “a rod.”

What Moses was really saying was, “Nothing. Just a stick. I can’t lead people with a stick.” Was he about to be surprised! Even after God demonstrated what could be done with the stick, Moses tried to make excuses for why he couldn’t do what God wanted him to do. Yet, in the not-to-distant future Moses would raise that same stick high above his head and, when he did, the Red Sea parted and the people of Israel walked across the sea, as if on dry land, until they all safely reached the other side and Moses lowered the rod and the waters returned.

In fact, battles that were impossible to win were, nonetheless, won when Moses held that stick in the air.

What’s the point?

I meet people all of the time who, for instance, have a computer, but who either don’t use it or who use it solely for entertainment. When challenged to do something productive with it, they say, “I can’t do that. I don’t know how.” When given the opportunity to be taught how to be productive, the truth begins to come out in the form of, “I really don’t want to know.”

Perhaps you know someone like that. One of the reasons that some people, some businesses, and even some churches never reach their full potential is that they refuse to look at what they have in their hand and discover how it can be used to expand their knowledge, to help their business processes become more efficient or to effect growth in their ministry.

No one can afford to miss the power of what is in their hand. I doesn’t matter who or where you are. There is something in your hand or within your reach that can be used to benefit others and to glorify God.

Don’t look at what is in your hand and say, “It’s just a stick.” Look at it and ask yourself, “How can I make the world a better place with for what I have in my hand?” Whatever you have has been given to you for a purpose. Find that purpose, and do it.

(Right now you are using the internet. Have you discovered yet, how you can leverage its power for you, your business or your church? We can help you progress from potential to powerful. Give us a call. We are here to help.)

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Even Scrooge Would have Hated the Grinch!

Even Scrooge Would have Hated  the Grinch!Watching Holiday Movies is a favorite pastime of just about everyone I know.  And, two “musts” is A Christmas Carol and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Now, while Scrooge was “bah – humbugging” all over the place, he never once thought about actually stealing Christmas!  The reason the Grinch was so diabolical, however, is probably summed up by the fact that “his heart was two-sizes to small!”

While it might not be readily apparent, there is an interesting “Business Truth” to be learned by studying these two Christmas Villains – as bad as an employer or supervisor may be, there does come a point where they can “cross over the line” and become totally unreasonable.

Now, this particular blog isn’t being written for those who work for such an ogre as the Grinch, or even Scrooge.  Rather, it is written to those individuals who present themselves in such a negative manner that they garner virtually no respect, and certainly no loyalty.  If you sense that you do, in fact, present a demeanor that is harsh and uncomfortable, you may want to seriously consider setting a few New Year’s Resolutions to change!  These might include, but are not limited to:

  • Be more conscious of how people react when you enter the room.  Everything from a quick exit to cowering is a good indicator that folks may not like being in your presence.
  • If you truly want to change, find an employee you can trust, and who isn’t too afraid of you, and ask them which traits you need to change.
  • Once you have that list, prioritize it so you can determine which “issues” you need to start working on first.
  • Tell your employees, either jointly or individually, of your desire to change and make their work place a better environment.

If you are brave enough to actually do this, what you will undoubtedly discover is that Fezziwig got a whole more out of his staff that Scrooge could ever have hoped to get out of his!!  And, what you may also discover is that, like the Grinch, “your heart will grow three sizes that day!”

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Old Age is like Basketball, just because you Dribble a Little Doesn’t Mean the Game is Over

Old Age is like Basketball, just because you Dribble a Little Doesn’t Mean the Game is OverIf you are not already aware of this, Old Age comes with a lot of indignities.  However, while some of them are “real,” many more of them are assigned to those who are considered “seniors,” often by people who are still “wet behind the ears.”  Not only is this presumptuous on the part of those who make these unfounded assumptions, it can be really detrimental to the companies both groups work for!

Somewhere along the line, probably starting with the Baby Boomers, this nation got the askewed idea that “youth” is the key to success! Maybe it is because of this nation’s pre-occupation with sports, where once the body slows down people are moved aside to make room for the next young hero.  The thing is, when it comes to most businesses, physical prowess is of little consequence.

