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Listening to your Fellow Leaders - Week Fifty-Five

Listening to your Fellow Leaders - Week Fifty-Five

Liz and Josh and Ches, the fire damage claims Dallas guy, made it to prayer today with me  - I am glad because I am slated to speak again about Nehemiah and his leadership today.  I wasn’t sure if the whole group would want me to finish up my talk this week, but the unofficial head of our larger gathering called me up at the end of last week and requested that I finish up.  I’m still nervous but at least I got my feet wet last week.  Anyway, besides my worries about teaching, Liz said that her Lubbock catering business was experiencing some rough roads as far as their web optimization was concerned.  She said that everything was going good at the beginning but now all of them sudden her rankings were falling.  She asked us to pray for her decision-making about continuing this process. Ches asked that we pray for his public adjuster business, especially with the increase of fire insurance claims during the holiday season.  He also reminded us to pray for California as it was being devastated by wildfires. Josh told us that all was well with his Lubbock lawn care business but that his dad’s health was faltering again.  He seemed very upset by this and we covered that whole situation in prayer.  I felt bad for him – I cannot imagine what it must be like to function as a business owner and family man when such difficulties were happening with a close family member.  We lifted up each other’s concerns and also took some silent time to just listen for God to speak to each of us individually.  It was a good time.

As for the larger business gathering, I stood up and quickly reviewed the points I had made last week.  Then I got going with my new points.  First of all, I said that after raising up leaders to capture the vision of a project it was important to come up with a clear blueprint for action while taking into account what those leaders had to say.  Whatever project was being lifted up didn’t need to be the pet project of the owner of the business – it needed to be crafted by the whole of the leadership.   After all, these leaders would be the ones who would drive the project forward and if they didn’t believe in it, it would move slowly or even not at all.  Once the leaders created the blueprint for the project, I said that the project needed to be shared with the entirety of the workforce – not just in vague terms, but in very specific ways with deadlines and clear instructions as to how it would be completed.  I said that the employees needed to see how this project would be a benefit for the collective and also for them as individuals.  Finally, I said that work teams needed to be formed around the skills sets of the individuals so that the work could be completed efficiently.  I said that if people were allowed to work within their best abilities that they would be satisfied with their contributions to the project at hand.  My talk was fairly simple and I hoped that I hadn’t wasted anyone’s time.  I spoke so generally.  I think that if I ever presented this again I would bring up some solid examples from the business world so that my audience could better connect with the information.

Well, I guess that everything went well because I got a lot of congratulations from people in the crowd.  Still, I knew that I could have done a better job at communicating the info.  Readers, what do you think about what I said?  Do you have leaders at your business who have the credibility to move teams towards a set goal?  Let me know what you think about my entire presentation.  Feel free to be brutally honest.  I can take it…

Enhancing your Business Environment - Week Fifty-Three

Enhancing your Business Environment - Week Fifty-Three

Liz had more to do with her Lubbock catering today and as it turned out, Josh had to miss the meeting today for his lawn care business, so I was left with the Dallas fire damage claims guy to pray for them and for myself.  I know I could have joined up with one of the other thirteen prayer teams, but I figured I could practice my discipline of solitude – turn on some piano solos from Dustin O’Halloran and open myself up the movement of God with no interruptions.  I have not had this opportunity much even though I could do so at home.  But being at home means that I have to shift into family man and caregiver to the kids.  So, this solitude felt really good.  I didn’t say much except to say “I surrender to you, God.”  I decided to let God own the time and I am glad I did.  I kept in mind the scriptural guided imagery from last week and I could see myself in the story of Lazarus and the rich man.  I won’t go into too many details, but I could see myself in the presence of Lazarus, who was a beggar, and I was forced to deal with the question of whether or not I would be like the rich man who would ignore Lazarus or if I would do whatever I could to raise him up from his sorrowful state.  This convicted me, because I often pass by needy people on the streets and don’t do anything for them.  I don’t even make an effort.  I act like the rich man and do all I can to avoid them.  This has to change if I am going to mature in my faith.

