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A strong leader will have a vision of what they want the team to achieve in the future.  Teach your team what your vision is.  You have to have a true conviction to accomplish this.  You have to be an inspiration to your followers.  They can help you develop the strategies to get there.  Sure, you can get them started on that path.  If they do not truly understand and support your vision, you will not have a team effort toward reaching your goals.   

What is part of the reason that you hire such a strong staff? I would assume that part of this is because of their intelligence. Why do some managers not want to tap into this valuable resource? Once your team has bought into your vision, they can probably give you the insight as to numerous ways that you can get to that same result. Sometimes, you will make your company more money. In other cases, it might make your company a safer company to work for.

I have always taken the approach that those working the front line have a better working knowledge of how to do the job better than I do. They are the ones that do it day after day. They will know how to be more efficient. They know what is needed to make the job safer.  All you need to do is ask them. Think outside the box.  Just because it is always been done one way does not mean that it always has to be done that way.

Your team has a wealth of knowledge. You need to learn how to use it.  This is a huge motivator. When your team has input into your systems and procedures they end up with total buy in.  It is now their vision, not just yours.  They will put more effort into programs that they have put into place than those that were just given to them.

What is your vision for your team?  What are you doing to convey it to your team?  If you are unsure how to get your team to buy in on it, let me know.  I would love to help you improve the strength of your team.




 
 
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Are you ready?  Do you have big plans to feast on turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings?  Are all of your relatives getting together?  Are there parades and football games that will take all of your attention throughout the day?

You probably have many traditions in your family.  We just need to make sure that we do not forget why we celebrate.  It began with the pilgrims in 1621 to celebrate their first harvest.  The Native Americans had taught them how to provide for themselves in this new world.  They celebrated for three days.  We can not do that now because it would get in the way of black Friday shopping.  The key is to give thanks for everything that God has provided for us.

God is our Great Provider.  By ourselves we are nothing.  He provides for all of our needs.  The close family that you celebrate with is a blessing.  You are reading this because of modern technology which many people do not have access to.  You are probably going to have more food than you could ever imagine eating.  There are people who do not know where their next meal will come from.  Think about all your material possessions.  The friendships that you have developed over the years are priceless.  

I can go on for a long time in listing my blessings.  I pray for those that do not have the blessings that I have.  There are homeless people that have struggled to find a warm place to spend the night.  We have so many freedoms in this country that we just take for granted.  I am thankful for all of those that have served in our armed forces to earn us these freedoms.  I pray for those in other countries that do not have the luxuries that we have.  We do not stop to think about how good we really have it here.

Even as much as we have, we are greedy for more.  It is never enough.  We want to work more hours and jobs so we can buy even more.  Have you noticed that people with more money are not necessarily happier?  That is because material things in life are not what is important.  I celebrate my good health and the love and support of my close friends and family.  I am thankful to have a God that will always be there for me.  No matter what is going on in my life, He never leaves my side.  I have faith that His plan is much better than my plan.  I am thankful that He is finally getting through to me to see that.

I wish you and your families have a Happy Thanksgiving.  Just remember to say thanks.
 
 

 
 
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This past weekend, I ran another half marathon.  This was my third so far this year that I have ran.  My times for the past two races were 2:27 and 2:23.  I decided that I would try for under 2 hours and 20 minutes for this race.

I felt that it was a realistic goal and figured that my fullest potential for running would be to, some day, run it in 2:15.  Race day came and I was at the starting line.  Since I had a hip injury in February, I have been leery of a potential injury again if I pushed myself too hard.

I quietly said a prayer.  Please Lord, keep me healthy throughout this race.  If it is your will, please let me run fast enough to break the 2:20 barrier.  The race organizers provided pacers for different time goals.  I decided that if I could keep up with 2:15 pacer through at least ten miles, I could reach my goal.  Not only was I able to do that, after the 12 mile point, I decided that I could go faster than he was going.  I finished with a personal best of 2:13.