So, why is the western culture so quick to abandon the wisdom of everyone over fifty?   Why do we want to ignore their experience?  Why do we want to shun their ideas as old fashioned?  Why do we think that a newly graduated MBA has more to offer than someone who has been in the business for three or four decades?  Unfortunately, I’m not sure why.  However, I am sure of this – – we are voluntarily “throwing away” one of our greatest assets at our disposal – – our seasoned veterans of the business world.

There is another view, a much more cynical one, but one which, nonetheless, might garner a lot of support:  The business world we now exist in has discovered that you can hire young, inexperienced employees for far less than their mature, experienced counterparts.  While this is very exciting to the 25 year-old work force, it quickly backfires on them – – in about twenty years.  The thing is, when you are twenty-five, twenty years seems like an eternity away.  That explains why the “youth movement” has no problem with this arrangement, but what about those in charge of this practice?

The answer, I fear, is somewhat disheartening:  Corporate America has come to think that sacrificing long range success for an immediately improved “bottom line” is the way to go.  As a result, we end up with companies who promote “one way” loyalty, and don’t even bat an eye when it’s time to “axe” employees who have been with them for years and years and, quite frankly, have made them as successful as they are.

So, as you work with those who might be two, or even three, times your own age, remember that while they might be a little slower to the water fountain than you, they still might be able to help you understand the real keys to success, not only in the business world – – but in life!

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Have you ever wondered why you have one mouth and two ears?

Have you ever wondered why you have one mouth and two ears?Somewhere along the line, probably towards the end of the 20th Century, our society forgot that the key to communicating is NOT talking, but listening!  And, at about the same time, we forgot that there is more to listening than just not talking ourselves.  That brings us to the point at hand – – there IS a reason we only have one mouth and two ears!

Now, the obvious “take” on this fact is the point that we should listen twice as much as we talk.  And, there is no doubt about it, as a society we do need to listen more.  Further, as business people, we need to listen even more!!!  This is especially true if part of our duties include selling!

I have often thought about writing a book titled, SHUT UP AND SELL, and then discovered that Don Sheehan beat me to it.  In fact, his book came out in 1988, and, I must confess, I have never read it.  However, I have a few points that I want to share that would have been in my book.

  1. Listen to what the client needs/wants and concentrate on that, not on what you want to sell them – One of the least productive things we can do is go meet with a client with a pre-conceived notion of what they are going to buy!  Rather, we should always want to help them with whatever their needs may be.
  2. Needs can change from day to day, and certainly from visit to visit – Always have one of your first questions be, “What can I help you with today?”
  3. “When” can be as important as “what.” – In many instances, getting an item late is  worse than not getting it at all!  To serve your client best, make sure not only can you get them their item but that you can get it to them on time.
  4. In most instances, quality is more important than cost – Everyone wants “least expensive,” no on wants “cheap.”  Make sure you determine what the client is going to use the product for and that you sell them the “quality” that will best meet their needs.

While business isn’t the only place we should listen more than we talk (relationships is another big area!), it certainly is an important one.  Try it – – I’m sure your clients will appreciate it!

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It used to be you were remembered if you were rude ’cause it was so unusual, now you are remembered if you are kind ‘cause it is so unusual!

It used to be you were remembered if you were rude ’cause it was so unusual, now you are remembered if you are kind ‘cause it is so unusual!If one had a barometer that could truly measure society’s demeanor, I think what it would read is a comparative measure of “rudeness” and “kindness.”  And, my guess is that in the last fifty years the pendulum has swung from “kindness” to “rudeness,” almost creating a one hundred eighty degree shift!!!  Now, I’m not quite as cynical as Eric Wareheim, who simply states, “People are rude in general,” for I know that is not true of me.  The question is, especially if you a manager, supervisor, or business owner – are you rude?

In my nearly fifty years of gainful employment, I have worked with, and for, some of the rudest over-seers you can imagine.  And, as you might expect, while they might have gotten the tasks they wanted done accomplished, they never created a sense of loyalty among their staff, and, quite frankly, did not get as much out of their employees as they might have.  You see, the old adage, “you catch more flies with sugar than vinegar” is true and it would do us all well to remember it.

Frequently we forget just how “valuable” kindness can be, though society has known for millennia.  Greek fable writer Aesop shared, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism, took it even further when he said, “Kindness in word creates confidence.  Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.  Kindness in giving creates love.” And, the Dalai Lama took it to the nth degree when he said, “There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies.  My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.”