As for the larger business gathering, we had a lady named Patricia who was a graphic artist.  She sort of repeated one of the speakers who had talked to us before.  She focused on how we can set up our offices in such a way that can inspire our workers.  She said that many business owners don’t even think of the environment that their workers are doing their work in.  She said this was a major mistake.  She showed us several office spaces like this and she talked about how the environment that is created by us owners can either dull the creativity of our employees or enhance their work.  She then showed us how drab spaces could be renovated in ways that would act as catalysts for harder and better work output.  Patricia said that she had been brought in by several companies to work as a beauty consultant.  She then showed us some of the before and after pictures of those companies’ work spaces and talked about how the return on investment skyrocketed after the changes that were made.  I get her point.  But since my workers are hardly ever in the office (they are at various work sites doing heating, cooling and plumbing) I did not think this talk was that relevant to me.  I guess maybe I could beautify my own office to see if my work improved.  It wouldn’t hurt to try I guess.  I’ll look up some art prints online later and do my best.

 So readers, what do you think of bringing in a beauty consultant to your business to help you create an environment of creativity?  Have you ever thought about doing this?  How many of you are currently using your space to act as a catalyst for enhanced work?  I’m interested to hear what you think about this, so please comment.  Thanks in advance.

Dr. Andy Neillie Review – Lifelong Leadership Learner

Dr. Andy Neillie Review – Lifelong Leadership Learner

Dr. Andy Neillie is a world-renowned leadership coach who leads workshops and corporations so that their managers become better leaders.  He is a fantastic teacher and keynote speaker who has given hundreds of encouraging speeches to Fortune 500 executives all over the world.  And besides being a great teacher, he is known for being a lifelong learner.  He is always observing people and things around him so that he can glean more knowledge to apply to his coaching.

This lifelong learning idea is an important value to have if you want to be a good leader.  Thinking you have everything you need as you lead your businesses is a mistake.  If you keep your eyes open and try to apply what you see to your company is a brilliant idea.  It also keeps you humble as you recognize that you are far from being the omniscient leader. 

Sidenote:  Humility is another value that great leaders show off to their managers.  Being humble can go a long way in inspiring your employees to see themselves as vital to your collective cause. 

Okay, so this blog is based on one of Andy Neillie’s observances – I won’t go into details about the new and growing Participator Approach to things, but I will say that the takeaways Neillie got from studying this approach are invaluable.  He writes on his website that it is always easy to start a project with a big bang, but that this often fizzles.  He recommends all of us that the turtle moved at a slow but sustained pace versus the hare’s quick run and that the turtle ended up winning the day.  Some things can start fast and work out, but it is key to usually start slow and build momentum as you train your leaders to lead.  This kind of approach allows you to check in on your managers as they grow.  Some of your employees might not be getting the point behind a certain project but if you take it slow and teach them over a sustained period, they will have a better chance of staying up with the grander vision.  Neillie says that it is key to start something and to keep chipping away at it until the end goal is realized.  Things don’t have to happen right away.  It’s the person who just keeps trying and failing over an extended period of time that typically succeeds in the end.

So, readers – what do you think about becoming a constant observer and a lifelong learner?  How do you do this in your every day life so that you can be a better leader yourself?  Are you known as a careful motivator so that momentum can be achieved or do you think you have more of a hare approach?

Please feel free to comment about your experiences with these above questions.  Thanks in advance.

