Management Potential

Management Potential - Pathmaker Blog“To err is human, to blame it on someone else shows management potential!”

Placing blame certainly does seem to have become the new national pastime. No one, or so it seems, wants to accept the responsibility for their actions and no one, so it seems, is willing to do the necessary research to hold the right people accountable! Rather, we find many a scapegoat being led down the primrose path where they are offered up as sacrificial lambs!

As bad as that may seem, and it does seem bad, if we accept the sentiment found in our statement today we find that the ability to pass on the blame is something that is both lauded and rewarded. How sad that is! The key here, and there is a key, is the fact that we need to hold everyone accountable for their actions, and not allow them to pass off their shortcomings on others. How wonderful it would be if the world, both corporate and otherwise, would be as willing to stand up and take the blame as they are to take the credit!

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Pursue Passion not Money

Pursue Passion not Money - Pathmaker Blog“Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion.” – Tony Hsieh

It has often been said that those who use money as the yardstick by which they measure their happiness and success will never be happy and/or successful as they never are able to accumulate enough – they always want more! That, of course, is the sentiment being reflected here. If we spend our lives chasing the money we will find ourselves on a never-ending treadmill. With that in mind, the operative question becomes, “What are you passionate about?”

Most of us have many passions in our lives. We are passionate about our families; our jobs; our faith. We are passionate about our education; our favorite sports team; our health. In regard to our business/profession, our thought for today advises us that when we chase that passion we will find happiness; we will find fulfillment; we will find success. And, interestingly enough, when we achieve those accomplishments, we will also usually find that the money comes, too!

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Wisdom: Get on Your feet

Wisdom Get on Your feet - Pathmaker Blog“Getting on your feet starts by getting off your butt!”

Here’s an intriguing rhetorical question: “How many get rich quick schemes have you participated in?” Now, this runs the gamut from Lottery Tickets to Publisher’s Clearing House to Real Estate programs to running actual con games! The thing is, the reality of life is the only way we can expect to be successful is through hard work, diligence, and keeping an eye on the prize! When you take the fact that much of our populace lives in a fairy tale land where there is a chance to live happily ever after because of our Fairy God Mother or a genie who grants lots of wishes, and compound that with the fact that we now have a generation or two who believes in entitlement, and you have the basis for a segment of society who has probably never been told “Getting on your feet starts by getting off your butt!”

So, what does that mean to the business world? It means we are left with the task of teaching young people – and some not so young people – that the key to success is hard work, diligence, and keeping an eye on the prize. We need to teach them that they need to establish goals, and plot a course of action that will help them realize those goals. We need to teach them that no one is going to do it for them, they have got to do it for themselves. We have to show them how rewarding accomplishment through hard work, diligence, and keeping an eye on the prize can be. We have to allow them to learn the truth of the statement, “the harder I work the luckier I become.” Then, and only then, will they understand and accept that “Getting on your feet starts by getting off your butt!”

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Integrity per Oprah Winfrey

Integrity per Oprah Winfrey - Pathmaker Blog“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey

There are two phrases that have come to identify what may very well be the bane of our 21st Century moral fiber:

  • If you don’t get caught it’s not against the rules/law.
  • No harm, no foul.

It is easy to see why so many of our young people, especially those born from 1980 on, are so confused when it comes to integrity. Oprah, a Baby Boomer born in 1954, understands the true basis of integrity.

While we Baby Boomers understand why it is necessary to be integrous even when there is no chance of being caught or facing any retribution if we don’t, the Millennials, and those following them apparently, and obviously, have not had this ingrained into their very being.  For those who accept the validity and veracity of the Bible, we find the need for integrity summed up in Col. 3:23 – “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto man” (KJV). Once you accept the fact that everything you do is being observed and, eventually, judged by God, it is a little easier to follow these sage words of advice from Oprah!

*** Special Bonus***

AMERICA’S GENERATIONS

1900 – 1924 The G.I. Generation

1925 – 1945 The Silent Generation

1946 – 1964 The Baby Boomers

1965 – 1979 Generation X

1980 – 2000 Generation Y/Millennials

2000 – Present Generation Z or NEW Silent Generation

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Wisdom: Skydiving and Parachutes

Wisdom - Skydiving and Parachutes - Pathmaker Blog“You don’t need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive TWICE!