The crux here is not only whether you would prefer to be known as “rude” or “kind,” but how do you best want to invest your time.  If you want to stand out in a crowd; if you want to get more out of your staff/employees; if you want to enjoy a calm and gentle spirit, strive to be kind and eliminate any tendencies, and desires, that you may have to be rude.  After all, having people remember you for the right reason is a good thing!

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US Internet Marketing – Benefits of Internet Marketing

Internet marketing enables you to build relations with customers and prospects through regular, low-cost personalized communication, reflecting the move away from mass marketing. Here are some benefits you can consider.

Pathmaker provides a wide range of digital services to help you grow your business online. Visit our website for more information.

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Control Freaks Are Freaky

Control Freaks Are FreakyDo you know anyone who is a control freak? That’s really not the question I wanted to ask, but it is a good place to start, nonetheless.

One of the reasons we don’t like control freaks is that those whom we know are usually trying to control us. That makes controlling-type people about as irritating as woolen underwear. We don’t like it when they try to control us, but that is not what makes them freaky.

There is a difference between perfectionists and control freaks. Perfectionists focus on controlling those things that they directly touch. Control freaks are different in that they have an overwhelming compulsion to control everything within their sphere of influence except the one thing that they have the ability to control: themselves. That is freaky. It’s freaky because it doesn’t work. And it never will.

One of the things that makes a control freak freaky is that they, themselves, are always out of control. It borders on insanity to keep spending time trying to control things you cannot and to ignore what you can. I’m not sure what side of the border it is one, but it seems to be on the other side.

Have you ever noticed the unusual amount of anxiety that control freaks have, all because they want things to be done their way? No wonder the sale of anti-anxiety medications exceeds $76 billion annually. Control freaks generate an overwhelming amount of self-anxiety because, no matter how hard they try or no matter how much effort and energy they invest, almost everything in their sphere of influence is out of their control.

Control freaks want to be the boss of everyone. That becomes a major problem when an actual boss is a control freak. Control freaks don’t lead or manage, because they can’t. Their entire understanding of leadership and management is skewed by their vain imagining that they must be in control. Effective leaders and managers understand that they must control their own time and efforts while providing vision and direction and delegating authority to others to accomplish the common objective.

The problem is that sometimes control freaks become bosses, often by establishing their own businesses. Working for a control freak is not impossible, but it is certainly unbearable. Working alongside one is almost as bad. Dictators – and many “skilled politicians – are typically control freaks, because they feel the need to have control over those who may oppose or unseat them.

Here is the point (and the question I really wanted ask up front). Are you a control freak? A peaceful life is characterized, not by controlling others, but by controlling ourselves. Essentially our lives are controlled by external circumstances. Our responsibility is to control how we respond to those circumstances and to other people who live and move within our sphere.

There is nothing freaky about self-control. It promotes peace within ourselves and between people and organizations.

Self-control is admirable and is respected by both those who exercise it and those who do not. It is the revelation of the beauty of a disciplined life. When a person neglects the discipline of self-control, they focus on controlling others. That is freaky. And that is why those people are called control freaks.

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God’s Greatest Gift to Us Is Life

God’s Greatest Gift to Us Is LifeWhy is the health industry such a booming business? Good health seems to be on everyone’s mind these days. The latest, greatest, fad diet is introduced almost monthly. Health food stores and clubs pop up all over the town, ironically, sometimes next door to fast food restaurants. How could you not be in the best shape of your life with all of the exercise gadgets and gizmos which are designed to give you “the perfect body” with little or, even better, no effort?

Most people have an innate desire to live as long as they can. We also want the best quality of life possible. This is all well and good for our physical world, but what about life after death?

The good news is that each of us can have eternal life. A scripture many of us memorized as young children says,” For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  Sickness, disease, and death are all a part of life as we know it on this earth, whether we believe in Christ or not. However, Christ has overcome the fear of death for those who believe and receive Him (Hebrews 2:15).

What we do with this gift is our gift back to the Father. A person after God’s own heart makes his relationship with Him a top priority. How would you like to be remembered? A person completely committed to Him is one who wholeheartedly honors God in all they say and do. The desire to please the Lord should be at the core of everything we do.