Getting Your Business a Yearly Physical - Week Fifty-Two

Getting Your Business a Yearly Physical - Week Fifty-Two

Well today marks the year anniversary of this business group and of my prayer team.  It has been cool to blog about the happenings of this year because it allows me to read back over answers to prayer and to grab onto the talks given.  I definitely want to remember both sets of things so I can grow as a Christian and as a businessman.  I’ve definitely implemented many of the things I have listened to and prayed about.  It’s a day to celebrate growth.  Liz and Josh have been great partners in this time and they have become close friends of mine.  We are bonded together by spirituality and by our work – Liz’s Lubbock catering is rocking and rolling – Josh’s Lubbock lawn care business is flying high – My heating and cooling business has stayed steady and most of my clients are now satisfied persons and organizations.  Anyway, today we spent time doing more guided imagery using the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich man.  We asked God to put us into the story with these characters and to show us important things that we could carry with us.  It was a very interesting time that showed each of us new things about our relationships with the Word of God.  We all committed to stay in the story as we went through our weeks.  And that was that.  I forgot to mention that our Dallas fire insurance claims buddy joined us again and seemed to really enjoy the meditation.  He’s a nice guy.

In the larger business gathering, we had a doctor named Perry speak to us.  His subject was all about giving our businesses a yearly “physical” so that we could see what systems in our businesses were working well and which ones were “sick” and needed care.  It was cool how he used his own job and practice to help us realize how to evaluate our businesses – treating them like patients.  He showed us what he meant by checking into the systems and he also gave us a sheet to fill out regarding our businesses.  He recommended that each of us take a personal retreat each year to evaluate the health of our companies.  I really liked how Perry broke each part of our “bodies” down and helped us see that while we may not feel “cancers” in our businesses, they still may exist and need to be dealt with.  I have not taken a personal retreat in a long time and I do admit that I have not taken much time to evaluate the DNA and the conditions of my business.  But after today, making use of his handouts, I will do that and make sure that I have a healthy business from head to toe.

 So readers, have you ever done what Perry suggested to us?  Are you a good evaluator who does complete exams on your businesses?  Do you take yearly personal retreats to refresh and review your companies?  Let me know what value you have found in doing this kind of thing.  Thanks in advance for your comments and advice…

Prepping for the lean times - Week Fifty-One

Prepping for the lean times - Week Fifty-One

As the day began Josh, Liz and I pulled out our Nouwen books and talked about how the discipline of simplicity is the key to being content.  Josh, who does lawn care and Lubbock landscaping for some of the richest people in town, said that he has noticed that many of his wealthier clients have all the “toys” they could want but that they don’t seem happy.  He told us that most of them complain the most about the landscaping and yard work that his teams do.  They are not living simply and they don’t seem content at all.  It’s probably a huge generalization to say that all rich people are not simple or that all rich people are not content, but he just made the comments.  I think that I go back and forth from wanting to live simply to wanting more and more stuff.  I value this chapter in Nouwen’s book and hope that I can scale back my stuff and my expectations for material things as time goes on.  Liz asked for prayer in this area because she said that she tends to be a hoarder of the nicer things in life.  Her Lubbock catering business affords her the money to buy freely, but she says that she sometimes gets caught up in purchasing too much.  So, we all prayed for each other and we asked God to help us not only simplify us but to keep blessing us.  His blessings don’t always have to be material – I have to remember that money isn’t everything.

Speaking of money, we had another leadership coach/economist named James speak to us all at the larger gathering.  He basically taught us how to measure our wealth for our businesses and for our personal lives so that we could always stay ahead of the tough times.  He said that recessions and depressions do happen and can really affect those of us who are reactionary in our decision-making.  He showed us how the macro economy can make even our local businesses shake from the foundations.  He gave several examples of how a globalized economy can affect our micro economies.  It was an enlightening talk that gave me new perspectives on how to look at the overall markets – especially the stock and bonds markets.  I have never thought much of these markets because I didn’t see how they could affect me on a day-to-day basis.  But, now I will start to do so and prepare myself accordingly.

Well readers, what do you think about how we should monitor our macro economies so we can stay in check with our day-to-day micro-economies?  Are any of you heavily invested in the stocks and bonds market?  If so, do you have any tips as to what to keep in mind when adjusting for rises and falls on the local levels?  Thanks in advance for your comments.