This proved to me that I had put a limit on my own potential.  It states in Philippians 4:13 that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Christ gave me strength that day.  What areas of your life are you limiting your potential?

My third book, A Marathon Journey: Lessons in Goal Setting, has just been published.  I encourage you to get a copy and read more about bringing God into your goal setting.  You will be blessed with what you can accomplish with His strength.  It is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Through Christ, everything is possible.  There are no limits to His potential to use you for His glory.  Remember to be thankful for all of the blessings that He bestows upon you.  By doing this, the blessing will continue to flow.



 
 
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We live in a fast paced society.  It is a balancing act to keep up all of the activities and not go overboard and create stress.  The hours that we work keep creeping up.  You may still be able to keep the hours at the office to 50 hours or less, but have you really added up all of the time that your mind is on work during your “off” hours.  With the advances in the cell phone industry, we are working more than ever outside of our regular work schedule. 

The cell phone sounds its annoying tone saying you have another e-mail.  Years ago, you would not realize that an email had come in or even care.  Now we feel obligated to read it.  Once you read it, you might as well act on it, right?  Your customers should understand that you need “down time”.  Why do you feel obligated to act on requests 24 hours a day?  

You should be able to ignore the e-mails in the evenings.  Rarely is it ever anything that just has to be taken care of.  Not everyone works daytime hours, so there can be e-mails coming in during the evening.  These people are probably answering some of the e-mails that you sent during your normal shift.

I know that you have witnessed individuals that answer their phones when they are in the rest room.  Why can’t they draw the line on when to ignore the ringing of the
phone?  They are out of balance.  These are the people that live with continuing stress levels. You need to be able to “turn off” work.

I know that it would be hard to go from never ignoring the phone and the e-mails to being completely off work when out of the office.  Start with baby steps.  It may start with leaving the phone in your car when you go out to dinner with your family.  That way, there is no way that you can be tempted to sneak a peek at it under the table. If you are that addicted, you can look at it after dinner.  Enjoy the time with your family and give them your attention.  It will do wonders for your stress level and you do not get the opportunity to relive these moments with your family.  It is unfair to them to not have your full attention.

Share with me what you are planning on doing to get your life in balance.  We can all learn from one another.  What do you do to make sure that you have time for yourself and not just taking care of the needs of others?

 
 
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“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Ephesians 4:29

All of us need encouragement.  This is a difficult world to live in.  At some point in our lives, most of us will experience financial struggles.

Relationships are pushed to the limits at times and we wonder if we can save some of them or not.  Doubt sets in when we look at our goals after we hit a stumbling block.

Think about how you have felt when someone said just the right thing at the right time and it lifted your spirits.  This is something that we can do all day long and it does not cost us a thing.  “Words of encouragement cost you nothing, but they have a great value to others.” Thomas Mayberry  Go ahead and tweet that.  Look for the opportunity throughout the day to encourage others.

I have had co-workers that have come to me in desperation because of circumstances beyond their control in their lives.  I have found that the best encouragement that I can give them is to offer to pray for them.  Sometimes they do not give you specifics about the circumstances.  That is fine.  God knows the circumstances.  You just need to lift them up in prayer and God will take it from there.

Giving someone praise for the job well done at work is a form of encouragement.  They will try harder in the future if they know that someone is noticing and they feel appreciated.  We are too fast in offering counseling for the things that people do wrong, but too slow to point out the good things in people.  Take the time over the next week to look for opportunities to point out the strengths of others.  If someone is struggling, offer to help them in the area of their struggles.  Sometimes people’s pride does not let them accept help.  This is where you can pray that they get resolution to their struggles.

Let everything you say be good and helpful.  Do you remember the phrase, “If you do not have anything good to say, do not say anything.”?  It is a good practice to get into.  Stop for a minute every time that you feel like saying something bad about someone.  It will change your attitude and will help your relationship with that person going forward.