The Father wants our paths to be governed by His plans, our interests to be defined by His purposes, and our obedience to be motivated by our love for Him. When we pursue God’s heart, we find life at its best and we can leave a legacy behind that influences others to do the same.

This gift of eternal life costs us nothing, but only because God’s own Son paid the price in full for us. Therefore, our desire should be to mirror His heart for others and influence those around us for good. We can trust and obey Him in everything. When you succeed, remember that all you are and have is a gift from God. Then you can show the world that your heart belongs to the giver of “everlasting life.”

Poet R.L. Sharpe expressed it in an interesting manner.

Isn’t it strange how princes and kings,
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
And common people like you and me
Are builders for eternity?
To each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass and a book of rules.
And each will build, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

What will you make of your life? Will you make something magnificent, not to boast of any personal achievement, but to boast of God. What are you going to be? What are you going to do? What will you become in this great journey of life?

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No One Has Ever Accomplished Anything by Waiting for Someone Else To Do It

No One Has Ever Accomplished Anything by Waiting for Someone Else To Do ItThere are a lot of lazy people out there. You can find them in every office, every organization, every manufacturing plant, and in many homes. You do realize, don’t you, that lazy people go home at the end of the day? And, when they get home, they are still lazy.

The problem with lazy people is not that they never do anything. It is that they never accomplish anything. In fact, lazy people will often do just about anything to avoid being productive. Lazy people are a liability to any organization, but, oddly, they are rarely dealt with when it comes to increasing productivity. The rule of thumb practiced by most businesses, consciously or unconsciously, is to give additional workloads to the people who are already productive. While this works in the short term, it is a tactic often results in the burnout of the best employees.

Meanwhile, the lazy people do just enough to make it appear that they are doing something, and they keep right on drifting from one day to another.

Have you taken a look at your organization lately? Sure, you know who the star players are, but have you taken the time to consider who the lazy people are? Here are a few ways to identify them.

  1. Their desks are usually neat. They believe that, if they appear to be neat, that makes them appear to be productive.
  2. They smoke. I can just hear the reactions to that statement and I haven’t even finished writing the next sentence! Every company I have worked for has had some kind of allotted break time for all employees. However, smokers have always seemed to manage an additional four to six breaks per day. I don’t really care what your view is on smoking, but I am smart enough to understand that taking a smoke break is not being productive.
  3. They are always trying to impress people with the amount of work they are doing. One fellow I worked with had a pile of notebooks and folders on his desk. He picked them up and carried them everywhere he went. The pile always contained the same notebooks and folders. By his own private admission, he did it so that people would think he was busier than he really was. He was probably the laziest person I have ever met.
  4. They whine about every extra thing they are asked to do and every extra amount of time they are asked to work.
  5. They spend a lot of time talking about sports, the latest from Dr. Phil, or last night’s reality TV shows (which gives you some insight into how productive they were at home last night).
  6. They never offer any creative thoughts. By the way, saying that management doesn’t communicate enough is not a creative thought. Everyone who is not management says that.
  7. They always seem to know the latest rumors, although they would prefer to call it “knowing what is going to happen before it happens.”
  8. Remember that birds of a feather thing. If you find one, you’ll eventually find another.
  9. They like to work on “projects” that have nothing to do with the company’s mission. I knew one goldbricker who spent most of his time in his cubicle building homemade model airplanes from company parts. He scavenged the mini electric motors and impellers from the automatic restroom deodorizers to add functional “blades” to his creations.
  10. They arrive late and leave early.
  11. They avoid learning anything new. The catch here is that technology is moving so quickly that, in order to be efficient, a person has to keep learning. Twenty years ago, I introduced individual PCs to an entire department. One fellow, who had a fistful of sharpened pencils bound with a rubber band, refused to use his “new toy.” He doesn’t work there anymore.
  12. They don’t produce. They politic.
  13. They hitch their wagons to a star, in hopes that the star, once promoted, will be their benefactor. That’s how lazy people get promoted.
  14. They call productive people “workaholics.”
  15. They mosey.
  16. You have to close your left eye and point your finger at them to see if they are moving.
  17. They never accomplish anything.

Sometimes you have got to look for these people with earnest, because many of them are very good at what they do, which is nothing.

No one every accomplished anything by waiting for someone else do it. Why would you want that kind of person in your company?

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