Business Christmas Party - Week Fifty

Business Christmas Party - Week Fifty

Pre-gathering we had our prayer time and tried out the guided imagery discipline again.  This time I led it and told us to first ask God for His Holy Spirit to guide us in our imaginations.  Then I said that we should ask God to show us what is going to happen when we die and are in Heaven or on the new earth with our glorious bodies.  I was thinking about the verses about how the Holy Spirit can reveal such things to us and I figured why not get encouraging visions about this.  During this time, I saw myself as a giant and shining being who could do anything.  Liz described how she saw herself as a bright speck of light floating near God’s alter.  Josh said that he could see his old body being consumed by a holy fire as he stepped into his heavenly room.  We all felt amazed that God showed us three different but three interesting views on the afterlife.  Josh admitted that he saw one his employees outside of his window doing lawn care and landscaping and said that he was half distracted by his upcoming workday.  Liz said that she was fully focused and didn’t see any of her Lubbock catering – she was thankful to have a break from her work.  We all agreed that this was a cool exercise and we committed to ask God to give us more vision as we went about our upcoming weeks.  I bet that we will all get some fascinating explanations about our visions and possibly more details added to what we had already seen.

As for the larger business gathering, we had no speaker but instead we had a kind of Christmas party since the holiday is upon us.  We all ate some catered breakfast foods and filled out surveys about what we had learned the most about during the past forty-nine weeks.  We were also asked about what we had implemented into our businesses and how this implementation had affected our business worlds.  I found it really helpful to reflect on the last year and I was even reminded that I needed to follow through with all of the topics we had learned about.  I especially needed to follow through on the retreat.  I had planned on doing it in this month, but I ended up pushing it back.  I must make this a priority.  It was a nice party.  I spent most of my time hanging with Josh and hearing about how his family was doing and also about his lawn care maintenance was going.  It gave us a chance to really catch up.  I did also corner the leadership coach to see if he would be willing to come and speak to my employees so that they could become better leaders.  I’m sure I need to learn a lot from him too on this issue.

 So for you readers out there, what things did you glean from my blogging about these meetings?  I know you weren’t there to hear all of the details of each talk, but I imagine that you took enough from my summaries to do some things that were different and hopefully effective.  So, let me know when you get the chance so I can improve on my blogs.  Thanks in advance.

Getting the Maximum

Getting the Maximum

One of the most common forms of property damage these days is fire, which causes a lot of different sorts of loss – besides the fire itself there will be smoke damage and probably water and chemical damage to your belongings.  Whatever the damage, it can be a very stressful process trying to keep and store what wasn’t harmed and to file an insurance claim that gets you the money settlement back that will replace what has been lost.  The following is a short list of what to do if a fire rages through your home or business:

  1. Make a list of everything you had before the fire and try to figure out how much each damaged item would cost to replace.  It’s good to have your own estimate before filing a claim.
  2. When filing fire insurance claims, look into hiring a fire claim adjuster.  Fire claim adjusters are professionals at working with your insurance company in getting back the money you need to get back on your feet.
  3. Keep receipts for your additional living expenses.  After a home fire, you will typically have to pay for dry cleaning, hotel living costs and restaurant eating.  These are things that people typically don’t include in their claim, but they should be taken into account – they can be expensive and they can be claimed.
  4. Don’t sign up with a “restoration” company who promises to deal with your insurance company for you.  It should be you and your public adjuster and not some restoration company working as a go-between when dealing with your insurance company.
  5. Don’t give up hope.  At first it might seem like you’ll never get your life back together, but the truth is that if handled with some of the steps above, you will soon be back in your restored home or business.  Some people say that they used family counseling services to help them deal with the emotional losses that don’t show up on a claim sheet.  Do whatever you need to keep your chin up.

I know that is a brief list (your public adjuster can help you come up with many more important steps) but hopefully this will help some.  Thanks for reading and let’s hope that you never have to think about the above steps because fire never touches your life. 

If you have any questions or comments about this, feel free to add those to the bottom of this blog.  Thanks in advance for whatever advice you can add.  We all need each other in times of crisis.

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