When Frank Sinatra sang My Way, he became the vocal hero of every individual who considers themselves their own man. And, being a little independent myself, I understand the sentiment Ol’ Blue Eyes was conveying. In fact, there are a number of times that I have actually proceeded in that manner, and been somewhat successful along the way. However, as the quote above indicates, there are times when you have to do it the same way everyone else does, or you may not be around to do it again!

It is obvious to virtually everyone that if you are going to skydive you need a parachute, so no one would intentionally attempt skydiving without one – that would be pure suicide! Now, let’s take that thought into the realm of business! With things like the Lottery and Publishing Clearing House Sweepstakes we live in a world where the Great American Dream centers around the idea than we can get rich quick. As a result, we often determine that there must be shortcuts in the business world, ones that will allow us to succeed without having to pay our dues. The reality is that’s not reality! The key to success in the business world is to work hard and follow all of the basic rules for the business you are in. As ever, the name of the game in sales is numbers – the more people you talk to the greater your chance of a sale.  It’s like the old adage says, “The harder I work the luckier I get!”

If you want to “live to fight another day” in the business world you have to make sure that you are following the prescribed rules, sort of like having a parachute to skydive. Now, you can develop a new, better parachute or a smaller, more economical plane – that, after all, is the basis of innovation! That’s how businesses survive and thrive, by employing a variation on a theme – not by skydiving without a parachute!

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To make changes You must first change Your mind

To make changes You must first change Your mind - Pathmaker Blog“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything else, either.” – George Bernard Shaw

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that is what Thomas Kuhn had in mind in 1962 when he developed the concept of paradigms shifts. In the simplest of terms, a paradigm shift is “a change from one way of thinking to another.” In my lifetime, a number of paradigm shifts have taken place and have led to a number of inventions and innovations. Below are a few examples of change in thought and the changes that they have brought about:

  • “It takes all day to cook dinner” (The microwave)
  • “The quickest and best way to create a manuscript is on a typewriter (The word processor)
  • “The best watch is the one with the most jewels.” (The quartz watch)

I could go on and on, but I think you have already gotten the point!

As a result of paradigm shifts, perhaps one of the most deadly phrases a businessman can utter is, “It’ll work – we’ve always done it that way!” Once a businessperson becomes stoic and locked into their ways they may very well be paving the road to failure. The question becomes, then, how can one make sure that they are, in fact, “keeping up with the times.”

This is not an easy question, of course, but perhaps the one simple answer is to explore every idea that is offered up, even if at first they seem a little far-fetched. Once brainstorming becomes an acceptable procedure at your business, you will find that people are less inhibited and will be able to explore a number of possibilities that people often keep to themselves for fear of ridicule. Remember, according to Mr. Shaw, if you can’t change your mind you can’t change anything else, either!

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Wisdom: I didn’t say it was Your fault

Wisdom - I didn’t say it was Your fault - Pathmaker Blog“I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.”

What a world we live in! Not only does the vast majority of the population not want to accept the responsibility of their actions, they look for a scapegoat to blame their inadequacies on. That’s what makes the validity of this statement so devastating! You see, when Harry Truman put the now famous placard on his desk, “The buck stops here” it was understood that, when all is said and done, the one at the top is responsible for what happens due to what those under them do. Today, however, instead of flowing up, responsibility seems to flow down – – with the lowest person in the chain of command being stuck with the brunt of everyone’s actions/words.

What this does, of course, is create an extreme amount of paranoia and distrust among the ranks of the working populace. People are afraid to make an administrative decision for fear that they will be brought to task and punished if things don’t go as planned. Young, naïve underlings are sacrificed on the throne of corporate advancement while shrewd, manipulative over-lords spend as much time and energy covering their bases as they do furthering the firms they work for. “And,” as Sonny and Cher told us, “the beat goes on.”

If you want to be a successful, and beloved, manager, don’t look for people to blame should things go wrong, spend more time working with people on your staff/team to ensure that the things don’t go wrong! Nurture those naïve individuals who come under your tutelage, helping them to understand the process and showing them how they, too, can be successful. For as ridiculous as this may sound, the more you help others the more you help yourself. Maybe it has something to do with casting your bread upon the waters, or if you want to be great in heaven be a servant in this world, or maybe it just is the manifestation of the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

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Without a Vision the People Perish

Without a Vision the People Perish - Pathmaker Blog“Where there is no vision, the people perish” – Proverbs 29:18

There are very few people who would argue with you if you proclaimed, “Solomon is, without a doubt, the wisest man to ever live.” That’s why we should take heed of his words of wisdom, including what he has to say about having a vision.