 
 
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Be quiet and listen.  It seems so simple.  Why do so many people not follow this philosophy?  We get so wrapped up in ourselves and what we want to say that we tend to forget to be quiet and just listen to the other person.

This happens both in our personal lives and in the business world.  The person that we are talking with is more important than you are.  It does not matter who they are or who you are.  They are more important.  If you take this approach, you will be more successful.

Here is an example.  A manager calls an employee into their office to discuss a behavior that was observed and gives the employee a written warning for the offense.  Their decision is already made up and nothing that the employee has to say will change their mind.  They are closed minded and unwilling to listen.  How would you approach this differently if you took the approach that the employee was the most important person in the room?

I would suggest bringing the employee into your office to discuss the situation before making the decision to give them the written warning.  Explain to them the situation (as you see it) and give them the opportunity to tell their side of the story.  You then need to be quiet and listen.  Do not think about what your next sentence will be, but just listen.

It is amazing what you can find out just by listening.  It may not make the offense acceptable, but it may make it explainable.  This gives you the opportunity for a coaching moment.  You can teach them how to handle the situation in the future without putting their career in jeopardy.  There may be issues in their department that need to be addressed that you were not even aware that existed.

More times than not, you will probably be able to coach them into being a stronger employee without going down the route of written counseling.  This lets them leave your office with their dignity still intact.  You can help them feel like they are a valuable part of your team.  All of this is possible if you just be quiet and listen.

This same approach can be used in many areas of our lives.  How do you approach the raising of your kids?  Do you take the time to listen?

What other coachable moments can be improved by just being quiet and listening?


 
 
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I was running ten miles this morning and decided not to listen to music like I normally do.  Today, I decided to reflect on my life.  When was the last time that you did this?

I thought back about all of the events that have taken place over the years.  Some were very happy moments and some were very painful.  There have been so many different path changes along the way.  Every event had it's time and place.  I do not believe in coincidence.  I feel that it is all God's plan.

I imagine my life as being a large puzzle that God is putting together.  I used to put together jigsaw puzzles as a kid.  It might take me a while to put it together, but I always knew what the picture would look like once it was put together.  Our lives, though, are different.  We do not know what God has in store for us.  Everything that happens to us throughout our lives has a purpose.

It all plays a part into the type of person that we become.  Our personalities, our beliefs and how we interact with others.  I am very passionate about the way that I lead others.  Reflecting back on  my career, I can see why.  I did not always have a respectful boss and disagreed with a lot of the practices of my fellow managers.

My third book will be published within the next couple of months.  It will give you guidance in setting and attaining goals in your life.  I have been blessed with this avenue to teach others what I have learned along the way.  This is just one of the blessings that I reflected on today during my run.  I have some very dear friends and a great family.  God has taken care of me through everything that has taken place over the years.

Only God knows what the picture of my life will be when it is completed.  I have confidence that whatever it is, His will is better than mine.  I am excited to find out what He has in store for me.  I know that the best is yet to come.

What have you reflected on today?  Do you trust in God's plan for your life?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

 
 
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I am heading out of town for vacation next week and plan on getting in some rounds of golf.  One of the courses that I am considering playing has a 747 yard, par 6 hole.

That is one of the longest golf holes in the world.  This made me think about our approach to goal setting.  Picture your long term goal as if you were playing this hole and trying to make it into the cup in 6 shots or less.  In my case, it would be trying for 8 shots or less, since I am not a great golfer.  You have to have shorter goals along the way.

When you walk up to the tee box, you are trying to hit the ball with your driver and keep it straight down the fairway.  It will take you a few shots before you get to the green on this hole.  You have to stay focused on the goal to keep it straight down the fairway.  One miss hit and you end up in trouble to the right or left.

When you are achieving your goals in life, there are sometimes that things do not go as planned.  In golf, it may be a ball that is hit in between some trees.  At that point you need to adjust your short term goal.  There is nothing wrong with that.  As long as you remember your long term goal, you can adjust the short term ones to get you back on track.