Many of us in the business realm know that we need a vision if, in fact, we want our businesses to succeed. The thing is, much fewer realize that having a vision is not enough. Rather, we must share that vision with those who work at each and every level of our business. To allow our employees and/or co-workers to enjoy success, real success, they need to be able to spend each day knowing that they have taken at least a small step in making that vision a reality!

You see the reality is that motivation, true motivation, is not achieved simply by increasing the size of one’s paycheck. There has to be an avenue for people to experience a sense of accomplishment. That’s why, in the manufacturing world, while very productive the assembly line creates burnout at an alarming rate.

A good example of this can be made by comparing two summer jobs I had when in College. While at International Paper Company (IP) my job was to feed wood into a grinder, which converted it to pulp, which was then made into paper. On the other job I worked for Saratoga County mowing along side the road. At IP I had a foreseeable end to a project, eventually the truck I was working on would be empty. Even though another truck was immediately wheeled in, at least I saw an end to my efforts. On the County, however, it was the same thing all day, every day – – there was never an end in sight!

So, the key is to share the vision with others, and then divide it into accomplishable tasks that allows for a sense of accomplishment. For, with just a little paraphrasing we can say, “Without a vision the business perishes.”

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Facing Failure with Enthusiasm

Facing Failure with Enthusiasm - Pathmaker Blog“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Upon reading this I found myself strolling down memory’s lane to a place far, far away in time. I was just getting my writing career off the ground and, as fledging artist, was finding a lot more of my articles being turned down than being accepted. I had yet to have my first novel published, though I had sent out multiple queries on each of my ideas – – a hundred or more I’m sure! One day I saw my good friend, Dr. J. Patrick Otto, current Chair of Education at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, storm out of the Faculty Room of the Christian school we were teaching at. Catching up with him I asked what was wrong.

“We were just talking about getting a book published,” he explained, “and Sharon said her friend gave up trying to have his book published because he had already sent it out four time sand no one wanted it! Four times,” he exclaimed with emphasis, “obviously he doesn’t want it as bad as you do!”

And therein lies the secret of Mr. Churchill’s statement: If you want something bad enough your enthusiasm will never wane, regardless of how many failures you encounter along the way! This is especially true in the business realm. Each day, each week, each month and each year you need to attack your ultimate goal with fervor, vigor, and undying enthusiasm. If you don’t, you’ll never get that first novel published!

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Wisdom: Of all the Things I’ve lost I miss my Mind the most

Wisdom Of all the Things I’ve lost I miss my Mind the most - Pathmaker Blog“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.”

As I got older I expected not to be as sharp as I once was. However, while my rememberer isn’t what it used to be, I take great solace in the fact that individuals much younger than me are having the same problem! It seems that I am not alone when I utter the phrase, “Of all the things I’ve lost I miss my mind the most!”

I got to wondering about this the other day, and jotted down a short list of reasons why people feel as though they have lost their mind. And, I came up with some pretty interesting stuff – which I will take the time to share with you here.

We Live with Technology Overload

I do not have a smart phone – mostly because I refuse to spend my time trying to learn how to keep up with it! Friends I know who do have smart phones advise me that they just about figure out how to use it when it will automatically download updates and they have to start the learning process all over again! With some of them, they seem to lose their minds at least once every three months because of this!

We Live with Information Overload

Even our lexicon is growing with leaps and bounds! For example, did you know that conversate is now a word? I’m not even going to get into everything you need to know to text with someone. For example, I got a message from a casual female acquaintance, and she signed off with LOL. I told my wife that was somewhat presumptuous of her, and when asked why I explained that I didn’t think she was in a position to sign off with Lots of Love, at which point my wife was able to LOL as she explained to me what it really meant! Like others, I seem to be losing my mind when all I want to do is communicate with others.

We Live with God Health Overload

I have always been told that coffee is bad for you because of all the caffeine. I just read, however, that it is good for you because of, that’s right, the caffeine. Nuts are good for you because they provide protein – Nuts are bad for you because they have too much fat. Fruit is good for you because of the vitamins they contain – Fruit is bad for you because they contain too much sugar. No wonder we all are losing our minds!

If you have been paying attention you will note that the common element here is “overload.” That’s why, if you want to minimize losing your mind, you may want to implement the old KISS principle whenever and wherever possible – Keep It Simple Sweetie. The simple lifestyle is something we all long for, but so few of us actually strive for! So, next time you are missing your mind and are regretting that you lost it, just KISS and you will undoubtedly feel a lot better about life and about yourself.

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