In the game of golf, you will need to hit a short shot back into the fairway and then you can aim for the green again.  If you have ever played golf, you are aware of what happens when you look up to see where the ball is going before you actually hit it.  You do not hit it squarely and it barely rolls forward.  This adds more shots to your score to get to the hole.

Sometimes when we are pursuing goals, we get ahead of ourselves and try to accomplish the end result before we accomplish the steps along the way.  We normally are not successful in doing this.  Do not skip the needed steps along the way to your goals.  They are important.

Keep focused on the importance of the ultimate goal, but accomplish it by concentrating on achieving the steps along the way.  If you break down the goal into a series of smaller goals, it will improve your success rate.

What are some of the goals that you are pursuing and how are you breaking them down into smaller steps?




 
 
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What goals are you currently working on?  Are you making progress towards achieving them?  I used to set a lot of goals and then put them aside and tended to forget about them.

It is not uncommon for people, especially with their new years resolutions to start new goals and not follow through with them until completion. 

I have noticed that there are 5 main reasons that this happens.
  1. You do not write them down.  I have the same problem at work.  There are so many things going on that if someone comes into my office and needs something, I have to write it down.  If I don't, by the time I go back to whatever project that I was working on, I tend to forget that they had a request.
  2. You do not plan the action steps required to reach the goal.  Let's say that I want to lose 10 pounds in the next two months.  It sounds great, but how am I going to achieve it?  I need to decide if it will require diet and/or exercise and how I will monitor it.
  3. The goal does not have any motivational benefit to you.  Is the motivation driven by others, or is it something that you really want to do?  "How badly you want something dictates how much you are willing to give up to get it."  @thomasamayberry  You can tweet that if you would like. 
  4. There is no due date.  As what happens at work to many of us, if a project is put on our desk and there is not a due date, we work the priorities that we have around it.  It is not really procrastinating, but the end result is the same.  You need to make your goals a priority.  Setting a due date helps to accomplish this.
  5. You have too many goals.  If you stretch your efforts to too many things, you cannot give them as much attention.  If you are spending time addressing one goal, it is taking time away from another one.  I would limit yourself to just a few goals that hit maybe three different areas of your life.  That may be health, personal relationships and spiritual growth.

Keep pursuing your goals.  It is a great way to grow personally and professionally.  Think about these five things the next time you analyze your goals.  It will make a difference in your success rate.

I would love to hear what your current goals consist of.  You can leave your comments below.

Subscribe to my blog and you will be one of the first to be notified when my book on goal setting is released (Fall 2014).

 
 
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Have you given very much thought about your thumb print?  Most people do not.  Our finger prints distinguish us from anyone else.  It is an identifying feature of our body.

When we touch something, we leave a mark.  You may not be able to see it in some circumstances, but it is still there.  The same thing can be said about projects at work or in different groups that we associate with in our personal life.

We make our mark on anything that we get involved in.  It may be our personal approach to the situation that is different than how someone else would have handled it.  We need to be aware of how we affect others.  What is our priority on the project?  Who will it affect and how will it affect them?

Another issue that I see too often is people not accepting responsibility.  They may know what the problem is, but are waiting for someone else to fix it.  You need to step up and take ownership of the situation.  Leave your mark.  That is what leaders do.  They take ownership.

Does this mean that they will get it right everytime?  Definitely not, but that is alright.  At least they did something.  Too often, everyone leaves a meeting with numerous good ideas and then a few weeks later they wonder why nothing was implemented.  It is because no one "owned" the project.  No one wanted the responsibility to take charge of the initiatives and put a plan in place to get the results that are needed.

This is where your leadership style leaves your mark on the project.  I will leave you with one thought to ponder the next time you look at your thumbprint.  What does your leadership style say about you?  What kind of mark are you leaving behind?


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